Michael Bloomberg: Liberal intolerance on campus is … intolerable

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Liberal academic bias

Very real. Extremely disturbing.
(Image via the Washington Times)

In an editorial published at Bloomberg View – which was adapted off of a commencement speech he gave yesterday at Harvard, Michael Bloomberg makes some surprisingly good points about the intolerance of liberals at colleges across America towards conservative thought (via):

There is an idea floating around college campuses — including here at Harvard — that scholars should be funded only if their work conforms to a particular view of justice. There’s a word for that idea: censorship. And it is just a modern-day form of McCarthyism.

In the 1950s, the right wing was attempting to repress left-wing ideas. Today, on many campuses, it is liberals trying to repress conservative ideas, even as conservative faculty members are at risk of becoming an endangered species.

Perhaps nowhere is that more true than here in the Ivy League. In the 2012 presidential race, 96 percent of all campaign contributions from Ivy League faculty and employees went to Barack Obama. That statistic, drawn from Federal Election Commission data, should give us pause — and I say that as someone who endorsed President Obama. When 96 percent of faculty donors prefer one candidate to another, you have to wonder whether students are being exposed to the diversity of views that a university should offer. Diversity of gender, ethnicity and orientation is important. But a university cannot be great if its faculty is politically homogenous.

In fact, the whole purpose of granting tenure to professors is to ensure that they feel free to conduct research on ideas that run afoul of university politics and societal norms. When tenure was created, it mostly protected liberals whose ideas ran up against conservative norms.

Today, if tenure is going to continue to exist, it must also protect conservatives whose ideas run up against liberal norms. Otherwise, university research will lose credibility. A liberal arts education must not be an education in the art of liberalism.

This spring, it has been disturbing to see a number of college commencement speakers withdraw, or have their invitations rescinded, after protests from students and — to me, shockingly — from senior faculty and administrators who should know better.

It happened at Brandeis, Haverford, Rutgers and Smith. Last year, it happened at Swarthmore and Johns Hopkins. In each case, liberals silenced a voice and denied an honorary degree to individuals they deemed politically objectionable.

As a former chairman of Johns Hopkins, I believe that a university’s obligation is not to teach students what to think, but to teach students how to think. And that requires listening to the other side, weighing arguments without prejudging them, and determining whether the other side might actually make some fair points.

If the faculty fails to do this, then it is the responsibility of the administration and governing body to step in and make it a priority. If they do not, if students graduate with ears and minds closed, the university has failed both the student and society. If you want to know where that leads, look no further than Washington.

PJ Tatler’s Bryan Preston responds:

I am aware that Bloomberg remains a hypocrite on guns who believes that his use of wealth to push his policy preferences whether people want them or not will buy his way into heaven, even though he doesn’t really believe in God. He’s a small man with a gargantuan ego. But when he’s right, he’s right, and in this speech, he’s right. His commencement address is an important one.

Yes.  As the old saying goes, a broken clock is right twice a day. While Bloomberg is frequently wrong – more wrong than right, in fact, at least in this instance he hit it on the mark.  Well done. For a change.

#CommonCore: turning History into anti-American propaganda

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**Posted by Phineas

x

Necessary

I honestly haven’t followed the controversy over the proposed Common Core national educational standards all that closely (1), though I’m somewhat familiar with the questions of lowered standards, loss of local control, and the constitutional issue over a national curriculum. But I do not claim to be an expert.

If, however, this is representative of how American History is to be taught, I’ll be reaching for my pitchfork and torch. The textbook in question is Prentice-Hall’s “The American Experience,” and its chapter on the Second World War, as well as the accompanying teacher’s manual, takes a, shall we say, “slanted” view of the war:

The opening page of the slim chapter devoted to World War II called “War Shock” features a photograph of a woman inspecting a large stockpile of thousand-pound bomb castings. The notes in the margins of the Teacher’s Edition set the tone:

“In this section, nonfiction prose and a single stark poem etch into a reader’s mind the dehumanizing horror of world war. . . .”

