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David Deming, Professor of Arts And Sciences, Univ. of Oklahoma-Norman. Photo: Wikipedia, Creative Commons

David Deming, Professor of Arts And Sciences, Univ. of Oklahoma-Norman. Photo: Wikipedia, Creative Commons


Referencing Venezuela’s failed social engineering policies and the collapse of Russia, David Deming, associate professor of Arts & Sciences at the University of Oklahoma-Norman wrote an op-ed this weekend stating that the attraction of the nation’s millennials to Bernie Sanders is the result of “our failure to educate them.”

News OK by David Deming

It’s disheartening that an avowed socialist is a viable candidate for president of the United States. Socialism is a dead end. For hundreds of years, it has failed everywhere it’s been adopted. The enthusiasm of our youth for the candidacy of Bernie Sanders is a symptom of our failure to educate them, not only in history, government and economics, but also basic morality.

You don’t have to be a student of ancient history to know socialism doesn’t work. The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989 was an unequivocal demonstration of the moral and economic superiority of capitalism. The misery caused by socialism is unfolding today in Venezuela. Since Venezuela embraced socialism in 1999, poverty, crime and corruption have all increased. Grocery shelves are empty and the annual inflation rate is estimated to be as high as 200 percent […]


Based on the comments beneath the article, it is a good thing Professor Deming is tenured.

Example from an individual from Berkeley obviously incensed by Deming’s op-ed.

Michael Barnett ·
UC Berkeley

Wow. I’ve read some ignorant op-ed pieces in this newspaper, but I think this one might take the cake. I just love it when some guy who clearly doesn’t know the difference between Socialism and Marxism also twists the Founding Fathers to fit his own politics. I’ve read the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States, and all of the Federalist Papers, and NOWHERE do the Founders extol the inviolable virtues of private property ownership. In fact, in the 5th Amendment, they made it VERY clear that government CAN take your property, as long as they pay you ‘just compensation’ for it — and the government decides what’s just. The 14th Amendment, which came about way afterwards, affirms government’s right to confiscate your property after ‘due process’. Professor Deming, I would suggest that you read Hobbes (first), then Rousseau and Locke for a correct understanding of what kind of nation the Founders were trying to shape. You might find Social Contract Theory interesting. I would also refer you to just about any list currently out there that ranks nations by Quality of Life, Economic Opportunity, Freedom, Citizen Satisfaction, Educational Attainment, Stability, etc…. And then try and figure out why the Western European nations all out-rank America; You know, the places run as Social Democracies… Gee, you think they might have figured out something we haven’t?

Like · Reply · 54 · Jan 30, 2016 5:02pm


Deming’s Response to Barnett:

David Deming ·
Norman, Oklahoma

I’ll take a minute to answer Mr. Barnett. Mr. Barnett argues that property rights were not important to the Founding Fathers. But note that the very fact he presents to buttress his argument, the existence of the Fifth Amendment, supports the opposite point of view. Mr. Barnett mentions Locke, but seems to have missed that Locke wrote: “The great and chief end therefore, of men uniting into commonwealths, and putting themselves under government, is the preservation of their property.” (source: Locke, J., 1690, Two Treatises of Government: Awnsham Churchill, London, p. 346). In 1772, the Boston Committee of Correspondence asserted that the “natural rights of colonists as men” included “first, a right to life; secondly, to liberty; thirdly, to property.” They continued: “the grand end of civil government from the very nature of its institution, is for the support, protection and defense of those very rights, the principal of which as is before observed, are life, liberty and property.” (source: Boston Committee of Correspondence, 1772, The Votes and Proceedings of the Freeholders and Other Inhabitants of the Town of Boston (“Boston Pamphlet”): Edes and Gill, Boston, p. 6-7). Less than a month before the Declaration of Independence, the Virginia Declaration of Rights asserted: “That all men are by nature equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity; namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.” I could go on and on, but I think the point is made.

Like · Reply · 34 · Jan 30, 2016 7:33pm


Administrators at the University of Oklahoma attempted to silence Deming who filed a lawsuit against the University in 2000 after being removed:

“from his department, stripped him of most of his classes, and moved his office to a converted basement lab, all while claiming to respect the principles of academic freedom. Public records requests have uncovered damning evidence that OU administrators schemed to marginalize and isolate him for his attempts at whistleblowing and for his political expression.

Professor Deming’s troubles began in February 2000, when OU threatened to punish him for a letter he wrote to the Oklahoma Daily newspaper protesting a column advocating gun control. Read more about this case here. After FIRE wrote in protest and Deming threatened a First Amendment lawsuit, the university dropped the charges in May 2000….


H/t Campus Reform.