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Zombie Universities

A reader calling himself PomoProf writes about the interview with Jon Haidt, in which Haidt talks about how the left-wing culture within universities is destroying them:

What Haidt is complaining about appears to be the emerging of a victor in the battle between the two campus subcultures identified by John Searle in his “The mission of the university: Intellectual discovery or social transformation?“. And it’s seems (to the better, I say) to be the so-called “postmodern” faction. To quote Jerry L. Martin’s “The university as an agent of social transformation: The postmodern argument considered” (Journal: Academic Questions · Volume 6, Issue 3, pp 55-72, 1993):

Therefore, the aim of higher education should be not the pursuit of truth, which is both an illusion and an instrument of oppression, but social transformation—changing ideas, symbols, and institutions from tools of racist, sexist, capitalist, imperialist hegemony to instruments of empowerment for women, minorities, the poor, and the Third World. (p. 61)

We are seeing Progress in action as one age (the “modern”) gives way to a newer one (the “postmodern”). Of course, some people are unhappy at being left behind by progress, like so many others in history; and like all those other groups, they will become ever more marginal, and ultimately disappear.

To further quote, this time from Dalhousie University Associate Professor Catrina G. Brown’s “Anti-Oppression Through a Postmodern Lens: Dismantling the Master’s Conceptual Tools in Discursive Social Work Practice“:

Within postmodernist anti-oppressive approaches to the social world, assumptions about neutrality and objectivity have been exposed as a fiction, masking the partial and located nature of all knowledge (Haraway, 1988). Falsely universalized and objectivist claims about social reality which have often upheld limited and privileged world views have been contested by the growing visibility and challenge of competing standpoints. In challenging the hegemonic knowledge base which has upheld the power and privilege of some at the expense of others, this approach deeply challenges the notion of universal truth and objective knowledge.

Thus it is revealed that defenders of the “pursuit of truth” like Haidt are thus, knowingly or unknowingly, defeners of hegemonic oppression, and so rightly opposed by the present Academy.

So, “truth” becomes “whatever serves the revolution.” To the extent that that is true, if they can’t be saved, these universities need to be destroyed, if only by desertion by students and others who actually want a real education, not indoctrination. Postmodernists of the sort mentioned here are like an infection that takes over a body and turns it into a zombie, a monstrous facsimile of a human being.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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