The editors of the textbook script the question teachers are supposed to ask students in light of the photograph as well as provide the answer:

Ask: What dominant impression do you take away from this photograph?

Possible response: Students may say that the piled rows of giant munitions give a strong impression of America’s power of mass production and the bombs’ potential for mass destruction.”

Translation: Americans made lots of big bombs that killed lots of people.

The principal selection of the chapter is taken from John Hersey’s Hiroshima. It is a description of ordinary men and women in Hiroshima living out their lives the day the bomb was dropped. A couple of lines reveal the spirit of the document:

“The Reverend Mr. Tanimoto got up at five o’clock that morning. He was alone in the parsonage, because for some time his wife had been commuting with their year-old baby to spend nights with a friend in Ushida, a suburb to the north.”

Further prompts from the margins of the Teacher’s Edition indicate how the selection is to be read and taught:

“World War II has been called a popular war in which the issues that spurred the conflict were clearly defined. . . . Nevertheless, technological advances . . . [and the media] brought home the horrors of war in a new way. Although a serious antiwar movement in the United States did not become a reality until the 1960s, these works by Hersey and by Jarrell take their place in the ranks of early antiwar literature.

Have students think about and record in writing their personal feelings about war. Encourage students to list images of war that they recall vividly. [Conveniently, there is a photograph of the devastation in Hiroshima next to this prompt].

Tell students they will revisit their feelings about war after they have read these selections.”

The entire section is littered with questions and prompts in this vein and plenty of photos that show the destruction of Hiroshima. In case the students would be inclined to take the American side in this conflict, the editors see to it that teachers will remind the students repeatedly that there are two sides in every war:

“Think Aloud: Model the Skill
Say to students:
When I was reading the history textbook, I noticed that the writer included profiles of three war heroes, all of whom fought for the Allies. The writer did not include similar profiles for fighters on the other side. I realize that this choice reflects a political assumption: that readers want to read about only their side’s heroes.

. . . Mr. Tanimoto is on the side of “the enemy.” Explain that to vilify is to make malicious statements about someone. During wartime, it is common to vilify people on the other side, or “the enemy.””

After a dozen pages of Hersey’s Hiroshima (the same number given to Benjamin Franklin in volume one of The American Experience), students encounter the anti-war, anti-heroic poem by Randall Jarell, “The Death of the Ball Turrett Gunner.” The last line in this short poem sums up the sentiment: “When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose.” The textbook editors zero in for the kill:

“Take a position: Jarrell based his poem on observations of World War II, a war that has been called “the good war.” Is there such a thing as a “good war”? Explain.

Possible response: [In the Teacher’s Edition] Students may concede that some wars, such as World War II, are more justified than others, but may still feel that “good” is not an appropriate adjective for any war.”

This is not a history lesson. It is anti-war propaganda masquerading as history. This is garbage designed to at best place America and Imperial Japan on an ambiguously equal moral ground, and at worst to make us out to be a villain or aggressor in the conflict. To focus on the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki without presenting the reasons for the attack is intellectually bankrupt. The Truman administration dropped the bombs because of the experience of fanatical Japanese resistance along a whole string of islands, where again and again Imperial Japanese Army units fought until nearly wiped out. Imagine that occurring on the Japanese Home Islands themselves, in the event of invasion; bear in mind that the Japanese government was not of a mind to surrender and indeed was talking about “70 million dead” (essentially, fighting to the last man, woman, and child), and then look at the casualty estimates for just the American invasion forces, for which figures of 500,000 killed and wounded were common. And, should the invasion have been delayed until 1946 or the islands simply besieged, there was a very real risk of famine and the  mass starvation of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, because transportation networks had been destroyed. And that doesn’t even begin to account for hundreds of millions suffering under Japanese rule and who needed the war to end as swiftly as possible.

