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Sunday, July 15, 2007

What is Wrong on our University Campuses?


Ward Churchill, former professor at University of Colorado, who called victims of 9-11 "Little Eichmanns".



In the interest of full disclosure, I am presently a part-time teacher of English as a Second Language at a major California university. (UC Irvine). I must admit that I enjoy working at UCI. After a first career of working for DEA, this new life is pretty relaxing. The students are congenial (coming from mostly Asian countries, where teachers are respected) and my colleagues are likewise. Some even share my conservative world view. However, one always has to consider what university department is involved. ESL teachers tend to be people who have traveled, lived in other countries, learned other languages, and , in many cases, have married foreign-born spouses. So they tend to spread out along the ideological spectrum. Likewise, teachers in the physical sciences and economics also tend to be more ideologically varied. It is in the humanities that you find an overwhelming presence of not just liberals, but far-out lefties who don't much care for their country. Unfortunately, these characters make the most noise, and thus, bring a lot of bad publicity to their schools. Add that to administrators who either sympathize with radical professors or are afraid to confront them, and you have a pretty sorry state of affairs on our campuses.

So where do I start? How about Ward Churchhill, of the University of Colorado? He's the guy who called the victims of 9-11 "little Eichmann's". How about the character who teaches at the University of Wisconsin who swears that the Bush Administration conducted 9-11? What about Duke, where the university, urged on by a letter signed by 88 professors, expelled the three Lacrosse players (who were later exonerated.) Then there is San Francisco State, where military recruiters were driven off campus by a mob of students, just part of a long tradition of student unrest at that "institution". Let's don't forget Harvard, the "most prestigious university in America", where the president, Larry Summers, was driven to resignation by his own faculty after he had the temerity to question whether women were as adapt at science as men. (Oh the outrage!) At my own school, UCI, each quarter is marred by anti-Israel events sponsored by the Muslim Student Union, a group that has a regular team of radical Muslim imam speakers who spout hatred not only for Israel, but America and Jews in general. Numerous other campuses, such as UCLA, also have activists Muslim Student Unions that warrant the attention of the FBI. Meanwhile, other universities, Like the University of Michigan at Dearborn, are busy installing foot baths for Muslim students.

In addition, while radical left speakers appear and speak freely on campuses across the nation, conservative speakers are met with protests, disruption and sometimes violence. Examples? How about former Justice Department official, John Yoo, when he spoke at UC Irvine a couple of years ago? Ditto for pro-Israel Middle East expert, Daniel Pipes at UCI a few months back. How about Ann Coulter, who had pies thrown at her at one university in Arizona? When President Bush was invited to speak recently at St Vincent's College in Latrobe, students and professors alike cried like spoiled children. In the free marketplace of ideas, pay attention to those who want to silence the other side. That will tell you much about who is right and who is wrong.

I could go on for the next 100 pages with anecdotal examples of far-left, anti-American activity going on at American universities, but you read these stories every day just like me. The question is why? How did you get to this point? I guess one reason is that many of these professors were university students during my generation-the good old 60s. Many of them never left that sad decade. Another reason could be that moderates and conservatives tend to get their bachelor's degrees and go out into the world to make a living and get some real life experience. They tend to become even more conservative during life. Meanwhile, what happens to the student who goes from a BS degree to a masters degree to a PHD and then enters teaching? By the time they have gotten their doctorate, they have been educated out of the last shred of common sense they were born with. They are still stuck in that cocoon of liberal university propaganda. They then take all that "learning" into their classroom and regurgitate the same stuff that they learned. However, where is their life experience, other than maybe getting married and having kids?

In my own case, after getting my BS in 1970 (interrupted by a 3 year stint in the Army), I went into federal law enforcement, first with Customs, then DEA. That job took me all over the world, including assignments in Thailand and Italy for a total of 8 years. In my final assignment at the Office of Training at Quantico, Virginia, I took advantage of a program run by the University of Virginia, where I was able to get a master's degree in Education, paid for by the government. This enabled me to qualify as an ESL teacher at the college level, further enabling me to retire at 50. I mention this only because I think that it allowed me to bring life experience to the classroom.

That does not mean however, that I was about to walk into a classroom and indoctrinate my students with my conservative philosophy. I think it is wrong. My job is to help young students improve their English, not to teach them what they should think about the world. Unfortunately, most leftist professors feel it is their mission to turn out a new generation of leftists. Not content to preach their doctrine in the classroom, many of them engage in protests against this or that outside the classroom, oblivious to any principle of free speech. Even more outrageously, many professors give poor grades to any student who strays from the professor's point of view. Sadly, many young students, concerned about graduating, have succumbed, remaining silent in the classroom and turning in papers in agreement with the professor's philosophy.

In contrast, my master's program was more of an example of adult education. The coordinator, from the University of Virginia, was able to relate to us since we were made up of DEA, FBI and Marines. He knew he was dealing with adults who had life experience and were not liable to be liberal. Where the fun happened is when he brought up young teaching assistants from Charlottesville to give lectures. On one occasion, a young lady in her 20s made the off-hand comment in class that she didn't think it was unpatriotic to burn the American flag! We let her know in no uncertain terms how we felt about that remark. The lady was nearly in a state of shock when she left-and never returned.

So what to do about this situation? Do we conservatives go to court or the Congress to demand a "fairness doctrine" for the universities? Tempting, but I say no. What I think is necessary here is the light of day. We need to make sure the public is aware of what is happening in our universities (and secondary schools as well). We also need to send emails or letters to the heads of these institutions when these outrages occur. They need to know the public is watching. If your alma mater is guilty of far-left bias, refuse to send contributions when solicited-and let them know why. If you are going to foot the bill for your kid's tuition, make sure that he or she doesn't go to one of the offending schools. (Unfortunately, that takes care of most state-run universities-you might have to look at a small private or faith-based school). Eventually, some of these schools will start paying attention to the bottom line.

