College to Student: Conform…. Or Else

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This article (http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=236913) is a sad commentary on American higher education. What happened to Jen Keeton will happen to more students (and faculty) who do not tow the line of “politically correct” moral positions, positions opposed to those held by traditional Christians and Jews. Besides English Departments, the social sciences are cesspools of radicalism in many American universities. Counseling programs, which lack the rigorous scientific protocols of experimental or neuropsychology, often move from one radical idea to another–whatever is trendy at the time. Any view that there is a stable human nature that is violated when people deviate from the sexual norm is held to ridicule at best, to use of force at worst. Thankfully, the National Association of Scholars (of which I am a member) stands up for academic freedom and true openness to different points of view in higher education. While they are often labeled by the radical left as a “far right-wing organization,” the NAS has both conservatives, moderates, and (true) liberals as members. Hopefully with their help, and with theĀ  help of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, freedom of thought in academia will win out.

I once had a friend (who passed away, unfortunately, in his early 60s), a liberal democrat, who always told me that many of the so-called liberals in academia were not liberals, but “radicals.” He probably despised the radicals more than he despised the political right–at least the right, for the most part, affirms academic freedom; the 1960s-style academic radicals do not.

Unfortunately, students who want a way out of radical indoctrination and “sensitivity training” do no better in “Christian” schools. It is easy for someone to hide his real views until he gets tenure, and then the administration gives in under the threat of a lawsuit. One person like that does little harm, but when a group of them form a coalition, they are as dangerous to the careers of non-radical faculty or to the education of non-radical students as the KGB was to the lives of people in the Stalinist Soviet Union. The totalitarianism is not even subtle, as anyone who has been through “sensitivity training” realizes. These exercises are attempts to indoctrinate against the “threats” the radicals see in a “racist, sexist, and heterosexist society.” These “New Puritans” mean to excommunicate all who do not follow the unholy trinity of “race, class, and gender.” I suppose I could add “sexual orientation” to that list. No attempt to reason with such radicals will work; they are not interesting in reasoning, but in power. In the past, I had hoped the poison of the 1960s would seep out of academia; now I am pessimistic, and radicals train more radicals. Eventually human nature will win out over attempts to subvert it–and for the traditional Christian, Christ will triumph over all in the Eschaton. Until then, those of us in academia who believe in traditional values and in a traditional higher education without political indoctrination will do our best.

If You See Something, Say Something?

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At http://drudgereport.com/flash2n.htm is an article on the “If you see something, say something” campaign, in which there is a short video message encouraging people to speak up if they notice any suspicious activity. This campaign has expanded to Wal-Marts. On the surface, this sounds like a great idea–perhaps the government is aware of threats against public places and wants citizens to be particularly diligent. Janet Napolitano‘s policy, then, could be seen as benevolent. After, it is a voluntary campaign–no one is being forced to turn in their neighbors.

Still, I find the policy troubling because of the long history of “witch hunts” in the United States. During and after World War I, good, patriotic citizens were imprisoned by the government for speaking out against the war. After the war, the government campaign was against the far left, but citizen’s civil rights were routinely violated. Although the “Red Scare” really did locate some Communists in the U. S. government, as is now confirmed by KGB records, it tended at times to run to excess. J. Edgar Hoover encouraged citizens to spy on their neighbors to determine whether they were engaged in any activity suggestive of Communist affiliation. His book on Communism seems to accept the view that “There is a Communist around every corner.” This belief was a recipe for abuse, and Hoover’s FBI did spy on prominent Americans and other citizens he feared as being soft on Communism.

Now we have another plan telling people to be alert for potential terrorists. This is risky; suppose a person has a neighb0r who makes replicas of weapons from the War between the States for reinacters. The person could then claim that his neighor is messing around with explosive material–and federal law enforcement would disturb an innocent man because of his hobby. Or suppose a slightly autistic individual or someone with a similar condition is seen behaving strangely and awkwardly in a store. Someone watching that person might turn him in, believing him to be a threat.

I suppose I’m cynical, but usually when the government encourages people to watch their neighbors, this means that the government wants the American people’s minds to wander away from policy failures by the current administration. These policies are distractions–and I wonder how many real terrorists would be apprehended as the result of the “If you see something, say something” campaign. I doubt that many have been, or even one. American society is already composed of mainly isolated individuals living in their own tiny worlds and who do not interact with many people face to face. Let’s not add paranoia and potential government abuse of power to this mix.