84 of 97 people found the following review helpful
David M. Dougherty
- Published on Amazon.com
This is a well researched and scholarly work that's a little too superficial. The authors composed this book mainly from on-line information provided by the universities themselves (see the end notes) followed up by personal interviews to check the accuracy and truthfulness of the universities' information. There is almost nothing left to attack except for Horowitz himself -- which I see two reviewers have already done and no doubt many will follow. The review centering on Miami of Ohio misses the mark totally since Horowitz is not contending the students are radicals -- some students are able to resist the university's clever assigning of the single summer reading program book to be a far-left polemic like "Ahmad's War, Ahmad's Peace", "Nickel and Dimed", "The Things They Carried" and "Dead Man Walking." But anyway, where's the counter-balance?
The authors concentrate on liberal arts programs such as Women's Studies, African-American Studies and Sociology with a number of other, ofter oddball, programs thrown in for good measure. The authors carefully point out that the universities studied also have highly-rated (by other leftist academicians) departments and programs although no proof of the excellence of these departments and programs is offered. With 95% of all professors claiming to be liberal, "progressive" or radical, one should look at anything coming out of the AAUP or like organizations with a great deal of suspicion. Nonetheless, the liberal arts programs are widely open to criticism, particularly in light of the grade inflation, lowering of standards and lack of rigor in the vast majority of liberal arts colleges as compared with their pre-1964 programs. The only colleges exhibiting less rigor, more grade inflation, and even a refusal to quantitatively judge student performance are the colleges of education that unfortunately train our children in public schools.
Universities today do one of two things: they warehouse young people until their early twenties or radicalize them as workers for the new Supra-National Socialist World Order. They learn political correctness, methods of agitation and intolerance, hatred for the United States, and left-wing myths in American history. Their employment is thus guaranteed in the public-private partnerships (PPPs) that are the favored vehicles to move the US into socialism, government, foundations or universities so they can keep the momentum up towards socialism. It is no accident that many of these programs are supported by far-left contributions such as those by foundations controlled by individuals like George Soros. The authors unfortunately only go part of the way to truly expose what is happening with their narrow focus on the radicalization in specific programs, egregious as it is.
The authors are so thorough in their specialty that I found the book rather boring in the sameness of the presentations across their examples, but of course that was by design. The evidence is overwhelming and the reader is properly overwhelmed. Even more depressing is the lack of action on the part of university administrators and the trustees or regents supposed controlling the schools. The reason for this lack of action is made clear -- the administrators come out of the same far-left milieu as the faculty, and the trustees and regents are normally political appointees expected to go along with the university's agenda. At this point there is simply no vehicle to change the situation presented by the authors except a grass-roots rebellion by the American citizenry and their refusal to fund schools and universities that have become more dangerous to the US than any organization of terrorists. Universities are now a closed society, self-regulated, and adverse to any outside criticism or influence. Rather sounds like the Federal Bureaucracy, doesn't it?
In spite of the excellence of this work I have three arguments with it. The first is that it focuses on the perversion of "academic freedom" concerning what an instructor can do in the classroom. However, academic freedon was/is a concept that allows a faculty member to pursue any subject of his choice for research and study in order to further mankind's knowledge about all things. The faculty member is expect to perform research in his academic area of training and expertise and further our knowledge in that area by publication and instruction. The basis for publication and instruction must be factual, and if controversial, the material must be counter-balanced either in his course itself or in course offerings presenting the opposing views. Maintenance of this definition of academic freedon is the responsibility of the university administration, deans and department heads. Through academic freedom even unpopular subjects can be studied and researched such as the failure of the majority of Roosevelt's New Deal programs to assist in ending the depression or the overwhelming penetration by Soviet agents in the Federal Government, most notably the State Department, during World War II (See the Venona Project results.)
Secondly, the authors do not attack the pernicious unintended consequence of tenure that makes it almost impossible to remove a faculty member for incompetence or using his classroom for political purposes. Tenure was originally structured to give the faculty member security while he pursued possibly unpopular lines of research, but today it simply allows a faculty to do whatever he wants, even shirk his academic duties for an activist's life. Make no mistake, once tenured a professor can normally get by with teaching three sections or courses per semester, do little else, and enjoy his summers and extended breaks in the academic year. A faculty member is normally required to be in his office for only six hours per week, and teaching three sections means only nine hours of classroom time. Do the math. Tenure has worked out to be counter-productive to academic excellence and must be modified although I doubt any modification can be imposed until the US democracy falls.
