Category Archive 'Indoctrination'

05 Apr 2013

“What Does Bowdoin Teach?”

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Bowdoin’s Art Museum

Back in the 1960s, Bowdoin’s College Bowl team mopped up on the television contest show whose questions focused on academic knowledge. I thought seriously of going there, but took Yale’s offer instead simply because the larger university offered an even greater selection of course offerings.

Bowdoin is still generally regarded highly. In fact, it is ranked sixth in liberal arts by U.S. News & World Report. But a new study by the National Association of Scholars, released on Wednesday, contends that Bowdoin has become an instrument for partisan indoctrination with Progressive ideology.

Bowdoin boasts of training its students in critical thinking. The NAS study concludes:

[Allegedly] Bowdoin’s emphasis [is] on “critical thinking,” but the real… emphasis [is] on politics. Politics is enthroned at Bowdoin where Reason once reigned. Like all usurpers, this one presents itself as the legitimate heir of the old order. Bowdoin manages this substitution by claiming that Reason all along was political and that “truth claims,” seen accurately through the lens of “critical thinking,” are only assertions of self-interest by the powerful. Since everything was politics anyway, why not promote the politics you prefer? This is the short route to replacing open-minded liberal education with political activism centered on diversity, multiculturalism, same-sex marriage, sustainability, etc.

So, despite Bowdoin’s lack of cohesive intellectual order, it is a “whole” and can be examined as something that possesses organic unity. In that light, our guiding questions were: What kinds of knowledge does Bowdoin emphasize or prize? What does it want all Bowdoin students to learn? What does it want all Bowdoin faculty members to teach? What intellectual habits and attitudes does it cultivate? What understanding of the unity of knowledge does it prompt students to recognize? What divisions of knowledge? What abiding perplexities and matters for lifelong study? What moral yearnings does it plant in the souls of students? How does it urge students to comprehend the self, and what qualities does it uphold as worthy of pursuit? What qualities as better restrained or overcome? How should we treat other people? What obligations do we have as citizens? What are our obligations of stewardship to the achievements of past generations? What are our obligations to the generations to come? What combination of knowledge and character represents an ideal towards which students should strive? What is the good life? What is the good society?

Bowdoin does not spend much time debating possible answers. Rather, it has settled doctrine that informs students what sorts of knowledge, habits, dispositions, and aspirations are desirable. What does Bowdoin want all students to learn? The importance of diversity, respect for “difference,” sustainability, the social construction of gender, the need to obtain “consent,” the common good, world citizenship, and critical thinking. The answers embedded in these terms are not, as we have noted, arrived at by careful weighing of arguments and evidence. The general procedure has been for the college president to announce a “commitment,” such as President Mills’s announcement in 2007 that he had signed the “College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment,” or the College’s 2009 release of its “Carbon Neutrality Implementation Plan.” The same procedures underlie Bowdoin’s creation of the Studies programs, its commitment to minority student recruitment, and its determination to increase the number of minority and women faculty members.

All of these decisions may well have captured the prevailing views of Bowdoin faculty members and students. They might well have, therefore, prevailed in open debate. But as far as we can tell, there was no meaningful debate. Without hesitation, Bowdoin skips to certainties on some of the most contentious issues of our time. What most should be subject to debate never is.
When critical thinking is most necessary, it is most absent. What happens at the level of college policy is reflected at the level of college culture. When Bowdoin speaks of the “common good,” when it promotes “diversity” and “inclusivity” and apotheosizes “difference,” it is similarly by-passing debate on the idea s that are at the center of the great debates in America today. Rather than give these debates a respectful and full hearing, the college pre-empts them with closed-minded orthodoxies.

Of course, not only Bowdoin practices this same kind of one-sided, ideological indoctrination. Yale certainly does, as well –to one degree or another– as every other elite university and college in America.

02 Jun 2011

Indoctrinating America

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Israeli Strategic Studies professor Barry Rubin recently visited the United States and experienced with the freshness of an outsider’s perspective the intensity of the indoctrination which has become a constant feature of American life.

What’s most scary in America today may be the deficit and it may be government policies, but for me the scariest thing is the way that traditional American pragmatism, an open-minded search for truth, the reliability of the media and of academia, has virtually disappeared in many cases.

I’m talking here about the media, academia, and the highly publicized public debate, not what all of the people are thinking. Clearly, a lot of people aren’t buying the conventional wisdom. But the important point is that it is the conventional wisdom, the main ideas held by the elite and government, what young people are being taught, and probably pretty much everything half of the population is hearing. I was in California, Iowa, Wisconsin, New York, Maryland, Florida, Virginia, Texas, Arizona, Oklahoma, and other places.

While this certainly doesn’t apply to all schools, the indoctrination that I’ve seen in one elementary school shocked me. If you really hear what eleven-year-olds are saying to each other you’d be amazed: accusing each other of being racists at the drop of a hat; thinking man-made global warming is a threat to their personal survival into adulthood; viewing America as evil.

If that happens in an educational system — especially in universities — indoctrination means that the more “educated” someone is, the more “stupid” they become.

