Universities of yesteryear gave us doctors and lawyers; today they’re giving us feminist, pro-communist, social-justice warriors with majors in social media. What?!
Any avid reader of The New American knows that dozens of articles have been written on the topic of education — from the overreach of the Department of Education to the faults of policies such as No Child Left Behind, the absurdness of Common Core, and the invasiveness of Obama’s — well, everything.
Today, we can hardly tune into the news without hearing about college kids rioting, marching, and crying in their “safe spaces” over the “offensiveness” of the Constitution. And if that isn’t enough, we continue to hear about the constant degradation of education — how students once obligated to take Latin, philosophy, and ethics can now entertain their minds in “The Culture of Miley Cyrus” and “Tree Climbing.” Don’t believe me? Do a quick Google search on “Stupid College Courses.” You’ll find classes such as “Zombies in Popular Culture” (Columbia), “How Does It Feel to Dance?” (Oberlin), and “The Joy of Garbage” (Berkeley).
If you’re anything like me, you have to step back and ask yourself, “Is this really happening? Has it really become this ridiculous?”
Yes, my friends, it has — and my interview with FreedomProject Academy Director Dr. Duke Pesta will show just how ridiculous today’s college curriculum has become. Dr. Pesta, whose Ph.D. is in Shakespeare and Renaissance literature, has taught at several universities around the country.
I, myself, am a product of the “liberal indoctrination” of college graduates. I went to college at 19 because I was “supposed to”; I took humanities courses such as Feminism and Gay Culture (I even wrote a 25-page paper on Gay Bar Culture), and after five years and $30,000, I graduated with a bitter taste in my mouth and a degree in a dying field. But I had been told repeatedly that the purpose of college was to open my mind to the diversity of the world and to make me a better person, and that had to get me a job somewhere, didn’t it?
To make sense of this mess, let’s delve into some history.
The first American colleges (Harvard, Princeton, Yale, etc.) were founded by Protestant groups in the 1600s. Their purpose was to pursue Truth. Their pupils studied ancient languages, ethics, logic, mathematics, and rhetoric (how to argue in an intelligent fashion). They produced lawyers, doctors, and teachers. Fast forward 200 years: Colleges were popping up all over the nation, with several accepting women and African-Americans. America grew by leaps and bounds, and the Industrial Revolution was in full swing. To meet new demands, colleges began expanding their curricula to cater to the growing middle class. They began producing factory managers, entrepreneurs, accountants, businessmen — people to run America. Colleges of the time offered a social mobility that was unheard of anywhere else in the world, and were a major part of what made the United States a world power.
Fast forward a few more decades, and we had the introduction of the G.I. Bill in 1944. This legislation, according to Dr. Pesta, is what caused college curricula to veer away from classical education:
You could make an argument that the post-World War II era was when they started tinkering with it [curriculum]…. That’s when you begin to see a progressive takeover of the universities. The G.I. bill made college accessible and affordable for a lot of people who never could have gone otherwise, and that sort of democratized it a little bit.
As most of us know, World War II caused a huge shift in American culture in several ways: Women in the workforce, a baby boom, new technologies (fancy cars and TVs), lots of money to spend, and a very progressive president:
When we look back at the control of education by the liberal elite, it really started after World War II in earnest. You think about World War II and Franklin Delano Roosevelt and all the ways that he blew up the welfare state, the ways that he twisted American life to be subservient to government.
All these G.I.’s came back, they were tired of war and tired of fighting and they had a lot of money relative to what happened during the Great Depression, and so you had this huge baby boom. And in that baby boom, all these kids needed educations, and so that began to expand. You could argue that it began to expand so much — the access to higher education — that it watered it down.
By “watering it down,” Pesta explained, he meant that because so many people enrolled in college who weren’t academically ready, colleges began to lower their standards in order to pass students. The more students they kept enrolled, the more money they received. The prestigious reputation of the university began to fade away as it began to care more about money, and less about education.
And so the country began down the road that would eventually bring us to our current situation, where the federal government has its greedy little fingers in every aspect of your child’s education, and conservative views are no longer allowed. In 1948, the Supreme Court ruled that students were no longer allowed to participate in religious education in public schools (McCollum v. Board of Education). In 1962, prayer was no longer allowed in public schools (Engel v. Vitale). The Elementary and Secondary Education Act was passed in 1965 as part of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty, providing federal assistance to low-income students. It was followed by the Higher Education Act in 1965, which provided federal assistance to college students via scholarships and loans.
According to Pesta, the 1960s also saw a major shift in mind-set, which directly impacted college curricula:
By the time you got to 1960, you have the riots in the ’60s against the Vietnam war, you have the cultural revolution — that’s when liberal progressive ideas that had been growing in the universities took over. By the time you get to the ’60s, the younger, more radical faculty had taken over, and the ’60s becomes what it becomes, and then by the time you get to today, you have the same problem. The primary purpose of the university is not education now — it’s this social-justice garbage.
The “liberal progressive ideas” Pesta speaks of were part of a political movement labeled “The New Left,” which promoted the belief that all Americans had the right to all forms of self-expression (especially sexual expression), combined with the idea that cultural sub-groups and minorities should be entitled to special status; this created a rift between groups as being the “oppressed” or the “oppressor.” The “oppressor” — often white, male, and conservative — is now seen as racist, sexist, homophobic, and imperialistic.
