I’ve been a reader of Dr. Gary North for a long time. Personally, I don’t think it’s a bad idea to listen to our elders.
He wrote this in 2003. I doubt it has gotten much better. The original article is here: https://www.lewrockwell.com/2003/02/gary-north/the-collegiate-gauntlet/
Let me begin with a few horror stories. As you read, ask yourself: “Is this what I want for my children? Or my grandchildren?” The following report was written three years ago by Prof. Charles Kors of the University of Pennsylvania.
At Wake Forest University last fall, one of the few events designated as “mandatory” for freshman orientation was attendance at Blue Eyed, a filmed racism awareness workshop in which whites are abused, ridiculed, made to fail, and taught helpless passivity so that they can identify with “a person of color for a day.” In Swarthmore College’s dormitories, in the fall of 1998, first-year students were asked to line up by skin color, from lightest to darkest, and to step forward and talk about how they felt concerning their place in that line. Indeed, at almost all of our campuses, some form of moral and political re-education has been built into freshman orientation and residential programming. These exercises have become so commonplace that most students do not even think of the issues of privacy, rights, and dignity involved.A central goal of these programs is to uproot “internalized oppression,” a crucial concept in the diversity education planning documents of most universities. Like the Leninists’ notion of “false consciousness,” from which it ultimately is derived, it identifies as a major barrier to progressive change the fact that the victims of oppression have internalized the very values and ways of thinking by which society oppresses them. What could workers possibly know, compared to intellectuals, about what workers truly should want? What could students possibly know, compared to those creating programs for offices of student life and residence, about what students truly should feel? Any desire for assimilation for individualism reflects the imprint of white America’s strategy for racial hegemony.
You would be wise to read his report in its entirety if you plan to send a child to college. If you want to know what American higher education is all about these days, read it.
Lest you imagine that things have gotten better since he wrote his article, consider this recent report in World magazine.
Jessica Ashooh, 18, a freshman at Brown University in Providence, R.I., last month attended her new school’s freshman orientation. But not a lot of orienting went on. Instead the program focused on becoming “part of the Brown community.”Facilitators, for example, billed one mandatory session on diversity as a meeting that would encourage freshmen “to think about how your experiences at Brown will be shaped by your membership in a pluralistic community.” But what it really was, said Ms. Ashooh, was “your basic guilty-racist speech,” delivered by Evelyn-DeHart, director of Brown’s center for race and ethnicity. “She was almost militant. At some points she was yelling at us.” . . .
Freshman orientation used to be about teaching new students how to find their classes, the cafeteria, and the campus bookstore. But today, left-liberal “diversity” trainers have found in orientation programs a ready-made crop of captive and impressionable audiences ripe for reeducation on issues of sex, race, and gender. The basic messages: People of color are victims; whites are their tormentors. Homosexuality is normal; abhorring the behavior is bigotry.
Brown University is one of the most expensive schools in America. Parents spend up to $140,000 to fund one child in the quest for a diploma. The school is academically rigorous. It trains the students who were not quite competitive enough to get into Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, Chicago, or Yale. The elite attend Brown and schools like it (e.g., Swarthmore).
Some freshmen-orientation directors say they are only trying to prevent future student clashes over racism and “homophobia.” Others say outright that such presentations are designed to shake the soil from new students’ small-town roots, dismantle traditional values they might have brought from home, and – in presentations by hard-left facilitators – help white freshmen own and overcome their inborn racism. “I really want [freshmen] to understand that they are no longer at home, they’re not in high school anymore, and a lot of the values and morals they may have had from those experiences may change here over the next four years,” said diversity issues coordinator Marcus Newsom of Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa.
You might think that these are isolated events. You would be wrong. An academic-supply industry is growing rapidly to meet the demand by colleges for these courses.
A small army of diversity “experts” stands ready to help. BlueEyed facilitator Jane Elliot is one star in a constellation of highly paid, ultra-leftist facilitators who travel from campus to campus to proclaim diversity dogma.Edwin J. Nichols, a Washington, D.C.-based diversity guru (who counts as clients the U.S. Department of Labor and the EnvironmentalProtection Agency) charges schools about $5,000plus expenses for a workshop in which he teaches students to recognize and combat “white privilege.”
Hugh Vasquez of the Todos Institute in Oakland, Calif., is the brain behind Skin Deep, another racial-awareness film popular with college diversity programmers. Freshmen at Virginia’s Washington and Lee University this month watched the film, in which minority workshop participants lambaste “whiteness,” while white students repent of generational racism.
