Drain the Real Swamp: Academia

 

Suppose for the past half century or so you’ve been forced to pay the Acme Swamp Company to engorge all lakes, caverns, rivers, streams, and puddles with effluents, along with enough reptiles to put Jurassic Park to shame. Then, after you’ve discovered that the Acme Company has also supplied Wile E. Coyote with Roadrunner-catching equipment since the Truman Administration, you decide to “drain the swamp.” And then—surprise! surprise! —you’re devastated to learn that the swamp you tried to drain simply filled up again from tributaries that cannot be shut off. And you’ve been paying for those tributaries, too, for a long, long time. In fact, you’ve discovered that these streams are not only exorbitantly pricey, but frequently destructive, parasitic, and virtually impregnable. Question is, what can you do?

The “swamp” in question of course is Washington DC, but also includes much of the bureaucracy, judiciary, and cultural command posts of the country, such as the media and entertainment industries. The tributaries comprise America’s educational system, long dominated by the radical left and protected by tenure and union power. It is this ideological effluent center that has done so much to poison the discourse of American politics, smearing every institution that contributed to the country’s greatness, and radiating hatred of all things most citizens hold dear—family, patriotism, free enterprise, free speech, freedom of religion, the Bill of Rights generally, and of course America’s founding documents, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

Certainly, storming the Bastille of Ivory Tower totalitarianism constitutes a very great challenge, beset with tribulations and struggle. But one must start somewhere, so here is a short list that could be considered by State legislatures, as well as by an institution that itself should be abolished—the Federal Department of Education.

  1. Eliminate academic bloat by requiring schools to maintain a strict ratio of administrators to educators, with an emphasis on reducing the number of bureaucrats to the bare minimum. The ratio itself can be determined by those more familiar with the bureaucratic pathologies of top-heavy academic organizations. But schools that violate the standard would lose all funding. This measure might help to eliminate hordes of useless functionaries in “diversity” or “social justice” offices.
  2. Require accountability for institutions that do not maintain law and order at academic functions where speakers (always conservatives) are not allowed to speak, or do so only at risk to their lives. That is, dismiss students, faculty, and administrators responsible for failing to maintain civil discourse. The problem is that too many school denizens or hangers-on are permitted to engage in mob action, disrupt the institution, destroy property, and threaten lives without facing any consequences. Enforcing this requirement might clarify some minds here and there, as well as explode the charade of leftist “tolerance.”
  3. Transfer violations of the law to civil courts, under the assumption that university personnel are simply too biased and incompetent to act as plaintiffs, judges, juries, and enforcers at the same time. This stipulation might help to dispel frivolous accusations of rape, or charges of thought crime hurled against students or professors who believe in free speech.
  4. Require greater “inclusiveness” in student organizations, which means, for instance, that if a Christian group is forced to admit atheists, then require, say, an LGBTQ group to admit those who believe in traditional marriage. After all, doesn’t “inclusiveness” and “tolerance” work both ways?
  5. Abolish tenure. This oldie but goodie has been recommended to counter the radical left’s conquest of the academy. Whether such a policy would work is less clear, but it might deprive some radicals their safe, taxpayer supported perches to indoctrinate their students. The problem is that professors belong to that privileged niche in America, where, like journalists, they can say the most preposterous things without worrying at all about the consequences. Again, ending tenure might induce more sober, rational thought on the part of those who rarely have had anything to fear, not even fear itself.

Other proposals come to mind, such as requiring an ideological affirmative action program that would add more conservatives to faculty ranks. But a quota system applied to any hiring or recruiting situation is a loathsome solution that should never be encouraged, regardless of the goals in mind. Or, educators could be required (somehow) to teach subjects about their country to instill the values of good citizenship, respect for America’s contributions to the world, and the achievements of Western civilization generally.

Problem is, who would teach such courses? Imagine a Marxist teaching a course on capitalism—wait, you don’t have to imagine that, this practice been going on for decades. Or, a racist teaching a course on “whiteness studies,” which unfortunately is also standard operating procedure. Indeed, eliminating any course or department that has the word “studies” in it would enhance the health of the student body, like excising malignant tumors from an otherwise healthy organism.

Would any of these recommendations ever seriously be considered? Perhaps the most likely answer, after screeches of outrage from those in the academy have subsided, would be, “Have you lost your mind?” To which I would respond, I don’t think so, but I’m reasonably certain quite a few others have, and their privileged positions in America’s most fetid swamp will continue to feed the country’s other swamps indefinitely. That is, until the entire country is transformed into a vast swampland, and there is no America left to be found anymore.

