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Jewish World Review March 23, 2001/ 27 Adar, 5761

Marianne M. Jennings

Marianne M. Jennings
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The melt down of the academy -- HIGHER education has long been guilty of conduct unbecoming of the syllogism. Not content with negative obedience to the principles of PC, the Sadducees of multiculturalism eliminate the negativity: "I teach, therefore I censor."

The result is the successful indoctrination of an entire generation. Witness the youthful Silicon Valley Moguls who are completely dependent upon conservative notions of intellectual property rights and capital investment for their success and survival yet consistently donate to liberal candidates who bang the Lexus drum to tax them mightily. They see no connection between conservative doctrines and their economic freedom.

Submission to sloppy orthodoxy and platitudes of PC has clicked along with little opposition. Once every so many moons (a tip of the hat to multiculturalism), sunshine, albeit through a depleted ozone courtesy of fabricated global warming science, descends upon the academy's practices to disinfect and the public is aghast.

Such a break in the inclement weather for campus conservatives came last week when news broke that David Horowitz's ad on the ten reasons reparations for slavery are wrong was rejected by campus newspapers or resulted in scores of apologies and general repentance when it did run. It is one thing for campus newspapers to run ads for Hooters and keggers, but political activism crosses the line, partner.

While it is lovely to have the public with us renegades who fight campus daftness daily, their outrage is misdirected and too little too late. The outrage should not arise from refusals or apologies but rather because the only way the contra case to slavery reparations can make its way into campus discourse is through an ad.

The public should be focused on the question, "Why aren't you discussing reparations?" Lack of a meaningful dialogue on any PC topic is accepted in higher ed. Indeed, a letter from Berkeley's assistant chancellor to Mr. Horowitz stated, ""Although your advertisement purported to be a response to claims made for reparations for slavery, there has been no active discussion of such claims on this campus prior to your advertisement. No demand for 'dialogue' existed prior to your efforts to provoke it." An administrator states with pride that no one wanted a dialogue? How courses in law, history, ethics, economics, anthropology and political science could not trigger such discussions staggers the imagination.

But those charged with the discovery of ideas in society have not fostered imagination. Those in the academy have suppressed imagination by arresting the inner minds of their charges with inviolate PC hype.

Higher education is no longer the birthplace of ideas. Blatant hypocrisy passes without objection. When our vote-counting former VP began his teaching career at Columbia University this year, not only were outsiders excluded, the students had to pledge not to reveal what they learned from his Goreishness. Does a gag order in a journalism class strike no one as odd?

Then again, Columbia is home to a sexual harassment policy that would make Genghis Khan blush. Harassers are declared guilty and punished without the right to confront their accusers. Such practices give communism a bad name yet those who have opposed the Columbia policy have been called "would-be sexual assailants."

Even a cursory look at the curricula of universities is disturbing.

Multiculturalism, not math, not language and certainly not spirituality, is now virtually a universal requirement for a degree. Students worship the pagan god of diversity. Sixty-four credit hours into her college education, my oldest daughter has read the work of one white male-Mark Twain, who, she has been told, was a racist.

In my own course on business ethics I require a book by white male Michael Novak on business and society. As a philosopher making the case for capitalism, he charts new territory. I have students who refuse to read the book. Others take offense. One student threw the book away after three chapters, so great was her umbrage.

That they oppose capitalism is not news. That they are offended by free enterprise is hardly surprising. What is stunning is that graduate students are so molded by higher ed censorship that they feel justified in refusing to read an opposing view.

That it takes an ad in a college newspaper to even raise the voice of opposition should be demoralizing to those who value independent thought and its role in preserving democracy. The roots of freedom wither away courtesy of the institutions we support through tax dollars and tuition. While I appreciate the public outrage over Horowitz, the problems in higher education run much deeper, right down to the roots, at least what's left of them.

And I do mean left.

JWR contributor Marianne M. Jennings is a professor of legal and ethical studies at Arizona State University. Send your comments by clicking here.


