The Moral Decay of Higher Education
There is a lot of rot going on, and heading that list is what has been going on at many elite universities since October 7. Although the public at large is shocked at the butchery, rape, torture, and mutilation of some 1,000 Israeli civilians by Hamas murderers,” campus craziness is nothing new, writes Victor Davis Hanson in American Greatness.
But quite novel for campuses was the sudden jettisoning of prior campus pretenses.
Universities have brazenly dropped their careful two-faced gymnastics to reveal at last–unapologetically, proudly, and defiantly–the moral decay that now characterizes American higher education.
In what VDH calls an “update of the hatred shown by Nazis when they desecrated” the tombs of dead Jews …
… students now tear down pictures of Jewish captives kidnapped or murdered by Hamas. University presidents do not condemn the hate-filled rallies supporting the killing of Jews in Israel, even though, according to their own safety-first ideology and prior proclamations about systemic hatred, these rallies instill a “climate of fear” in some students.
- Standford: Jewish studentswere separated from their belongings, ordered them to stand in the corner, boasted about denying the Holocaust, and singled them out for unhinged rantings. Screaming campus activists and professors openly support Hamas even after its brutal killing of hundreds of Israeli women, children, and infants. That for more than two weeks thousands of rockets—barrages initially designed to enhance the surprise mass murdering of October 7—daily continue to shower down upon Israeli cities is of zero concern to loud campus activists.
- Cornell: a member of the Cornell faculty history bragged that he was “exhilarated”on news that Jews were butchered on October 7. A UC Davis professor threatened to go after the children of “Zionist journalists.”
- The Art Institute of Chicago: “Savages”, “excrement” and “pigs” are the adjective and nouns one professor posted to describe Israelis.
Mr. Hanson accuses universities of having lost their century-long credibility as guardians of free and open scientific inquiry.
A Devotion to Groupthink
Any contemporary university scientist who followed a renegade devotion to disinterested science–as embodied by Democritus, Galileo, or Copernicus–would encounter the same premodern character assassination, groupthink opposition, and efforts to destroy his career.
… if exorbitantly priced higher education can no longer produce either a class of broadly educated citizens, or an empirically-trained and elite scientific, professional, and technological class, then why would Americans any longer put up with universities’ unapologetic indoctrination—a sort of interference with the university’s mission so reminiscent of the disastrous Russian commissar system that had nearly destroyed the Red Army at the outset of World War II?
How to Reform
Reform, advises VDH, will only come through curtailing the government handouts that fuel multibillion-dollar university endowments.
- Such unprecedented affluence ensures lavish campus budgets that in turn subsidize racist, anti-Semitic, and McCarthyite policies and institutions.
- Just tax the income from the roughly $1 trillion of America’s tax-exempt university endowments and perhaps there would not be quite enough moneyfor courses on cartoons, cross-dressing, and BLM, much less for thousands of DEI commissars and censors.
- Stop federal funds to any university that refuses to ensure Bill-of-Rights protections for its students.
- If SAT and ACT are increasingly dropped for admissions to universities, then an exit version of them should be required to ensure that all BA and BSdegrees certify at least a minimum competence in math, science, and general knowledge.
Stop the Government Loan Business
Get the government out of the $1.8 trillion student loan business—and perhaps campuses would understand the concept of moral hazard. Only then would they monitor carefully extraneous expenditures and begin graduating students in four years—with the skills that employers so desperately need and the knowledge that a democracy relies upon.
Just Say No
VDH suggests that big donors who give billions of dollars to Ivy League and other tony universities “just say no.”
… then perhaps grasping deans, provosts, and presidents would begin to wonder whether they could fund any more rock climbing walls, latte bars, DEI czars, drag shows—and hate-Israel courses and student organizations.
… colleges are now a bad deal—far too costly, too political, and too incompetent in fulfilling their mission to the country.
(Higher ed) can no longer deliver on what they were created for, and they simply will not stop fueling things that are not just unnecessary, but downright injurious to the country, scary, and destructive.