Blame academia for the insanity at Thursday's Dem debate

In watching Thursday night's Democrat debate, I first felt as though I was watching a conservative spoof on a Saturday Night Live skit. 

There was Bernie Sanders, playing the crazy and deranged college professor, quite literally spitting insanity.  Kamala Harris was dancing, laughing, and spouting gibberish, leaving the distinct impression she was hiding an empty rectangular bottle under her podium.  Julián Castro was screaming maniacally at Joe Biden about something he didn't say. 

Andrew Yang proudly informed the audience that he is Asian, so he knows a lot of doctors, while Spartacus was promising to release 17,000 criminals back into American communities as a good start.  I'd likely vote for any of those criminals over Cory Booker.  Joe Biden made the profoundly stupid point that only violent criminals should be in prison, forgetting to add Republicans to that list.

The longer I watched the debate, the more it started to sound like a stage full of radicalized college professors trying to impress their radicalized students.  From Beto O'Rourke's claim that America's founding can be traced to the first slave brought here in 1619 to the "white supremacy" sweepstakes in which O'Rourke, Julián Castro, and Cory Booker pushed their poker chips to the center of the table to see who could most obnoxiously condemn America, it gave off the nauseating ideological odor of a college classroom.

Sarah Sanders made one of the best observations in recent weeks when, reflecting on the Democrats running for president, she observed, "I'm pretty sure they don't even like America."  She's right.  They don't. 

For those who are wondering how the Democrats could have produced such a distinguished slate of the sanity-challenged, it is because of radical liberal control of America's colleges and universities.  The Marxist radicals of yesterday became college professors of today, seizing ideological control of much of America.

Just as Saudi-funded Salafist religious schools have radicalized large swaths of the Islamic world, American universities are radicalizing an increasingly large share of America.  This is aided by the fact that nearly 70% of kids now go to college, where most of them are taught not to think.

Every candidate on stage is convinced that the lion's share of Democrat primary voters are radical Marxists.  Sadly, they're all largely right, which is why any candidate who sounds remotely reasonable is running about the same percentage of voter support as you.  These candidates should know their voters, since every one of them is likely a product of America's universities.  It is hard to overstate the damage this institution is inflicting on America but that outcome was on fully display during the Democrat debate.

A favorite Andrew Breitbart observation explains exactly what is going on.  He said, "You send your kids off to college.  They love you.  You walk away with a Cornell mom T-shirt.  You are walking away going, 'This is great,' and come Thanksgiving, your kid tells you that you are an imperialist and a racist and a homophobe."

He could have added that your child will inform you that he is feeling the Bern, and you should, too.  All that for the bargain basement price of $250,000 or so.  This is a tragedy that is regularly playing out in American households as parents receive back kids they barely recognize. 

My first experience with the radicalization of academia happened about twenty years ago, when I was working on a Master of Arts in Literature degree at a mainstream public Virginia university.  I had never actually met a Marxist, but my first professor informed us that he was one.  I was bewildered that such an anachronistic creature still existed in the United States and looked at him with the same morbid curiosity I might have reserved for a two-headed snake. 

But I soon realized that I was the anachronism in that environment.  Every professor was some form of Marxist thinker.  They couched it in various terms such as post-colonialism, feminism, deconstructionism, queer theory, or some other "ism," but they all believed that the U.S. is hopelessly corrupted by white patriarchy and that the institutions needed to be overthrown, replaced by some form of socialist power structure.  The literature we studied was just a backdrop for these professors to project their various theories on their students.

They were extremely effective at it.  Propaganda works, especially when couched in academic terms that appeal to the students' intellectual vanity.  Out of all my classes, only one other student offered even a peep of protest, an Army officer who was equally bemused by what he was hearing. 

Fast-forward several years, and I was working on a Master's degree in international relations at a graduate school that largely services military students.  One would think the professors would be a bit more conservative, considering the student population.  Wrong.  They were actually worse.  They added anti-Semitism to the Marxist and post-colonialist stew.  What was most depressing was just how much the students were carried along on the waves of the professors' radicalism.  It was the Breitbart observation playing out in a military context. 

It continues to get worse as academia further devolves.  While in high school, one of my kids went to a selective program hosted by an elite university focused on creative writing.  She was the only non-liberal in the program, teacher and student alike.  She heard the usual bromides that conservatives in these situations hear, which went something to the effect of "We actually like you.  You're not like all those other horrible people."  It was a real eye-opening experience for her.  Most of her fellow attendees at that program are now in Ivy League schools.  Based upon her experience at that program, my daughter chose Hillsdale College and hasn't looked back.

It is in the American university where the battle is being lost.  Parents sacrifice for and encourage their sons and daughters to attend these universities with the best of intentions, thinking they are the gateway to a better life.  The university returns them as Bernie Sanders acolytes who think Beto O'Rourke whispers words of wisdom. 

This also explains the increasing media radicalization.  These propagandists are the product of these same universities.  Conservatives who think media bias is the biggest threat in the country aren't quite right.  These media representatives are a product of academia.  They were propagandized first before becoming mouthpieces themselves.  Just about every candidate on stage was radicalized at an American university.  Every K–12 teacher in America also has a liberal arts university degree, which again explains how so many schools have morphed from educational institutions into propaganda factories. 

These universities are doing all in their power to ensure they reach all the students with their propaganda and social engineering.  Even engineering and science majors are forced to take classes from these propagandists in the interest of producing "well rounded students," a euphemism for indoctrinated liberals.  There are only a handful of colleges left that aren't infected with this disease.

This is why every Democrat on a debate stage sounds like he or she despises America.  These candidates, many of them shifting left with the political winds, are chasing increasingly propagandized voters who are a product of colleges and universities.  They are radicals chasing a growing number of radicalized votes.

Fletch Daniels blogs at and can be found on Twitter at @fletchdaniels.

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