Broun and the Budget

US Representative Paul Broun (R-GA) garnered a lot of attention last year, including a commentary in the Chronicle of Higher Education by yours truly, for his claim that evolution, embryology, and the Big Bang theory were lies from the pit of hell.

Today Broun took to the pages of the New York Times to call for more drastic budget cuts.  Broun calls Representative Paul Ryan’s budget cuts too mild.  Instead, Broun insists, we need to cut the federal government drastically, including eliminating the Departments of Education and Energy.

Broun writes,

Constitutionally speaking, the federal government should not have a role in K-12 public education anyway. Overpaid Washington bureaucrats shouldn’t be deciding how to provide for teachers and students, whose own state and local governments are better equipped to understand their needs. A Heritage Foundation study showed that in 2010, the average salary of an Education Department employee reached $103,000 — nearly double the average public-school teacher’s salary. Let’s phase out a large portion of the department’s roughly $70 billion budget. We can transfer the remaining dollars directly to the states, where they will be used more wisely.

Broun’s missive demonstrates the tight connections between various strains of conservative educational ideology.  Does Broun want less evolution taught in public schools?  Yes.  Does he also want a smaller, leaner, more local government?  Yes.

In Broun’s conservative thinking, these are not utterly separate ideas, but facets of the same good ideas.  If education decisions were made closer to home, Broun argues, they would be made “more wisely.”  Local governments, Broun writes, are “better equipped to understand [teachers’ and students’] needs.”  In short, not only would an elimination the Education Department make good fiscal sense, Broun insists, but it would allow schools to respect the religious views of local creationist parents.


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  1. Of course this is from the man who says that science such as embryology and geology are from the pit of hell.

  2. Geology, too?

  3. Not explicit in the clip below, but implicit because of all of the data that he has learned that “this is a young earth, but about nine thousand years old.”

    • @ DE, Right, I can see that. I only asked because of the odd specificity of Broun’s list of “lies straight from the pit of hell” in his viral video. In that speech, as you know, Broun damned “evolution, embryology, and the Big Bang theory.” Of course, we can assume Dr. Broun would also condemn mainstream geology. But I still wonder if there was some reason for Broun’s original list. Why these three? Why not just say “science falsely so-called” or some other traditional designation?

  4. I grew up being told that geology was all based on lies. Creationists talk a lot about how uniformitarianism forces the evidence to fit the theory, and that the geologic column doesn’t actually exist.

  5. My first inclination is to say that Broun is so dim witted that these three are the only science areas he could remember. However, the troika he chose is interesting: evolution and the big bang seem obvious targets for a YEC-er. However embryology seems quite odd. One guess is that he remembers something about “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny” and of course, he ain’t no kin to no monkey. I really cannot think of any other reasonable reason why he would call out embryology.


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