The Truth about academic jihad: the professorate

This is the first of three installments in a special report from Crusade of Truth exploring the alliance between Islam and Western academia. First, the professors that make up the fundamental substratum of academia are explored, revealing a community of fringe radicals who embrace a socialist anti-Americanism that is strangely harmonious with militant Islam. Part two of this report will cover the stunted curriculum taught in universities which overstates the effects of colonialism while minimizing the violent expansionism inherent to Islam. The final chapter of this series will explore the results of this system of putting radical Leftists in charge of teaching an anti-Western, socialist syllabus on the student body, in many case transforming pre-radicalized pupils into prosecutors of terror.

In sanctums for radical Islam like those found in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, religious schools called “madrassas” teach a violent curriculum that pits Islam against the West. This is the epicenter of hard core, fundamentalist Islam, where the ideological core of groups like Al-Qaeda and the Taliban are formed.

At a very young age, young Muslims boys receiving tuition at a madrassa will learn that America is an empire of evil, and only jihadist warfare can bring the West to its knees. In some locations, emaciated boys seated in threadbare classrooms are made to memorize passages from the Quran in a language they do not even understand. These impressionable boys depend upon strict spiritual counselors to provide hysterically turbulent translations from the only text book they will ever know.  Indeed, the 9/11 Commission Report found that these schools, numbering in the tens of thousands, “have been used as incubators for violent extremism.”

This study of hatred is expounded and explored in Islamic madrassas throughout the world, nurtured by a paranoid suspicion that the West wishes to replace religious tradition with a system of capitalist exploitation and saturnalian depravity.

However, this very same narrative is expressed in arenas uncomfortably familiar to many Americans. Throughout the corridors of Western academic institutions, a similar syllabus is taught. From elitist Ivy League schools to online community colleges, formative minds are learning that America is the Great Oppressor, extracting resources solely for material gain from obliging, harmless shepherds and peace-loving farmers from North Africa to Southeast Asia. It is a message not altogether dissimilar from the one taught in the most extremist Islamic madrassa.

Just as the Middle Eastern madrassa is used to  arouse a violent disregard for non-Muslim lives, American and European universities espouse the same repugnant principles by identifying the West as the perpetual Muslim tormentor, obsessed with subjugating people, raping them of their culture and robbing them of their dignity.

There are numerous reasons why the liberal academic establishment pursues this fiction. It complies with the socialist agenda, simultaneously fitting with and replacing class warfare as the crisis requiring an immediate remedial response via the redistribution of wealth. Furthermore, to expose neocolonialism as a Western evil exacted upon the disadvantaged is to embrace isolationism and the subsequent crippling of the American military establishment–persistent goals of the Left.

Finally, this insistence upon the colonial narrative fits neatly within the purview of identity politics and coincides with the victimization campaigns that liberals are wont to subscribe. These deceitful practices feature  prominently among contemporary Muslim apologists, including much of the mainstream media, academia, and Muslim rights groups, and accusations of “Islamophobia” are pronounced with dramatic frequency on many college campuses.

However, this twisted curriculum could not be hawked and dictated without an appropriate preacher. No ordinary Westerner could be so self-effacing and hateful as to sponsor the revisionist narrative taught by modern collegiate professors.


The Professorate

The ranks of higher education are teeming with an overabundance of political radicals. These are the intelligentsia, the social elite, so consumed by the singular issue to which they have devoted their entire lives in the pursuit of a doctoral degree that they fail to see the prudence of a common, public good.  They will see their program of study elevated at any cost, and often at the expense of commerce or universal progress..

At best, these professors are cultural Marxists, seeking an artificially invested diversity that is simply ignorant of reality and promises to leave students woefully unprepared for the workplace. At worst, America’s youth are being influenced to form ideologies that are sympathetic to militant Islam. Understanding the backgrounds and belief systems that inform the thinking of Western professors explains why students are being exposed to an unyielding, extremist philosophy in the classroom.

The most predictably dangerous of these faculty, at least when considering the young and impressionable mind, is the professor or Middle Eastern studies. In some cases, it may be difficult to distinguish the words of a firebrand Imam from a college professor of this background.

John Esposito’s literature on the subject of Islam is included in the syllabi of many courses within the department of Middle Eastern studies. As a Georgetown University professor of religion and international affairs, specializing in Islamic studies, as well as being the founding director of the Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at the Walsh School of Foreign Service, Esposito is representative of mainstream scholarly discourse on the subject of Islam. Having written over 30 books on the subject, his reputation is appreciated to the extent that the FBI, CIA, and Department of Homeland Security have all consulted with him as an expert.

academic jihad
Professor John Esposito of Georgetown University

However, an Investigative Project on Terrorism report illustrates the dangerously questionable nature of Esposito’s relationship with the supporters and financiers of international terrorism. The report’s conclusions are damning: “Esposito’s academic standing provides him an opportunity to defend radical Islam and promote its ideology – including defending terrorist organizations and those who support them, advocating for Islamist regimes, praising radical Islamists and their apologists, and downplaying the threat of Islamist violence and involvement with Muslim Brotherhood legacy groups in the U.S.”

