Review of

PragerU Video: DivestU

Our summary: Charlie Kirk claims that college campuses essentially are leftist indoctrination camps. He suggests that college graduates are less versed in classical philosophy and American history than they were in past decades, and that diversity and inclusion administrators are focused on trying to find and expose biases and phobias. Kirk recommends not sending kids to any colleges except for the tiny handful that do it properly.

How much does an administrator control the university’s faculty and curriculum?

David Foster Durham, NC Published 18 Nov 2019

I’ve spent many years in higher ed at different universities—including U.C. Berkeley, the US capital of liberalism—and have never seen anything like what Charlie Kirk’s describing. At Berkeley, admittedly, there was often a handful of lifestyle hippies carrying leftish signs around Telegraph Avenue (I was never sure how many of them were students.) A mere curiosity to almost all of us, even a welcome source of theatrical color.

One should suspect Kirk of selective observation: find the wart, and make the wart stand for the whole. Maybe not all universities are as bad as Michigan and Santa Cruz.

But think about it some more, and you can see a greater flaw in his argument. The examples he cites are a single individual in a large administrative bureaucracy. And, Kirk seems to be implying that that individual is causing your kids to come back from college:

  • Loving socialism and hating free market capitalism;
  • Believing male and female don’t objectively exist;
  • Excusing rockets being shot into Israel, then blaming Israel for defending itself;
  • Romanticizing Che Guevara and reviling George Washington;
  • And dismissing America, arguably the most decent country ever created, as racist, genocidal, imperialist, white-supremacist, hate-filled, and misogynistic.

Have you ever met anyone with all of these beliefs? (Or, any of them?) And there are many other wild claims: that kids are fed “nihilism” at every educational level; that universities “despise you” and “undermine the most basic values of Western Civilization.” As a result, it’s so hard to even take any of this seriously, but I am trying.

There are in fact thoughtful conservative critiques out there, e.g. The Case Against Education, and The Diversity Delusion. I imagine that even these authors would recoil at Kirk’s tirade; I may be wrong.

The case of U Michigan’s Vice Provost was intriguing and I would like to have learned a little about that (besides this person’s responsibility for dreaming up phobias.) But at least I learned one thing from this video: Charlie Kirk thinks that today’s universities are good for nothing.

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