You also need to counsel your children that it is up to them to decide what they think about the world, that they will be subjected to this indoctrination, and that they should never accept at face value what a professor says in the classroom. There is a bumper sticker that liberals are fond of that reads: "Question Authority". Why not question professors as well?

5 comments:

liberalcollegekid said...

I have a few reactions to your post:

First, it is not un-American to protest the government. In fact, that's how a democracy is supposed to work. For centuries universities and colleges have served as places where democracy can be truly seen as people from all sides of every issue are able to participate in the market place of ideas. The fact that there are groups who are anti-American is in and of itself what is so great about living in a society that protects freedom of speech.

Next, as far as liberal professors go; you should know being on a college campus that there is a direct correlation between education and tolerance as well as education and liberal leanings. It seems, the more people know the more they care about other people, thus making them more liberal. That being said, the idea that we should question professors is a fine and noble idea. However, these people have the academic background that qualifies them to instruct in a collegiate setting, thus they should in fact be trusted and their opinions do carry an added amount of validity. It is very possible to learn from people who are from a different political party. Otherwise, someone like me could never have taken economics.

I have not met a single person who has entered a classroom a conservative and left a liberal or vice versa. That's not where political ideologies are formed, its where they are discussed and the sooner the radical right realizes this we can move on from this war on progressive professors and start talking about things that matter: like healthcare and Iraq.

Check out our site at http://liberalcollegekid.com

Gary Fouse said...

My response to liberalcollegekid

You are correct. It is not un-American to protest the government. I also protest the government including the current administration at times.

As for your characterization of universities as places where,to paraphrase, the marketplace of ideas thrives, are you talking about historically, the way it should be today, or the way it truly is today? I would say that there is little tolerance for conservative ideas on most college campuses today. I would add an extra thought. There are some things in this world that should never be tolerated. Examples are terrorism, suicide bombings, anti-semitism, incitement to violence, disruption of talks by conservative speakers on campuses (few as they are) etc.

In your second paragragh, you talk about about a direct correlation between education and tolerance, as well as liberalism and caring for other people. First of all, tolerance for what? Other races, ethnic groups? Ideas? How much tolerance do you see for conservative ideas on college campuses? How much tolerance do you see for Bush, Cheney, Christianity, or Israel on college campuses? Racial and ethnic tolerance is fine, but what about tolerance for other ideas? Of course, liberals say that it is their ideas that need tolerance since they "go against the grain", (not in universities they don't) but mention Bush, Cheney et al, and see what kind of tolerant reaction you get.

I also would not be so quick to draw a connection between knowledge and liberalism. Of course, this is my opinion, but I think that liberalism is largely based on emotion, while conservatism is based on reason and logic. You probably disagree.

You think that more education means being more liberal and caring more for other people. Have they really convinced you that conservatives want to starve babies and kick little old grandmothers out on the street? C'mon! We are every bit as compassionate. The difference is that the left treats people, especially women and minorities, as poor little disadvantaged children, who can't get through life without government doing it all for them. Conservatives want to get government out of the way because we believe that in America, everyone is capable of making the most out of their lives. It is we who believe in true equality.

You think professors should be trusted at face value? You think that their opinions have added validity? I disagree. Book learning and degrees do not equate with life experience and common sense.

Finally, you mention the assault on "progressive" professors by the "radical" right. I suggest you do a little research into the word "progressive". I remember it well during the Cold War. That was how the Communists described themselves. Today, it seems many left-wing folks are using the term again instead of describing themselves as liberals. As for the radical right, I don't know who they are, just as people on the left don't know what a radical leftist is. Radical is a term we throw at each other's side thinking it doesn't apply to our side. (I readily confess that I use it to describe people like Ward Churchhill.) It is interesting though that those on the left have so many negative things to say about America, while those on the right praise our country. But assuming there is a "radical right", what do they influence? The left has the universities, the press, Hollywood, the TV networks etc. All the right has is basically talk radio (which the Democratic Party would like to destroy with their "Fairness Doctrine".)

I do not propose the elimination of left wing professors, only that their activities be exposed to the public. It is our business how our tax dollars are being spent to educate our children. No one, not even Ward Churchill is being carted off to jail, not in this country.

Anyway, I appreciate your input, and I have checked out your website.

Conservative Wordsmith said...

My response to liberalcollegekid:

The problem with the liberal interpretation of the word "tolerance" is that liberals seem to associate tolerance too often with those who should not be tolerated. Tolerance does not mean embracing evil thinkers, or their philosophies.

Trusting someone based on their academic achievements is never a good idea. There are many intellectual scholars, take Christopher Hitchens, author of the bestseller God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, for example. Should I trust the atheistic secular humanist philosophy expressed in his book just because he is an intelligent scholar? The obvious answer is "no".

I hope that you are not actually as naive as you seem to be when I read your comment. I would like to see you graduate from college with a truly open mind. In my experience, I have learned that many people that identify themselves as being liberals are some of the most closed-minded people I have ever met. They want to bombard you with their leftist liberal words and ideologies, but when you try to debate their position, they simply will not listen at all.

If you truly want to have an open mind, and be a compassionate, tolerant human being, then how about displaying some interest in the ideas of conservatism? You seem to feel that a university's proper place is to teach students that they should consider all aspects of an idea. If you honestly believe this, then begin by trying to understand the conservative viewpoint. You only defend liberalism because it is what you are familiar with. As an intelligent liberal college student, don't you think that it is your responsibility to familiarize yourself with the opposing ideas of conservatism? Then, and only then, will you be able to demonstrate to yourself, and to others, that you are indeed a tolerant person.

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