The Sorry State Of The American Academy

Roger Devlin's recent article (Higher Education: The Impossibility of Reform, November 15, 2011) at VDARE.com's main-page about the appalling, overwhelmed-by-the-Left state of the American academy contains a link to a piece (It's Education, but "Higher" Is a Misnomer, June 3, 2011) by Mona Charen that nicely bolsters Devlin's musings.  The Charen article includes this:

A recent report by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education counts David's college as among the seven best for free speech in the nation. That such a list is required speaks volumes. The seven are Arizona State, Dartmouth, William & Mary, the University of Pennsylvania, Carnegie Mellon, the University of Tennessee Knoxville, and the University of Virginia. Not that these seven are moderate in their political or social views. Don't make me laugh. Not that they have more than one or two Republicans in the whole humanities faculty. Ha! No, these schools excel simply because they don't exert the kind of totalitarian thought and speech control so commonplace on American campuses.

We scrape together our hard-earned income (lots of it) to deposit our cherished offspring at schools that are determined to teach them to despise everything we revere -- even learning.

This reminds me of a powerful statement on the same theme from Henry Ford II, when he resigned as a trustee of the Ford Foundation in 1974 (having served since 1943): 

The Foundation exists and thrives on the fruits of our economic system.  The dividends of competitive enterprise make it all possible ... In effect, the Foundation is a creature of capitalism -- a statement that, I'm sure, would be shocking to many professional staff people in the field of philanthropy.  It is hard to discern recognition of this fact in anything the Foundation does.  It is even more difficult to find an understanding of this in many of the institutions, particularly the universities, that are the beneficiaries of the Foundation's grant programs.  ... I'm not playing the role of the hard-headed tycoon, who thinks all philanthropoids are socialists and all university professors are Communists.  I'm just suggesting to the Trustees and the staff that the system that makes the Foundation possible is very probably worth preserving.  Perhaps it is time for the Trustees and staff to examine the question of our obligations to our economic system and to consider how the Foundation, as one of the system's most prominent offspring, might act most wisely to strengthen and improve its progenitor.

I took that quote from page 198 of Georgie Anne Geyer's excellent book Americans No More: The Death of Citizenship (New York: The Atlantic Monthly Press, 1996).

Raising this subject also provides an opportunity to acquaint new readers with Thomas Sowell's speech-become-essay "Multicultural" Education, from about 1992.  Sample paragraph:

The resistance put up by Africans, Asians, and Arabs was monumental in defense of slavery, and lasted for more than a century.  Only the overwhelming military power of the West enabled it to prevail on this issue, and only the moral outrage of Western peoples kept their governments' feet to the fire politically to maintain the pressure against slavery around the world.  Of course, this is not the kind of story that appeals to the multiculturalists.  If it had been the other way around -- if Asian or African imperialists had stamped out slavery in Europe -- it would still be celebrated, in story and song, on campuses across America.

At about 1,400 words, you'll never spend a more rewarding five minutes -- intellectually speaking! -- than reading this piece by Sowell.  (Sowell, it must be pointed out, is black.)