Author: Robert Weissberg

Robert Weissberg is a professor emeritus of political science at The University of Illinois-Urbana.

Woke Trophy Hunting

The woke mob’s attack on academic heretics can be likened to hunting. Most hunts attract scant attention, often no more than shooting squirrels with a .22. Blocking the reappointment of a visiting instructor at Smallville Community College who mis-gendered a student is an example of this low-level hunting. But of far greater consequence is what […]

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How the Best of Intentions Created Today’s Academic Disasters

Today’s assault on intellectual excellence in the academy will eventually end. Hopefully, an investigation will then commence on its causes, and all the usual suspects will be rounded up. This tribunal will, however, likely ignore one key culprit: ordinary faculty—people like me—who complained about the assault, all while enthusiastically aiding it. Yes, some criticized the […]

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Political Insanity on Campus

Student activism has long been part of campus life. Recall the Berkeley Free Speech movement that began in 1964 over the school’s ban of on-campus political activities. The mid-1960s saw countless  demonstrations protesting the war in Vietnam, which were followed by widespread agitation over racial issues. Nevertheless, current demonstrations differ fundamentally from past activism. The […]

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Are We on the Wrong Side of Biology?

Is the battle to ensure an intellectually open campus winnable? Many would answer “yes,” but there are reasons for pessimism. To be blunt, the life of the mind, the veneration of truth over falsehood, and the pursuit of truth may not be the default option of human nature. Yes, that idyllic world may exist here […]

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Survival of the Smartest

The campus battle between proponents of intellectual merit and those of racial preferences in admissions has been a long and disappointing campaign. Nevertheless, victory now seems within reach thanks to the current Court’s likely opinion in Students for Fair Admissions Inc. v. President & Fellows of Harvard College. At long last, racial discrimination will—hopefully—end by […]

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How Diversity Promotes Racial Rancor

Why is it that the more we do to promote diversity the greater the racial acrimony? It is as if a misguided patient took a medicine that only worsened his illness. This paradox is especially visible in higher education, and one can only wonder if a robust intellectual life can survive the seemingly endless quest […]

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Bending the Knee for Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity

Since the early 1960s, universities have sought to achieve racial equality. Initiatives have ranged from offering extra tutoring for struggling minority students to making them more comfortable on campus by providing segregated housing and black-only graduation ceremonies. Unfortunately, nothing has worked. Now, after over a half century of trying everything imaginable and sparing no expense, […]

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Is Violence the Secret Sauce?

When future historians examine the Left’s capture of the academy, a key question will be “Why was it so easy?” And why so quickly, from top to bottom, even at the most prestigious schools, where, most oddly, resistance was almost non-existent? No military historian could find a parallel in which an invading army prevailed similarly […]

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Town vs. Gown: A Personal Memoir

America is awash in culture wars, but one of the least noticed yet most consequential is the hostility between the academy and business. More is involved than a gaggle of Marxist professors condemning capitalism. Academics, especially those in the social sciences and humanities, not only support the increasingly anti-business Democratic Party; their loathing is often […]

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A Gay Bar of Our Own

It is not a good time in today’s academy for those who prize truth. One false step, one off-hand remark, one “wrong” vote on the latest hare-brained DIE initiative, and it’s off to purgatory or worse. Even if found innocent of corrupting young minds by telling the truth, the very thought of facing a Kafkaesque […]

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The DIE Industry’s Iron Rice Bowl Under Attack

It may have taken decades, but thanks to an upcoming Supreme Court case, American universities may soon be legally required to end racial preferences. At least that’s what many hope. Unfortunately, even if the Supreme Court bans racial preferences, the battle will hardly end. It may even become more acrimonious. One should recall what transpired […]

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Why Campus Craziness Never Seems to End

In 1986, economist Herbert Stein proposed what is now known as Stein’s Law: “If something cannot go on forever, it will stop.” This may have been true 35 years ago, but we’d be hard-pressed to apply this law to today’s colleges and universities. The parade of crackpot ideas is unending, and one can only wonder […]

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Those Little Bard Torquemadas

A recent Wall Street Journal article told of how Bard College, my alma mater, has tasked three undergraduates, funded by the school’s Office of Inclusive Excellence, to peruse the college’s 400,000-book library and evaluate “… each book for representations of race/ethnicity, gender, religion, and ability.” According to the library’s newsletter, this evaluation was the first […]

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Professors, Think Tanks, and Chicken Flocks

In the war of ideas, the Right holds a weak hand for the simple reason that it has minimal access to America’s 20 million college students. Yes, Heritage, the Manhattan Institute, and other right-leaning organizations can publish brilliant, wonkish papers, but this reach pales in comparison to the countless airheaded, lefty professors who indoctrinate thousands […]

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Nothing is Forever … Even Woke Universities

If the proverbial Martian toured today’s American universities, he would be perplexed. On the one hand, elite institutions have never been better. Endowments are soaring, applications for admission are similarly increasing, and families willingly pay ever-higher tuition bills while the schools’ prestige is as unquestioned as always. Yet, our keen-eyed Martian would surely notice underlying […]

