December 7, 2021

Professor Resigns Over Academic Authoritarianism

Former philosophy professor Peter Boghossian has just quit his job at Portland State University after ten years of teaching. His resignation was not the result of a scandal. He is not simply retiring so he can ride off into the sunset and live the good life. According to the letter he wrote to the university’s administrators, he has chosen to step down because the school has eschewed the liberal thought on which it was founded and embraced the tenets of wokeism, which is known for its strict intolerance to opposing ideas.

In his missive, Boghossian outlined the myriad of examples demonstrating how far the university has sunk into hard leftist ideology. But his story illustrates what has become clear to more people: Many American learning institutions have switched from educating to indoctrinating.

Boghossian Scorches Portland State University

Early in his letter, Boghossian notes that during his tenure, he “invited a wide range of guest lecturers to address my classes, from Flat-Earthers to Christian apologists to global climate skeptics to Occupy Wall Street advocates.” He explains that he invited these speakers precisely because he did not agree with their views but wished to teach his students to think critically and engage in civil debate.

The former professor stated that his objective was not to push his students to a “particular conclusion” but to “create the conditions for rigorous thought” while giving them the “tools to hunt and furrow for their own conclusions.”

Boghossian then gets to the crux of the matter:

“But brick by brick, the university has made this kind of intellectual exploration impossible. It has transformed a bastion of free inquiry into a Social Justice factory whose only inputs were race, gender, and victimhood and whose only outputs were grievance and division.

Students at Portland State are not being taught to think. Rather, they are being trained to mimic the moral certainty of ideologues. Faculty and administrators have abdicated the university’s truth-seeking mission and instead drive intolerance of divergent beliefs and opinions. This has created a culture of offense where students are now afraid to speak openly and honestly.”

GettyImages-1322269185 University classroom

(Photo By Isabel Infantes/Europa Press via Getty Images)

The professor also said that the growing intolerance of opposing viewpoints had a chilling effect on students who wished to express differing opinions. “I witnessed students refusing to engage with different points of view,” Boghossian writes. “Questions from faculty at diversity trainings that challenged approved narratives were instantly dismissed.”

He noted that people would be accused of “microaggressions” if they asked for evidence showing new institutional policies were valid. Even further, the professor pointed out that educators were labeled as bigots if they assigned material written by “philosophers who happened to have been European and male.”

Boghossian detailed the retaliatory measures students and the university’s leadership had taken against him for having the chutzpah question their orthodoxy. In the 2016-2017 academic year, a former student filed a complaint against him, prompting the university to launch a Title IX investigation. The probe found the professor engaged in no wrongdoing, but the investigation was responsible for floating the rumor that he beat his wife. This was only one of the aggressive actions outlined in his letter.

Academic Totalitarianism?

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Boghossian’s complaints are similar to many others who have noticed the disturbing paradigm shift in the world of American academics. It seems that more universities have jettisoned actual education in favor of promoting a hard leftist ideology. Educators and administrators use their positions to squash the expression of ideas and opinions that do not conform to the strictures of the wokeism religion.

To put it simply, these people have deliberately created an environment in which students and educators cannot question progressive ideology without fear of reprisal. But this should not come as a surprise. This type of soft authoritarianism is written into the progressives’ political DNA. At many of these learning institutions, students are not being taught how to think; they are being told what to think. These are no longer places where students can learn. They have become an apparatus designed to churn out a steady stream of leftist activists.

If indoctrination is the objective, the people in charge cannot afford to brook dissent because it would interfere with the mental programming. Unfortunately, this trend is likely to get worse. As the woke zealotry continues to permeate these institutions unopposed, more students will graduate and bring these values into the workforce and other areas of American society. Those on the other side of the issue better have a response; otherwise, the nation will continue its slow lurch towards socialism.

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