Ignorance and Arrogance
Never Underestimate the Power of Stupid People in Large Groups
It doesn’t take the media or George Carlin, or even Roger Kimball or Victor Davis Hanson, to tell Americans that there is something badly amiss with America’s institutes of higher ed. But it took the widely reported, repellent, and exempt wave of anti-Semitism and violent pro-Hamas protestors harassing Jews finally to convince Americans that their own hallmark universities are illiberal centers of mediocrity and intolerance—and increasingly unsafe, writes Victor Davis Hanson in American Greatness.
Colleges were once known for America’s cherished idea of a place where youth learned to be open-minded, tolerant, skilled, and eager to learn the nature and traditions of Western civilization, art, literature, languages, philosophy, and history.
Today higher ed has morphed into a six/seven-year misadventure. Nationwide only half of those enrolled ever receive degrees, reports Mr. Hanson.
Nearly all sink deeply in student debt. And yet for all the borrowed tuition money, few prove capable of writing analytically, speaking articulately, or knowing the general referents past and present of their very civilization.
Students, especially at elite campuses, have learned to mouth monotonously accusations of “genocide.” “Apartheid,” “colonialism,” or “imperialism.” They, however, fail to define their allegations, criticizes VDH.
On 7 October, Hamas savage rampage brought these sorry facts to America’s attention.
Adolescent screamers on video showed no awareness that dropping leaflets and sending texts to avoid collateral deaths is not “genocide.” Most chant the “river to the sea” with no clue that it resonates the very ethos of mass murdering, mutilation, and dehumanization of Jewish elderly, women, children, and infants in the most savage fashion on October 7.
VDH lists the things students don’t know:
- Students who scream “apartheid” seemed to have no clue that a fifth of Israel’s population is Arab, with citizenship rights that vastly exceed those in all other Middle East nations.
- Students have no notion of the ancient and long connections of the Jewish people to the land of Israel, or how in the world the revered Al-Aqsa Mosque found itself atop the far more ancient Herod’s Jewish Second Temple sanctuary.
- Students are clueless that the longest, non-Arab colonial rule of Palestine was the more than 300-years of often brutal Ottoman/Turkish imperialistic control.
- Students are clueless of the repeated and combined efforts of far larger and richer Arab nations to wipe tiny Israel out, especially during the full-scale wars of 1947-48, 1967, and 1973.
Politically correct orthodoxies, not the knowledge or logic, of a student, became the hallmark of an “educated” American graduate, argues VDH.
Students and faculty were lauded for being “moral” by proclaiming their devotion to “diversity, equity, and inclusion, without a clue that historically unity, equality, and fairness were the better aspirations.” Lacking formal studies in civics and ethics, students learned that any means were justified to advance political aims merely asserted as morally superior to others.
At Arizona State, Jewish students had to be escorted by police from a campus debate event.
At prestigious MIT, some of its foreign students were harassing Jews. MIT’s response? Not to expel anti-Semites for fear of losing their student visas and “thus have to return to their Middle East homes and stew about their own miscreant behavior and ingratitude to their hosts.” Instead, MIT warned Jewish students where it was safe or not safe to walk on campus, raising the “embarrassing” perception that MIT is either unable or does not wish to stop the systematic anti-Jewish hatred on its own turf.
By canonizing critical race theorist Ibram Kendi, who insists that “anti-racism” requires good racism to combat bad racism, then is it any wonder, asks VDH, that “professors of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and various studies courses at UC Davis or Stanford prominently harassed and threatened Jewish students, or at Cornell cheered on news of Hamas’s murder spree?”
And if campuses are fixated on race and superficial appearances, and reward those who are supposedly not guilty of “white privilege,” it is easy to understand why anti-Semites believe they can justify their hatred by assuming Jews are guilty for being white, and they themselves exempt for being nonwhite bigots.
Endowments of America’s top universities have reached record-setting multibillion-dollar levels. Billion-dollar annual income on those massive sums are non-taxable on the pretense campuses are apolitical and teach inductively rather than indoctrinate. At Stanford, for example, according to the Wall Street Journal, there were 16,938 graduate and undergraduate students. Undergrads were outnumbered by the combined total of 15,750 administrators and their staffers, and 2,288 faculty.
Would it not be easier and perhaps even cheaper just to hire one tutor for each student and forgo the administrators?
Interesting to note is the lack of anti-Semitic violence at community colleges or trade schools, where most students attend and must work to pay for their education. They are learning skills in a world apart from therapeutic gut courses.
Taxpayers soon will no longer wish to subsidize elite education, especially when campuses no longer can guarantee their graduates are broadly educated and their professional and graduate programs can no longer turn out top-flight experts and specialists.
So, to save us from the monsters we created, Americans must get the government out of the student loan business. We must demand that universities’ endowments back their own student loans.
- Have universities’ endowments back their own student loans.
- The government should tax endowment income and end lifelong tenure.
- Universities must expel and deport foreign students who violate campus laws as they violently act out their various hatreds.
- Reinstate the SAT for admissions.
- end racial quotas.
- require a national SAT-like exit exam to reassure the public that graduates at least know more when they leave college – “an increasingly dubious assumption.”
- The public should end giving money to elite institutions.
VFH’s final recommendation: Don’t hire a graduate simply because he or she “graduated from Yale, or he attended Stanford, ”unless you prefer to risk dealing with an employee poorly schooled but likely to act out a pampered victim status and to disrupt a workplace.”