Anyone believe in free markets at New Mexico’s Universities?

Readers of this space are well aware of the calls made by the Rio Grande Foundation for serious reforms to our higher education system due to poor performance and high costs to taxpayers. But another great reason to introduce market forces to higher education is that it would likely to result in a more ideologically-balanced academia. I’ve written before about UNM’s faculty and their hard-left views, but one Doug Morris who hails from Eastern New Mexico University makes the UNM folks look like Milton Friedman wannabees with his recent paean to singer Woody Guthrie.

Now, I’m not denying that Guthrie was a talented singer. What I am saying is that his political ideas, at least as represented by Morris, would have been an immoral disaster had they been implemented in the USA. Morris states repeatedly in his article that Guthrie supported communism. He argues that “private ownership of social and economic resources” is “anti-democratic and exploitative.” Lastly, he calls capitalism “tyrannical” and lumps it in with fascism, racism, militarism, and imperialism. This is just crazy.

As Ayn Rand noted, “laissez-faire capitalism. It is a system where men deal with one another, not as victims and executioners, nor as masters and slaves, but as traders, by free, voluntary exchange to mutual benefit.” All of the terrible things Morris discusses arrive at the point of a gun. Capitalism, unlike communism, is voluntary in nature. If you don’t want to trade, you don’t have to.

So, why doesn’t Morris get this and why don’t other faculty speak out? Two things come to mind: 1) Our education system is heavily socialized (with government ownership of the means of production and the means being the schools themselves). Therefore, the systems attract those who like and feel most comfortable in those systems (there are exceptions to every rule, of course). 2) Those exceptions don’t speak out due to the social pressure to conform which is placed on them by their peers and leaders of their institutions. After all, an attack on socialism and in support of limited or smaller government is a direct attack on the institutions themselves and potentially their budgets.