Over the past week I have been privy to two separate complaints concerning universities. The first came from a former student who is now an undergraduate studying literature and humanities. He criticized the institutionalized liberal bias of the school he is attending. Though he seems liberally minded himself, he entered college expecting a place where open discussion was welcome and alternative points of view were not only allowed and tolerated, but encouraged. He was not naive about the leftist bias of the school, but he expected that a place that touted itself as an inclusive, tolerant oasis of academic freedom would be open to exploring all viewpoints with honesty and fairness for the sake of education. Instead, he finds himself in an atmosphere that not only discourages alternative points of view, but considers any idea that deviates from the ruling ideology of the institution as a direct affront, a hostile, aggressive, hateful attack that must be eradicated lest it infect anyone. Simply put, my former student is troubled because he is discovering his education at university is more about practical indoctrination than it is about lofty intellectualism.
The other complaint came from a professor acquaintance who posted an article that lambasted the universities for creating a new class of working poor - the adjunct professor. Over the last three or four decades universities have slowly abandoned the traditional employment framework they once offered their academics, researchers, and professors, and have replaced it with a system where a sizable portion of its highly-educated staff have become part-time, low-paid, no benefit, no tenure, no job security, temporary teachers.
As I ruminated over these two grievances concerning universities, I was struck by a rather sad and pathetic but ultimately satisfying irony.
After successfully entrenching themselves in universities, generations of liberals and leftists, armed with the weapons of political correctness, have been waging a brutal and ruthless war against all enemies of liberty, equality, and fraternity. (You can't say fraternity anymore, of course; it is a far too restrictive and sexist phrase.) For decades they have laid siege to tradition and have replaced it with a progressive tidal wave of -isms. This ideology, wielded with vehement and rabid demagoguery to which the only acceptable response is mindless, unquestioning head-nodding and corrosive, poisonous resentment, has not only transformed universities, but also society as a whole. One could argue the liberal professors' aims were noble ones; they railed against injustice, protested against oppression, demanded endless rights. Unlike their predecessors, these new profs were not interested in keeping their high-minded theories to themselves. They were set on bringing their elevated ideas to the masses. One of their biggest rallying points continues to be that old cornerstone of Marxism - the exploitation of the worker by the bourgeoisie. For decades, leftists and liberals have worked themselves into positions of power and influence, not only in universities, but also in politics and society. In universities, they occupy leadership positions. They write the curricula. They determine what is acceptable and unacceptable on campus. They monitor and control the tone and content of any conversation. They strive to make the world a place of justice and equality and they work tirelessly to make their Ivory Towers bastions of progress and political correctness where tolerance and critical thinking are valued above all. They strive to have all of this spill into broader society and for decades now they have been immensely successful.
And yet these same self-proclaimed warriors for liberty and justice actively stifle any semblance of real education and shamelessly exploit, nay, screw over their slavish and servile army of witless true-believers. True to form, none of those being screwed over realize that they are essentially being abused by their own ranks. They seethe against the corporations and the capitalists and blame them for their plight while remaining willfully ignorant of the harsh reality that, with few exceptions, the corporations and the capitalists who run them are essentially made up of them: liberal, left-leaning technocrats. Have none of these people read Orwell's Animal Farm? And if they have, did they not understand it?
I wonder what will happen when the adjuncts are eventually replaced by holograms or, better yet, when the "corporations that run universities" figure out a way to make it socially and politically acceptable to have one professor from India or some other developing country teach tens-of-thousands of students through the internet or close-circuit television. What will they these adjunct profs, who will be discarded faster than and as unceremoniously as the severed heads from the overworked Jacobin guillotines during the Reign of Terror, think of their liberal comrades in leadership positions then? Being true to form, they will, no doubt, cry for revolution.
The more I think about it, the more it seems to me that Anthony Vergil is right. Far from being Ivory Towers, today's universities are Citadels of Darkness. It is getting to the point where I find it difficult to imagine why anyone would voluntary choose to attend one as a student or work for one as a professor.