|By Dr. Peter Jones|
For many, “getting into college” was the great personal achievement that marked the beginning of a successful adult life. I remember the pride of being the “first of my family” to achieve this honor, and I studied like I had never studied before—to avoid the real possibility of being thrown out for insufficient grades. After my first year, I even gave up my passion for soccer—having made the varsity eleven as a freshman— just to give more time to my all-important studies. I vividly remember how miserable I felt each week as the clock reminded me that my mates were soaking wet in the midst of a roaring match. But graduation was my highest goal, for a college degree was worth its weight in gold. Unfortunately, in a different time, an ocean away, that golden weight now hangs around the neck of our emerging adults in exchange for an often useless degree.
The college experience has, in the main, been seized by Left-wing ideologues ensconced in institutions that charge higher and higher prices that everyone is willing to pay to see their offspring, whether intellectually inclined or not, acquire the much-coveted sheepskin. That price has purchased a cohort of sexually-liberated, convinced socialists. Vast numbers of parents pay radical professors millions of dollars to undermine their children’s faith convictions and conservative political views.
As they consider choices for their children’s education, Christian parents face enormous challenges, which must be resolved in light of what our Western world has become since the Sixties Cultural Revolution. We cannot fall back on traditional habits. The culture is more sharply divided than ever over ultimate questions of human existence: the nature of human sexuality as binary or non-binary; marriage as exclusive to heterosexuality or open to any desired combination; the status of unborn children as human beings to be preserved at all cost or fetuses to be terminated on a whim; the role of government to consolidate power or defend free enterprise; the origin of life as the result of impersonal chance or of the work of a personal Creator. We must take sides in a conflict of ultimate meaning: some form of pagan Oneism or true, God-affirming Twoism.
A Sixties Theology
Since the Sixties, politics has become unquestionably theological and everything is up for grabs. One worldview will take political power, forcing the other into cultural submission. Some states have passed bills making it a felony for credentialed counselors to help those seeking freedom from undesired homosexual tendencies and temptations. Many states force parents (without even informing them!) to expose their young children to sexual debauchery disguised as sexual education. In the British university my grandson attends, the administration is now paying students to denounce fellow students guilty of “micro-aggressions.” Here is a report from Christian Concern:
[T]his week Sheffield University announced a scheme in which students will be paid £9.34 an hour to challenge other students who commit so-called ‘micro-aggressions’. Under this insidious doctrine, the most innocuous comment can be considered offensive: examples drawn up by Sheffield include asking someone why they are frying a banana (not realizing it is a plantain). This is evidence of a deeply rooted institutional intolerance.
The stakes are so high that civil discourse has reached boiling point and political action moves toward ruthlessness. The quandary of our children’s education can only be resolved by understanding what the Cultural Revolution involved.
The Sixties sponsored a student-led rebellion against the long-held values of Christendom. Although European traditions of atheism, secularism, and Darwinism had long influenced the universities, a new openness to Eastern spirituality and to mind-altering drugs claimed to deliver even greater freedom from responsibility to the God of creation. Moreover, do-it-yourself spirituality also offered the do-it-yourself sexual freedom that students were demanding—a perfect blend of spirituality and sexuality. Christian educator Carl Zylstra states: “The western academic culture really has blown right past the secular humanist myth of neutrality and pretty much landed in downright open paganism where nature is worshiped and individual human choice is exalted as the ultimate norm.” He concludes that the choice facing parents is “a Small Christian College or a Big Pagan University.”
The Sixties was a radical revolution in both sexuality and spirituality. Though the Hippies were considered marginal by the general public, some core groups had deeply-held convictions about how to change society. Student activist Rudi Dutschke, for example, called for the “long march though the institutions.” His strategy was to prepare for revolution by infiltrating professional institutions and the academy. Herbert Marcuse (a key theorist of the neo-Marxist Frankfurt School) helped fulfill Dutschke’s tactics as he lectured in all the major American universities during the 60s and 70s. In a 1971 correspondence with Dutschke, Marcuse wrote: “Let me tell you this….I regard your notion of the ‘long march through the institutions’ as the only effective way…to teach at all levels of education how to use the mass media.” Roger Kimball, author of The Long March: How the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s Changed America (Encounter Books, 2001) showed how the Cultural Revolution of the 60s and 70s took hold in America, lodging in many hearts and minds, and affecting our innermost assumptions about what counts as the good life. Kimball believes that the counterculture transformed high culture as well as our everyday life in terms of attitudes toward self and country, sex and drugs, and manners and morality. This small group of deeply-connected 60s revolutionaries, keeping a low profile, has succeeded on a large scale by following this program.
