Education, Indoctrination, and the Hoax of Academic Freedom


Tuesday, September 21, 2021

In recent days, there has been a great deal of talk about academic freedom and indoctrination in the classroom. Here at N.C. State, Technician correspondent John-William White believes that though there are widespread “concerns about… certain material” such as critical race theory and postmodern philosophy “being taught in classrooms across the state,” to claim that teachers are “indoctrinating” students is a stretch too far. White’s allies would argue that scholars must be allowed to teach nearly any desired curriculum in the name of academic freedom, claiming that Ibram Kendi’s racialized worldview has the same validity as those of Thomas Aquinas or John Locke. While this allowance seems, at a glance, to be a happy medium between censorship and autonomy, it is, in reality, an excuse to propagandize students with radical notions about America based on a perverse and disordered vision of liberty.

It is clear that left-wing indoctrination in education is pervasive across North Carolina. Perhaps the most glaring indicator of said indoctrination is a recent report from the office of Lieutenant Governor Mark Robinson detailing hundreds of records of aggressive, partisan professors working to demonize the American tradition through the lens of critical race theory.

Likewise, there are numerous horror stories across the country of educators driving students leftward, such as civics teacher and Antifa activist Gabriel Gipe’s admission that he has “180 days to turn [students] into revolutionaries.” Gipe gives students extra credit for attending left-wing protests and hangs an Antifa flag in his classroom. He tells student dissenters that the anarchist flag “makes fascists feel uncomfortable, so… I don’t really know what to tell you.” Gipe also openly admits to teaching critical race theory, which proposes that America is founded on, and inextricably tied to, racism and prescribes the uprooting of American ideals and institutions as the solution. 

Similarly, California teacher Kristin Pitzen encourages her schoolchildren to pledge allegiance to her Pride flag in their English class. In a TikTok, she reveals that she removed the American flag from her classroom as it “made [her] uncomfortable,” instead subverting American patriotism through her de-facto mandate that children swear fealty to Leftism. Yet, when students and parents protested, members of the left cried censorship, demanding that these teachers be defended in the preservation of academic freedom.

And so, we come to the question of liberty. What liberties should educators be afforded when schooling our children? Presently, as Bill Buckley wrote in God and Man at Yale, we have a doctrine of “ne-plus-ultra relativism, [of] idiot nihilism.” The world is one where the convictions of all educators, no matter how wrongheaded, subversive, or evil must be permitted in the name of academic freedom and tolerance. Such a premise is deeply contradictory to the American conception of liberty and the tale of American history.

The hoax of academic freedom began not in the halls of Yale or Harvard, then founded as Christian Missions, but in 1575 in The University of Leiden, which, after mandating absolute curricular tolerance, reversed their decree to combat Arminianism. After Leiden re-established its standards, several 18th-century German universities revived its policy of toleration, which Napoleon soon shuttered to quell the tide of secularism amid the chaos. This trend of limiting professorial freedom is indicative of a simple truth. Whenever some ideas are taught, others will be contradicted and excluded. If you teach two plus two equals four, you cannot teach two plus two equals five. If Gabriel Gipe teaches that America is irredeemably racist and deserving of revolution, he cannot teach that America is a nation worthy of allegiance. 

There is no liberty for professors to teach wrong ideas in public education. Tolerating such behavior under the guise of academic freedom serves no purpose but the inculcation of our children in radical left-wing dogma. There is no legitimate role of schools to teach critical race theory, to encourage children to value pride above the national symbol, or to raise them to seek sin and vice. The legitimate role of education is and has always been to turn pupils into virtuous, productive, and employable citizens who treasure America’s foundational values through the enforcement of curricular standards on educators.

The schoolhouse has never been a fair marketplace of ideas, where intellectual heavyweights duke it out for supremacy. Rather, it is a place where students are instructed on what to think. The question is what instructors are teaching, and when teachers seek to raise our children to admonish virtue and embrace sin, they must be greeted with staunch standards and just discipline, lest we risk the destruction of the American experiment at the hands of a generation raised to oppose her tradition.

Jack is a traditional conservative who values the preservation of the American culture and way of life. He ascribes to Thomas Aquinas’s ethical philosophy and is a fierce advocate of the Lockean standard on toleration and Joseph McCarthy’s views on ideological permissiveness.

The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.

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About Jack Bishop

Jack is a traditional conservative who values the preservation of the American culture and way of life. He ascribes to Thomas Aquinas’s ethical philosophy and is a fierce advocate of the Lockean standard on toleration and Joseph McCarthy’s views on ideological permissiveness.

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