Esposito is engaged in an ideological partnership with the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a front group for Muslim rights that is tied to international terrorism via their support for Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Muslim Brotherhood. His loyalty to the group is such that Esposito has participated in numerous fundraisers on CAIR’s behalf, as well as serving as a defense expert in the case against the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development that sought to prosecute CAIR and other militant Islamists.

Esposito perpetually defends Hamas and Hezbollah as legitimate political forces, despite the international consensus that identifies them as terrorist organizations, human rights offenders, and aggressors in the conflict with Israel.

The professor of Middle Eastern studies calls his “very close friend” Sami Al-Arian “an extraordinarily bright, articulate scholar and intellectual-activist, a man of conscience with a strong commitment to peace and social justice.” This statement came after Al-Arian was convicted of providing material goods and support to the terror group Palestinian Islamic Jihad in 2006.

Esposito is a lecturer whose books and opinions will inform the policies of the world’s next generation of leaders regarding the Middle East, a region that promises to see an escalation of violence in the coming decades.

At some undefined stage, American universities began associating the radical with the revolutionary, or the criminal with the contemplative. The felonious were offered faculty positions, so long as their crimes were committed for a righteous liberal cause. Conservative principles do not thrive in such an environment and, indeed, the state, corporate interests and society at large are condemned by instructors from these types of backgrounds.

Yet, these are not simply rebels with a cause. Department heads are actively seeking out and recruiting what can only be described as left-wing terrorists and thugs.

In 1981, as a member of an anti-imperialist, leftist group called Weather Underground, Kathy Boudin participated in the Brinks armored car robbery in Nyack, New York that left three people dead. After pleading guilty to second degree murder, Boudin received 20 years to life and was released in 2003. In 2008, she received a competitive teaching position from an Ivy League institution.

academic jihad
Brinks truck similar to the type used in the 1981 Weather Underground heist

Bill Ayers, Howard Machtinger and Bernadine Dohrne were also involved in bombing plots as members of Weather Underground in the 1960s and 1970s, including planned and actual attacks against military and police targets. This, of course, qualified them for faculty positions at major American universities, such as Northwestern University, the University of Illinois, and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, respectively.

After receiving a pardon from President Bill Clinton for her involvement in the Brinks robbery and a later arrest for the possession of over 700 pounds of explosives and illegal weapons, Susan Rosenberg quickly found a teaching position at John Jay College.

The list of Leftist radicals lecturing America’s youth from the halls of learning includes more than a few members of Weather Underground, unfortunately. Former senior Black Panther member Erica Huggins went to trial for torturing and later ordering the execution of a suspected police informant within her organization. Warren Kimbro ultimately pulled the trigger that killed their helpless victim. Naturally, both Huggins and Kimbro received coveted teaching and administrative positions at prominent universities.

These Leftist terrorists–for lack of a better description–are welcomed in scholarly circles for more than their insurrectionary complexion; it is undoubtedly the combination of fanaticism and collectivism with a sprinkle of victimhood politics that permit this radical-academic alliance.

The ability of a self-professed socialist dinosaur like Bernie Sanders to identify with America’s youth is indicative of the cogency of academia’s program of  liberal inculcation. After all, The Communist Manifesto continues to be among the top three assigned readings in colleges across the country, and the texts of Karl Marx are assigned more than those of any other economist.

academic jihad
A Marxist tuition starts early for some

Jennifer Kabbany of The College Fix explains the attraction of young voters with a fossilized Marxist like Sanders. “They’re taught the rich have an obligation to support the poor. They’re taught to embrace class warfare. They’re taught corporations are evil. They’re taught life’s unfair, and there’s no hope for them to succeed except through government handouts.”

Academia’s insistence on a socialist curriculum is insufficient on its own to explain how radical Islam is able to prosper in a university setting. Assuredly, an understanding of the structural attributes which define both socialism and Islam works to illuminate their compatibility.

In many ways, Islam–like socialism–is about control.  It is a patriarchal system that seeks to enforce the most mundane controls upon its adherents. From the most obscene gender inequality on Earth designed to subjugate women as second-class citizens, to establishing the very way that Muslims should complete a bowel movement, strict, unyielding dominion over the faithful is a requisite function of Islam.

A report from Oxford Islamic Studies describes the crossroads between the spiritual and the secular, or socialism and Islam:

“Reformists saw Islamic socialism as a cure for colonial control, economic backwardness, human exploitation, and moral bankruptcy. Spiritual and economic improvement were not possible until the lives of people could be improved and the decent treatment and justice stipulated by the Quran could be provided to them.”

These essential equivalences allow most of academia to accommodate Islam, an ally in the perpetual conflict with the forces of capitalism and ideological inclusiveness. This accommodation extends to radical Islamists and jihadists, whom also have a place in the faculty lounges of college campuses.

