Thursday, April 1, 2010

What A Teleprompter May Conceal

Prof. Paul Eidelberg

It is well known that countless college graduates require remedial reading and writing to qualify for higher degrees. This phenomenon, for non-genetic reasons, occurs more frequently among black than among white students. I have had such students. Some may be fairly articulate in ordinary conversation, but their writing and reading comprehension is awful! So how did they graduate college?

If they are black, then, unlike an Alan Keyes or a Thomas Sowell and other black students I know of, their teachers used lower academics standards to grade and advance them in high school and college. This is one consequence of the “affirmative action” policy of the late 1960s. Many professors were (and still are) reluctant and even afraid to flunk black students. This helps to explain why such students graduated college and went on to graduate school. But more is involved here than lowering of academic standards to accommodate disadvantaged students.

It should also be noted that cheating on exams and plagiarism are common among students of all races. One of my students wrote her doctoral dissertation on cheating in colleges and universities. Much to her dismay, she discovered that cheating was not only widespread in democracies, but that many people did not deem it reprehensible!

Cheating aside, legions of inferior students are quite capable of regurgitating the lectures of their professors who feel gratified by such mimicry. But this means that many students who receive good grades are incapable of independent or critical thought, or of relating general principles to facts not discussed by their teachers. Evident here is diminished ability to engage in deductive and inductive reasoning. Former U.S. Secretary of Education Dr. William Bennett, after visiting some yeshivas, said that American schools should adopt the pedagogical methods of these Jewish schools where the logical skills of students barely entering their teens surpass those of American college seniors!

Especially subversive of serious as well as logical thinking is the doctrine of moral and cultural relativism that permeates American “higher” education. Multicultural relativism undermines the incentive of students to take contradictory ideas seriously, having been taught by professors that a person’s opinions or beliefs about the good, the true, and the beautiful are purely subjective or culturally determined. Professors who propagate relativism dominate the social sciences and humanities. They foster the complacent and egalitarian notion that one person’s moral or aesthetic values are no more valid than another’s.

Relativists are agnostics. They deny the possibility of apprehending truths that transcend time and place. They would reject the “Higher Law” doctrine of the American Declaration of Independence, which affirms the “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God,” the touchstone of individual liberty and human dignity.

By the way, what would former black slaves such as Frederick Douglass or Booker T. Washington say of Muslim rulers who utter the malediction “Death to America”—or of a black preacher that says “God damn America”? They would probably call such people evil or depraved. But this assertion would be deemed subjective or a “value-judgment” by the academic relativists that have corrupted black and white students at Harvard, Columbia and other elite universities during the past five decades.

We should also remember that the labeling of people as “racists” or “right-wingers” or “left-wingers” has long been a commonplace in journalism and public discourse. Such labels stultify the intellect. They enable mediocre minds to dismiss political ideas merely by using political labels. Entering college students, regardless of race, soon become addicted to abbreviated and smug thinking. It’s “cool,” it’s convenient—yes, and it short-circuits serious controversy.

No less significant is the dismal state of historical knowledge among university graduates. This means that students lack the ability to relate current political issues to past experience or to the wisdom of great men. Ignorance of history fosters arrogance, especially among modernists who think the living have a monopoly of wisdom. College students are attracted to “progressive” politicians who disparage the past and exalt Change. Such demagogues use or misuse the instinctive desire of youth for novelty. They also exploit the young person’s natural feeling of justice and revulsion for the many instances of injustice that punctuate history and real life. What is more, if injustice is perpetrated on the scale of colonialism, students can become alienated from their Western heritage.

Also noteworthy is that despite the inferior academic accomplishments of disadvantaged college students, many are quite glib. They can play the “race card” to attract influential sponsors and win scholarships to prestigious universities. They are quite capable of ingratiating themselves with their mentors to facilitate their academic escape from serious work and responsibility. They do not pursue knowledge for its own sake but as a means of self-aggrandizement. Their learning is inevitably superficial—enough to get by—another commonplace known to every teacher.

In such an environment, “successful” students become more arrogant, more cunning, more superficial, and more indifferent to the ideas, dedication, and heroic efforts of the people who have made America a great nation. But what can one expect when so many historians and political scientists inflate their own egos and advance their own careers by belittling the past. These cynics and Lilliputians bring great statesmen such as Washington and Hamilton, Jefferson and Lincoln, down to their own level. I’ve seen and more than enough academics that make a career of debunkmanship. What can one expect from their students even at Harvard? The burgeoning anti-Americanism among academics is indicative of relativists and other half-educated people who take civilization for granted. An adolescent mentality is rampant among anti-American professors.

Thoughtful Europeans, whose economies and social fabrics are being ruined by the influx of indigent, arrogant, ungrateful, prolific, anti-Western immigrants, nostalgically say “God bless America”—the America that saved Europe from Nazi and Communist tyranny and which alone can save the Old World from a new tyranny. Anyone who apologizes for America to nations abroad, especially to Islamic despotisms, is an ignoramus or morally retarded—a despicable wretch that must have been corrupted by anti-American professors ventilating at decadent universities. Alternatively, this wretch, financed by a billionaire, may be a Machiavellian skilled in the Islamic art of dissimulation or “taqiyya.”

We all know of prominent people who, having been educated in America and having prospered in this country, hate America, hate Western Civilization, and identify with the Third World, a world that hunted slaves and sold them to black men a well as white men; but let’s not discuss this in universities, especially with blacks in the classroom. The canard of “racism” is the weapon of choice in the domain of academia as well as in the domain of politics. It might be enlightening as well as embarrassing to investigate the extent to which the “race card” has contributed to the success of various actors in these two domains.

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