Monday, June 04, 2007

Life on the plantation

Although graduate-level professional education and research in US schools is still the best in the world, American undergraduate education has been in serious trouble since the late 1980s, even as its costs continue to explode. The best-known indicator is what is commonly called political correctness, a double-barreled assault: the trashing of intellectual standards and teaching with stale and wrong 1960s ideology, and the censorship and intimidation of students - and occasionally faculty - who refuse to go along with it.

But the decline of undergraduate education (and high school education along with it) is a much larger trend - PC is just the most visible part of it. And PC is far from an anecdotal problem - it's taken over higher education in the last decade and a half like a tree blight attacking a forest. The essential problem is that American universities have become refuges and hideouts for 1960s leftovers who reject the real world and fervently believe in false ideologies. Their vision of the university - as a retreat from fact, reason, and reality in general - conflicts with education and the free pursuit of knowledge. Academics are far from all being like this - especially in the hard sciences, engineering, and even social sciences - but the PC blight is widespread, particularly in the humanities. Campus administrators play a crucial enabling role.

Evan Coyne Maloney has just released his new Indoctrinate U, a Michael Moore-style documentary-combined-with-send-up of the PC university (motto: Reductio Ad Absurdum). And unlike Moore's movies, it's even accurate :) Maloney is still trying to find a distributor, but you can take a look at the trailer over at his site. You can also sign up for email notification whenever the movie makes it to the cinema houses. The email signups go immediately into Maloney's portfolio to convince distributors to take his film. It has been screened at a couple of film festivals.

Maloney has already signed up over 20,000 interested would-be viewers. His film has also received mostly positive reviews - see these by Linda Seebach, Stanley Kurtz, and David Hogberg.
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POSTSCRIPTS: One of the stars of the film is Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), founded by liberatarian Alan Charles Kors and liberal Harvey Silverglate, a product of the academic PC wars of the 1990s. Kors and Silverglate co-authored the important 1998 study, The Shadow University, which all started with a water buffalo in Philadelphia .... FIRE does important work defending students and faculty steamrollered by the academic free-thought-stifling machine.

Indoctrinate U was funded by On The Fence Films, which also has a number of informative films on the reality of Canada's single-payer healthcare system (hint: it's very different from what you normally hear in the media here). Maloney and his film-making partner Stuart Browning were interviewed by Instapundit last year.

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