“This institution will be based on the illimitable freedom of the human mind. For here we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left to combat it.”
These words were written by one of history’s most profound political minds, Thomas Jefferson.
A student of history and philosophy, Jefferson deduced that an uneducated citizenry rendered the onset of tyranny inescapable.
This lied in the fact that if citizens weren’t provided with the intellectual tools to assert their rights, they’d submit to the prejudices of a usurpatory government.
Jefferson explained ideas for American education in “A Bill for the More General Diffusion of Knowledge.” Jefferson explained that his vision for education would illuminate the “minds of the people at large” and transmit knowledge about the “experience of other ages and countries.”
Equipped with such knowledge, citizens would be “enabled to know ambition” of an expanding authority and “guard the sacred deposit of rights and liberties of their fellow citizens.”
Indeed, all this epitomizes the objective of a liberal education to encourage critical thinking.
However, universities are now overrun with radicals who despise the Enlightenment and our civilization.
Liberal education has become terrifyingly illiberal since a vast amount of its practitioners promote ideas that, if brought to their logical conclusion, would supplant our liberal democracies and lead to revolutionary totalitarianism.
If Jefferson rose from his grave to discover that universities have been transmogrified to follow an anti-reason, anti-science, and anti-Western agenda, he’d be mortified.
I predict this Jefferson reference will provoke a stream of invective from triggered Leftists since he’s a “ straight white male.” Before I go any further, I’ll pre-emptively quip back that the man of whom they’re intellectual progenies, Karl Marx, is also what they’d call “pale and stale.”
The difference is this: In spite of his shortcomings, Jefferson’s classical liberal philosophy helped bring about the end of Communist tyranny, which ushered in an era of unprecedented human progress and freedom. In contrast, Marx’s ideas led to the deaths of about 100 million people.
As it has become indisputable ever since Jordan Peterson’s rise, Marxism guides a lot of university faculty.
One can’t help but to compare the treatment of Lindsay Shepherd and Peter Boghossian to some of the startling characteristics of Communist regimes.
A fitting analogy for Boghossian’s case is the story of Huber Matos. Just as Boghossian embarked on his hoax project to expose problems within the academy, Matos was a comrade of Fidel Castro who expressed his disaffection with the Marxist direction of the regime.
While Boghossian is at risk of being fired for criticizing academic trends, Matos was imprisoned for 20 years for disagreeing with Castro.
What makes this assault on education so pernicious is its pervasiveness since most people have a story about the illiberal tendencies of their university.
My time as a graduate student in American Studies at Western University is one such tale.
The head of this program is an ideologue with a passionate hatred of anything that betokens American or Western greatness. At no time did I hear anything positive about America.
Recalcitrant voices quickly learned that their opinions weren’t worthy of honest engagement. There were times when an intrepid classmate would finally challenge the orthodoxy only to be hectored by her and our indoctrinated classmates.
It was a perfidious enterprise. For it seemed to be dedicated to diffusing the religion of anti-American Marxism rather than an objective study of America.
Instead of reasonable discourse, we got solipsistic speeches about how America is nothing but a safe haven for patriarchy and oppression.
Obscurantism was normal since the professor often glossed over facts for the sake of pushing a narrative.
In one class, she asserted that concerns over the discrimination against religious minorities in the Muslim world are preposterous because it’s only a consequence of Western missionaries encroaching on Muslim land.
This is manifestly absurd as it elides the fact that the Abrahamic religions were all established in the Middle East and have been in conflict for centuries. Ideology superseded any need to be factually or morally correct.
Consequently, many students won’t be able to discuss the reasons for the American Constitution or its content in any meaningful way. Yet they can tell you with certainty that it was a moral abomination.
Seeing the university in its current state saddens me. I asked Niall Ferguson the advice he would give to aspiring historians with classical liberal/conservative leanings. His reply was simply this: “conceal completely your political leanings if you want an academic career.”
This is the predicament we’re in in 2019. Perhaps those fretting over declining enrollments should ask if their incessant defiling of the institution has anything to do with it.