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Return to Tradition to Fix Higher Education

Posted on Tuesday, December 19, 2023
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by Ben Solis
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26 Comments

AMAC Exclusive – By Ben Solis

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Amid growing momentum to reform the American university system following despicable acts of anti-Semitism – merely the latest example of left-wing extremism on college campuses – lawmakers and college administrators should look to the traditional ideological foundations of higher education in the United States and throughout the West for guidance.

Following Hamas’s attack on Israel on October 7, Americans on both sides of the political aisle have rightly been horrified to see significant portions of university student bodies and even many faculty members become cheerleaders for Hamas while targeting Jewish students and faculty with intimidation, threats, and even acts of physical violence.

All of this has been carried out with the tacit approval of university administrators. In one particularly shocking incident earlier this month, the presidents from several top universities refused to affirm that calling for genocide against Jews violated their schools’ code of conduct during a congressional hearing.

University of Pennsylvania President Elizabeth Magill, who subsequently resigned under pressure, infamously told Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) that whether or not a student would be punished for calling for genocide was “a context-dependent decision.”

Dani Dayan, the head of Israel’s Holocaust Memorial Center, told Reuters that universities had become “the epicenter” of a worldwide rise in antisemitism following Hamas’s attacks.

“Western academies, stone by stone, piece by piece, article by article and book by book, a pseudo-academic theory is being developed that calls for, justifies and even advocates for the elimination of the Jewish state,” he said.

As Americans increasingly wake up to the decades-long trend of escalating left-wing extremism on college campuses and demand change, they should first seek to understand how academia was co-opted by the radical left and then work to restore institutions of higher learning to their original mission: searching for and upholding truth and wisdom.

Professor Helmut Weilheimer, who taught ethics at universities in Germany and Austria for three decades until his retirement in the early 1990s, told me that after the Berlin Wall and socialism collapsed, academia adopted neo-Marxist morals, a key component of which was hatred for Israel. It was the only country that officially celebrated God in its holidays and religion of Judaism; thus, it was an enemy of the left’s vision of “progress.”

Weilheimer further explained that the open antisemitism seen on university campuses now is merely one particularly grotesque symptom of university administrators and faculty stomping on traditional morals and asserting that all truths – like “genocide is wrong” – are subjective.

A key element of the left’s takeover of the university system was removing all references to God, and instead installing Man’s understanding of the world as supreme above all else.

Professor Weilheimer also noted that U.S. universities had abandoned the vision set forth by America’s Founding Fathers.

Many leaders of the founding generation, including George Washington and James Madison, were strong proponents of a national university that would serve as an ideological continuation of the American Revolution. Washington feared that if too many American youth studied abroad in the universities of Europe, foreign influences would creep into U.S. politics and poison the American experiment in self-government – a fear that seems to be coming true today.

James Madison argued as president in 1810 that a national university was necessary to promote patriotism, intellectual curiosity, and “social harmony.” Most importantly, he said, “it would contribute not less to strengthen the foundations than to adorn the structure of our free and happy system of government.”

Benjamin Rush, a signatory to the Declaration of Independence and the founder of Dickinson College, wrote in a letter to John Adams in 1789 that America’s higher education system must promote the country’s founding principles in order to alleviate the “effects of the political passions.” He saw the role of universities as incubators for future generations of leaders who understand American Exceptionalism and believe in the goodness of America.

Today, virtually every American university is completely divorced from the Founders’ vision for higher education. In 1998, the late eminent historian Robert Conquest described the status of American academia as “progress in advanced ignorance.”

The late professor Peter Berger, a renowned sociologist, told me in a 2005 interview that American universities had rejected the search for truth and understanding in favor of subscribing to radical ideologies.

These ideologies all purport to have found the philosopher’s stone, a “magic key” that explains all the mysteries of the universe and the human experience. But one by one, all of them ultimately fall short, as is evidenced by the fact that the left’s ideology of identity politics and intersectionality demands that we view Hamas as the victims in their war on Israel even as they were the ones who began the killing by slaughtering more than 1,000 innocent Israelis.

Lawmakers and concerned citizens eager to return universities to their proper role of educating and not indoctrinating the next generation need not look far for inspiration. America’s own Founding Fathers and centuries of Western philosophy have provided the intellectual foundations for a robust and healthy higher education system that our society today would be wise to build upon, rather than tear down.

Ben Solis is the pen name of an international affairs journalist, historian, and researcher.

