Indoctrination U: The Left's War Against Academic Freedom
By David Horowitz
Publisher: Encounter Books
A hard-hitting, well documented, and persuasive description of our dysfunctional higher education system, Indoctrination U. unmasks the leftist political indoctrination corrupting America's schools.
It describes how academic radicals with disdain for professional standards and intellectual pluralism have created a pervasive ideological agenda that violates the basic tenets of a democratic education.
The biggest culprits are entrenched primarily in the social sciences and liberal arts, but biased political rants can be found regularly in other faculties as well.
David Horowitz describes his ongoing battle to reform America's educational system by reviving the moribund standards and practices established decades ago, but mostly ignored today, to restrict political indoctrination and ensure academic freedom.
Over the past two decades Horowitz has spoken at more than 300 universities. In the course of these visits he became increasingly concerned with "the relentless intrusion of political agendas into an academic environment where they didn't belong."
"The intellectual level has never been lower than at most liberal arts colleges today," says Horowitz. He emphasizes that on most campuses, employees and professors have academic freedom but not the students.
In response Horowitz, in 2003, began a campaign to promote intellectual diversity and return academic standards to American universities. To get there he devised an "Academic Bill of Rights" and created a national student movement with chapters on 160 college campuses. Intended to be implemented by schools voluntarily, his effort has changed the national debate on academic issues.
It also has inspired federal legislation as well as legislation in more than a dozen states. Student governments nationwide have passed similar bills.
As it gains steam, this Bill of Rights, though liberal and politically neutral, has come under vicious attack not just by radical faculty but by the left-leaning academic establishment and mainstream media. Its critics have dubbed the bill crazy, Orwellian, McCarthyist, and totalitarian.
Yet, one of the bill's primary tenets, "No faculty shall be hired or fired or denied promotion or tenure on the basis of their political or religious beliefs," would clearly protect against McCarthyism from the right or left. But apparently few of its rabid critics have actually read his Bill of Rights, which is provided in full as an appendix.
Horowitz colorfully details the irrational and unjustified personal attacks launched against him in order to discredit his effort.
Before he commenced his speech at the University of Chicago, a student leader gave the absurd warning that a "safe room" was available should the speaker's words prove too offensive for them. At a Reed College debate, Horowitz was aggressively rebutted by the Dean who had little to say about the Academic Bill of Rights but smeared Horowitz as a "political pornographer."
In this case the dean's unprofessional tirade was so repulsive he was forced to apologize by the college president, but that was an exception.
Living on the Blacklist
These attacks were fanned and intensified by the 2006 publication of another Horowitz book entitled The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America. Partly due to the provocative subtitle, it was falsely labeled a "witch-hunt" and a "blacklist."
According to Horowitz though, "the real blacklist in academia exists now against conservatives."
Horowitz told NewsMax, "My academic freedom campaign has been assailed by teachers' unions and the organized left and they have subjected me to vile character assassination similar to that used against other prominent conservatives."
He adds, "The purpose of these attacks is to destroy us and our reputations rather than deal with the issues."
He says, "But I'm just a little guy." Then he adds, "look at what they did to Larry Summers, the liberal president of Harvard. Summers tried to re-establish standards and a bunch of radical feminist and totalitarian anti-intellectuals got him fired."
The lesson, Horowitz argues, was "cross the left and they will destroy you."
Some critics have claimed the bill's requirement to "expose students to the spectrum of significant scholarly viewpoints" would require universities to hire holocaust deniers, but Horowitz notes, under the current system "they are already there."
Radical Academics Gain a Stronghold
Meanwhile, radical academics and university administrators have created entire departments that focus primarily on political activism and indoctrination rather than balanced scholarship.
These faculties mostly void of academic merit, include women's studies, black studies, Latino studies, ethnic studies, feminist studies as well peace studies. Many are populated by professors without adequate credentials, such as Ward Churchill at the University of Colorado.
Often their textbooks are highly politicized and written by non-experts. "One book on social work is simply a loony diatribe against America," says Horowitz.
Horowitz also addresses how communist doctrine masquerading as "social justice" is being imposed throughout our nation's high schools. "This movement provides an analysis of capitalism and American society that closely resembles the critiques I read in communist journals back in the 1960s," says Horowitz. "This is basically 30-year-old Marxist doctrine repackaged."
Fighting the Good Fight
To fight this abuse Horowitz created the complementary Academic Freedom Code for K-12 Schools. "The left is at war for control of our nation's schools — conservatives are not," he says. "Which is why education needs to be a priority for conservatives."
Indoctrination U. is an eye-opening book. It is a case study in the political warfare methods of the radical left and the campaign to re-establish an indoctrination-free environment on our campuses. It should be required reading for everyone concerned about the future of our country.
Paul Crespo teaches political science at the University of Miami.
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