Higher Ed Has Become a Threat to America

From The Wall Street Journal:

America faces a formidable range of calamities: crime out of control, borders in chaos by design, children poorly educated while sexualized and politicized against parental opposition, unconstitutional censorship, a press that does government PR rather than oversight, our institutions and corporations debased in the name of “diversity, equity and inclusion”—and more. To these has been added an outbreak of virulent antisemitism.

Every one of these degradations can be traced wholly or in large part to a single source: the corruption of higher education by radical political activists.

Children’s test scores have plummeted because college education departments train teachers to prioritize “social justice” over education. Censorship started with one-party campuses shutting down conservative voices. The coddling of criminals originated with academia’s devotion to Michel Foucault’s idea that criminals are victims, not victimizers. The drive to separate children from their parents begins in longstanding campus contempt for the suburban home and nuclear family. Radicalized college journalism departments promote far-left advocacy. Open borders reflect pro-globalism and anti-nation state sentiment among radical professors. DEI started as a campus ruse to justify racial quotas. Campus antisemitism grew out of ideologies like “anticolonialism,” “anticapitalism” and “intersectionality.”

Never have college campuses exerted so great or so destructive an influence. Once an indispensable support of our advanced society, academia has become a cancer metastasizing through its vital organs. The radical left is the cause, most obviously through the one-party campuses having graduated an entire generation of young Americans indoctrinated with their ideas.

And there are other ways. Academia has a monopoly on training for the most influential professions. The destructive influence of campus schools of education and journalism already noted is matched in the law, medicine, social work, etc. Academia’s suppression of the Constitution causes still more damage. Hostility to the Constitution leads to banana-republic shenanigans: suppression of antigovernment speech, the press’s acting as mouthpiece for government, law enforcement used to harass opponents of the government.

Higher education by and for political radicals was foreseen and banned by the American Association of University Professors, which in a celebrated 1915 policy statement warned teachers “against taking unfair advantage of the student’s immaturity by indoctrinating him with the teacher’s own opinions.” The AAUP already understood that political indoctrination would stamp out opposing views, which means the end of rational analysis and debate, the essential core of higher education. The 1915 statement is still a recognized professional standard—except that almost everywhere it is ignored, at least until the public is looking.

Optimists see signs of hope in growing public hostility to campus foolishness, but radical control of the campuses becomes more complete every day as older professors retire and are replaced by more radicals. A bellwether: The membership of the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education—which represents the enforcers of radical orthodoxy—has tripled in the past three years.

An advanced society can’t tolerate the capture of its educational system by a fringe political sect that despises its Constitution and way of life. We have no choice: We must take back control of higher education from cultural vandals who have learned nothing from the disastrous history of societies that have implemented their ideas.

. . . .

Personnel is policy. Effective reform means only one thing: getting those political activists out of the classrooms and replacing them with academic thinkers and teachers. (No, that isn’t the same as replacing left with right.) Nothing less will do. Political activists have been converting money intended for higher education to an unauthorized use—advancing their goal of transforming America. That is tantamount to embezzlement. While we let it continue we are financing our own destruction as a society.

But how can we stop them? State lawmakers can condition continued funding on the legitimate use of that money and install new campus leadership mandated to replace professors who are violating the terms of their employment. Though only possible in red states, this would bring about competition between corrupt institutions and sound ones. Employers would soon notice the difference between educated and indoctrinated young people. Legislatures in Florida, Texas and North Carolina have begun to take steps to reform their universities, but only at Florida’s New College is a crucial restructuring of the faculty under way.

But the only real solution is for more Americans to grasp the depth of the problem and change their behavior accordingly. Most parents and students seem to be on autopilot: Young Jack is 18, so it’s time for college. His family still assumes that students will be taught by professors who are smart, well-informed and with broad sympathies. No longer. Professors are now predominantly closed-minded, ignorant and stupid enough to believe that Marxism works despite overwhelming historical evidence that it doesn’t. If enough parents and students gave serious thought to the question whether this ridiculous version of a college education is still worth four years of a young person’s life and tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars, corrupt institutions of higher education would collapse, creating the space for better ones to arise.

Link to the rest at The Wall Street Journal (Sorry if you encounter a paywall)

20 thoughts on “Higher Ed Has Become a Threat to America”

  1. For anyone who hasn’t yet come across The Free Press, a news organization founded by Bari Weiss (an editor who left The New York Times due to antisemitism), I recommend it as a way to find some real in-depth investigative reporting sorely lacking from most news media these days. In case anyone confuses this with conservativism, Bari has stated that she is a liberal lesbian.

