Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

A ‘Red Army of Mediocrities’ – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on October 30, 2019


In an April 15 Boston Globe article entitled “A Message to All Professional Thinkers: We Either Hang Together or We Hang Separately,” historian Niall Ferguson described the now-routine “outing” of conservative professors at American Universities by the hard-Left Marxists who control most of them.  The usual procedure is to first lie about something the conservative (or libertarian) supposedly said to whip a “Twitter mob” into a hateful frenzy.  The local media then pick up on it and pile on.  Spineless faculty “colleagues” either cower in fear or join the mob by signing a petition to curry favor with the administration (to increase their chances of another 1 percent pay raise).  If the conservative or libertarian professor is not tenured, he or she is fired.  Otherwise, he or she is marginalized, harassed, discriminated against, and “encouraged” to leave voluntarily to avoid such a miserable existence.  No human resources bureaucrats are ever concerned about “hostile work environments” when it comes to academic conservatives or libertarians; only the Left is to be protected from hostility and “insensitive” speech.

The KGB-style faculty and administrators who enforce this pervasive censorship are what Furguson calls a “Red Army of Mediocrities.”  They are mediocrities because very few of them are real scholars but uneducated political rabble rousers who simply stayed in school their entire adult lives, armed with terminal degrees in such phony and fraudulent academic “disciplines” as “Feminist Theology” or “Global Studies.”  They are, says Furguson, descendants of “the illiberal, egalitarian ideology that once suppressed free speech in Eastern Europe.”

It’s far worse than Ferguson describes in his short op-ed, for anti-conservative and anti-libertarian discrimination in hiring has been rampant for decades.  Yours truly recalls attending a Liberty Fund conference about thirty years ago where one of the other participants, Professor Henry Manne, remarked that “we have lost the universities.”  That was thirty years ago, and he was referring to the nearly complete Leftist takeover already, at that time, of the American university system and its assault on academic freedom and free speech.  The Leftist assault on free speech has festered exponentially since then with speech codes, safe spaces, requirements to report to the authorities “unsafe speech,” the organization of riots to “protest” conservative campus speakers, and other Stasi/KGB-style tactics.

There are a few exceptions here and there, such as Grove City College and Hillsdale College, neither of which has ever accepted government funding, and a few academic programs funded by wealthy alumni, but they are a drop in the academic ocean.  Even then, the conservative academics funded by such alumni donors are usually thought of by the majority Leftist faculty as imposters in need of extermination and expulsion.

Such programs may comprise less than one percent of a university’s faculty budget, with the rest funded by government, yet the Leftist faculty complain endlessly about the supposedly illegitimate “bias” caused not by the 99% government funding but by the minute private funding.  Political funding of 99% of a university’s budget could not possibly create a pro-government bias in research and teaching, they insist; only private, voluntary donations can do that.  This goes for hundreds of incorrectly labeled “private” colleges and universities which, though calling themselves “private,” receive millions or billions in government funding annually.  “He who takes the king’s shilling becomes the king’s man” is as true as ever.

Niall Furguson ends his op-ed with a call for a “Nonconformist Academic Treaty” among university faculty and administrators who still defend freedom of speech.  The communistic academic censors must be confronted with “massive retaliation,” just as the Soviet Union was threatened with such by NATO during the Cold War, he says.  This is what he means when he says that “we” must hang together or hang separately.

Such a “treaty” would likely garner very few signatures because of the fact that, with few exceptions, American academe is a socialist institution…

This is the road American academe has been on for several generations now, and no “treaty” among conservative professors, most of whom are, like all government bureaucrats, just counting the days until retirement, is likely to salvage what is left of academic freedom. Salvation will lie in the private institutions of the civil society, educational institutions like the Mises Insitute, the home-schooling movement, the Ron Paul Curriculum, and most importantly, the secession of the masses from the socialist indoctrination academies that American universities, like the “public” schools, have become. Meanwhile, we need more Niall Furgusons to at least ring alarm bells over the necessity of mass resistance.

Be seeing you







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