The leftists are coming, the leftists are coming. No, wait. I am wrong. They are already here, not least of all in our universities where they coexist with postmodernists but very few conservatives. Phooey on diversity, they say, and then they do other things, extreme things like having students learn and recite the following pledge of allegiance.
“I pledge allegiance to wrap myself in the flag of the United States against anything un-American and to the Republicans for which it stands, two nations, under Jesus, rich against poor, with curtailed liberty and justice for all except blacks, homosexuals, women who want abortions, communists, welfare queens, tree-huggers, feminazis, illegal immigrants, children of illegal immigrants, and you, if you don’t watch your step.”
The perpetrator here is Dr. Charles Angeletti of Metropolitan State University in Denver. The original source of the story, a blog called Campus Reform, quotes him as saying the pledge is a “spoof” he uses in his American Civilization class to engender critical thought about national leadership. The words strike me as more nearly a rant meant to indoctrinate.
My own concern is not just that this one person is going too far in the classroom in simplistic, ultra-biased ways, as some students argue, but that universities do not harbor sufficient ideological diversity to offset such influences. University leftism is widespread, as we see in another quote:
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“The power base of the left in America is now in universities, since the trade unions have largely been killed off,” said the late, widely influential philosopher Richard Rorty in The Professors, a book in which David Horowitz explores absolutely astonishing professorial overreaching. As much is demonstrated by surveys showing the vast majority of professors in most universities are Democrats and by identity-based courses that too often dismiss traditional Western values as nothing more than an attempt by advantaged white men to exert power.
Even in the kind of political science courses you take for a master’s degree at the University of Colorado, Denver, you'll find a professor who thinks the pseudoscientific, humanly confused Karl Marx was right in his predictions about our ultimate destiny even though efforts in his name have so far killed off 100 million innocents. Krista Kafer, a friend of mine, wrote about this in the Denver Post, also taking note of a professor who thought there was no good or evil, just “social constructs.”
What we have in this example is a postmodernist of the kind that says there is no truth, just cultural beliefs. Of course, this assertion would then, as a matter of logic, also be nothing more than a cultural belief, although it happens to be a common one that can foster horrific consequences. After all, supposing nothing is finally moral or immoral, just a matter of a belief in a world in which all beliefs are more or less equal, means that any deed is acceptable. Goodbye, civilization.
In The Closing of the American Mind, a book published in 1987, an outstanding University of Chicago professor named Allan Bloom warned of something like this nihilism taking strong hold in universities and persuasively argued there is something counter to such relativist tomfoolery, something once known as wisdom.
Conservatism, you see, is not just about politics or economics, but about a certain sense of the world that appreciates the best of the past, and there are those who see the good in that. At the University of Colorado at Boulder, some students complained of inescapable liberal leanings in most classrooms and, in response to their arguments, the institution is now bringing in a visiting conservative scholar each year for at least a few years. It might seem a step in the right direction, but think about it for a moment — a single conservative? Even if there are a handful of others on the faculty, doesn’t that say something disturbing about the range of intellectual life at too many of our universities?
Jay Ambrose is an op-ed columnist for Tribune News Service. Readers may email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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