The Shotgun Blog
Thursday, September 10, 2009
The thought monopoly of Academia
This short and sweet post by Big Blue Wave got me thinking about the unfortunate ruling of academia by the left, and the stifling effects on the diversity of thought. Many times I have made posters and fliers asking for the help of students to create a conservative society at my university, but in the end didn't post them up as I had hoped. It's not that I'm particularly lazy or apathetic, but the pointlessness of even trying to promote conservatism at a university always gets to me.
I can't say for certain, but I honestly believe if I posted conservative related fliers around campus, they would be torn down in no time. Although it would be the students doing it, I guarantee no professor would stop it. That being said, posting more controversial things such as anti-abortion fliers would create a lot more fuss than I care for (I don't feel like getting expelled, or my genitals cut off by the feminists for that matter). I can honestly say I haven't ever seen a flier even resembling being written by a conservative. Even pro-Israel posters don't exist at my school, although pro-Palestine posters are everywhere. Surprised? Me neither.
At the society expo this year, the only political group that bothered with it was the Young New Democrats. I've never seen or heard of any conservative society at SMU (and this is my third year), so it wasn't a surprise to not see the PC Party or the federal Conservative Party being represented. Students aren't even into the Liberals that much apparently, as they weren't there this year either. To me this furthers my belief that the only political activists that are able to voice their ideals without persecution is the far-left; even the centre-left seems to have given up. As Big Blue Wave pointed out, to the elite of academia, being "educated" equals believing in the dogma of the left: progressivism.
Of course, progressivism includes the belief that the environment is superior to humanity, that abortion is the greatest thing since sliced bread, that Islam is the greatest religion, and that mediocrity should be strived for, among other things.
In an institution meant to educate people, no one wants to seem "uneducated", so no one wants to be conservative. It's a ridiculous statement that somehow still rings true in my head, but I guess that shouldn't surprise anyone - I'm "uneducated" after all.
For those who share my thoughts, I suggest watching the wonderful documentary called "Indoctrinate U". The film explores the strange thought-monopoly that has been plaguing our universities and colleges and I have to say, it's very well done and very thought provoking. Check it out!
[Cross-posted at The Right Coast]
I might remind you that this is nothing new. Universities have been teaching "progressive" ideals for quite some time.
In many respects, I don't have a problem with it. Universities should be a place to hear different ideas, learn to distinguish opinion from fact, as well as form and articulate ones own ideas.
The problem is that many people cannot distinguish opinion from fact and take whatever the professor says as the truth.
I've been a student for quite some time and it's not easy espousing right-of-center views in these lefty institutions. You need to have balls if you are going to survive. However, I think that I am better off because of it. It forces me to evaluate my opinions and articulate them in such a way that others will listen.
So, on the bright side, any conservatives who survive the university experience, should be stronger and better off because of it.
Posted by: Jesse Kline | 2009-09-10 7:51:55 PM
I've had many liberal professors in my day, and I'm grateful. They challenged and matured my thinking on many subjects. They made me a better person. They would do the same for you if you'd give them a chance.
As for these Dipper and Liebral student groups, have at them, the ignorant scum.
Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2009-09-10 8:12:16 PM
As Jesse says this is nothing new. You describe the effect but the cause is the intentional infiltration of universities by the Left, often the hard Left. I used to be amazed at the number of American draft-dodgers teaching in Canadian universities, but on second thought it is not so surprising.
Jesse's university experience is not the case everywhere. There are many more cases where if you want a passing grade you have to pretend to agree with the professor's opinion. I know my children found this very frustrating and saw it for what it was.
The Left does not tolerate dissenting views, and in fact will do anything to suppress them; a far cry from the old days of encouraging independent thought and critical thinking.
Posted by: Alain | 2009-09-10 8:33:14 PM
What a load of self-pitying bullshit!
"It's not that I'm particularly lazy or apathetic..."
No, it's that you're stupid and defeatist, too.
"I can't say for certain, but I honestly believe if I posted conservative related fliers around campus, they would be torn down in no time."
So you don't even bother to try putting up a few fliers because you assume the worst? That's pathetic.
"I've never seen or heard of any conservative society at SMU..."
So no one at the school can be bothered? It's no wonder the school is known as Robie High. Well, Eeyore, if you feel like doing a bit more than feeling sorry for yourself, how about contacting the Dalhousie–King’s Conservatives. Maybe they can help you to feel better. They might at least help you to find your tail.
Posted by: Fact Check | 2009-09-10 9:39:13 PM
Narrow-minded 'progressives' are fun to play with, original thought 'does not compute' and that can be seen by the stunned looks on their faces in the few seconds it takes them to remember the talking points they're required to parrot.
Posted by: philanthropist | 2009-09-10 9:58:13 PM
"progressivism includes the belief that... Islam is the greatest religion"
I'll quibble here. Progressive dogma preaches either secular humanism or New Age spiritualism, not the supremacy of Islam. I think you may be confused because progressives do believe that Christianity (particularly traditionalist or evangelical varieties practiced by white people) is the worst (i.e. most racist, patriarchal, homophobic, colonialist, etc.) religion. Compared to most Christians, progressives almost certainly prefer even those Muslims who would replace our secular understanding of the rule of law with Quran-inspired shariah law.
Posted by: Kalim Kassam | 2009-09-10 10:25:24 PM
progressives almost certainly prefer even those Muslims who would replace our secular understanding of the rule of law with Quran-inspired shariah law
At least until they require burqa's and stoning of homosexuals. Then they might re-think their support of Islamo-facism.
