December 17, 2004

One of the books at the top of my reading list is the new release from 20-year-old conservative wunderkind, Ben Shapiro. Love him or hate him, when I heard of his first book, "Brainwashed: How Universities Indoctrinate America's Youth" I was salivating from day-one. This is the first book of its kind to address these issues from the perspective of a young person. Move over crusty curmudgeons, there are new critics on the block.

The fact that American universities generally tend be liberal breeding grounds isn't a new revelation, but you'd be surprised just how-off-the-hook colleges have become. The collective stories told by the younger generation about what really takes place on campus is nauseating.

Call it personal ambition, but this is a topic I've delved into quite a bit. My bookshelf is littered with books on this very topic, most of them written by people who haven't been in college since Ted Koppel had hair. One of my favorite books on this topic is "Imposters in the Temple: The Decline of the American University" a dry read by Senior Hoover Institute fellow Martin Anderson. In his book, Anderson, a Conservative, takes issue with the big-business colleges have become and the corporate-like salaries and perks awarded to tenured professors whose classes are mostly taught by graduate students. What I love is that Anderson is disliked by both Liberals and Conservatives alike. In his book, he doesn't take sides, but he holds both ends of polical philosophy accountable for a morally corrupt college sub-culture.

What may come as fairly shocking news to many is that most of America's top universities (as in the places where we get the so-called "top leaders" of society) are overwhelmingly liberal, including the entire Ivy League. Within his book, Shapiro examines some of the following realities:

  • Exit polling data that shows students become more liberal as they progress through their college career.

  • 9% of Ivy League professors surveyed voted for Bush.

  • After eliminating moral absolutes, professors are free to advocate anything - even murder.

  • Student groups, from the Muslim Student Association to the Gay and Lesbian Alliance, from the African Student Union to MEChA, receive funding to push perversion and hate.

  • Some actual Quotes on campus from Professors regarding September 11: "Anyone who bombs the Pentagon has my vote," "the people who caused 9-11 might fit into Locke's definition of justified resistance".

  • Campus sex columns in the student newspaper encouraging casual sex and same-sex experimentation, forays to strip clubs for university credit, pornographic acts for art finals, and the "America as terrorist" theory.

  • Actual Classes: Black Marxism, Same Sex Desire in Modern Literature, The Poetics of Palestinian Resistance, The Sexuality of Terrorism, and How to Be Gay: male Homosexuality and Initiation. One university actually offers a Marxist Studies minor.
At my lovely institution, "we" (or rather, "they") had the notorious "C*** Club", a university-funded and supported student group that got together to celebrate female masturbation. There was also a dormitory on campus called "Heathen House" where the witches lived. I have stories upon stories. Far and wide, this is a taste of the nonsense going on in the halls of higher learning. It's not a game. We're talking a rapid decline here folks.

When I left Wesleyan University nearly four years ago, I was agitated and afflicted. I didn't leave because I couldn't hold up under the weight of the big bad liberals. Quite the contrary. I actually have reason to believe that if I had continued playing my cards as it was, I'd have been kicked out of my most of my classes for arguing with professors. I left because the school was a waste of my time and money. My affliction came in knowing that nothing on that campus was going to change without people there to change it. I wanted one of those people to be me, but purpose had a higher calling.

Compared to many, Wesleyan is aggressively liberal as are most New England schools. They are breeding grounds for philosophies and thoughts that leave students in utter confusion about their identity. To this day I am almost certain that my brief time spent in college was intended to show me the reality of what my generation is facing. For me, this is an intricate part of why I'm alive.

I think often the "Conservative" response to the university problem is to encourage people to flock to conservative schools. Last month, "Young America's Foundation" released their list of Top 10 Conservative Colleges. Among those listed were Hillsdale College (home to boyscout Hans Zeiger), Liberty University (Heart of the Falwell Reign), and the other "Wesleyan", Indiana Wesleyan University. Michelle Malkin, an Oberlin College graduate, noted that she wished she'd known about them sooner.

Well I don't.

Among the funny emails I get from those who've read my exaggerated bio was one that suggested (and quite seriously I might add) that I should've considered Bob Jones University. And yes we all know the racial history of BJU and they've had their share of issues, and yeah they're "Christian" and yadda yadda, but I can say with safe amount of certainty that Bob Jones University would be a "no" for Ambra.

Conservative and Christian universities are great and serve a tremendous purpose and we need them desperately. I myself nearly considered attending a Christian school post-Wesleyan, but I've studied them well and like all schools, they too have flaws. That's an entirely different discussion. There is no such thing as a perfect school and quite frankly, if there was, I'm not sure I'd want to go there.

