“Marxism, Anarchism, and the Black Radical Tradition,” “Witchcraft and the Cultural Imagination,” “Trans-bodies in Horror Cinema,” “The Problem of Whiteness,” and “Transnational Queer Politics and Practices” are not course titles invented by The Babylon Bee to mock the state of America’s universities. Rather, they are real classes I came across this year while scrolling through the course listings for the University of Chicago’s winter quarter.
As a senior, I had flexibility in my schedule to take a class simply for the joy of learning, irrespective of whether it fulfilled a graduation requirement. This should have been an enjoyable experience. Instead, the process left me fearful of the close-minded young people being inculcated by my school and so many other academic institutions.
As a politically conservative student, I am accustomed to being in the classroom minority. To be clear, I was not looking for a course that would reinforce my conservative beliefs (even if I was, “conservative” classes simply do not exist). All I wanted was to take a class that was not explicitly partisan by its very title or course description.
I desired to be in a class where I would actually learn, with the help of a fair and open-minded professor who is intellectually confident enough to include multiple perspectives in his assigned readings. Unfortunately, it was incredibly easy to find swaths of leftist courses but quite difficult to come across classes aimed at genuine intellectual exploration.
There is a reason explicitly leftist courses like “The Problem of Whiteness” are prevalent, but it is impossible to take “conservative” classes and hard to even find open-minded ones. In recent years, conservative or middle-of-the-road professors have been weeded out or forced into self-censorship by a rigid, punitive academic culture. If a professor does not agree with the majority of his colleagues or dares to depart from left-wing orthodoxy, he is threatened and punished by fellow educators and students (even in the STEM fields).
While it is demoralizing for conservative students to never have our views and ideas discussed, much less validated, we at least have the advantage of constantly being intellectually challenged. Sadly, I cannot say the same for my leftist peers, who can fill their entire course schedule with classes that reaffirm their preconceived worldviews.
Graduating after being virtually unchallenged for four years is not only a disservice to students; it’s dangerous for our country. A 2017 study by P. J. Henry and Jaime Napier showed that “education is related to greater ideological prejudice,” finding that the higher one’s education level, the stronger his political intolerance. This is the obvious byproduct of leftist thought saturating the academy—more time spent there necessarily fosters a one-sided sense of intellectual superiority.
A more recent 2021 study done by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education found that 66 percent of students said they supported shouting down speakers. Shockingly, 23 percent of student respondents support using violence to stop a speaker. Both numbers have spiked since 2020.
By indoctrinating and coddling young people, American universities are breeding intolerance. We are already seeing the effects of this indoctrination. Young leftists have disavowed our founding documents and fathers, and they censor, fire, harass, and publicly slander anyone who dares think differently from them.
Consider that our federal bureaucracies, the chambers of Congress, and the boardrooms of America’s most powerful corporations have only received the first wave of woke young people. Subsequent waves will be even more intolerant. Thanks to their immersion in the left-wing academic monoculture, the next generation will undoubtedly cement the downfall of the American mind and limit frighteningly more liberty in their wake.
*The views expressed in this article solely represent the views of the author, not the views of the Chicago Thinker.
The devil is hard at work pulling young people away from God with the help of Soros and his billions that have been infiltrating our education system for years. I am glad to see there are young people like you that see this and have the courage to speak out about it. I pray your efforts can work towards changing this course. I know your parents are proud of you. So am I .
Conservative classes don’t exist? Can’t you just take one of RFB’s classes? Obviously you can’t take a class with Dorian Abbott, since he just makes his TA’s do all the teaching work for him, but still. Plus, I’m pretty sure that class is Global Warming, which you’d probably classify as leftist. At any rate, there’s no need to complain about the lack of safe spaces for conservatives. That’s what your job at the Federalist is for.
Nobody should be forced a vaccine just to get an education. The science doesn’t matter to them, money does. Thank you for the article. So many of us are with you! Stand your ground. No booster. Period.
