College Indoctrination: Like Water To A Fish

Over at Campus Reform, the conservative site dedicated to spotlighting left-wing bias on college campuses, reporter Grace Gottschling has been issuing some provocative, if not exactly surprising, reports on the partisan tilt of some schools’ administration and staff. There have been three so far. Most recently, she determined that 98.4 % of University of Missouri administrators and 97.6% of faculty donated to Democratic Party candidates or causes. Previously, her research covered the University of Oregon, where 100% of administrators, and 99.95%  of faculty have donated to Democrats—she found that a grand total $35.17, .0005% of the political contributions of 201 faculty members, went to Republicans—and the University of Texas, where the numbers were 96.1% of administrators, and 93.5% of faculty supporting Democrats.

Gottschling doesn’t say it–her reports just lay out the facts—so I will. It is impossible, literally impossible, for students to receive a balanced, objective and responsible education in institutions with such unbalanced and ideologically uniform campus cultures as these. Culture’s power over human beings has been accurately described as resembling water’s relationship to a fish: it influences everything in the lives of the people in it, often with their never being aware that they are dependent on it and controlled by its limitations. You can choose your own analogies, but active indoctrination into political beliefs and partisan values is hardly necessary when uniform attitudes are all around students, displayed in subtle and not-so subtle ways, every day, all day, in class and out.

It seems so obvious that colleges and universities cannot conceivably achieve their stated goals as described in their published mission statements and promotional materials without the ability to open minds instead of closing them. I have to conclude that they know they are running ideological indoctrination camps, and that it is by design. “Our community is at our best when we affirm, respect, support, and celebrate what makes us different” claims the University of Oregon, except that it  has no interest in employing or graduating people who think differently. With all the extolling of diversity, intellectual diversity, which  is the most important kind of diversity of all, has no place on these campuses. Oregon commits to a “willingness to listen to and learn from the people around us,” but since the people it deliberately surrounds its student body with all see the world in exactly the same way, this is a deceitful admission that indoctrination is the objective, not opening minds and teaching critical thinking skills.

This homogeneous hive culture could not have developed accidentally, and it definitely is being preserved with intent and purpose. The schools know they are ideological monoliths, but rationalize the campus hostility to non-conforming views by arguing that their own views are the smart, right, good ones. Of course smart people all support the same things.

This issue should not be a partisan one, and it gives us a sense of how driven by power lust rather than principle that progressives are not as troubled by these statistics (and the ones to come—I can’t wait to see the equivalent stats for my schools, both of which are good bets to make the University of Oregon look like Bob Jones U.)  as conservatives are.  The state of universities reveal generations of betraying the ideals of liberal education. Meanwhile, everyone else was asleep at the switch. How could the public, policy-makers, journalists, researchers, scholars, faculties and educators allow such extreme lack of diversity to accumulate on campuses over the decades? Conservatives are equally accountable for leaving vulnerable young minds unprotected from what appears to be a deliberate, long-term plan to recruit movement soldiers rather than to train intellectually skilled, inquiring and versatile citizens of a democracy.

The question is whether anything can be done about the consequences. The water is polluted; we let it get that way. It is poisoning democracy. Now what?

46 thoughts on “College Indoctrination: Like Water To A Fish

  1. It is hardly surprising, and it has been regularly reported that those with degrees are more often liberal, therefore conservative are stupid.

  2. From an article in The Imaginative Conservative touching on the topic.


    In the late 1960s, revolutionary protests were directed at the conduct of the war in Vietnam and in advocacy of a “Civil Rights” movement. Leftist activists, assessing how best to capitalize on this unrest, concluded that revolution in the United States would not arise from America’s working class and began to focus on American colleges and universities.

    When this occurred, the American system of higher education had changed significantly from its early days when colleges served to educate the clergy, began to focus on education for employment and with increasing influence of the national government had become a system of training for massive numbers of “students” who no longer sought knowledge in the seven liberal arts that formed the basis of a classical education. With the appeal of modern ideologies to high-school and college teachers, American higher education was used to change traditional culture and weaponize “students” for political action. American higher education became what James Piereson called a “Left University.”

