WASHINGTON, D.C. – Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, has joined the defund movement. But he wants to defund colleges and universities that foster anti-American sentiment.
“The mob hates America on America’s dime,” Lee said in a July 2 speech on the U.S. Senate floor. “It’s time to cut off their allowance.”
Lee’s speech came as America prepared to celebrate the 244th anniversary of its independence amid racial and social unrest in the wake of the death of George Floyd, an African-American who died in police custody in late May.
Lee’s speech was apparently motivated by the recent phenomenon that, while numerous urban demonstrations have been launched in the name of the Black Lives Matter movement, anecdotal arrest reports seem to indicate that the much of associated violence is being perpetrated by white, college-age radicals.
“These mobs are not enlightened,” Lee said, referring to some groups of demonstrators who have committed acts of violence, arson and widespread property damage. “These mobs are not edgy, they’re not hip … They’re dimwitted, phony drama addicts.”
Lee had attempted to introduce a non-binding resolution in the Senate condemning mob violence, only to have that motion blocked by his Democratic colleagues. Utah’s senior senator then turned his oratory to what he believes are the roots of the urban unrest.
Among those, he said, are “… colleges and universities that punish free speech and discriminate against conservative and religious students.”
Those institutions, Lee added, have created “… a privileged, self-absorbed, crime syndicate with participation trophy graduate degrees, trying to find meaning in their empty lives by destroying things that other Americans have spent honest, productive lives building …
“The smug sneering privilege of … the whole garbage fire that is the so-called ‘woke ideology’ … depends on federal money.”
The federal government certainly contributes a significant slice of higher education funding. In 2107, for example, America’s nearly 4,300 degree-generating post-secondary institutions received $74.8 billion in federal funds.
While some high-profile Republicans have long branded those institutions as America’s most influential bastions of leftist ideology, Lee is by no means alone in his distrust of their impact on society.
A study by the Pew Research Center in 2018 found that 32 percent of Americans had “little or no confidence that college/university professors are motivated by the best interest of the public.”
That same year, 61 percent of respondents to another Pew survey said they felt that higher education was headed in the “wrong direction.”
A 2018 survey by WGBH News in Boston found that 59 percent of respondents agreed that colleges and universities are too ideological.
Finally, a Pew study launched in recent weeks found that 59 percent of Americans agree with Lee that some protesters are simply taking advantage of the current unrest inspired by the death of George Floyd to engage in criminal behavior.
“I want all my colleagues to know that when we return from (the August) recess …” Lee warned, “we’re not just going to be debating nonbinding resolutions.
“It’s long past time to expose the shiftless idiocy of the anti-American, anti-science, anti-establishment, anti-Constitution mob and remove their snouts from the federal trough.”