07 February 2017

Academic Historians: Unhinged?

I've had a request from another Civil War blogger and a Civil War historian for more posts about political correctness and leftist extremism in academia. I always aim to please so, here you go . . .
The dreary uniformity of diatribes against our nation as a bastion of racism, sexism, and homophobia is nothing new. These same talks have been standard on campus for decades; they have been merely repackaged as attacks on a President who dared deny the “truth” that the United States is a cesspool of injustice that must be fundamentally transformed through radical political action. That not one academic on the official OAH program has anything nice to say about our President, or those who voted for him, also is unsurprising. We have known for many years, and finally have multiple studies corroborating the fact that, college faculties are virtually unanimous in their leftism [Emphasis mine.]
The quotation above is taken from a recent piece written by Professor Bruce P. Frohnen who teaches law at Ohio Northern University. The piece is affectionately titled: History, Hate, & Hysteria: The Unhinging of the Academic Left. Professor Frohnen's article was prompted by the recent announcement of a lecture series by the Organization of American Historians. The lecture series is about the election of Donald Trump. Understanding that a recent study revealed that the highest ratio of Democrat to Republican voter registration among academic professors (34 to 1) belongs to history professors, would logic and common sense suggest that we'd get an objective, balanced analysis of Trump's election from the OAH? Please, do give us your professional and objective opinion. Professor Frohnen writes:
Pretty much everyone knows at this point that campuses are fortresses of leftist groupthink. Less well known, or at least less acknowledged, is just how extreme the universal views really are. 
"Pretty much everyone" except, perhaps, those inhabiting the ivory towers. I actually think many of them really do know - they're just too cowardly to admit it. 

And this paragraph encapsulates our nation's current status quite well:
For decades, now, academics have gotten away with the obvious falsehood that their Marxist analysis is merely a form of critique, giving intellectual heft to a benignly liberal worldview and program. Whether in history, political science, law, or pretty much any other field, academics, in part through their writings but mostly through their indoctrination of captive student audiences with no ideological options, have pushed the public significantly to the left in its political and cultural assumptions. We have gone from demanding public morality to disparaging it, from assuming the goodness of our nation to viciously attacking its fundamental character as matters of public faith, from demanding public civility for all to attacking anyone who fails to toe the latest line of political correctness. Why? Because two generations of students have heard nothing else than, and been downgraded for disagreeing with, a pervasive orthodoxy in which infinite injustices are blamed on America, Christianity, and tradition. [Emphasis mine.]
Ahh, but as obvious all this is to those who follow such things, these folks have secrets. According to Professor Frohnen:
The real face of the academy—the face it showcases for its own members—is even more extremist than might appear . . .
And, as I've said on numerous occasions, in different ways:
The “cutting edge” of historical study is a set of exercises in studied fabrication. There is no pretense, even, of a commitment to finding out what actually happened in the past. No tolerance is to be exercised toward those who fail to rewrite events of the past to emphasize the narrative of grievance. All that is left is the drive to destroy what we know about the past and replace it with something more useful for contemporary political purposes.
Professor Frohnen's criticisms sound similar to that of esteemed historian, Gordon S. Wood who noted the following:
. . . academics have given up trying to recover an honest picture of the past and have decided that their history-writing should become simply an instrument of moral hand-wringing. . . . this obsession has seriously affected the writing of American history.
I would recommend reading all of Professor Frohnen's piece here

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