Latest posts by Nancy Thorner and Bonnie O'Neil (see all)
- Social Engineering – Transferring Parental Control of Children to Teachers - January 24, 2018
- When Media Becomes Part of the Problem - October 31, 2017
- Political Climate Fostering Intolerance and Anger at Colleges and Universities - May 7, 2017
Obviously, Liberals have a very different philosophy than Conservatives. That is why a growing number of people are concerned about the unusual and disproportionate inequality that exists between Liberal professors and Conservative professors within America’s colleges and universities today. When there is an inequality as great as nine liberal professors to one Conservative professor in a college, it is impossible to believe the students are receiving a fair and balanced education. Parents and the public are seeking answers as to why the imbalance exists and calling upon universities to examine how to create a more balanced environment and learning experience for their children.
Numerous questions are being discussed in the public arena, such as reasons for the severe inequality, and how it has or potentially might affect students and ultimately society in general. Parents are asking why they should pay outrageous sums of money for high tuition, only to discover their children are being indoctrinated by professors who criticize any and all of their conservative viewpoints, and thus create family controversies.
Parents state they expect colleges to teach facts and methods, but not specific philosophical ideals that are known to be controversial. Complaints are mounting that classes have become places for indoctrination to a specific liberal viewpoint, and conservative students are ridiculed for making any comments that disagree with the professors’ opinions. Parents believe it is most important for professors to explain both sides of controversial issues equally to give students the opportunity to discern for themselves what they believe. Success beyond college is often determined by more than just knowledge, but by students who have been given the advantage of hearing and knowing both sides of the political debate, and thus able to better understand others’ opinions and their frame of reference, while comfortably committed to their own belief system.
In a provocative article, Why Are So Many College Professors Politically Liberal, the author claims students seeking professorships are those whose views are already liberal in nature. Furthermore, professors who wish to indoctrinate, rather than educate, are not nearly as common as some people would indicate. That may be true, but evidence also indicates there is a definite bias in hiring practices by most universities, especially Ivy League schools.
The most unreasonable falsehood by liberals is to claim that modern conservatism is so shot through with anti-intellectualism that it should not be surprising when intellectuals (liberals) want nothing to do with conservatism and certainly aren’t attracted to it. This narrow, rather supercilious viewpoint is witnessed in a liberal’s response to Conservative thinker William F. Buckley, who was noted for representing the best of serious conservative thought. Liberals, rather than respect or provide information that factually contradicted Buckley’s viewpoints, instead chose to personally attack Buckley’s character rather than his ideas, in order to defend their liberal positions. They even had the audacity to claim Buckley’s viewpoints were “preening, self-righteous, borderline bigoted nonsense.”
The explanation presented by Chris Mooney in his article — Yes, Liberals Rule the Ivory Tower — But Why? — acclaims academia is more liberal than America because these are the individuals who prefer academia, just like other professions attract a larger proportion of conservatives, i.e., the clergy and the military. As to the reason: The ivory tower’s well-known political reputation has encouraged a kind of self-selection effect. Conservatives gravitate away from it and liberals towards it. Thus, people who are godless and liberal tend to seek university and college positions and are comfortable there.
Dr. Wood, a political conservative and a former professor of anthropology and associate provost at Boston University, believes that the claim Conservatives are self-selecting other careers is but part of the story. It is the reason behind the self-selecting claim that is most important. Conservative know they will be shunned, ignored, minimized, and/or not able to advance. Dr. Wood made this logical statement that is hard to dispute:
“The most effective way to keep out a whole class of people who are unwelcome isn’t to bar entry, but to make sure that very few in that class will want to enter.”
Intolerance of Conservatives
It is not a secret within the halls of higher learning that Conservatives are generally not invited to the parties, not awarded grants, nor usually promoted within the university. Conservatives are left to wonder how they might respond to negative jokes about issues or people they respect. Obviously, it would be a difficult decision for a graduate student to apply for any job that places him in a daily uncomfortable position among his peers, who smugly brag about their disdain for conservative thought.
Should the public care whether Liberals discriminate against Conservatives and thus create a serious imbalance of political, social, and spiritual opinions in the classrooms? Yes, everyone, including liberals, should be very concerned about prejudice wherever it is found. Writing in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Dr. Wood criticized liberal social scientists for failing to heed their own extensive research into the harm of bias. They violate their own principles, blinded as they are to how bias has a negative impact on the students they teach and society in general.
A lack of political and religious diversity among college teachers robs students of passionate discussions from both a liberal and conservative perspective. Students who enter the workplace will be unprepared to understand the full extent of controversial issues which will confront them at some point. Students benefit from a diversity of thought, especially when presented by teachers who can passionately address the class with their own well-thought-out opinions. Diversity in professors, subjects, styles of teaching, and especially differences about controversial issues, tend to benefit students. It promotes creative thinking and provides an opportunity and advantage for the student to hear both viewpoints, thus helping them arrive at their own conclusion.
The question is not whether the imbalance should remain. It must not, because all schools should equally represent the diversity that exists within the public domain. The problem is how to correct the injustice of schools already dominated by liberals and liberal thought.. Change is difficult, especially when those guilty of causing the imbalance are unwilling to give up the dominance they currently enjoy.
One question often asked is how did this highly liberal imbalance occur in the first place. Some claim it began with the debate and/or opposition to the Viet Nam War. That war became a catalyst for radicals to create chaos right here in America, and ended up with radicals bombing facilities in the United States, causing deaths. Some of those activists who failed in their revolt and thus goal to fundamentally change America ended up in our colleges. Their battle plan failed, but their zeal to reinvent America lived on. They went into the field of academia, where they waged a quieter war in classrooms by practicing indoctrination tactics on young, vulnerable students. Changing America’s direction was much easier and more effective being a professor than a radical fighter who bombed American entities.