Jesse Curtis Morton, aka Younus Abdullah Muhammad, is perhaps the most fitting representative of academia’s affair with militant Islam. In a PBS “Newshour” report meant to explain (and forgive) Morton’s evolution from radical Islamist to FBI informant, the argument that universities are contributing to the radicalization of politically sensitive Muslim students is inadvertently made.

academic jihad
Jesse Curtis Morton

Morton admits, “I identified with the sort of anti-imperialist message that was being promoted by Al Qaeda.” The same anti-imperialist message being trafficked at university settings with troubling frequency.

It is no surprise, then, that rather than suppress his extremist and violent worldview, Morton’s time in an American institution of learning served to exacerbate his already volatile nature. In an interview with Morton, Hari Sreenivasan deduced that “the Ivy League education did nothing to moderate Morton’s world view. In 2007, he and a few other radicals started the Revolution Muslim Web site [sic].”

After Morton was arrested in Morocco, where he was teaching English, and extradited to the U.S. for communicating threats online, it was a fellow academic that ultimately bailed him out. Lorenzo Vidino, the director of the Program on Extremism at George Washington University’s Center for Cyber and Homeland Security, intervened on Morton’s behalf to have his sentence reduced in exchange for cooperation in prosecuting other potential terrorists that visited Morton’s website.

Morton is now employed by George Washington University.

In socialist Canada, six young Muslims were allegedly radicalized by a single Islamist-professor who rented space from local universities to teach his brutal brand of Islam. The group, including four men and two women, left Canada and entered Syria via Turkey to fight for the Islamic State. Adil Charkaoui insists that he simply taught a course in basic Arabic and religious studies.

However, Newsweek reported that, “Canada had tried to deport Charkaoui, an outspoken Moroccan-born advocate against Islamophobia, arresting him in 2003 and keeping him imprisoned or under surveillance for six years under a security certificate, based on classified information from Canada’s spy agency.” They failed to pursue allegations that Charkaoui trained at an Al-Qaeda camp in order to protect human intelligence sources.

academic jihad
Al Qaeda training manual, or university textbook?

Understanding the relationship between radical Islam and academia permits a commensurate understanding of the hateful post-election rhetoric coming from Islamist professors. Their inability to accept any competing narrative is responsible for the unapologetic vehemence which flavors their words.

Indeed, hatred for the president-elect has entered into mainstream pedagogy for American professors. A profession once extolled for its objective rationality has resorted to name-calling and rabble-rousing in attempts to agitate their student bodies.

Writing for the Campus Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum dedicated to improving Middle Eastern studies within U.S. academic circles, Middle East analysts Cinnamon Stillwell and Michael Lumish record a revealing compilation of statements from prominent professors in the aftermath of Trump’s unexpected election victory in an article titled “Trump terror within Middle East studies.”

Stillwell and Lumish demonstrate the scandalous partisanship present at institutions once prized for their pursuit of scholastic excellence. Identity politics were certainly at play when Director of Duke University’s Islamic Studies Center Omid Safi blames white evangelical Christians for electing Trump. “When you had to choose between your white privilege and your Jesus, how did you live with yourself putting Jesus on the bottom?”

Hatem Bazian, director of the Islamophobia Research & Documentation Project at the University of California, Berkeley, offers an equally embryonic analysis: “Trump’s victory will stand as America’s Brexit moment where Islamophobia, anti-immigrant discourses, economic dislocation, and nativist sentiments got masterfully mobilized to win an election.”

Hamid Dabashi, Iranian studies professor at Columbia University, had no shortage of uncomplimentary names for those that voted for Trump. He attributes the Trump victory to “racist, misogynist, ignorant, paranoid, xenophobic, white supremacist America,” before proceeding to call these same Americans “an angry mob of white supremacist zombies shielding its wild fantasies behind democratic politics.”

As indicated by Stillwell and Lumish, University of Denver Center for Middle East Studies director Nader Hashemi believes that ISIS is “celebrating” the Trump victory because the president-elect is “so radical and so extreme.” Hashemi must be unaware that Trump’s popularity is very high among Iraqis precisely because of his tough stance against international terrorism.

Rhodes College Islamic studies professor Yasir Qadhi is convinced that people voted for Trump because of his “melanin content.” He conjures up a favorite image among Muslim rights activists when he says he fears “for the safety of my wife in a hijab, of my children in the streets, of minorities everywhere struggling to understand what happened.”

Reza Aslan, University of California, Riverside professor of creative writing and liberal media darling agrees that the republican victory hurts America’s children. “Someone please tell me how I tell my kids that the president whose picture will soon be on their classroom wall hates them, wants them gone.”

This impetuous stampede of overstated anti-Trump resentment from academia has been relentless since before November 8th, 2016. However, Stillwell and Lumish are right to suggest that such vehemence “exemplified the elite attitudes that doubtless drove many voters to support Trump.”