    My apologies if I’ve mentioned the FP before but clearly not everyone has noticed. The link is https://www.thefp.com/. And there was a great piece recently about the state of the publishing industry. Sorry, PG, I should have alerted you to it.

  2. WSJ may have to dumb down their content for this current crop of college graduates. How many of them can follow an argument, much less come to an independent conclusion that’s not based solely on the identity of the author?

  3. The OP is actually a good summary of what is going on.

    There are many books describing how the Universities have been corrupted by Woke Barbarians trying to destroy Western Liberal Society.

    This book goes into the history of the Marxist takeover of the Universities. Read the sample and see what I mean.

    America’s Cultural Revolution: How the Radical Left Conquered Everything

    This is a short documentary about the New College of Florida.

    The Fight for New College

    BTW, I’ve stated many times that every University is one class action suit away from being asset stripped, bulldozed and turned into Yuppie condos.

    I use that in my stuff about The Billionaire.

    But I digress.

    • The universities *are* a threat to the country for reasons that have nothing to (directly) do with conservatism, wokeism, or whatever, but rather for two much bigger failings that prominent before the war switched the discussion.

      1- The most eggregious is the chasm between what society needs from higher education (useful graduates) and what the big name institutions have been churning out (politicians and activists) in numbers so abundant not even fast food joints can hire them and instead they hope the gerontocracy free them from the money they wasted on useless degrees. Meanwhile the tech world brain drains the best and brightest from all over to the tune of 484,927 (in 2023 alone) and still wants for another half milion a year. The labor market sets salaries by value and supply (or lack thereof) so consider this:


      2- The second failing of the big colleges is adjacent: colleges are supposed to teach their students to think for themselves and how to navigate the outside world. Instead they are being taught conformity with orthodoxy and cocooned in “safe places”. Essentially infantilizing them. That does them no favors when they wander out into the real world expecting to be catered to.

      The country is facing a labor shortage but warm bodies with a useless degree and a massive debt load don’t face a good future. And begging uncle sugah to take care of them is proving as fruitless as anybody versed in the real world expected. Whining and name-calling pays no bills.

      • prominent before the war switched the discussion.

        What war? If you mean the latest Israeli conflict, that’s not a war, and has nothing to do with seeing that there is something wrong.

        – The rebuilding of the New College of Florida started long before that tragedy.

        Read the book sample, watch the documentary, and it will explain what happened.

        What’s interesting, is that Rufo is willing to work to make things happen, where so many people like Shellenberger will write the great books pointing out the problems, but can’t work politically to actually fix things.

        Limiting the Woke? | Christopher Rufo | EP 335

        • The war between camps in the *US*.

          Several battles ongoing between “always believe the woman” and “always believe Hamas”. Victim vs victim, who has the bigger claim to sympathy? One side does have the law, morality, and ethics on their side but in the victimhood bixing match none of that counts, not in Academia and not at the UN.

          Round one went ” from the river to the sea” but round two is still playing out.

    • The author is John Ellis, professor emeritus of German literature at the University of California, Santa Cruz and author of “The Breakdown of Higher Education: How It Happened, the Damage It Does, and What Can Be Done.”

      • Only the last part matters and the answer is nothing. Just walk away.

        There’s more to useful education than the Ivy league and other big schools. Starting with smaller regional colleges, 2 year colleges, tech institutes, and other “vocational” educational operations.

        Or, the students could go to other international schools.
        Educational services is (for now) a free market.

        Don’t fight them; ignore them.
        Live and let die.

    • You clearly haven’t been a university student in the last few decades. It was no shock whatsoever to me that college students, even the ones at “elite” universities, were publicly baying for the blood of Jewish people. I have personally experienced professors casually comparing Israel to Nazi Germany. This is a leftwing talking point, and it doesn’t require great effort to get them to say this. It’s as natural for them as breathing. They spout crap straight from the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

      You don’t hear this talk at Trump rallies. Let’s not pretend the media wouldn’t have pounced and shouted from the rooftops if the MAGA crowd had spoken the same hateful BS the so-called intellectual elite at our colleges let drip from their mouths. This is very much a leftwing thing; my teachers wasted a lot of time on this nonsense. I point blank asked one of them if he could teach on topics I was paying him to teach us. I helpfully gave suggestions for class-relevant topics. He was flummoxed by this radical notion, and tellingly, never took me up on it. But I know all about how much he hated George Bush.

