Image by Anemone 123
If you’ve ever wondered why there is a surplus of radical politics in our universities and colleges, look no further. Regardless of where you look, there are predominantly far-left professors and teachers and, to a far lesser extent, far-right. It is impossible to be a centrist while studying at university or college. Believe me, I’ve tried.
It all stems from the 1960s, where more and more professors became tenured. In other words—it became almost impossible to discipline or fire a professor unless they committed an act short of murder. Of course, the image of the ivory tower existed before then, but with more and more professors being rooted to a particular university, they began conversing with the same sorts of people. So why didn’t it stop there? A couple of decades ago, said professors began looking for their replacements. Of course professors want their replacements to be just like them, so it doesn’t disrupt the status quo.
The reason universities have become so radical is because of their insularity. Surrounded by fellow tenured professors with similar opinions in the first place leads the universities to only have one prevailing viewpoint. These universities all then copy and reference each other for essays and PhD theses, and everything starts to look a little familiar.
Academic circle jerking, also known as the Echo Chamber Effect, is a major problem within universities and colleges, especially within the Arts faculties. In order for a student to achieve high grades, they cannot write an essay espousing their own opinions. No, no—where are your sources? In order for a student to receive high grades, they must write an essay that quotes previous students/professors’ opinions on the topic. It looks a lot like the image below. One professor, usually from decades ago, theorizes about a topic. Decades later, much like the [fake] Morty Shirt Theory, they’re all just repeating each other’s work, claiming it’s something new, and if something new is added to the mix, it is usually dismissed.
Students who hear the same politics espoused in their class often enough, start to believe that it can be the only true way to view things. If you’re told by both professors and previous references on the topic constantly that what you’re reading in Literary Studies class is about racism and misogyny, then you just may start to see that everywhere. This is only compounded by the strong beliefs also espoused by said teachers of the topic.
Ever wondered why Gender Studies students immediately believe mythical concepts like patriarchy are destroying the world? If you read and hear about something enough times, from enough people, you start to believe it.
While at university, in many different faculties, I only heard opinions from one side: The Left. Due to the growing hysteria on campus, I genuinely believed when Tony Abbott, a right-leaning candidate, won the Australian Election back in 2013, that Australia would suddenly go back to the 1950s. Not only was Abbott ineffective, he was also incompetent, and only passed one memorable law: to stop the boats. No, women didn’t suddenly have their rights taken away. Why do you think I don’t take the hysteria about Donald Trump seriously?
I had a journalism unit chair who was too busy complaining about NewsCorpse and the Right-wing media to actually run the unit, leaving both us and our teacher in a constant state of confusion—having had to postpone assignment due dates three times since he seemed unaware he was actually in charge of a unit. He was later fired for harassing and attempting to have students from other faculties expelled.
The best way to deal with the prevailing insularity in academic institutions? There isn’t a way. I won’t offer you a solution to getting through university unscathed: It took me four years to realize how ridiculous the radical politics on campus were. Even then, I still lean center-Left.
Or maybe someone’s already written an essay on how to solve the problem, previously referenced by some dude from 1998, quoted in this random essay from 1967, et al.