Neal McCluskey’s classic Cato Policy Analysis, “Why We Fight: How Public Schools Cause Social Conflict,” is vindicated once again by the tiff over whether a porn film will be screened on the University of Maryland campus.
At this writing, students intend to go ahead with a showing of “Pirates II: Stagnetti’s Revenge” despite threats from a state senator to withhold funding for the university if the film is screened.
Many people object to porn for legitimate reasons. The question is whether the state should weigh in on the subject, pitting the moral views of some against the speech rights of others.
Throughout American history, public schooling has produced political disputes, animosity, and sometimes even bloodshed between diverse people. Such clashes are inevitable in government‐run schooling because all Americans are required to support the public schools, but only those with the most political power control them.
Hopefully, the students are learning the relevant free‐speech lesson from this episode: Government funds always come with strings, including strings that threaten free speech.