by Roger Kimball
As the plague of woke totalitarianism continues to besiege American universities, I note that we are finally beginning to see a little pushback. Public universities in Texas offer typical examples of this yin-yang process. As the Daily Signal reports,
Several Texas universities have begun the practice, in the staff hiring process, of requiring statements in favor of diversity, equity, and inclusion policies, or DEI, as well as examples of ‘anti-racist’ behavior. Job applicants are required to state multiple times in which they have participated in ‘anti-racist’ behavior in an effort to ‘deconstruct white supremacy.’
Call that the strophe.
The antistrophe was not far behind: “One bill introduced in the Texas Legislature would pull every cent from these programs.” It’s a development I like to see.
I have a complementary initiative to propose. Most of my readers know that Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal advocated some original, organic, and environmentally conscious proposals to alleviate poverty, hunger, and overpopulation in 18th-century Ireland. Just so, I’d like to offer a “modest disposal” to deal with some of the intellectual poverty, the hunger for genuine knowledge, and the clear reality of overpopulation at our nation’s universities.
As a first step, I propose the creation of a University Exchange Commission.
Just as the SEC was created in the 1930s to police the fraud and chicanery in the stock market that had contributed to the market crash of 1929, so the UEC would police the integrity of university life in the wake of the collapse of academic standards and the proliferation of fraudulent and ideologically motivated campaigners who foist preposterous and racially divisive initiatives like critical race theory and diversity, equity, and inclusion demands on defenseless students and teachers.
I am still formulating the precise duties of this beneficent organization, but I believe that many recent initiatives could be turned from a bad to a good purpose by restaffing. Such a procedure would also be environmentally conscious because instead of scrapping useless or destructive programs wholesale, it would recycle much if not all of the infrastructure erected to carry out such programs.
Consider, for example, the totalitarian Title IX offices, which, taking a page from Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, encourage anonymous reporting of students and faculty for saying or doing, or not saying or not doing, something that someone doesn’t like. This entire apparatus, I suspect, could be restaffed and employed to help dismantle all the bogus, intellectually vacuous programs, departments, and initiatives with the sole purpose of fostering an atmosphere of permanent grievance against free markets, the tradition of free inquiry and free speech, the achievements of America, or anyone associated with the male sex or ethnic and racial heritages not susceptible to preferential discrimination (“affirmative action”) by government entities and academic administrators.
That’s one thing. The UEC could also see to it that no university will employ more than three deans, none of whom may be charged with promoting the spurious “diversity” on racial or sexual lines that has so disfigured academic life in recent years. Henceforth, there will be a Dean of Faculty, a Dean of Men, and a Dean of Women. C’est tout.
Women’s studies departments and programs will be disbanded on the grounds that they are intellectually vacuous and morally invidious: why, after all, should the study of women’s accomplishments be ghettoized by being segregated from the achievements of the rest of mankind?
Black or “African-American” studies departments will be disbanded for the same reason, and their legitimate subjects—as distinct from their organized opportunities for whining and complaining about how badly they are being treated—will be distributed into appropriate traditional categories: history, for example, or literature. (Also, the term “African-American will be deprecated in favor of “black American” or, even better, “American” since the phrase “African-American” is frequently misapplied and is always divisive.) As a condition of graduation, students will be required to pass a quiz on Teddy Roosevelt’s warning about the dangers that “hyphenated Americans” pose to the republic.
The whole cottage industry of sexual exoticism—LGBTQWERTY, not to mention “trans” insanity—will either be disbanded or consigned to the newly created Krafft-Ebing Institutes of Sexual Perversion. No classes there will be eligible for academic credit.
This is just the beginning, of course. The UEC will clearly have its work cut out for it if it is to make headway in reclaiming the university from those set on destroying it from within. But I am confident that a great deal of good work can be accomplished in a very short period if the UEC is given proper authority to enforce its determinations. As an added inducement, I hereby volunteer to fill the slot of executive director for an entire academic year for the token sum of $1. I feel it is my public duty.
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Roger Kimball is editor and publisher of The New Criterion and the president and publisher of Encounter Books. He is the author and editor of many books, including The Fortunes of Permanence: Culture and Anarchy in an Age of Amnesia (St. Augustine’s Press), The Rape of the Masters (Encounter), Lives of the Mind: The Use and Abuse of Intelligence from Hegel to Wodehouse (Ivan R. Dee), and Art’s Prospect: The Challenge of Tradition in an Age of Celebrity (Ivan R. Dee). Most recently, he edited and contributed to Where Next? Western Civilization at the Crossroads (Encounter) and contributed to Against the Great Reset: Eighteen Theses Contra the New World Order (Bombardier).
Photo “College Classroom” by Dom Fou.