Saturday, April 15, 2017

Lars Maischak's Only a Symptom of a Larger Disease

Following-up from yesterday, "Wow! Federal Investigation of Fresno State History Professor Lars Maischak."

From Bruce Thornton, who's a Professor of Classics and Humanities at Fresno State University, at FrontPage Magazine, "Drain the Higher Ed. Swamp That Produced the 'Hang Trump' Prof.":

The uproar over a Fresno State history lecturer’s tweets about assassinating President Trump is understandable, but in the end the outrage is pointless. It’s doubtful the feds will charge the fellow, given how outlandish and obviously hyperbolic the tweets are. Nor is he likely to be fired. All the commotion has accomplished is to turn a nobody into a left-wing martyr persecuted for “speaking truth to power.”

The fact is, there is nothing this guy said that wouldn’t be applauded by most faculty in the social sciences and humanities, even if they don’t have his gumption to say so out loud. The politicized university is entering its fifth decade, and was already a done deal when Alan Bloom publicized it in his surprising 1987 bestseller The Closing of the American Mind. Thirty years later, focusing on the stupid statements of individual professors, or in this case lecturers, does nothing to get at the root of the problem. They are symptoms of deeper structural changes in the administrative apparatus of most colleges, and these changes in part have been responses to federal laws, particularly affirmative action, sexual harassment law, and Title IX of the Civil Rights Act. With federal agency thugs backing campus leftists by threatening administrators with investigation or the reduction of federal funds, it has been easy to transform the university from a space for developing critical thinking and intellectual diversity, into a progressive propaganda organ and reeducation camp.

The most important of these government-backed instruments is “diversity.” This vacuous concept was created ex nihilo by Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell in the 1979 Bakke vs. University of California decision as a way to protect admissions “set asides” for minorities without falling afoul of the law’s prohibition of quotas. Since only a “compelling state interest” could justify exceptions to Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act’s ban on discrimination by race, which naked quotas obviously did, “diversity,” along with all its alleged social and educational boons, was by judicial fiat deemed a “state interest.” In 2003, Grutter vs. Bollinger, and again in the two Fisher vs. University of Texas cases (2013, 2016), the Supreme Court confirmed Powell’s legerdemain in order “to further a compelling interest in obtaining the educational benefits that flow from a diverse student body,” as Republican-appointed Justice Sandra Day O’Conner said in the first Fisher case.

Of course, there exists no coherent definition of “diversity,” and no empirical evidence demonstrating its power to improve educational outcomes or create “educational benefits.” If there were such pedagogical benefits from diversity, we would have long ago dismantled the 107 historically black colleges and universities. On the contrary, there is much evidence that mismatching applicants to universities damages minority students and segregates campuses into identity-politics enclaves.

But using race to privilege some applicants over others wasn’t just about admitting students. The campus infrastructure had to change, which meant the expansion of politicized identity-politics programs, departments, general education courses, and student-support administrative offices and services. As a result, the cultural Marxism ideology that created identity politics in the first place now permeates the university far beyond the classroom, and enables an intolerance for competing ideas, not to mention shutting down the “free play of the mind on all subjects” that Matthew Arnold identified as the core mission of liberal education. And this corruption is encouraged by federal law and its leverage of federal money that flows into higher education.

So the issue isn’t a two-bit adjunct and his juvenile tweets. All the rancorous attention being given to him may make some conservatives feel better, but it will do nothing other than turn a nobody into a somebody. This bad habit is indulged by conservative outlets like Fox News: to entertain their viewers, they dig up some second-rate professor or blogger, and bring him on a show to be slapped around by the host. But in that person’s world, he is now a star, with credibility and a megaphone he would have paid Fox to give him. Getting angry at such a person is like blaming a dog for the stinking mess it left on your lawn. Of course it stinks, that’s its nature. The real culprit is the neighbor too lazy or inconsiderate to walk his dog and clean up after it...
Actually, I love watching second-rate leftist professors getting beat up on Fox News, lol.

But he's got a point. And it's not just the neighbor who's too lazy to clean up the cultural Marxist crap. It's all the fence-sitting professors, some sympathetic to the left and some not, who stand by, refusing to put real liberal principles of free speech (and intellectual exchange) before rank leftist bullying. I know first-hand the costs of doing so. (I've been investigated and persecuted on my campus after standing up for conservative values, and shutting down idiot leftists.) But it must be done.

In any case, keep reading.