Peril in Pennsylvania


Co-authored by Bob Morrison.

Last year, we saw a major push back from the election results of the previous year.

In Madison, Wis., public employees occupied the state capitol for weeks to protest Gov. Scott Walker's not unreasonable requirement that they contribute more to their own pension funds. For his efforts to bring Wisconsin back from the brink (he's required to balance his budget), Walker is facing a union-backed recall effort. In my home state of Ohio, Gov. John Kasich's modest attempt to bring spending in line was rebuffed by voters in a referendum.

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We can also see peril in Pennsylvania as a part of this concerted effort by liberals. But in the Keystone State the left attacked Gov. Tom Corbett through one of his aides: Robert Patterson was forced to resign from the Department of Public Welfare because, as the liberal press would have it, he edits a conservative journal called The Family in America.

Most offensive to the media was an article in the journal suggesting that there are benefits for married women to not use contraception. But the oddest thing in the liberal pack journalists' attack on Patterson and his publication was that the article they denounced was based on the findings of evolutionary psychologists and was originally published in Scientific American. It's apparently fine for Darwinian naturalists to research and publish in secular journals, but if conservatives dare to quote them, they'll be hounded out of office.

To the left, it's fine if Penn State University Press publishes the works on French feminist author Simone de Beauvoir. Pennsylvania taxpayers subsidize that university press, but they pay nothing for Patterson's journal, a highly respected source of research and writing about important public policy issues.

Beauvoir is a major figure in feminism, but she famously came out against a woman's right to choose. That is, women should not have the right to choose marriage and family because too many women would make that choice.

Beauvoir and her long-time companion, Jean-Paul Sartre, were leading lights of the French school of philosophy known as existentialism. In politics, both Beauvoir and Sartre were apologists for Josef Stalin.

So, let's review. In Pennsylvania, you can be a Stalinist and have your works published by the state university press, underwritten by taxpayers, and that's OK. But if you privately publish a journal that shows the benefits that many women receive from freely choosing marriage and family, you can be driven from your public position.

Note, I am not arguing that PSU Press should be prevented from publishing admiring analyses of Beauvoir's work. And I am not arguing that tenured professors at Pennsylvania's public universities should not be allowed to teach what they want to teach about Beauvoir's philosophy.

I am showing the hypocrisy of the left. Liberals are forever claiming victim status whenever elected governors or legislators try to trim state budgets. But they are the first to attack conservatives in public positions and seek to drive them and their ideas out of the public square.

In this case, the publisher of a respected, scholarly journal was driven from office because liberals don't like the idea of women freely choosing marriage and family, and childbirth over contraception. Liberals want to protect you and me from such a peril in Pennsylvania, and this suppression of ideas is not new in the Keystone State.

Six years ago, a photo in a brochure published by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court showed a famous Violet Oakley mural behind the justices in the courtroom. Oakley's painting, titled The Decalogue, depicts Moses chiseling out the Ten Commandments with the text of the commandments inscribed below. But the politically correct crowd in Pennsylvania decided to deliberately blur the text in the brochure's photo, wanting to obliterate any knowledge of the source of our laws and our ideas of justice.

Ironically, liberals were willing to censor the work of a famous female artist. Oakley's murals in the Pennsylvania State House may be one of the first instances of a woman painter being so honored.

Bob Patterson is just the latest victim of political correctness.

Ken Blackwell
Ken Blackwell

Ken, a senior fellow at the Family Research Council, is the co-author of The Blueprint: Obama's Plan to Subvert the Constitution and Build an Imperial Presidency. Follow Ken on Twitter @kenblackwell.


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