Michael van der Galien

David Swindle on “Hard Indoctrination, Soft Indoctrination, and the Books that Change Us”

Posted on March 29 2010 8:13 am
Michael van der Galien was born in the Dutch city of Leeuwarden in 1984. For as long as he can remember, he has been obsessed with the United States. When he was 17 years old, he started blogging - of course about America. His articles have been published at Big Hollywood, Pajamas Media, Hot Air (the GreenRoom) and Right Across The Atlantic. He's also an editor for the Dutch conservative blog, De Dagelijkse Standaard.
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My good friend and managing editor David Swindle wrote a great and must read article for Frontpage Magazine about the indoctrination of America’s college students. If you have time to read just one article today, let it be this be it.

David writes:

There are two kinds of indoctrination students, parents, and everyone concerned with high education should consider, which I will call “hard” and “soft.”…

In cases of hard indoctrination the professor himself is a willing abuser of the academic classroom and traducer of students’ academic freedom. He sets out to indoctrinate students and to recruit them to his political cause. He takes a page from Italian Stalinist Antonio Gramsci’s playbook and sees the university as a “means of cultural production” that must be captured for the revolutionary agenda. He decides that he will utilize his classroom as a political tool. The purpose of his teaching is not to promote an academic inquiry and inculcate an intellectual curiosity and scholarly skepticism. His goal is to to fix the world by instilling a “progressive” sensibility and perspective in his captive student audience. Hard indoctrination is an entirely conscious choice. It is indoctrination by malice.

By contrast, in cases of soft indoctrination the fault is one of omission and the academic culture itself is the main instigator of the trend, the very absence of conservatives on university faculties is a dramatic symptom of the problem. Professors who practice soft indoctrination do so largely unconsciously and would never think of forcing their students to make their political views match their own. The professor’s fault is to weight his course with leftist or “liberal” texts and either fail to give adequate time to conservative views or treat them with a comparable respect as a legitimate point of view with which he may not agree. Horowitz has discussed the case of one such professor in a recent article, “How Bad is the Indoctrination in our Colleges?” This professor discussed the liberal Warren Court’s transformative decisions without adequately presenting the conservative and libertarian objections. By and large this is indoctrination by ignorance and misdirection.

Being European, I always find it fascinating to see that it’s the same everywhere in the West: here too, on the old continent, universities are the domain of leftists. Some use soft, others hard indoctrination, but indoctrinate their students they do.

David’s advice to conservative, libertarian and moderate students fed up with the way they and their classmates are indoctrinated:

if the reading list is one-sided or excludes views that dissent from the leftwing orthodoxy bring this statement to the attention of your professor and ask him to introduce intellectual diversity into his curriculum. If he refuses, take it upon yourselves to widen the range of the classroom debate.

Quite right. If you don’t like the circumstances you’re in, you’ve got to bend them to your will. Stop complaining and start acting. Defend conservative principles in the classroom, quote conservative intellectuals and start shaping the debate.

Read the whole thing here.

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