Freedom Folks

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Education or Indoctrination?

Source: FrontPageMag

As a writer and frequent campus lecturer, I am accustomed to encountering activist professors. Nevertheless, when I visited the University of New Mexico Law School recently, I was taken aback by the political fervor of the faculty.

I had been invited by the student-run Federalist Society to lecture on the foibles of campus feminism. I consider myself a feminist, but I believe that academic feminism has been hijacked by gender war eccentrics— like the law professor who confronted me at the University of New Mexico. In the question-and-answer period, she insisted that American society is a "patriarchy."

Well, the UNM Law School is no patriarchy. The dean is a woman and fifty-seven percent of this year's entering class is female. During orientation, new female students were warned by members of the Feminist Legal Caucus to avoid the Federalist Society or they would be "marked forever."

For the record, the Federalist Society is a highly respected national legal organization with chapters on campuses throughout the country. It champions conservative and libertarian ideas— as well as debate over them. But the University of New Mexico Law School is not a place for free and open debate.
A snowballing theme on college campuses. Of course, it's no secret that leftism has long found a comfortable home on college campuses. The problem is that, over the past several decades, the bar has been lowered (and the value plummeted) for a college education. So many more people are going college than ever before. It's a booming business, and I do mean business, which is rather ironic when you think about the vehemence with which the lefty college professors denounce capitalism.

Someone I don't see very often recently told me that he spent most weekends that his daughter came home from college trying sharing his differing opinions to the leftist rhetoric she spouted. She didn't understand the ideas, and hadn't thought them or their ramifications through, but evidently parrots whatever her college instructors feed her.

A 2004 study by the New Mexico Federation of College Republicans found that 100 percent of the full-time professors at the law school were registered Democrats. The Federalists could not find a conservative to serve as their faculty adviser.

By contrast, the student body is politically diverse. Students complain that courses lack objectivity. Here is the catalogue description for a seminar called Environmental Global Warming: "Global climate change is the major environmental threat of our era. Its effects are felt by all species, but especially on those who are poor...." Another course called Gender and the Law explores "how the Law created categories that support subordination based on gender."

All of the students in the Clinical Law Program recently had to attend a lengthy lecture on immigration given by an ACLU member and watch a video of a weeping woman facing deportation. For "balance" the students were shown a 30-second anti-immigration television commercial from an Alabama political candidate.
I don't like lefty ideals. I think they stink because, examining history, they've always failed miserably and at great cost. And, frankly, many "lefties" just plain piss me the hell off. But here's the pivotal difference, in my experience: I understand that one of the things that makes this country great is the fact that we can all have our own opinions and a place to exhort them.

Institutions of alleged higher education are supposed to be just that. What on earth is educational about hiring an entire staff of law professors who lean in one political direction? About discouraging students from learning and making up their own minds about where they stand on an issue? About dictating to freshman which campus organizations they should or should not take part in?

The author sums it up perfectly:

Sixties-style activism and political fervor have their place, but at the UNM Law School these are practiced at the expense of the intellectual, economic and civic mission that a state law school is expected to fulfill.
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