Now, I was taught in college that this “social-justice garbage” was part of higher education — it meant expanding your mind and learning about diversity, which was obtained through humanities courses such as Gay Culture. So I asked Pesta what is so bad about these “radical” college courses that are being offered today? It apparently struck a chord, for as Pesta spoke, he — an already boisterous, animated speaker — leaned forward in his chair and became more emphatic:
The argument that you need a course to diversify your mind is a political statement, not an educational statement. What knowledge do you get from [those courses]? Are you going to college to see perspectives? Is that what you’re paying all that money for? That’s what they’re telling you — your job here is to expand your perspectives, to see things from the view of other people. What does that have to do with math? Science? History? Philosophy? Can you get a degree in perspective? All the perspectives that they want you to see are non-traditional, non-conservative, non-Christian, non-patriotic. They make horrible assumptions that you, as an American citizen, are bigoted, racist, and sexist. Your whole culture is evil, the whole history of America is one huge affront against minorities, and when you show up, it’s our job to fix that.
Point taken. But he wasn’t done yet:
Why do you need to read about “Native American feminism”? Why is that necessary? And why are so many of the humanities courses being hijacked? You don’t just read Art History anymore, it’s Feminist Art History. You don’t take English classes anymore, you take Marxist Criticism in English classes. History is now controlled by various political philosophies. What’s wrong with just reading the subject? Leave the politics to the person! You decide what you want to be. What they’re [professors] doing is not really teaching you the culture — they’re using their modern political ideological ways to force you to see the culture in a certain way. It’s a bit of a problem, isn’t it?
Pesta further explained that this “hijacking” is starting to spread into subjects you’d think couldn’t be changed by perspective, courses such as biology and chemistry. They’ve now become “Green Chemistry,” “Sustainable Math,” and “Feminist Biology.”
My sudden question to this was “What?! How do you feminize biology? It’s a science. It’s black and white!” Pesta smiled and calmly replied,
Is history not black and white? If you see it as wrong in math and science — that shocked you — you should be equally shocked by feminist Native American studies. Why doesn’t that shock you? Why do we collectively assume that that’s the kind of crap you should get in the humanities? If you see it as absurd that we apply politics to math and science, why should we apply our 20th century politics to the study of the Colonial period? Why does that make sense?
His obvious point was that many college courses are being poisoned by the liberal agenda. Playing the devil’s advocate, I said that those on the Left argue that a more “classical” or “traditional” education is close-minded and backward, that it keeps students in a little protective bubble and doesn’t expose them to the real world.
Pesta rebutted that the purpose of those new humanities courses isn’t to teach students; it is to obliterate any traditional point of view:
These classes aren’t open-minded places where conservative kids are allowed to equally argue with non-conservative kids. These are places where the liberal position is the only position…. Liberals have decided that conservatives are racist. Liberals have decided that conservatives are bigots and homophobes. Anytime you oppose a liberal on any subject, you’re just a bigot.
This shift in cultural and societal attitudes has resulted not only in radical college courses, but also in riots on college campuses, such as the recent instances with conservative speakers Milo Yiannapolis and Ben Shapiro. Yiannapolis, a homosexual, conservative, Trump supporter who calls his speaking tour the “Dangerous Faggot Tour,” stirs up controversy by declaring that he’d take a “straight pill” because he’d love to create a child, and he thinks it’s ridiculous that the progressive Left insists that people define themselves with labels such as queer, bisexual, etc., yet he can’t be a homosexual conservative. Statements such as these caused one student from Berkeley to write an open letter to Yiannapolis, telling him, “We’ll be waiting here to strip you of your gay identity. You can have sex with all the men you want, but you’re not gay anymore.”
It is a fact that, yes, colleges really are offering courses that we could only dream up in our wildest imaginations, and yes, they are part of a liberal/social indoctrination agenda. Pesta elaborated,
The purpose of this is control. If you have kids in schools from the time they’re three years old to the time they’re 25 or 26, the odds are extremely good that those kids are going to graduate from those federal indoctrination centers as absolute progressives who will sell their souls to the government to be housed, fed, clothed, etc. We’re not teaching kids to be independent, entrepreneurial; we’re not teaching them to make their own money — we’re teaching them to be dependent on government.
But there is hope for your (or your kids’) future. Pesta stated that while it may be difficult to find a college that is not flooded with liberally slanted classes, students can be smart about where they go and what classes they choose to take. In his opinion, identity studies should be avoided — the history of America does not need to be slanted by feminism, homosexualism, or any other “isms.” He also believes that because we are Americans, school should be primarily about Western culture and American history. It is one thing to major in a certain field, it is entirely another to take general education courses (math, writing, psychology, etc.) that try to mold your political opinions.
Above all, make sure there is a balance between conservative and liberal ideals on campus, and that your voice and opinion can be heard. Students should not be told by their professors what to think, how to feel, what to believe. They should not be stifled when they don’t agree with the rest of their class. They should not be restricted to only progressive classes and not traditional ones. After all, the primary purpose of attending a university is to pursue Truth. Pesta remarked about the mentality in today’s colleges:
[This liberal mentality] is against the university ideal, it’s against the First Amendment, it’s against the very foundations of American civil life, it’s anti-humanistic, it’s fascist! You disagree with me, so I’m going to silence and punish you. That’s fascism.
If the classical colleges of yesteryear were producing lawyers, doctors, and teachers, what are today’s fascist colleges producing? As Pesta said, “Social-justice warriors, unemployed people, anarchists, radicals, government dependents, and generally ignorant kids.”
So there you have it. It’s time to step up, America, and abolish the Department of Education. We need to take back our schools, for the sake of not only our children, but our society and culture. If we don’t, we will soon find ourselves in George Orwell’s world of 1984, where history is destroyed, truth is made up, opposition is silenced, and people who question the status quo simply disappear.
Robin Kinderman is the advertising assistant for The New American. She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Print Journalism and an Associate’s Degree of Applied Science in Marketing Management.
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