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Free Speech vs. Discussing Free Speech

As free speech increasingly disappears from today’s campus, the seemingly good news is that groups defending the First Amendment are multiplying. The most recent are the Alumni Free Speech Alliance and the faculty-based Academic Freedom Alliance, whose members span the political spectrum. Also of recent vintage is Heterodoxy Academy, a group of 5000+ educators committed to […]

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Free Community College Will Only Make Things Worse

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published by Intellectual Takeout on May 19, 2021 and is crossposted here with permission. Like nearly all Americans, President Joe Biden believes that a college degree is the ticket to both individual economic advancement and uplifting the poor. To put his money where his mouth is, he has proposed $256 billion in […]

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Save the Schools—Unleash the Shysters

The battle against the Diversity-Inclusion-Equity (DIE) colossus is not going especially well. Yes, we are resisting and occasionally score a victory, but our current repertory of weapons is obviously inadequate. Take heart, for there is an alternative: a tsunami of lawsuits over academic malpractice. This is not about our organizations filing suits to end racial […]

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Warning: Beware of Hate Studies

The toxic ideas that have corrupted today’s universities all began as tiny, obscure musings before escaping from the laboratories. They may have started with an unpublished paper or two, a request for modest institutional funding, or an informal discussion group. Eventually, they earn a panel at a regional disciplinary convention and an experimental course. In […]

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They Must Fear Us: A Modest Proposal

Details aside, it is hard to conclude that our side is winning the campus battle. If we were a publicly traded firm, stockholders would be furious. That unpleasant reality acknowledged, let me suggest a key but never articulated explanation for our failures: universities are not afraid of us. Machiavelli got it right: “Ideally, a prince […]

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Killing the PC Pox: A Suggestion and a Note of Pessimism

As a university professor I’ve witnessed the intellectual carnage afflicting today’s campus firsthand, including the suicide of two distinguished colleagues. And it grows worse as it spreads from the academy’s soft side to the hard sciences, even escaping the campus’ ideological wet markets to infect organized religions, professional societies (especially law and medicine), sports, and, perhaps […]

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Dr. Welfare Queen, Ph.D.

Military disasters such as Pearl Harbor often warrant official investigations. But another one is sure to come. Decades from now, an official inquiry will look into how American universities collapsed into madness during the early twenty-first century. Unfortunately, when that day finally arrives, very few of us who survived that insanity will be around to […]

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The Long March to Educational Reform

Today’s Marxist Left has captured America’s K-12 schools hire by hire, curriculum tweak by curriculum tweak, and nefarious reform by nefarious reform. Good luck enrolling Junior in a school where he is not conscripted to be an assistant commander in the war on hate, racism, and colonial oppression. The American Association of School Administrations recently […]

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The Wolves of the Academy

University faculty have been notable for “odd” views, but today’s campuses are manufacturing screwball ideas on an industrial scale. Moreover, these ideas are hardly harmless unlike say, Esperanto.  Rather, they resemble toxic pathogens that have escaped a supposedly secure lab, and now cause untold harm in society more generally. I am talking about the likes […]

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Trump’s Flawed Plan to Promote Campus Free Speech

President Trump recently announced that he would issue an executive order permitting federal research money to be withheld from universities that violated free speech. This may appear as welcome news for fans of open campus debate, but I am not optimistic. The problems here are formidable under the best of conditions but, more important, the […]

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Get Ready for the Coming War Against Merit

What if the Supreme Court rules decisively against Harvard in Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard College? Will racial preferences fade into history as has Prohibition? Or will universities employ legally safe proxies such as social class to admit less qualified minorities? Let me suggest one resistance tactic not yet on the agenda but, rest […]

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Asian students

Ending Anti-Asian Discrimination at Harvard: Plan B

It is uncertain how the current lawsuit regarding Harvard’s alleged discriminate against Asian applicants will eventually turn out, but the smart money predicts little will change. After all, this is just one of many similar previous lawsuits, and racial preferences survived them all. Nor should we ignore administrative ingenuity in circumventing court orders. At most, […]

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the poison of identity politics

Diversity Studies: Your Path to a 6-Figure Salary

Universities face a serious dilemma in their quest for diversity and inclusion. Alas, this noble intention has a cost: degrees in Black studies, Women’s Studies, Gender Studies, and similar identity group majors hardly put much bread on the table. To be blunt, the well-intentioned, socially responsible university is guilty of fraud when it tells its […]

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How to Tongue-Lash Mindless SJW’s

In today’s campus battles, the forces of political correctness enjoy an immense advantage, and to compound this edge, conservatives scarcely notices they’re losing. This is the power to silence critics, indeed remove entire topics from discussion by adroit name calling. Woe to the professors who casually acknowledges that black students rank toward the bottom in […]

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One Surefire Way to Stop Outrageous Student Demands

Why have the forces of political correctness triumphed so easily on today’s campuses? What kind of world is it when a campus can be in turmoil for a week if a white woman wearing hoop earrings is caught serving tacos at “South of the Border Night” in the school cafeteria? All to be followed by […]

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