Colleges used to encourage the exchange of challenging ideas. Now faculty members who challenge students’ beliefs are being forced to leave the profession.
The students - the ones that forced these professors out out for views - are the future lawyers, judges, DAs, public defenders, political aides writing bills, and corporate legal counsels.
When restaurants decide to charge people based on skin color (already happening in New York), they will be the people arguing the legality of this. When lawyers are arrested for merely defending a politician, they will be the ones finding legal loopholes to let that happen. When protesters are arrested for being in the same area as a riot, given multi-year sentences for waving a flag, or detained for 2 years without a trial, they will be the lawyers making that case. When the new censorship bills roll out (see: online safety bill), they will be the people drafting the language and figuring our how to enforce it. And when the forced re-education camps are introduced (still hopefully theoretical), they will be the people deciding the constitutionality of it.
Law is always about 10-15 years downstream of culture. But make no mistake; they will take over most law firms, judiciaries, and positions of power. Even if culture shifts again in a different direction (and it won't for a long time, barring some major tragedy), the legal system will have people in it for a long time who believe the constitution is old-fashioned, and that free speech/ideas are wrongthink that needs to be punished.
When presented with a matter of personal advantage that would require abandoning principles, the human mind goes to work overtime to rationalize taking that advantage. Every participant must make an implicit or explicit decision with respect to whether he prefers winning ignobly over losing honorably. “For,” as famous sports writer Grantland Rice wrote, “when the One Great Scorer comes to write against your name, he marks—not that you won or lost—but how you played the game.”
Practically speaking, the best that those members not devoted to advancement by any means can do—those who decline to capitulate to those in circles of power and are willing to pay the price—is to defend themselves when their integrity requires it. In refusing to sacrifice a higher value to a lower one, and in doing so often ineluctably furthering the ends of the self-indulgent “winner” at a personal cost, the moral act of the defiant “loser” nevertheless has this beneficent attribute: it does more to advance the general welfare.
Historian David McCullough, in his Landon Lecture, Kansas State University, February 2002, cited a statement by John Adams that speaks to these divergent attitudes.
“In a letter to his wife, Abigail, written by Adams at Philadelphia in what seemed one of the darkest moments of the whole story (the American Revolution), and he knew how worried she was, how frightened she was of what the outcome of all this might be. And he said to her, ‘We can't guarantee success, but we can deserve it.’
“And when I read that I thought how different that is from our time, when all that matters is success, being number one, being at the top, irrespective of how you got there, what devices, what elbows and knees and the rest you used to get there. They're saying something exactly the reverse. And when I read that sentence, I thought what a mind he had and what a moral lesson that is.”
My last kid graduated from a very liberal campus in May. At the ceremony, we were lectured by the class speaker about the rot of capitalism and at the end of her speech she gave out her venmo and begged for money. We fled the campus and celebrated our end to a collective 12 years of college. We also celebrated our 3 conservative kids who'd survived in tact.
"Today, Winston & Strawn learned that a former summer associate published certain inflammatory comments regarding Hamas' recent terrorist attack on Israel and distributed it to the NYU Student Bar Association," the firm wrote in a statement on X, formerly known as Twitter.
"These recent comments are profoundly in conflict with Winston & Strawn's values as a firm. Accordingly, the Firm has rescinded the law student's offer of employment," Winston & Strawn added.
When our law firms and corporate law departments summon the same courage to stand up for decency and humanity as did Winston & Strawn, I'll take note and be impressed. Each and every one of these campus lunatics needs to pay a price for their depravity.
One of the few benefits of the censorship regimes and dogmatic intellectual regimes freezing the college's is that those who choose to escape are part of a new Wild West of ideas This can be exciting and different as new arguments are made, old ones reevaluated and new forces begin to grow and affect change. I would make a strong case that sub stack is a perfect example of this.
Why on earth would anyone send their child to one of these so-called elite universities?!
I’ve been a professor at a big 10 university in the Midwest for over 20 years now. I can honestly say that the university has changed so much since I first started that it’s almost unrecognizable.
One major way it’s changed is that the university did not have a collective politics when I first began my career. I knew that most faculty were on the left (as was I at that time), but it wasn’t explicitly baked into the institution like it is now. And the politics are no longer to the left of center—it’s to the far left. There are few conservative faculty on campus and those that are there are mostly closeted, like myself (frankly, I’m not particularly proud of this).
Another way it has changed is the quality of the students. To see how uneducated students are coming out of high school is astonishing. These students don’t know basic things, have poor critical thinking skills, don’t study, and do not read. And grade inflation is so rampant that grades have become meaningless. The grade inflation is especially bad among junior faculty, who often give A’s to entire classes.
