Are we seeing the rise of the shock doctrine in Kentucky higher education? Naomi Klein’s 2007 book, The Shock Doctrine, argued that the polity is vulnerable during a crisis and that while we are distracted political forces can take advantage in order to push through “unpalatable” policies. Is Governor Bevin using his budget as a tool to exercise political muscle to completely change the direction of higher education in Kentucky?
This 2012 article in Dissent Magazine online suggests that this is exactly what a very famous California governor did in the 60’s. It concludes,
Ronald Reagan may not have seen this coming when he first set out to destroy what he saw as the creeping communism of master-planned and state-funded public education. His vision at the time was essentially negative, reactionary. But the conservative project ` put in place in California in the 1960s remains with us today. Reagan was the trendsetter in making higher education into a problem to be solved with fee hikes and police. Other governors approached this problem in different ways, but the decision Reagan made to begin the destruction of the Master Plan hangs over all of them. Today, we can clearly see the results. Limiting the ability of the government to plan for the education of its citizens has left us with the worst of both worlds: students and families with too much debt and too few options.