on commercial stations as well. If not, public discourse stands to lose even more diversity, particularly at the local level. According to a recent survey by the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA, first-year college students feel alienated from the political processa process they don’t really understandand only one-third of those same students eXpress an interest in current affairs. Many of us who teach these students basic American government regularly rely onand recommend that our students make use ofpublic radio and public television, because neither the networks nor the local media offer adequate coverage of national affairs. Eliminating or weakening these public information resources hardly seems the way to promote the health of our democracy or our economyany more than would privatizing public libraries and schools. Yet while the quality and quantity of public debate in our democracy is reduced, Gingrich’s political action committee, GOPAC, is disseminating the speaker’s ideological platform, mostly to young peo, ple he is training to run for public office first at the local level and later at the state and national levels. Gingrich calls these young people his “farm group” because he is using them to “grow” a Republican Party in his own ideological image. His success thus farwhich promises to have revolutionary effects on party politics in this countryis due in part to his use of information age technology. GOPAC offers “distance learning” through telecommunication and distributes free audio and video tapes, which carry Gingrich’s political doctrines to young conservatives nationwide. Among the tapes GOPAC offers are “Renewing American Civilization” \(the name of his controversial Popular Culture Versus the Elite Counterculture” \(with Dan Quayle and William Replacing the Welfare State.” And, because GOPAC has been set up as two different political action committeesone that deals with federal elections and is subject to the rules of the Federal Election Commission, and one that deals with state and local candidates and is exempt from FEC rulesthe latter organization, which is “growing” the “farm group,” can avoid revealing its contributors, who may give up to $100,000 per person. Such a strategy might build a stronger, more ideologically cohesive Republican party, but it seems strikingly at odds with Gingrich’s vision of a “laptop” democracy. Ultimately, Gingrich’s stated policy priorities oppose rather than welcome an information age that celebrates pluralism and the free market of ideas. 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