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Ben Carson Wants To Police Speech On College Campuses

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 21/10/2015 Tyler Kingkade
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Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson said Wednesday he would use the U.S. Department of Education to police speech on college campuses. 

During an interview, Glenn Beck asked Carson if he would shut down the Education Department as president. 

"I actually have something I would use the Department of Education to do," Carson responded. "It would be to monitor our institutions of higher education for extreme political bias and deny federal funding if it exists."

Carson discussed this same idea with a Las Vegas radio host in June. Although he did not explain details, the host, Heidi Harris, said she "loves that idea."

During a town hall meeting in Des Moines, Iowa, last month, a student asked President Barack Obama last month what he thought of Carson's plan to monitor for political bias on campuses. Obama responded, "I have no idea what that means, and I suspect he doesn't either."

The Carson campaign did not respond to The Huffington Post's request for a comment on the subject.

It's interesting to hear Carson, a retired neurosurgeon, suggest the federal government should monitor what sort of political views are shared on campuses, considering how many times he has railed against "political correctness" that censors Americans' viewpoints. 

For example, Carson compared the U.S. to Nazi Germany last March, before saying, "I know you're not supposed to say 'Nazi Germany,' but I don't care about political correctness. You know, you had a government using its tools to intimidate the population. We now live in a society where people are afraid to say what they actually believe."

But Carson's plan, to deny all federal funding for political bias on campus, would be pretty intimidating. Nearly all colleges and universities rely on federal dollars through student loans and Pell Grants for students to attend their institutions. Many wealthy universities, like Harvard, Yale and Carson's former employer Johns Hopkins, rely heavily on federal research grants. 

Here are some other times Carson complained about "political correctness":

In 2012, Carson said: "[People] need to rise up, they need to say to political correctness: 'Take a hike. This is who we are, this is what we believe in, these are principles that allowed us to become the pinnacle nation in the world in record time and we’re not about to throw them out of the window for the sake of political correctness.'"

That same year, he also said: "You know, there is no society that can long survive without values and principles. And if we get so caught up in political correctness that nothing is right and nothing is wrong, then we go the same route as ancient Rome. They did exactly the same thing. And they forgot who they were. They stood for nothing and they fell for everything and they went right down the tubes."

In 2013, Carson said: "That's one of the major components. But the other thing we have to realize is we’re being crucified by political correctness -- because you're not supposed to say anything to that young woman who's having a baby out of wedlock, because 'that lifestyle is equivalent to any other lifestyle.'"

At last year's Conservative Political Action Conference, Carson declared: "It's time for people to stand up and proclaim for what they believe and stop being bullied." He added that people with common sense "have been beaten into submission" by the "PC police."

In August 2014, Carson again refused to apologize for comparing the U.S. to Nazi Germany, saying the "PC police" want to "stifle people's conversation."

In February, Carson said on "The O’Reilly Factor": "We need to be in a place where people feel free to express themselves and not to be intimidated by political correctness. It’s destroying our nation, and there is a reason that our founders, one of the very first amendment, freedom of speech, freedom of expression."

At September's Values Voter Summit, Carson said: "Political correctness is ruining our country and we need to stand up for what we actually believe."

While campaigning on a college campus in Michigan later that month, Carson said: "Political correctness is imposed by the secular progressives and those who wish to fundamentally change our society. Therefore, they make things off limits to talk about, but you know what? I’m going to talk about it anyway."

This month, Carson said: "We shouldn't give away our values for the sake of political correctness." 

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