Posts Tagged ‘ideology’

[original post 6/10/2010]

A fixed fight: The Influence of Labor Unions in Academe. Part One is here.

In the academic world, employees are very often public employees. This means that they are also very often union employees. At all levels. This includes everyone from janitors, to dormitory housekeepers, cafeteria workers, clerical staff, and computer techs, to even the graduate assistants and professors. While the salary gap between a cafeteria worker and a senior professor may be huge, the solidarity of the unions is a powerful magnet that creates an unbreakable bond amongst them.

Unions are fond of bashing capitalism with seething rhetoric, decrying the economic system as irredeemably corrupted by greed and racism and classism. But the ideology they themselves embrace is itself driven by the same ugly characteristics they profess to detest. Except in their case, power is the motivating force, the passion that drives them.

The burning desire for the power to control your life is the tie that binds the union service worker to the academic intellectual. It is this common fabric that connects the union janitor more closely to the ideological academic intellectual than to his working-class counterparts beyond campus.

What’s far more dangerous is that the ideological academic, in his capacity as a professor, actually possesses the power to control. The power to influence students’ minds, to mold the students’ way of thinking to embrace their own power-hungry desires and believe in it as “social justice” – this is a frightening weapon. Via union solidarity, this weapon is shared with the mobilizers, the janitors and cafeteria workers who agitate the students with various demands against the university after ideologically minded professors have indoctrinated them to hear every grievance as a call for “social justice.”

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[original post 6/9/2010]

Yesterday’s story on the “Cry Wolf” project has exposed a dangerous pretense that has been prevalent, yet well disguised, for some time in our institutions of higher learning. It’s an important post.  A small committee of professors and academic professionals, normally held in high regard, have blatantly betrayed the trust of the public and quite possibly smeared the reputations of all colleges and universities nationwide.  By soliciting “paid activists” to create research papers that are intentionally designed to silence opposing viewpoints, they have undermined the political system and manipulated the governmental policy making process.  And in the meantime, they’ve also implicated all of academia in the manufacturing of their propaganda.

It is an abuse of their power, and an abuse of the institutions they represent.  It is appalling and repellent.  Perhaps even against their employers’ rules or the industry’s ethical code. Consider it an ominous warning — this will have a dire impact on our political and economic system in the future, if we remain apathetic in the face of such a rhetorical and intellectual assault.

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In fact, both the rhetoric and the intentions demonstrated in Peter Dreier’s email are a classic example of much of what is wrong with today’s educational institutions: hypocrisy, bias, recklessness, and a blatant disregard for differing beliefs and viewpoints.

As Americans, we place an enormous amount of pride in the quality of our nation’s system of higher education.  In our country, colleges and universities have long been the bastions of research, the sources to which we turn for information that is expertly developed; for data that is honestly mined, analyzed, reviewed and responsibly published by noted researchers so that individuals, business people and policy makers can make well-informed decisions.

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