Virginia Commonwealth University campus
by James A. Bacon
I’ve been thinking about Jim Sherlock’s recent post, “Marxist Critical Theory and Education,” in which he asserts, “Marxist critical theory ideologues have taken over the Graduate Schools of Education.” In the post he explores the disturbing implications of the claim, but does not provide the evidence behind it. I would not be surprised in the slightest if the statement were true, particularly in the nation’s so-called “elite” institutions — the more elite the institution, the more leftist its orientation.
But I want to see the proof. As publisher of a Virginia blog, I want to know if schools and colleges of education here in Virginia have been taken over by leftist ideologues. I want to know the degree to which the next generation of Virginia teachers are being indoctrinated in leftist dogma.
What follows is an admittedly cursory survey based upon a scan of education school websites. I invite readers to dig deeper and contribute via comments or op-eds.
My quick, superficial finding is that most Virginia’s schools of education incorporate a commitment to inclusiveness, diversity and social justice to some degree. But they vary in the extent to which they seek to indoctrinate these values in their students. The Virginia Commonwealth University appears to be the most overtly ideological, explicitly committing itself to “eradicating structural and systemic racism.” At the other extreme, the emphasis at Virginia’s two historically black public universities appears to be educating students to become productive citizens, not to transform society. Continue reading
By James C. Sherlock
Perhaps my biggest concern for our society is that Marxist critical theory ideologues have taken over the Graduate Schools of Education.
From Jim Bacon’s post earlier:
“The new cultural elite is envious and would like to reappropriate much of that wealth for redistribution as it sees fit. Even more alarmingly, the cultural elite has a totalitarian instinct. Convinced of its righteousness, it is bent upon imposing its values and priorities upon the rest of the population.”
Critical theory was a primary creation of Karl Marx.
It rejects capitalism, property rights, individual freedom and democracy without as far as I have been able to find in my research offering an alternative.
Communism, socialism and fascism all attempted to achieve these goals. All three have proven practical and moral failures.
“Socialism” only works with a capitalist economy and the person freedom to innovate and public welfare programs to redistribute some of the profits of capitalism. That was the successful concession of the post-Mao communist party leaders in China that is being eroded today by the restrictions on personal freedom. The Chinese economic miracle was capitalist, not communist.
Communism and fascism have resulted in unprecedented human cruelty and suffering and ultimately societal destruction.
Critical theory, of which critical race theory is but an offshoot, demands redistribution without considering what happens the day after redistribution, when, if unfettered, talent and effort will instantly start reinstating unequal distribution of property.
by James A. Bacon
One of my college textbooks back in the early 1970s was a book by G. William Domhoff, “Who Rules America?” He argued, as best I can remember, that a corporate elite wielded power through its influence over government as well its control of cultural institutions such as think tanks, foundations, academic departments. Apparently, Domhoff has updated his book several times over the years, but his fundamental thesis hasn’t changed.
It’s time for a fresh look at the question of who rules America. I would argue that America’s elites have fractured. A post-WWII corporate elite, based on wealth, still exists, but it has schismed. Some plutocrats remain relatively conservative on cultural issues, while others have embraced leftist nostrums. Moreover, there has arisen a cultural elite that is highly resentful of the power and privileges of the corporate elite. Members of the cultural elite aren’t mega-wealthy, but they are privileged and well-to-do, and they exercise enormous authority. They have captured the mainstream media, the universities, the foundations, the nonprofits, the museums and other cultural institutions, and through them, they frame the dominant narratives of our time.
The old corporate elite was motivated primarily by a desire to perpetuate its wealth. The new cultural elite is envious and would like to reappropriate much of that wealth for redistribution as it sees fit. Even more alarmingly, the cultural elite has a totalitarian instinct. Convinced of its righteousness, it is bent upon imposing its values and priorities upon the rest of the population. Continue reading