Consequently, the motive behind this disinformation campaign is as clear as it is futile: to discredit Trump by assigning artificial causes to his victory. Besides pointing to the Russian hacking scandal and a rash of fake or misleading news reports, the Left argues that Trump won because he inspired some dormant but powerful white supremacist demographic to take to the polls in response to his hateful rhetoric. In other words, only bigotry and ignorance could be responsible for a Trump victory.

Trump’s repeated calls for increased scrutiny of immigrants arriving from war-torn countries that lack the infrastructure to properly identify potential radicals that come from Islamist circles had somehow been identified as misogynistic and xenophobic by these professors. Long before and after Election Day, Trump and his most trusted staffers have reinforced this policy in response to a hostile, headline-seeking media’s attempts to instigate the republican candidate into saying something disparaging of Muslims. Although this effort was unsuccessful, and Trump was clear and consistent regarding his vetting policy, liberal academia chose to ignore reality and insist that Trump was demanding a “Muslim ban.”

academic jihad
Donald Trump’s calls for extreme vetting have been inaccurately called a Muslim ban

This juvenile reluctance to accept competing ideas within the collegiate environment should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with academic culture.

University of North Texas professor George Yancey admits, “Outside of academia I faced more problems as a black. But inside academia I face more problems as a [conservative] Christian, and it is not even close.”

Yancey, as a leading scholar in the field of sociology, felt the need to reinforce his suspicions with a study, the results of which demonstrate that nearly one-third of academia would be unwilling to hire or even support a conservative job applicant. Perhaps this is part of the reason that only six percent of professors in the humanities department admit to being conservative, and a mere two percent of English professors lean decidedly to the right. Compared to these paltry sums, 18 percent of educators profess to being Marxist. Not democratic. Not liberal–but Marxist.

It was in this hostile environment that Vanderbilt University law professor Carol Swain made the mistake of speaking out against Islam. Following the Al-Qaeda attack on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris, Swain noted that “Islam is a dangerous set of beliefs totally incompatible with Western beliefs concerning freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and freedom of association.”

This observation, written and explained in an op-ed in the Tennessean newspaper, earned Swain a student protest demanding her termination at Vanderbilt, as well as verbal and sexual threats communicated on campus and in her mailbox.

Higher education in America is an overwhelmingly socialist institution that has made strange bedfellows with political Islam. If the professors discussing postcolonialism come from radical backgrounds, the curriculum they teach is even more hostile to the public good.


Subscribe now to guarantee you will receive the next two installments of this study of academia and Islam.

Benjamin Baird

The Grand Master of Truth, Benjamin Baird is a veteran infantryman of Iraq and Afghanistan with over 1000 days in combat settings. He graduated with honors from the American Military University, studying Middle Eastern affairs with a concentration on Iraq. Ben is a freelance journalist, a proven military leader, and conservative super hero, responding to liberal villainy wherever it rears its ugly head.

  • David Powell

    (Quick Note: This conversation started on Facebook and is being moved here at Ben’s request. To let everyone else know, despite being on opposite ends of the political spectrum, I consider Ben to be a good friend. I challenge his opinions and he challenges mine. I welcome others to join the conversation too, just know that any sarcasm is good-natured ribbing and not meant to be antagonistic.)

    I think you might be exaggerating juuuuuuust a little bit. Look, I’m sure some departments and some professors have agendas. But, the faculty of colleges and universities as a whole do not have a socialist or any other political agenda that they are pushing on their students. Most have genuine interest in their subjects, which isn’t socialism, and teach without pushing a liberal, conservative, or socialist agenda. I’ve been to three institutions of higher education. I can’t recall a single lecture on the redistribution of wealth, Western evil, Karl Marx, identity politics, or any of the other terrible things you say these professors are peddling. Apologies for the snark, but I’ve attached a copy of my transcript so perhaps you can tell me which courses ‘exposed’ me ‘to an unyielding, extremist philosophy.’ If it’s unyielding it seems like it must be most of them.

    Having spent my own life in the pursuit of a doctoral degree, I worked on projects for commercial airline safety and then Soldier protection. Would that not fall into the realm ‘of a common, public good’? The research done at these liberal arts institutions in the sciences (biology, chemistry, physics, engineering, computer science, etc) have been a huge boon to the public good. Countless medical and technological breakthroughs have come from universities or been made possible through research at these universities.

    If you want to take issue with particular programs, that’s fine. If you think Middle Eastern studies is biased, that’s something that can be argued. I wasn’t a Middle Eastern studies major nor did I take any courses on it, so I’m not in a position to defend that program. Perhaps you think History departments are biased. I can tell you that the course I took on the American Civil War did not seem to have a political agenda, much less a socialist one. Nor did the history courses on Medieval England or Hellenic Greece that I audited. In fact all those probably gave me a greater appreciation for western forms of government and our country in particular.