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Rob citizenship
Rob citizenship
4 months ago

The philosophical guidance to deal with this issue ,setting the education system on the right course, you made clear in the last paragraph Mr. Solis. This article is of great importance – especially the way so many aspects of living in the United States of America are connected to the education system .It is always better to build something up, strengthen it, rather than tear it down or weaken it. Those of us who appreciate the spirit of the Declaration of Independence will understand that simple idea – to build upon something good is positive , it is the intelligent, responsible thing to do. Well done in writing this article Ben, in the spirit of Life, Liberty ,and the pursuit of Happiness, In the spirit of respect for truth ,courage, honor . Let the ideals of Faith, Family and Freedom be the guiding star to navigate by ,to keep this Nation on the right course.

Pat R
Pat R
4 months ago

There is at least one college whose teachings are based on the founding fathers’ vision of America — Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, Michigan. They accept NO federal or state funding whatsoever so they can do/teach what they choose, not government(s).

Patriot Will
Patriot Will
4 months ago

Whether you are a strong follower of Christ or whether you are not, Christianity is a beautiful vision of life and the significant worth of the individual. Christianity is a positive vision of the common man and his/her place in the functioning of a positive society. Christianity is a noble, enlightening religion and philosophy which encourages people to be generous, forgiving, and humble. It is a religion and philosophy that promotes individual and social mutual respect and dialog. Christianity teaches that “we are all sinners”; however, we all can work on our ability and willingness to listen and feel empathy for our fellow humans, no matter what our political ideas may be. Our left wing activist university system would become much kinder and much more rational if Christianity was once again allowed to be an integral part of a liberal arts education.

Kyle Buy you some guns,and learn how to shoot
Kyle Buy you some guns,and learn how to shoot
4 months ago

Why do universityes have such a hate build up ??? What did the Jew do to you. ??? How do you know a Jew from a Gentile. ?? And I’m not Jewesh. Kyle l.

Robert Zuccaro
Robert Zuccaro
4 months ago

Let’s be realistic: you have as much luck cleaning up universities as you do draining the Washington swamp! It’s like getting rid of fleas on a dog, bedbugs, head lice, ants in the kitchen, roaches in the pantry, and medusaheads in the lawn… We’ve got 12,600 illegals (another Biden record) this month and we can’t even get politicians to agree on combatting that. I like Trump but what us one man going to do? Nothing will change. Nothing will get solved. We have to stop kidding ourselves! All a landslide victory win with a Republican POTUS and both houses of Congress will get is a finger in the dyke to stop the flood. America is not going to have a “come to Jesus” moment anymore than it will suddenly sprout common sense! It will take a huge event to snap people out of their stupidity be it a Bigger than 911 event, a foreign invasion on our shores, or another civil war. I’m not saying give up or don’t vote: a finger in the dyke is better than nothing!

John
John
4 months ago

I naively grew up thinking that institutions of higher education were just that…houses of higher education. Turns out, they really are houses of higher indoctrination. Since we blindly let the radical left-wing socialists take over our entire education system, we have been shocked at how deeply entrenched the socialist/communist influence has become, taking over our children’s schooling and influencing the minds of young people all over the USA. I am fearful of how we can ever change their minds back to positive thoughts, pride in the USA and acceptance of conservative customs and capitalism.

anna hubert
anna hubert
4 months ago

Those are not universities bur re educational centers Based on ideology not reason

Gabe Hanzeli kent wa
Gabe Hanzeli kent wa
4 months ago

pass a law that requires all colleges to have 50% of their staff and professors be conservative and require 100% merit based acceptance with immediate removal of all accreditation for those who do not use merit as their acceptance criteria.

Donna
Donna
4 months ago

Our nation needs to return to God. All this chaos and evil is a result of anti godliness. This is a spiritual war we are in. Come soon Lord Jesus.

T Rupright
T Rupright
4 months ago

Ashkenazi jews are eastern Europeans and not Semites and they are the overwhelming majority of Israelis. So being anti-Israeli or anti-Zionist is not being anti-Semitic. Anti-White would be more accurate but since that is acceptable behavior (being anti-White), this won’t score points for the Ashkenazi.

Stephen Russell
Stephen Russell
4 months ago

To Fix Education:
Scrap teachers Unions
Compete for services, prices
Innovate
CUT costs
Expand STEM
Merge like schools
Scrap Ivy League
School choice more
Outsource services
CUT school district sizes
Reuse schools for Housing
Offer courses in:
Super Physics
Robotics
AI Basics
NanomedTech
Biotech
Organic Farming
Seasteading
EV Services
Home Med Services etc

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