This is the tip of the iceberg. Yet parents shell out anywhere from $20,000 to $140,000 to send a child into what is best described as the academic gauntlet.
RUNNING THE GAUNTLET
In a great movie, “The Black Robe,” there is an unforgettable scene of a gauntlet. Forcing an enemy to run the gauntlet was a widely practiced ritual among Indian tribes. A hapless captive was beaten by clubs as he ran in between a twin line of hostile braves. Different tribes had different rules. In the Shawnee tribe, those who survived the run were adopted into the tribe. Those who didn’t make it down the lines were burned at the stake. The gauntlet was a rite of passage.
College is the final rite of passage for Americans who plan to enter the professions or business. It is imposed by college faculties on teenagers and young adults. Those who survive the ordeal – half of them don’t – are then invited to enter the world of diploma-certified income. Those who don’t graduate are relegated to the world of careers without high school diplomas– the outer darkness.
Parents regard themselves as trapped in this alien system. They want the best for their children, which in the post-World War II has attending college and earning at least a bachelor’s degree. Parents have been led to believe that this is the safest pathway to a child’s success in life.
So, they send their children into alien territory, at great expense, only to see their children indoctrinated with ideas that the parents had warned against. Yet the parents regard themselves as helpless. “What else can we do? We never graduated from college.” Or this: “We can’t hang onto our children forever.”
Their ideological enemies long ago spotted this weakness, and for over a hundred years, they have taken advantage of it. They have persuaded parents to finance an alien program of indoctrination, either directly (tuition)or indirectly (taxes).
YEARS OF INDOCTRINATION
The American public school system serves the same purpose as the colleges do, but at a lower level. The states require attendance at state-certified institutions of education. It takes special exemptions for parents to teach their children at home.
Amazingly, in terms of money, it takes as little as $200, plus toner and paper, to home-school your entire family, K-12, in every course except math. It takes another $800 to buy the math textbooks. Even more amazing, the entire program is self-taught by the student. It takes less parental time than any other home-school curriculum. It’s the Robinson Curriculum, designed by research chemist Arthur Robinson for his six children. Two of them are pursuing Ph.D.’s in chemistry. The others are still in college or high school.
Parents are taxed to send their children into classrooms that are dominated by people who share a different religion from the parents.
By a series of Supreme Court decisions, all tax-funded education must be secular, yet fewer than 10% of Americans are atheists, i.e., people who believe that the world can be explained without reference to God.
In high school, in every academic field, the assumptions of modern Darwinism dominate the textbooks, yet only 10% of Americans admit to being Darwinists. Almost half say that God created mankind less than 10,000 years ago. Almost 40% say that God created everything, but used evolution – an anti-Darwinist outlook. This was discovered by a 1999 ABCNews poll. You would not intuitively guess its results by watching PBS specials on nature or “Nova.”
College completes the academic ordeal. Here, Darwinism provides the conceptual framework for a host of rival ism’s. Defenders of competing ism’s strive to gain tenure on college faculties in order to have a chance to recruit young people at taxpayers’ expense. Even private religious colleges are dominated by one or another of these Darwinist ism’s, for the textbooks are written by professors in major universities. Only a handful of tiny Bible colleges, Bible institutes, and under-capitalized, high-tuition four-year colleges offer slightly less radical viewpoints.
The most famous early warning was William F. Buckley’s book – I think his best book – God and Man At Yale (1951). He wrote it as a recent graduate. It sent the liberal Yale faculty ballistic. In 1960, his undergraduate successor at Yale, M. Stanton Evans, wrote Revolt On The Campus, which dealt with the incipient conservative collegiate movement, which I had recently joined. The movement was tiny. Evans by then was the editor of the editorial page at the Indianapolis News, and for a quarter century has run the National Journalism Center, a top-flight organization that trains prospective journalists.
My favorite book attacking the collegiate system is the 1989 bombshell, Profscam, by Charles J. Sykes. I believe that every parent of a college-bound student should read this book before spending a penny on higher education. It will help get things more clearly in focus. The prospective student should also read it; if he or she should find that the book is too confusing or too advanced, there is no doubt in my mind that the student should defer enrollment until the book becomes crystal clear.
In Chapter 1, Sykes lays out the truth about the modern academic culture without sugar-coating. It is the same problem that crops up in every aging monopoly: the complacency of the protected group.
