Higher Education’s Enemy Within

This article is by a Yale alumnus and former general counsel who brings attention to the current state of higher education where “nonfaculty staff push for action and social justice at the expense of free inquiry.” His main points:

First, colleges and universities have subordinated their historic mission of free inquiry to a new pursuit of social justice. Consider the remarkable evolution of Yale’s mission statement. For decades the university said its purpose was “to create, preserve, and disseminate knowledge.” The language was banal enough, but nevertheless on the money. In 2016, however, Yale’s president announced a  new mission statement, which no longer mentions knowledge. Instead, Yale is now officially “committed to improving the world” and educating “aspiring leaders”—not only through research, but also through “practice.”

Second, American colleges and universities have been overwhelmed by a dangerous alliance of academic bureaucrats and student activists committed to imposing the latest social-justice diktats. This alliance has displaced the traditional governors of the university—the faculty. Indeed, nonfaculty administrators and activists are driving some of the most dangerous developments in university life, including the erosion of the due-process rights of faculty and students, efforts to regulate the “permissible limits” of classroom discussion, and the condemnation of unwelcome ideas as “hate speech.”

These changes are not new; they happened incrementally over more than fifty years. They are the legacy of the Frankfurt School of Social Research and the expatriates from Germany who infiltrated our educational establishment as part of a neo-Marxist cultural revolution. Their ultimate expression is the concept of zero tolerance and its execution in the cause of political correctness.

From Lefticon:

Frankfurt School – the Frankfurt School of Social Research, whose pioneering thinkers became the leaders in the cultural and social transformation of Western Europe and North America in the twentieth century.

In the Germany of the 1920s, during the Weimar Republic, a klatch of multidisciplinary Marxists and Freudians joined forces to bring down the government in a Bolshevik-style violent revolution. As bourgeois intellectuals, they were sedentary thinkers, not brawlers. Physically incapable of violent action, they were not beyond instigating it in others. The German proletariat, though, were insufficiently oppressed for a Marxian revolution to take hold.

Enter Willi Münzenberg, head of the German Communist Party, an agent of the Soviet-controlled Third International (also called the Communist International and the Comintern). He brought a proposal, pre-approved by Lenin, to infiltrate and change all aspects of German culture to bring about a gradual, cultural revolution. The intellectuals were thrilled; it was their kind of revolution. With seed money from the USSR via the Comintern, they formed the Institute of Social Research at the University of Frankfurt. They combined their brand of neo-Marxism with neo-Freudianism and came to be known as the Frankfurt School. No longer restricted by Marx’s linkage of revolution with violence, or Freud’s linkage of sexual restraint with the superego, they refined their critique of everything into an all-encompassing Critical Theory. Everywhere they looked, they saw a dialectic—cultural, social, economic, religious, political. It was a dialectician’s paradise.

Alas, their initial success was short. With the support of other intellectuals and willing accomplices, they easily brought about the cultural decadence and sexual excesses of Weimar Germany, e.g., Berlin in the Roaring Twenties, but not the revolution they had hoped would follow. Even worse, a charismatic rival named Adolf Hitler appeared, who was a nationalist. He, too, was a socialist, but a reactionary one who disapproved of their cultural changes. They tried to join forces with him for a while, hoping to be the ones in charge after the anticipated societal collapse. But the people overwhelmingly chose Hitler’s National Socialism over their neo-Freudian, neo-Marxist, Soviet Communism. Being Jewish, they fled to the United States and Great Britain, where they blended in with other liberal academics already inhabiting Western universities.

During World War II, after the collapse of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, the Soviets switched sides from the Axis to the Western Powers. The newly American, neo-Marxist expatriates from Frankfurt, always in lockstep with the Bolsheviks, became American patriots. They joined the Allied war effort in non-combat roles. Some joined the OSS (forerunner of the CIA) and other government agencies, where they quickly rose to prominence. After the war, some returned to western Europe and others stayed in the United States, where they continued their infiltration of government, education, religion, the media, the arts, and Hollywood.

Despite setbacks during the era of red-baiting and McCarthy, their influence grew. Their ideas prevailed in academia and among the young. The seeds of sexual liberation, social justice, and political correctness planted by these early visionaries, and nurtured by their followers, now flourish in the transformed cultures of North America and Western Europe.

Critical Theory a philosophical critique of all social structures and institutions within a culture.

Critical Theory is the application of Marxian dialectical methods to expose the contradictions of capitalist societies, with the goal of cultural and socio-political transformation. It is a major contribution of the neo-Marxist, neo-Freudian Frankfurt School and the theoretical basis of their success in the cultural transformation of Western Europe and North America. It is as much a contribution to social science and law as to philosophy.

Note:  Although there were lesser critical theories dating back to Aristotle, neo-Marxist Critical Theory is often capitalized out of respect for its preeminence, much like totalitarian Communism as distinct from generic communism, or the monotheistic God (G-d, Allah) vis-à-vis polytheistic or pagan gods.

Hate – an emotion which can be expressed in many ways. As a verb, it can mean anything from mild to moderate dislike (“I hate gym class.”) or disapproval (“I hate PowerPoint lectures.”) to intense dislike, detestation, and loathing (“I hate all white males.”).

Hate is now also used widely as an adjective in such special formulations as hate crime and hate speech. In those uses, the meaning is left intentionally flexible to enable the presumption of hate (and therefore guilt) of a victimized minority. Finally, as a noun, hate has pretty much supplanted hatred in the liberal lexicon, but with far less specificity of meaning.

Love and hate are binary opposites. Hate, as a monosyllabic verb, has more auditory impact than the disyllabic noun, hatred. Love, in contrast, is expressed both ways, noun and verb, with equal monosyllabic impact. Besides, love-hate just sounds better than love-hatred as a binary pair for deconstruction.

The rarely-used noun hatred, however, retains the intensity and emotional power of the feeling it has always described. It can reach an intensity that overwhelms reason; make monsters out of men and stir crowds to madness; and leave a trail of victimhood and oppression wherever it prevails.

Note:  Since only members of the dominant culture are capable of hate in its postmodern political sense, only minorities can be victims of hate, but never the perpetrators. Hatred, on the other hand, is apolitical and does not make that distinction.

One thought on “Higher Education’s Enemy Within”

  1. Description of the Frankfurt school is great.
    Their ideas permeate much of what goes on politically/socially today.
    I doubt one percent of the population has ever heard the term.
    Yet it is behind so much today.

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