The War Against The Academy

Academic Rights and Wrongs: Got a nasty, radical professor? Congress can’t help,” Wall Street Journal, 7 October 2005, http://www.opinionjournal.com/taste/?id=110007369 (from a private email).

At Public Universities, Warnings of Privatization,” by Sam Dillon, New York Times, 16 October 2005, http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/16/education/16college.html (from Democratic Underground).

Read on for a tdaxp flip-flop:

A while ago, I wrote about the War for the Courts: the political battle by Conservatives to take the third branch of government away from Liberals. I compared it to the Vietnam War, and assumed that Right in the Court battle is roughly where the Communists were in the 1970s.

A similar struggle is being fought against the Academy. Conservatives wisely realize that like the Courts, Academia has been held by enemies for too long. But there is a substantial difference: the goal is not to seize, but to destroy.

This war is being fought in the open, through attempts to criminalize prostelyzation by the Enemy, and in secret, by attacking in less visible ways.

First, David Horowitz’s growing movement to hit Academia with the hammer of Law (a movement that the Wall Street Journal is sympathetic too, but still criticizes)

We begin this week with a quiz. Imagine yourself as a freshman at State U. On the first day of class a professor walks in the door and says: “Hello, I’m Joe Schmoe, and I like sex with men. Christians hate gays, and the ‘r’ in Republican stands for ‘racist.’ We have too many Nazis running around on campus, and if you’re a conservative you’ll probably fail my course.”

How do you react?

  • (a) What a jerk, I hope it’s not too late to drop this course.
  • (b) What a hoot, now I know what to say to get a good grade.
  • (c) Call the cops. He just violated the Academic Bill of Rights!

If you answered (c) you don’t get credit, because most students have never heard of an Academic Bill of Rights. Yet such a thing is not pure fiction. An example of one is making its way through Congress right now as a resolution attached to the House-approved version of an education bill; and another resolution is being considered in the Senate. We’d vote “no.”

This is not because the freedom to learn, or to speak, is alive and well on the American campus. Clearly it isn’t. The template for both resolutions in Washington–and similar ones have reached some 15 state legislatures–was written by conservative activist David Horowitz. He was responding to a chorus of student complaints about political intimidation by (mostly leftist) teachers in college classrooms. The document says, among other things, that “no political, ideological or religious orthodoxy will be imposed on professors and researchers” and that “intellectual independence means the protection of students” too. (Full text at studentsforacademicfreedom.org.)

Less in-the-open are attempts to starve the beast:

Graham Spanier, president of Pennsylvania State University, said this year that skyrocketing tuition was a result of what he called “public higher education’s slow slide toward privatization.”

Other educators have made similar assertions, some avoiding the term “privatization” but nonetheless describing a crisis that they say is transforming public universities. At an academic forum last month, John D. Wiley, chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said that during the years after World War II, America built the world’s greatest system of public higher education.

We’re now in the process of dismantling all that,” Dr. Wiley said.

The share of all public universities’ revenues deriving from state and local taxes declined to 64 percent in 2004 from 74 percent in 1991. At many flagship universities, the percentages are far smaller. About 25 percent of the University of Illinois’s budget comes from the state. Michigan finances about 18 percent of Ann Arbor’s revenues. The taxpayer share of revenues at the University of Virginia is about 8 percent.

Earlier, even some conservative academics like Victor Davis Hanson attacked the tenure system, a foundation of the American University system. At the time, I criticized him for this.

I no longer do. Substantial parts of Academia are too far gone to be saved. Major portions of “soft” studies at the University serve as Leftist conversion and reinforcement machines, giving Leftism a structural advantage in the politics of America and the world. Conservatives need a “full spectrum” assault on Academia, a real effort to subdue and subvert our enemies there. Some tactics will prove more effective than others. The work of the “privatizers” in state legislatures, of academics like Victor Davis Hanson, and activists like David Horowitz are all part of a larger solution. We need them.

One thought on “The War Against The Academy”

  1. If conservative or classic liberal alumni would earmark
    any donations to only be used for those “schools” within the University they deem free of indoctrination.

    I have suggested pooling these donations to establish
    chairs or to even donate to another Institution to get
    the point across and the publication.

    Why would any alum from Univ of Colorado with Prof
    Ward Churchill still on payroll send one cent???

    And if the parents of students would also get serious
    and refuse to pay for those “freshman indoctrination”
    courses or for any course taught by such as Ward
    Churchill, changes could occur a bit faster.

    Again, can't be scattershot. Organized with specific
    courses and “profs” identified each term.

    Oreilly is doing this with Judges that let molesters of
    children off. Just need all the brilliant alum and parents
    to organize and withhold their hard earned dollars.

    As Prof Ledeen says, “Faster please. Faster.”

  2. Did Hitler charge parents thousands of Marks for
    sending their children to his “Youth Camps” –
    probably charged Jews double!

  3. Larwyn,

    The fight for the Courts and Academy are intertwined. Remember the case of Vanderbuilt and the Daughters of the Confederacy. The DOC had paid for a specific purpose — the Vanderbuilt later just ignored it, with a loose claim about the statute of limitations. While DOC eventually won on appeal, the liberal lower court gave Vanderbuilt the OK to expropriate the DOC's funds for other purposes.

    The same thing could happen anywhere (http://www.tennessean.com/local/archives/05/03/69130217.shtml).

    A lot of people still send money to the universities because they aren't politicized with agitprop — they think of their friends when they think of the U, not the political implications. Likewise, parental education is part of Victory.

    If anything's organized against specific classes or courses, the U might define it as hate-speech, violation of employee rights, etc. Witness the faculty criticism of websites that allow student review of teachers.

    I disagree with O'Reilly, but that's a post for another time…

    I don't know what the financial structure for indoctrination in Nazi Germany was. In Soviet Russia, it was free.

  4. Original comment included this line:
    “Just need all the brilliant alum and parents
    to organize and withhold their hard earned dollars”

    I did not use “brilliant” in a flippant British way. I
    meant BRILLIANT knowing exactly how any such
    action would be spun.

    Certainly those parents and alums who read that
    more than $300 was contributed to Kerry/Dems
    to each $1 contributed to Bush/Republicans at
    Princeton, have some “brilliant” minds among them.
    Be great if they got together and did some challenging.

    Cornell West was one of the participants in the hate
    fest on the Mall this weekend just for starters.

    It takes years to get suits thru the courts – we should
    begin now. Certainly something the base would get
    behind.

    Just a note, surfing TV last night and caught end of
    a Bill Maher interview of Tom Wolfe. Apparently GW
    has been reading “I Am Charlotte Simmons” – is that
    a coded message that GW is sending out???

    Hope so. Wonder how many of those Princeton
    Dem contributors choke on the lattes they buy at
    the Fisk Center?

    Just need to get ball rolling and no better way than
    by drawing fire from the Left.

  5. Larwyn,

    Definitely good news Bush is reading Wolf's new book — though it would mean more if he was photographed it (say, holding it while walking to or from Marine One).

    A successful agitprop strategy will cause the Enemy to react stupidly, further isolating imself. Drawing some fire from the least media-savy of our enemy would be a good thing

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