IIf you live in Idaho and recently turned on the radio or picked up a landline phone when it rang, you may have heard a confident male voice on the other end painting an ugly portrait of higher education in Gem State. Public colleges teach students to "hate America," according to at least one version of the recorded message. These institutions promote Marxism and socialism. They "attack law enforcement, the second amendment" and "advance the culture of annulment that threatens us all".

It is time for the voice to take a stand and for Idaho to be the first state to stop "left indoctrination" on college campuses. "Will it work?" Before answering in the affirmative, the voice asks: "We say yes."

The "we" that says yes is Idaho Freedom Action. It's the advocacy arm of the Idaho Freedom Foundation, which describes itself as a market economy think tank. The Idaho Freedom Action campaign is called an effort to "Fix Idaho Colleges ” by pressuring state lawmakers to end "anti-American programs" on campus and saying that Idaho students are conditioned to "apologize for being white" and "because of their gender or race to shut up ". (The campaign lists more complaints, but you got the idea.) So far, Freedom Action has spent thousands of dollars on radio advertising reaching "freedom-loving Idahoans" and made tens of thousands of phone calls to educate citizens about "social justice." on campus, ”reads a recently published campaign email.

What is the Idaho Freedom Foundation? Established in 2009, it has been focusing on higher education and attracting legislature attention in recent years. The foundation is perhaps best known for theirs Freedom indexwho assesses the legislature according to how it votes. The organization is pushing for a limited government – Wayne Hoffman, president of the foundation, criticizes a "statistic of the week" on YouTube – and led and lostseveral lawsuits, including against the state's Medicaid expansion.

Last year it focused on the state's response to Covid-19. When Governor Brad Little extended a statewide stay at home order, the foundation encouraged Idahoans not to obey. The group later released a "statement" calling for an end to state and local emergency orders. The fact that a pandemic “may or may not occur” does not change “the meaning or intent of the state constitution to safeguard our inalienable rights,” it says. In October, some state lawmakers read this statement in a Video for the foundation. Lieutenant Governor Janice McGeachin read her part with the Bible in one hand and a gun in the other, the American flag in the frame.

The foundation was screened for inadequate reporting of its lobbying work and for opaque sources of funding. Between 2010 and 2017 the Idaho statesman reportedIt received nearly $ 700,000 from Donors Trust and Donors Capital Fund, two of the largest tax-free funds that "finance libertarian organizations." The donations were received from Charles and David Koch. Hoffman told the point of sale at the time that about 90 percent of his donations came from Idahoans that year and said, "There's no ATM from the Koch brothers." No contributors are listed on the foundation's publicly accessible tax forms. (Hoffman, through the Foundation's vice president, declined to be interviewed for this story.)

More recently, the Foundation and its board members have been criticized for accepting Paycheck Protection Program loans of nearly $ 130,000 and more than $ 2 million, respectively. local outlets reported. Hoffman defended the decision. Although taking out a federal government-sponsored loan "causes heartburn," he wrote in one op-ed"I knew the socialists we fight every day would have no similar reservations," and they "would use this moment to advance their terrible political ideas. We couldn't let that happen."

IIn 2017, the foundation waded into the realm of higher education and its perceived porosity towards the left. That August, Scott Yenor, Professor of Political Science at Boise State, wrote one comment in the Heritage Foundation Daily signal, argue that transgender rights are an extension of the "radically feminist" agenda and that "respect for sexual and gender" choices "of increasingly younger children undermines parental rights". The students asked for his release. The dean of the School of Public Service said the article contradicts one of the school's core values ​​but also defends Yenor's rights as a public scholar. The director of student diversity and inclusion linked Yenor's argument to the deadly white supremacist rally that month in Charlottesville, Virginia. Yenor's article "contains a seed of hatred that must be called what it is, the spirit of an ideological beast called supremacy," wrote then director Francisco Salinas in a post Office on the school's website.

That is what led the Freedom Foundation Call the State Board of Education and the legislature should "specifically use funds for diversity education at all public universities". It echoed that call from 2019 when Boise State Interim President Martin Schimpf mentioned in a letter to the campus community that resources are being used for multicultural student events, such as ceremonies in honor of the university's Black and LGBTQIA graduates . Hoffman called the letter a "buffet with Braggadocio about the reinforcement of the" otherness "of students and staff through the school." There should be "no tolerance," he said wrote, "For policies or expenses that are tailored to the victims' culture."