Posted by: GeronL | 2009-09-10 11:11:04 PM
Sad but true. I wonder if things will change much when the boomers die off. Many of these professors are relics from the Vietnam era. As the recent agitpropping by Hanoi Jane and others over the Toronto Film Festival demonstrates, they're not a generation that has ever gotten over itself, or for that matter, matured emotionally beyond the age of fifteen.
Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-09-11 6:48:32 AM
I do not know. They now have funding from billionaires like Soros and others and have created a network of extremist organizations that now have real power. They actually elected a President of the US, who knows what plans they have if they secure themselves into permanent power. Those emotional dummies are their foot soldiers and their control of government schools and the media is their key to permantant power.
I have no idea what their plans for Canada are. I don't think they will be very friendly to our traditional allies. I think that much is becoming increasingly clear.
Maybe the reason they never got real power in Canada is because your provinces have asserted their right to govern themselves more effectively than our states have. Also that your socialists seem to admit it, this alone would spell the end of their reign here.
We have gone from Newsweek cover exclaiming that we are all socialists to the leftist media trying to say the S-word is like the N-word. I think Thomas Friedman summed up what they want very clearly in his column, China-style autocracy.
Posted by: GeronL | 2009-09-11 7:54:35 AM
GeronL. It's not just Obama, progressive control over US institutions is nothing new. They already secured themselves in permanent power a long time ago. "Progressives" were in charge most of the 20th century, weren't presidents TR, WW, FDR etc. all progressives? And how would you define progressivism so that it applies to Obama but not at all to Bush II? It's not just presidents and the political class, of course the very powerful civil service (bureaucrats, teachers, etc.) in Canada and the US is one of the most progressive institutions in society (although academia may give them a good run for their money). The Yankee puritanism from which modern progressivism descends is no new force in the US political system, it's the oldest one.
If you're not following what I'm saying, here's the first thing to read World War I as Fulfillment: Power and the Intellectuals.
Posted by: Kalim Kassam | 2009-09-11 8:23:10 AM
I think you were referring to this post
But thanks for the plug!
Question: do other conservatives exist at SMU? Do you know who they are? Are you friends with them?
If you already have a core of enthusiastic conservatives there, I would say it's not pointless.
It's only as pointless as the lethargy of the people promoting it.
If there are 10 conservatives there, and only one wants to do the work, then I would agree: pointless. You can only do so much by yourself.
But if 2-3 of you are really gung ho, then it's not pointless.
I was a fairly socialist person in university. I can tell you: there are left-wingers who can be turned around.
What you must remember is that even though your ideas don't catch on after 2-3 hearings, just keep at it. Maybe it won't bear fruit today, but it will down the line. You have to be persistent. Persistence, good strategy, creativity and positive enthusiasm bear results. Even if you're only 2-3.
You don't necessarily have to convert your profs. Work on the students. They're the ones who will be the leaders of tomorrow.
If you don't know any other conservatives at SMU, I would say: find some. Then try to link up with them.
Posted by: SUZANNE | 2009-09-11 9:39:12 AM
No word of a lie, I don`t know of any conservatives at SMU. None.
I have to figure out a way to find them. Like I said I`ve thought about fliers asking for help from those who want to, but I don`t want to waste time and money if the fliers are going to be torn down.
Posted by: Dane Richard | 2009-09-11 10:38:20 AM
I will add a few more comments. Kalim, I agree with your take and that it is not that the Left actually loves Islam or rather Islamists but that they see them as allies in the destruction of what they hate themselves. You are spot on in their view of Christianity.
Suzanne also makes some important points, especially in the importance of recruiting students.
Dane, perhaps it would be worthwhile to seek others who share your values by spelling them (or the major ones) out instead of using the conservative label. Even flyers inviting those who share such values to a meeting and start from there. When people have been brainwashed into believing that anything called conservative is bad or evil, they usually tune out at the mention of conservative without understanding what it actually represents. William Gairdner covers such values extremely well and has a web site you may find interesting and useful for articulating these values.
Posted by: Alain | 2009-09-11 11:55:21 AM
Thanks for the direct link. I've put it into the post.
Two easy ideas for identifying non-progressives on your campus:
1. Operation Political Homeless: you can do this by yourself. Set up a booth following these instructions at a clubs day, busy throughway or student union building for a few hours. When someone pops out on the right side of the compass, ask them if they would like to join an email list for a new campus group. The Fraser Institute has a Canadian version of the World's Smallest Political Quiz here.
2. A facebook group for "SMU Burkeans," (appropriate I thought, given the school's history) see if anyone understands the group name and joins, I suspect you'll find a couple. I'm not sure the best way to promote this, but just start inviting people you know. It may or may not work, but it's better than craigslist.
Posted by: Kalim Kassam | 2009-09-11 2:48:56 PM
Try talking to engineering students, they tend to be more conservative. Forget liberal arts.
Even if you don't convert anyone today, what's important is that you've said your piece and given people something to think about.
Some of us start out as socialist students, and then become conservative when we start working and paying taxes.
Posted by: Realist | 2009-09-13 5:22:13 PM
Kalim: I took your advice and started a "SMU Burkeans" facebook page as a starting point in the journey to finally creating a conservative/right-wing society at SMU. I've always wanted to create an Edmund Burke society, so this is a great way to start.
Posted by: Dane Richard | 2009-09-14 9:37:28 AM
Conservatives like to imagine themselves as being dissenting outsiders battling a privileged establishment. The reality is that conservatives themselves form an entrenched wing of the political establishment. The self-image is bogus.
Posted by: brian | 2009-11-15 6:39:19 PM
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