Pete Buttigieg, a leading candidate for the Democratic nomination in the 2020 presidential election, is the son of Joseph Buttigieg, a scholar deeply-committed to the theories of Antonio Gramsci, a late nineteenth-century Marxist theorist who was the founder and leader of the Communist Party of Italy. Gramsci rejected violent overthrow of capitalist governments in favor of gradual revolution through communist infiltration of the culture and societal structures, introducing socialism through exactly the strategy his disciple Rudi Dutschke recommends: “the long march through the institutions.” Gramsci was convinced that changing ideology in the ruling elites—those in media, education, courts, and politics—was more powerful and enduring than bloody revolution. He believed that Communists should influence the culture by winning the intellectuals, training the teachers, infiltrating the press, influencing the media, and controlling the publishing houses. Mayor Pete greatly admired his father, but says little about Gramsci. In classic Gramscian undersell, Buttigieg, as a high-school student, already expressed admiration for the courage of “socialist” Bernie Sanders.
The progress of this ideology can be illustrated by one of the most well-known sixties radicals, Bill Ayers. In 1969, Ayers co-founded the Weather Underground, a self-described Communist revolutionary group that sought to overthrow “imperialistic America” by bombing buildings. He was coldly unruffled when people died in those bombings. Ayers married a fellow Weather Underground leader: Bernadine Dohrn. Of the Charles Manson murders, Dohrn stated: “Dig it! First they killed those pigs and then they put a fork in pig [Sharon] Tate’s [pregnant] belly. Wild!” Both Bill and Bernadine were committed to a program they called “smash monogamy.”
Ayers’s long march through the institutions included earning a doctorate in education at Columbia in 1987 and becoming professor of education at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he became an advocate of school reform. “I don’t regret setting bombs. I feel we didn’t do enough,” he stated, looking back on his days of extremism. Meanwhile, Bernadine taught at Northwestern University. We may never know the extent of their influence, since they followed Gramsci’s principles of secrecy. Both Ayers and Dohrn became friends with the younger Obamas, the next generation of progressives. In their own living room, they encouraged Barack to run for president. In 2012, Grove City College political science professor Paul Kengor released The Communist: Frank Marshall Davis: The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mentor. Kengor shows that the man portrayed as the happy-drunk poet “Frank” in Obama’s Dreams from My Father was a Stalinist and Communist Party member who spent his life trashing the United States and defending the Soviet dictatorships. Kengor unearthed Davis’s 600-page FBI file, which designated Davis as a security risk, and found “remarkable similarities” between the writings of Davis and the policies of president Obama. The Soviet newspaper, Pravda declared “‘that like the breaking of a great dam, the American descent into Marxism is happening with breathtaking speed, against the backdrop of a passive, hapless sheep.’ That ‘final collapse,’ said the pages of the chief party organ of the former USSR, ‘has come with the election of Barack Obama.’”
The influence goes down the generations into the future. The Ayers adopted Chesa Boudin, the son of terrorist friends Kathy Boudin and David Gilbert, Weather Underground members, still in jail for murder in their role as getaway car drivers in the Brink’s robbery of 1981 in Rockland County, New York. Boudin, known publicly as a “communist,” was recently elected as San Francisco District Attorney. He began his new law enforcement term by firing seven of the community’s most experienced prosecutors and announcing plans to liberate as many inmates as possible.
The 60s Beat Goes On
This march through the institutions has had remarkable success. At Yale the self-selecting Faculty ratio of liberals to conservatives is 28 to 1. At the University of Chicago less than one percent of the professors donate to republican candidates. Sixty-one percent of liberal arts college faculty members identify as liberal, as over against 3.9 percent as conservatives. A 2016 study, published in Econ Journal Watch, examined voter registration of faculty members in selected social science and history disciplines at forty leading American universities. The ratio of Democrats to Republicans was 11.5 to 1. Another study showed “that at Cornell the ratio of liberal to conservative faculty members was 166 to 6, at Stanford it was 151 to 17, at UCLA it was 141 to 9, and at the University of Colorado it was 116 to 5.” Of those listing UCLA School of Law as their employer 92.67% of all contributions went to Democrats and affiliated groups. Jonathan Haidt, a New York University sociologist and one of the founders of Heterodox Academy, once asked a ballroom full of 1,000 psychologists whether any were conservatives. Only three raised their hands, but even the most “conservative” academic disciplines have five Democrats for every Republican. Women professors are much more likely to be registered Democrats, at 24.8 to 1.
The American universities to which we send our kids are built on a bedrock of Sixties ideology. Rare is the college or university that still teaches Western civilization or American history. As a student in the Sixties, I heard the chant: “Hey ho, what d’ya know: Western Civ has got to go.” Back then, I didn’t realize the implications of that jingle. Now I do. In 2020, Yale will cease teaching its storied introductory survey course in art history, once touted as one of Yale College’s quintessential classes. The course will be suppressed because students complained that the content was “of an overwhelmingly white, straight, European and male cadre of artists.” The grand Western civilization created by “dead, white males,” such as Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, and Luther, is no longer considered “civilized.” As they enter the upper echelons of education, our young are conscripted into Marxist indoctrination camps that will train them to conform to an anti-Christian, socialist worldview. So much for diversity!
