Monday, December 18, 2017

December 18, 2017: Education and “Thought-Control”: The Crisis that Confronts Us

Friends,

Ten days ago a story appeared in the news that the University of North Carolina system Board of Governors was investigating the possibility of creating, according to the leftist local newspaper, The News & Observer, “a conservative-leaning center at UNC-Chapel Hill that they say would foster debate and achieve more intellectual diversity.” A delegation of board members had made a trip to Princeton University to learn more about the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions, directed by Dr. Robert George, with the possible goal of establishing such a center at UNC at Chapel Hill.

According to board member Joe Knott, “We are trying to address a problem that seems to be endemic in higher education all across the United States in that the universities seem to be moving toward a mono-culture…. There’s a lack of diversity in viewpoint, intellectual viewpoint.”

Although certainly a small, tentative step in comparison to the overwhelming success of the radical and Marxist revolution in higher education, such action should be welcomed—and encouraged, even if not-yet-well-enunciated—by those deeply concerned with the fate of American academia and its open and zealous enlistment in the cause of Progressivist revolution to transform American society and culture.
Back on February 6 of this year I published with The Unz Review an essay about the contemporary ideological turmoil and subversion in higher education and academia. In that essay I suggested that,
“…what is occurring is a kind of ‘second generation’ cultural Marxism which is both ultra-revolutionary and also destructive of the historic social bonds that once held society together. The views of the dominant university faculty (and many of their students) on most college campuses these days would make even Josef Stalin blush…and probably not with envy, as ‘Uncle Joe’ and Soviet Communism would not have put up with the wild amorality, same sex marriage, transgenderism, and other aberrations now advocated. Stalin demanded hard-working traditional families, he persecuted homosexuality, sent transgenders to Siberia, and suppressed demonstrations (unless, that is, organized by his agents in Western countries).”
And I detailed how this “second generation” essentially originated in the aftermath of the assassination of Marxist internationalist Leon Trotsky (at Stalin’s orders) in 1940 in Mexico, then experienced a flourishing and ideological redefining with the so-called “Frankfurt School” in social, philosophical and historical thought (1930s and onwards). But perhaps even more critical for the repositioning of what is now somewhat inexactly termed “cultural Marxism” were the insinuation of influential currents emphasizing the critical importance of “race and racism” as a developed template through which to assault the dominant Western Christian (= white) culture and perceived inequality and “historic oppression.”  As analyzed by African-descended Marxist Frantz Fanon in such seminal volumes as The Wretched of the Earth (1961), “colonialism” and historic “white racism” had had severe psychological effects on subject peoples, and a concerted and multifaceted revolutionary action was required to overthrow that supremacy.
A second defining characteristic of cultural Marxism was the incorporation of a primary narrative on sexual liberation as a logical extension of historic Progressivist feminism. The roots of feminism in Western society mostly predate Marxism (e.g., 19th  century activists and suffragettes, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and others), and it can be argued persuasively that its roots go back to various strains of religious perfectionism  and Protestant zealotry which were present in New England from early times. Certainly, the hot-house of early and mid-century transcendentalism and American-style Rationalism, centered in the north-eastern states, intersected with those religious and semi-religious streams of thought. And in the 20th century, as the suffrage movement expanded its horizons to include such emphases as family limitation via birth control (e.g., Margaret Sanger and the American Birth Control League) and the increasingly important thematic narratives of “women’s control over their own bodies” and “independence from male domination,” its virtual subsuming into a Progressivist cultural Marxism became more or less a fait accompli.
These emphases, while offering political objectives for the Left, also serve as means of a sophisticated intellectual attack against inherited Western culture and its traditionsstructurally, that is, to “deconstruct” what are perceived to be “unjust” and “oppressive” social and cultural relicts from the past which “hold down” blacks and women. Initially, following French Marxist philosopher Jacques Derrida (1930-2004) and Belgian Paul de Man (1919-1983), this Deconstructionism is on a first level a theory of literary criticism that questions traditional assumptions about certainty, identity, and truth. Methodologically, it entails deconstruction of our language, itself, by methods of textual criticism, which involve discovering, recognizing and understanding the underlying assumptions (unspoken and implicit), ideas and frameworks that form the basis for thought and belief. Once determined and identified, those hindrances to “social justice” must be addressed, overturned and replaced socially and politically.
These standardized thought processes—as crucial elements in the destruction of racism and sexual liberation—are anchored in a particular conception of equality and are now the major characteristics of cultural Marxism, giving it its special focus and an almost religious zeal which, while proposing “liberation” on one hand, enforces when possible a doctrinaire intolerance on the other. As I wrote in February:
“…we have gone far beyond the old-fashioned Socialist Left and its push for what it deemed “social justice” through evolution or “soft” revolution. This second generation Marxist variant combines a distinct revulsion against any traditional standards, favoring an almost anarchic view of historic social and familial bonds, while simultaneously strenuously supporting authoritarian and suppressive speech and activity codes through which it seeks to enforce by an iron hand what can and what cannot be said, written, or taught.”
This is, of course, a logical result of the festering stew of cultural Marxism, and it presents a severe challenge not only to higher education and our college and university system, but increasingly to primary and secondary education, at least that segment that is run and sponsored publicly by the state. Over decades the—what I would call—infiltration of thousands of educators, professors and teachers, trained in basically cultural Marxist pedagogy has had a significant and critical effect on American education on all levels.

In a real sense, this has been the bleeding sore, the Achilles’ Heel, both culturally and politically in the ongoing effort to defend that heritage and those traditions that were vouchsafed to us by earlier generations of twenty centuries of Western Christian civilization.

One of the more perceptive observers and critics of this process has been Dr. Jack Kerwick. Just recently he has published two analytical and very carefully argued essays on the topic, first on December 6, and then again on December 15 of this year, which should be required reading for anyone interested in genuine academic freedom and reform in higher education. Both offer detailed considerations of “academic groupthink” and “thought-collectives” and why dissenting voices are not tolerated on most college and university campuses today.

Jack’s careful analysis of these tendencies that underlie and dominate current academic behavior and teaching is vital to understanding what must be done to begin the process of correction. And even less pointedly critical observers, such as Dr. Andy Taylor, Professor of Political Science at North Carolina State University, have noted the lack of true “intellectual diversity” on campus and, essentially, the correctness of Jack’s analysis. 

Last February I offered, in the way of retrospective comment, remarks by the great post-War Between the States Southern writer, Robert Lewis Dabney. Dabney warned (1876) that without a firm understanding of the moral underpinnings of liberty under God and in tradition, education would be controlled by “demagogues, who are in power for a time, in the interests of their faction” and would be utilized to impose a specific political viewpoint.

The long range successes of cultural Marxism depend critically on the continual domination of university campuses and their nearly-unopposed ability to indoctrinate future generations.

Other than the immigration crisis and the desperate need to control our borders, I can think of no greater issue confronting us now.

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