Published in Education, Education
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Members have made 13 comments.

  1. Profile photo of Mike LaRoche Thatcher

    Burn it with fire, Sigourney Weaver-style.

    • #1
    • February 16, 2017 at 10:28 pm
  2. Profile photo of drjmm Coolidge

    I’m in higher education…I love all of your points but I’m skeptical of abolishing tenure. There are true benefits to tenure in terms of discovering new, and truly good, forms of knowledge which might not have been sought otherwise. This all despite that it also protects the ilk you’ve described. I feel this far too often ignored when conservatives discuss tenure.

    And besides: wouldn’t the most susceptible targets in a University without tenure be the few conservatives in academia? I incorporated a significant amount of Christian theology into my doctoral dissertation (I’m in music), with none of my committee members, so far as I know, practicing Christians. Removing tenure which holds up academic freedom across my entire institution might have made me far more susceptible to academic abuse, no?

    • #2
    • February 17, 2017 at 3:18 am
  3. Profile photo of Kate Braestrup Member

    I wonder how much of the above could be accomplished by making it harder to pay for college with public money? Didn’t someone do a study suggesting that most of the increase in college tuition can be accounted for by the bloated administrative layer?

    Also: given that Intersectional Feminist Studies majors aren’t going to be plum candidates for jobs, aren’t parents and other donors getting fed up with paying for this stuff? Are banks not getting fed up with loaning money to students who immerse themselves in the study of junk and emerge unemployable? Didn’t contributions and applications to Mizzou decline after the big #BLM kerfuffle?

    As long as the financial consequences for being an idiot are born by someone other than the idiot (or the idiot’s parents) we’ll get more idiocy. No?

    • #3
    • February 17, 2017 at 6:10 am
  4. Profile photo of The Reticulator Member

    Your solutions impose more central control over universities than we now have. That will turn around and bite us when the other side is in power.

    I agree that there is a problem, but this is the opposite of the way to go about fixing it.

    Reforming the student loan program, eliminating it for all except the hardest of the hardship cases, would help, though I doubt that would be enough.

    • #4
    • February 17, 2017 at 6:45 am
  5. Profile photo of Goldwater's Revenge Member

    Thanks so much for broaching this subject. Academia is truly a liberal swamp and needs to be drained. Sad that so many savvy students have to pretend to be liberal to garner approval (and a decent grade) from their liberal professors. They preach free speech, inclusion, and diversity but not in their house. Do all liberals practice a double standard?

    • #5
    • February 17, 2017 at 7:03 am
  6. Profile photo of Duane Iverson Member

    Deemphasize college. A lot of people go to university who should be at trade schools or go directly in to the work force. There are many jobs requiring a college degree where the degree has nothing to do with the job. The only reason for the requirement is that the holder of a degree proves that he can get up in the morning, OK late morning. Um at least by the early afternoon.

    • #6
    • February 17, 2017 at 10:48 am
  7. Profile photo of MJBubba Member

    Marvin Folkertsma: ..

    4. Require greater “inclusiveness” in student organizations, which means, for instance, that if a Christian group is forced to admit atheists, then require, say, an LGBTQ group to admit those who believe in traditional marriage. After all, doesn’t “inclusiveness” and “tolerance” work both ways?

    This is what they said as they booted the Christians. Of course, the Christians consider it to be un-Christian to lie their way into office in someone else’s group for the purpose of working counter to the aims of the group. The Christians tried to sue, but Leftist courts in Blue states have upheld the erosion of their freedom of association. This has also been getting traction in blue cities in Red states, though the lawyering is still progressing. The process is the punishment for Christian groups; by the time a Christian has pursued a case up to an appellate court, they have graduated, and are looking for successors to keep the suit going. However, by the time a hand-off is needed, no Christian has enrolled who is willing to stick his neck out at these Leftist universities. The assault on individual liberties continues, with Christians in the crosshairs.

    • #7
    • February 17, 2017 at 12:24 pm
  8. Profile photo of Unsk Member

    Call me clueless or whatever, but I believe there is an ‘equal protection clause” of the fourteenth amendment that requires all citizens” equal protection ” of the laws within that state.

    Now to my non-lawyerly mind that means that curricula of all our state funded schools, colleges and universities should be required to at least reasonably attempt to represent equally the views and religious preferences of all it’s citizens across the political and religious spectrum, unless those views are a “threat to the realm”.