    I have thought that it was as a result of the profound immorality of the Vietnam War — an evil, destructive and murderous adventure that still has repercussions even today — that a tremendous social and psychic disturbance was unleashed, if you will, in the social body. My theory is that there must be a failure — moral and ethical — in the higher echelons that provokes social reaction.

    It was good, moral and necessary to oppose that wicked war, just as it would be good, moral and necessary to oppose America’s present destructive adventures.

    It is curious that, then, there was a moral center in people still. Now, they have traded their patrimony for a mess of (sexual) pottage. That’s E. Michael Jones’ idea: the left abandoned its social agenda, which had many good points, and received the privilege of unlimited sexual perversion, and fell headlong into their own pottage-bowl.

      • I suppose some still debate it.

        As to the question of its morality/immorality, I think the history is a matter of the public record.

        That war was incredibly destructive for all parties. And there was no positive result from it. The wounds to the physical body of Vietnam are still on-going, not to mention the psychic and social scars.

        There is a similar effect in the American body-politic.

        • Alizia, you might want to run that past the Vietnamese refugees my parents took in for a few years, or my UCC teacher at Notre Dame Law School or her husband the Provost at Notre Dame who were taken in by Hesburgh after they’d been run out of Danang where Diem had sent them to set up a law school to place a metaphorical stake in the ground to stop Ho Chi Minh, or my Vietnamese born dentist who funds an orphanage in Vietnam all by himself and goes there a few times a year to do free dental work. The South Vietnamese people were traitorously abandoned by the U.S. after Kissinger and Nixon decided to cut and run. And they are a great people. Ho Chi Minh was a murderer.

          • Therefor, the Vietnam War was in fact a noble and necessary war and a net gain all around. Thanks OB!

            One of the problems within American Conservatism is just what you have demonstrated, in my excruciatingly humble opinion. Standing by or defending a cause — in this case a war — that never should have begun and been engaged in.

            Likely, you will use the same logic to defend all the adventures and operations post 9/11. And so it goes. It’s a form of patriotism that has no capability to be self-critical.

            • Didn’t the North Vietnamese invade the South? With the backing of the Chinese and the Soviets? It was a proxy war, no? What was so great about North Vietnam? What’s so great about current day Vietnam?

                    • Why do you keep pressing on this? I regard the numerous wars, and definitely the late wars, as immoral. In my view this opens a *wound* in the social body and the social fabric. And the wound does not heal until a) it is dealt with or b) the state is overtaken by the accumulation of evils.

                      The wounds I speak of are evident throughout the American social body. They have an *origin* and, as you may remember, one thing I emphasize is ‘causation’.

                      You (I mean here a general you-plural) are aware that trouble has come home and your nation is in or is approaching crisis. But you do not have the circumspection to *see* what the causes of this are. And you-as-conservative have an especial guilt (please permit me this usage) because you will not see. You will not to see. And you make excuses and send up transparently false rationalizations.

                      Why? Or better put: What is the function of this? The function, in my view, is so that you do not have to face truth. And by avoiding truth you avoid the reality of consequences. By failing to understand consequences you cannot rationalize a sound philosophical position, and in this way you contribute to the morass.

                      To turn this around means to turn around and *see*. It is in essence spiritual work (as I have said three hundred thousand times). Instead, you see with machine-eyes. In essence this is what Moloch means.

                      I recommend turning from service to Moloch and to service of truth. And that is a process of repentance and rectification. Only an individual can do this. A *system* cannot do it. A mechanism can’t either. It all depends on the individual who sees and who acts.

                      The top-most commentary in that article’s comment section says the following. It is an example of the *wound* speaking, but from the other side:

                      You lost in our war, you bring “democracy” to our people, you burn man, woman, children with nalpan because they are “vietcong”, you helped the France to kill our people instead of negotiating because you underestimated us. You spent more than 16 billion of your people tax on this war for the thing you called “Stop communism”, you drop on a tiny land, across the ocean 7,85 MILLION TONs of boms. Accept it, you have never, ever been a good nation, never. A country which are only 200 years old and has adready joined in 10 major wars wants to teach the world about what they call “peace”, “democracy”, “freedom”? No thanks. Want this world become a better place to live? Stop wars and teach your people what is history, real hisory, not on History HD or some news, article you read on the Internet. Please, once in your life, get yourself to other countries and read THEIR history, talking to other people have never been so easy in the past thousand years! Why you guys never litsen? For once, do what they want, not what they need, for Chirst!

