August 4, 2010 by Bob Livingston
There are few clearer examples of a fascist system’s views of exceptionalism and innovation than one pointed out by The Washington Examiner’s Byron York in a column yesterday.
It seems that last year Princeton, Arizona State and Case Western Reserve universities undertook an experiment to see if e-book readers would be more convenient and less costly than traditional textbooks. The idea also made sense from an environmental standpoint as the green-leaning educators felt it would reduce the huge amount of paper students use to print files from their laptops, not to mention the need to kill trees to make paper for textbooks.
So the universities set aside a couple of courses under a pilot program with a limited number of students and gave them the OPTION of using the Amazon Kindle. Amazon supplied the Kindle DX for the student’s use. But if the students chose to they could opt out and use a standard textbook.
That idea didn’t sit well with President Barack Obama’s radical Department of Justice Civil Rights Division head Thomas Perez, who sued the universities for violating the Americans With Disabilities Act. Why? Although the Kindle has a text-to-speech feature that can read a book aloud, it requires sight to operate the menu functions. So Perez assumed the courses were discriminatory to the visually impaired.
“We acted swiftly to respond to complaints we received about the use of the Amazon Kindle,” Perez recently told a House committee. “We must remain vigilant to ensure that as new devices are introduced, people with disabilities are not left behind.”
The Civil Rights Division ordered the universities stop distributing the Kindle because if blind students couldn’t use the device, then nobody could.
Never mind that no visually impaired students had registered for the classes. Never mind that the idea makes economic and environmental sense. Never mind that the technology was evolving quickly and the text-to-speech capabilities were improving. All Perez could see was that someone might be left behind.
The problem with that school of thought is, when you are so intent on making sure no one is left behind you also ensure that no one gets ahead. But isn’t that the goal of totalitarian regimes?