The following are some of the basic postulates about America, religion, society, morality, the arts and Israel that are taught at almost every American university.
• The United States is no better than any other country, and in some important ways it is worse than many.
• On the world stage, America is an imperialist country, and domestically it mistreats its minorities and largely neglects its poor.
• “American exceptionalism” and overt displays of patriotism are examples of American chauvinism.
• America is a racist country. You white students are racist — and you either acknowledge this or you are in denial.
• Non-whites, however, cannot be racist — because whites have power and the powerless cannot be racist.
• The South votes Republican because it remains racist, and the Republican Party caters to that racism.
• Women are victims — of men. Blacks are victims — of whites. Latinos are victims — of Anglos. Muslims are victims — of Christians. Gays are victims — of straights.
• The American Founders were sexist, racist slaveholders whose primary concern was preserving their power and wealth.
• The original meaning and intent of the Constitution are either unknowable or irrelevant to today.
• The Electoral College should be abolished in order to transform America from a republic to a democracy.
• America’s dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima was racist and a war crime.
• God is at best a nonissue, and at worst a foolish and dangerous belief.
• Only people who reject science believe that the universe was designed.
• Religion has killed more people than any other idea, group or movement in human history.
• Christianity, in particular, has been a malevolent force, its history consisting largely of inquisitions, crusades, oppression and anti-intellectualism. Islam, on the other hand, is a religion of peace.
• Criticism of Christianity is therefore enlightened. Criticism of Islam, however, is a form of bigotry known on campus as Islamophobia.
• The good done by Christians in forming the Western world is not attributable to Christianity.
• Evil committed by Christians is due to Christianity. Evil committed by Muslims is not due to Islam.
Society and Morality:
• The reason for Third World poverty is that Western nations exploited Third World nations through colonialism and imperialism.
• The great moral conflicts are between the rich and the poor and between the powerful and the powerless, not between the good and the evil (that is dismissed as Manichaeism).
• The state is the most effective vehicle to creating a humane society. Therefore the larger the state, the more good it will do.
• Big corporations are bad. Big unions are good.
• Capitalism is rooted in selfishness and is structured to benefit the wealthy.
• Health care for profit is morally wrong.
• War is ignoble. Pacifism is noble.
• Human beings are animals, differing from “other animals” only in having more developed brains.
• Sexual orientation is biologically determined. Gender is not.
• Therefore, men and women, including mothers and fathers, are essentially interchangeable. The notions that married mothers and fathers are the parental ideal and that mothers and fathers bring unique things to a child are heterosexist and homophobic.
• The greatest vehicle for women’s happiness is career satisfaction, not marrying and making a family.
• The primary causes of criminal violence are poverty and racism.
• Man-made carbon emissions are dramatically heating up the planet, and this will lead to global catastrophe.
Arts and Literature:
• There is no actual meaning to a text. Texts mean what the reader perceives them to mean.
• There is no better and worse in literature and the arts. The reason universities traditionally taught Shakespeare, Michelangelo and Bach — rather than, let us say, Guatemalan poets, Sri Lankan musicians and Native American storytellers — was not that they were the best but because of Western “Eurocentrism.”
• Israel’s settlements on the West Bank are the primary cause of the Middle East conflict.
• Israel is an apartheid state, morally little different from apartheid South Africa.
Many readers agree and many will disagree with all or virtually all of these propositions. But these are the propositions that almost every university teaches students (outside the departments of business, math and the natural sciences).
Reporting on one study of college faculty, the Washington Post’s media reporter Howard Kurtz (himself a liberal), wrote: “At the most elite schools. ... 87 percent of faculty are liberal and 13 percent are conservative.” Kurtz went on to note that 84 percent of instructors were pro-choice, 88 percent of professors want more environmental protection “even if it raises prices or costs jobs” and “65 percent want the government to ensure full employment, a stance to the left of the Democratic Party.”
“The most left-leaning departments are English literature, philosophy, political science and religious studies, where at least 80 percent of the faculty say they are liberal and no more than 5 percent call themselves conservative.”
As Chris Mooney, a left-wing writer, wrote in the HuffingtonPost: “Higher education is a liberal and secular force in our society.”
If you are a parent who agrees with these postulates, you are likely to deem college worth $100,000 or more. You feel good knowing that the university is reinforcing your values and convictions in your child during the course of the four most impressionable years of his or her life.
On the other hand, if you are a parent who does not hold these positions, you are not merely wasting an enormous sum of money; you are paying an enormous sum of money to have a college inculcate views and values that are counter to your most precious values and ideals. What you can do about it will be the subject of a future column.
Dennis Prager is a nationally syndicated radio talk-show host (AM 870 in Los Angeles) and founder of PragerUniversity.com. His latest book is the New York Times best seller “Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph” (HarperCollins, 2012).