By Bill Korach www.thereportcard.org
Professor Emeritus John Ellis was a former professor of German Literature at the University of California Santa Cruz, and Chairman of the California Association of Scholars. Prof. Ellis states unequivocally, that all of the campus craziness we read about on a daily basis: the riots, the speech codes, intolerance of any ideas but their own, safe spaces, LGBT indoctrination, anti-Israel bias, support for radical Islam, the disdain for America’s history and tradition, the notion that free speech can be halted if you don’t like what you hear, and calling all opponents racist has one root cause. Professor Ellis believes that root cause is a total dominance of university faculty and administrators by the hard left.
Ellis states: “What then is the disease? We are now close to the end of a half-century process by which the campuses have been emptied of centrist and right-of-center voices. Many scholars have studied the political allegiances of the faculty during this time. There have been some differences of opinion about methodology, but the main outline is not in doubt. In 1969 the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education found that there were overall about twice as many left-of-center as right-of-center faculty. Various studies document the rise of that ratio to 5 to 1 at the century’s end, and to 8 to 1 a decade later, until in 2016 Mitchell Langbert, Dan Klein, and Tony Quain find it in the region of 10 to 1 and still rising.
Even these figures understate the matter. The overall campus figures include professional schools and science, technology, business and mathematics departments. In most humanities and social-science departments—especially those central to a liberal education, such as history, English and political science—the share of left-of-center faculty already approaches 100%.”
The National Association of Scholars has stated that on California campuses, social studies, history and other humanities are dominated by leftist by a factor of 25-1 and that 1 is not really a conservative but merely what most would call a moderate.
I spoke with Dr. George Soroka of Harvard this morning about left wing dominance on campus. Prof. Soroka is a Lecturer on Government and Assistant Director of Undergraduate Studies at Harvard University, from where he received my PhD in March 2014. He is working on several long-term research projects, including a book examining how the politics of history are used by the Kremlin to justify its present-day foreign policy stances toward Ukraine, Poland and the European Union. Soroka readily admitted that Harvard is dominated by leftist thought, although he said there were s few conservative professors and mentioned Harvey Mansfield.
Such dominance of thought can lead to an intellectual corruption. Ellis continues:
“The imbalance is not only a question of numbers. Well-balanced opposing views act as a corrective for each other: The weaker arguments of one side are pounced on and picked off by the other. Both remain consequently healthier and more intellectually viable. But intellectual dominance promotes stupidity. As one side becomes numerically stronger, its discipline weakens. The greater the imbalance between the two sides, the more incoherent and irrational the majority will become.
What we are now seeing on the campuses illustrates this general principle perfectly. The nearly complete exclusion of one side has led to complete irrationality on the other. With almost no intellectual opponents remaining, campus radicals have lost the ability to engage with arguments and resort instead to the lazy alternative of name-calling: Opponents are all “fascists,” “racists” or “white supremacists.”
So what was the motive for the left to take over all thought? It seems pretty clear that dominance and control are the driving factors. One sided thought means ipso facto a dumbing down and that is what we see today on campus. Ellis says:
“It is important to understand why the radical left cleared the campuses of opposing voices. It was not to advance higher education, for that must involve learning to evaluate competing ideas, to analyze the pros and cons of rival arguments and concepts. Shutting down all but one viewpoint is done to achieve the opposite: to pre-empt analysis and understanding. Only in the absence of competing ideas can the radical sect that now controls so much of the campuses hope to thrive and increase its numbers, because it can’t survive open debate and analysis, and its adherents know it.”
Ellis believes that we need to take our campuses back because the left will not yield voluntarily:
“Colleges need to be accredited; state universities answer to governing boards. Accrediting agencies and governing boards are created through a political process. What if voters were to insist that those agencies demand answers to some elementary questions? For example: How can a department of political science that excludes half the spectrum of viable political ideas be competent to offer degrees in the field? How can a history curriculum be taught competently when only one extremist attitude to social and political questions is present in a department? How can a campus humanities faculty with the same limitation teach competently? How can these extraordinary deficiencies deserve either accreditation, or support by state and federal funds?
The campus radical monopoly on political ideas amounts to the shutting down of liberal higher education as we have known it. That, not the increasingly frequent violent flare-ups, is the real crisis.”
The public should also demand that state colleges and private colleges that take taxpayer money should be defunded if they will not support free speech and will not hire for diversity of thought.