Unlike some conservatives, Ben Carson doesn't want to shut down the Education Department—no, he wants to use it to punish universities that demonstrate "extreme" political bias. That's according to an interview he gave to The Blaze's Glenn Beck:
I actually have something I would use the department of education to do. It would be to monitor our institutions of higher education for extreme political bias and deny federal funding on that basis.
What does Carson even mean? Would universities risk losing federal funding if professors, or student groups, demonstrated some kind of leftist bias?
This statement, if I'm reading it correctly, should serve as a powerful reminder that many supposedly limited-government conservatives would actually use federal power to oppress people in ways remarkably similar to those on the left.
President Obama's Education Department is currently engaged in an effort to force campuses to police sexual assault in ways that are manifestly unfair to the accuser. One of its rogue agencies has made up rule after rule putting unconstitutional limits on students' free speech rights in the name of stopping sexual harassment. These actions are wrong, and someone in elected office should challenge the organization.
But it would be equally wrong to use the Education Department to police speech that conservatives don't like. To the extent that Carson was serious about his suggestion, he deserves criticism.
Hat tip: The Daily Beast