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Inside Higher Ed is reporting a new public opinion poll that suggests that the anti-academy propaganda of the past twenty years has taken hold. A sizable minority of Americans believe that professorial bias is a problem. Of course, such bias is a problem in principle. The important question is whether or not it is a problem in fact. As far as I know, there is no serious empirical evidence to support the claim that bias is widespread. (The only campuses where we know indoctrination is prevalent are those campuses that advertise the fact as part of their heritage, that is, religious colleges.) That many people believe bias is endemic in the university setting suggests only that many people don't really have any idea what goes on in college classrooms.
If a survey were to ask, "Do you think that bankers' three martini lunches are a problem?" You'd probably find a significant portion of the respondents answering yes. After all, it sounds like a problem, and why would you be asking if it weren't? All it does is play into a stereotype. People are prepared to believe that bankers are drunkards and college professors are hippie communists.
The state of public opinion is a matter of concern. Colleges and faculty need to be more active in making a case for the value of liberal arts education. The vast majority of faculty, on the right or left, are professionals whose main concern is teaching students to think critically and acquire literacy in a particular discipline. I believe that most people are supportive of the idea that college should be a site of open inquiry.
Those who beat the drums (and earn a comfortable living doing so) on this issue are, in fact, hostile to the idea of open inquiry. They want the university to be an active participant in ideological socialization — another total institution in a totalizing society. They believe that universities should be turning out good little soldiers and workers, not cosmopolitan free thinkers.
If we ever manage to break out of this society-of-fear so artfully and purposively crafted by the neocons and christanists, it will be because of the cosmopolitan free thinkers among us.
The working class and the employing class have nothing in common. There can be no peace so long as hunger and want are found among millions of the working people and the few, who make up the employing class, have all the good things of life. Between these two classes a struggle must go on until the workers of the world organize as a class, take possession of the means of production, abolish the wage system, and live in harmony with the Earth. -- IWW
In a democracy it is necessary that people should learn to endure having their sentiments outraged. -- Bertrand Russell
Let us strangle the last king with the entrails of the last priest. -- Denis Diderot
It's not that no one sees the straight line to Doomtown we've been on since Reagan, it's that there's big profits in it. The most superficially Christian and Other-Worldly-Yearning nation in the developed world is the one most likely to kill you for your shoes. -- Doghouse Riley
The true purpose of education is to try to foster in students a kind of critical cosmopolitanism, such that they learn, among other things, to question any notion that one’s nation or tribe is favored by God or destiny. -- Michael Bérubé
It is not enough to decry the existence of the Spectacle. We intend to use both art and theory as a battering ram against Capitalism and its false opposition, tribalism, in all of its mystical forms. We believe it is possible to move beyond the inexcusable savagery of everyday life. -- The Anti-Naturals
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