First of all, you already published the exact same article before. Remember when your best friend ever wrote this less than a year ago? https://thechicagothinker.com/uchicagos-spring-courses-champion-campus-orthodoxy/
Second, yes, a student could theoretically take only “leftist” classes, but in practice when it comes to the core and major requirements that’s just not practical unless a student comes in intending to do so from the start.
Third, contrary to what you say, there are in fact classes that explore and sometimes affirm conservative views. There may be fewer, but they still exist. Just a few examples include:
• FNDL 20700. Aquinas: On God, Being and Evil
• RLST 22667. The Christian Right
• RLST 28005. Illicit Religion: Contesting Religious Freedom under the Law in Modern America
• LLSO 28020. American Conservatism since 1945
Lastly, most SOSC courses (which, as I’m sure you know, are a year long and required of all UChicago students) read books from all ends of the ideological spectrum. When I took Power, we did indeed read (for example) Marx and Du Bois, but we also read Smith’s The Wealth of Nations, Locke’s Two Treatises, and Burke’s Reflections, all texts that are extremely influential in modern conservatism (that is, the intellectual sort, not the “conservatism” of this publication). Given that every single student has to pick a SOSC, and closely read the syllabi and course descriptions of each of them, I can’t imagine how anyone who has gone to UChicago can be ignorant of this. Unless, of course, you’ve isolated yourself so far in your own ideological bubble (been “coddled,” as you would say) that you took Mind or SSI to avoid reading Marx, and think your life’s work is to ignore everything that isn’t from “the good guys” at Fox and The Federalist.
I don’t expect you to respond—I’ve never seen you honestly engage with people you disagree with, in the comments here or elsewhere—but for anyone reading this who thinks of themselves as not coddled, consider not becoming a caricature of conservatism by uncritically taking in everything Evita says. Know that the image she paints of UChicago students as a bunch of coddled leftists is so far from reality that one wonders how coddled the author (who goes to UChicago and really should know better, assuming she actually engages with the community) must be to truly believe in it.
ironic that you’re complaining about “conservative or middle-of-the-road professors [being] weeded out or forced into self-censorship” when turning point USA, an organization that several of your writers have joined, literally publishes a “professor watchlist” that shames professors for being on the left, which very often leads to threats and harassment. pick one: are you persecuted and being canceled, or are you the ones doing the canceling?
Good for you. Stay awake. As a right-leaning professor in another midwestern university (and therefore entirely in the closet until I get tenure), I can confirm that everything you say here is true. Not only that, but those of us with traditional models of our field absolutely cannot teach in the fullness of our disciplines, because most of that would contradict the woke warrior creed (whatever that happens to be on a given day). Ultimately, we need new conservative professors entering the ranks (even if they have to sneak in), and we need strong external pressure (funding, pressuring of trustees who are often conservative or moderate but detached from the reality on the ground), and a reform of the system. Universities should not be seminaries for progressive formation.
Conservative UChicago students, RISE!!
RISE up against alt-Left tyranny!
Rise up against unconstitutional jab and mask mandates!
Rise up against anti-white, anti-American dogma being pushed by Marxist professors!
As you get older you learn one clear advantage of always telling the truth. You don’t need to depend on memory to maintain a complex lie. One advantage of communicating and relying on simple principles and abdicating to the truth is you do not need a Potemkin village, censorship, intimidation or self-delusion to maintain it. While the Left must constantly hone those tools of censorship and illusion, and constantly maintain their narrative the person who is open to truth and free discussion has an easy mind.
Why does the Left feel the need to work so hard to maintain illusion, censor, intimidate, despite calling themselves Antifascist, become the actual Fascists? Because clearly they are irrationally attached to a Faith. And that Faith, Marxism, is based on easily deflated presumption of jealousy, greed, and hatred. Humor is probably your best weapon to slay that Dragon.