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Coulter: Academic viewpoint monopoly crushes diversity

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It requires willful ignorance to miss the fact that too many colleges and universities are little more than left-wing ideological echo chambers, having long ago ceased pretending to be politically centrist sources of knowledge.

Since the latter half of the 20th century, the closet Jacobins in academia have passed the years sowing socialist mind rot into every discipline outside of the STEM fields.

Now, after decades of neo-Marxists busily gnawing at the foundations of Western civilization, even the hard mathematics and sciences have been infiltrated by the “woke” shamans who preach the catechisms of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). These are Orwellian buzzwords intended to supplant viewpoint diversity, equality of opportunity, and genuine inclusion — excluding straight, white, Christian males who don’t profess the leftist doctrine they are expected to swallow unquestioningly.

So, it was curious to find Richard Cherwitz’s mournful missive here earlier this month (May 9) condemning the UT Austin Board of Regents’ decision to establish a college dedicated to countering DEI, critical race theory, and intersectionality — a move he called “reprehensible.”

His claim was that establishing The Civitas Institute would “threaten the mission of these institutions to discover and transmit knowledge.” Yet, in his next paragraph, he complained about the mere idea of viewpoint diversity on campuses by asserting that to add a dissident voice within the discordant choir of myriad like-minded others would “eliminate programs designed to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion — to take actions that are political rather than educational, hence aligning these higher education institutions with conservative values and a conservative agenda.”

The professor spent more than four decades in education. Could he not see the forest for the trees? Did he not notice that American colleges and universities have been wellsprings of leftist orthodoxy for decades?

Newsweek reports that registered Democrats vastly outnumber Republicans with tenure among college faculties nationwide. A 2018 survey published by The New York Times found just 6% of university administrators classify themselves as conservatives, compared with 71% who identify as liberal.

What unspeakable horrors does the Civitas Institute present, anyway? Its homepage reads, “Our programs facilitate inquiry into the foundational principles of a free and enduring society: individual rights and civic virtue, constitutionalism and the rule of law, and free enterprise and markets.”

These are the bedrock principles the hard left has hated and worked to destroy for so long.

Elsewhere, the professor complained that the Civitas Institute was established out of political motivation by conservative donors and some state lawmakers.

Does he believe universities don’t receive funding from progressive donors? Has the longstanding incestuous relationship between universities and Democratic policymakers escaped his notice? Keeping politics out of academia is a noble aim, but since higher education hasn’t seen fit to correct the steep portside listing of its vessel, Republican donors and policymakers aren’t meekly asking permission to counterbalance the vessel from the starboard side.

The Texas Tribune reports that UT Austin’s Board of Regents Chairman and former Republican State Sen. Kevin Eltife said that the move to establish the Civitas Institute was inspired by concerns that certain unspecified DEI efforts in the system had “strayed from the original intent to now imposing requirements and actions that, rightfully so, has raised the concerns of our policymakers around those efforts on campuses across our entire state.”

It’s a valid concern. Any championing of DEI, critical race theory or intersectionality suggests complicity in supporting the appalling status quo in higher education. Ever since the left’s institutional capture of the universities, leftist administrators and professors have created an atmosphere hostile to academic inquiry and truth-seeking, all of it to the detriment of students and the nation.

Anyone doubting the damage can ask a few college students to find Ukraine on a map, who wrote “Moby Dick,” the sum of 9+9+9, the past tense of “go,” to explain the concept of federalism, and which side won the Revolutionary War. They’ll likely wear the same expression a dog makes when offered a grape: utter confusion.

But they’re confident that white America, capitalism and Christianity are evil.

I wish the Civitas Institute success, and may it be replicated far and wide.

— Brian Coulter is a Longview resident.