How bad is the indoctrination process in American colleges?
I had occasion to see for myself an answer to this question when I recently visited the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. This is a state school with 20,000 students, and while I was there I audited an hour-and-a-half lecture about the Warren Court’s landmark decisions on civil liberties by a well-known and highly respected political scientist named Sheldon Goldman, a nationally recognized expert in the field.
There are no open conservatives on the faculty of the University of Massachusetts and none that the conservative students who were hosting me could identify. My student hosts were political science majors and the absence of conservative professors was a real problem for them given the extreme and abusive nature of many of their professors. One professor gave an exam, for example, that consisted of a speech by President Reagan. The exam question was: Explain why Reagan is wrong. Another professor was a militant leftist who required a paper on the Vietnam War. To avoid the political minefield which confronted him, a student wrote a paper comparing military strategies for the war. The professor rejected the paper with the comment: “We shouldn’t have been there in the first place.”
When I entered Goldman’s classroom I saw that half of my student hosts were taking his course, a relief they told me later from the harassment they experience in other political science courses. Goldman is regarded by these conservative students as the “best” and “fairest” professor on the UMass faculty, someone who every now and then would vent a “liberal” sentiment or prejudice but whose lectures were relatively free from bias and whose classroom behavior was respectful towards them. Political Science departments in my experience are more academic and less politicized than other departments such as Anthropology, Sociology and the various inter-disciplinary fields (“Peace Studies,” “Cultural Studies”) that tenured radicals have invented to establish their ideological claims.
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