The Corner

Indoctrinate U

Last week I attended the premiere of Indoctrinate U, Evan Coyne Maloney’s documentary about campus political correctness. It’s a fun and powerful piece of work that deserves a wide audience. The film features plenty of encounters between Maloney and college officials who, after being embarrassed by Maloney’s questions, invariably summon police to have him evicted. These confrontations are entertaining, but the real force of this film flows from Maloney’s recounting of a series of incidents of campus political correctness. I had never heard of any of these cases. Yet each of them is remarkable.

When the war over campus PC broke out in the late eighties, the Left used to dismiss stories like the ones recounted by Maloney as isolated and atypical anecdotes. Twenty years later, organizations like the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) have clashed with universities over literally hundreds, probably thousands, of such incidents. And behind every egregious and actionable case of campus political correctness lay many unreported problems.

The end result of this torrent of outrages is that foes of campus PC have grown jaded. That’s where Indoctrinate U comes in. This film hits you in the gut, in a way that no column or blog post can. Seeing the faces of the protagonists in these campus conflicts, and hearing their stories in their own words, makes it seem as if you’re learning about the problems of campus bias and tyranny for the very first time. After the screening, audience members had a chance to question Maloney. I particularly remember a woman who said she was almost too shaking with anger to speak.

I don’t want to give anything away, but I was struck by the scientist who said that her students were able to figure out her politics simply by noting what she did not say. Just by teaching her subject, without adding extraneous leftist political harangues, she had revealed herself to be a closet Republican. You won’t believe what happened when the faculty found out about her politics. But the full horror story is almost less disturbing than the reality of that single observation about silence. Particularly in some of the non-science disciplines, it really has gotten to the point where mere silence on matters political is enough to reveal you as the enemy.

Will Indoctrinate U get seen? I don’t think there’s any doubt that a significant audience for this movie exists. But to overcome their own pressures of political correctness, distributers need to be reminded of that. So to prove that there is in fact an audience for this film, a website has been set up where you can register your interest in seeing Indoctrinate U. There you can also catch a trailer of the film.

Stanley Kurtz — Stanley Kurtz is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

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