Monday, April 16, 2012

Leftists In Paradise

California taxpayers pony up just under three billion dollars a year to support the 230,000 students attending the various campuses of the University of California. And that doesn’t cover the even-larger California State Universities and Colleges System. Recently, the UC faculty was criticized for serious bias toward liberal and leftist causes by the National Association of Scholars. There was an immediate professorial backlash.

This tale relates to the UC system but could just as easily be applied to almost any other other state university system as well as the entire Ivy League. The National Association of Scholars (NSA) was not soft in its criticism of the university. It spoke plainly in its report. “The UC system does not help students to learn how to think, but rather teaches them what to think.” After twelve years of indoctrination in the public schools, far too many students are perfectly willing to accept whatever their professors tell them at face value. Academic inquiry beyond the most basic of questioning is treated as a sort of mental illness.

The report goes on to say that the lockstep professors have “turned UC campuses into a sanctuary for a narrow ideological segment of the spectrum of social and political ideas.” In 1999, a report by political science professor showed that nationwide, Democrats outnumbered Republicans nearly five to one. But that doesn’t tell the whole story. In some departments, the ratio was staggering. In the English departments, the margin was eighty-eight to three, and in social science departments eighty-one to two.

By 2007, a new study using the same criteria found that the overall ratio had increased to eight to one in favor of liberals. No longer feeling any obligation to hide their specific political leanings, twenty percent of social sciences professors and twenty-five percent of sociology professors readily identified themselves as “Marxist.” And as genetics has proven that incest produces idiot children, so the inbreeding older leftist professors have produced young professors leaning even farther left. When the teaching assistants, assistant professors and associate professors move in to replace the older full professors, the 2011 NSA study (A Crisis of Competence: The Corrupting Effect of Political Activism in the University of California) concludes that the ratio is likely to go to fifty to one.

The California head of the NSA, professor John Ellis, became the front man for deflecting the inevitable denials and accusations coming from the leftist professors. His major critic was Berkeley professor Robert Anderson. Anderson called the report short on facts but long on innuendo and anecdotes. Professor Ellis minced no words after receiving the criticism: “I don’t know any polite way of putting this—but he’s lying.” Ellis cited not only verifiable statistics, but examples of how academia continues to move left and create “victim” majors which perpetuate their agenda.

Professor Ellis’s primary example is a required Berkeley history course for those who pursue a major in history. The course is entitled The United States from Settlement to the Civil War. That hasn’t changed since I was a bright-eyed freshman at Berkeley in 1962. So what has changed? It’s the description of the goal of the course: “To understand how democratic political institutions emerged in the United States in this period in the context of an economy that depended on slave labor and violent land acquisition.” Nothing about freedom, abolitionism, the Constitution, the Enlightenment, or anything neutral or positive. Just the usual slavery and oppression.

No longer expected to look at issues, realities, time-frames, varying views, logic, economics, historical perspective, or comparative governments, the UC student now has the course predigested for him or her, and has been told the proper conclusion. Many will never know that all their course materials will now contain only those things which support the leftist view. They will finish their courses thinking they have been educated rather than indoctrinated.

According to the leftist professors, who the studies have shown to be a heavy majority, America was born, grew, and perpetuates itself on fundamentally evil racism, slavery and economic exploitation of what today are referred to as minorities. Having indoctrinated the students into thinking that America has been evil from the get-go, it’s easy to move on to today’s victimology--the sufferers from gender discrimination, homophobia, ethnic exploitation, sexism, speciesism, lookism, and the whole panoply of “isms.” Hovering over it all is the greatest criminal ism of all—capitalism.

18 comments:

Tennessee Jed said...

this is not something we didn't know, Hawk--But never has it been spelled out so plainly. Oh, I suspect the California system is the most obvious and worst offender. As you say, though this could include the Ivy League and probably 90% of colleges. This is one of the toughest obstacles we have to crack, because it does tend to mold the minds of kids.

Joel Farnham said...

It was pretty bad when I was going to college. It is worse now.

LawHawkRFD said...

Tennessee: I think what bothers me most is that there is simply no let-up. The universities have long tended to lean to the left, but there used to be open debate, and occasional rightward movements. Now, there simply is no effective conservative voice, and students are chided, harassed, ridiculed and bullied into towing the prevailing leftist line, or else.

LawHawkRFD said...

Joel: Berkeley was already pretty far to the left when I was there. But it wasn't yet Stalinist in its rigidity. You could actually have an open discussion, and professors rarely held your political views against you. If you could write a good paper, you got a good grade, even if what you said didn't tow the leftist line. Not true in large part today.

T-Rav said...

Why am I not surprised? Groan.

On a related note, I came upon this story from the weekend, also involving California academia. Also not surprising, but kind of disturbing in how open they're being about their agenda. LINK

Writer X said...

Curious. What took the NSA so long to voice this criticism?

LawHawkRFD said...

T-Rav: I was aware of the original thesis on Teaching As A Subversive Activity. It had just been published the year I started my master's program. As I see from the article you linked to, it was a San Francisco State professor who was giving the lecture at Berkeley on the redux.

