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. Continue reading

The Lesson Of Berkeley’s “Free Speech Week” Fiasco: Jerks Make Terrible Champions And Martyrs

Conservative agitator/ campus troll Milo Yiannopoulos’s Free Speech Week in Berkeley, California was advertised as a major event, bringing some of the most Left-reviled  conservative speakers and rabble-rousers together for four straight days of speeches and events on a campus that has repeatedly disgraced itself by being hostile to speech its primarily progressive denizens consider “hate speech.”

The University of California was taking elaborate measures to avoid the violence that protesters there and at other campuses have brought to appearances by many of the featured speakers. It was rumored that as much as $600,000 would be spent on security. The prospect of the rhetoric of such professional provocateurs as Yiannopoulosas, Steve Bannon and Ann Coulter, to name the best known, echoing around the school where it was least welcome promised an instant cultural touch-point, like a right-wing Woodstock, while challenging leftists and ideological censors to reveal their ugly, totalitarian sides.

But by the end of the week, many were predicting that the event was a mirage. Speakers whose names had been promoted on preliminary schedules either pulled out, denied they had been contacted  or said they were never planning to go. The campus publication sponsoring Yiannopoulos’s circus, The Berkeley Patriot, never reserved indoor school venues. Yiannopoulos kept up the pretense, announcing on Instagram a planned march through campus tomorrow in protest of Berkeley’s hostility to free speech. “It’s time to reclaim free speech at UC Berkeley and send shockwaves through the American education system to every other college under liberal tyranny,” Yiannopoulos wrote.

Today, the day before the “Week” was to begin, UC Berkeley announced  that ‘Free Speech Week’ was officially cancelled, saying,

“Representatives of the Berkeley Patriot student organization have informed UC Berkeley’s administration that all of the events scheduled for the coming week have been canceled. It is extremely unfortunate that this announcement was made at the last minute, even as the university was in the process of spending significant sums of money and preparing for substantial disruption of campus life in order to provide the needed security for these events.”

Now there is mass confusion, with strong indications that the event was a sham from the start. Lucian Wintrich, one of the planned speakers, e-mailed Cal spokesman Dan Mogulof this morning,  to say that the event had been a set-up from the start. “It was known that they didn’t intend to actually go through with it last week, and completely decided on Wednesday,” Wintrich wrote.

“Wait, whoah, hold on a second,” replied Mogulof. “What, exactly, are you saying? What were you told by MILO Inc? Was it a set-up from the get-go?”

 

Wintrich replied, “Yes.”

An account of the chaos and miscommunications surrounding the event published by The Atlantic yesterday certainly made this development seem probable. Milo, as late as this afternoon, insisted that the intention was always to hold a real week of speeches. He has as much credibility as someone who makes his living creating controversies and infuriating his ideological foes deserves to have: none.

What’s going on here? Continue reading

That Settles It: Time To Clean House At UC Berkeley

An unacceptable percentage of the University of California at Berkeley are more committed to ideological indoctrination and political conformity that they are to American values and education. They need to be cleared out, as do their compatriots in other universities. They pose an existential threat to our democracy, and cannot be entrusted with the education of young minds, which should involve opening, not closing them.

The letter posted by 200 Berkeley faculty members calls for a boycott of all classes and a shutdown of the campus because on “Free speech day,” three conservative speakers will dare to express their blasphemy in a progressive stronghold. The Horror.

In addition to being a per se violation of the principles of a liberal arts education, the duty to give students exposure to as many ideas and views as possible, academic freedom and freedom of expression, the letter is intellectually dishonest. There is no organization known as “alt-right”; it is a description used to marginalize and discredit all conservatives by lumping them in with extremists, racists, white supremacists and neo-fascists. It’s a popular and effective tactic these days on the Left, similar to the Southern Poverty Law Center’s unethical tactic of designating churches that oppose same-sex marriage “hate groups” alongside the KKK. Ann Coulter, one of the conservative speakers who apparently maims with her words, is just a conservative, albeit an especially obnoxious and cynical one. Yet this execrable letter cites as proof that she and her fellow speakers are dangerous a cherry-picked list of isolated and unrelated incidents, none of which are connected to a single group. The exact same technique could be used, and has been used, to argue that all Muslims are dangerous. Moreover, the faculty is implying that those who would listen to Ann Coulter, Steve Bannon, and the professional conservative troll Milo Yiannppoulis, including students,  are too dangerous to co-exist with “good students.” Why? It’s not because one crazy ran his car into a crowd in Charlottesville. It’s because the faculty members believe extreme conservative ideas are too “dangerous” to allow to be expressed.

I wouldn’t move from my dining room to my living room to hear any of those speakers. Calling them dangerous, however, is an excuse to silence them and intimidate others. Continue reading

Ethics Hero: Notre Dame Political Science Professor Vincent Phillip Muñoz

Vincent Phillip Muñoz is the Tocqueville Associate Professor of Political Science and Concurrent Associate Professor of Law at The University of Notre Dame. Following the violent protest that prevented his announced lecture at Middlebury College earlier this month, Prof. Muñoz invited Murray to speak at the University of Notre Dame next week. This occasioned some protests and objections from students and faculty at his own college, and he responded with an essay at RealClearPolitics, writing in part…

Charles Murray is speaking at Notre Dame because I and another Political Science professor assigned his book “Coming Apart” in our classes. His visit is one of several outside lectures that are part of this semester’s Constitutional Studies offerings. My class, “Constitutional Government & Public Policy,” addresses some of the most important and divisive issues in American politics: abortion, gay marriage, religious freedom, inequality, freedom of speech, death penalty, race and the meaning of constitutional equality, immigration, euthanasia, and pornography.

