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Hard truth: American colleges are cults

By: Autry Pruitt

First appeared on American Thinker

· National Politics

Millions of college students are returning to campus, and administrators and professors are eager to spread their teachings to these impressionable youths. Unfortunately, modern education comes with a heavy dose of "woke" politics that students of all political stripes simply cannot escape at their colleges and universities.


There is another word for it: propaganda.


In today's day and age, more and more left-wing administrators and professors see higher education as an opportunity to steer students to a "woke" brand of politics. These pupils, many raised with participation trophy–style parenting, too often fall victim to their top-down indoctrination. According to a 2016 study, liberal professors outnumber conservatives 12 to one. More recent research reveals that nearly 50 percent of professors are registered Democrats, while fewer than six percent are registered Republicans.

The left is not shy about imposing its worldview on others, to devastating effect. Based on 2020 research, more than 47 percent of college students report changing their political leanings, with over 30 percent claiming to become "more liberal." Indeed, many students — liberal and conservative — feel pressured to align their political views with those of their professors, if for no other reason than to pass the class. Even conservative writer Ben Shapiro commented that while pursuing his law degree at Harvard, he wrote what the professorial class wanted to read, never expressing his true feelings.


Making matters worse, administrators are even more liberal than faculty members, with two thirds identifying as liberal and 40 percent of them describing themselves as "far-left." It is all too common for administrators to enable and embolden professors seeking to indoctrinate their students. Many administrations peddle left-wing jargon like "emotional trauma" and "institutional change," offering farcical solutions like "trauma-sensitive yoga" to the "problem" that is free speech.


Colleges and universities are shirking their responsibility to American society. In the process, they are not only failing to prepare students for the real world, but setting them back. Some of them have likely been seen in the streets of Portland, Seattle, Minneapolis, and other violence-wracked cities.


The cold, hard truth is that colleges and universities are broken. Higher education has become a cesspool of blasphemy, groupthink, and obfuscation. Academic institutions have essentially become cults, financially exploiting their students while doing everything in their power to cover up their flaws. In the process, those who dare to dissent are often marginalized, while critical thought is undermined if not prohibited.


What can be done? First and foremost, the federal government needs to completely defund private colleges and universities, allowing them to stand on their own merits. Every year, billions of taxpayer dollars help fund higher education, propping up private colleges and universities that no longer carry out their mission statements in good faith. American taxpayers are funding the woke indoctrination of college students.


Consider Harvard and one of its affiliated nonprofits, the President and Fellows of Harvard College. According to its IRS Form 990 for tax year 2017, the most recent year available on the charity tracker Guidestar, this non-profit reported net assets of nearly $45.5 billion.

If these assets yielded an eight percent annual return — the long-term average return of the S&P 500 — that's more than $3.6 billion per year. The interest alone is several billion dollars more than the full cost of tuition for all 23,000 Harvard College undergraduates, without touching the $45-billion principal.


Harvard may be an outlier in size, but it makes the point. This needs to stop. Whether academic institutions decide to be "woke" or not, the duty should not fall on taxpayers to subsidize private colleges. If a private college or university cannot survive without government assistance, then it should fail.


We need to rethink higher education, applying free-market principles to empower winners and expose losers. Those institutions that successfully educate students will survive, and many will even thrive. But those that scrap education in favor of Left-wing propaganda will ultimately fail, as they should.


The silver lining of the COVID-19 pandemic is that we can re-evaluate our institutions of higher education. Now is the time to push back against the left's indoctrination camps, also known as "campus." In the words of President Trump: "Our children must be educated, not indoctrinated." The longer we wait, the more ground we and our children will continue to lose.