some thoughts on ideology in higher education

This issue is important to me from a macro view of society and for personal reasons.  I have many fond memories of the time spent at university while an undergraduate and then later as a graduate student.  Meeting many students from other countries and other regions of the US, interacting with various professors and instructors (young and old, men and women) in many fields, the various courses taken, and the use of the large libraries on campus – these were very positive experiences for me and helped to broaden my perspective and make me aware of so much.

One might think that today’s colleges and universities are places of open inquiry and open and free debate; a true marketplace of ideas where independent thinking is encouraged. Such is not the case on most campuses these days and this is true of both public and private institutions of higher learning.

Before presenting our thoughts on this issue, let’s define the problem and for that we quote extensively from one of our earliest essays (from June, 2012) and, yes, it is pretty blunt (as many of our earliest essays were).  Note the goal of education – this is critical.

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An Open Letter to United States Educators, Teachers and Students: What is The True Purpose of Education?

“The goal of education is not the unquestioning acceptance of any single interpretation, but the development of an individual’s critical abilities.”

The above quote is from the inside front cover of the Cliffs Notes on T. S. Eliot’s Major Poems & Plays – Cliffs Notes Incorporated, Lincoln Nebraska, 1992 Printing.

I quite agree with this view of the goal (purpose) of education.  This was the prevailing view among responsible US educators until the late 1960s.

Or is the correct purpose of education the indoctrination of students’ minds with/in aggressive feminism, identity politics, political correctness, multiculturalism, so-called gender studies, and Marxist economic and social theories?

To educators, I say it is high time for some objective introspection and honesty with yourselves.  (And, honesty begins in one’s own mind.)  Have you, in zealous pursuit of your agenda(s), done justice to the formation of these young people’s minds, and the development of their critical abilities?  (I think not.)

To college and high school students, dear young people, I say you do not have to buy into, nor believe, the unspoken message (claptrap) that “liberals know best“.  Be aware, that liberals are some of the most narrow minded – really close minded –  people on the planet.  They have very serious problems coming to terms with any real world evidence that contradicts their fervently – even passionately –  held views.

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So, if many of today’s students appear to be confused on various contemporary challenges and issues facing our nation (the US), are they being confused by what they are exposed to on the college campuses?!

It is worth noting that many home schooled young people after they go away to college succumb to peer pressure and by the time they graduate have adopted many of the politically correct positions of their peers.  This must be very disheartening to their parents who have made such large sacrifices over many years to home school their children and protect them from indoctrination.  Apparently, home schooling does not necessarily build the strength of character needed to resist both peer pressure and bullying by aggressive professors.

So what?  Why does this matter?

Continuing with the same failed approaches to our problems will not solve these problems. The challenges facing the US are not going away and in fact these are only getting worse although many do not realize this or do not care.  We need now and will need in the future critical, independent thinkers to view the challenges and problems confronting us objectively, free of myopic ideological biases, and who will also be able to come up with and consider alternative solutions.  We need individuals who can think “outside of the box”. The ideologically driven colleges are not giving us such individuals, at least not in sufficient numbers.  (Again, consider the goal or purpose of education discussed above.)

We need less ideology and more objectivity, more realism and more pragmatism in our young people.  We need problem solvers, not social theorists.  When the ship is taking on water, you need to start the pumps and prepare for launching the life boats.  You simply do not have the luxury of debating the issue or theorizing about it interminably.

The reality is that the Leftist agenda, the ideology of the Left does not deliver what it claims that it can.  It is time for society to reject this destructive nonsense.

a dose of reality

It is also worth bearing in mind that many professors and associate/assistant professors in academia are insulated from the real world.  These folks inhabit a world of theory and many are effectively disconnected from reality.  Let me be clear here.  This being disconnected from reality applies to many professors in the social sciences and some in the humanities who push their agendas.  Many of the professors in the physical sciences (including engineering) and business (accounting, marketing, finance) departments have actually worked in the real world, the real economy, and have real world experiences that temper their judgement.  But many professors in the social sciences and some in the humanities have little meaningful real world experience.

We now would like to give these ideologically driven educators a reality check.  The US is a very diverse, pluralistic society.  If we desire social cohesion in our society, we need to start stressing the things we have in common as citizens, even as human beings.  Celebrating differences is fine except when it distracts us from the recognition that we have more in common than we have differences.  And, constantly emphasizing our differences does distract us from the recognition of the many things we have in common.  If we continue to stress our differences, then we will continue to see the balkanization of our society. Identity politics, multiculturalism, etc. bring about an “us versus them” mindset which is not conducive to social harmony.  It is preferable to foster a perspective that “we” all have a stake in our country’s future and that “we” can by working together make it a better society for all.  What we see in society today and on the college campuses are efforts to keep antagonisms between groups alive and thus keep the people divided.  No wonder we cannot effectively combat the out of control, and increasingly despotic government we have because we are fighting amongst ourselves.  (Divide and conquer is a classic stratagem of the Left.)

Some young women and young men are standing up in the classroom to abusive ideologically driven professors.  Making their disagreement with the liberal orthodoxy (“dogma” is perhaps a more fitting term) known has a price.  Vindictive professors often punish such independent voices with poor grades even if the student’s exam performance and term papers warrant higher grades.  The reality is this:  Those professors and instructors who punish dissenting students with poor grades and humiliating comments during class are childish, cowardly, and unethical.

This leads us to say that society must revisit this whole concept of tenure for professors at our colleges and universities.  We need to weed out the bad apples and this may have to be done wholesale (on a large-scale).  If the chancellors, provosts and university presidents resist this, then these can be replaced as well.  Of course, this won’t happen.  But, there must be a check on ideologically driven educators.

In closing, let me add that if you know an ideologically driven professor, or associate professor, you could forward on to him or her a link to this essay.

Copyright 2014 –

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