The Corner

Education

The Threat Posed by Activist Academics

Back in the 1960s and 1970s, leftist academics declared that they were “speaking truth to power” with their critiques of American government and society. Now that the Left has come to utterly dominate our education system, however, everything has changed. The Left is the power and so certain that it has a monopoly on truth that others should not be suffered to speak. There has never been a greater threat to the integrity of the academic enterprise.

The Martin Center has just released a paper on this subject. In today’s article, Anthony Hennen summarizes the work of the two authors, Sumantra Maitra and Joy Pullmann.

They focus first on a pair of recent feminist papers that make no effort at all to disguise their goal of controlling what students are taught to think. They advocate that leftist scholars should infiltrate all branches of our colleges and universities and act not as educators (in the traditional sense), but as insurgents.

“The transformative effect of this activist approach is great,” Hennen writes. “Political litmus tests, such as diversity statements for hiring, would become routine and mandatory at thousands of public institutions. The free speech culture on campuses would decline as more university rules to silence speech deemed rude or offensive would be approved. De facto peer pressure would fill in the gaps left by de jure campus rules to silence the tongues of non-conforming students and professors.”

Many recent campus occurrences where mobs of students and faculty have demanded the firing of professors who dare to disagree with them in even the slightest respect show how far along the takeover is.

The authors provide some ideas for higher education leaders who have the backbone to fight to retain the integrity of their schools. I’m afraid that there aren’t many like that.

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.

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