The reality is that just as we need think tanks of truth, we need places for the modern-day Elijahs to enter and combat the ills of university culture. I appreciate people like Shapiro who are willing to buck up against the system and say what needs to be said. One thing I've always envisioned myself doing is speaking to university students on the realities of what a college experience should and should not be.

The brainwashing must stop.

Posted by Ambra at December 17, 2004 10:02 AM in Education
Bookmark and Share





Here's how I put it:

Colleges are definitely liberal breeding grounds. However, no need to get so upset. The kids will get four years of liberal teaching. Then, they'll go to a conservative corporation for 40 years where all of those lessons are thrown out the window.

That's a 10 to 1 ratio. Sure, it's unfair and unbalanced...but so is FOX News.

And CNN.


Here's how I put it:

Colleges are definitely liberal breeding grounds. However, no need to get so upset. The kids will get four years of liberal teaching. Then, they'll go to a conservative corporation for 40 years where all of those lessons are thrown out the window.

That's a 10 to 1 ratio. Sure, it's unfair and unbalanced...but so is FOX News.

And CNN.


Unfortuately, Mike, this issue is beyond the eventual foray into conservative economics. Socially and emotionally, colleges are breeding destruction.

For me, this is an intricate part of why I'm alive.

Hey, there's all kinds of surveys about, A. It may not be as bad as you think.

But don't reach for the hemlock just yet, I'm sure there're still lotsa godless heathens afoot.


Sorry for the repeated post. I first sent it through and got a "no response" message.

Per your reply, are they breeding destruction?

My problem with many conservative trains of thought is that they're extremely fear-driven and overbloated.

"Christianity is under attack!"

"The liberal media! The liberal media!"

"Liberals hate Christmas!"

I agree the courses mentioned in Shapiro's book (particularly the How to Be Gay course, altough I would have to SEE that to believe it) are preposterous. But, what's wrong with taking a Marxist course? Marxism was an extremely relevant period of world history. A political theory that literally devastated a nation for more than a century. I think learning about it is important. I just finished my bachelor's degree from Temple University and I took sociology courses that included Marx. I've got to say...conservative fears are totally crazy. Sure, most of the professors are liberal. But to say they're *endorsing* Marx is nearly crazy. I had professors who were passionate about teaching it. Not so much the theory itself, but how the theory was implemented and consequently destroyed a nation.

In a century, I'd be thrilled teaching a course on Coulterism. I love Ann Coulter even though 99% of our views are diametrically opposed. I am in awe of her as a women and as a political pundit.

I'm a pinko myself...but even I refuse to buy most of Marx's theories. I could go on and on about the flaws of Marxism...

More on the brouhaha conservatives claim are rife in colleges:
Though I'm not a religious person, I've read the Bible, the Koran and the Torah. These were also required readings for several of my courses. There was no religious indoctrination in those courses. The religious studies were presented with both skepticism and belief. Conservatives--en masse--seem to hate ANY skepticism of their religion. And that's fair. Most important in a college setting is ensuring students have the ability to question.

In questioning a religion, I neither question one's faith nor deny one's right to practice. I don't judge religious persons for their religion, as many conservatives claim. I will judge them and criticize them if they continue to attempt to push this country towards theocracy, which I'm sure many Bible-belt Christians (as well as Islamofascists bent on terrorizing our way of life) would love. Sure, perhaps my fear is as irrational as conservatives' fear of liberal universities.

And I'll admit it. Every class I've had, liberals have ALWAYS outnumbered conservatives. And many of the conservative students were fearful of asking questions. I often got tired of some of the liberal talking points raised in class (not by teachers, mind you...but by the students). I would actually ask questions criticizing liberal theories to bring some balance to the class.

I'm rambling here. But, yes...I believe colleges are a breeding ground for liberalism. Not "indoctrination," which I believe has a freakishly scary connotation. Again, this has just been my experience, having completed more than four years at a very liberal college. on to that Master's Degree.

Liberals are fond of pointing out that more Democrat voters are college-educated than Republican voters. They imply, of course, that this proves that libs are smarter than conservatives. But this is merely cause-and-effect: college-educated people vote more liberal simply because they have been indoctrinated with liberal ideology, not because they are more intelligent.( A great man once said, "Education without salvation is damnation." I like to say, "The bigger the belfry, the more room for the bats.")

As for the comments, "Christianity is under attack!" I say this:
When local gov'ts single out references to "Christ" or "God" for removal while leaving Islam, Judaism, or Kwaanza unmolested, Then Christianity is under attack.
When humanistic zealots posing as judges defy 6000 years of human history and arrogantly redefine marriage, then Marriage is under attack.
Get my "drift"?
It's easy for someone to laugh-off another person's concerns when the former has no vested interest in the issues confronting the latter. Have someone knock over some of HIS sacred cows and see how he reacts.


