Ron DeSantis Gets Real Fighting Wokeness
For a very long time, conservatives have watched wokeness march through state-owned, state-funded colleges and universities, while Republican lawmakers have sat back and done nothing. That has changed with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who just put Florida's premier New College on notice:
Gov. Ron DeSantis began the process Friday of completely transforming Sarasota's New College of Florida into a more conservative institution, appointing six new board members, including conservative activist Christopher Rufo, a dean at conservative Hillsdale College and a senior fellow at The Claremont Institute, a right-wing think tank.
"It is our hope that New College of Florida will become Florida's classical college, more along the lines of a Hillsdale of the south," DeSantis Chief of Staff James Uthmeier told the conservative Daily Caller website.
The shakeup of the 11-member board is certain to create major tensions at New College, an institution that started as a progressive private school before becoming the state's liberal arts honors college. The small school's student body and faculty have a reputation for leaning left politically.
Turning New College into a Florida version of Hillsdale would amount to turning it upside down, a wholesale reinvention akin to a hostile takeover, and one that many current students and faculty are likely to resist.
He also appointed Mark Bauerlein of First Things to the board. Awesome.
Old-school conservatives might balk at this bald-faced attempt by the governor to, you know, govern this state institution which has lost its way. That's because these conservatives do not understand how power works in the postliberal environment. The woke who have marched through the institutions and conquered them feel no compunction to be fair to those who, in good faith, disagree with them. They see these people and their teaching as evil. They hate classical liberalism, because it gives respect and liberty to ideas and people they regard as wicked. If the world was as it ought to be, then the governor of Florida would not have to intervene in this way. But by doing so, DeSantis recognizes his duty to the people of Florida to protect the institutions they pay for from ideological corruption. Here in Hungary, where I live, the Left screams bloody murder when Prime Minister Viktor Orban does things like this. But Orban understood a long time ago that the Left exercises dictatorial power through private and semi-private networks, like NGOs and academic institutions, and that the fundamental task of fighting for the common good against an ideological power clique demands making bold moves like DeSantis has done here.
A lot of Republican politicians will complain about wokeness. Ron DeSantis does something about it.
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A plan was announced Friday to introduce a bill into the Florida Legislature that would replace Walt Disney World's special self-governing power with a state-run board.
The notice was posted on the website of Osceola County, which houses part of Disney World along with Orange County. Gov. Ron DeSantis is pushing the effort, according to sources in his office, and the intended legislation will mandate that members of the board will be appointed by the governor, according to sources in the governor's office.
"The corporate kingdom has come to an end," DeSantis' communications director, Taryn Fenske, told Fox News. "Under the proposed legislation, Disney will no longer control its own government, will live under the same laws as everyone else, will be responsible for their outstanding debts, and will pay their fair share of taxes."
"Imposing a state-controlled board will also ensure that Orange County cannot use this issue as a pretext to raise taxes on Orange County residents," she added.
The planned legislation will also ensure that the company will pay upwards of $700 million dollars in unsecured debt accumulated by Disney’s special jurisdiction— known as the Reedy Creek Improvement District — and not Orange County taxpayers, according to the sources.
What conservatives in 2023 have to understand is that the only source of institutional power left to us is the state. Everything else is in the hands of people who more or less hate us. Ronald Reagan is dead. This is a new situation. Ron DeSantis knows what time it is. While the Republicans in Washington lose the plot in internecine squabbling, DeSantis is getting things done. More, please.