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Bakersfield College

Logo of liberty bell shape with stars and stripes of the US flag.

The Renegade Institute for Liberty

The Renegade Institute for Liberty promotes diversity of thought and intellectual literacy through the free and open discourse of American ideals, including civil, economic, and religious freedom.

About the Renegade Institute for Liberty

The Renegade Institute for Liberty is a coalition of Bakersfield College faculty dedicated to the free speech, open inquiry, critical thinking to advance American ideals within the broader Western tradition of meritocracy, individual agency, civic virtue, liberty of conscience and free markets. These ideologies underpin the American Experiment, long serving as the nation’s primary bulwark against the political and ideological tyranny of both individuals and of the masses. As an advocate for intellectual literacy and diversity, the Renegade Institute for Liberty reaffirms civil, religious, and economic freedom upon which the academe and the nation must stand or fall. Through intellectual exploration and reason, the Institute works to preserve each of the above virtues as necessary for a free people and to advance the cause of liberty in America.

Functioning as a resource to students, faculty, and community members dedicated to the expansion of liberty in Kern County and America, the faculty associated with the Renegade Institute host and help promote a variety of campus activities, including but not limited to guest speakers, debates, colloquia, seminars, conferences, book clubs, brownbag discussions, film screenings, and student awards.

"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society, but the people themselves: and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their controul with a wholsome discretion, the remedy is, not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. this is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power."
~Thomas Jefferson to William Charles Jarvis, 28 September 1820

Donate to the Cause

Support intellectual diversity by donating to the Renegade Institute for Liberty at Bakersfield College. Your investment will directly fund programing including nationally recognized speakers, conferences, brown bag discussions, and more. Please help promote traditional American ideals at Bakersfield College and throughout Kern County with your tax-deductible donation today!

Donate Online through Bakersfield College Foundation. Select "Other" in the dropdown menu for your response to "You may specify the fund your donation is applied to:" Please type "Institute for Liberty" in the "If other, please specify:" field. BC employees may submit a payroll deduction form to the BC Foundation.

Ongoing Activities

Bakersfield College is also excited to announce a new annual student essay contest: The Renegade Institute Award for Critical Thinking. Submissions may range from 1,500 to 6,000 words (roughly 3-12 pages) and should center on the topic of liberty and/or equality. The winning submission will receive a small cash award. Details will be forthcoming for the 2021-22 academic year.


The Student Scholar Program invites students to participate in a guided reading and small group discussion facilitated by a Renegade Institute for Liberty affiliated faculty. In 2020, Student Scholars read Social Justice Isn't What You Think It Is (2015) by Michael Novak, Paul Adams, and Elizabeth Shaw..The 2021 focal text is Debunking Howard Zinn: Exposing the Fake History that Turned a Generation Against America, by Mary Grabar (2019). From Zinn's FBI dossier to adoration from celebrities and academics, Grabar traces the ideological inspirations and consequences of one of history's greatest frauds. Student Scholars will meet from 10:30-noon on each Friday in September and October. Interested students should contact Dr. Daymon Johnson.


Upcoming Events

Kevin McGary, Every Black Life Matters
How Free Markets, School Choice, and Support of the Nuclear Family can Increase Success Within Black America (remote broadcast)
Thursday Septembe 23, 2021
Every Black Life Matters logo

David Schein, PhD.
The Decline of America: 100 Years of Leadership Failures 
October 2021
David Schein HeadshotDecline of America cover image


Past Events

Uncle Tom: An Oral History of the American Black Conservative (documentary film screening)
Featuring Larry Elder, Chad Jackson, Brandon Tatum, Candace Owen, and others.
Thursday, March 18, 2021 

Wilfred Reilly, PhD.
Taboo: Race and Other Topics You Just Can't Talk About (remote broadcast)
Thursday, February 18, 2021

No Safe Spaces: You Have the Right to Remain Silent (documentary film screening)
Featuring Adam Carolla & Dennis Prager
Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Victor Davis Hanson, PhD.
The West (remote broadcast)
Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Matthew Garrett, PhD.
A Tale of Two Protests: Free Speech and the Intellectual Origins of Campus Censorship
Thursday, September 12, 2019

Carol Swain, PhD.
Black Faces, Black Interests: The Representation of African Americans in Congress
Thursday, February 7, 2019

Christina Sommers, PhD. 
Who Stole Feminism? How Women have Betrayed Women
Thursday, October 11, 2018

Committed Faculty

  1. Matthew Garrett, PhD, Professor of History (faculty lead)
  2. Tim BohanProfessor of Education
  3. Ximena Da Silva Tavares, PhD, Professor of Chemistry
  4. Jason Dixon, Professor of Engineering Technology
  5. John Giertz, PhD, Professor of Communication
  6. Michael Harvath, PhD, Professor of Economics
  7. Daymon Johnson, PhD, Professor of History
  8. Chad Newton, Professor of Biology
  9. Kimberly Newton, Professor of Biology
  10. Teresa McAllister, Professor of Education
  11. Erin Miller, Professor of History
  12. David Neville, Professor of Foreign Languages
  13. Joe Saldivar, PhD, Professor of Biology 
  14. Kenward Vaughan, PhD, Professor of Chemistry

Recommended Readings


Visit the Renegade Institute for Liberty page on Bakersfield College LibGuides for links to information about Western Democratic Traditions and American ideals.