When more towns, cities and municipalities get involved in the act, the Christianity will be under attack.

Christians generalize and demonize all liberals in this manner. I think it's entirely inappropriate what these few "rogue" cities and towns are doing by not providing an equal forum for EVERY religious display this time of year.

Liberals do NOT believe Christianity should be decimated to make room for Judaism and Islam. No matter how many times conservatives may like to make that point, they ARE wrong. I'm all for equal treatment for ALL religions.

I'm just tired of turning on Hannity and Colmes every night only to hear Sean Hannity proclaim Christianity is under attack across the if it was the second 9/11 or something.

I'm packing and tired and will respond to all this later, but in short I will say this:

Tae, I pretty much let you say whatever lunacy you want to say around here in spite of the fact that you write in prose and feel the need to increase the peace everytime you comment. But for crying out loud, stop acting like an idiot. Leave it to you to pick one minor thing and challenge it to try to discredit an overwhelming reality. The Bush voting percentage issue is minor and not the premise behind my argument, Shapiro's book or Anderson's book, or any of the other thousands of books that have been written on this same issue. grow up.

Tae, I take it you haven't been to a university lately. But that's okay, I'll give you whatever point you're trying to make about college being voluntary and blah blah blah, crafty words whatever. But here's one of the many places we part:

tae wrote: "most college kids "wash their own brains" -- it is what college is for, after all -- to explore ideas that one's parents may, or may not, find acceptable."

(emphasis mine)

If we're going to debunk myths, the very one you just states it what needs to be countered. College is not a place where kids explore ideas that their parents find objectionable. That's the great American lie.

Go to college and "find yourself" "sow your oats" "bump into a million walls" and "do everything your parents wouldn't let you do".

Oh the horror of such a mis-conception on the true purposes of higher education.

Historically, colleges never started out that way, and as long as they remain that way, we'll be ill-equipping young people.

More on this next week.

Very true, Ambra. Having worked in and around universities for my entire adult life, I have met very few kids whose stated goal was to "explore objectionable ideas" that their parents disagreed with.

In fact, I would say that nigh on 99% of them were in college to simply get a degree that would help them find a better-paying job (the goal of most parents who send their kids to college).

Sure, lots of kids stray from the narrow path when they get out of the house for the first time, but it's mostly the weak ones who know only how to follow.

There is certainly, without question, a huge "liberal" (hate that word) bias in our universities. Academia is the last refuge for scoundrels who don't really want to work for a living :)

yup Tae. Agree to disagree it is. I'm pretty good doing that.

Move over crusty curmudgeons, there are new critics on the block.

I saw that. (And thanks for the book recommendation.)

I'm wondering if the book says that universities funding gay and lesbian clubs and muslim clubs promotes perversion and spreads hate or if you say it does that. I'm not trying trying to start a fight, but i think that's a ridiculous statement. ALL muslims are hate spreaders?

Speaking as probably the only Jew on this page, I'm wondering why it would be fair for my campus group, Hillel- the Jewish Student Assoc, gets University funding and NOT for the The Muslim Studnet Assoc? Shouldn't they get just as much as us? I mean, sure, Al queda is of the same faith as them, but there are lots of US domestic terrorists that are Christian. Does that mean Christian groups on campus shouldn't get funding either? I think Universities look do/and should look to be diverse, and that means giving equally among student organizations.

Of course professors vote liberal: conservatives are hostile to education.

You cut pell grants and other student aid.

You attack teachers unions.

You deny the existence of evolution.

You regularly insult public employees.

I could go on. But look at yourselves: almost everything about conservatism is hostile to universities. What do you expect, that they're going to vote for you after that kind of abuse?

Sorry to hit you with some facts, Josh, but here ya go (from

Kerry claimed the Bush administration had cut Pell Grants for low-income students to attend college. Bush said Pell Grants have been increased by a million students. Bush was correct.

Department of Education figures show the number of Pell Grants awarded the year before Bush took office was 3.9 million. The number grew to 5.1 million for the most recent academic year -- an increase of 1.3 million, actually.

Spending for Pell Grants grew from just under $8 billion in the academic year that was underway when Bush took office to nearly $12.7 billion three years later, a jump of nearly 60%. That's some "cut."

It is true that during the 2000 presidential campaign Bush promised to increase the maximum size of Pell Grants to $5,100 for first-year students, a promise that remains unfulfilled. The maximum grant has risen from $3,300 at the time Bush made that promise, but only to $4,050. Under Bush's proposed 2005 budget the maximum grant would remain frozen there for most students for the third year in a row.

