The following article is taken from an interview with an English professor at a major research university. We cannot reveal the name of this professor or the school at which she teaches.
This professor no longer receives any merit raises from her university because of her conservative viewpoints, and she fears further reprisal if she speaks out publicly against the system. She has observed the shocking radical trends seeping into the university and her discipline in particular. Here, she lifts the curtain for us on the radical takeover of the classroom:
When you read "Women in Literature" as a course heading you would expect the course to include books about women, and that's usually what it is, except from a feminist slant. However, the special topic next term for this course is female sexuality. These days, when you read "female sexuality" you have to translate that as "lesbianism." Here is the course description for English [- - -], "Women in Literature: Female Sexuality":
We will read works written by a diverse group of women in order to explore ways in which women's sexuality has been represented in literature and culture. Although our emphasis will be on female sexuality, especially so-called "transgressive" sexualities such as lesbianism, we will also pay close attention to race, class, (dis)ability, and other aspects of identity and society that affect women's erotic experiences. We will ultimately attempt to ask, as have many queer theorists, how female sexuality might be reconfigured once we decenter heterosexism as the defining standard of sexuality.
Notice it's taken for granted here that we're going to "decenter" heterosexuals.
This course is for juniors and seniors, and what I find really ominous about this is our pre-education majors in English have to include a course in Women's Studies of some sort. So all our pre-ed majors really must take this course since it's the only Women's Studies course offered for an English major. That means all of our potential high school teachers are going to wind up in courses like "Female Sexuality."
When I started my graduate work the really awful things had not hit yet. Sometimes when I saw the latest radical ideas in journals I would laugh. In fact when I first got to [my present position], the first four years seemed fine. Occasionally I would "crack-up" at a staff meeting when somebody would talk about one of these radical ideas, thinking it was a joke.
Then I discovered it was not a joke. Around 1988 or 1989 I suddenly realized what was happening. For me, it began with the MLA, the Modern Language Association. The MLA is the organization for language departments; everybody interviews for jobs [at MLA conventions]. Essentially, if you want to be a part of the language profession, such as English, in any university, this is where you interview.
I remember the last MLA meeting I went to; it was the infamous one in 1989, the one in which they had that wonderful session, "The Muse of Masturbation." I did not go to that session. I had visions of people in long raincoats sitting in there following along. I was embarrassed to walk outside the hotel and be identified with these people. So I quit the MLA.
Then I started seeing a trend toward such radicalism more and more in my own department. Now, my department has been completely overrun. I've let almost all my journal subscriptions lapse because it's all just "porno-Marxism." It has gotten very, very bad. In fact some of my students refer to their courses as "Indoctrination 101."
English is a kind of "soft" discipline. It's always depended a lot on interpretations. There's a lot of good, scientific scholarship that can go on in the field, like bibliographic studies and historical research--I consider myself a literary historian. But a lot of it is open to interpretation, and once a person is free to say, "Well, here's what I think it's supposed to mean," without requiring any hard evidence, then feelings and emotion become more important than logic.
As Christians we would say that regardless of whether or not you can nail something down and prove it, you should still have logic behind your argument. This is where it gets so fuzzy today. Logic itself, according to modern thought, is a "patriarchal" concept; it's described as "linear thinking" and "phallo-centric." These days we're supposed to depend on our feelings and experience. Logic is taught to be irrelevant and sometimes even harmful. All we're supposed to use now is lived experience--but it has to be the lived experience of the group to which you're assigned: a victim group of some sort, like homosexuality.
All of this, in my opinion, goes back to the late 1960's and the avoidance of the draft. A lot of people flocking to the colleges, and especially to the graduate schools--to avoid the draft quite frankly, would not have made it through school if it were not for the "soft" disciplines.
Those who flocked to the soft disciplines are now senior faculty and administrators; they are the protesters of the late 1960's. These radicals hand-pick their disciples from among the graduate students and they train them. Sometimes the young ones end up even more radical than their mentors. The person teaching the course in female sexuality, for example, is relatively young.
These radicals don't have any fear of reprisal for what they espouse. But if you disagree with [the radicals], you have to fear revenge. You're declared a racist, sexist, homophobe--that's the new Holy Trinity; you have to say those three words together.
There's no suspicion in my department that I'm different because it's always been known--which is funny because I've always thought of myself as a liberal, but suddenly I discover I'm a "right-wing fascist wacko."
The real trouble for me started when I was interviewed by a reporter about political correctness. As I was leaving the interview I commented off the record, "Sometimes I get discouraged with the field. But like I tell my students, I stay here to hold the line against the barbarians." The reporter printed that. Then the barbarians came out of the woodwork after me.
It is dangerous to speak up, and I’ve learned not to complain officially. When the “Give Us Your Children: What We Can’t F - - -, We eat!” poster appeared on a professor’s door, I brought it to the attention of the secretaries. They looked at it and complained. Also, about 20 people called into the department, apparently mostly students, complaining about the poster.
Finally, the chairman asked the people who posted it to take it down. They took it down for a day or two and then promptly put it up again with a sign saying that the department was full of homophobia. The chairman had to go talk to them again because the complaints kept coming in, but by this time the term ended and the problem went away. But the chairman still sent everyone in the department a letter about this uproar in which he apologized not for the flyers but for the necessity of taking them down for two days. He spent two pages going around and around the bush saying “we have to understand that what is one person’s favorite poster is someone else’s offense,” and “we are dedicated to academic freedom here,” and he just waffled about the whole thing.
