Saturday, June 4, 2016

Radicalism and Identity Politics at Oberlin

It's not just Oberlin.

American academe is cancerous.

But Oberin's been in the news a lot this past few weeks, and it gives us a glimpse into our deeply troubled future.

From Robert Stacy McCain, at the Other McCain, "Oberlin College Is Decadent and Depraved":

It is impossible to exaggerate just how awful “elite” education in America has become, and difficult to explain why it is so bad. William F. Buckley Jr.first described the degenerate tendencies of modern elite education in his 1951 classic God and Man at Yale.

As I have summarized the book’s core insight, “Buckley saw that Yale, originally founded as a Christian school, had quietly abandoned Christianity and adopted a new religion, liberalism.” The outlines of this problem were clearly apparent to Buckley at Yale while Harry Truman was still president, yet academia did nothing to halt the decay of moral and intellectual standards, so that when university campuses erupted in riots in the 1960s — young radicals terrorizing their liberal elders — conservatives could say, “We told you so.” Liberals can never admit they’re wrong, so the lessons that should have been learned from the ’60s were ignored, and meanwhile the radicals were burrowing into the academic bureaucracy. Beginning in the 1990s, a series of purges swept through higher education. The humanities and social sciences were eviscerated and corrupted by the proponents of “critical theory.” If any student wished to learn anything about history without a Marxist filter, he had to do so by reading old books, as all the recent “scholarship” was devoted to reinterpreting the past through a prism of race/class/gender.

Meanwhile, in the name of “multiculturalism,” the curriculum was restructured, admissions criteria were altered and hiring policies were systematically biased in order to create a statistically acceptable representation of “diversity” on elite campuses. We should note, by the way, that the pursuit of “diversity” in admissions was never difficult at community colleges or second-tier state universities. It was only at the top-tier state schools (e.g., the University of Michigan and the University of California-Berkeley) and at highly selective private schools (e.g., the Ivy League) that admissions quotas became controversial. Many in academia accepted and promoted the idea that all ethnic groups had a “right” to be proportionately represented in the student body (and on the faculty) of universities, so that “underrepresentation” was considered proof of discrimination and social injustice. Equality of opportunity was not enough, equality of outcomes was demanded, and this egalitarian mission required the destruction of moral and intellectual standards in academia. Higher education has become a pervasively dishonest enterprise, a corrupt racket wherein parents, students and taxpayers are systematically swindled in order to provide lucrative employment for administrators and faculty whose income is dependent upon the illusion of “prestige” surrounding such schools as Oberlin College.

How bad is it at Oberlin? Nathan Heller of the New Yorker risked a visit to the lunatic campus and here are a few excerpts from his article...
Still more.