03/15/01: Columbine redux: Moral infants
03/09/01: The lessons of Tom and Nicole
03/01/01: Pardon the temporary outrage
02/23/01: In defense of homework
02/20/01: A Message for faith-based organizations: Don't take the money, just run
02/06/01: Enough already with the Clintoons
01/26/01: The challenge to be better than we have been
01/19/01: Where have you gone Frieda Pushnik?
12/29/00: The year that was
12/23/00: Litigation: It's the American way
12/15/00: In defense of rhetoric
12/06/00: The company we keep: Lawyers and elections
12/01/00: Liberals' art of trashing of women
11/20/00: Put me out of my misery
11/17/00: On being a statesman
11/13/00: When it's broke, fixing it wouldn't offend the Framers
11/08/00: ELECTION 2000: I SURRENDER
10/27/00: Al in the package? Memo to women: Choosing presidents and husbands
10/20/00: Ten things the gay community should understand
10/13/00: "You Have a Lump."
10/06/00: The government as the pharmacy: Don't
09/29/00: The capacity for truth
09/22/00: Charity with strings and an agenda
09/15/00: The taming of the shrew: Gloria Steinem takes a husband
09/09/00: Why rich folk don't bother me none
08/28/00: Survival of the not-so-fit but conniving
08/25/00: Conventions: A study in contrasts
08/18/00: Resenting the accusations of racial prejudice
08/04/00: Women: Their own worst enemy
07/21/00: Hillary: Our longshoreman First Lady
07/21/00: SUVs: The root of all evil
07/14/00: The basketball gene and white men not jumping so well
07/07/00: I wanna be around
06/23/00: The liberal conversion
06/14/00: Sex and the City: The shallow but vulgar female
06/08/00: No excuses schools
06/02/00: Oh, Canada: Our Nutty Neighbors to the North
05/23/00: The new mollycoddling coach
05/16/00: On adultery and leadership
05/12/00: Taking your lumps
05/02/00: Elian: There's never a liberal around when you need one
04/25/00: Life's circle and tenderness
04/18/00: Womyn who want it both ways
04/11/00: The monsters we're raising with the ergo proposition
04/05/00: Endowing the Hooters Chair for Literature Appreciation
03/28/00: Dr. Laura: The passive/aggressive kid's mom
03/21/00: Dough and campaigns
03/14/00: The volunteerism of conscription and pomp
03/07/00: Hope and pray that religion remains a force in politics
02/29/00: Ditzes in TV Land
02/22/00: Cranky nitpickers make writing a [sic] experience
02/15/00: Those chameleon 60s activists
02/08/00: McCandidate McCain: Flirting with principles
02/01/00: The demise of marriage
01/25/00: Stroke of the pen, law of the land: Clinton's Camelot
01/18/00: Off the Rocker Rorschach Test
01/11/00: Oprah's lemmings
01/04/00: Struggling mightily amidst the comfort
12/23/99: Confused fathers
12/14/99: Drop-kicking the homeless
12/07/99: Turtles and teamsters, side-by-side in Seattle
11/29/99: When conservatives behave badly
11/22/99: Compassionate conservative: Timing and targets
11/18/99: The elusive human spirit and accountability
11/11/99: Succumbing to the intellectual child within with the help of crackpots and screwballs
10/28/99: Live by litigation, die by litigation
10/22/99: Jesse, Warren, Cybill, Donald and Oprah
10/14/99: Inequality and injustice: It's the big one
10/05/99: Dan Quayle, morals and schoolyard bullies
09/30/99: The monsters of epidermal parenting
09/21/99: The Diversity Hoax
09/15/99: Waco Wackos
09/09/99: Selective censorship
09/01/99: The village, the children, judicial imperialism and abortion
08/24/99: Naughty Newt?
08/17/99: In defense of Boy Scouts and judgment
08/10/99: Ruining the finest health care system in the world
08/03/99: Nihilism and politics: ethics on the lam
07/26/99: Of women, soccer and removed jerseys
07/23/99: Not in despair, a mere mortal doing just fine
07/20/99: "Why me?" How about "Why us?"
07/13/99: Bunk, junk & juries
07/06/99: An Amish woman in a Victoria's Secret store
06/30/99: That intellectually embarrassing Second Amendment
06/24/99: Patricia Ireland eat your heart out --- but check out the recipe in 'women's mags' first
06/22/99: Dems and the Creator coup
06/17/99: True courage is more than just admitting troubles

© 2000, Marianne M. Jennings