Beyond the question of military necessity and the lesser of two evils, Common Core “standards” engage in moral relativism. While quoting Hersey’s “Hiroshima” (actually, a good book) and Jarrell’s poem, students are apparently left in the dark about Japan’s aggressive intentions and regular atrocities from the 1930s through the end. No mention of the invasion of Manchuria, the war on China, the Rape of Nanking, the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, Unit 731, or the horrors suffered by prisoners of war and civilians living under Japanese rule.

But we do get pictures of American bombs, vivid descriptions of the wreck of Hiroshima, and the lasting impression that we were the ones committing evil, not doing what was necessary to end it.

Let me be blunt: Imperial Japan was evil and had subjected Asia and the Pacific to a horrific nightmare, all to satisfy a national ideology that dehumanized everyone else. Once the war had started, it had to be crushed; the Truman administration was right drop the atomic bombs to force Japan’s surrender (2). It would have been a greater evil to let the war drag on. And while innocent people died in the fight against Japan, to teach any sort of moral equivalence between the two nations is insulting and obscene.

And yet these are the new standards? This isn’t education, it’s pedagogical malpractice.

Footnote:
(1) On the other hand, Michelle Malkin has been an avenging angel on the topic.
(2) A superb book on the end of the war and the decision to use atomic weapons is Frank’s “Downfall: the End of the Imperial Japanese Empire.”

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Unhinged #NCpol Dems: What liberal NC professors think of opposing viewpoints

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Liberal academic bias

Very real. Extremely disturbing.
(Image via the Washington Times)

College Fix’s Ben Smith files this report on the recent “Scholars’ for North Carolina’s Future” gathering held at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Prepare for much New Tone:

CHAPEL HILL – Abortion safety laws make it “more dangerous for the black woman’s body.” Republican lawmakers “want kids to die.” Conservatives “are trying to take the U.S. hostage” and hope to “destroy our public school system.”

That’s just a sample of some of the vitriol spewed Thursday night at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, which played host to a meeting of Scholars’ for North Carolina’s Future, a group of secular-progressive college professors who have helped lead, along with the NAACP and AFL-CIO, weekly “Moral Monday” protests at the state capitol over the last several months.

The Moral Monday movement is a massive and disruptive weekly civil disobedience demonstration, and it has become somewhat of a spectacle in North Carolina, with liberal activists using it as a platform to rally against the Republican-held majority in the General Assembly and its approval of issues such as voter-ID laws and fiscal responsibility on public education.

The panel was billed around campus as a chance to learn what Moral Mondays are really all about, and see how they “fit in with past social movements.” Before the panel at the Global Education Center at UNC Chapel Hill began, many in the audience of about 165 people discussed their experiences during protests at the Raleigh statehouse.

Several openly bragged about their arrests, fights with cops, and the help with legal entanglements they’ve received from the NAACP. More than 900 arrests have occurred since the protests launched in April. As the audience – a mostly white, elderly group – waited for the meeting to begin, they also talked with impassioned contempt about conservatives. About a dozen students attended the event, which was heavily publicized in the Gender Studies and Journalism departments.

The lack of minorities in the audience, less than 10, was astonishing for a group so entwined with the Rev. Dr. William Barber, president of the North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP. Jesse White, former director of UNC’s Office of Economic and Business Development and an adjunct government professor, began the meeting by asking those who had attended a Moral Monday to stand. Almost 75 percent of the crowd stood.

He then asked all to be seated except those who have been arrested at a Moral Monday. About a dozen remained standing, none of them students. As he continued, he called the movement “inspiring” and Republican state legislators regressive.

Remember when going to college was supposed to expose you to all kinds of differing viewpoints?  It’s been so long …

Anyway, make sure to read the whole thing, and if you’re a parent who is paying or who will be paying for your daughter and/or son to attend UNC-CH, Duke, or any of the other universities mentioned in the piece, question what you’re money will be paying for.  The intolerance level is set to “HIGH” for many of the professors at these “institutions of higher learning”, and while I know many conservatives who have gotten a great education at UNC-CH, Duke, and other colleges in this state, I know of far more with the mindset of the “professors.”