The following links will open in a new window.

Democratic Traditions

Greek & Roman Thought

Renaissance & Enlightenment 

Early Republic

Political Critiques 

Modern Classics

Contemporary Works

  • Wood, The Radicalism of the American Revolution (1991)
  • Sowell, The Vision of the Anointed (1995)
  • Maier, American Scripture: Making the Declaration of Independence (1998)
  • Peterson, Maps of Meaning (1999)
  • Borjas, Heaven's Door (1999)
  • Putnam, Bowling Alone (2000)
  • George, Great Cases in Constitutional Law (2000)
  • Shlaes, The Forgotten Man (2007)
  • Ferrara, Liberty: The God that Failed (2012)
  • Bawer, The Victims' Revolution (2012)
  • Putnam, American Grace (2012)
  • George, Conscience and its Enemies (2013)
  • Sheehan, The Mind of James Madison (2014)
  • D'Souza, America: Imagine a World Without Her (2014)
  • Kibbe, Don't Hurt People (2014)
  • Jones, Magna Carta: The Birth of Liberty (2015)
  • Sowell, Wealth, Poverty and Politics (2015)
  • Hanson, The Decline and Fall of California (2015)
  • McClanahan, 9 Presidents Who Screwed Up America (2016)
  • Borjas, We Wanted Workers (2016)
  • Peterson, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos (2018)
  • Sowell, Discrimination and Disparities (2018)
  • May, Jefferson's Treasure: How Albert Gallatin... (2018)
  • Scruton, Conservationism: An Invitation... (2018)

Free Speech 

  • Abrams, The Soul of the First Amendment (2017)
  • Chemerinsky, Free Speech on Campus (2018)
  • Cose, The Short Life and Curious Death of Free Speech in America (2020)
  • Dershowitz, Cancel Culture: The Latest Attack on Free Speech and Due Process (2020)
  • Downs, Free Speech and Liberal Education: A Plea for Intellectual Diversity and Tolerance (2020)
  • Downs, Restoring Free Speech and Liberty on Campus (2007)
  • Garton Ash, Free Speech: Ten Principles for a Connected World (2017)
  • Gillman, Free Speech on Campus (2017)
  • Lukianoff, Unlearning liberty: Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate (2014)
  • Lukianoff and Haidt, The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure (2018)
  • Mill, On Liberty (1859)
  • Post, Democracy, Expertise, & Academic Freedom: A First amendment Jurisprudence for the Modern State (2013)
  • Power, The Silencing: How the Left is Killing Free Speech (2015)
  • Rosenberg, The Fight for Free Speech: Ten Cases that Define Our First Amendment Freedoms (2021)
  • Shapiro, Bullies: How the left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences Americans (2014)
  • Stone, The Free Speech Century (2018)
  • Strassel, The Intimidation Game: How the Left is Silencing Free Speech (2016)
  • Strossen, Hate: Why We Should Resist It with Free Speech, Not Censorship (2018)
  • Sunstein, Liars: Falsehoods and Free Speech in an Age of Deception (2021)
  • Whittington, Speak Freely: Why Universities Must Defend Free Speech (2018)

Race in America 

  • D'Souza, Death of a Nation: Plantation Politics and the Making of the Democratic Party (2018)
  • D'Souza, The End of Racism: Principles for a Multiracial Society (1995)
  • Isenberg, White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America (2016)
  • Katznelson, When Affirmative Action was White (2006)
  • Lynch, The Diversity Machine (1996)
  • Mac Donald, The Diversity Delusion (2018)
  • McWhorter, The Elect: Neoracists Posing as Antiracists and their Threat to a Progressive America (2020)
  • McWhorter, Winning the Race: Beyond the Crisis in Black America (2007)
  • Murray, Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010 (2012)
  • Murray, The Madness of Crowds (2019)
  • Reilly, Taboo: 10 Facts You Can't Talk About (2020)
  • Riley, Please Stop Helping Us (2016)
  • Sander, Mismatch: How Affirmative Action Hurts Students Its Intended to Help (2012)
  • Steele, Shame: How America's Past Sins Have Polarized Our Country (2015)
  • Steele, White Guilt: How Blacks and Whites Together Destroyed the Promise of the Civil Rights (2007)
  • Sowell, Black Rednecks adn White Liberals (2005)
  • Sowell, Intellectuals and Race (2013)
  • Sowell, Intellectuals and Society (2012)
  • Swain, The New White Nationalism in America (2002)
  • Themstrom, America in Black and White (1997)
  • Vance, Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of Family and Culture in Crisis (2016)
  • Wood, Diversity Rules (2020)

Uncle Tom: An Oral History of the American Black Conservative (documentary film screening)
Featuring Larry Elder, Chad Jackson, Brandon Tatum, Candace Owen, and others.
Thursday, March 18, 2021