Academia Nuts

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment


We don’t need no education.

We don’t need no thought control.

No dark sarcasm in the classroom.

Teachers, leave those kids alone.

Hey, teacher, leave those kids alone!

All in all you’re just another brick in the wall.

All in all you’re just another brick in the wall.

—Pink Floyd, The Wall (1979)

If you had any doubts that higher education in America today is modeled more along the lines of Stalinist techniques than the Socratic method, you need to read the report from the front lines of a major academic battlefield that conservative UCLA graduate Ben Shapiro delivers in his book Brainwashed (WND Books).

“As a columnist for the Daily Bruin, I once received a laudatory e-mail from a UCLA administrator,” Shapiro remembers. “I replied to the e-mail and asked the author if I could forward his letter to my editor for possible publication in the Bruin.”

“The author replied, ‘As a father of three and a career staff member, I’m afraid I could not handle the potential damage my express thoughts would do to my career as an administrator here … Sadly, for those of us who earn our living here as staff, it’s professional suicide to engage in free expression.’”

Shapiro, only age 20, writes a column for Creators Syndicate. In Brainwashed, he relates experiences from his own campus and classes and compares them to trends in colleges and universities nationwide.

His UCLA experiences are frequently quite poignant. He tracked down a UCLA professor, Judea Pearl, quoted in a newspaper article in support of Israel. “Naturally, this piqued my interest—a UCLA professor supporting Israel,” Shapiro writes. “What a rarity!”

Shapiro requested an interview with Professor Pearl. Pearl said he wanted to sleep on the request.

“But before I start my sleep,” Professor Pearl wrote in an e-mail to Shapiro, “let me commend you on your courage to present the Israeli point of view on campus.”

“I almost gave up hope of finding courageous students in UCLA, especially in the political science department.” Professor Pearl was the father of the late Daniel Pearl, the Wall Street Journal reporter killed by Islamic fanatics in Pakistan.

The various liberal arts departments at UCLA tilt even further in the same direction as those on most campuses, with no Republicans in sight. Shapiro relates many tales of professors reading Democratic Party platform planks as classroom lectures.

Perhaps most disturbing, in Shapiro’s narrative, is the manner in which ideologues have corrupted disciplines that, on their face, should be free of political interpretation, specifically biology and geography. Shapiro’s biology classes were extensions of the schools attempt to promote environmental regulations, if not authoritarian socialism itself.

Even in his geography classes, his instructors made odd use of the science of getting from one place to another to deliver bizarre homilies.

“Class,” Professor Joshua Muldavin said in Geography 5 in 2001, “I recollect one time I was in a southern state with one of my friends. He’s French, by the way. I was talking to him, walking down the street with my arm over his shoulder, when we were accosted by some religious fanatic carrying a sign that said ‘AIDS is a plague from God.’ We were going to keep on walking, but the guy ran up to me and said ‘Take your arm off that man!’ So naturally, I turned around and gave my friend a big kiss, right on the lips.”

After a moment of stunned silence, the class laughed and applauded. As Shapiro points out, bald as such attempts at indoctrination are, they are frequently successful. Polls consistently show that students leave college with more liberal views than they held when they arrived.

Shapiro deserves great credit for seeing such primitive propaganda for what it is and for giving us, in this book cataloguing this abuse, such a tremendous resource.

Malcolm A. Kline is the executive director of Accuracy in Academia.