Few understand the unique influence of the university; few understand that the university is in a grave crisis. Few understand that the consequence of ignoring this crisis is the demise of America as we know it. —S.E. Kao
Ten years ago, without much fanfare, a Marxist professor by the name of Bertell Ollman published a collection of academic papers titled The Left Academy: Marxist Scholarship on American Campuses. In the opening pages, Professor Ollman announced that more and more scholars are becoming interested in a Marxist interpretation of the world. “Ours is a peaceful and democratic revolution,” he said, “fought chiefly with books and lectures.”
That same year, U.S. News and World Report reported that more than ten thousand Marxist professors were teaching in our universities. If these faculty think like Dr. Ollman, then he has an impressive army of Ph.D.’s to conduct his bookish revolution. Given the fact that each professor in America teaches, on the average, at least two hundred students per year, each year more than two million students encounter, as Professor Ollman puts it, a Marxist revolution in the university.
Marxist influence in the university has its roots in that black period in American history called “the ’60s.” Professor Sidney Hook, in his book Academic Freedom and Academic Anarchy, revealed how the campus radicals, believing that America was hopelessly unjust, wanted to tear down the system. The problems of racism, poverty, and injustice in America were so bad, they felt, that violence was the only way to bring about the necessary changes.
One example mentioned by Hook is Your Manual, Volume 1, No. 1, which was published by an underground radical group and distributed on the campus of San Francisco State University. It identified what kind of items your typical campus activist might need to deal with police, nonstriking students, and others.
For cameramen, one needed rocks and bottles to drive them off so that no pictures could be taken; squirt guns filled with ammonia and red pepper could be used to disable the horses of mounted police; aerosol cans could be turned into flame throwers to burn exposed skin. Finally, the manual suggested that “assassination of pig leaders is one of the necessary variables for winning our struggle.”
When such tactics failed to ignite a broader revolution, these leftists adopted a strategy called inversion, whereby they planned to attack the system from the inside instead of from without. Some, such as Jerry Rubin, went to Wall Street. Others, like Tom Hayden and Gary Hart, ran for public office. But many others went into the university believing it to be the most fertile ground for their Marxist version of a new world order. As a result of the influx into the university of this type of professor, David Littlejohn of Berkeley’s Graduate School of Literature reveals that “an overwhelming proportion of our courses are taught by people who really hate the system.”
This sustained hatred among professors, liberals, as well as radicals of the American system stems from their understanding of what causes all of the evil in the world. They categorically reject the account in Genesis which indicates, as Alexander Solzenitsyn puts it so eloquently, “The line between good and evil courses through the very heart of man.”
Instead, intellectuals declare that all of the evil in the world is caused by such things as private property, wealth, capitalism, industry, Christian marriage, religious fundamentalism, Western civilization, men, whites, heterosexuals, et al. All of these causes, in turn, are a part of the ultimate cause of all evil which is inequality. Note: When one reads inequality, he must not think of anything so mundane as someone being smarter or stronger. The inequality which, according to the intellectual, must be eradicated is economic and political inequality—inequities in money and power. This definition is the basis on which many professors now teach that only those in power can be evil: Only men can be sexists; only whites can be racists; only America can be imperialistic.
If the world of “books and lectures” is indeed undergoing such a revolution, it should show up in the classroom. And it does. More and more professors now teach students that Western culture is controlled by white males who have oppressed women, blacks, and homosexuals as well as those from the Third World. And anyone who does not agree with this view is considered “politically incorrect.” For the uninitiated, politically correct thinking represents the effort to “redistribute power from the privileged class (white males) to the oppressed masses,” and is a new strain of Marxism.
The English department at the University of Texas, for example, redesigned their remedial writing course for freshmen, E306, around the theme of white male racism. The text, Racism and Sexism: An Integrated Study, was compiled by Professor Paula Rothenberg and identifies forty-six kinds of white male privilege. According to Professor Maxine Hairston, only four of the eighty professors in the English department at the university “believe that a central mission of their department is to teach people how to write.” The consequences of this is that educating students is no longer the primary objective of the university. It is much more important to rid the world of racism which spews forth from the white male power structure in America. This change is a revolution.
Asa Hilliard III of Georgia State University is representative of those who want to tear down the so-called “white educational structure.” “This includes removing, altering, or transforming such things as IQ tests, textbooks, and even the sciences which Hilliard declares is the ‘citadel of white supremacy’ ” (Glenn M. Ricketts, “Multiculturalism Mobilizes,” Academic Questions). In other words, white males designed the IQ tests, Scholastic Aptitude Tests (SATs), and textbooks so that women and minorities cannot do as well as white men. Consequently, the entire educational system must be scrapped. This too is part of the revolution.
Secondly, if there is a revolution of “books and lectures” in the university, there should be some evidence of an assault by the opposition—and there is.
Students are being disciplined if they make “insensitive” comments about oppressed groups—women, blacks, or homosexuals. Also, there are new codes of student conduct at 125 universities which prohibit “hate speech.” Saying that homosexuality is wrong would qualify. To state that Hinduism is a false religion would presumably be “hateful” as well. The code at Smith College prohibits “ageism,” which protects those who are “chronologically different.”
Those who offend the politically correct ethos must endure reeducation. For example, after such reeducation, a botany professor at Duke University now teaches seminars in something called “feminist botany.” At many other colleges, professors will not receive tenure, merit raises or promotion unless they attend multicultural workshops and sensitivity training. The revolution is in full bloom.
On the other side is Christianity, which embodies a different explanation of and solution to the problem of evil. War and racial hatred come out of the heart of man. Industrial pollution and abuse of power, they originate in the heart of man, also. In sum, evil is a human problem.
And no one is immune. Not ministers or politicians or minorities or women or whites or businessmen or social activists or journalists or professors or anyone. Consequently, changing the system is not the solution. Overthrow those in power for someone else and still you have the problem of people. According to Christianity, the individual must be transformed.
Meanwhile, the revolution goes on.