                    • And the Vietnamese government doesn’t have any people on staff “commenting” on pieces in the NYT they certainly knew was going to be released? Spouting more talking points per line than Debbie Wasserman Schultz?

                    • I covered that Bill:

                      Why? Or better put: What is the function of this? The function, in my view, is so that you do not have to face truth. And by avoiding truth you avoid the reality of consequences. By failing to understand consequences you cannot rationalize a sound philosophical position, and in this way you contribute to the morass.

                      America. The Great Satan. Got it. In what heaven on Earth do you reside?

                      Again, this shows a strategy and process by which you obfuscate yourself from being able to see the truth. If you can insist that I, or those who oppose such a war (and for very good reasons), are painting America as a Great Satan, then you can surely knock down that assertion and, as you do that, hold fast to your distorted notion that the war had any good in it at all.

                      I quoted the person in the Times comment section not as *proof* but only to show the *wound*. There are elements of truth in what he (or she) said, but it is pain talking there I think, not a colder reason.

                      With you, I humbly, obsequiously and scrapingly suggest, it is all a series of tricks and self-deceptions that are rehearsed and rehearsed again. Talking points really. The truth is more difficult. It has to do with how power and industry subvert government and through a collusion between industry and weapons production insert themselves, and bring out destructive policies. And propaganda that is contrived and sold.

      • It was wicked for one reason only: we entered a war that we were not willing to win. Too many Americans died fighting for what was intended to be another Korean stand-off. The objective was noble, but it was military madness.

          • I would suggest that our first two asymmetrical wars might be the French and Indian War and the Revolutionary War, although we were on opposite ends of the asymmetric part with those two.

            It is axiomatic that the military tends to prepare for the last war, and I believe the Army tended to approach Vietnam as if it were a repeat of Korea (i.e. a massive conventional invasion), which it was not.

            As I recall, the British managed to defeat a similar insurgency in Malaysia in the 50s, but certainly not with massive conventional forces and fighting.

            Choosing, as Westmoreland did, to conduct a limited war as a war of attrition was, besides its military shortcomings, stupid. For a democracy it’s almost impossible to do such a thing unless it is an existential war, such as our Civil War. Even then it was extremely difficult to maintain support for that war.

            • A not so minor objection: there was no such place as “Malaysia” then. The Malayan Emergency mainly took place in Malaya proper (mostly the mainland “Federated Malay States”, though Malaya proper then included Singapore), with not so much in Sarawak, North Borneo and Brunei (which rather faced the Indonesian Confrontation).

              The major differences were that the Emergency mostly took place among the ethnic Chinese rather than the Malays, which made it easier to marginalise, and it had no support via a land route. The latter point meant that, apart from one short lived pocket, the guerrillas never gained a secure base area to use to spread a reverse ink blot.

              That ethnic issue is why the minor objection is somewhat more than a quibble. Malaysia was created as a vehicle for independence that gave a solid footing to the ethno-cultural groups that fitted that sort of decolonising rather than a revolutionary one. Indeed, Singapore hived off soon afterwards, largely because of its poor fit.

              “For a democracy it’s almost impossible to do such a thing unless it is an existential war, such as our Civil War” happens not to be the case, as various colonial era pacifications show, from Ceylon and Algeria to the Philippines and the Boer War (or, even earlier, Wales, Ireland, Scotland and Acadia). What these should show is not only that something else must have changed but also that such changes could allow previous pacifications to lapse if they were ever less thorough than (say) the Iberian Reconquista.

    • Shameless plug for a school where they do not indoctrinate, but Alizia did mention the seven liberal arts, a central part of the curriculum at my alma mater, St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland.

