Liberals In Control of Academia Is DangerousPosted: January 11, 2017
Liberals In Control of Academia Is Dangerous
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus
Boston Magazine’s senior editor Chris Sweeney found hard evidence to back up what some discerning individuals have groaned about for a good while. His online article “How Liberal Professors Are Ruining College,” posted January 2017, carries a subtitle “In New England, they outnumber conservatives 28 to 1.” And he concludes: “That’s bad for all of us.” He’s correct.
Sweeney’s article mentions Harvard, Yale, Brandeis, Smith, Brown, Mount Holyoke, Wellesley, Hampshire College, and some other New England schools that would happily accept being described as liberal. But the percentages of left-leaners in the faculties of the northeast are somewhat astounding.
Relying on 25 years of research compiled by Sarah Lawrence College Professor Samuel Abrams, Sweeney noted that liberal professors held a 3 to 1 edge over conservatives in the South and Great Plains. Out West, liberal domination came in at 6 to 1. Those figures are bad enough. But within the six states comprising New England, the ratio was an astounding 28 to 1. That includes even some Catholic institutions. His conclusion about the Northeast: “… conservative professors weren’t just rare; they were being pushed to the edge of extinction.” In greater Boston, as one wag regularly concluded, “There are more than 60 institutions of higher leaning.”
The problem stems from the dominance of political correctness about nearly everything, something the proverbial herd is very adept at enforcing once it gains ascendancy. Leftist mentality grew dramatically more than a century ago when socialists from Europe gained teaching roles in the Northeast. But it really took off when Barry Goldwater got swamped in the 1964 presidential contest. Championing a conservative view (meaning smaller government, more freedom) came under increasing attack. Aided by the liberal media (New York Times, Boston Globe, Hartford Courant, and most national news providers), young people found it fashionable to turn leftward. Many never got out of school; they went from one to another institution and became professors. Invariably they tilted leftward, frequently hard left.
Example: A Brandeis professor told students after learning of the death of Phyllis Schlafly, “There’s a special place in hell for people like her.” And that same purveyor of intolerance previously and exuberantly lauded deceased founder Tom Hayden of the Students for a Democratic Society, one of the more raucous leftist groups of the past 50 years.
During the past year, it would have been close to suicidal for a student to let his professor know he or she was unwilling to support Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders – even worse if that stand included an open preference for Donald Trump.
These same individuals will demand “tolerance” for outrageous conduct – as long as it’s left leaning. When some student believers, in their warped idea of tolerance, expressed their intolerance about the Trump victory by burning an American flag at Hampshire College, school administrators reacted by stopping any flying of the flag. The students won – at least for a time. Where tolerance reigns, it’s not just patriotism that suffers; it’s anything resembling virtue.
Professor Abrams himself wrote about the research he compiled. His concluding advice to young people and their parents is: “… if you are looking for an ideologically balanced education, don’t put New England at the top of your list.” Chris Sweeney certainly doesn’t disagree.
Mr. McManus served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1950s and joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966. He has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and President. Mr. McManus has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs and is also author of a number of educational DVDs and books. Now President Emeritus, he continues his involvement with the Society through public speaking and writing for this blog, the JBS Bulletin, and The New American.