Fear not, oh academics! The following essay will be fully ignored/rejected by your ivory tower. The Chronicle of Higher Education and Inside Higher Ed despise alt-opinions and vigorous debate, cornerstone of a thriving democracy. They push career, not rude-truth telling. They will publish plenty of vacuous articles like “How to Prepare for Class without Overpreparing” (Prof. James Lang) and “Why I’m Easy: I’m Giving Lot’s of A’s” (Prof. Gary Laderman). “5 Tips on Surviving Your First Year as a Department Head” is another such article (Profs. Rob Kramer and Peter J. Mucha). “Chairs are notoriously stuck in the middle, serving everyone in all directions,” argue the two authors. Well, intellectually-corrupt chairs—and there are plenty of them—do NOT serve rare professors who possess the courage to call them out and risk career in doing so. Rather than five superficial tips, I’d suggest one tip for all academics placing career far above truth telling like the large majority of chairs: fortify your modus operandi of turning a blind eye, backslapping, and self-congratulating. That indeed might even help you get into a deanship. The Chronicle and Inside Higher Ed have been rejecting my alt-opinion essays for years now. Below is one I recently wrote and submitted to the former. The response from the faceless (nameless) editors was identical to the last response received (hyper-polite and hyper-vacuous—higher ed in a nutshell):
Dear Dr. Slone,
Thank you for sending us this essay. Several of us have read it, and we regret to say that we are unable to publish it. Because we receive dozens of manuscripts each week on all sorts of topics, we have to make some tough choices. And, unfortunately, that large number also precludes us from responding to each in depth, but we very much appreciate your thinking of The Chronicle.
Truth or Career? How to Teach Literacy in an Era of Academic Marxist-Ideology
[The fundamental question confronting every academic is truth or career—open heresy or turning a blind eye. Choose the latter and get tenure; choose the former and get intellectual integrity. Sadly, in most cases (99%), one cannot choose both.]
Rhetoric can be a synonym for bullshit… and there is a ton of that in the ranks of academics, whose very careers depend on producing it ad nauseam. “Information literacy” is another instance of academic rhetoric. In his Chronicle Vitae (Chronicle of Higher Education) column, “How to Teach Literacy in an Era of Lies,” David Gooblar defines the curious concept as “the capacity to understand, assess, evaluate, and apply information to solve problems or answer questions.”
The essay title—ideology always manages to seep out of the cracks of faux-objectivity—seems to imply that somehow the “Era of Lies” began with Trump, despite the numerous proven lies of Hillary and Obama. Gooblar argues “To succeed in college and in life afterward, students need to be able to tell a truth from a falsehood. And clearly, that is not as easy as it seems.” Yet in today’s PC-controlled ivory tower, to succeed in college perhaps really means to open wide and swallow the plethora of PC-information dished out by ideologically-bound professors, not in the least bit interested in truth and reason, let alone freedom of speech and vigorous debate, democracy’s cornerstones. Truth demands courage. Academics are not known for courage.
The likely reality in academe of ideology over truth tends to control not only students, but also professors, especially those seeking tenure. Gooblar suggests, “Start by talking with some experts. Librarians on your campus have been thinking about these issues for a long time, and many now regularly collaborate with faculty members to teach research skills to students.” And yet if Gooblar had any real experience with librarians—testing the waters of their fiefdoms—, he’d know they served as gatekeepers of information, which means they might eliminate (or block) from their shelves information they do not like… on ideological grounds. Try finding a book or periodical critical of librarians and the American Library Association on library shelves! The American Dissident contains such criticism in each and every issue, and not one library in Idaho will subscribe!
With that regard, read my dialogue de sourds with James LaRue, director of the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, “Notes on the Office for Intellectual Constraint.” In it, LaRue rationalizes librarian censorship and banning. Would Gooblar expose his University of Iowa students to it? Would he even respond to this counter essay? [He did not respond!] Perhaps it would help open student eyes a bit… to information literacy. After all, how to trust those who seek to censor truths they do not like with helping to determine what is truth and what is not? In fact, how to trust the Chronicle itself, which would likely never publish this counter-essay? [It did not publish it!] And would Gooblar even use it in his classes? [Certainly not!] Over the decades, I have grown to know quite well the academic beast. How to trust cultural Marxist professors with teaching students “information literacy”? What was info lit like under Stalin’s or Castro’s grip? What would it be like in Gender or Multiculti Studies classes? How would those professors “guide students in handling information wisely”?
Critical thinking in the Humanities is essentially dead. Reason is dead. What is alive in the Humanities is loud bellowing: “RACIST! RACIST! RACIST! NAZI! NAZI! NAZI!” Ideology is alive and kicking! That is the real information literacy in academe today. However, Gooblar argues, “But learning how to find accurate information, and how to sort out what’s true from what’s false, is integral to most courses and most course assignments.” So, in what courses is it not integral? Gender studies? Well, he dares not mention.
Gooblar does make a good point: “It’s more important for students to be able to evaluate claims than sources, per se.” However, what if students do not have access to all sources, thanks to their gatekeeper librarians? Gooblar favors so-called “professional fact-checkers,” but fails to mention how a number of them have been outed for being ideologically-restricted and thus making false conclusions. Indeed, how might ideology affect fact checking? Google Scholar is mentioned, but not the fact that Google has been involved in censoring, shadow banning, and firing those who disagree with its ideology.
“Information literacy thus moves beyond determining what is true and what is false to an investigation into why we are so easily fooled, and why we so easily fool ourselves,” argues Gooblar. And yet the answer, once again, is quite evident and does not need a plethora of scholarly research papers and op-eds to find it. Ideology is the enemy of reason and truth. That is the answer. Google, Facebook, and YouTube are enemies of reason and truth, though friends of PC-ideology.
Gooblar concludes, “How can students succeed in any intellectual pursuit if they cannot tell what’s true from what’s false?” But I’d argue, how can students succeed in any intellectual pursuit if their professors (and well-indoctrinated peers) are constantly pressuring them to echo multiculti-diversity party-line dogma?
Finally, if one does not actively test the waters of democracy, one will never know just how murky they are. Clearly, Gooblar has never tested them in academe. To do so would be highly destructive to his career and pension benefits. In fact, can Gooblar even profess to be information literate, regarding things academic? Can he even possess the requisite information literacy to process this essay, which questions and challenges his very modus operandi? Moreover, I am not convinced that critical thinking or so-called “information literacy” can even be taught. During my years as a university student, I don’t remember having been taught such things. I learned them on my own. I learned them by actually testing the waters of democracy on my own—and risking career.