Is college worth it? - Ideological idiocy at such citadels as HYP

Ross Mackenzie
Posted: Mar 23, 2006 12:05 AM

Any time you get comfortable with the notion that liberalism no longer controls the nation's key realms of opinion-molding, you might stir yourself for a long walk outside in oxygen-filled air.

Hollywood takes itself so seriously that with its major movies up for the latest Oscars, it demonstrated it has moved from entertainment to message. (And here's a question: Who was the last woman in Hollywood forthright in her deviation from the place's leftist norms?)

The mainline religious denominations (aka the religious left) - faced with perhaps the most significant Great Awakening of evangelism and Pentecostalism the nation ever has seen - persist in driving themselves onto the shoals of irrelevance.

Who dares deny the role of a perceived leftism in the viewership and circulation difficulties confronting network news and most major dailies?

And let us not forget those bastions of immoderation, the nation's leading colleges. Three examples - from Harvard, Princeton and Yale:

At Harvard, Mesdames Defarges of politically correct virtue on the arts and sciences faculty tended to their knitting and won the head of the school's president, Lawrence Summers. Among his several alleged sins? At convocation ceremonies he congratulated Harvard ROTC students. Alan Dershowitz, dissenting from his colleagues' drive to get Summers, terms his ouster "an academic coup d'etat" by "the die-hard left." And all this in the face of a Harvard Crimson poll showing Harvard students - by a 3-1 margin - wanted Summers to stay.

Princeton has a federal suit on its hands regarding whether its Woodrow Wilson School has abided by the terms of a 1961 grant of $35 million (now grown to a value of $650 million) from the Robertson family - heirs of the A&P grocery fortune. William Robertson, the son of the original donors, laments Princeton's infidelity to his parents' stipulated intentions that the money be spent schooling Princetonians for government service in foreign affairs: "We have been mugged, and we want justice."

(Robertson v. Princeton recalls the offer by the Bass family a decade or so back to give money to Yale for a curriculum in Western Civilization. A son first gave $20 million, and the father and his class later offered to raise that number by a factor of 10, but Yale said no.)

Yet Yale is perhaps the most egregious of the HYPs in its adamant hostility to right reason. Two items:

(1) Its law school, which long has hung out over there on the left-most edge, led the way in the battle (recently lost 8-0 in the Supreme Court) to keep Yale's campus unsullied by military recruiters.

(2) Its undergraduate school, Yale College, now boasts as a student one Rahmatullah Hashemi - a spokesman for Afghanistan's former Taliban regime. Please keep in mind these conflicting data: Yale fought allowing military recruiters on campus because of the military's unequal treatment of women and - particularly - homosexuals (don't ask, don't tell). The Islamist Taliban treated women as slaves and extracted their fingernails; it dealt with homosexuals by exploding their brains against walls.

Says the student: "In some ways I'm the luckiest person in the world. I could have ended up at Guantanamo Bay. Instead I ended up at Yale."

At high-end private colleges, key campus administrators are paid vastly more than anyone deserves. Curriculums skew against the West. Faculty liken George Bush administration officials to Nazis; presidents are fired for daring to disagree. Admissions counselors romance Taliban proselytizers possessing fourth-grade educations. Law-school clinics imbue detestation of the U.S. military.

And tuition, room and board approach $50,000 per year; current trend lines will take them past $100,000 by 2019. And bursar's offices blandly accept mortgages on the homestead to finance Melissa's or Michael's four years at Overshoe U. For what?

Says the Center for Public Policy and Higher Education's Patrick Callan: "There's a belief that high cost equals quality. . . . Underlying all this is that more kids are graduating from high school every year, most of them want to go to college and so it's a seller's market. Universities raise tuition because they can." Because they can: Even schools like Harvard (endowment $25 billion), Yale ($13 billion), and Princeton ($11 billion).

Forgive the parent less lucky than student Hashemi, who concludes he won't cough up the scratch for his children to go off to college to be re-educated in alcohol and sexual libertinism in an intellectual environment, such as HYP's, so hostile to the central ideas of the noble, the good and the true.