    Instead we have a school/college/University system that represents only one view; that of the hard core Atheist Left . To my way of thinking, that position taken by our educators is a gross violation of our Constitutional rights and should be rectified immediately with prosecution of those who choose not to take a “neutral” political and religious stance and present an even handed thorough picture to our students.

    No Ifs, Ands or Buts.

    • #8
    • February 17, 2017 at 12:30 pm
  9. Profile photo of Stad Thatcher

    drjmm (View Comment):
    I’m in higher education…I love all of your points but I’m skeptical of abolishing tenure.

    Originally, tenure was a good idea (in theory), much the same as lifetime appointments for judges. However, the concept has been abused to the point where we must move on and get rid of it. We must get away from giving individuals immunity from removal because the these invulnerable positions are being used to promote bad court rulings, and in the case of colleges, bad thoughts and teachings.

    • #9
    • February 17, 2017 at 12:55 pm
  10. Profile photo of Daddynabit Member

    As a professor in one of those “Ivy League” schools, I very much like and agree with the analogy of the swamp and its tributaries and the need to drain both. Folkertsma’s description of the situation is accurate, but as pointed out by @drjmm and @The Reticulator, his solutions miss the mark.

    The ratio of administrators to educators is high because the citizenry demands/tolerates it. Most of those “useless functionaries” are there because of (a) federal requirements (especially Title IX), (b) parents and students who want special services (academic hand-holding, mental health, sports, activities…), and (c) availability of funds to support them.

    If you want to stop academic bloat, the solution is easy: stop sending your children and/or your money to bloated academic institutions. Tell your state and national legislators to stop distorting the educational mission of universities though regulations and funding. Stop supporting their bad behavior and they will stop doing it.

    As to law and order, the problem is not that universities somehow have different laws. The same law applies on campus as well as off. The problem is that the academic left loves to impose rules that further their culture war agenda—at least on campus. With respect to frivolous rape cases, (or any other real or imagined harm related to the latest cultural pogrom) academics can’t put students in jail, but they can “try” them and “punish” them by censure within or expulsion from the academic community.

    The solutions are again straightforward. Campus codes of conduct are readily available. Don’t send your sons to institutions where they could be ostracized or defamed based on unsupported allegations. If one does get treated unfairly, the real-world legal system has real courts and real lawyers who know how to handle such cases. If enough universities lose large lawsuits, they will change their capricious internal governance structures.

    The failure to maintain civil discourse is one area where state legislation might make sense. It is reasonable to require that public universities fairly represent at least the mainstream views of the nation. Based on the recent election, it would therefore seem fair to require a balance of left- and right-leaning viewpoints. The state legislature could have an independent bipartisan committee of nonacademics review the speakers’ list annually and pull the university’s funding if an unacceptable bias was found. This, and a similar approach requiring equal treatment of student organizations would change campus culture dramatically.

    The tenure issue is a red herring. There is nothing about tenure that enforces a progressive viewpoint. In fact, it saves many a conservative from being summarily dismissed. Far from “depriv[ing] some radicals their safe, taxpayer supported perches to indoctrinate their students”, abolishing tenure would force those radicals to actually do something. “Publish or perish” only has teeth until tenure. If you abolish tenure, those radicals are going to have to keep publishing (and indoctrinating) at a fast clip or be replaced by even more aggressive radicals.

    • #10
    • February 17, 2017 at 3:11 pm
  11. Profile photo of JLocked Member

    Except all my best American Studies and Western Civ professors (lot of Whiteness I studied in those classes) were Conservatives and would reject these ideas out of pocket– save the one about the administration to educator ratio. Because they insist that Conservatism needs bolstering outside of its own merits and wouldn’t succeed on market value alone.

    Of course this would require believing in Free Trade as core principle to Conservatism….

    • #11
    • February 18, 2017 at 12:37 am
  12. Profile photo of JLocked Member

    The Reticulator (View Comment):
    Your solutions impose more central control over universities than we now have. That will turn around and bite us when the other side is in power.

    I agree that there is a problem, but this is the opposite of the way to go about fixing it.

    Reforming the student loan program, eliminating it for all except the hardest of the hardship cases, would help, though I doubt that would be enough.

    Here! This! Ret is just always right — my new rule about Rico.

    • #12
    • February 18, 2017 at 12:38 am
  13. Profile photo of JLocked Member

    The answer you seek lies (ironically) in the George Bernard Shaw quote from Man and Superman:

    He who can, does. He who cannot, teaches.

    • #13
    • February 18, 2017 at 12:44 am