In April Bush proposed an increase of as much as $1,000 in the maximum award, but only for those students who prepare for college with demanding courses in high school, which would allow only a small fraction of Pell Grant recipients to qualify for the maximum. So Kerry was correct when he said students are "not getting the $5,100 the president promised them."

As for evolution, of course we deny it as "fact" -- it is just one theory.

Teachers unions? Puhhhhleeeeezzz! The only thing these folks worry about is how to pad their salaries and get less work.

Insult public employees regularly? HUH? Care to expand on that one?

Here's a suggestion to those who can't figure out how to get a college education without Uncle Sam's help -- go to a community college or state university, have a job, cut back on other expenses. If it is that important to you, you'll find a way.

Why the uproar? All of the homo-erotic activities of Skull & Bones didn't seem to bother Dubya (or #41 for that matter). In fact I think he rather reveled in it. Could be why he's so smitten by rough trade such as Bernie K.

As a liberal graduate student at a conservative Southern university I am exposed continually (in the student newspaper among other places) to complaints about the dangers of liberal college professors. But among the thousands of words spent discussing possible solutions to this "problem" one option I have yet to encounter is the possibility that conservative college students should be encouraged to choose education as a profession.

I'm sure there are several reasons for this but I would draw your attention to one of them. There exists among conservatives a strong strain of anti-intellectualism. Conservatives continually express mistrust towards "pointy-headed intellectuals." This is not a new trend, either.

Why should it be surpising, then, that few conservatives enter college faculties or encourage other conservatives to do so?

I think you hit it right on the head Chris. There is a general fear of knowledge amongst the conservatives. They not only mistrust intellectuals, they openly taunt and revile them.

The amazing thing is that people buy into it. They hear someone say"don't trust those liberals because they're too damned educated. Trust us because we really don't know anything," and the masses say, well hell, I don't know anything either so I'm with you!

But of course it is all a lie. The conservatives are just as educated and knowledgeable as their liberal counterparts. They just choose to ignore those things which they know to be true in order to pander to their base. It comes down to an almost unbelievable sense of cynicism.

Truly shameful.

Hmm. I just finished school at a very elite institution and i'm not sure what you all are talking about. Yeah, my college is liberal...but that doesn't mean all of its students are drones who are brainwashed into liberalism. It seems that in order to be brianwashed one has to be weakminded coming into the situation. I grew up in a really conservative Christian home and I was very strong in my belief system. Yes, some parts of college scared me (I was literally afraid of fraternity houses!) I came through it fine, with my belief system still in tact. It's been weathered and tried, no doubt, but it is about to be stonger than ever.

To be a conservative you can't just say 'I will go on Uneducated because most colleges in this country are liberalized brainwashers.' Clearly, as a Christian you believe you will succeed in everything you do and if that means making it un-brainwashed in an alleged brainwashing-institution, then so be it. Besides, how can you be properly armed against your enemy if you don't know anything about them? I've lived my entire life in a liberal world, and I am sure you have too. Public school is lberal! Televsion is liberal. It saturates everything if you come from a conservative point of view. Deal or move on. *shrugs* Dealing with it head on doesn't automatically mean you have been brainwashed. Your post comes across as saying conservatives can't survive or succeed in a liberal learning environment.

Living in a university town (Ohio State) it seems to me that kids go to college to:

Drink Beer
Get Tattoo's
Peirce body parts that I didn't know existed
Riot when the team looses
Riot when the team wins

Did I mention beer?

There is a saying. "If you are a young and not a Democrat you have no soul. If you are old and not a Republican you have no sense." While the saying a dig into liberals that I don't agree with, there is a kernel of truth here. People, as a rule, are more liberal in there youth and then become more conservitive. I have even seen it in myself, even though I doubt I fully will swing to the "Dark Side."

Actually, I hear far more Republicans point out that college educated people tend to vote Democrat. Liberals in their Ivy Towers? Remember that one?

It's an electioneering tool. And it worked. Now all you neocons go enjoy the fruits of your policy in Iraq. You've earned it.

Also, scientists have become a threat to Bush's pro-industry policies.

But if you really fear liberal ideas, you can home school your child and guarantee they won't waste their lives researching cancer cures. They can join the conservative-friendly armed forces.

What BH said.

Aw man, you missed your chance!
{ Comments are now closed for this entry. }


Enter your Email



Why I'm Not a Republican Parts I, II, III, IV
Reflections on the Ill-Read Society
The ROI of a Kid
The Double-Minded Haters
Hip-Hop in Education: Do You Wanna Revolution?
Oh parent Where Art Thou?
Requisite Monthly Rant: the State of the Nation
College Curriculum Gone Wild
Walmart Chronicles
An Open Letter to American Idol
Gonorrhea and the City