These same universities have entirely capitulated to the Sixties sexual revolution, adopting a “free sex” attitude that allows dormitories to facilitate the open expression of both heterosexual and homosexual activity. The stunning triumph of the sexual revolution was evident in a recent meeting of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities (ACCU). Over 150 of the 200 schools represented were openly promoting gay sex and the use of self-chosen pronouns for any sexual option. Is it any wonder that even Christian students have often largely adopted the “progressive” tendencies they’ve absorbed in their university years? Generations of students have already emerged brainwashed into secularist and socialistic thinking. Parents pay phenomenal sums of money to people they don’t even know, to destroy their children’s ideological foundation. I would argue that the highest cost of sending children to college is even more expensive than shelling out dollars. But there is plenty of that as well.
The situation is ironic. Left wing socialist institutions blithely use the market system of supply and demand. Parents, filled with optimistic visions for the future of their children—“you have to go to college”—consider a university degree to be crucial for success in their children’s lives. The recent college sports scholarship scandal shows how desperate parents can be. Institutions increase their fees, knowing that students can use loans underwritten by the taxpayer. The bright (or even not-so bright) young student is thrilled to fly off to the East Coast college. Behind the optimism, the reality is stunning. “Ten years after finishing college, one in five graduates is holding down a job that does not require a college degree.” In addition, “the four-year graduation rate for students attending public universities is 33.3 percent. If we stretch it out to six years, the graduation rate climbs to 57.6 percent.”
The rising costs are not because the education is getting better. With grade inflation, the quality of college education is doubtless worse. Much of the cost is due to salaries paid to administrators, who often outnumber the faculty and earn far more. Their job is not to educate but to assure the success of the ideological indoctrination, in issues of “social justice.” Here is one example of “administrators” at work. The recent $40 million lawsuit against Oberlin College occurred because an administrator, Vice President and Dean of Students Meredith Raimondo, helped students by distributing pamphlets and hosting rallies, falsely accusing the local Gibson’s Bakery of “long-term racism.” The jury found no evidence of racism.
If college is made “free,” there will be even less reason for college administrators, in league with government “administrators” to stop spending, since the inexhaustible funding source will be the taxpayer.
What to Do?
In the 60s and 70s Christians were convinced that they represented a “Moral Majority” or a powerful “Religious Right.” Loyalty to Christ was expressed by seizing the various expressions of culture—law, politics, entertainment, medicine, and education—where Christ would reign. Looking back, Rod Dreher later argues that it has been some time since Christianity dominated the culture (see his book, The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation, Penguin, 2017). With the rise of gay rights and the legalization of same-sex marriage, Dreher maintains that “Christians who hold to the biblical teaching about sex and marriage have the same status in culture, and increasingly in law, as racists.” Indeed, Christians are identified as “homophobes.” Switzerland, long-known for its political neutrality, has just passed a law making anti-LGBT speech illegal. Dreher is right. He writes that Christians’ “future will become increasingly grim, with lost jobs, bullying at school, and name-calling in the streets.” He contends that rather than wasting energy and resources fighting unwinnable political battles, Christians should build up their own institutions and seek to foster stronger inter-Christian relationships, against the time when cultural opposition may even reach the stage of open persecution.
If these predictions are anywhere near correct, parents should seriously consider a defensive posture of homeschooling, private elementary schools, and Christian colleges (though many of these schools are capitulating on issues of sexuality and social justice). Our churches must take up their crucial role in teaching cultural apologetics to their young people. We can no longer trust our children’s minds to progressive brain-washing. While for some a complete re-structuring of their children’s education is not feasible, daily periods of home learning 30 minutes a day, four days a week, are well worth the parental effort. Some schools, like Hillsdale College, provide online courses to set the record straight in areas like American history. Hillsdale offers a free course entitled “The Great American Story: A Land of Hope,” which seeks to balance the current ideology taught in most schools that the nation’s past has little to offer for its future.
The ultimate answer to cultural decline is, of course, a nation-wide spiritual revival, brought about by faithful courageous living and constant prayer. The present culture will inevitably implode, as all Oneist cultures do, because self-referential sexual license always undermines human life, which was designed to bring glory to God, the great and loving Other. We have the mind of Christ. Though Christians may need to lay down their lives under persecution, as many believers have already done around the world and throughout history, we know that the love of God will sustain us. Only life built on the Twoist truths of Scripture and the person of God, Creator and Redeemer, can survive, both in time and in eternity.
 Marcuse Marxism, Revolution and Utopia: Collected Papers of Herbert Marcuse, Vol. 6, (Routledge, 2014), 336. See also Horchem, Hans Josef (1973), “The Long March Through the Institutions,“(Conflict Studies, Institute for the Study of Conflict, 1973), 33.
 Paul Kengor in Dupes: How America’s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century (Wilmington: ISI Books, c. 2010), p. 478).
 Cheryl Chumley, “Chesa Boudin, San Francisco’s newest ‘communist’ D.A., fires 7 tough prosecutors,” Washington Times(January 14, 2020).
 See the article How An Unlimited Supply Of Borrowed Cash Is Destroying Higher Education, Rebecca Kathryn Jude and Chauncee M. DePree, https://thefederalist.com/
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