Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Ruining American Education: University Political Correctness

Marxist Herbert Marcuse
“Marcuse . . . asserts in good faith that he remains a Marxist.”

--Robert Langston, “Herbert Marcuse and Marxism,” International Socialist Review, November-December 1968 (Marcuse died in 1979 at the age of 81)

Politics is about power. And power--politics--is ruining American education.

Let’s begin at the top, with America’s highly-respected universities. The progressive elite, centered at the country’s college campuses, draws its power from the Democratic Party--a special interest marriage of our government-media-academia-non-profit sector-entertainment industry-trial lawyer-dominated national elite with the government-dependent coalition that gives the party its votes: public sector unions, minorities, unmarried women, and youth. Identity politics, the mother of “political correctness,” must thrive and dominate for Democrats to retain power.

So no surprise political correctness prevails on university campuses.

Conservative Washington Post columnist George Will quotes Greg Lukianoff, 38, a graduate of Stanford Law School and author of Unlearning Liberty: Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate. Lukianoff, who describes himself as a liberal, pro-choice, pro-gay rights, lifelong Democrat, says:
What happens on campus doesn’t stay on campus [because censorship has] downstream effects. . . those with the highest levels of education have the lowest exposure to people with conflicting points of view [, which encourages] the human tendency to live within our own echo chambers.
Daniel Henninger of the conservative Wall Street Journal has dug down to the origins of political correctness:
Back in 1965, when American politics watched the emergence of the New Left movement. . . a famous movement philosopher said the political left should be "liberated" from tolerating the opinions of the opposition: "Liberating tolerance would mean intolerance against movements from the Right and toleration of movements from the Left."
That efficient strategy was the work of Herbert Marcuse, the political theorist whose ideas are generally credited with creating the basis for campus speech codes. Marcuse said, "Certain things cannot be said, certain ideas cannot be expressed, certain policies cannot be proposed." Marcuse created political correctness.
And political correctness founder Marcuse was an avowed Marxist, by the way (see opening quote). He was part of an anti-democratic movement that preaches and practices dictatorship (of the proletariat).

Henninger continues, comparing Marxist Marcuse to Democratic Party leader Obama:
Marcuse. . . also proposed the withdrawal of toleration "from groups and movements . . . which oppose the extension of public services, social security, medical care, etc." Barack Obama [said]: "They have suspicions about Social Security. They have suspicions about whether government should make sure that kids in poverty are getting enough to eat or whether we should be spending money on medical research."
Marcuse called this "the systematic withdrawal of tolerance toward regressive and repressive opinions." That, clearly, is what President Obama. . .has been doing to anyone who won't line up behind his progressivism. Delegitimize their ideas and opinions.
In the end, Henninger writes,
A Marcusian world of political intolerance became a reality on U.S. campuses. With relentless pushing from the president, why couldn't it happen in American political life? . . . As he said in the inaugural: "Preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action." That is Marcusian.
And Marxist! Heavy stuff. No wonder Henninger refrained from branding (correctly) Marcuse as a Marxist. But to take it down a notch, it’s all politics. Obama's Democrats would truly love to be the only party, but live with the fact that probably won’t happen. It has largely happened, however, on college campuses, to the detriment of true education for the students involved, past, present, future.

George Will casts the absence of university learning in a different, still-unflattering light:
college has become, for many, merely a “status marker,” signaling membership in the educated caste, and a place to meet spouses of similar status — “associative mating.” Since 1961, the time students spend reading, writing and otherwise studying has fallen from 24 hours a week to about 15 — enough for a degree often desired only as an expensive signifier of rudimentary qualities (e.g., the ability to follow instructions).

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