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“The secret of happiness is freedom. The secret of freedom is courage.”
— Thucydides

“A civilization that feels guilty for everything it is and does will lack the energy and conviction to defend itself.”
— Jean-François Revel

Brainwashing 101 at U. of Delaware

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Just in time for Halloween... Scary tales of ideological indoctrination at the University of Delaware (hat tip: Instapundit, with more here).

Many universities try to indoctrinate students, but the all-time champion in this category is surely the University of Delaware. With no guile at all the university has laid out a brutally specific program for "treatment" of incorrect attitudes of the 7,000 students in its residence halls. The program is close enough to North Korean brainwashing that students and professors have been making "made in North Korea" jokes about the plan. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has called for the program to be dismantled.

Residential assistants charged with imposing the "treatments" have undergone intensive training from the university. The training makes clear that white people are to be considered racists - at least those who have not yet undergone training and confessed their racism. The RAs have been taught that a "racist is one who is both privileged and socialized on the basis of race by a white supremacist (racist) system. The term applies to all white people (i.e., people of European descent) living in the United States, regardless of class, gender, religion, culture, or sexuality."

My response, which in hindsight summed up my immediate thoughts on the issue pretty well:

Chilling. And I thought the level of attempted indoctrination was bad when I went to college in the mid-90s. Clearly the situation has worsened since then.

Perhaps saddest of all is that such ideological, thought-police badgering is deeply counterproductive to the ostensibly noble causes of humanity's advancement that these people claim to champion. Evidently the self-congratulatory thrill of claiming the mantle of moral superiority, and the timeless passion for power over others (I'm thinking here of Lord Acton's renowned observation), takes precedence for these frauds over the actual achievement of real good or elevation of the human mind and spirit. As a case in point, I consider myself a supporter on classical liberal/libertarian principles of legally allowing homosexual marriage (or civil unions, as may prove a more practical compromise), very much despite the similarly-minded pedantic, sanctimonious cries of "homophobia" that seem to befall most anyone who doesn't toe the P.C. thought-and-speeh-correctness line to the precise letter these days. (I often wonder how much necessary traction the Civil Rights movement would have gained among mainstream America had the public discourse been dominated by similar scolding cries of "negrophobia" or the like.) The "oppressed" that the academic ideologues who peddle this stuff claim to speak for are done no good whatsoever by such disgraceful, self-serving conduct. They are pushing their extreme agenda farther and farther, and have, I certainly hope, finally reached the point where they'll begin to be met with a substantial and well-deserved backlash of public opinion and consequential deprivation of funding.

...but, hey, what do I know? I'm just a white heterosexual male-of-European-descent member of the bourgeois-subjectivist-individualist-captilast exploiter class (and probably sexist and racist by default too). Please disregard the foregoing as irrelevant. ;-)

Boo hiss, University of Delaware. Hurrah for FIRE's steadfast defesne of real, meaningful intellectual liberty. And thank you for publicizing this important issue.

I don't have any children myself yet, but I can't help but worry what the state of affairs will be like when my future kids go off to college. I'm glad for the good work that the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education has been doing to help counteract the apparently substantial thought-diversity problem that exists on many U.S. college campuses.