The Bureaucratic Backdrop of Recent Speech Controversies

When universities “professionalized” education, they added a lot more staff, creating new bureaucracies that have now spread into the rest of institutional America

Yesterday I published an article detailing a series of bizarre incidents, from an exhibit at the Smithsonian to an outlandish group letter at Princeton to an invitation by consultants at the Intercept to conduct segregated meetings.

I didn’t have space to include a key section about where this might be coming from. These incidents and many others all have something in common. They grew out of an explosion of administrative staff in American institutions, beginning with universities.

Throughout the long period of conservative rebirth that began with the Reagan Revolution, Republicans did a brilliant thing. Through groups like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and a slew of Washington-based think-tanks, they flooded the democratic process with free manpower. Small-time elected officials in the upper and lower chambers of state governments, men and women who in some cases barely had officers or support staff, were suddenly gifted the miracle of “model bills,” about everythi…

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