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Deeply deluded intellectuals

Parents who spend $30,000 or more a year to provide their offspring a prestigious education at an Ivy League school are almost certain to be buying their sons and daughters a first-class indoctrination into radical left-wing ideology – from which they may never recover.

It is not exactly news to find that many of the professors at schools such as Harvard, Yale and Princeton don’t think like most mainstream Americans, and make no effort to disguise their contempt for Western culture, religious faith, patriotism and capitalism. They fuzzily believe that communism or something like it should probably be given another chance.

The latest survey to measure the ideological outlook of Ivy League professors was conducted by the Luntz Research Companies. Several questions were posed to 151 professors, most of whom teach in the humanities. Their answers revealed a lock-step, collectivist parade of conforming liberals. As far as the eye could see, or the survey could reach, there was essentially no evidence of intellectual diversity.

For example, of those professors who voted in the 2000 election, 84 percent voted for Al Gore, 9 percent voted for George Bush, and 6 percent voted for Ralph Nader.

Asked about party affiliation, 3 percent admitted they were Republicans while 57 percent declared themselves Democrats. This is a sharp contrast from surveys of the general population with 37 percent declaring themselves Republicans and 34 percent confessing that they are Democrats. When asked to name the best president of the past 40 years “all things considered,” Clinton got 26 percent, Kennedy 17 percent, Johnson 15 percent, Carter 13 percent, and Ronald Reagan 4 percent.

Forty percent of the professors support reparations for slavery, which compares with only 11 percent support in the general population as measured in national polls.

The purpose of the survey was to measure the political views of those who teach the humanities and compare them with the views of mainstream America. Those who enter the field of education because they want to be social or political change agents are attracted to the teaching of soft subjects in the humanities such as English literature, history and sociology.

The reason is simple: If, for example, one is teaching math, things have to add up. If, however, one is teaching a revisionist version of history, or a feminist version of literary works by “dead white males,” nothing has to add up, and the subject matter may serve as a platform for the trashing of American culture, values and traditions.

Lee Bockhorn is an associate editor of The Weekly Standard. He wrote an opinion piece about the survey which accepted the obvious reality that “the poll results are pretty damning for those who would still deny that professors at America’s most prestigious universities are, on balance, somewhere to the left of Che Guevara.” At the same time, he was not particularly worried, agreeing with colleague David Brooks, who wrote, ” … most students today are so apolitical that whatever radical propagandizing their professors are doing doesn’t seem to be rubbing off on them. They may be turning into relativists but they’re not turning into socialists.”

Arnold Beichman, distinguished scholar at the Hoover Institution, is not so optimistic concerning the role of “intellectuals” in our society. His recent article in The Washington Times is descriptively titled “Barbarians at the Lectern.” He cites the deep-rooted hatred articulated by intellectual Susan Sontag, who said in 1967 that “the white race is the cancer of human history,” and asserted in 2001 that the Sept. 11 tragedy was not a tragedy at all but “an attack on the world’s self-proclaimed superpower, undertaken as a consequence of specific American alliances and actions.” The University of California at Los Angeles recently purchased the literary archives of Sontag for a reported record $1.1 million.

Beichman writes, “It is one of the anomalies of our time that it was highly intelligent people who willingly and actively supported Lenin, Stalin, Hitler or Mao during the 20th century supremacy of these master genocidists.”

The “blame America” crowd heard today on college campuses reminds Beichman that these “irrational intellectuals … are with us today as they were back in 1932 when Theodore Dreiser, Sherwood Anderson, Erskine Caldwell, Edmund Wilson, John Dos Passos, Lincoln Steffens, Malcolm Cowley and Upton Sinclair, among others, signed a joint letter endorsing the communist presidential candidate because, they wrote, ‘It is capitalism which is destructive of all culture, and communism which desires to save civilization and its cultural heritage from the abyss to which the world crisis is driving it.'”

Many deeply deluded intellectuals are today standing at the lectern delivering repackaged and poisonous anti-American messages to our young sons and daughters.