 The class is designed to prompt students to think more deeply and thoughtfully about contemporary moral and political issues. I don’t assign a textbook or “neutral” readings that summarize the issues; I require students to read principled thinkers who advocate vigorously for their respective position. I want my conservative students to read smart, persuasive liberal thinkers, and I want my liberal students to read thoughtful conservatives. Educated citizens can give reasons for their beliefs and can defend intellectually the positions they hold. That requires that we understand and articulate the positions with which we disagree.

…“But Murray is controversial and will make students feel uncomfortable,” my faculty colleagues say. Don’t I know that he has been accused of being racist, anti-gay, and a white nationalist? I’m told that bringing him to campus is not fair to Notre Dame’s marginalized students.

I have no desire to inflict unwanted stress or anxiety on any member of the Notre Dame community, especially our minority students. I appreciate the concern for student well being that motivates some of the opposition to Murray’s visit. But I believe what is most harmful to students—and, to speak candidly, most patronizing—is to “protect” our students from hearing arguments and ideas they supposedly cannot handle.To study politics today requires handling controversial, difficult, and divisive topics…

The price of a real education is hearing powerful arguments that make us realize our opinions are based on untested assumptions. Only then, when we realize that we do not know as much as we think we know, can genuine learning occur.

I invited Dr. Murray to Notre Dame months ago…Given what happened at Middlebury, it would be cowardly to disinvite Murray now. Rescinding his invitation would communicate that violence works; that if you want to influence academia, sharpen your elbows, not your mind. It would tell those who engaged in violence—and those who might engage in or threaten violence—that universities will cower if you just appear intimidating. Rescinding Murray’s invitation would teach exactly the wrong lesson…

Notre Dame faculty critical of Murray have implored me to think about the larger context of what his visit means. I am. That is why I will not rescind his invitation. As a professor and program director, my job is to do what we are supposed to do at universities: pursue the truth through reasoned dialogue and discussion. Whether you find Charles Murray’s scholarship persuasive or objectionable, his visit offers an opportunity to learn. That is why I invited him to speak at Notre Dame. After Middlebury, it’s all the more important that he do so.

It is almost an insult to academia to call Prof. Muñoz ‘s statement heroic. It should be obvious. Dissenters from the position he articulates should be instantly recognizable as regrettable outliers, the opponents of academic freedom and freedom of thought, the advocates of censorship and ideological indoctrination. Yet increasingly it is this traditional view of higher education that Muñoz advocates that is under attack. Continue reading

But This ISN’T A Spoof, Unfortunately: A PhD Professor Of Gender Studies Writes An Amazing Op-Ed For Gun Control

Hold on to your cranium.

This is a real person. Unfortunately.

This is a real person. Unfortunately.

This morning an esteemed commentator, while discussing Melissa Harris-Perry, fell for one of those “if you fall for it, it’s a hoax and you’re an idiot, if you don’t it’s just satire so mock anyone who did” websites that I have designated Unethical Websites in more than one month. Here’s the reason why he did: to rational people, the things card-carrying members of the extreme progressive/ Democratic axis are prone to assert, say or write with complete sincerity so often consist of content that just a few years ago would be considered proof positive of creeping insanity that it is nigh impossible to tell the difference. For example, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton want to expand Social Security. I was already preparing this post when the hoax site responsible for the quoted Harris-Perry story was reported, and it send me back again to check this one. It really is true, and thus tells us something quite disturbing, as I will specify later. The op-ed by Dr. Barbara Savoy is much more ridiculous than the parody.

The Rochester (NY) Democrat and Chronicle asked Dr. Savoy, who teaches women and gender studies at The College at Brockport, a SUNY institution (Its tuition is $33,235 per year), to write an op-ed on gun control. She did, and here is a shortened version. You really should read the whole thing, though:

I voted for Barack Obama. Twice. During his 2008 presidential campaign, my two daughters, partner, and I ate every meal in our house on Obama placemats. We bought these at our local supermarket, plastic-coated, plate-sized paper rectangles with an image of his face framed by colors of the flag….
Continue reading

Comment of the Day:”Catawba Valley Community College vs. FIRE, Free Speech and Fairness”

"Being courageous, challenging authority and exercising your right to free speech is no way to go through life, son."

Michael supplies an answer to my question, “What is going on with colleges and universities?” to begin the recent post about yet another example of a college trying to strangle inconvenient free expression on campus. Here is his Comment of the Day on Catawba Valley Community College vs. FIRE, Free Speech and Fairness:

“Colleges used to be run by faculty. Senior faculty members would be promoted to department heads, then deans, then provosts, and finally presidents. Their whole career, they would teach and be in contact with students. The faculty used to have a strong voice, including the ability to remove a sitting president if they felt it was necessary. Continue reading