What’s going on in Florida? Governor DeSantis thinks that he should control what is taught in all public schools and in public higher education. He wants to make sure that everyone is exposed only to approved thoughts, his thoughts. He told all the state colleges and universities to report what they are spending on diversity, of which he disapproves. He has made it illegal to teach about racism, which he thinks is synonymous with critical race theory.

To understand Ron DeSantis and his ideology, you should first study critical race theory.

The Chronicle of Higher Education reported that the state’s colleges and community colleges pledged not to “promote” critical race theory. What does that mean? Does it mean they will scrub the curriculum of any courses that teach about race and racism? Does it mean there will be no courses called “critical race theory?” I would love to hear from some professors in Florida.

The presidents of Florida’s 28 state and community colleges said in a statement on Wednesday that they would identify and eliminate, by February 1, any academic requirement or program “that compels belief in critical race theory or related concepts such as intersectionality.”

The unusual statement comes on the heels of a request by the office of the state’s Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, for public colleges and universities to submit comprehensive lists of their spending related to diversity initiatives and critical race theory. It’s unclear if Wednesday’s announcement is directly related to that request.

The presidents’ joint statement is unclear. Read into it what you will.

What is disturbing is the stench of thought control. I am gobsmacked by DeSantis’ total disregard for academic freedom and the First Amendment. Day after day, he chips away at norms, seeking the power to censor ideas he doesn’t like. Of course he goes after public schools and public higher education. But as he showed in his smack down of Disney, he’s quite willing to give orders to private corporations as well.

He appears to be growing into nativism, fascism, authoritarianism. It comes naturally to him.