Questioning Freedom of Speech
I must question the three state senators who are questioning free speech and academic freedom at our great flagship university.
Is the movement across our nation and state by the extreme-right growing because their uncorroborated opinions and political biases are being factually challenged?
Or is it a prelude to financially gutting public schools and institutions of higher education simply to save a tax dollar?
Or is it a cultural war taking us to a time of McCarthyism and fascism where dictators attempted to rid a population of free press, intellectuals and thinkers?
Mary K. Stillwell’s LJS Nov. 15 Letter to the Editor “Play shows campus speech’s vitality” said it best. Stillwell speaks of David Wiltse’s 2007 play, “Sedition” and how it examines the challenges to free speech and academic freedom in the U. S. She speaks of how playwrite David Wiltse states, “the playwrite that rattles the way you see things must be doing something right”.
That quote speaks tons when individuals burdened with a conflict between fact and opinion attempt to muzzle education and its professors who challenge uncorroborated opinions.
To challenge or rattle long standing opinions or traditions is the cornerstone of higher education and the impetus to intellect and professionalism.
It is extremely difficult to overcome these intellectually short-circuited opinions or biases. However, it can be accomplished simply by pursuing self-educating projects. Individuals with vision all know this world is filled with wonderful educational opportunities eager for our inquisitive minds to explore. For example, all student pilots must experience the introduction to instrument flying.
Arguably the most difficult obstacle is to reject what your opinionated brain is telling you and accept what the aircrafts instruments were telling you. That is extremely difficult because until then you have always relied upon your brain to tell you how to react or respond to certain situations.
As one becomes more and more skilled at instrument flying and accepting of what the aircraft instruments are telling you, the flight instructor will ask you to wear a “hood” while the instructor maneuvers the aircraft into a perilous position.
You must then look at the instruments, determine the attitude of the aircraft and with the flight controls and throttle correct the attitude of the aircraft so that once again the aircraft is returned to straight and level flight.
Sadly, as rookies we want to ignore what aircraft instruments are telling us just as politicians ignore facts and economic “testable hypothesis” to favor uncorroborated personal opinions or biases in public policy formulation.
Public policy should be formulated by what the teachings of Macro and Micro economics or scientific facts teach us and not our opinion, political party agenda, personal bias, or what is currently popular.
For example, the West Virginia popular vote went overwhelmingly to Donald Trump on the promise to renew the coal industry. This promise violates economics’ “supply curve” model and is like waiting for the steel industry in the rust belt to renew itself or waiting for the reintroduction of the wash board women formerly used to wash the families clothing.
Yet, West Virginia voters fell for the bait!
When the price of farm commodities plummets, economics “supply curve” dictates that the agricultural producers should reduce production to drive the commodity’s price back up.
However, because of self-satisfying lobbying by agricultural input providers, government’s farm program rewards overproduction.
Instead of following economics “testable hypothesis”, farmers take the bait and wrongly increase production then complain of continued long-term commodity price reductions.
Communities take the bait and are duped when a food processing plant locates in their area.
The job vacancies are filled with cheap non-union labor or robots and the local wage rate becomes subjected to “monopsonistic exploitation of the labor force”. All of which create greater problems than benefits.
Politicians continuously believe that public policy such as lowering “marginal tax rates”, implementing a “flat tax”, repealing of the “alternative tax”, repealing of the “inheritance tax”, repealing of the “capital gains tax” create investments in new “plant and equipment and job creation”.
Sorry politicians, that is not what created the new investment in Colorado or Lincoln’s Rail Yard or Haymarket area.
Economics “marginal propensity to consume”, “marginal propensity to save” and the “circular flow of money” easily identify how low to middle income households spend 70 percent of their income and how the wealthy spend less of their income.
That is why after the ratification of the sixteenth Constitutional Amendment legalizing taxation our earlier policy makers developed the “progressive tax system”.
Many policy makers, such as our state senators and governor, continuously attempt to pass public policy to mirror the policies of neighboring states.
Economics, when attempting to compare one event to another, will always state “ceteris paribus” or “all else being held equal”.
If Nebraska is to look like South Dakota it too must have the “Black Hills”. To pursue an agenda in the absence of “ceteris paribus” is evidence of a lack of economic literacy.
So why do policy makers so egregiously violate economic theory and models in their formulation of public policy?
The ever-growing ignorance crisis of economics’ “testable hypothesis” and now the attempt to silence intellectuals and continued cuts in financial support to institutions, educators and thinkers that challenge this ignorance are the catalyst to wrongful public policy.
Across differing sectors of Nebraska, it appears that winning football games, basketball games, wrestling matches, volleyball matches, and everyone gets a participation trophy takes precedence over intellectual competence in economics “testable hypothesis or other educational disciplines.
Nebraska fires football coaches that can’t create short term wins on the gridiron, but continuously re-elects policy makers that pass disastrous long term public policy. Hypocrisy and questionable priorities run rampant!
Like the airplane pilot, if they do not act as a “daisy” and adhere to what their instruments are telling them they most likely will crash and die. Likewise, if policy makers do not adhere to the teachings of Macro and Micro Economics and other scientific facts our nation, too, may crash and die. It did in 1929!