    I have seen studies that showed in 2014 60% of professors identified as liberal. If conservatives want greater representation on the faculty, then constantly railing against universities and pushing the Republican anit-science agenda are counter productive. A young conservative being taught how horrible these institutions are is less likely to continue on to earn their doctorate and end up teaching at one. By the way, I’ve been through the academic job search, no one asked about my political affiliation and we never discussed any topics that might have clued them into it either.

    I can’t tell you whether many my professors were liberal or conservative. The topic never came up. Though the former National Security Advisor and Secretary of State for President Bush was a professor at one of the institutions I attended so I’m going to guess she’s conservative.

    Do some teachers have a political agenda that comes across in their lectures? Sure. Do most? No. If you can tell me how someone teaches Chemistry in such as way as to promote a socialist agenda, then maybe I’ll change my mind on that.

    • Benjamin Baird

      (Note-this was my FB response to the above author, a good friend who has the unfortunate birthright of being the product of fifth generation carnival freaks. We all know the deep entanglement–nay, the dark union of Communism and Carnie. Our children are virtual slaves to the carnival master, exposed to their dark influences from the moment they enter the red and white striped tent. Pardon in advance for his reliance on circus slang, it comes from a lifetime of debauchery 🙂

      Let me preface my rebuttal with a statement that is so obvious that I felt it did not need stated: obviously a student pursuing a degree in the sciences will not emerge with the same socialist education as a liberal arts pupil. Notwithstanding, significantly, the large percentage of terrorists with degrees in engineering (there are studies explaining this, too). There are very few courses within the purview of your program of study that would expose you to liberal indoctrination (BTW your program of study is far too cerebral for me, and I admire the mind that can tackle the subject of these debates whilst concurrently maintaining the capability for solving the most arcane, complex calculus). Genius! I say…

      Flattery aside, you DO realize that there is quite a bit of consensus on this subject? Few people inside or outside of academia argue that higher education is anything short of a liberal institution (answering snark with a commensurate snark attack).

      I believe I mentioned in the report (correct me if this is an oversight), that 18 percent of academia identify as Marxist. Marxist dude. Six percent in the humanities identify as conservative, and in the English department it is only 2 percent. If you believe these professionals, having developed very strong and assertive opinions after a decade of study, are shy about their political beliefs, then you-sir-are incalculably fonder of humanity than I (I’ll see your snark and raise you a taunt).

      I tried my best to provide a mixture of anecdotal and empirical evidence supporting my claim. Perhaps parts II and III of this report will serve to convince you otherwise. Part II is, decidedly, concerning the curriculum taught in liberal arts generally, but Middle Eastern studies specifically. Yes, this department serves as the paradigm for this report, as would be expected of any study of academia and Islam. While the socialist nature of academia is by no means limited to Middle Eastern or even international studies, the scope of my research is concerned with these areas of education.

      So you are suggesting that being critical of an institution is a fruitless endeavor if one wishes to participate in it? Conservatives should not expose the inequities within academia and the corresponding results on society out of a desire to become involved with it? Asserting a counter-ideology to those offered by academia (what you call anti-science) and offering new ideas is counterproductive, you say? I suppose, then, that LGBTQ+ should have stifled their criticism for the institution of heterosexual marriage if they wished to participate in it. African Americans should silenced their protest against a non-inclusive political establishment out of a desire to one day be a part of it? Especially given the anti-science agenda of the black southern baptist…The black female mathematicians featured in a recent Hollywood blockbuster should have swallowed their resentment for the patriarchal white establishment that was 1960s NASA.

      Much like with Hollywood, though, conservatives find much more fructiferous outlets for their time and energy than what is found in academia. After all, “those that can’t–teach,” they say.

      Since your arguments were overwhelmingly focused on the limited scope of your own (admittedly not limited) experiences, perhaps a discussion of these will sway your opinion. You took a course on the American Civil War. My own acquaintanceship with this subject is limited to high school, but even then it was a flawed, liberal interpretation. First, the Civil War was waged not to end slavery, but as an issue of states’ sovereignty, contends the revised narrative. Slavery was secondary to the ability of states to mint their own coins and form their own laws, of which slavery was almost a happenstance impetus for war. Sound familiar? How about revisionist attempts to reframe the inceptive Republican Party as a liberal organization? It has been weakly in some corners of academia that the party of Lincoln was, in fact, a liberal institution that experienced a paradigmatic shift over the decades that resulted in an ideological exchange between the democratic and republican parties? That’s right, because it is unpalatable for many liberals that their party was opposed to abolition, many scholar attempt to explain that the 1860s Republican Party was actually the Democratic Party in disguise.

      A cursory review of the values espoused by early republicans will, however, demonstrate the staying-power, or truly conservative nature of conservatism, and disprove this theory. Similar attempts were made with the Civil Rights movement, of course, as a result of Democratic Party resistance to southern reform.

      Naturally, your professors will not publicly identify as the socialist, scholarly sloths that they have become. Doing so would compromise their self-professed impartiality.