    • I make an effort as participant on this blog and when confronting the ideas and opinions expressed here, to follow through and to arrive, even if uncertainly, at something approaching a *conclusion*. The following paragraph is highly relevant to me because, as I have devoted myself to understanding recent American history, I have begun to concretize the idea that the American Conservative, and the philosophy of American Conservatism [sic], is a moribund animal. I admit that describing why this is so is not easy. But the essence of the American Conservative failure revolves around his (or her) subservience to power and, significantly, an abandonment of a sound moral platform to power and its machinations.

      I submit as Exhibit A the typical American Conservative’s argument, insofar as it is an argument, in pro of the American invasion of Vietnam. All the details as to why this war was wrong and ultimately astoundingly destructive must be put aside as this is not the place to recite it all. But the effect of this war on the American social body cannot be underestimated. And the reason why the overall effect has been destructive, bad and also evil, is because the war cannot, in any terms, be justified. Not by tenets of international law, not in relation to the American Constitution and its values, and definitely not in accord with a sound philosophy of *just war*.

      I have thought that it was as a result of the profound immorality of the Vietnam War — an evil, destructive and murderous adventure that still has repercussions even today — that a tremendous social and psychic disturbance was unleashed, if you will, in the social body. My theory is that there must be a failure — moral and ethical — in the higher echelons that provokes social reaction.

      Therefor, my position is that American Conservatism, because it cannot see straight, is not part of a solution but is in fact part of the problem. And my suggestion is that when the directive echelons in society become corrupt (support of the Vietnam War is tantamount to an expression of corruption; morally, ideationally, socially, constitutionally, politically), they no longer represent an echelon that can be trusted to lead. This creates a situation in which the lower elements are forced to rise to the occasion and insert themselves. They are morally bound to and yet, in many ways, they are unqualified to do so. But the failure *at the top* brings about this untenable situation. How to original and moral anti-war position became subsumed into other political agendas and also revolutionary politics, is another important and interesting question. But my argument is that there is no one else to blame but leadership. The failing starts with those who have power and abuse power.

      To say that what was *wicked* about that war was that it was not fought to be *won* is, upon examination, a terribly problematic statement. Note that when the war did not go as the military planners thought it would, that they resorted to the use of an extraordinary array of devastating techniques and tactics that when translated into effects show a policy that is tantamount to biological extermination. Since the objective cannot be obtained through politics (and conventional war as an expression of politics), the cynical and evil choice was made to exterminate the country at a biological level. It takes an American genius to think that defoliating the place is a good choice. The other means devised to defeat a people who, for different reasons, would not allow themselves to be defeated (this is not a simple issue but a complex one and cannot be told with a simple, binary narrative), amount to bizarre attacks on the human body that are dreamed up in laboratories and in collusion with war planners, scientists and engineers. And it all requires industrial (and state) capital.

      This is what is called a *war machine* and what is meant I think by military-industrial complex. What that means is that when that *complex* is unleashed against people *over there* — absolute, thorough and undeniably in contradiction to the expressed Constitutional and American values so-called — it is inevitable, sooner or later, that those para-military forces circle back around and perform the same operations against its own government *over here*. But, this cannot be done openly (of course) and so it is conducted clandestinely and from behind the scenes. This is what defines, in my view, one aspect of the Deep State. A collusion between intelligence operations and operatives and vast capital interests.

      The high-minded, principled American Conservative should, of course, see and understand all of this. He and she should be at the forefront (the Vanguard! Heh heh) of efforts to see this and explain it, and to resist it. But instead of that the American Conservative becomes a bizarre apologist and a rationalizer of the abuse of power and a defender of those forces which, eventually, subvert and destroy the state. Why? Well, that is the Million Dollar Question. My theory is that essentially, for reasons I don’t quite get, he and she mix narratives and entwine a ‘personal narrative’ with that of a national and industrial narrative. These are not (at all) the same. But the American Conservative when he and she merely *sniff* some criticism of American policies, immediately take up a position in the ramparts and yell traitor! and subverter! when common people react against the policies that he champions. It is a most bizarre phenomenon.