Until then, that feeling had caught fire in the statehouse. In July 2019, 28 Republicans from the House of Representatives signed a letter to future President of Boise State Marlene Tromp advising the university to stop supporting programs that promote diversity and inclusion Statesman reported. In March 2020, House Republicans killed the college budget, citing support for these programs as a reason. Said one Republican representative at the time: "We speak of justice and inclusion instead of reading, writing and arithmetic."

The attacks only escalated. In December 2020, the foundation came out with one 36 page report on the “Ideology of Social Justice” in the state of Boise. The Boise State Paper, co-authored by Yenor, claims that academics and administrators across the country "are no longer just driving progressive politics." Worse still, they are now aiming to turn colleges into institutions "dedicated to political activism and ideological indoctrination". Occasionally the points are underlined with quotes from writers and philosophers on the nature of good and evil. The report recommends nine reforms, including the elimination of the Gender Studies, Sociology, Global Studies, Social Work and History departments. (Research has shown that faculty members have little influence on the political attitudes of students and that the thesis of “liberal indoctrination” is exaggerated.) The “culture of social justice” at the institution “grew beyond childhood and is on the way into puberty ”. "it says. In February 2021, the foundation released a similar one report at the University of Idaho.

AAt a budget hearing this year, Republican Rep. Ron Nate reiterated some of the report's points, accusing Boise State of "supporting the" Marxist cause "of the Black Lives Matter, among other things. Idaho Education News reported. The university did not put any government dollars in Black Lives Matter, Tromp said at the hearing. The state Senate later approved a higher funding bill that would cut $ 409,000 out of the university's bottom line – money the university had spent on social justice programs, according to a senator – and Give the money to Lewis-Clark State College. Chris Norden, professor of English and environmental science there, said he was concerned about this "divide and conquer" approach, which seems like an attempt to force institutions to compete with one another on how drastically they will censor themselves.


Idaho Freedom TV, the Idaho Freedom Foundation's YouTube channel

An Idaho Freedom Foundation video shows lawmakers calling for an end to Covid-19 emergency instructions.

Hardline conservative lawmakers want budget cuts to go deeper, as does Idaho Freedom Action. In March, the organization urged citizens through Fix Idaho Colleges to reach out to certain members of the House and tell them to make "real cuts." Tell Republican Megan Blanksma that "you are fed up with universities spawning leftist activists and social justice warriors," a recent message said.

Norden was home one day when he got one of those "McCarthyite" robocalls that spread "smears" that "hinted at an allusion to white supremacists," he wrote in a letter to the editor of the Moscow-Pullman Daily News. In Idaho state, "we need to keep, not evict, our talented young people," he wrote. The "hate-mongering doesn't help". Some faculty members already have a chilling effect, said Leontina Hormel, a professor of public sociology at the University of Idaho, who is married to Norden. She said she knew professors who, fearful of becoming a target, are now more careful in how they present certain concepts to students.

Professors aren't the only ones who object. A representative, Linda Wright Hartgen, a Republican, told the Times News that she received dozens of phone calls as a result of the campaign. She doesn't believe universities indoctrinate students with anti-American beliefs, she told the news agency, and doesn't want her constituents to believe she does.

Idaho Freedom Action is not slowing down. Legislators are returning on April 6 to end the legislature after taking a hiatus over a Covid-19 outbreak. On Wednesday, the group sent an email informing citizens that they were running out of time. "We are working feverishly on one final spurt of campaigns – thousands of phone calls, text messages, and radio ads – to make sure lawmakers know Idahoers aren't paying another penny in taxpayers' money to indoctrinate the left," it said. But there is a problem. Idaho Freedom Action is more than $ 1,000 scarce.

Click here to donate, it says in the email. With your non-tax deductible donation, you can show the nation how the culture war can be won.

(tagsToTranslate) Idaho Freedom Foundation (t) University of Idaho (t) Scott Yenor (t) Leontina Hormel (t) David Koch (t) Janice McGeachin (t) Wayne Hoffman (t) Chris Norden (t) Linda Wright Hartgen (t ) t) Francisco Salinas

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