      Likewise, conservative do not shy from academia as a result of their disenfranchisement with higher education. I tried to explain the liberal propensity for teaching positions as a result of an obsession with the subject of the student-scholars decade of studying a single, ultra-specific, emphatically precise issue. The plight of migratory African swallows that winter on the Easter Islands takes precedent over all other practical considerations. Human families should starve rather than disrupt the ages old path of the majestic yellow-billed pussy hocker (my own aviary invention).

      Perhaps this is insufficient for describing this phenomenon. Regardless, it is an attempt, and one no less admirable than those used to describe any demographic disposition.

      Your own career accomplishments are, indeed, part of the common and public good. Since a degree is virtually a requirement for lasting success in America, there are doubtlessly numerous civic exemplars that emerge from the liberal confines of the university setting ideological unscathed. But the ultimate intent of my report is to demonstrate the not so infrequent marriage of militant Islam and academia.

      YOU have experience with the academic job search? Your place of origin there on the Left coast, combined with the reputation of your alma mater…please, remind me of why I am wrong that opinionated liberals are attracted to academia? For future endeavors of this type, perhaps come prepared with a criminal record or some record of a morally reprehensible outburst…
      ***good-natured grin***

      • David Powell

        Ben, I’d told you about my family in confidence! Well, I guess the cat is out of the bag now.

        Yes, I believe the intended subject of your article was the humanities side of these institutions. But you use a broad brush and, at times, seem to be criticizing the institution in general. Furthermore, if ‘the ranks of higher education are teeming with an overabundance of political radicals’, it seems odd that there’d be a sharp cutoff between the humanities half and the sciences half of the school.

        And even if you the humanities side is the ‘liberal’ side of universities, many Republicans are dismissive of universities in general. Take Sarah Palin’s comment on how “[tax] dollars go to projects that have little or nothing to do with the public good — things like fruit fly research in Paris, France. I kid you not.” That’s directly attacking the sciences. By the way, research on the fruit fly at UNC recently uncovered a protein likely related to autism. Though the Paris part of the research is about the olive fruit fly which is a pest in the Mediterranean and, for the past decade, in California too. So the study is on the fly in it’s natural environment and meant to help protect the California olive industry. Hardly a topic that is irrelevant to the public good.

        The study I saw found that, as of 2014, 60% of professors identified as liberal and the remaining 40% as moderate or conservative. It didn’t mention Marxists, though the liberal number was labeled ‘liberal and far left’, so if they are there, it should be part of that number. The conservatives came in at 12%, which is certainly smaller than I would expect. But there are moderates too who are unlikely to be involved in the socialist agenda (more sarcasm). The teachers I know surely have their own political opinions but do their best to not let that spill into the classroom. And that’s not just engineering teachers, they teach history, literature, economics, etc. I’m not going to claim that there aren’t teachers who do push political agendas. But from my experience they try to present subjects impartially and that’s a trait I would apply to good teachers.

        Now, it sounds like your article is going to shift and focus more on Middle Eastern Studies. On that you may be more accurate. I don’t have first hand experience, so I can’t say for certain. But you’ve got specific examples and I’m willing to believe those departments are more likely to hire people with similar opinions on Islam. If you argued that African American Studies departments have a liberal agenda, I could believe that. But, if a university is hiring someone to teach Shakespeare, or Spanish, or Greek history do you think they really care if that person is liberal or conservative? Or do their political affiliation really affect how those subjects are covered. Even on the humanities side I’d argue that most departments are not pushing some political agenda. You mention Marxists, but do you think the Econ department is attempting to turn the students into socialists? These students go on to work in banking, business, accounting, etc. I don’t hear these industries complaining that they can’t find students who believe in Capitalism. Again, you can have some bad teachers who are trying to push agendas, but I don’t buy that the majority of departments/programs (even if we just look at the humanities side) are pushing some extreme socialist agenda. However, are Middle Eastern Studies programs taking the wrong approach to extremists and are they unlikely to accept opposing views? I’m not sure, but that’s something I could believe.

        You can be critical of an institution and still participate in it (case in point, Republicans and government =P ). But I’d say many of the conservative politicians appear to be almost dismissive of universities. That implies ‘why bother’ rather than work to change. Oh, and the anti-science isn’t merely climate change. There’s evolution too and the push to teach religion in science class. You can be religious and be a scientist, but it helps to understand the two are different. Religion works on faith, science works on empirical evidence, proposing a hypothesis and then testing to see if it’s true. The common argument from the right is not just that scientists are wrong, but that they are corrupt. There’s a vast conspiracy to fake climate change in order to secure research dollars. I’m not saying every scientist is a saint. But I think it’s reasonable to assume the percentage of dishonest individuals in the field is proportional to dishonest people in any other profession. If your goal is to lie in order to make money, there are easier ways to do it than to spend 8-10 years getting a college degree followed by a masters and phd.