The decline of professional ethics — journalists are supposed to be accurate and fair despite their personal views; professors should seek truth wherever that leads them, be open-minded, and represent accurately sources and evidence — is staggering. Large numbers of ideas are practically barred from the mass media; silly concepts are put forward that have huge holes in them but are protected from scrutiny or criticism. Some people or movements are always ridiculed; others are always exalted.

There are hundreds of examples of how this works and I see it every day. …
No matter how bad the economic situation, leadership, or policies might be, a country can recover if the people and elite are able to define the real problems and the real solutions. If the connection with reality is lost, all hope is gone. That is one of the Middle East’s central problems. Increasingly, it seems to be Europe and America’s problem, too.

The way cults work is to isolate people from reality and bombard them with a single viewpoint. The victim is cut off from other influences by being told that they are evil and thus to be disregarded. In some ways, that is what’s been happening to America in recent years.

One weakness of this structure is that the arguments it makes and the claims puts forward are so ridiculous that if exposed to articulate and reasoned responses — often, even for a mere sixty-second period — it quickly collapses logically. Its strength is that it has such strong defenses against such exposure.

Another weakness is that the use of institutions for politically motivated exploitation must remain invisible. If someone understands that universities, mass media, and other trusted institutions have been distorted out of their historical, democratic, and American norms then that’s the beginning of seeing through deception.

Read the whole thing.

Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.

02 Jun 2010

Remembering Freshman Orientation at Wesleyan

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Mytheos Holt went there, and he says that Andrew Breitbart is wrong. Freshman orientation in political correctness at Wesleyan was far worse than Breitbart realized.

For instance, students had to mandatorily attend issues workshops run by activist groups, such as BiLeGaTA (standing for “Bisexual, Lesbian, Gay, Transgender Asexual”) which proceeded to explain that:

1. Gender is a social construct.

2. There are at least five genders* (what the other three are is not explained), not two, and that’s a conservative estimate.

3. The proper pronoun to use to describe transgendered people is not “he” or “she” but rather “ze.” The possessive form of this word is “hir.” The word to use in formal address (as in “Sir” or “Madame”) is “Ziram.”

And…

4. Anyone who disagrees with any of this, or even questions it, is automatically “heteronormative” or worse, “heterosexist.”

*Curiously enough, BiLeGaTA roughly agrees with the inhabitants of mid- last century Alexandria:


[T]here are more than five sexes and only demotic Greek seems to distinguish among them. The sexual provender that lies to hand is staggering in its variety and its profusion. You would never mistake it for a happy place.

—Lawrence Durrell on Alexandria in Justine (1957).

Unfortunately, Durrell, too, neglected to explain which exactly all those other sexes/genders were.

05 Nov 2009

Eleven More School-Kids-Singing-Praises-to-Obama Videos

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Readers emailed new video links to Big Hollywood in response to the original story back in late September about children at the B. Bernice Young Elementary School in Burlington, New Jersey being taught to sing songs praising Barack Obama reminiscent of the forms of indoctrination used in totalitarian states.

Liberals dismissed the original story as just one case of questionable taste involving only a single teacher in a single school. Six weeks after the original story, John Nolte has managed to collect 11 more from a range of places including Wisconsin, New York, Massachusetts, Georgia, and Illinois.

Nolte’s right. There is an epidemic of this sort thing, proving just how thoroughly entrenched a liberal mentality embracing a cult of statism and yearning to fall prostrate before a messianic leader is among the pseudo-educated class of persons employed in America’s school systems.

My personal favorite Obama song was the one that began

We believe in Barack Obama
He loves you and he loves your mama.

24 Sep 2009

Two Songs For the Dear Leader

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This video recorded around June 19, 2009 at the B. Bernice Young Elementary School in Burlington, New Jersey shows young students being taught to sing a pair of songs praising President Obama.

This interesting performance was arranged in connection with Father’s Day.

2:24 video

Song 1:

Barack Hussein Obama
He said that all must lend a hand
To make this country strong again
Mmm, mmm, mm!

Barack Hussein Obama
He said we must be clear today
Equal work means equal pay
Mmm, mmm, mm!

Barack Hussein Obama
He said that we must take a stand
To make sure everyone gets a chance
Mmm, mmm, mm!

Barack Hussein Obama
He said Red, Yellow, Black or White
All are equal in his sight
Mmm, mmm, mm!

Barack Hussein Obama
Mmm, mmm, mm!
Yes

Song 2:

Hello, Mr. President we honor you today!
For all your great accomplishments, we all doth say “hooray!”

Hooray, Mr. President! You’re number one!
The first black American to lead this great nation!

Hooray, Mr. President we honor your great plans
To make this country’s economy number one again!

Hooray Mr. President, we’re really proud of you!
And we stand for all Americans under the great Red, White, and Blue!

So continue,Mr. President we know you’ll do the trick
So here’s a hearty hip-hooray

Hip, hip hooray!
Hip, hip hooray!
Hip, hip hooray!

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Obama obviously did not write the songs or arrange for them to be composed, but it can hardly be denied that the teacher(s?) responsible in New Jersey were responding to a personality cult and a political style which has been recognizable since the appearance of Barach Hussein Obama (Mmm, mmm, mm!) on the national political stage. It is a style a lot more compatible with backward Third World Communist dictatorships than with the American Republic.

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Fox News story

I think Gateway Pundit was the original source of the story.


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