Related to all this, Michelle Malkin’s Twitter aggregation site Twitchy.com documented a rant I posted earlier this week about prominent NC left wing activists based in the Raleigh area who have been after me and other loudmouthed NC conservative women for months in attempts to “out” our identities. Why? Because we dared to invade their social media frat party.  You can read the back story on this here and here.   Also,  please make sure to read Robert Stacy McCain’s post on this, titled “When ‘Shutuppery’ Fails“.

BTW, this is a group of mostly liberal women who have been engaged at this. Talk about War On Women … by women! ;)

Flashback – 8/1/12:

NY school district: “We’re sorry for teaching Jews are evil”

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**Posted by Phineas

School has certainly changed since my day:

An upstate New York school district is reportedly apologizing — and mulling possible disciplinary action — for a high school writing assignment that asked students to “argue Jews are evil” while making a persuasive argument blaming them for the problems of Nazi Germany.

The Albany Times Union reports that some students at Albany High School were asked to research Nazi propaganda before assuming their English teacher was a Nazi government official who had to be convinced of their loyalty. In five paragraphs, they were required to prove that Jews were the source of Germany’s problems, the newspaper reports.

“You must argue that Jews are evil, and use solid rationale from government propaganda to convince me of your loyalty to the Third Reich,” the assignment reportedly read. A third of the students refused.

Wow. I’ll be charitable and assume a stunning lack of sensitivity and plain good sense on the instructor’s part. There are, after all, good uses for exercises that ask the student to explore and defend the other side or other points of view. But when you’re talking about one of the most monstrous atrocities in the history of humanity –the Holocaust– the only point of discussing the attitudes that lead to it is to criticize them and show their utter evil, not to learn how to be an apologist for them.

Yeah, I’d say this teacher deserves at least a suspension, if not termination, but someone should pointedly ask that school district why they don’t supervise their employees’ lesson plans more closely.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

QOTD: Tennessee state senator on University of TN’s “Sex Week”

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Heh:

“They say it’s all about diversity,” he told Fox News. “Well, perversity does not make diversity just because it’s at the university.”

That’s Tennessee state senator state senator Stacey Campfield (R), discussing the University’s upcoming “Sex Week” in light of university officials pulling taxpayer funding for it after TN politicos got wind of what was (about to) go on. Fox Radio’s Todd Starnes has more:

Organizers of the University of Tennessee’s first-ever “Sex Week” will have to find a new source of funding after embattled university officials reversed course and announced they will not fund the controversial program with state tax dollars.

“We support the process and the students involved, but we should not use state funds in this manner,” Chancellor Jimmy Cheek said in a statement.

Cheek made the announcement after reviewing “Sex Week’s” final agenda. As a result, the student-led event will be forced to find $11,145 in additional funding. The university will continue to let the group use $6,700 in student fees.

UT System President Joe DiPietro said he supports the decision.

“The University is accountable to the General Assembly, the governor and the people of Tennessee for the use of state tax dollars,” DiPietro said. “The University’s three-part mission is to provide education, research and public service, and the state allocates this funding to help us fulfill the mission. Some activities planned as part of Sex Week are not an appropriate use of state tax dollars.”

The university’s turn-about came as Tennessee’s governor and a host of lawmakers voiced their public opposition. Several lawmakers had already announced plans to defund the university unless they defunded “Sex Week.”

A spokesman for Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam told Fox News that based on the information they had, “we believe this is an inappropriate use of university funds.”

Sex Week is scheduled for April 7-12 and includes 30 events including “Getting Laid,” “Sex Positivity; Queer as a Verb,” “Bow Chicka Bow Woah,” “How to talk to Your Parents About Sex,” “Loud and Queer,” and “How Many Licks Does it Take…” – a workshop about oral sex.

“We should be teaching these children what is important to learn so they can get jobs,” state Sen. Stacey Campfield told Fox News. “I don’t know what jobs they plan on getting if they’re having seminars on oral sex and bondage. I don’t see how that will help someone in their professional career – unless they plan on becoming a porn star.”