        As for the Civil War discussion, perhaps I can’t speak for the typical liberal. My dad is a high school history teacher with a special interest in the Civil War. Despite being a liberal, there’s a good chance I grew up in a house with more guns than you or most conservatives (though they were 150+ years old… ). But the class and my earlier knowledge never made any attempts to pretend the Democratic party (at that time) was not on the wrong side of history. Though the modern day Democratic party is hardly the same one as the 1860’s. Perhaps I’m wrong on this, but it feels like Republicans look down on people who talk about the dark moments from America’s past (slavery, treatment of Native American’s, segregation, internment, turning away Jewish refugees before WWII, etc) as though they are anti-American. In my opinion the opposite is true. You can’t learn from your mistakes if you pretend they didn’t happen. I’d rather love this actual country, warts and all, and try to make it better than focus on an idealized fantasy version. Sorry, bit of a digression, but the point is I’d rather face the time when the Democratic party was on the wrong side of history and learn from that rather than pretend it didn’t really happen.

        To again address why more liberals are professors, I still contend that the general Republican disdain for universities plays a role. Another is the institutions themselves are a mixing pot of different cultures and ideas. As a result, people who spend their lives there are probably going to be more socially liberal. You bring up Marx, but I think you’d find a lot of liberals are open to a number of the conservative economic ideas.

        Oh, as for the job search, I did get an offer from an institution in one of those red states. Perhaps if I’d had a more checkered past I could have ended up at one of the truly liberal ones. =P

        • David Powell

          I looked it up, turns out an imaginary professor studying the made-up majestic yellow-billed pussy hocker just discovered a new cure for erectile dysfunction. Now try and tell me that doesn’t help the imaginary public good!

        • Benjamin Baird

          Just a brief reply while I have a moment to address one of your initial counter-points: yes, the wholesale condemnation of academia, particularly the sciences, may be counterproductive if such criticism is used to encourage the limitation of real scientific research. If I have contributed to this, perhaps I should be more careful and should temper my statements as such.

          Especially since I take exception when republicans are called–for right or wrong–anti-science. I believe, for instance, that questioning and challenging, downright doubting, established hypotheses is what spurs scientific development and progress. See climate change.

          • David Powell

            I don’t think you personally have been too dismissive of science, but it does happen frequently enough from Republican politicians. And, it may not have been intended as a dig against science as a whole, but your example of frivolous research was a biology topic. Maybe try using a professor studying the number of times Shakespeare used the word ‘butt’ or something like that. ;P

            You’re welcome to question scientific theories. In fact, science itself questions them all the time. Ever notice how science used to be all about laws? Newton’s laws of motion, Ohm’s law, etc. For the past century or so they’ve been using theory instead. Theory of relativity, quantum theory, theory of evolution. Scientists realize that just because the current evidence supports on set of conclusions doesn’t mean new data won’t be found in the future which changes that. Hence the use of ‘theory’ instead of ‘law’.

            There are different levels of opposition from the conservative side regarding science. I’d say you fall into the category of people who disagree and back that up with evidence. Whether that evidence outweighs or counters the opposing view is another issue. But, it’s still having a fact based discussion. Another category seems to treat experts in their field as somehow biased or just not worth listening too. You can’t trust climate scientists to give you the truth. I think the liberal equivalent are the anti-vaxxers (though I think they’re a very fringe group among liberals). You can’t trust doctors or drug companies. And now we’ve got the future president saying we can’t trust our own intelligence agencies. Whoops, maybe I went a bit too far there. And then the third category are the people who think there’s a grand conspiracy to falsify data in order to, I assume, continue to receive funding. Now they’re not just attacking the results, but the people themselves. Out of 100 scientists, could one or two be dishonest? Sure. Pick any profession and you can find bad people in it. But if climate change is truly a hoax, which some conservative politicians continue to claim, that means 97 out of 100 scientists are dishonest.

            The first category, where I think you are, would be skeptics. Nothing wrong with that and, like you said, healthy for science and progress to have people challenge assumptions and theories. The second category are maybe just anti-expert. Seems misguided to me, who wants to live their life disbelieving everyone qualified to give an opinion on a topic. The third category are definitely anti-science. To them the profession is dishonest and intentionally harming the country (and therefore must be opposed).

        • Benjamin Baird

          I get my figures on the politics of professors from a New York Times article, of all things, that looks at four different studies. The link to the article is actually embedded above, just two or three paragraphs from the end.

          This report talks about hiring practices among Leftist entrenched departments like anthropology. Which is interesting since you made the estimate that faculty heads did not seem to care about the partisan background of their applicants.

          From NYT: “The scarcity of conservatives seems driven in part by discrimination. One peer-reviewed study found that one-third of social psychologists admitted that if choosing between two equally qualified job candidates, they would be inclined to discriminate against the more conservative candidate.”

          “Yancey, the black sociologist, who now teaches at the University of North Texas, conducted a survey in which up to 30 percent of academics said that they would be less likely to support a job seeker if they knew that the person was a Republican.”

          “The discrimination becomes worse if the applicant is an evangelical Christian. According to Yancey’s study, 59 percent of anthropologists and 53 percent of English professors would be less likely to hire someone they found out was an evangelical.”

