Thursday, September 27, 2007


Victor Davis Hanson asks, "Have American academics lost their collective mind?"

Having been in academia for much of my professional career, I think I am qualified to andwer that question in the affirmative. And let me add, that it is because the "mind" of academia has become a "collective", that it has been lost.

Hanson considers some of the more recent examples of academic lunacy and then points out:
In each of the above cases, the general public has had to remind these universities that their campuses should welcome thinkers who have distinguished themselves in their fields, regardless of politics and ideology. The liberal Chemerinsky, the Clinton Democrat Summers and the conservative Rumsfeld have all courted controversy -- and all alike met the criterion of eminent achievement.

But the propagandist Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has not. Unlike Chemerinsky, Rumsfeld and Summers, he used the prestige of an Ivy-League forum solely to popularize his violent views -- and to sugarcoat the mayhem his terrorists inflict on Americans and his promises to wipe out Israel.

Here's a simple tip to the clueless tenured class about why a Larry Summers or Donald Rumsfeld should be welcome to speak, and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad shunned: former Cabinet secretaries -- yes; homicidal dictators killing Americans -- no.

I noted in this post that:
Columbia University does not, as one person has astutely pointed out have to "give a soapbox to every lunatic in the world" to somehow "prove" that it believes in free speech or the free exchange of ideas. Giving a soapbox to a Hitler or a Bin Laden or a pipsqueak like Ahmadinejad is merely yet another histrionic display of narcissistic self-indulgence by a politicized academia; just as the decision to recind Larry Summers invitation to speak was at another institution of higher learning.

What both incidents have in common is the dedication and committment to a particular political ideology, rather than to any value or belief in "the free exchange of ideas."

And the collectivist ideology that many American universities and their faculties implicitly and explicitly promote and represent is what I have termed neo-Marxist fascism.

If students in these madhouses aren't anti-American by the time they enter college, quite a few are by the time they finish.

I am reminded of this pathetic state of affairs in our educational system by this humorous editorial about Columbus that I read the other day, which exemplifies how American history is being taught these days in the elementary school curriculum.

The neo-Marxists have also reinterpreted the history of slavery in order to demonize America--the country and people that were one of the first to put an end to a barbaric practice that had been going on for centuries (see this article "Six Inconvenient Truths about the U.S. and Slavery"). Instead of celebrating the ideas and the paradigm shift that America represents, the political left has chosen to use the imperfections of America as an indictment against the very ideas of political liberty and individualism.

The process of indoctrinating young minds into utopian Marxism and all other variants of collectivist thought has become the holy mission of many universities and colleges and their faculty. This travesty has implications for generations of minds, whose thought processes have been perverted by the distortions of reality that are necessary to shore up the underying totalitarian ideologies.

Hiding behind the concept of "academic freedom", the purveyors of thought oppression have gained control of education in this country.

The moral and intellectual bankruptcy of those overly-prized qualities of "diversity" and "multiculturalism" need to be thoroughly and painstakingly exposed for what they are: the politically correct posturings of incompetent social engineers who wish to impose their own mediocrity on all aspects of society. They champion a new kind of oppression (the oppression of the competent) under the benign guise of "political correctness". If your ideas merely hurt their feelings, you can be sent to their gulags.

The transformation of our intellectual centers of knowledge into vast emotional swamps of multicultural victimhood, offended by any idea that they don't like, can be best appreciated by the unwillingness to tolerate dissent and difference of opinion, and the utter willingness to resort to physical violence to silence anyone they don't agree with.

In this manner, the professors--sure of their ideological and moral superiorty-- are no longer bothered by pesky ideas, which might actually have to be defended by reason and logic. No, they rely almost totally these days on the primacy of their feelings, which they proudly point out need no defense, since they are honest feelings and reflect the utmost emotional sensitivity--except, of course, to those who happen to disagree with them.

So, Hanson wonders if American academics have lost their collective mind? My answer is that it is precisely the "collectivist" and totalitarian mindset taught in American Universities and colleges that has ushered in an era of academic lunacy with its disconnect from the real world; its worship of feelings over thought, and its betrayal of knowledge, truth, and reason.

UPDATE: Four rather long articles for you to read if you want to understand some of the issues related to Academic Freedom today. First, the report "Freedom in the Classroom" put out by the AAUP; Peter Wood's response to that report, "Truths R Us"; the detailed, point-by-point scholarly and detailed critique of the AAUP report by Balch and Wood of the National Association of Scholars here; and Erin O'Connor's essay "AAUP To Critics: What, Us Biased?" that just came out this week. (hat tip: The Corner)

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