Incredibly, nobody felt able to say, “This is disgusting. This is not a matter of whether it’s homosexual or heterosexual--it’s child-abuse. It has no place here.” No one had the courage to say that.
I don’t think this is an isolated case. It’s rampant throughout the discipline. The scholarly publications are proof that everybody has to teach and research and write in either Marxism or “queer theory”--I call the whole thing “porno-Marxism;” it’s all either Marxist or pornographic.
I don’t want to communicate that I’m the only one not doing porno-Marxism; there are some places where decent scholarship can get published. There are still some people working on traditional things, but the field is flooded with the others, and of course they are the most vocal--and they get the biggest raises.
If it were just a blatant attack on the Biblical worldview it would be easier to defend. For once the attack is blatant, and it will be, radicals will refer to religion, and especially Christianity, only with insults and blame. But blatant attacks like that might just serve to stiffen the spine of Christian students, because when you’re attacked you go into a defensive position.
But there’s something more dangerous that parents ought to be aware of. At the university we are flooded with the notion that everything is a matter of emotion and there is no objective reality. We are not supposed to make judgments any more, except about the religious right, of course.
We cannot make any canon of good literature as opposed to other literature because doing so is a very "Eurocentric" and "patriarchal" exercise. Simply the whole idea of making judgments is taught as discriminatory. Everything is now on the same level: comic books, advertising, graffiti, Shakespeare. Our own experience is our guide.
In beginning writing programs, the popular idea now is to look at different types of literacies. Today, "literacy" doesn't mean being able to read and write, but it means learning how to fit into an environment. When you fit into an environment, you are becoming "literate."
Writing assignments tend to be about one's own experience. Feelings are all. The goal is to keep students from making the assumption that there is objective reality. Even when the teacher is trying to be non-biased, this insidious relativism creeps into everything. This can break down a biblical worldview much more slowly, but much more completely, than a direct attack.
If you attempt to defend your beliefs by reason, logic and evidence then you are just showing how "Eurocentric" you are. So you can't win.
I've seen students pick up the lingo without thinking about what they're saying: to object to any kind of sex outside marriage, but especially homosexual sex, is to be "homophobic." Students feel apologetic, as though they have no basis for their beliefs; their beliefs have just become another form of experience.
And yet there is such a hunger for the grounding in reality they had before they came to the university. There's something in the back of their mind that tells them there is an objective reality--there is a difference between right and wrong--and they get very confused about the whole thing.
My office has become a sort of safe haven for students who want to talk about these sorts of things. They have been told so many times that it's all a matter of experience and feeling that they haven't learned how to defend their positions. In fact, they're being taught that one doesn't defend one's position with logic and reason, so they get lost. Their attempt to use logic becomes simply another kind of experience, not something that can be depended on--in fact, it's probably suspect.
I've observed that juniors' and seniors' skills have actually improved a lot, but they can't write a persuasive essay; they can't write a logical analysis. But it's not because they haven't been taught how to, but because they see no reason to. The students have been taught that there's no reason to use logic or write a logical analysis.
And Christianity is defensible by reason.
But using reason now is just another form of "literacy," which is no better than any other form of expression such as throwing a tantrum and turning blue; there are all different kinds of expression coming from all different kinds of experience.
For students who are prepared for this and who know what is coming, there are associations they can make outside of their classes where they can get some strength. But what they need most of all is some kind of guidance; they need supervision from somebody older, someone they can look up to the same way they look up to their teachers. Students need someone who can say, "Logic is okay. You can be religious and intelligent at the same time--it is possible."
There are ways to counteract the radical trend if students know what they're facing. Even some of the courses that look relatively harmless can be dangerous. For example, one quarter of introductory writing is listed in the catalogue as "The American Experience." Parents looking at that may think, "Oh, wonderful. They're going to be reading the American heritage." Wrong. This course, which is taught in every department, is political correctness; it's really America-bashing, or "what's wrong with America."
What I would recommend is a lot of communication between parents and students so that parents get an idea of what is really going on in class. If a student is particularly reticent and doesn't want to tell their parents about what's going on in class, then that's a sign of trouble.
Questions parents can ask include, "What are you reading? I would like to read along with you so we can share it." Or even just, "When I studied that, this is the kind of thing that we read. Is that what you're reading?" Parents shouldn't seem like policemen, but they should just keep the lines of communication open.
Students really do want the good stuff. I teach the old-fashioned way, and my student evaluations at the end of every quarter are love letters. They appreciate how tough I am on them, and they appreciate how much I've poured out on them of what I know. I do traditional things and they love that; they're starving for it and there are some professors who still do it. If they could find those professors, they would be in good shape.
What we all have to do is pray for each other. Eventually is has to get better. One of my old professors says, "What's going to happen is the whole system is going to collapse under its own weight; it can't last forever. And as with the invasion of the barbarians at the end of the Roman empire, the whole thing will collapse and we'll start from scratch and build something good again."
I am not that pessimistic. I think change will come about as traditional professors find each other and discover that they're not alone, Christian students find each other and know they're not alone, and students discover a person can be intelligent and religious at the same time.
It's not an illness; it's a belief.