Unpersuasive book argues that higher education should have a leftist bias

George Leef

  • Article
  • April 23, 2014

In this week's Pope Center Clarion Call, I review a book by emeritus English professor Donald Lazere entitled Why Higher Education Should Have a Leftist Bias. The book is utterly unpersuasive and unpleasant to read for the author's hostility towards those who don't share his rosy view of big government. The book reminds me of something that sociology professor Jonathan Haidt said about himself in his earlier days, "I hated Reagan but had never actually met a conservative."

Lazere contends that if American college students were better taught, they could break free of the overwhelming "conservative/corporate" belief system most grow up with. Unfortunately, to him that means instructing them that they need to hunt for bias in writings, which will usually lead to fallacious reasoning about the merits of a piece, and suggesting that real socialism could be great. Instead, students ought to learn how to employ logic and if more did so, they'd be less apt to fall for deceptive argumentation that comes at them from all angles. If that were to happen, I think we'd see a greater decline in support for the leftist project of expanding the scope of government than for the "conservatism" that Lazere loathes (but little understands).

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