Commentary: Conservatives have turned against academic freedom again. Here’s why.

John Wilson
The Washington Post

Excerpt: For the past two years, a wave of Republican legislation has sought to restrict the teaching of critical race theory. While K-12 schools receive much of the ire and repression from conservatives, PEN America reports that 39 percent of these “gag rule” bills introduced this year targeted higher education.

Ellen Schrecker, the leading historian of how the McCarthy era affected higher education, has called these bills “worse than McCarthyism” for their attempts to control college teaching. Although this legislation attacking colleges is unprecedented, the distrust on the right toward academic freedom — and universities — isn’t new.