This article first appeared at National Review Online.
People who ask how it is possible that a convicted killer — a participant in a failed plot to blow up a social dance attended by 18-year-old draftees and their dates; a murderess who abetted the cold-blooded massacre of three law-enforcement officers, including the first African-American on the Nyack police force; a woman whose actions left nine children fatherless and who has shown no genuine remorse for that — should be hired as an adjunct professor at an elite school like Columbia University haven’t been paying attention to what’s happened to our educational system from kindergarten to the university level, which has long been under the academic thumb of a Left that is comfortable supporting Islamic supremacists and anti-American terrorists both at home and abroad. After all, it was at Columbia that, in the wake of 9⁄11, Professor Nicholas De Genova told 3,000 Columbia protesters against America’s war on terror that he wished for “a million Mogadishus” and that a peaceful world would have no place for America.
The prestige of Columbia derives from its scientific and professional divisions (Social Work and Education excepted), in which traditional standards drawn from the Enlightenment and the scientific revolution and including two sides to controversial questions are still observed. Over the past several decades, the liberal-arts divisions and the aforementioned professional schools have reverted to their religious origins, except that the doctrines being rammed down students’ throats without the benefit of opposing views are Marxist rather than Christian.
Conservatives have been lame in opposing this ominous development. They have abdicated responsibility at the trustee level, they have had little or nothing to say about it at the policy level, and they have been inattentive to it at the political level, despite the fact that 85 percent of college students attend state universities whose curricula and liberal-arts faculties are as monolithic, intellectually deficient, and politically perverse as Columbia’s. For example, a course at the University of California, Santa Cruz, is described in the official catalogue in these exact words: “The goal of this seminar is to learn how to organize a revolution.” The course description goes on to explain that this would be an anti-capitalist revolution. Kathy Boudin would feel right at home there. In fact, her colleagues Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, who organized the terrorist Weather Underground in which Kathy Boudin was a soldier, were not adjunct faculty members like Boudin but full-fledged professors (at Northwestern and the University of Illinois). Ayers, a Columbia graduate, is an iconic figure at Columbia’s Teachers College (a third professional school at Columbia that is an ongoing disgrace) and has edited its series of classroom guides on how to use subjects like Mathematics to teach “social justice” — which, as Ayers understands and articulates it, is indistinguishable from the principles of the Communist gulags that the Cold War disposed of.
But of course it is terribly outré to mention all this, and those of us who do are marginalized not only by the academic profession but by the editorial supporters of political bomb throwers at institutions that function as the arbiters of the intellectual culture — such as the New York Times, which played an active role in securing Boudin’s undeserved release from a federal prison. These are sad times for our country, and the hour is late.
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