I hate sock puppetry, and since Edweek’s server would not let me add a display name to my account this morning, it is not clear on the website that I am the author of the first response to Rick Hess’s call for public defunding of AERA. I am “USER_768949.”1 Hess is arguing that because AERA took what he views as politicized stances on the ethnic-studies law in Arizona and Georgia’s immigration law, AERA should receive no direct or indirect public subsidies.
That is boldly libertarian of Hess, because a number of civic organizations receive both indirect subsidies through the tax code (including American Enterprise Institute, Hess’s employer) and directly through contracts and support of travel or meeting fees by public agencies. I suppose we could move to a world where there are no tax deductions for charitable giving or prohibit non-profit organizations from taking any policy stance whatsoever, at any time. But I think that would be unwise and would make Alexis de Tocqueville roll over in his grave.
Unless you’re going to take the libertarian position, it strikes me that you have to be very careful in slinging around “let’s stop the subsidies” proposals, especially for those who work in non-profit organizations. Even in Florida, where no bit of dirt is higher than 324 feet above sea level, slippery slopes can be dangerous.
- Who is USER_1?? [↩]