      Nothing substantially changed as the 70s flowed into the 80s 90s and then to the new millennia. But with the murky events of 9/11 — which are really not discussable nor revealed in their entirety — the same machine with the same machinations only now infinitely more sophisticated, opted to engage in a whole new set of invasions and occupations. Totally harmful, incredibly wounding to the social body of the (irrelevant) other, and ultimately destructive to the American social body, there is functionally no real opposition. They just go on and on and on and on. The body politic becomes, bizarrely, accustomed. Yet (and this is my core argument) the effects reveal themselves in the social body. Or one could say in the soul (psyche) of the social body. It cannot see — it is not allowed to see — what affects it, and very real cognitive dissonance rises up like a mystifying fog and — I am tempted to mention Chief Broom and his sense of the Fog Machine (but I won’t) — enshrouds things in foggy intellectual chaos . . .

      The object is to diffuse that *fog* and to begin to see clearly and to describe things as they really are. One really must think in terms consideration of what ‘false consciousness’ could mean in this situation. I am not precisely sure what recovery of *true consciousness* is, should be, or will be, but it must start from a willingness, despite personal investments, in telling the truth about things.

        • Another level of evasion of the ideas I communicated, if they were taken seriously and considered in their entirety. Now, if you can get it to stick that I am recommending or insisting of ‘pacifism’, well, you can certainly make an argument against that. Obviously, if anything, my argument (obviously and clearly!) has to do with the unjust and immoral use of force and power.

          I said above that I recognized the futility of the conversation. This is why. You cannot see and your will is directed to not see.

          It’s not you as OB, it is rather the Conservative Establishment that (in these examples) shows itself incapable of seeing clearly, speaking plainly, and of being honest. Because you cannot do this (will not to do it), you influence others to adopt your methods. The kids in the universities, therefor, follow your lead!

          You show, as I say, a failure to lead. The failing is moral and ethical.

          These diseases infect the American social body and can only be dealt with in a willing individual. Therefor, the task of reintegrating (so-called) Conservative into a sound intellectual program is the first order of business. Somewhat easier for them, given that they can appreciate *first principles* in contradistinction to the Hyper-Liberal *lost child* and open rebel.

  3. In the 1960s a lot of liberal folks saw that one of the easiest ways to avoid Vietnam was to just keep extending your student deferment, so they got Ph.D.’s in relatively easy subjects like sociology or English, and took over as the (somewhat) more ideologically balanced faculty of the pre-Vietnam years retired. Now they are insulated from all criticism by tenure and in control of who gets hired and who gets tenured. The current ideological climate shouldn’t come as a surprise. Unfortunately, it also shouldn’t come as a surprise that those sent to Rome to be educated return as Romans. More unfortunately, there is no Constantinople, no Jerusalem, no budding Oxford or Strasbourg, to stand as an alternative to the Rome that is today’s university system. If you hope to get ahead in this life, you have to go to college. The only way to do that is to keep your eye on the goal and move on to graduate school for an actual skill, where bias matters less.

  4. There ARE schools which actually do a quite good job of “training intellectually skilled, inquiring and versatile citizens”, however they are not publicly funded and are definitely in the minority. So conservatives cannot entirely be faulted for the situation in many or most universities.

  5. Interesting in a frightening sort of way. I can see from my progressive friends how they reckon the ‘right’ has ‘poisoned’ the judiciary, blocking Garland and otherwise packing the judicial benches with conservatives. McConnell has even boasted about this achievement and it all looks well planned and managed over decades. Jack, you’ve written about this. Well done guys. But how can conservatives argue similarly that the ‘left’ has ‘poisoned ‘ academia, the arts, the media, the young, and so much else? That must have been one hell of a well organised intellectual coup…. worth at least another Dan Brown novel?

    • You tell me: how do both journalism and academia end up 90% Left? Accident? Coincidence? The judiciary is remarkably balanced, considering that legal education follows the pattern of progressive indoctrination. What your friends object to is that the Bench is not as left-biased as the other institutions.


    • But how can conservatives argue similarly that the ‘left’ has ‘poisoned ‘ academia, the arts, the media, the young, and so much else? That must have been one hell of a well organised intellectual coup…. worth at least another Dan Brown novel?