Are you ready for a little irony? After four years of socialist rhetoric at Cal-Berkeley, I wanted to try something different. So I picked San Francisco State, which had an entirely different approach to history (my major). My faculty adviser was Prof. Arthur Mejia, Jr. He was also the vice-chairman of the history department at the time. I was first endeared to him when during a lecture on WW I and its aftermath, he referred to Woodrow Wilson as the "deaf, dumb and blind Don Quixote of the Twentieth Century." I knew I had found a home. Can you imagine a professor saying something like that today--let alone at either Berkeley or San Francisco State?

We remained in contact off and on until his death in 2006. He was disappointed that I chose to go to law school instead of becoming a history instructor. Even though I was still in my radical phase at SF State, Prof. Mejia seemed to recognize a future conservative in the making.

StanH said...

This like so many things that were promised when I was a kid, are coming fruition. I remember telling my dad, “one day man, we’ll be in charge,” his eyes rolling as he quipped, “I count the days.” Well here we are, almost every lever of power is this country has a brain dead ‘60s radical or their spawn, at the helm, God help us. You can bet that OWS’s ranks are filled with angry Poli-Sci students, who have zero marketable skills in the real world, but they do have incredible debt, and want you and I to pick it up.

There is some good news my kids 21-25, and a dozen other nieces and nephews, either in college or recently graduated, life is wringing the liberal lunacy from their systems, it’s funny how that happens. Several even voted for Barry, the shame, are now his vehement opposition.

Oh, the university system is the perfect hangout for Marxist ne’er-do-wells. I believe they should work for nothing, it’s only fair.

LawHawkRFD said...

WriterX: It had done so several times since 1999. This report as much of an update as an original study. And even insiders at the NSA were amazed to find how much farther to the left the faculties had gone in just thirteen years. They had known for a long time that Berkeley leaned seriously left, but this study added emphasis by pointing out that "academic freedom" (a big issue when I was a student there) had become "academic rigidity," and there is no longer any pretense that there might be legitimate opposing points of view. That subtitle to the history course I mentioned in the article is a perfect example. That course is not for upper division students. It's a basic "survey of American history" course for freshmen.

LawHawkRFD said...

Stan: I remember some time back one of my contemporary liberals, by then a standup comedian, remembered the promise of the 60s--to change the world. His comment was "we changed the world all right--we really screwed it up."

T-Rav said...

Ha! Reminds me of a couple professors of mine. Poor Woodrow Wilson. If only he didn't deserve such an epithet.

BevfromNYC said...

What I wouldn't give to be able to go back to college right now. There is an even bigger danger with the growing number of people earning college degrees online. They don't really even get the opportunity to challenge the prevailing ideology.

I have been pondering getting an additional degree, just so that I can really see what is going on. You can't fool a middle-aged former feminist...

Writer X said...

Thanks, LawHawk! I'm with Bev: What I wouldn't give to go back and let them know what I really think.

BevfromNYC said...

I was in the "Arts", so Marxist rhetoric was kind of a given. My one real experience with a hard core Marxist was in a class outside my major. I don't even remember what the class was, but I just remember the Instructor was so angry that he paid more in taxes than Nelson Rockefeller. (sound familiar?) I challenged him by asking how that was even possible! He did not say he paid a higher percentage in taxes. He said he paid MORE in taxes. He did not like that and he said something along the lines of "Oh, you rich kids are all the same". Huh?? Being a rich kid was news to me. Honestly, I thought he was challenging us to think about what he'd said and find out the facts, but I was wrong.

But anyway, that evening one of the newspapers I read just happened to publish exactly how many tens of millions Rockefeller actually paid. I took the article in and asked this Instructor how much he paid in income taxes that year? "Why do you ask, young rich student?", he inquired. I said that the article I had in my hand said that Rockefeller pays millions, so you must be rich, rich, rich, to pay more than Rockefeller! It was fun watching his face turn beet red and the steam come out of his ears...

LawHawkRFD said...

T-Rav: And that's the least he deserves. I really didn't know about Wilson's deeply-ingrained racism until I got to college. As with Planned Parenthood, the left has done some fancy covering up, but in both cases the truth is finally beginning to come out to the general public who previously only got the sanitized version of their stories.

LawHawkRFD said...

Bev: I truly understand what you're saying. I don't really "get" online colleges. They can provide a wealth of information, but I don't see how they can provide the actual experience of dealing with large numbers of strangers, getting into face-to-face with people who may or may not agree with you, and the whole "growing up" experience that college used to provide (centuries ago, that was the basic purpose of a four-year undergraduate program). Post-graduate degrees online make a little more sense to me, but not much.

LawHawkRFD said...

WriterX: You're welcome. I miss your regular comments, but I know you've been really busy. You and Bev have me thinking about how much fun it would be to go back just to show the youngsters what it's like to look a professor in the face and tell him "you're just wrong, wrong, wrong." We have a luxury those poor undergrads don't have.

LawHawkRFD said...

Bev: An actual example of "speaking truth to power." LOL

It really was different back when I was an undergrad. Lots of liberals and Marxists, but they actually showed admiration for students who could put up a good contra-argument. I never got graded down for disagreeing with a professor (which I did often, just for practice).

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