The university had allocated nearly $20,000 to fund the week-long salute to sex that also included a poetry-reading lesbian bondage expert and a campus-wide scavenger hunt for a golden condom.

Now there’s something you wanna put on your resume once you’re done with college … l-)

We are witnessing the rise of a generation of narcissistic fools.  I weep.

Anti-gun hysteria: from the ridiculous to… Maryland

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**Posted by Phineas

"Watch out! He's got a Pop-tart!!"

“Watch out! He’s got a Pop-tart!!”

And here I thought my beloved California was insane. Well, it looks like Maryland is trying to give us a run for the title.

You may have heard about 7-year old Josh Welch, a potentially dangerous proto-terrorist who was suspended from school in Anne Arundel County for the shocking crime of… breaking his pastry into something vaguely resembling a gun and, allegedly, saying “bang-bang.”

The horror.

But wait, it gets better!

Fearful that students may have been traumatized by a little boy acting like, well, a little boy, Park Elementary school is offering counseling to those who may be just too upset to go on after being threatened with junk food:

“I am writing to let you know about an incident that occurred this morning in one of our classrooms and encourage you to discuss this matter with your child in a manner you deem most appropriate.

(…)

If your children express that they are troubled by today’s incident, please talk with them and help them share their feelings. Our school counselor is available to meet with any students who have the need to do so next week. In general, please remind them of the importance of making good choices.”

This is how Rome fell, isn’t it? Far from being “troubled,” I’m willing to bet Josh’s friends were about to make their own “improvised food guns” and join in the fun.

Maybe they should offer them self-defense classes, instead:

This is the natural, ridiculous, and pathetic outcome of the anti-gun hysteria that the Democrats, the Left, and their allies in the media (but I repeat myself) have tried to generate nationwide in a shameless exploitation of the mass shootings at Aurora, Newtown, and elsewhere, in order to push their gun-control people-control agenda. Far from contributing to a rational discussion of the facts about gun violence in general and the likely causes of mass shootings, in particular, they instead use fear to try to rush through useless legislation — unless the intended use is the gutting of our natural right to keep and bear arms.

And in the course of using fear and misinformation press their agenda, they also create a climate in which children get suspended for carrying a loaded Pop-tart, packing a pink bubble-gun, and saving a busload of their classmates.

The only good I can see coming out of this is that these and other incidents will make the anti-gun left look so ridiculous that their anti-2nd amendment initiatives lose steam.

I hope.

via Legal Insurrection

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

FL college recommends termination of professor in Obama vote pledge scandal

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Florida Today reports on a college’s recommendation to terminate an algebra professor who forced students to sign pledges to vote for President Obama last year (hat tip: Daily Caller by way of Memeorandum):

An algebra instructor at Brevard Community College faces termination after an investigation by college officials found that she urged — and forced in some cases — students to sign pledge cards promising to vote for President Barack Obama in November.

College officials made the recommendation Friday following a three-month-long investigation into complaints Associate Professor Sharon Sweet, a registered Democrat, distributed partisan campaign materials in her five math classes and promoted presidential politics. BCC officials did not comment on the case beyond a prepared statement listing the investigation’s findings.

Sweet violated BCC’s code of conduct prohibiting employees from soliciting political support for candidates and creating a hostile academic environment, according to the college’s statement.

“Sweet’s actions caused students to feel considerable discomfort, to believe their privacy was being invaded, to fear their grade could be negatively impacted if they refused to sign the pledge cards, and to feel intimidated,” the statement issued Friday read.

[…]

The investigation began with a parent’s complaint. Sweet also continues to be listed as a senator with the United Faculty of Florida-Brevard Chapter, a collective bargaining group representing instructors at the school. Judi Schatte, president of the chapter and who has an office at the college’s Cocoa campus, could not be reached for comment. The college is closed on Fridays.

Sweet has 10 working days to respond to the investigation’s findings. The recommendation will then be forwarded to the college’s Board of Trustees, who will review the information before making a final decision at a hearing. No hearing date has been set.

Here’s the official report of the investigation’s findings.

