I begin this essay by inviting you to read two articles; the first is from the Wall Street Journal How California’s Colleges Indoctrinate Students by Peter Berkowitz in the March 30, 2012 issue. You may not have free access to that article, so I also refer you to the report A Crisis of Competence: The Corrupting Effect of Political Activism in the University of California which is the subject of Mr. Berkowitz’s article.
Since the original report is a quite lengthy 87 pages with numerous footnotes and references, I will rely on selected excerpts from the Journal report to illustrate my case that Mr. Beck is better educated by far than the average UC Berkley graduate, especially in areas of critical thinking, history, social sciences and the US Constitution. Mind you, Mr. Becks academic credentials are limited by his own admission to one course at Yale.
A UC Berkley grad’s credentials.
Note: The following are excerpts from the WSJ article.
… Numerous studies of both the UC system and of higher education nationwide demonstrate that students who graduate from college are increasingly ignorant of history and literature. They are unfamiliar with the principles of American constitutional government. And they are bereft of the skills necessary to comprehend serious books and effectively marshal evidence and argument in written work.
National studies by Stanley Rothman in 1999, and by Neil Gross and Solon Simmons in 2007, have shown that universities’ leftward tilt has become severe. And a 2005 study by Daniel Klein and Andrew Western in Academic Questions (a NAS publication) shows this is certainly true in California. For example, Democrats outnumbered Republicans four to one on University of California, Berkeley, professional school faculties; in the social sciences the ratio was approximately 21 to one.
The same 2005 study revealed that the Berkeley sociology department faculty was home to 17 Democrats and no Republicans. The political science department included 28 Democrats and two Republicans. The English department had 29 Democrats and one Republican; and the history department had 31 Democrats and one Republican.
As “A Crisis of Competence” notes, “a recent study by UCLA’s prestigious Higher Education Research Institute found that more faculty now believe that they should teach their students to be agents of social change than believe that it is important to teach them the classics of Western civilization.”
And this from the report “A Crisis of Competence:”
Printed course descriptions in campus catalogs are the most direct evidence of what is happening in the classroom. We can begin at the very heart of the University’s teaching program: a basic course in one of the largest and most respected departments at the flagship campus, UC Berkeley. In the two course sequence History 7AB (one of which is required for the major in history), the first is entitled “The United States from Settlement to the Civil War.” In the catalog, there follows a very brief statement of the goals of the course, which include “to understand how democratic political institutions emerged in the United States in this period in the context of an economy that depended on slave labor and violent land acquisition.”
I saw this anti-American bias being carried out on the streets of New Haven this past week in the person of Mick, a young ex-Marine I met and talked to at Occupy New Haven. Mick told me that he had attended a class where it was explained to him that the founders were terrorists. I recall that he attended this course somehow in the context of occupy, but I could be mistaken. In any case, that seemed to be his viewpoint. Has this young man ever been presented with a course where the character of George Washington, John Adams and others of the founders was presented? Has he ever been presented with a course where the principles of liberty & tyranny have been presented from folks such as John Locke, Charles de Montesquieu, Alexis de Tocqueville, James Madison and Alexander Hamilton and are discussed in a fair manner? If occupiers are being taught such biased history, then we should not expect the best behavior from these folks, but rather should expect the pitch forks and torches from many of them.
Mr. Beck’s credentials.
At a minimum, Glenn Beck can be described as a self made man, and a highly successful one at that. He has parlayed his communications skills (a gift of gab as a radio DJ) into a highly successful media company which includes radio, TV, authorship and publishing as well as web based productions and Blogs. Beck has written and co-authored a number of best sellers, most centered on American history and politics.
But the thing I admire most is his passion for the foundation of this nation; the first principles if you will, and the lives and ideas of the founders, and his passion for sharing this knowledge (unlike UC Berkley).
While on FoxNews Beck had a series called “Founders Friday” where he would feature a particular founding father. The Friday show would feature a broad and deep discussion with one or more authority on the founder; a historian and/or biographer who had written a significant work on the founder under examination. Some of the founders I recall were:
- George Whitefield
- George Washington
- Benjamin Franklin
- Samuel Adams
- Fredrick Douglas
- Thomas Jefferson
- James Madison
- John Adams
- … and others
Other significant historical figures featured by Beck include Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German Christian pastor who defied Adolf Hitler to the point of his involvement in an assassination attempt on Hitler and Bonhoeffer’s resulting execution.
I and many other Americans like me have become much more educated and informed about American history than ever before; by watching his programs and following up by reading the books he has featured.
I can take a credit course in the counter revolutionary “occupy” movement at Columbia University, but may be hard pressed to find a quality unbiased course in the original American Revolution, its roots, principles and values. Beck has been filling that gap, and it’s free.
Don Johnson – April 2012