Leftist Professors? What a Surprise

April 2005

Trough diligent work, National Post columnist Barbara Kay has finally revealed that North America's education system is a masterfully orchestrated brainwashing operation. She has torn the pale, bespectacled smiley face away to reveal the tweedy, Prius driving, bookish evil that is transforming the next generation into a liberal droid army just as Dr. Seuss's Star Bellied Sneech machine slapped stars on the bellies of Sneeches.

Of course Kay's evidence is entirely anecdotal. She invited readers to submit their stories of leftist academic oppression and they did. Based on this same method I can confirm that Canadian winters are much colder than they used to be. The residents at my grandmother's retirement home in Sudbury are unanimous on this.

In her first column on the subject, Kay raised the allegedly alarming statistic that an overwhelming majority of academics self identify as liberals. Does this seem surprising in a sector where people who hold PhD's in medieval poetry spend their days debating the difference between meaning and understanding? Political parity -- if such a thing even need exist -- is not going to be found in every field of employment. There aren't a lot of Marxists on Bay Street. At least Kay has collapsed the parameters of her probe down to the more easily proven case that this cabal exerts its force over what is traditionally called the Arts and Sciences. Even the most polemic of right wing thinkers concede that tomorrow's dentists are not being taught that cavities are caused by corporate oppression. Nor have any music students been compelled to play Stalinist tone poems in place of the national anthem.

So we're left with a few dozen tales of Social Science professors who don't like Israel, or who have declared certain publications, interest groups or in one case statistics themselves to be verboten in their classrooms. In a population of tens of thousands of people whose obsessions include Sylvia Plath and factory administration methods in Tsarist Russia, we've managed to find a few genuine nutters.

A handful of academics also wrote in offering their tales of woe. Apparently several were plotted against by their colleagues which is about as surprising as going to a weekend with Angela Landsbury's Jessica Fletcher and having a murder break out. One professor complained that he was called a fascist because he presents "a dynamic perspective that challenges the hegemony of the present paradigm." The real pity is that he neglects to challenge the established academic practice of stringing large words into meaningless sentences.

The evidence is hardly overwhelming. Not to mention that much of this debate is moot (or mute as even university educated people curiously say these days) owing to the fact that much of today's post secondary learning is the stuff of yesterday's grade school. Most professors are too busy trying to teach their students to read, write and spell to bring about unanimity on welfare economics, man hating and native healing circles.

What angers the right (when it's not busy being indignant) is that by definition you have to be a pretty smart person to be an academic. These people have spent years thinking and have meaningful letters after their names. How can so many smart people not automatically recognize the inherent superiority of conservative thinking?

Neo-conservatives in the United States dominate every branch of government and will soon overwhelm the judiciary. The Sixties rabble who grew their hair, made love and picketed the Vietnam War now wage war while cutting taxes and banning gay marriage. It's a neo-con trifecta but the right still fumes about the fact that some smarty pants academics dare question the correctness of their deeds and thinking.

In an almost Freudian way, the right still desperately needs the approval of all those bookish geeks from high school who ignored the clarion call of Darwinian capitalism and instead opted to spend their days trying to elevate our universities beyond vocational schools for future phone centre operators.

Quoting from Lincoln, columnist Kay warns that the governance of tomorrow is shaped by the education system of today. And therein lies the fatal flaw of the right's longstanding gripe against academia; the brainwashing doesn't seem to be taking. If 30 years of namby pamby Sixties radicalism and Eighties political correctness has alternately lured and coerced students to the elitist dark side of Liberalism, why is North America lurching rightward?

At least the Star Bellied Sneech machine produced Star Bellied Sneeches.