Monday, March 21, 2016

Activism U and the End of Education

The campus wars aren’t really about race. Race and the rest of the identity politics roster are the engine for transforming an academic environment into an activist environment.

Think of it as the Post-Educational University. Or Activism U.

The average campus already skews left, but maintains the pretense of serving an educational purpose. The demands put forward on campuses begin with racial privileges, but do not end there. These demands call for politicizing every department, the mandatory political indoctrination of all students and faculty, and the submission of non-political academic departments to activist political ones.

The campus wars are a declaration that activist non-academic departments that offer identity politics analysis while contributing nothing and which often owe their existence to campus clashes from a previous generation, should dominate all areas of life and thought at every university.

Imagine if physics majors rioted and demanded that every single area of study on campus had to incorporate theoretical physics and hire physics majors. That is exactly what is happening with identity politics studies. It’s a naked power grab that has the potential to redefine academia.

Behind the minority students that are the public face of the campaign, are embedded faculty radicals like Melissa Click whose abuses recently led to her firing from the University of Missouri. Click’s body of work, gender, race and sexuality analyses of popular culture, is fairly typical of the activist faculty behind the power grab. Media studies is often confused with journalism, but the two have little in common. Media studies has become a guide to politicizing culture by viewing it through the intersectional lens.

Click’s husband, Richard Callahan, who also took part in the harassment, is a religion professor on paper, but in practice offers class analysis of religious practices. These resumes are fairly typical of the faculty activists behind the crybully insurgency. They may belong to anthropology, sociology, religious studies or a dozen other departments, but all they ever do is overlay their political filter over a given field. And once it is in place, activism is the inevitable step for correcting the "injustices".

They’re not academics; they’re activists with a mandate to impose their filter on everyone.

When we talk about political correctness, it isn’t just about banning certain jokes. That’s the smallest part of it. Political correctness is about making the political filter, the left’s lens, mandatory for all.

The campus wars are dividing universities between academic departments and activist departments. The activist demands call for embedding activism deeper into the structure of universities with more activist deans, departments and professors dedicated to their agenda. Funding is diverted from education to activism. The activist curriculum become mandatory to recruit more student activists.

Student activists demand exemptions from their studies for activism and academic bankruptcy that will allow them to erase entire semesters from their records. Academics take a backseat to activism. The purpose of the institution ceases to be education. Instead the university exists to manufacture more activists to make more demands, first of the university, and then of everyone else.

The university is just a training ground for activists. A political playhouse for them to shake down before moving on to shaking down the rest of the country. That's what this is about.

On campus, the conflict escalates as activist departments use their new resources to expand the scope of their pressure tactics. In the timeless struggle for academic resources between faculty and departments, student activism is a nuclear weapon. And the endgame of this struggle is the triumph of activism over academics and ignorance over knowledge.

The crybully targets in this latest round of campus wars have been university presidents and student leaders. Baseless claims of an unsafe environment are used to leverage leadership changes that either bring activist allies to power or new leaders that are terrified enough to give in to activist demands.

Even the rise of BDS has been embraced by non-Muslim social justice activists as a means of forcing out Jewish and even non-Jewish student leaders. Allegations of Zionism were used by Students for Justice in Palestine co-founder Hatem Bazian to block Jewish student leaders back in his student days. That tactic has been revived on California campuses as one more political offense to be exploited by activists.

The multiplication of petty political offenses is an Orwellian tactic for enforcing the activist agenda.

None of this is really about the imaginary hate crimes or offensive Halloween costumes. The activists invent pretexts for activism. And they will always find something that makes them feel “unsafe” and traumatized even if they have to invent it. The high pitch of their hysteria usually makes up for whatever logical and factual deficiencies there are to be found in their latest claims of victimhood.

The crybully demands are not the final campus endgame, but they offer us a disturbing preview of it.

Their ideal campus is a political organization, not an educational one, whose primary mission is indoctrinating students to view all matters through a race, class, gender, sexuality lens for the purpose of political activism. It’s not just the Western canon being eradicated, but learning as we understand it.

The activist complex doesn’t believe in education, but in a constant process of reeducation in which an evolving left adopts new positions, purges dissenters and reeducates the public to the new position. It does not believe in facts, historic, moral or scientific, but perspectives that are only as valid as the intersectional oppression status of the individual. It does not draw the line at cultural perspectives in media studies, but insists on a feminist mathematics and rejects what it calls Eurocentric physics. Giving its activists control of universities would unleash Lysenkoism on a grand scale as every area of science would be broken down into perspectives of gender, sexuality and race.

The left claims to love science, but with their victory science as we know it would cease to exist.

This is not hypothetical alarmism. For example, the California Polytechnic State University demands call for forcing engineering students to take “anti-racist science and technology” studies. Princeton’s Black Justice League warned that, “Learning about marginalized groups, their cultures, and structures of privilege is just as important as any science or quantitative reasoning course.”

At the University of Virginia, the demand was that “every course should strive to recognize minority perspectives and every department should make it a goal to offer multiple courses that include or focus on minority perspectives”. Biology would discuss eugenics and Systems Engineering would “discuss culturally sensitive industrial organization”. Such demands have become altogether typical.

Academic departments would be subservient to activist departments. The latter would take over and hollow out the former leaving nothing but worthless degrees and student debt. Graduates would be qualified to do little except be activists and “allies” in their chosen fields. Their mission would be to propagate and enforce politically correct doctrines in the classical Soviet political commissar sense.

Safe space culture would silence dissent among faculty and students while creating activist student-faculty organizations empowered to conduct endless purges and protests. College would be free and utterly useless for anything except turning out the next generation of community organizers. It is not only the ideas themselves that are endangered, but the entire mechanism for exchanging them.

