One of the most important causes of students embracing socialist or communist ideology, or being influenced by radical ideologies such as feminism and environmentalism (to be discussed later in this book), is the fact that a large proportion of staff in American universities leans to the left.
In a 2007 study titled “The Social and Political Views of American Professors,” among the 1,417 full-time college faculty members surveyed, 44.1 percent considered themselves liberal, 46.1 percent moderate, and only 9.2 percent conservative. Among them, the proportion of conservatives in community colleges was slightly higher (19 percent), and that of liberals was slightly lower (37.1 percent). In art colleges, 61 percent of faculty were liberal, while conservatives made up just 3.9 percent. The study also noted that faculty members near retirement were more staunchly leftist than new faculty members. In the 50–64 age group, 17.2 percent proclaimed themselves to be leftist activists. The study also stated that most university faculty supported homosexuality and abortion rights.
Studies after 2007 also confirm the leftist trend among professors in four-year universities in the United States. A study published in Econ Journal Watch in 2016 surveyed the voter registration status of professors in the departments of history and social sciences in forty leading U.S. universities. Among 7,243 professors surveyed, there were 3,623 Democrats and 314 Republicans, or a ratio of 11.5-to-1. Among the five departments surveyed, the department of history was the most uneven, with a 35-1 ratio. Contrast this with a similar survey from 1968: Among history professors at the time, the ratio of Democrats to Republicans was 2.7-to-1.
Another survey for four-year university faculty in 2016 found that the political inclination of the faculty was uneven, especially in New England. Based on 2014 data, the survey found that the ratio of liberal and conservative professors in colleges and universities nationwide was 6-to-1. In New England, this ratio was 28-to-1. A 2016 study by the Pew Research Center found that 31 percent of the people who had studied in graduate schools held liberal views, 23 percent tended to be liberal, only 10 percent held conservative views, and 17 percent tended to be conservative. The study found that since 1994, the people who had received graduate-level education had increased significantly in holding liberal views.
Scholars who attended a seminar at the American Enterprise Institute in 2016 said that about 18 percent of social scientists in the United States considered themselves Marxists, and only 5 percent considered themselves conservative.
Senator Ted Cruz once commented on the law school of a prestigious school he had attended. “There were more self-declared Communists [in the faculty] than there were Republicans,” he said. “If you asked [them] to vote on whether this nation should become a socialist nation, 80 percent of the faculty would vote yes, and 10 percent would think that was too conservative.”
Communism began its penetration of American education from the time it took root in the United States. Since the beginning of the twentieth century, many American intellectuals have accepted communist ideas or the Fabian socialist variant.
The 1960s counterculture movement produced a large number of young anti-traditional students. In these people’s formative years, they were influenced greatly by cultural Marxism and Frankfurt School theory. In 1973, after President Nixon withdrew American troops from the Vietnam War, student groups associated with the anti-war movement began to fade into obscurity, as the main reason for protest was gone. But the radicalism brewed by these large-scale student movements did not disappear.
Radical students went on to pursue graduate studies in the social and cultural fields — in journalism, literature, philosophy, sociology, education, cultural studies, and the like. Having received their degrees, they began careers in the institutions with the most influence over society and culture, such as universities, news media, government agencies, and non-governmental organizations. What guided them at that time was mainly the theory of “the long march through the institutions” proposed by Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci. This “long march” aimed to alter the most important traditions of Western civilization.
The Frankfurt School philosopher Herbert Marcuse was regarded as a “spiritual godfather” by rebellious Western students. In 1974, he asserted that the New Left did not die, “and it will resurrect in the universities.” In fact, the New Left had not only managed to survive: Its long march through the institutions was massively successful. As one radical professor wrote:
“After the Vietnam War, a lot of us didn’t just crawl back into our literary cubicles; we stepped into academic positions. With the war over, our visibility was lost, and it seemed for a while—to the unobservant—that we had disappeared. Now we have tenure, and the work of reshaping the universities has begun in earnest.”
The term “tenured radicals” was coined by Roger Kimball in his book of the same name, published in 1989. The term referred to the radical students who had been active in the anti-war, civil rights, or feminist movements of the 1960s and later entered universities to teach and obtained tenure in the 1980s. From there, they inculcated students with their system of political values and created a new generation of radicals. Some of these new radicals became department heads and deans. The purpose of their scholarly work is not to explore the truth, but to use academia as a tool for undermining Western civilization and traditions. They aim to subvert mainstream society and the political system by producing more revolutionaries like themselves.
Once tenured, professors can participate in various committees and have considerable say in recruiting new faculty members, setting academic standards, selecting topics for graduate theses, and determining the direction of research. They have ample opportunity to use their power to exclude candidates who do not conform to their ideology. For this reason, more traditionally minded individuals who teach and do research according to traditional concepts are being steadily marginalized. As professors of the older generation retire, those who replace them are mostly leftist scholars who have been indoctrinated with communist ideas.
Gramsci, who coined “the long march through the institutions,” divided intellectuals into two camps: traditional intellectuals and organic intellectuals. The former are the backbone of maintaining traditional culture and social order, while the organic intellectuals, belonging to the newly emerging classes or groups, play a creative role in the process of fighting for hegemony in their classes or groups. The “proletariat” uses organic intellectuals on its path to seizing cultural and eventually political hegemony.
Many tenured radicals defined themselves as “organic intellectuals” who oppose the current system. Like Gramsci, they follow the Marxian axiom: “The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it.”
In this way, education for the Left is not about imparting the essence of knowledge and human civilization, but for priming students for radical politics, social activism, and “social justice.” After graduation and upon joining society, they vent their dissatisfactions with the current system by rebelling against traditional culture and calling for destructive revolution.
From Chapter Twelve: Sabotaging Education