In keeping with the last post, a report from the field. Anecdotes Ahead!
A friend was relating his granddaughter’s first experiences attending a large university:
– in a large lecture class of about 400 students, the professor starts by asking for a ‘click’ (modern equivalent of a show of hands – instant polling goes feral) by each student who is Christian, then Muslim, then Hindu, with the results showing on a screen. He then announces that he will disabuse those students of their delusions over the course of the lecture series.
– A female professor deploys the F-bomb 9 times in the first minute of class.
Thus, the two key prongs of the progressive education program: teach kids to hold their culture in contempt, and make being an uncivilized bore appear cool and cutting edge.
Note in the first case the, what shall we call it? Power dynamic? between the professor, insulated by his position from any criticism of, let alone retaliation for, his manifest anti-intellectual bigotry, and the students, young, insecure, probably away from family and friends, and *desperate* to fit in. All they have to do is kiss this dude’s hind quarters in the appropriate manner at the appropriate times, and they get provisional membership in the cool kid’s club. They get to feel like they belong, while their better continue to sneer at them.
There’s no way, within the lecture format, for any material disagreement, and the 12 years of education that lead up to this moment have certainly not prepared the students to disagree – rather, it has prepared them for going along, and in any event left them unarmed in any intellectual battle. There’s not only not any opportunity for disputing assertions – all successful cults know to always and continually defer any questions that might lead to open rejection – there’s is nobody there to dispute them.
And THIS – this charade and act of fraud – is what we call higher education.
In the second case, the professor is going way out of her way to destroy any expectations of civility and respect in the classroom. The reasonable civilized expectation is that adults do not swear in each others presence if such swearing may be offensive to anyone in the group – civilized adults simply refrain from swearing in any group where they don’t know everybody well enough to know how swearing will go over. Really civilized people just don’t use profanity except very rarely.
But the first order of business is to desensitize these tender young things to any mere conventions – and what is civilization but a set of arbitrary conventions? – so that the serious deprogramming can take place.
The climactic scenes in C S Lewis’ That Hideous Strength, where Studdock is told to desecrate his culture’s sacred symbols, show just such a process. It’s no coincidence that the perpetrators are college professors.