How the universities got that way

One of the best ways to influence students, colleagues, and the citizenry at large is to hire, promote, and tenure only those people who agree with you.

University 224.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
University 224.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
It's August 1968. Anti-Vietnam War demonstrators have just wrecked the Democratic national convention in Chicago and ruined Hubert Humphrey's chances to become president. So what did these Marxists and their cohorts elsewhere do next? They stayed in college. They sought out the easiest professors and the easiest courses. And they stayed in the top half of their class. This effectively deferred them from the military draft, a draft that discriminated against young men who didn't have the brains or the money to go to college. That draft also sparked the wave of grade inflation that still swamps our colleges. Vietnam-era faculty members lowered standards in order to help the "Hell No, We Won't Go" crowd. In the 1970s, president Richard Nixon ended the war and Congress ended conscription. So the Marxist anti-war activists - activism is now a full-time profession - had to do something else. Most of them went to work in the real world. But a meaningful number remained in college and graduate school and opted for academia, especially for the humanities and the social sciences. If they got a Ph.D., they might even become university teachers, and many of them did. They then climbed academia's ladder, rising from instructor to assistant professor, from assistant professor to associate professor, and from associate professor to full professor. These last two ranks usually carry tenure, which means a guaranteed job until one decides to retire or is fired for raping little children in the streets. Forty years have passed since that fateful Democratic national convention. During that time, American academia has been transformed into the most Marxist, postmodernist, know-nothing, anti-American, anti-military, and anti-capitalist institution in our society. It is now a bastion of situational ethics and moral relativism, and it teaches that there are no evil people in this world, only oppressed ones. American academia is now a very intolerant place. Ask Ann Coulter. She has been driven off more than one campus platform because of her conservative views. As she has knowledgeably put it, "There is free speech for thee, but not for me." WHEN THE Soviet Union collapsed, Marxism collapsed with it. But it survived in Western Europe and in US and Israeli universities, where politically-correct feelings are now more important than knowledge, and where politically-correct emotions are now more important than critical thinking. American students and graduates are usually well trained, but they are badly educated. Outside of what they must learn to make a living, most of them don't know very much. They do know, however, how to feel very sad, very angry, or very guilty about their country and its past. That lesson their professors taught them well. In the main, our students and graduates, no matter where they went to school, don't understand that China, in return for Sudanese oil, is supplying the weapons used to commit genocide in Darfur. But they feel bad about the Darfurians. They don't now that the Palestinians have rejected every opportunity to have a state of their own. But they feel sorry for them, and they blame the Israelis for their plight. They aren't familiar with the Koranic verse "the Infidel is your inveterate enemy." But they keep searching for the elusive "root causes" of Muslim hatred, and many of them are convinced that Islamic terrorism is the result of what the United States and Israel - aren't they, not North Korea or Zimbabwe, the two worst countries on this planet? - do or do not do. Deficient in history, geography, and economics, few of our college-trained citizens understand that all wealth, including money transferred to governments through taxes, is created by and in the private sector. They don't fathom that the main reasons for high gasoline prices are the speculation in oil futures and the continuing industrialization of Japan, China, India, Brazil, South Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, and other countries. Instead, they blame the "greedy" oil companies, whose "obscene" profit margins are not nearly as high as most other industries. Nor do they understand that their simultaneous and illogical opposition to nuclear power, coal, liquified petroleum gas, on-shore and off-shore oil drilling, and new refineries ensures that we shall have energy shortages and high energy prices. Professors don't make the big bucks in America. What they do earn, however, are huge psychological incomes in the form of power - the power to shape the minds of their students and the power to influence their colleagues who want raises, sabbaticals. grants, promotions, and tenure. One of the best ways to influence students, colleagues, and the citizenry at large is to hire, promote, and tenure only those people who agree with you. Duke University is a case in point. The chairman of one of its major departments was once asked in a radio interview if his department hired Republicans. He answered: "No. We don't hire Republicans because they are stupid and we are not. Why should we knowingly hire stupid professors?" Since Temple is not pretentious, it would probably hire me again, but Duke wouldn't. You see, though once a Democrat, I am now a Republican. And in the so-called "prestigious" schools nothing can be more blasphemous than that. The writer is a professor emeritus of political science at Temple University and author of Peaceful Conflictand Soldiers, Scholars, and Society.