by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
What do widely diverse crises such as declining demography, increasing indebtedness, Generation Z’s indifference to religion and patriotism, static rates of home ownership, and a national epidemic of ignorance about American history and traditions all have in common?
In a word, 21st-century higher education.
A pernicious cycle begins even before a student enrolls. A typical college-admission application is loaded with questions to the high-school applicant about gender, equality, and bias rather than about math, language, or science achievements. How have you suffered rather than what you know and wish to learn seems more important for admission. The therapeutic mindset preps the student to consider himself a victim of cosmic forces, past and present, despite belonging to the richest, most leisured, and most technologically advanced generation in history. Without a shred of gratitude, the young student learns to blame his ancestors for what he is told is wrong in his life, without noticing how the dead made sure that almost everything around him would be an improvement over 2,500 years of Western history.
Once admitted, students take classes from faculty who, polls reveal, are roughly 90 percent liberal. According to one recent survey, Democrat professors on average outnumber Republican faculty by a 12-to-1 ratio on the nation’s supposedly diverse campuses. But such political asymmetries are magnified by a certain progressive messianic self-righteousness that turns the lectern into the pulpit, the captive class into a congregation. The rare conservative professor is more resigned to the tragedy of the universe and, in live-and-let-live fashion, vacates the campus arena to the left-wing gladiators who wish to slay any perceived heterodoxy.