Professors have convinced society that this culture is essential for higher learning, and have thus been able to protect their own status and independence by cheating students, parents, taxpayers, and employers, and polluting the intellectual inheritance of society. Over the last 50 years, this academic culture has secured professors almost ironclad job security and the freedom to do whatever they like – and do it well or poorly – or do nothing at all. [Charles J. Sykes, Profscam: Professors and the Higher Education Game, 1988, p. 5.]
He lists a series of accurate indictments, but this one has not been widely acknowledged, on campus or off, as central to the whole problem: the two-tier faculty. The system works to the advantage of senior faculty members, whose courses are kept scandalously few in number and incredibly small, and whose intellectual interests are subsidized, but to no one else’s advantage. “In pursuing their own interests – research, academic politicking, cushier grants – they have left the nation’s students in the care of an ill-trained, ill-paid, and bitter academic underclass.” This existence of this academic underclass – teaching assistants, untenured professors, and part-time instructors – is not perceived by the vast majority of parents of first-year students; the students themselves may take years to figure it out. This underclass has become crucial for the economic survival of almost all of the institutions of higher learning, but it has a whole host of evil implications for college education.
By the time they read a book like Sykes’, parents have already made the decision to send their children to college, sometimes with a retail price tag of 140,000+ [today: 280,000+] after-tax dollars per bachelor’s degree (Ivy League universities). Once a major decision is made in life, nobody wants to have to reconsider it. Nobody wants to have his illusions unceremoniously shattered. Nevertheless, my recommendation is that those people putting up the money get these illusions shattered early rather than late, so that the potential victims can salvage something of value by making the system work for them – the real system, not a figment of their imaginations. It is time for parents and students to bone up on the reality that awaits them.
If Profscam is true – and it really is true – then parents and students need to reorganize their plans: soon. There are some parents and students who will resent this, and will do their best to deny it psychologically. They will dismiss what I say with the standard phrases: “This can’t be true. He is exaggerating.” To skeptics, I say only: you have been warned. Repeatedly.
Sykes is not alone in his criticisms. Roger Kimball’s book, Tenured Radicals (1990), is equally critical, though from a narrower perspective. Kimball points out that the radical student protesters of the 1960’s have become the tenured professors of today. His book is filled with one horror story after another: of reduced academic standards, of tyranny in the name of the oppressed, of courses that are hostile to Western civilization. A parent had better read it before he signs the student’s first tuition check.
An equally pessimistic account is provided in Page Smith’s book, Killing The Spirit (1990). Smith, now deceased, was a first-rate professor of history, formerly of UCLA. He is the author of the marvelously written eight-volume work, People’s History of the United States, as well as the standard two-volume academic biography of John Adams. Killing The Spirit focuses on what goes on in the great research universities, as does Sykes’ Profscam. Smith’s conclusion is the same as Sykes’: the students are being cheated, the parents are being cheated, and the taxpayers are being cheated. Furthermore, the research produced by faculty members at these universities is substandard. But Smith, unlike Sykes, comes from inside the system.
So does Bruce Wilshire. He wrote The Moral Collapse of the University (1990). He tells the same story: professors who hate to teach undergraduates, instruction without meaning, and a breakdown of educational standards. “If universities can not confront questions of meaning – and of goodness, vitality, purpose, beauty, reality, the universe directly lived – they suffer moral collapse. This has happened” (p. 205).
These books paved the way for Dinesh D’Souza’s Illiberal Education (1991). D’Souza’s book caught the attention of the book-buying public and the media. It was as if there had been no previous books on the subject, as if there had not been two generations of tenured liberalism dominating the college classrooms.
You might think that with so much criticism from intelligent sources, there have been changes. You would be correct. Things have indeed changed. They’re worse.
Professor Kors ended his report with these words:
Orwell may have been profoundly wrong about the totalitarian effects of high technology, but he understood full well how the authoritarians of this century had moved from the desire for outer control to the desire for inner control. He understood that the new sought to overcome what, in Julia’s terms, was the ultimate source of freedom for human beings: “They can’t get inside you.” Our colleges and universities hire trainers to “get inside” American students.Thought reform is making its way inexorably to an office near you. If we let it occur at our universities and accept it passively in our own domains, then a people who defeated totalitarians abroad will surrender their dignity, privacy, and conscience to the totalitarians within.
What can you do about it? To change the system, not much. To keep your child out of the system, or on the distant fringes, where the damage will be minimal, you can do a great deal. Start looking for Internet-based courses that will let your child stay at home and out of the gauntlet.
I also encourage you to click through and read Phyllis Schlafly’s survival guide for college students.