Part I, The Problem
How is the university, specifically the humanities and social sciences, with its rampant anti-Americanism, anti-intellectualism, muddle-brained identity politics, hostility to the unvarnished truth and all the rest to be re-conquered and restored to sanity? As one who has spent four decades in the belly of the beast, half of which was resisting this pernicious stupidity, let me offer some observations and suggestions. They are especially directed to non-academics who badly want to help, willingly put their money where their mouth is, but, alas, are clueless. To cut to the chase, universities are the faculty, and without bringing in fresh blood or helping sympathizers already there, all else is ephemeral. To paraphrase the familiar real estate adage, its people, people, people. Warning: some readers sharing my views may find my remarks a bit upsetting.
Reform currently has three main elements, two of which thrive but, unfortunately, are unlikely to succeed; a third might be victorious but remains largely untried. I’ll call them (1) guerilla warfare; (2) monastery construction; and (3) CIA-style covert funding.
Guerilla warfare is waged by groups outside the university. Some like FIRE and Center for Individual Rights combat legal abuses and rescue victims of egregious PC. Others like David Horowitz’s Front Page, Campus Watch and Minding the Campus are of the sunlight-is-the-best-disinfectant school: expose the rascals in the hope that the chastised will repent. These hit-and-run tactics are absolutely vital, can be great though depressing fun, but will not restore reason since they leave faculty composition untouched, and without refurbishment, the abuses will grow only slightly less obvious. Nefarious deans will just become more media savvy and advise the local Ward Churchills not to put it in writing lest the dreaded Horowitz-the-Horrible (not to be confused with Leo-the-Impaler) discover it. And, sadly, many miscreants are often immune to the disinfectant, and not even being linked to Islamic terrorism embarrasses them.
The monastery approach creates campus sanctuaries promoting solid, traditional education, e.g., Princeton’s Madison Center. This is what the Veritas Center is all about. Hopefully, a few hundred students a year now escape mumbo-jumbo PC and learn that Western Civilization had a virtue or two. As an “alternative university” (to use the left’s 60s vocabulary) it is a wonderful (though frightfully expensive) enterprise but, here too, it will not alter faculty composition. These Centers cannot hire new faculty or award tenure to assistant professors. Today’s PC universities would never allow such back-door conversion regardless of financial enticements. Radical faculty would be outraged at not having a finger in the pie and, rest assured, if they were consulted, the Monastery would be forcefully diversified and made multicultural. At most, university administrators will graciously permit wealthy benefactors “the opportunity” to donate a few million for an endowed chair for an already distinguished conservative tenured faculty member, so nothing new intellectually is added. At the margins newly created sanctuaries permit a few tenured professors to burnish resumes or gain some release time. But, at day’s end, the PC fortress barely notices and if things got tough financially, radicals would shamelessly just confiscate everything. Sanctuaries may help survive the Dark Ages but they will not restore the Enlightenment.