      Then there was the teacher who brought Cubans and their chaperone to tell us how wonderful life is under Castro. How eating rations is no big deal at all. The teacher insisted Americans only hate communism because we don’t want to pay five dollars for oranges. Like we’re spoiled brats or something. Oddly, she got cagey when I asked her how much money she makes. I still wonder how the proles were supposed to make out if nutritious food was unaffordable under her precious scheme, but now I know they want us to eat bugs … oh, and the rations the Cubans “enjoyed.”

      Have you not paid attention to even comedians, e.g., Seinfeld explaining they will not do shows at college campuses any more? Or how the conservative guests who come to the institutions-of-exploring-and-testing-ideas have to pay for security, because the students at these institutions are not able to comport themselves when hearing opposing ideas? You aren’t aware of the federal judges who won’t hire Yale Law School graduates because YLS students throw violent tantrums instead of having civilized debates when dealing with ideological opposites?

      The presidents of Harvard, MIT, and Penn were all asked the following question under oath at today’s congressional hearing on antisemitism:

      Does calling for the genocide of Jews violate [your university’s] code of conduct or rules regarding bullying or harassment? The answers they gave reflect the profound moral bankruptcy of Presidents Gay, Magill and Kornbluth. Representative Elise Stefanik was so shocked with the answers that she asked each of them the same question over and over again, and they gave the same answers over and over again.

      In short, they said:

      It ‘depends on the context’ and ‘whether the speech turns into conduct,’ that is, actually killing Jews.

      This could be the most extraordinary testimony ever elicited in the Congress, certainly on the topic of genocide, which to remind us all is:

      “the deliberate killing of a large number of people from a particular nation or ethnic group with the aim of destroying that nation or group”

      The presidents’ answers reflect the profound educational, moral and ethical failures that pervade certain of our elite educational institutions due in large part to their failed leadership.

      Don’t take my word for it.

      You must watch the following three minutes. By the end, you will be where I am. They must all resign in disgrace. If a CEO of one of our companies gave a similar answer, he or she would be toast within the hour. Why has antisemitism exploded on campus and around the world?

      Because of leaders like Presidents Gay, Magill and Kornbluth who believe genocide depends on the context.

      To think that these are the leaders of Ivy League institutions that are charged with the responsibility to educate our best and brightest. …

      You haven’t been paying attention if you don’t know how virulent and insidious a poison the universities have become. I’ll leave you with this: Orwell reviewed “The Road to Serfdom,” which demonstrated how socialism leads to three paths: fascism, communism, and Nazism. Orwell was a socialist. A few years later he wrote “1984.” If he was able to confront the evils of his own ideology, I don’t know why it’s asking too much for colleges to do the same.

      In the meantime, I’m pleased to see employers are starting to set aside the college degree requirement. Starve this beast.

      • Not all colleges are that way, just the big ones on the coasts. Plus Oberlin.
        Boy, is Oberlin twisted.
        There’s this business-focused piece online on what schools to ignore the graduates from:


        It’s not just law school graduates getting blacklisted by the real world.

        Oh, and note their prices.

        Smaller colleges are still focused on teaching instead of indoctrination.
        And they are cheaper; graduates don’t have to build up more debt than buying a California house.

        And, of course, good careers don’t even require a big name diploma. Some professions do fine with two years of *actual* education. Again, the Labor department chart says it all.

        The real issue isn’t the ideological wars but the employability of the unwary victims.

      • I watched those congressional hearings. If we take the university presidents at their word, they would allow a march by Students for the KKK calling for the lynching of blacks. As the presidents of the universities said, it would depend on the context.

  4. (shrug)
    That’a a pretty mild OP.
    (Going political would be to tally up theories like “math is racist”, ” grading is evil”, or the equivalent like “deport all migrants”.)

    TPV has always covered academic matters, across different categories like this:


    As PG points out, he doesn’t necessarily agree with everything interesting he posts. Diversity of opinion is a good thing, if nothing else, to go beyond the MSNBC and FOX echo chambers. Sometimes the other guys have a point or three worth considering. Or debating instead of blanket condemning.

    An explanation of where the OP is off the mark might be useful, considering the turmoil in the “name” colleges over which victims matter and which don’t.

    And, lets face it, if you want to consider the catfights over book banning you really have to go to the root of the discord. Like, where did librarians get the idea they are above THE GOLDEN RULE?

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