Dicta

The home of “things said” by the National Association of Scholars.

Episode #5: Argument by Epithet with Mark Bauerlein

NAS

Peter W. Wood sits down with Mark Bauerlein to discuss his recent article in Academic Questions and argument by epithet. 

Modern vs. Western Thought: Cultural Marxism and Gender Feminism

William H. Young

William Young discusses the impact of Gender Feminism on family and society.

The “Cultural Revolution” Comes to American Academia

Old Communist language and tactics are infiltrating American higher education, aided by our historical amnesia.

Postmodernism: Does it Have Marxist or Historicist Origins?

George Seaver

Much more than Marxism, Historicism has influenced culture and politics and accounts for many of the ideologies and sentiments that emerge in academia today.

Social Justice and Human Nature

William H. Young

William Young explores contrasting views of human nature and their implications for public policy.

Barry Commoner, Connected

Peter Wood

Peter Wood reflects on the career of a Founding Father of the sustainability movement.

Leftist Nostalgia for Academic Standards

Peter Wood

Peter Wood compares the second thoughts of a famous Marxist literary critic and the UCLA faculty’s rejection of a proposed diversity requirement.

Marxist Justice and Western Civilization

William H. Young

William Young discusses the mainstreaming of Marxist ideas in the K-12 educational curriculum.

Human Nature and Western Civilization

William H. Young

William H. Young begins a new occasional series of articles focused on Western Civilization and current academic issues with a discussion of human nature.

April 13 is Class Action Day

Ashley Thorne

A coalition of faculty unions and organizations, including the California Faculty Association (CFA), the AAUP, the American Federation of Teachers, and the National Education Association, have created a “Campaign for the Future of Higher Education,” which outlines seven principles that these groups believe “should undergird higher-education policy over the next decade.” Today at Minding the Campus, Peter Wood comments on each of the seven principles and observes that rather than looking to the future, the campaign seeks to maintain the ivory-tower status quo. Americans are awakening to the reality that we have a system of higher education that does, on average, a poor job at very high expense.  We are looking for alternatives and the chances are very good we will find them.  That has the unions scared.

Daniel Bell (1919-2011) - An Appreciation

Russell K. Nieli

Russell Nieli offers an appreciation of Daniel Bell, the sociologist who taught us that the modernist elevation of self-expression as a cultural ideal would erode the personal discipline on which capitalism is based.

Come to the 'Marxism in America' Conference in D.C. Tomorrow

Mary Grabar

While Bill Ayers’ colleagues may be fussing about the denial of his emeritus status, America’s Survival will be sponsoring a conference that will include former FBI informant, Larry Grathwohl about a case involving Ayers and the bomb-killing of San Francisco policeman Brian V. McDonnell in 1970.  If you are in Washington, D.C., this Thursday, October 21, please come to the Marxism in America conference at the National Press Club to hear Grathwohl and others. The 1970 case is still open. Grathwohl has testified under oath that Bill Ayers had told him that his wife Bernardine Dohrn had planted the bomb that killed McDonnell.  Grathwohl will speak about the need to re-establish a Congressional committee on internal security.  Excerpts from video interviews with him and Former FBI agent Max Noel, member of the Weatherman Task Force, will be premiered. Grove City College Political Science Professor Paul Kengor will discuss his just-released book, Dupes, a detailed and fascinating look at the communist manipulation of progressives.  His talk will focus on Barack Obama’s mentor, Frank Marshall Davis. America’s Survival President Cliff Kincaid will speak about “Why People Believe the Dangerous

Lies of Marxism,” and Trevor Loudon, who broke the Frank Marshall Davis and Van Jones stories, will speak on the “perils which lie ahead for the U.S. and the Western world. Robert Knight, author of Radical Rulers, will speak on Department of Education official Kevin Jennings.  And I will be presenting my report on Howard Zinn’s “bad history” and his influence in the schools. This conference will present an opportunity to hear from the men who did the dangerous work with Bill Ayers and others who are investigating the still-present threat of communist ideology. Details: Thursday, October 21 National Press Club, First Amendment Lounge 529 14th St. NW, Washington, CD 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.  No charge.  Lunch and refreshments provided. Website: http://www.usasurvival.org/ck09.18.10.html

'Socially Judicious' Art Ed?

Candace de Russy

Watch out for it -- already a fixture in leading schools of art education --before it becomes the norm in K-12 classes throughout the land, thus vastly politicizing the arts by making anti-capitalist, race/gender/class-obsessed (ne0-Marxist) "art activists" of our young. So warns art critic Michelle Marder Kamhi, with the worthy view in mind of galvanizing parents against  proposed provisions in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, whose Congressional reauthorization is pending. These provisions would, in line with Paulo Freire's dictum that all education is political, mandate social-justice art. "Art"? Such as the pro-illegal immigration creation "Brinco," or "jump" in Spanish, which would teach students to construct sneakers (jammed with compass, map, etc.) for people  attempting illegaly to cross our borders. Americans to the barricades, in the defense of true art education!

Columbia's Surrender to the Left

Candace de Russy

University presidents Nicholas Butler and Dwight Eisenhower staunchly resisted it, but alas, as Mal Kline notes, to no avail.

Ask a Scholar: Critical Discourse Analysis

Dario Fernandez-Morera

What does it mean to study literature and culture through Critical Discourse Analysis? Do you have any references of Latin-American authors that develop their work using this approach?

