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Marxism in the Classroom

December 28, 1985

Since academia is one of the few places where the left seems to have the upper hand, knee-jerk attacks by the left against those who would challenge them are to be expected. Yet, in his attacks, Dean Scott Warren distorts the basic aims of Accuracy in Academia (AIA), while hiding the flaws of the academic left.

I agree with the dean's observations on the philosophies of the priest and the jester. What Dean Warren fails to acknowledge is that all too often, especially in the social sciences, faculty members subscribe to the philosophy of the priest, spouting leftist dogma as fact and truth. As an undergraduate, I remember receiving a failing grade on a sociology paper because I had the audacity to say that there was merit to the ideas of Tom Sowell and Walter Williams, two conservative black economists who are considered pariahs by the left. While this particular professor certainly doesn't subscribe to the philosophy of the jester, he certainly takes his students for fools.

Dean Warren's claim that AIA's view of students is condescending is utterly baseless. Of course, students don't show up at college with brains like blank floppy disks. I would be willing to bet, though, that the majority of underclassmen lack the academic self-confidence to challenge, or even question, the leftist gospel they encounter in the classroom. To the extent that AIA provides institutional support to those students, all the power to the organization for doing so.

I had the opportunity to read AIA's first newsletter in which the views of Prof. Reader of Arizona State University were challenged. I read nothing telling me to rise up against Marxist professors, nothing telling me how to start an Inquisition at my school. What I read was how Prof. Reader had turned a comparative political-theory class into an anti-nuke forum, a list of alternative readings, and a pitch for funds so AIA could provide alternative readings to students in Prof. Reader's class. I would hardly call attempting to show that more than one side of an issue exists as un-American or anti-democratic.

Before attacking AIA, I suggest Warren try and get his own house in order. By attacking AIA as totalitarians in the classroom he fails to see that it is already practiced by his more leftist colleagues.

BRAD TORGAN

Chapel Hill, NC

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