The universities are, indeed, rotting from within. At this point, the only way it can be saved is by administrators who are willing to stand against the progressive faculty and parents refusing to send their children to these ideologically captured institutions. Sadly, I don’t see either one of these things happening anytime soon.
To say that I can hardly wait to retire is an understatement. On the positive side, I’m at least grateful to be in the Midwest. I imagine that the situation is much worse for heterodox faculty at universities on the west and east coast.
One of the many lessons learned over the last ten years that really blossomed during the pandemic was the fact that a huge number of college students are rats. Where once universities were a haven for critical thinking, the academe has become one big schoolyard with plenty of bullies.
The "Why?" factor has troubled me. I'm 69 years old and, as a child, the news of the day was discussed every night at the dinner table. My father's eighth grade education never stopped him from reading the papers, watching the news and asking us questions about what we thought regarding the Vietnam War, local politics, etc. He would voice a position he didn't really hold in order for us to figure out why we felt the way we did.
Have you ever seen a family in a restaurant actually talking to each other? Usually everyone is slouching as they look at their phone or exhibiting horrible table manners. Do we actually expect these surly specimens to break down an issue and defend a position that the mob opposes? I don't!
Yesterday, CEO, Bill Ackman not only demanded Harvard hand over a list of students who signed a letter blaming Israel for the attack but got 12 other CEOs to follow suit. THIS list will cancel these dangerous lemmings; they will not be hired by these companies. There's been a move to fire the President of NYU's law school after the many anti-semitic remarks she's made over time.
Perhaps, these rats and lemmings will learn something from this horrible time. Perhaps their parents need to get acquainted with their children and find out how they feel about important and yes, even trivial issues.
In the meantime, we pray, mourn, donate what we can and stay alert.
Students have been handed way too much power by these spineless universities. The children are given free rein to scream, bully & disrupt speakers & aggressively attack wrong-thinking faculty, all the while having no understanding of the consequences of their tantrums. It is up to the adults - the trustees & administrator - to right their sinking ship.
Excellent article! Please keep investigating and writing about this..the future of our country depends on the continual exposure of the ROT that has become our education system. Great job!
Why bother learning to evaluate different points of view when you can win through coercion.
The Nazi movement in Germany in 1930's to a large extent came out of German Universities, like Heidelberg - one of the most famous Universities within the system considered to be best in the world at the time. Led by students and young faculty, the Nazis ideas took over, Jewish and liberal professors were chased out and the centuries-old legacy of German Universities was lost. It has not recovered since. American schools - then far inferior - were the main beneficiaries, picking up famous faculty from Einstein down. I guess the lesson was not learned - the elite academic reputation is no protection against being taken over by extremist ideas, which can only lead down one path: destruction.
I tell my kids they can go to whatever college they choose...but there are only some mom and dad will pony up for. Let your money do the talking. Parents need to find the courage to do this.
This is basically full conservative surrender, but who can blame these people? I would do the same. These universities are a lost cause, un-reformable, and the classical liberals are indeed a dying breed. How long will people keep paying out for low grade ideological indoctrination from zealots?
On the law students, they are assuming the Supreme Court will be "fixed" by the Democrats so there never is a conservative court again, thus no reason to learn to argue in front of one.
I think what is starting to happen, and will be accelerating in the future, will be two separate and distinct eco systems within the U.S. You will have the far left, radical authoritarians, like those in this story who run universities, and you will have the rest of the U.S. (and world) who finally say ‘screw you’, I am no longer going to even try to play by your increasingly ‘my way or the highway’ rules.
Entire economies within the economy will be geared towards the far left or the common sense rest of us. That will include universities, stores, school accreditation, banking and finance, etc. Its already happening now but on a small scale. One example is a theme park being planned for Oklahoma, and it’s not a Disney park, geared towards family fun minus the woke garbage. Another is the state of Florida takeover of a liberal university and appointment of a non far left administration.
The radical left is and should be scared to death of this. That’s why they fight every single instance of this happening because they know it will be popular and the radicals will lose control of the narrative. And nothing scares the radical left more than losing control of the narrative. It’s their entire motivation for censorship and labeling everything mis-information. Their only m.o. is to implement their agenda through force, bullying and intimidation.
A new, unwoke Federal Administration, vis Executive Order, could suspend funding for any college or university that is embroiled in a "woke" battle of opinions until that battle is resolved equitably. Of course, places like Harvard have piles of money and really do not need the Federal hand-out, so why give it to them?