          Does this make things more clear to you? Conservatives are, indeed, active in academia in places like mathematics, but completely non-existent in other areas like sociology. As demonstrated above, this is not entirely due to personal choice.

          And before you make a connection between evangelicals and a disdain for science, take a look at the preference for Islamic scholars within academia.

          Also, I think you imagine things work a little more loud and overt and intentional than they actually do in practice. There is not an active conspiracy, in other words, to keep conservatives out of academia, or to push a liberal agenda. These are the most human urges known to man–our biases. And while people like to believe of themselves as impartial, this is LEAST true when it comes to politics.

          This crisis is in no way the fault of conservatives. And the Leftist control of academia is no less alarming than liberal dominance of major media and popular culture. And it is alarming: students taking the LSAT (me–soon) or the pre law exam which essentially controls to which universities a student qualifies are advised to respond with liberal political thinking to the essay portion of the test.

          This is a problem.

          • David Powell

            So academia is largely liberal… well, perhaps more accurately it’s largely not conservative. For example the study that found only 2% of English professors were Republican also found that 47% were Independent, which means its 51% Democrat, not 98%. So don’t assume everyone who isn’t Republican is a Democrat. That study found in the social science, 55.7% were Dems. In the Humanities, 54.6% were Dems. Comp sci/engineering 28%, health science 33.7%, and business 38.9%. Yes, there seems to be more Democrats than Conservatives in most of these areas, but it’s not like the Dems are up there at 90-95%.

            There are a lot of professions whose members tend more towards one side of the political spectrum or the other. Doesn’t mean people are barred from the profession, just that certain features or circumstances draw people from one side of the spectrum or the other. Simplest is location. Urban areas tend to be more liberal, rural are more conservative. Seems like most universities are in urban areas. Or, returning to our English example, how many Republicans do you know who’ve decided to earn a PhD in poetry? Okay, that’s not fair, I’m not sure I know any poetry PhDs of any political affiliation… but it doesn’t sound very Republican, does it?

            You might hate to hear this, but I’ve been told from someone who works there that most of the off-camera people at Fox news are liberals. They make sure they fill the on-camera spots with conservatives, but for everything else they take what they can get. Do you think they intentionally avoid conservatives for everything else or that it just so happens the people applying for a news job in NY tend to be liberals?

            As for the Yancey study, the article says “30 percent of academics would be less likely to support a job seeker if they knew that the person was a Republican.” Okay, less likely doesn’t mean they wouldn’t hire them. It also doesn’t mean they’ve actually used that as a reason to turn down an applicant. And it doesn’t mean they actually know the political views of the job applicants. Not to say that the findings are good or aren’t disappointing, just that it doesn’t necessarily mean liberals (who, as stated above, aren’t huge majorities in most areas) are weeding out any conservatives who apply for positions. It does show that professors are human. This study ( found that, in general, expressing minority political views on job applications (liberal views when applying in conservative counties and conservative views when applying in liberal counties) made you less likely to get hired. Regardless of profession, people tend to want to hire people who agree with them.

            As far as the actual conservative experience in academia, an article in the Washington Post, written by conservatives, said “the vast majority of conservative professors we spoke with said the right-wing campaign against the university overstates its politicization. Yes, these professors acknowledge, too many disciplines and subfields — including sociology, literature and modern American history — are “unsafe spaces” for right-wing thinkers. The conservatives who enter those fields need thick skin, which is partly why conservatives usually avoid them altogether.” It goes on to say “But professors on the right also say that major swaths of the social sciences and humanities are riven more by methodological and theoretical divides than by political ones. Political science, for example, has been badly divided between supporters of quantitative methods and those who favor “softer” qualitative approaches, uniting liberals and conservatives in both camps.”

            They also mentioned the point I made in earlier comments… “And, finally, movement conservatives should deescalate their rhetorical war against the progressive university. Such polemics, after all, may inadvertently solidify progressives’ troubled rule over academia by discouraging young conservatives from becoming professors.”

            From my own experience in academia, I recall the major disagreement (which had people essentially refusing to speak with each other) had nothing to do with politics. It was an argument over the validity of the theory on pseudo-rigid body models. Seems silly, probably is, but that is the stuff that divides academics.

            Bringing this back to the original article, what’s my point? Like the conservatives in the Washington Post article said, your article overstates the politicization in these universities as a whole. You say things like “teeming with an overabundance of political radicals” and “students are being exposed to an unyielding, extremist philosophy in the classroom.” As for your most recent comment, I agree that people have biases and I’m sure those do come through unintentionally. But you used much stronger language in your original article. And, for specific departments, that may be valid criticism. I just don’t think it’s a fair evaluation of these institutions as a whole.

            Yeah, it’s a shame that people are advised to give their essay answers a liberal slant. But, I’m also guessing it’s good advice to avoid extreme political views on either side. I’d hope that people would not let things like that influence their grading of the exam, but I’m sure it does happen.