Thirdly, the author let the history departments and education colleges skate by with almost a free pass and totally ignored the leftist teaching in public schools. As many parents have discovered, high school (and lower) textbooks present leftist myths and actively teach against the US. Of course these polemical books in history and social studies usually follow the lead from leftist professors like Zinn or Foner since they are written by ex-students well-indoctrinated by the far-left at the university level. As early as 1950 books began to appear that turned history around -- I remember one in particular that I read as an 11-year old that presented Alexander The Great as a megalomaniac who set civilization back 1,000 years while extolling Karl Marx and his seminal contribution to social justice. The problem now is that most American adults have endured this indoctrination for so long that they have accepted the myths as facts and are unwilling to critically examine their own current beliefs. In a word, the majority of Americans coming through the public schools since World War II have been more or less brainwashed. And in college they simply enroll in a "Laboratory in Liberalism."
In short, the authors needed to go much further (in my opinion) in exposing the activities of our universities and instructors at all levels in turning Americans into socially engineered cogs in the New World Order. Perhaps that will be their next book, but this one leaves far too much unaddressed and unanswered to earn five stars.
All that being said, I recommend this book to all those concerned about the education of the next generations of Americans, assuming there will be any. Make no mistake about it, you are paying for these programs. Tuition pays an average of about one-fifth of the cost of a college education, and the rest made up by alumni, government grants (your money), endowments and whatever other resources the college can tap.
24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
I wish people could actually hear the message that Horowitz is trying to convey in this book rather than jumping to a wrong conclusion. People seem to think that Horowitz is saying that only conservative and/or pro-American ideas should be taught at our colleges and universities. This is exactly the opposite of what he is advocating. His point is that classrooms should not used as tools for political advocacy, activism, and indoctrination. They were built for the purpose of education and that is about presenting evidence, approaches to thinking about that evidence, tools for clear thinking, and allowing individuals their freedom of conscience. Subverting that purpose by dragging students into political advocacy and indoctrination is wrong no matter which side is doing it. However, the modern university is so clearly dominated by the left-wing that the examples Horowitz provides are from the lefty side of things.
When you look at any programs that have the word "studies" in their title, you can be very confident that you have arrived in a very left-wing environment. That they would say they are mainstream or middle-of-the-road just confirms how far left their basic views are. So, as you read this book, and you should, remember that Horowitz is NOT advocating the termination of the academic study of women, minority, or any other studies program. What he wants stopped is the use of these programs for miseducation and as a platform and cudgel for the political activism of the teacher.
Horowitz takes you on a tour of the sad state of affairs at 12 major universities: Duke (remember the Lacrosse team?), University of Colorado (Ward Churchill, anyone?), Columbia, Penn State, University of Texas (at Austin), University of Arizona, Arizona State University, Temple University, Miami University (in Ohio), University of Missouri, University of Southern California, and University of California, Santa Cruz. No, Horowitz is not saying that these are the only universities allowing and protecting these intellectual abuses, but he does provide interesting examples from each of them. He also presents samples of courses taught that illustrate the kinds of abuses he is writing against.
The kinds of abuses vary from place to place, but when you see people teaching courses for which they have no academic credentials, when they only allow students already sympathetic to their political views in the class or to pass it, when you require the students to participate in outside advocacy in sympathy with the teacher's politics, when you present material from only one side of the issue, when you openly and clearly violate the written academic standards of the university, when you base the course on a controversial idea as if it were an accepted verity, and when you tell the students what to think rather than provide them the tools to help them to think and weigh the evidence dispassionately and according to their own conscience, well, you have tax payer subsidized political activism instead of an academic course. These courses are not only awful because of the miseducation the students receive in the classroom, but because of the college credit the students get for these courses. This means they aren't getting a real education by obtaining credits in a truly academic course.
You should read this book and decide for yourself. I find it frightening and exasperating. But I have seen this evolving for decades. Horowitz is one of those resisting the groupthink and I hope you will help join the struggle to return our colleges and universities to true forums for all points of view and academic study and leave the politics to their proper sphere outside the classroom. I recommend this book and the author's earlier: The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America and Indoctrination U.: The Left's War Against Academic Freedom
Reviewed by Craig Matteson, Ann Arbor, MI