      Consider the notion of Cultural Hegemony (according to Antonio Gramsci):

      The Italian philosopher Antonio Gramsci developed the concept of cultural hegemony out of Karl Marx’s theory that the dominant ideology of society reflects the beliefs and interests of the ruling class. Gramsci argued that consent to the rule of the dominant group is achieved by the spread of ideologies—beliefs, assumptions, and values—through social institutions such as schools, churches, courts, and the media, among others. These institutions do the work of socializing people into the norms, values, and beliefs of the dominant social group. As such, the group that controls these institutions controls the rest of society.

      Cultural hegemony refers to domination or rule maintained through ideological or cultural means. It is usually achieved though social institutions, which allow those in power to strongly influence the values, norms, ideas, expectations, worldview, and behavior of the rest of society.

      Cultural hegemony functions by framing the worldview of the ruling class, and the social and economic structures that embody it, as just, legitimate, and designed for the benefit of all, even though these structures may only benefit the ruling class. This kind of power is distinct from rule by force, as in a military dictatorship, because it allows the ruling class to exercise authority using the “peaceful” means of ideology and culture.

      Gramsci’s idea was to reverse that hegemony. And instead of organizing *the workers* suggested a shift of focus to that of dominating the institutions. That is, reversing the hegemony of the ruling classes by taking control of the ‘cultural institutions’.

      This is essential Marxian praxis and, naturally, leads to a kind of infliltration and also subversion of ‘traditional institutions. It should be clear that this is why Marxists always seek to undermine both authority and hierarchy. That is the meaning, in essence, of ‘critical theory’: to propose *acids* that dissolve (whatever they focus the critical eye on). It can be driven by ideology — a focused ideology — or can become *blind* and even rather unconscious. As in tearing down or destruction for the sake of tearing down and destruction.

      The Marxian ‘march through the institutions’ has been largely successful In Europe and also in America, though there are enormous contradictions insofar as the ideologues (those who man the institutions now) depend, still, on the same former structures that Marxists criticize (the structures of power). This leads to the strangeness of our Hyper-Liberal present and its many levels of contradiction.

      Here is a talk by Jonathan Bowden on New Left Marxism and the Frankfurt School.

      Get back with any questions, always glad to be of help. I have loads of free time Sunday, Tuesday and the second half of Wednesday.

  6. As someone who teaches at the post secondary level, my courses are filled with examples of policy choices by both political parties of yesteryear and in recent history. They are offered facts of circumstances, options available and outcomes and then invited to decide for themselves whether those outcomes were the ones desired and/or desirable. Each student is invited to think critically after being asked to check their biases before drawing their conclusions.

    This is vital balance. Apparently not all in higher ed feel the same way.

    For the record, my last political contribution was to Mitt Romney in 2012.

  7. Just as important as the fact that most universities have become completely Democrat, is how they got this way. Democrats engage in widespread hiring discrimination against Republicans while Republicans do not do so against Democrats (if both did it, we would see an equal number of public sector areas that are 95% Republican and we don’t). We can see this in both the federal government, our universities, and any company where Democrats are in charge. When roughly 50% of the country is Republican, how can our civil service and our public schools be 95+% Democrat? The only way is through widespread hiring discrimination by millions of Democrats. There is a widespread belief among Democrats that Republican ideas are not valid and Republicans cannot be allowed to even have jobs. This is not a new thing, but something that has been going on for decades. If this isn’t so, propose another way this came to be.

    • … Democrats engage in widespread hiring discrimination against Republicans while Republicans do not do so against Democrats (if both did it, we would see an equal number of public sector areas that are 95% Republican and we don’t)… When roughly 50% of the country is Republican, how can our civil service and our public schools be 95+% Democrat? The only way is through widespread hiring discrimination by millions of Democrats…

      No, there could well be other factors. Certainly self-selection is also at work: how many Libertarians would you expect to apply? I myself ruled out a career in any inward facing branch of government, for reasons of conscience (I would have had no issues with defence or diplomacy, but had no aptitude for them and never considered those once I found that out).

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