Announcing the winner of June 2008 Phyllis Schlafly award June 17, 2008Posted by Evil Bender in News and politics, Phyllis Schlafly Wouldn't Pass Freshman Comp Awa.
The Phyllis Schlafly Wouldn’t Pass My Composition Class Awardfor complete ineptness in argument goes to Edward Bernard Glick, for his essay entitled “How Our Marxist Faculties Got This Way.” In it, Glick displays all the hallmarks of the Schlafy Award: logical fallacies, lack of evidence, lack of proper attribution, and (to seal the award) a burning desire to pin all of societies ills on the academy.* He writes,
It’s August 1968. Anti-Vietnam War demonstrators have just wrecked the Democratic national convention in Chicago and ruined Hubert Humphrey’s chances to become President. So what did these Marxist demonstrators and their cohorts elsewhere do next?
We’re only a single paragraph in, and while I give credit to Glick for capturing his readers’ attention, he also manages to conflate the entirety of the anti-war protest movement with Marxism on no basis but his say-so. This sort of massive over-generalization is not a good sign for well-reasoned argument, but is a hallmark of the Schlafly Award.
They stayed in college. They sought out the easiest professors and the easiest courses. And they stayed in the top half of their class. This effectively deferred them from the military draft, a draft that discriminated against young men who didn’t have the brains or the money to go to college. That draft also sparked the wave of grade inflation that still swamps our colleges. Vietnam-era faculty members lowered standards in order to help the “Hell No, We Won’t Go” crowd.
In the 1970s, President Richard Nixon ended the war and Congress ended military conscription. So the Marxist anti-war activists — activism is now a full-time profession — had to do something else. Most of them went to work in the real world. But a meaningful number remained in school and opted for academia, especially the humanities and the social sciences. If they got a Ph.D., they might even become university teachers, and many of them did. They then climbed academia’s ladder, rising from instructor to assistant professor, from assistant professor to associate professor, and from associate professor to full professor. These last two ranks usually carry tenure, which means a guaranteed job until one decides to retire or is fired for raping little children in the streets.
Forty years have passed since the 1968 Democratic national convention. During that time, American academia has been transformed into the most postmodernist, know-nothing, anti-American, anti-military, anti-capitalist, Marxist institution in our society. It is now a bastion of situational ethics and moral relativity and teaches that there are no evil people, only misunderstood and oppressed people. American academia is now a very intolerant place, As Ann Coulter, who has been driven off more than one campus podium because of her conservative views, has put it, “There is free speech for thee, but not for me.”
When the Soviet Union collapsed, Marxism collapsed in Russia and in Eastern Europe. But it survived in U.S. universities, where politically-correct feelings are now more important than knowledge, and where politically-correct emotions are now more important than logic and critical thinking. Our students and graduates are well trained, but badly educated. Outside of what they must learn to make a living, they don’t know very much. But they have been taught to feel sad, angry or guilty about their country and its past.
In the main, our students and graduates, no matter where they went to school, don’t understand that China, in return for Sudanese oil, is supplying the weapons used to commit genocide in Darfur. But they feel bad about the Drfurians. They don’t now that the Palestinians have rejected every opportunity to have a state of their own. But they feel sorry for them and they blame the Israelis for their plight. They aren’t familiar with the Koranic verse “the Infidel is your inveterate enemy.” But they keep searching for the “root causes” of Muslim hatred and many of them believe that terrorism is the result of what the United States and Israel, obviously the two worst countries on this planet, do or do not do.
Deficient in history, geography, and economics, our college-trained citizens cannot fathom that the main reasons for high gasoline prices are the speculation in oil futures and the continuing industrialization of Japan, China, India, Brazil, South Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, and other countries. Instead, they blame the “greedy” U.S. oil companies, whose “obscene” profit margins are not as high as many other industries. Nor do they understand that their simultaneous and illogical opposition to nuclear power, coal, liquified petroleum gas, on-shore and off-shore oil drilling, and new refineries guarantees that we will have energy shortages and high energy prices.
Their professors don’t make the big bucks in America. What their professors do earn, however, are huge psychological incomes in the form of power — the power to shape the minds of their students and the power to influence their colleagues who want raises, sabbaticals. grants, promotions, and tenure. One of the best ways to influence students, colleagues, and the citizenry at large is to hire, promote, and tenure only those people who agree with you. Duke University is a case in point. Some time ago, its psychology chairman was asked in a radio interview if his department hired Republicans. He answered: “No. We don’t knowingly hire them because they are stupid and we are not.”
If I were a psychologist, Duke would never hire me, for I am a Republican, and a Jewish one at that. Moreover, when I was an active academic during and after the Vietnam War, I audaciously taught politically-incorrect courses: civil-military relations and the politics of national defense.
Neither is it clear why this bit of self promotion (with the aknowledgment that he did somehow manage to have a career in the academy after the Vietnam War despite it being taken over by “Marxists.”
What is clear is that Glick’s essay fails to attain even basic standards of attribution, evidence, and reason, and that it relies on unsupported assumptions, claims without evidence, and personal attacks on those he disagrees with. So for his complete failure to make a reasoned argument, I present Edward Bernard Glick the Phyllis Schlafly award.
[Reminder: The Phyllis Schlafly award is always accepting nominations: notesfromevilbender [at] gmail [dot] com. Sometimes I even get nominated myself!]
*Glick himself is a member of academe, but just as when members of the “liberal media” decry it, it is standard operating procedure for right-wing academics to blast the institutions which have long employed them.