The activist model would not only eliminate intellectual diversity, it would eliminate education.

The campus wars are about political correctness as a way of life. And we are only beginning to discover what that truly means.


Infidel said...

Very well said. I first noticed this kind of thing at Berkeley during the 1980s.

Stacey Gordon said...

It's the bacteriophage again...

Empress Trudy said...

Well there's always other options. No one said American universities have to be or remain at or near the top in world rankings generally. No one said that Harvard and Cornell are sacrosanct. After all the LSE has coasted along on its 'reputation' for 45 years and it was never that good to begin with. There will no doubt always be Caltech, MIT, Harvey Mudd, CMU, NC State and other schools that stay almost completely out of this fight and focus on actual education. Their numbers may shrink but so what? Does everyone 'need' a $200,000 liberal arts degree just because they aren't sufficiently guilty about their privilege? Probably not. China churns out more STEM PhDs than the US right now. World beating science is going on in South Korea, Japan and Israel now. If American students and their bill paying parents want to mortgage their futures on the hope that 15th century African lesbian art therapy will sustain them, I say let them try. Maybe we're all wrong and the world needs gender studies activists not soil chemists. Could be. Let's see them try. In any case, there are other options for those who are motivated.

gstarr said...

Virulent anti-Semitism and thought conformity gain their legitimacy, initially, at the know....where "freedom of thought" is encouraged so long as it is the politically correct freedom of thought.

In the early 1920s German student political activity was dominated by the Deutscher Hochschulring which was a militant anti-Semitic group. By 1926 the National Socialists had replaced the Deutscher Hochschulring as the dominant force in anti-semitism on campus. These students eventually became the National Socialists apparatchiks and SS soldiers that carried out the Holocaust.

Today the Saudi backed Muslim student groups preach Jew hatred and dispense pro palestinian propaganda. Combine that with Soros funded black lives matter and you have a lethal cesspool of Jew hatred, tacitly sanctioned by the leftist dominated Democrat party, Obama and the Clintons.

Crackpot pseudo-scientific lectures on race theory and eugenics then.........Crackpot pseudo-scientific lectures on race theory and eugenics now....with a dose of climate change thrown in for good measure. These are the new fascist foot soldiers.

It's bad enough that this garbage flourishes in the Ivy League and other elitist universities funded by clueless alumni or fellow travelers.

What really stinks is that the tax payer is also funding this garbage at state universities like the University of California at Irvine, Los Angeles, Riverside and Berkeley.

In the end we get the following:
Up is down. Down is up.
Black is white. White is black.
Men can be women. Women can be men.
Global Warming is real.
We are all socialists now.
We are all black now.
I need my safe space.
Freedom is Slavery
Diversity is our strength
Arbeit macht frei

All of it gets into the political bloodstream and is made available to you in the insane crackpot world of Obama's fundamentally transformed America......a country founded by geniuses, now run by idiots.

Johnny said...

>>What really stinks is that the tax payer is also funding this garbage... Exactly. The only thing wrong with this stuff is that the rest of us are funding it. Let them do whatever they want, on their own time and their own dime.

Anonymous said...

Counterfeiting is Satan's favorite device. Most Universities play the part and cheat the naive participant into thinking they are educated, but the opposite is true. The unlearning that will need take place will be a monumental task.

Edward Cline said...

Melissa Click flicked her Bic, and then got her butt kicked. Good riddance. Perhaps she can get a job with the New York Times or the Washington Post as a columnist.

Dennis Latham said...

I remember in 68 when Wallace ran for President. Wallace told the protesters that if he was President, all Federal Funds to Berkeley would be shut off because they gave blood to North Vietnam. At the time, as a Marine back from the war, I thought we had been shooting the wrong people, especially after I got spit on at LAX while in uniform by protesters wearing mock military uniforms. Of course, they had Wallace shot because he got too many votes the first time he ran. It's only gotten worse. At UC in Cincinnati, the university president has agreed to give a family (12 kids by different mothers and no support) of a drug dealer a monument to him on campus after he was killed by a UC police officer helping Cincy police because of the high robbery rate near campus. Five million to the family and free school and a monument to a black drug dealer who had a pound of pot in the car, 2500 dollars, open alcohol, no license, no tags or insurance, and almost 100 arrests, many felony drug dealing convictions, etc. They made this criminal out to be a saint. (he was pulling away from the cop who said he thought the guy was going to run him down.) Anyway, the cop is charged with murder and this idiot gets a monument. UC called me for a donation and I told them I'm not building their politically correct monument to a criminal. I can't even imagine what the taxpayer has had to pay over the years for this scumbag to walk the streets and the welfare costs. The political correctness must end, and federal funds need to be taken away from colleges.

Jeff Wood said...

Look on the bright side: Chairman Mao would have been proud.

I live on the other side of the Pond, and see some of this nonsense being attempted in Britain, with only limited success so far.

I have read that Missouri alumnae are refusing to make donations now, and that will surely hurt.

Other Universities will learn to market themselves on the basis of their normality, perhaps instituting contracts for students to sign, promising to abide by reasonable but strict codes of conduct; with expulsion the punishment for breaches.

Those colleges should clean up, as will their students in the job market. The noisy rabble will have to settle for peonage.

Anonymous said...

DP111 writes..
Imagine if physics majors rioted and demanded that every single area of study on campus had to incorporate theoretical physics and hire physics majors.

I can imagine it, and it sounds absolutely great. With one exception, they must be engineering graduates. Physics these days has been corrupted by Climate Change activists. Engineering graduates are far too level headed to be taken in by AGW and CC.

Apart from that, its a great idea.

Felipe Bachman said...


Post a Comment