Examples of former left-wing radicals who became professors in America’s Schools
Kathy Boudin was convicted in 1984 of felony murder for her participation in the Brink’s robbery of 1981 which resulted in the killings of two police officers and a security guard. A law partner of Kathy Boudin’s father arranged for a plea bargain. Boudin pled guilty to one count of felony murder and robbery in exchange for one 20-years to life sentence. Boudin’s companion wasn’t so lucky. David Gilbert received 70-years-to-life and is still incarcerated. With their jail sentence looming, the couple allowed their son to be adopted by William Ayers and his wife Bernardine Dohm, both former terrorists who by this time were already respected university professors. Released from prison in 2003 (her partner is still in jail) Boudin landed a coveted teaching position at Columbia University. As a professor at Columbia in 2013, Boudin was named the 2013 Sheinberg Scholar-in-Residence at NYU Law School.
Perhaps the most famous example of a radical who became a professor is Bill Ayers. Ayers was a leader of the Weather Underground bombers in the 1960’s. Bill Ayers (now retired from the University of Chicago) and his wife, Bernadine Dohrn (also a former Sheinberg Scholar-in-Residence at NYU), both became professors. Dohrn’s tenure on the FBI’s Most Wanted List never dented the confidence of the University of Illinois or Northwestern University to hire her. Ayers and Dohrn have long maintained that their bombing campaigns never deliberately targeted people. Ayers, Dohrn and Howard Machtniger, also a Weather Underground bomber, spent most of the 1970’s “underground” attempting to avoid prosecution on a variety of charges, including a foiled attempt to bomb the Detroit Police Officers Association Building. Nevertheless, before retiring, Machtinger also became a professor at North Carolina Central University and Teaching Fellows Director of North Carolina, Chapel Hill’s School of Education.
Former Black Panther party grandee, Ericka Huggins, although acquitted, was brought to trial on charges of “aiding and abetting” the murder of Aex Rackley, a fellow Panther they wrongly believed to be a police informant. Huggins later became a professor of women’s studies at California State University and a professor of sociology at Laney and Berkley City College.
Susan Rosenberg a Weather Underground member, spent 16 years in prison for her involvement in the Brinks robbery. Not long after Bill Clinton commuted her sentence, Rosenberg took a position teaching at John Jay College in the Criminal Justice Interdisciplinary Studies Program.
Another Weather Underground member, Eleanor Raskin, fled after being indicted for bomb making in the 1970’s, but later the charge were dropped. Raskin became an associate professor at Albany Law School. Her husband, Mark Rudd, a Weather leader who fled and went underground, was eventually convicted in 1977, and sentenced to a two years’ probation. Raskin later taught at Central New Mexico Community College.
Most readers will remember the lefty college professor, Ward Churchill. He’s the former University of Colorado ethnic studies professor who claimed that the United States deserved the September 11, 2001 attacks because of “ongoing genocidal American imperialism”. Although administrators at CU-Boulder concluded that Churchill’s obscure 2001 essay, “On the Justice of Roosting Chickens,” was protected under the First Amendment and the university would have to keep tenured professor Ward Churchill employed, Churchill was eventually fired in 2007 for (unrelated) plagiarism and fabricated research.
Fairness only a pipe dream?
As stated by Michael Moynihan in “How 1960’s Radicals Ended up Teaching Your Kids”:
“So go ahead and commit a crime, “expropriate” a bank. Just make sure you leave an incoherent manifesto at the scene, claiming that you are shooting your guns and filling your pockets with loot ‘for the people.”, because when caught, you won’t be a convicted murderer, but a “political prisoner.” And when released, you too can be a college professor.”
This isn’t how it should be. The high cost of education has caused many students to end up with huge college-related debts. Shouldn’t both parents and students be receiving the biggest bang for all the bucks they spend on higher education? Certainly all objective people can agree there needs to be more fairness in hiring practices for professors. We must begin demanding fairness in presenting students a fair version of all controversial issues. Parents and all citizens should demand our schools provide not only a quality education, but one that promotes equality as well.
How can the biased liberal agenda in colleges be curtained and/or stopped?
Public awareness is an important ingredient to stop the biased hiring practices. Facts are our friends, but the media tends to protect the liberal agenda and those who promote it. It will take concerned citizens everywhere to voice their strong objections before we can expect change to happen.
One recent story emerged that is both discouraging and encouraging. Before becoming a Professor at the University of Illinois, James Kilgore had been a member of the Symbionese Liberation Army in the 1970s. He spent five years in prison for his part in a bank robbery in which a victim was murdered. When the story emerged, the University fired him. However, the University Trustees found a way to rehire him. They determined individual campus units are free to hire adjunct, part time instructors. Thus we discover the lengths liberals will go to hire their own. However, the action of one man might be an answer to how the public can force colleges to rethink their policy of hiring extreme liberals, especially those with criminal pasts. The Chicago Tribune reports that at least one major donor plans to withdraw his $4.5 million in donations to the school, if Kilgore is allowed to teach. Hill, who has been a major donor to the school, explained that he “no longer wished to be associated with the University of Illinois after the board’s decision to rehire a former radical and criminal, but would make the money available only if the university “does the right thing”, and not rehire Kilgore.
Mr. Hills’ statement is what we all must demand from our colleges and universities: “Do the right thing”. Let’s all hold liberals within our colleges to their alleged commitment to diversity, which they prefer to apply to every subject other than the diversity which allows Conservative political thought to be on an equal footing to their own.
When the people demand equality and fairness in universities’ hiring practices, we can expect a positive change in the right direction. Certainly society deserves our graduates to be open minded, with a complete education that includes knowing both sides of each controversial issue.
[This article first appeared on Illinois Review]