The University as Madrasah
A progressive and tenured professoriate who luxuriate in a rewarding lifestyle and station have held sway over the student body politic in higher education for generations. Bred of a style of campus Marxism seeded in the sixties and disbelievers of free-market capitalism, they shunned the rigors of the competitive workplace and snuggled up to academia as the best excuse for employment. Their avocation is a latter-day version of critical race theory (CRT), the brainchild of a Harvard law professor and early mentor of Barack Obama that breaks everything down to race, law, and power and views the American DNA as strands of intolerance, greed, and systemic racism. Its most recent variant ascribes social and racial injustices to frame a system so corrupt in its origins that it must all be burned to the ground. It embraces a social studies syllabus that has replaced an even-handed warts and all view of American history with an all warts set of grievance studies.
With increasing audacity, progressive faculty in social sciences and gender studies programs are preaching a groupthink that brings undergrads to a low opinion of themselves and their country. They impugn whole races and genders over privilege and power, promote class warfare as atonement, and give a wink and nod when rioting overtakes propitious moments of social unrest. Allegiance to this thinking requires the abrogation of all opposing views.
The oppression of conservative views and speech on campus is an alarm few university administrations have heeded. A study of campus speaker and teacher disinvitations and disruptions by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) found that since the Trump administration took office in 2017 there have been 113 attempts or actual incidents of speaker cancellations, protests, or disturbances at public and private colleges. In 76 of these cases, the controversy came from individuals and groups with leftist political leanings and 24 came from those on the right.
Objections from the right were based upon the guest speaker’s involvement with crime or terrorism, anti-Semitic sentiments, or conflicting values about sexual orientation or abortion at religious schools. Challenges from the left were more combative and targeted speakers, politicians, radio hosts, writers, lawmakers, and Trump cabinet and family members with staunch conservative viewpoints and support for the current presidential administration. By a ratio of three to one, conservative speakers were more likely to have their college appearances canceled or disrupted than those campus darlings promoting left-wing causes.
It isn’t just about teaching layers of progressive pedagogy to young minds, it’s also about cleansing the academy of reactionary viewpoints. One by one, conservative professors are going the way of the dodo. Many are veterans of more tolerant times, now close to retirement or dispirited by insolent student groups and uppity faculty chairs who brush off even moderate orthodoxy with contempt.
As the doors slam behind these more moderate campus voices, their thinning ranks are not being replenished. Grievance educators continue to be cloned by seated faculty on search committees who hire co-workers with just the right fit of politics and perspective. Conservatism is marginalized in this setting.
Political orientation affects student admissions, as well. CollegeVine, a blogsite that offers admissions counseling to college applicants, concedes that, “ If you mention a certain political affiliation or belief in your application that is contrary to the political leaning of the university, the admissions committee may have reason to question how well you would fit into the campus community.” Perhaps a partisan ‘not welcome here’ banner draped across the campus arch could alert conservative-minded faculty and students of rough waters ahead.
The consequence of decades of critical race training in the ivory tower has now become axiomatic in a violent youth resistance movement that has affected more than 200 communities across the country. Millions of dollars from corporations, tech companies, and professional sports organizations have turned mob organizers such as the BLM Global Network and Antifa into a protection racket. According to tax records for BLM, most donations are siphoned off for salaries, travel expenses and consultant fees. A pittance of six cents on the dollar ends up on the group’s urban frontlines.
The hypocrisy of the mob is hidden behind the face shields and hard hats. As we saw in recent arrests by the NYPD, many black bloc rioters are not the urban disadvantaged. They are the tony brood of oceanfront communities and luxury high rises who summered in Europe, white privileged offspring who would not have suffered an intellectual makeover except through the pecuniary family advantage of sending them to the finest liberal arts schools.
Intolerance to privilege, power, and racism has unleashed a new generation of baby radicals fashioned by trimesters of grievance classes posing as three-credit electives. Unless the government intervenes, faculty lounge Bolshevists will continue to overpopulate the ivy leagues, advancing the sole interests of the Democrat party and acting as clerics for a form of progressivism that dead ends in tyranny.
Universities get enormous government handouts for research and other grants with a blind eye to institutional practices that may discourage the First Amendment right of free speech or political diversity on campus. The government needs to hold their feet to the fire and the academy must accept conservative studies as legitimate opinion, not heterodoxy, and acknowledge the worth of its presence at the podium and in the classroom.
Madrasahs, or Islamic schools, make no bones about coloring history and culture to fit the strictures of the Qur’an. Campus grievance studies take similar privileges, but with liberal hegemony as its goal and Democrat progressivism as its golden calf.
Rick Fuentes identifies himself as a middle-class conservative with a Ph.D. who has outlived four decades in law enforcement.
Image: Pedro Ribeiro Simões