I know this goes without saying, but if we could just stop liberal college professors who use much more subtle tactics than this gal did to indoctrinate students, the country would be a much better place – pretty much guaranteed. Lots more free thinkers, less victim mentality types, more proponents of individual liberty, etc.

As a sidenote, why do I get the feeling if this had been a registered Republican professor, this story would have made national headlines and been endlessly discussed on all the news nets for several days? #RhetoricalQuestion

And these are the people who are teaching our children, shaping our future.

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**Posted by Phineas

My blog-buddy ST featured this in her Hot Headlines section yesterday, but I thought it deserved front-page treatment. This video, narrated by wealthy Leftist actor Ed Asner, teaches nothing but class warfare and shows the rich urinating on the poor:

(Note: Since it first came to public notice yesterday, the video has been made private. I guess the California Teachers Union didn’t want us to know what they really think of those who disagree with them.)

EAG News, which first reported the video, describes it this way:

A new video produced by the California Federation of Teachers – which could be playing in your child’s classroom as we speak – drums up the typical class warfare images we’ve come to expect from Big Labor.

“Tax the Rich: An Animated Fairy Tale,” written by CFT staffer Fred Glass (2011 compensation: $139,800) and narrated by proud leftist actor (and 1 percenter) Ed Asner, advocates for higher taxes on the “rich” as the cure for government’s insatiable thirst for spending.

The video claims the rich got rich through tax cuts and tax loopholes and even tax evasion.

But when the 99 percent fought back, the “rich” apparently urinated on the “poor,” at least according to the video. What a classy way to frame your argument for children, Big Labor.

EAG News chronicles the factual errors in the video, but PJM’s Bryan Preston cuts to the heart of the matter:

The video never deals with the fact that the top one percent of wage earners in the United States pay about 33% of all the income taxes, and the top five percent pay more than half of all the taxes. The poor reasoning and dishonesty in the video are made worse by the fact that it was created, evidently, by teachers. By the people who are educating your children and mine.

And California voters, via Prop 32, just voted to give these yahoos more money, in the form of dues take from teachers’ salaries, which are paid for by our taxes. Too bad this didn’t come out before the election.

Meanwhile, this shows how hard the battle to reform the culture will be, when our teacher training programs are turning out “educators” who could have worked as propagandists for the Comintern.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

(Video) A walk through a liberal time capsule

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**Posted by Phineas

Bill Whittle recently spoke at Oberlin College, one of the most liberal of liberal arts schools, where he says he had a great time. His hosts couldn’t been any nicer.

But he was struck by something else, too: he was in a progressive time capsule. At various moments in his visit to Oberlin, he saw shocking examples of the intolerance of the supposedly tolerant campus Left, especially for anything that disagreed with their false dogmas, which haven’t changed in 60 years.

Gotta love that open-mindedness that lets you say and think whatever you want, just so long as you say and think the right things.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Kindergarten graduation in Gaza

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**Posted by Phineas

June is a happy time for students, when school lets out and summer vacation begins. For some students and their parents, it’s a special moment: graduation time, when the children get to show their proud parents all the neat things they’ve learned, such as reading, writing, and hating Jews:

“I want to be a suicide bomber when I grow up!”

And what kindergarten graduation is complete without the kids putting on a play?

Next year we learn “Two Minutes Hate!”

These and other photos come from Saraya, the web site of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, in an article called “Culture of resistance implanted in the hearts of the children of Gaza.” One of the children quoted showed the journalist he learned his lessons well:

One child, Hamza, wearing the uniform of the Al Quds Brigades of Islamic Jihad and carrying a wooden weapon, said “I love the resistance and the martyrs and Palestine, and I want to blow up he most Zionists in a process of martyrdom and kill them.”

“Process of martyrdom” means “suicide bombing,” for those without a program.

It’s often said the children are our future. If that’s the case in Gaza, it’s a future as imagined by George Orwell.

Translation and photos courtesy of Elder of Ziyon, where you can see many more.

via Power Line

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)