Scholars horrified by Pennsylvania GOP's new 'un-American' bill targeting critical race theory
Screen cap / WLKY

Republicans in Pennsylvania have published a draft of a bill intended to end the teaching of critical race theory in their state, and it's causing many professional scholars to react with horror.

The new bill was first flagged by economist Jeffrey Sachs, who highlighted some particularly egregious passages, such as a clause banning teachers from telling students that "the United States of America or the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is fundamentally racist or sexist," while also banning people from speaking at universities if they espouse what the Republicans describe as "racist or sexist" views.

"Not only does it prohibit universities from promoting any of the usual forbidden concepts, it also prohibits them from hosting speakers or assigning readings that do," Sachs commented on Twitter.

Other scholars quickly chimed in with similarly stunned reactions.

"Lawmakers want to declare certain ideas too dangerous to be taught or discussed on a university campus," wrote Harvard University political scientist Ryan Enos. "This is un-American."

Georgetown University historian Thomas Zimmer, meanwhile, said that the bill made a mockery of Republicans' claims to be advocates for free speech.

"Really not a lot of guesswork needed as to what, exactly, conservatives mean by 'freedom' and 'free speech,'" he wrote. "They keep spelling it out for us in quite some detail -- and let me tell you, their preferred version of America certainly entails a lot of good old authoritarianism."

Georgetown sociologist Kieran Healy, meanwhile, simply commented that the Republicans' bill represented "yet another day in the upside-down."