Among the issues most commonly discussed are individuality, the rights of the individual, the limits of legitimate government, morality, history, economics, government policy, science, business, education, health care, energy, and man-made global warming evaluations. My posts are aimed at thinking, intelligent individuals, whose comments are very welcome.

"No matter how vast your knowledge or how modest, it is your own mind that has to acquire it." Ayn Rand

07 June 2014

Our Mind-Closing Universities and Conformity

A short post by William Murchison entitled When Higher Ed Shuts the Door on Taxpayer's Right to Know discusses the increasing trend to secrecy on the part of university boards and presidential selection committees.  Murchison says:
The Columbia Journalism Review scores the “increasingly closed-door culture” of university boards, such as Kent State University’s, which not only conducted a secret presidential search recently but “admitted to shredding documents to cover their tracks.”  How about the boards of Wayne State University and the University of Michigan, which not only kept their searches secret but suppressed the names of the finalists until both were hired. Then they told the world!
One can see that given the state of commitment to Progressive Elitism and to political correctness on college campuses that it must be very nearly impossible to conduct the managerial affairs of a public college in the open.  If the board and selection committees maintain political correctness and promote Progressive Elitism as they are expected to by student activists and most faculty members, many taxpayers will be appalled to see what is going on.  If the board and other college controlling committees do not do as expected by student activists and faculty, they are also in very hot water.  Nay, boiling water surrounded by drooling cannibals on most campuses.  Given the culture of the college campus today, such public institutions of Progressive Elitist indoctrination are in a dilemma in all but the most socialistic of states.

Private universities generally only need to satisfy their alumni, students, and faculty, despite raking in huge sums of research grants from the taxpayers.  This is a less tough nut to crack, especially in the Ivy League and equivalent schools, where the alumni have long been very successfully indoctrinated in the Progressive Elitist viewpoint.  These Ivy League schools are very assured that virtually all of their graduates are fully committed to Progressive Elitism, partly because they select for that in their admissions and partly because the on-campus commitment to this indoctrination has long been so thorough.

So how did I escape becoming a Progressive Elitist at Brown University?  By never tiring of pitched debates with up to a dozen Progressive Elitists at a time.  By never being intimated, because I was able to shake the very foundations of their belief, at least for a few hours.  After which they would return as though the discussion never occurred, but with no better ideas than those ideas that had failed so miserably but hours earlier.  Progressive Elitism is definitely a religion for almost all such persons and they refuse to allow that religion to be evaluated and assessed by reason.  But being fully committed to reason, I at least was not susceptible to their religious conformity.

Just as most people in many communities become captured by their desire to belong to a particular dominant religion, whether Christian, Hindi, Islam, or Buddhism, so too do most people in a community dominated by the Progressive Elitist religion just have to be Progressive Elitists so they will belong.  So while people are complex and highly differentiated individuals, most still have a great desire to conform so they will be accepted into a community of people.  If this means denying reality, including their own natures, well then reality will generally be denied.  The human suffering that results knows few bounds, which is why our culture has become more and more cheerless and more and more nihilistic.

Only a community committed to reality, reason, productivity, and individuality can achieve man's greatest needs of security, freely given and valued friendships, real cooperation in mutual endeavors and relationships, the freedom to pursue our highly differentiated values generally according to our individual natures, and hence the freedom to pursue our own happiness.  Such a community is rich in its choices and possibilities.

Unfortunately, those people with already low self-esteem are fearful of that very richness of choices and possibilities.  The less free a society becomes, the larger the number of people with such low self-esteem and the more fearful the society becomes of individuality, choices, and possibilities.  Universities, far from opening young people's eyes to the joy of pursuing life in such a rich, reality-driven society, have long been indoctrinating them to choose a conforming, low-choice, hierarchically managed society that denies them their very individuality.

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