by David Horowitz
The eighth volume of the series of my writings called The Black Book of the American Left is about one of the under-appreciated tragedies of our times: the successful campaign of the left to subvert the curricula of collegiate institutions and transform entire academic departments and schools--including Schools of Education--into doctrinal training centers for their social and political causes. This transformation of the educational system, in turn, has underpinned the steady dismantling of America's social contract, which has been the ongoing project of the left since the 1960s....
...Progressive activists have taken control of liberal arts curricula and reverted them to their 19th-century origins as instruments of religious indoctrination. ... These "progressive" doctrines, however, share with traditional religions the same impulse to redeem a fallen world and to suppress what they regard as hostile--therefore heretical--ideas in the name of human progress.
One can measure the current corruption of the academic profession through a summary observation about the views of academic historians that was published in the peer-reviewed Journal of the Historical Society. The summary appears in an article written by Jennifer Delton, a tenured history professor at Skidmore College--a top-tier liberal arts school. It describes a purported orthodoxy in historians' views of Cold War anti-communism.
According to Delton, this historical consensus regards Cold War anti-communism as an irrational phenomenon and a species of political persecution. Equally as striking as this problematic characterization is Delton's assumption that an orthodoxy about so controversial an issue can and should be a normal condition of academic scholarship.
Here are her words: "However fiercely historians disagree about the merits of American communism [sic!], they almost universally agree that the post-World War II red scare signaled a rightward turn in American politics. The consensus is that an exaggerated, irrational fear of communism, bolstered by a few spectacular spy cases, created an atmosphere of persecution and hysteria that was exploited and fanned by conservative opportunists such as Richard Nixon and Joseph McCarthy. . . . We may add detail and nuance to this story, but this, basically, is what we tell our students about post-World II anti-communism, also known as McCarthyism." (emphasis added)
In other words, it is the professional opinion of this tenured professor, the editors of the Journal of the Historical Society and, apparently, academic historians generally that concern about a domestic communist threat during the Cold War was equivalent to "McCarthyism"--a witch-hunting mania about imaginary demons. This, according to Delton, is what academic historians "tell our students," and not as mere opinion but as a historical consensus, and thus an academic fact.
(Bernard Baruch was the George Soros of his day, a Rothschild agent. Here he is with two of his muppets.)
This consensus exists, apparently, in the face of easily established, indisputable facts that refute it: the fact that McCarthy was censured by an anti-communist Senate, including senators who sat on his committee; the fact that he was opposed by an anti-communist president, Dwight Eisenhower, and by anti-communist liberals such as Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., who wrote one of the seminal anti-communist books of the period, The Vital Center; or the proven fact that the federal government had been penetrated by communist agents at the time, and at the highest levels.
It goes without saying that no conservative scholar could agree with the conclusion of Professor Delton and her colleagues, and thus no conservative scholar could be readily regarded by the consensus she describes as a reasonable member of her profession.
To ideologues like Delton, the contents of this volume will seem an extreme view of what has taken place in American liberal arts colleges and graduate institutions. But to recognize the intellectual corruption of the contemporary academy is hardly what is extreme; what is extreme is the politicized state of academic discourse, the confusion of scholarship with propaganda, and therefore the widespread debasement of the academic enterprise. What is extreme is the general comfort level of the academic community with this travesty of scholarship and, worse, with the practice of indoctrinating students in the classroom.
The ramifications of this reversion to doctrinal instruction and pre-scientific standards of scholarship have been destructive not only to higher education but to society at large. Since collegiate institutions are the training grounds for all professions, this corruption has adversely affected a widespread array of policies, both foreign and domestic; it has warped cultural attitudes towards race and gender (see volumes 5 and 6 in this series); and it has intruded political biases into such civically crucial professions as the law, journalism and secondary school education.
The contents of this volume were immediately inspired by a campaign I conducted to counter these trends and promote a restoration of the academic values associated with the modern research university, in particular, the identification of scientific standards of inquiry with academic professionalism.5 The goal of the campaign, which lasted for roughly seven years and ultimately failed, could also be viewed as an attempt to restore a professional standard appropriate to education in a democratic society--that teachers should teach students how to think and not tell them what to think. This standard was established in a famous "Declaration on the Principles of Academic Tenure and Academic Freedom" issued by the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) in 1915, and until recently verbally embraced by all reputable academic institutions.
The campaign I organized to defend those principles was ferociously opposed by the tenured left, most strikingly by the very organization that had devised the original standard: the American Association of University Professors, whose governance had fallen into radical hands. Although my campaign failed, it revealed the extent of the AAUP's defection from its original purposes and its determination to protect a new professorial "right"--the "right" of faculty to indoctrinate their students. This was made indisputably clear in the AAUP's opposition to a crucial passage of the Declaration that I regularly cited in my campaign, and which had been adopted verbatim by Penn State University as its academic freedom policy. There can be no better introduction to the present volume than to recount the fate of this policy at the hands of the AAUP and its academic agents.
Known as HR 64, the Penn State policy read: "It is not the function of a faculty member in a democracy to indoctrinate his/her students with ready-made conclusions on controversial subjects. The faculty member is expected to train students to think for themselves, and to provide them access to those materials, which they need if they are to think intelligently. Hence, in giving instruction upon controversial matters the faculty member is expected to be of a fair and judicial mind, and to set forth justly, without supersession or innuendo, the divergent opinions of other investigators."
The AAUP's attack on this specific policy was launched in the winter of 2010, just after events in Pennsylvania convinced me of the futility of my reform efforts. Legislative hearings to inquire into the state of academic freedom in Pennsylvania--hearings in which I played a seminal role--were effectively subverted by the AAUP and the teacher unions, while the Republican Party and conservative groups that should have supported the reform effort sat on the sidelines. Without their active involvement, there was little more that I could do.