Marxists in Schools of Education Respond to NAS Article

Ashley Thorne

Crosspost from www.NAS.org Two weeks ago I published an article about a Marxist journal that has seized authority in the education world. The Journal for Critical Education Policy Studies (JCEPS) is published by the UK-based Institute for Education Policy Studies (IEPS), “an independent Radical Left/Socialist/Marxist institute for developing policy analysis and development of education policy.” It takes its cues from Che Guevara and Paulo Freire. Articles from JCEPS are required reading in some ed schools, and the editorial advisory board has representatives from universities in eighteen countries. In posting the NAS article on JCEPS, I thought that simply calling the journal what it is would be enough to discredit it. I wrote:

While it is appropriate to study the now discredited but historically important ideas of Marxism in political science, philosophy, and economics courses, education schools have no need for radical ideology. Ed schools should be preparing teachers to train the minds of the next generation, not to arm them with socialist politics. To do so cheats both future teachers and their future students out of the sound, unbiased education they deserve.

I assumed that most people would agree that Marxist politics have no place in the classroom, and that the JCEPS folks would be reluctant to own their radical left agenda. I was wrong. Since the article appeared on the NAS website, apologists for the journal have been coming out of the woodwork. We seem to have secured the attention of some of the last remaining Marxists on earth. One commenter, who seems not to be a native speaker of English, wrote:

Definitely, education should be explicitly involved in struggles for equity and justice, especially at the current situation. Therefore, it’s very meaningful to arouse teachers and students’ critical consciousness, as Professor Peter McLaren does. School and society shouldn’t be separated. No matter it is in John Dewey’s mind “school is society”, or in other scholar’s essay “society is school”, schools have close relationship with society. George Counts once insisted that it was a great ideal that people should mainly focus on educating the children and care little about others, however, he thought that schools and teachers had to think about the injustice since the then unequal society greatly influenced teachers and students in 1930s. As for the current situation which is much worse than in 1930s in many aspects, the “ivory tower” ideal had gone and would never come back, colleges and universities are more and more involved in the society economically and politically, students have to fight for the equality, and teachers are forced to fight for their right they deserved. There are inequity and injustice in society, so it’s teachers’ responsibility to arouse their students consciousness to seek for the equity and justice. Those behind it are the ones who give up their responsibilities or the ones who own privilege, because they dare not to change the society or don’t want to give up their privilege. [emphasis mine]

Another person, ironically self-nicknamed “Cassiodorus” after the devout Christian who kept alive the flame of liberal learning after the fall of Rome, added:

Marxism isn't discredited anywhere, education isn't unbiased, and "radical" refers to the notion of examining the roots ("radical," from the Latin radix, or root) of everyday practice, something which should be done more often in schools.  The rest of this is a rather amateurish collection of soundbites on a number of subjects, the least understood of which is critical pedagogy. [emphasis mine]

This is a delightful bit of self-delusion.  Marxism isn’t discredited anywhere?  Marxism is discredited just about everywhere, but if “Cassiodorus” needs a for instance, I can testify firsthand that Marxism is discredited in Novokuznetsk and other parts of Russia where I have stayed.  From his nom de plume, I would think Cassiodorus is implicitly acknowledging this reality.  His “Rome” would appear to be the Soviet State and the nations it held captive.  He is keeping the holy flame of Marxism alive in an age dominated by the barbarian idea of human freedom. “Ferlaz” also chimed in:

In Argentina we are creating a new educational movement based on the critical pedagogies, especially the works of Paulo Freire, Peter McLaren. This article only serves to confirm that we are on the correct path of struggle. This educational movement is not intended to build ideological blocs but returning to education because their political neutrality is also a way of doing politics. This article ends endorsing own knowledge of the dominant classes, their ideologies and worldviews deny the possibility of conflict as natural and accepting the hegemonic discourse. From Argentina, from the popular schools for youth and adults in factories recovered by their workers shouted: Che lives!, As in Peter McLaren's page.

The grammar here is too shaky to figure out exactly what is making “ferlaz” so excited.  Che, the murderous thug of the Cuban revolution, is fortunately long dead.  He enjoys only the kind of immortality conferred by T-shirts and dorm-room posters. It does seem to me of absorbing interest that the great folly of Marxism—having burned through the twentieth century as a fire that killed more than 90 million people, enslaved countless others, and brought more misery and oppression into the world than any other political doctrine in human history—still has its proud defenders.  And they are in schools of education.

Che Lives?

Ashley Thorne

An NAS article on a Marxist journal for educators seems to have secured the attention of some of the last remaining Marxists on earth.

Guided by a Red Star: Ed Schools Bring Frankincense to the Cradle of Marxism

Ashley Thorne

A journal of Marxism and critical pedagogy erodes the distinction between classrooms and class struggle.

Losing Altitude: Leftist Ideologies on the Decline

Peter Wood

People are less and less interested in topics like Marxism and deconstruction, but which new ideological trends are replacing the old?

Socialism for Sophomores

Peter Wood

The University of Massachusetts at Amherst has outdone itself in offering a descent into radical ideology pure and simple. Its Social Thought & Political Economy program reveals to us how easy it is to add a socialist mentality to a multiculturalist religion.