Tennessee state Sen. Kerry Roberts (R) said on Monday evening that he wasn’t being serious when he bashed higher education as a “liberal breeding ground” that should be abolished.
“A week ago, I went on a rant on The Kerry Roberts Show calling out higher education as a liberal breeding ground and calling for it’s [sic] elimination,” Roberts wrote in a Facebook post. “My listeners clearly understood the humor and hyperbole of it.”
The post was accompanied with a screenshot of a dictionary definition of “hyperbole.”
The Republican senator also made a dig at reporters “who have a degree from an institute of higher education,” whom he accused of not giving him enough time to respond to their questions.
During his radio program last week, Roberts declared that “if there’s one thing we can do to save America today, it is to get rid of our institutions of higher education right now and cut the liberal breeding ground off.”
The lawmaker complained that the “stupid stuff” young people are being taught “is absolutely ridiculous.”
“And here we are as legislators paying for this garbage to be taught to our children,” Roberts said. “And we’re not doing anything about it in all these red states across America. We let it exist and it’s absolutely unbelievable.”
When TPM asked for clarification on what Roberts meant by “not doing anything,” his office emailed a statement from the senator urging lawmakers to “question the efficacy of higher education in America, meaningless majors, liberal bias, and intolerance of traditional values and conservative points of view.” (Read his full statement below.)
Roberts’ rant was prompted by a pro-choice activist’s testimony against Tennessee’s abortion ban bill last month, a testimony which Roberts claimed was filled with “every liberal bit of indoctrination that you can get in a university setting.”
Read the Republican’s full statement to TPM below:
“While the call for eliminating higher education was clearly hyperbole, I stand behind my general critique of liberal arts education in America one hundred percent.
Many higher education institutions have unquestionably become liberal breeding grounds where radical values and hatred for America are fomented. Conservative parents are often spending (or borrowing) tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars to participate in an elaborate bait and switch. They sign up their children for education and advancement and instead receive intimidation and indoctrination.
And with each passing year, leftist policies grow more aggressive in an attempt to normalize behaviors, attitudes, and beliefs that just a few short years ago were considered unhealthy, morally bereft, economically bankrupt and un-American.
Hostile learning and working environments are suddenly acceptable when the leftists are zealously doing their duty of quashing any dissent. Repulsive stories abound of First Amendment rights abused, shamed or denied. There are no safe spaces for conservatives on many campuses.
It’s time for conservatives – whose taxpayer dollars significantly fund these institutions of higher education – to rise up and demand the restoration of balance in our halls of higher education.
Do we literally need to abolish higher education in America? Of course not. There are institutions that have found balance and they are to be applauded. But it’s time for lawmakers to question the efficacy of higher education in America, meaningless majors, liberal bias, and intolerance of traditional values and conservative points of view.”
This story has been updated to include Roberts’ statement.