Nearly three weeks have passed since the Hamas massacres of unarmed Israelis propelled us into a new and troubling future. With naval and air forces still being deployed around Israel, it is too early to tell if the existing regional conflict will metastasize into World War III.
Almost as nerve-wracking as the potential for Armageddon has been the sudden emergence of an overdue certainty: The vaunted American educational system has produced a generation of moral and spiritual illiterates, pampered know-nothings unable to think apart from the comforting electronic hum of online everything. But wait, those are just the professors and administrators! Hey, let me tell you about the students, those proud, SAT-sanctified denizens of Harvard, Columbia, Stanford and Penn, to cite only the most notorious examples. Men or women, mis-gendered or still deciding, those exemplars of critical thinking are unable to distinguish right from wrong, victim from oppressor, Anne Frank from her Waffen SS execution squad. As the young cretins recently tore down posters of kidnapped Israeli children, Candace Kahn made a horrific discovery while watching an obscenity-laden Instagram post: “And that’s when my heart dropped: I know her. Sarah—who I’ve since learned from the internet seems to go by the name Lucky and prefers they/them pronouns—and I went to college together at Northwestern.” https://www.thefp.com/p/my-old-friend-is-ripping-down-posters?utm_source=substack&utm_medium=email
Then there were those George Washington University students who projected anti-Israeli slogans (“Glory to our martyrs”) on the walls of the Gelman Library (seriously, folks?). https://nypost.com/2023/10/25/news/gwu-students-project-messages-in-support-of-hamas/ There was also the UC Berkeley teacher who tried to give extra credit for attending a pro-Palestine walkout. From coast-to-coast, it truly seemed as if academe had lost its marbles. .https://nypost.com/2023/10/26/news/berkeley-aide-offers-students-extra-credit-for-attending-pro-palestine-walkout/
Even England’s prestigious Cambridge University seemed oblivious to irony when it recently began “blacklisting books in a ‘sinister’ new decolonizing drive.” University librarians began asking “lecturers to flag ‘problematic’ books that might be ‘offensive or harmful.’” Fortunately, both Cambridge and Oxford Universities are run by dons, not by PC librarians questing for self-importance. Marion the Woke Librarian must have winced at the acerbic riposte by Prof David Abulafia, an eminent Cambridge historian: “Identifying books because they are seen as problematic itself has a very problematic history – witness bibliographies in the Nazi period where books by Jewish authors are marked with a star…It is absolutely not the task of librarians to sit in judgment, least of all in a university where they don’t do any of the teaching and where it is vital to promote free debate.” Any questions, Marion? https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2023/10/21/university-of-cambridge-national-library-book-blacklist/
Meanwhile, other Americans were beginning to see the outlines of a larger problem. On October 13, Marc Cowan, CEO of Appollo Global Management, wrote a scathing denunciation. “At the University of Pennsylvania, where I sit on the Wharton School’s Board of Overseers, leaders have for too long allowed this kind of anti-Jewish hate, which sanitizes Hamas’s atrocities, to infect their campuses. There must be consequences. I call on all UPenn alumni and supporters who believe we are heading in the wrong direction to close their checkbooks until President Liz Magill and Chairman Scott Bok resign.” https://www.thefp.com/p/marc-rowan-university-donors-close And just this week, billionaire investor Leon Cooperman, son of Polish-Jewish immigrants, announced on FBN's Liz Claman Countdown that he was suspending all donations to Columbia’s business school. “I think these kids at the colleges have **** for brains. (Hereafter) I’m giving my money to other organizations.” https://www.foxbusiness.com/video/6339874238112
Americans believe deeply in sending their off-spring to college, often making tough sacrifices to pay for a privilege that now seems horribly over-priced. At worst, it also appears to justify the familiar criticism that these sky-high tuition payments actually purchase little more than leftist indoctrination. Until very recently, there was no way to prove that allegation except by canceled check stubs where your tuition savings used to be. Nowadays, however, the perfidy of American academe dominates every news broadcast, university administrators finding inventive new ways to do even less. At Harvard, for example, President Gay formed a new task force for “doxxed students” on both sides of the controversy, an easy ‘solution’ when you have no idea what you’re doing. Her Dean of Students proudly gushed, “we appreciate the collaborative spirit in which students, faculty, and staff have come together to repel this repugnant assault on our community,” https://www.thecrimson.com/article/2023/10/25/doxxing-task-force/
Hogwash! But until we can figure out the best way to De-Fund the University, write your congressman about why we even need that so-called Department of Education.
Colonel (Ret.) Ken Allard is a former member of the West Point faculty, Dean of the National War College and on-air military analyst for NBC News.