Faculty, students and staff

Let’s not talk about the utility of allowing guns on campus. Frankly, for this issue, political disinformation has completely disabled the American democratic ideal of the marketplace of ideas, which is the concept that if all ideas are presented, citizens will decide by assent the best one. The systematic destruction of the marketplace of ideas has created the polarization of this country, and it’s practiced most diabolically at the national level.

But here’s one thing that cannot be disputed: The large majority of the university community doesn’t want guns on campus. The faculty, the students, the staff—including law enforcement—have made it very clear through demonstrations and public discussion—including letters to this newspaper—that they don’t want more guns on campus.

The users of our universities know about the mentally ill people who’ve attacked campuses. They know about the crime on campuses. They know about rapes. They know that guns can be used in self-defense. They know these things better than the non-users who seek to ensconce guns on campuses. And they still don’t want them.

Let’s be honest about another thing. One of the facets of that systematic destruction of the marketplace of ideas—the triumph of public relations—is that the respect this country has had for educated people and education in general has been undermined. Business constructed this strategy because it enables the ignorant not to have to listen to the informed, so they can muddle along without ever changing their practices or minds because of reliable information. One specific example is climate change. Another is tobacco use. “You ivory tower eggheads don’t know what’s good for you.”

Let’s talk about another founding principle of this country’s democracy—the tyranny of the majority. In this case, the majority is represented by the citizens of Nevada, the vast majority of that group completely unconcerned with higher education, never setting foot on campus except to attend sports events.

It would have been easy for the Nevada Legislature to simply conduct a poll of university students. It’s no novel idea, right? Ask the governed? The Legislature frequently conducts studies to find the best ways to proceed on matters that most impact a specific minority. The idea that the Legislature would place a new law on mining, for example, without commissioning an impact study is ludicrous.

The reason students, faculty and staff have not been asked is because the people who are concerned with changing student, faculty and staff lives and community don’t care what students, faculty and staff think on the topic. All they care about is their dogma that more guns are good, an idea fostered by the people who lobby for and sell guns.

It’s the worst kind of governance. It’s the tyranny of the majority inflicting unshared values upon the minority in ways that are sure to hurt that minority in unexpected ways. For example, while our universities have stated growth projections—enabling improvement in higher education—the goose that laid the golden egg, California, is unlikely to send its goslings to campuses where guns are welcome.

It seems almost certain the Legislature will pass the campus-carry law, mainly because elected officials have shown they don’t care what university students, faculty and staff think—they only care about their dogma. If this does become the case, it will be up to Gov. Brian Sandoval to veto the bill. He has claimed he supports education. It seems a glimmer of hope.