Friday, September 7, 2018

Republicans Need to Start Asking Questions about Higher Ed

Martin Knight of the RedState Blog proposes that Republican state legislators should probe the hiring practices, curriculum, faculty, and extra-curricular programs of colleges that receive public funds.  I agree. 

Knight is right that institutions of higher learning will frame an attempt to deflect this effort in the language of academic freedom.  However such institutions have not objected to and have enthusiastically supported Democratic Party attacks on academic freedom, especially associated with Title IX.  

Conservative monitoring of left wing subversion of universities has a long history.  Prior to the 1950s elected officials routinely intervened in the politically extremist, intolerant tendencies of higher education. McCarthyism went overboard, and the result was a subsequent reluctance by conservatives to question the ideology posing as research and the junk social science that has evolved in universities since the 1960s. The aim should not be the silencing of leftists but rather ensuring that their views do not dominate discourse. 

With the lifting of the right wing intolerance in the 1960s, equally or more intolerant left wing academics such as Herbert Marcuse began to advocate a McCarthyism of the left. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 offered a set of tools to left-wing extremists because, indeed, it prohibits certain, albeit limited, forms of speech. The task for the left was to expand the scope of the Civil Rights Act to incorporate any and all speech under the strictures of the Civil Rights Act.  The right should have been quick to draw the line on limitations on speech, research, and hiring. Instead, Republican officials dropped the ball, leaving the field to leftists. 

The result of conservative reluctance to manage badly run universities is documented in books like Lee Jussim et al.’s Politics of Social Psychology  and George Yancey’s Compromising Scholarship: Religious and Political Bias in American Higher Education.    

As Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt show in their recently published Coddling of the American Mind , excessive coddling of youngsters led to further attempts to prevent speech with which the left disagrees. 

The end result is a university that is more intolerant than was McCarthyism. As well, universities have discriminated against conservatives and harmed more conservative careers by an order of magnitude than McCarthyism harmed left-wing careers.   

The concept of academic freedom is ideologically rooted and is a left-wing pretense.  To most academics, McCarthyism is unfair because it silences leftists, but political correctness is fair because it silences libertarians and conservatives. 

Republican officials need to reconsider the place of the university in American life and the harm done by indoctrination in both K-12 and higher education.  I have in the past proposed rationalization of hiring practices using validation and orthodox human resource management methods, but the publications in the higher education field have refused to publish such ideas. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Prohibit Socialist rather than Racist Speech

Since socialism has been more murderous than racism, pro-socialist speech  should be prohibited before pro-racist speech.  As evil and murderous as racism is, the record on socialism is worse.  For instance, the commencement of World War I, called the August Madness, was heralded as a triumph of communitarianism over selfishness, of gemeinshchaft over geselleschaft, of community over market. The communitarian death count during World War I was 20 million, and an additional 20 million were maimed and disfigured. The renaissance of communitarianism meant the invention of nerve gas, mass killing, and scorched earth policies.  The racism of the Ku Klux Klan never came close.

Subsequent socialist, totalitarian models were based on World War I and its war economy, and the mass murders associated with twentieth century socialism were modeled on measures taken, especially by the Germans and Turks, but also by the British, French, and Americans, during the Great War. The degree to which Nazism influenced Swedish  socialism is rarely discussed, but in his book The New Totalitarians, Roland Huntford describes Gunnar Myrdal's admiration for Nazism.

The death counts due to Soviet, Chinese and other communist-linked socialisms are disputed, but Josh London's estimates on this page, based on the Black Book of Communism, are as follows:

U.S.S.R.: 20 million deaths; China: 65 million deaths; Vietnam: 1 million deaths; North Korea: 2 million deaths; Cambodia: 2 million deaths: Eastern Europe: 1 million deaths; Latin America: 150,000 deaths; Africa: 1.7 million deaths; Afghanistan: 1.5 million deaths; The international Communist movement and Communist parties not in power: about 10,000 deaths… The total approaches 100 million people killed.

The numbers in the USSR may have been much higher.  As well, the Black Book of Communism excludes non-communist socialists such as the national socialists of Nazi Germany and the left-inspired socialists of fascist Italy.  The word "fascist," which has its roots in the fasces or tied rods, which Romans used to signal imperium or the right of command, was first used as a symbol by democratic socialists in the 19th  century, most importantly by the militant socialist group Fasci Siciliani. Mussolini himself was for much of his life an active socialist.  The distinction between fascism and "progressive" models in the US is difficult to defend.  Fascism was a nationalistic ideology, much like American Progressivism.

No other ideology in history comes close to the horror and murder committed by socialists. The number of dead, when one includes the crimes of right wing socialists such as Hitler and Mussolini, is likely in excess of 200 million. 

Yet, lying on behalf of socialism continues to be a preoccupation of the American left. Prohibitions on speech are ill advised, but if we are protect ourselves from the horrific consequences of ideology, then the most realistic place to start is socialism.

The New Totalitarianism

Facebook and Twitter are models for a new totalitarianism under which people voluntarily subjugate themselves to censorship because without it they lead vacuous lives.