In his Sept. 2 National Post column, George Jonas noted that if universities had been eliminated around 1900, we’d have been spared the devastating effects of many toxic ideologies, which needed mass production and distribution vehicles—those vulnerable empty vessels known as students—to sow their ruinous messages amongst the general population.
He cited, amongst others, the scourges of anti-Semitism (in the guise today of anti-Zionism), Communism, National-Socialism, eco-fascism and militant feminism, all of which have depended on universities for transmuting ideology into laws, social policy, foreign relations, and cultural identity.
I’m inclined to agree with Jonas; but I wouldn’t go back to 1900 for their putative elimination, only to the 1970s. For while some intellectual hogwash has always been perpetrated in universities, it is only since the last century’s counter-culture that the negative influences in university culture began actively to outweigh the benefits of a liberal education.
The university used to be a free market of ideas, bad and good. For the past generation or more, though, the near-monopoly of Marxist ideologues over curricula and new hirings has ensured that instead of harvesting annual crops of free-ranging and fearlessly curious minds, their cold-taloned grip on arts, social sciences, cultural studies and law faculties churns out anxious, cud-chewing PC-niks. Students graduate knowing exactly what they stand against—racism, male privilege, homophobia, cultural and territorial imperialism—but have been trained to repress their curiosity about what they stand for.
A case of academic decadence in point is “Whiteness Studies” (WS), only 10 years ago a fringe campus fad, now a vigorously promoted branch of critical race theory in 30 American teaching institutions. WS also boasts its own think tank, the Center for the Study of White American Culture (CSWAC). I’m predicting that because of its extremely anti-American orientation, WS will soon find a berth in certain avant-garde Canadian campus’ sociology departments.
Unlike other special-interest disciplines, such as Women’s, Queer or Islamic Studies, which celebrate their subjects’ achievements while mourning their victimization at the hands of men/homophobes/Israel, WS cuts to the chase: It is all, and only, about white self-hate. According to CSWAC co-founder and executive director Jeff Hitchcock: “There is no crime that whiteness has not committed against people of colour . . . We must blame whiteness for the continuing patterns today . . . which damage and prevent the humanity of those of us within it.”
WS teaches that if you are white, you are branded, literally in the flesh, with evidence of a kind of original sin. You can try to mitigate your evilness, but you can’t eradicate it. The goal of WS is to entrench permanent race consciousness in everyone—eternal victimhood for nonwhites, eternal guilt for whites—and was most famously framed by WS chief guru, Noel Ignatiev, former professor at Harvard University, now teaching at the Massachusetts College of Art: “The key to solving the social problems of our age is to abolish the white race—in other words, to abolish the privileges of the white skin.”
A normal person wouldn’t even know where to start in arguing against this and the entire farrago of absurdities generated under the WS rubric. Debating Ignatiev about the inherent sins of American whiteness is the equivalent of showing Iran’s President Ahmadinejad evidence of the Holocaust. Neither party really wants to know, and treating such pathological hate-mongers with rationality is demeaning to white people and Jews alike.
That elite universities where WS is taught, such as Princeton and UCLA, tolerate their students’ being indoctrinated with Ignatiev and company’s pernicious race theories points to a new low in moral vacuity and civilizational self-loathing.
The old adage holds: Who stands for nothing will fall for anything. WS is a particularly far out example of academic pusillanimity. Yet tonally it is the logical extension of a gathering pattern. One could say with justice that the 19 al-Qaeda terrorists who obliterated almost 3,000 individuals in the trade towers were only acting out the anti-Western hatred their ivory tower “colleagues” have been incubating amongst their flocks for nigh on 40 years.