Activism U and the End of Education

March 23, 2016

4 min read

The campus wars aren’t really about race. Race and the rest of the identity politics roster are the engine for transforming an academic environment into an activist environment.

Think of it as the Post-Educational University. Or Activism U.

The average campus already skews left, but maintains the pretense of serving an educational purpose. The demands put forward on campuses begin with racial privileges, but do not end there. These demands call for politicizing every department, the mandatory political indoctrination of all students and faculty, and the submission of non-political academic departments to activist political ones.

The campus wars are a declaration that activist non-academic departments that offer identity politics analysis while contributing nothing and which often owe their existence to campus clashes from a previous generation, should dominate all areas of life and thought at every university.BIN-OpEd-Experts-300x250(1)

Imagine if physics majors rioted and demanded that every single area of study on campus had to incorporate theoretical physics and hire physics majors. That is exactly what is happening with identity politics studies. It’s a naked power grab that has the potential to redefine academia.

Behind the minority students that are the public face of the campaign, are embedded faculty radicals like Melissa Click whose abuses recently led to her firing from the University of Missouri. Click’s body of work, gender, race and sexuality analyses of popular culture, is fairly typical of the activist faculty behind the power grab. Media studies is often confused with journalism, but the two have little in common. Media studies has become a guide to politicizing culture by viewing it through the intersectional lens.

Click’s husband, Richard Callahan, who also took part in the harassment, is a religion professor on paper, but in practice offers class analysis of religious practices. These resumes are fairly typical of the faculty activists behind the crybully insurgency. They may belong to anthropology, sociology, religious studies or a dozen other departments, but all they ever do is overlay their political filter over a given field. And once it is in place, activism is the inevitable step for correcting the “injustices”.

They’re not academics; they’re activists with a mandate to impose their filter on everyone.

When we talk about political correctness, it isn’t just about banning certain jokes. That’s the smallest part of it. Political correctness is about making the political filter, the left’s lens, mandatory for all.

The campus wars are dividing universities between academic departments and activist departments. The activist demands call for embedding activism deeper into the structure of universities with more activist deans, departments and professors dedicated to their agenda. Funding is diverted from education to activism. The activist curriculum become mandatory to recruit more student activists.

Student activists demand exemptions from their studies for activism and academic bankruptcy that will allow them to erase entire semesters from their records. Academics take a backseat to activism. The purpose of the institution ceases to be education. Instead the university exists to manufacture more activists to make more demands, first of the university, and then of everyone else.

The university is just a training ground for activists. A political playhouse for them to shake down before moving on to shaking down the rest of the country. That’s what this is about.

On campus, the conflict escalates as activist departments use their new resources to expand the scope of their pressure tactics. In the timeless struggle for academic resources between faculty and departments, student activism is a nuclear weapon. And the endgame of this struggle is the triumph of activism over academics and ignorance over knowledge.

This is not hypothetical alarmism. For example, the California Polytechnic State University demands call for forcing engineering students to take “anti-racist science and technology” studies. Princeton’s Black Justice League warned that, “Learning about marginalized groups, their cultures, and structures of privilege is just as important as any science or quantitative reasoning course.”

At the University of Virginia, the demand was that “every course should strive to recognize minority perspectives and every department should make it a goal to offer multiple courses that include or focus on minority perspectives”. Biology would discuss eugenics and Systems Engineering would “discuss culturally sensitive industrial organization”. Such demands have become altogether typical.

Academic departments would be subservient to activist departments. The latter would take over and hollow out the former leaving nothing but worthless degrees and student debt. Graduates would be qualified to do little except be activists and “allies” in their chosen fields. Their mission would be to propagate and enforce politically correct doctrines in the classical Soviet political commissar sense.

Safe space culture would silence dissent among faculty and students while creating activist student-faculty organizations empowered to conduct endless purges and protests. College would be free and utterly useless for anything except turning out the next generation of community organizers. It is not only the ideas themselves that are endangered, but the entire mechanism for exchanging them.

The activist model would not only eliminate intellectual diversity, it would eliminate education.

The campus wars are about political correctness as a way of life. And we are only beginning to discover what that truly means.

Reprinted with author’s permission from Sultan Knish Blog

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