Saturday, May 8, 2010

Defining Dumbness Down

Defining Dumbness Down

I well remember my Freshman American Government class, Political Science 102 back in the spring semester of 1968. The success of the American political experiment was something that I enjoyed studying so I went to the class with eagerness for I was, after all, a Poly Sci major in the pre-Law program of the University. The first three weeks of class were interesting and even then I could tell that the professor was quite liberal. He had already made several comments about the Vietnam War and it was clear that he supported the growing student demonstrations around the nation. In my naivety I thought little about that because there were many, some of my friends in the dorm included, who were against American involvement in Vietnam. I was not but the discourse was civil and good natured among friends even though it was not so good natured elsewhere around the nation.

During the 4th week of classes I was selected for the Army ROTC Honor Guard which entailed drill time in what used to be an open period right after my Political Science class. Being selected for the Honor Guard was both an honor and an important accomplishment as I was applying for a scholarship from the Army that would pay for my education. Without the scholarship I could look forward to either 3 more years of student loans and working two jobs or just working 1 job to pay for food and rent as the scholarship would take care of books, fees and tuition. I knew I wouldn't have time to go back to the dorm after class and change so I proudly wore my uniform to class. It wasn't a problem wearing the uniform on campus back then, at least at the University of Idaho. There were some on campus that were disturbed by the sight of military uniforms but with robust Army, Air Force and Navy ROTC programs in full swing, cadets in the uniforms of the various services were seen walking around the campus daily. I found my professor, however, was not so laissez-faire.

Today I cannot remember the man's name and his face is only a dim memory. But I can clearly remember the look he gave me when he walked into the classroom and saw the uniform. And I can remember the steady stream of snide remarks that followed in that hour. "Gestapo-like" and "militaristic" were a couple that come to mind, though there were others. The comments were cleverly not directed directly at me but it seemed that he had a way of looking my way whenever he mentioned "fascists" in the military and in the government. In the first 3 weeks of class I had participated in the discussion and had heard comments from the professor such as "good point" or "good question" but on this day nothing that I could say was either worth hearing, a valid offering or deserving of an answer. The class which usually seemed all too short became interminable after the first 15 minutes and when it finally ended I left the classroom resolved to never wear the uniform in that class again for it was all to clear to me and everyone else that the uniform, in the professor's eyes, was a disgusting red-flag.

I made arrangements after that to take my uniform to the ROTC offices well before the class and I would go there and change afterwards. SFC Bill Adams, a combat veteran, was happy to let me hang it behind his door after I told him what had happened. Unfortunately that didn't help all that much because from that day forward I was a marked-man in class. Nothing I could say was correct and no comment I could make was worthy. I remember the mid-term examination–there were only two exams in the course plus class participation–and as I read the questions I knew the answers. I confidently wrote up to the last minute filling a "blue book" and could tell that I had written as much or more on the questions as any one else in the class. The next week I got my paper back and it was a D.  When I asked the professor why he said something about my inability to grasp the finer points of the lessons.

I redoubled my efforts and finally just refused to back down from the professor. I felt I had nothing to lose anyway so when he would dismiss my comment with a sneer and a snide remark I began to sneer and snidely reply in kind. While a couple of my classmates told me it seemed as if the professor and I were at war and maybe I should just back down and parrot back the professor's views, I refused. Anything less than a B for the course would probably kill my chances for the Army ROTC scholarship but to buckle and give in to his pushy liberalism was not an alternative.  Although I never wore the uniform to his class again, we went at it tooth and nail for the rest of the semester.

The final for that course was an essay exam consisting of three questions. I had read the material, knew it by heart in fact, so I wasn't daunted by the questions. My concern was the professor. I wrote fast and furiously completing 1 blue book for each of the 3 questions and was the last one to hand in the test at 1 minute before the 2 hours were up. Then all I could do was wait while finishing the tests in my other courses and getting ready to head back home for my summer job. A week and a half later I made a visit to the Poly Sci Department to check and see if the final grades for the class were posted. They weren't but there was a notice on the bulletin board that the Political Science 102 class could stop by the secretary and pick-up their exams and see the grade for the exam. The 50 foot walk seemed like a mile and when I got there I gave the secretary my Student ID and asked for my blue book. When she handed it to me she smiled and said, "Well done!" I looked at the blue books, now stapled together, and on the front was an A+. That meant I would have at least a B for the course which would keep me in the running for the scholarship. I was walking on air as I left her office and as I was walking out the front door of the building I saw the professor heading in. I nodded and said a cheery hello and he looked at me with obvious distaste and said, "You can go back to wearing your uniform now" and brushed past me and on into the building. I made sure to never take another course from him again.

And I got the scholarship.

The linked article from the American Thinker is an excellent discourse on the impact of ├╝ber-liberal professors on the higher education system in the West. Professors like the one I had are not at all shy about trying to tear down their students' belief systems and replace them with their own. They arrogantly do so with the smug self-assurance that they alone are the arbiters of what is right and wrong in America and you can be sure that they believe that there is nothing good in the America that was. Their goal is a country where only liberal-progressive-socialist thought is allowed and where conservative thinkers are reviled and demeaned. They do not teach objective thought or reasoning. As a matter of fact, they do not teach students to think critically at all. They indoctrinate just as surely as the professor was doing his best that semester to indoctrinate me and turn me away from the military. A university education is now less an education than it is an intensive indoctrination of malleable minds. It amazes, and pleases, me that despite all the pressure that university professors can bring to bear on a student, there are those that still are able to resist indoctrination and graduate from university as conservatives.

Follow the link for an excellent read.

P.S.:  No, I didn't become a lawyer.  I changed my degree program to a Bachelor of Science in Education and went on active duty in November 1971 after completing the required 9 weeks of student teaching to qualify for a teaching certificate.

P.P.S.:  I never taught either.

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