Totalitarianism in American Universities as represented by political correctness protesters:
This morning I read an article entitled “Want to Fix the Universities? Here Are Two Options” on American Greatness and it was a great take on the problem of totalitarianism in American universities and colleges. It was written by Roger Kimball.
In the article, as you might expect from the title of this article, Kimball profiles the current problem with colleges: the overwhelming totalitarianism in American universities. He then offers solutions for fixing those totalitarian and broken universities.
Read the article here: https://amgreatness.com/2019/04/27/want-to-fix-the-universities-here-are-two-options/
Kimball’s article is divided into sections on both the problem with universities and how to fix those problems.
Kimball does an excellent job of describing what as wrong with universities; the totalitarian uniformity of thought enforced by both administrations and student groups. Inclusion now means excluding white and male students. Diversity of thought means excluding conservatives. It is Orwellian double-speak reminiscent of 1984 or Stalin’s USSR. It is oppressive and ruins the academic experience for conservative students. Or even liberal students that happen to be white or male. Universities need to be changed. and Kimball presents
Solution 1: “Option Academic Freedom”
Kimball’s first solution is “Option Academic Freedom.” I won’t do an injustice by paraphrasing it. Here’s the direct quote:
“The actual battle plan is pretty simple. We drive our tanks up to the front doors of the universities and start shooting. Timing is important. We’ll have to wait till 11 a.m. or so, or else there won’t be anyone in class. Ammunition is important…We’ll need lots and lots of it. The firing plan is to keep blasting until there’s nothing left but smoldering ruins. “
Obviously, this proposal is more than a bit tongue in cheek. We won’t drive tanks up to the front door of every university on campus. But, this proposal is instrumental in showing the immensity of the challenge conservative reformers face.
Left-wing intolerance is quite entrenched in most colleges, especially in the faculty, because of the problem of totalitarianism in American universities. Left-wing ideology permits no alternatives. Like its totalitarian predecessor– Stalinism– it allows no dissent or diversity of thought. So tanks are one solution.
Option 2 is much more peaceful and doable, but almost as unlikely to happen. So what is it? It can best be summed up as remaking universities in the image of a healthy society.
What is that healthy society? One that values the truly liberal virtues that America was founded on. Free speech. Courage. Morality. Tolerance for other thoughts. Those virtues are all in short supply at many colleges and I think that is because of the corrosive effect of totalitarianism in American universities.
While I was distressed by his summary of the problem of totalitarianism in American universities, I liked the first half of this article. I though Kimball perfectly summarized what is wrong with universities. They are tyrannical.
There is no tyranny present in America like the tyranny of leftist administrators that is present at many American universities. The decline of free speech on college campuses shows that totalitarianism quite well. Perhaps it can be reversed. Personally, I doubt it.
I found the second half of the article less interesting than the first half. There was little he offered that was usable.
While “Operation Academic Freedom” was certainly a funny proposal to solve the problem of totalitarianism in American universities, it was completely ridiculous and unreasonable. Similarly, his second proposal wasn’t useful. Yes, universities should have the virtues of good societies. But they don’t, and Kimball offered few conclusions of how to do so. I think he could and should have done so.
On the whole, this article is good but not great. Kimball’s summary of the problem is spot-on. His solutions are interesting but less useful. I would still recommend you read it. What do you think should be done to fix the totalitarianism in American universities?