Feb 28 2012

What Kids Now Learn in College

Category: higher educationharmonicminer @ 11:30 pm

Dennis Prager at NRO online tells us:

As high school seniors throughout America will be receiving acceptance letters to colleges within the next month, it would be nice for parents to meditate on what they are getting for the $20–$50,000 they will pay each year.

The United States is no better than any other country, and in many areas worse than many. On the world stage, America is an imperialist country, and domestically it mistreats its minorities and neglects its poor, while discriminating against non-whites.

There is no better and no worse in literature and the arts. The reason universities in the past taught Shakespeare, Michelangelo, and Bach rather than, let us say, Guatemalan poets, Sri Lankan musicians, and Native American storytellers was “Eurocentrism.”

God is at best a non-issue, and at worst, a foolish and dangerous belief.

Christianity is largely a history of inquisitions, crusades, oppression, and anti-intellectualism. Islam, on the other hand, is “a religion of peace.” Therefore, criticism of Christianity is enlightened, while criticism of Islam is Islamophobia.

Israel is a racist state, morally no different from apartheid South Africa.

Big government is the only humane way to govern a country.

The South votes Republican because it is still racist and the Republican party caters to racists.

Mothers and fathers are interchangeable. Claims that married mothers and fathers are the parental ideal and bring unique things to a child are heterosexist and homophobic.

Whites can be racist; non-whites cannot be (because whites have power and the powerless cannot be racist).

The great world and societal battles are not between good and evil, but between rich and poor and the powerful and the powerless.

Patriotism is usually a euphemism for chauvinism.

War is ignoble. Pacifism is noble.

Human beings are animals. They differ from “other animals” primarily in having better brains.

We live in a patriarchal society, which is injurious to women.

Women are victims of men.

Blacks are victims of whites.

Latinos are victims of Anglos.

Muslims are victims of non-Muslims

Gays are victims of straights.

Big corporations are bad. Big unions are good.

There is no objective meaning to a text. Every text only means what the reader perceives it to mean.

The American Founders were sexist, racist slaveholders whose primary concern was preserving their wealthy status.

The Constitution says what progressives think it should say.

The American dropping of the atom bomb on Hiroshima was an act of racism and a war crime.

The wealthy have stacked the capitalist system to maintain their power and economic benefits.

The wealthy Western nations became wealthy by exploiting Third World nations through colonialism and imperialism.

Defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman is as immoral as defining marriage as the union of a white and a white.

Some conclusions:

If this list is accurate — and that may be confirmed by visiting a college bookstore and seeing what books are assigned by any given instructor — most American parents and/or their child are going into debt in order to support an institution that for four years, during the most impressionable years of a person’s life, instills values that are the opposite of those of their parents.

And that is intentional.

As Woodrow Wilson, progressive president of Princeton University before becoming president of the United States, said in a speech in 1914, “I have often said that the use of a university is to make young gentlemen as unlike their fathers as possible.”

In 1996, in his commencement address to the graduating seniors of Dartmouth College, the then president of the college, James O. Freedman, cited the Wilson quote favorably. And in 2002, in another commencement address, Freedman said that “the purpose of a college education is to question your father’s values.”

For Wilson, Freedman, and countless other university presidents, the purpose of a college education is to question (actually, reject) one’s father’s values, not to seek truth. Fathers represented traditional American values. The university is there to undermine them.

Still want to get into years of debt?

I wish the situation was different at most Christian universities.  But it is not clear to me that it is.  Sure, they’ll teach some form of theism and maybe even semi-orthodox Christianity.  But 90% of the list above is common fodder at the modern, upwardly mobile Christian university looking for a higher rating in US News and World Report.  Not uniformly, of course.  Most Christian universities, even the ones trending to the left, have some proportion of “conservative” faculty who attempt to supply the education the students’ parents think they’re buying (“conservative” faculty being those who aren’t committed progressive liberals in full-on proselytization mode).  But students are likely to hear most of the points above being supported by this professor or that during their college years, and in some majors and courses, those staffed by mostly left-leaning faculty, they’ll get a nearly exclusive diet of most of the above.  It may be more subtly communicated than at a secular school…. and then again, it may not.

Will parents catch on, at some point, that they need to be wiser shoppers in how they spend college tuition dollars?  Much has already been written about the “higher education bubble,” and if parents paying the bills begin to figure out that their kids are being taught to despise their parents’ values, it may hasten the bubble’s bursting.  These days, it would be a great idea for parents who don’t want their children being indoctrinated by the left to ask some really hard questions of the university they are considering, even if it’s a Christian university.

If you’re a parent, you should also become a wise reviewer of university websites.  Search for keywords that represent the values of the left, and keywords that represent more traditional values.  Read carefully what you see, and count the number of mentions of particular issues that seem indicative of the overall values that you think are important, and the ones that you may disagree with.  Take a look at the issues that seem important to the campus.  Notice which alumni are lionized, and for what.  Notice what isn’t mentioned on the website.

Are there things YOU think are important?  See if the university is bragging about any alumni who do that thing, or represent that value that you hold.  Make no mistake:  education hasn’t been a neutral enterprise in acquiring information and thinking skills for a long, long time.  Your student is going to be taught values, not just information.

DON’T just read the headlines and the links the university website provides for you.  They are carefully crafted to appeal to the widest possible audience, and to be as unthreatening as possible to all kinds of readers.    You’ll have to search for the information you really need, and be discerning in reading what you find.

Pray for God’s guidance.  It’s a big decision to spend that much money.   You want to be sure you’re getting what you think you’re buying.