It is perhaps not yet a truth universally acknowledged that academia is the most conservative institutions in the Capitalist World. From its AstroTurf Business schools to its “end-of-history” Political Science departments, no Bourgeois institution can boast the ability of at once seeming to be progressive while actively working against actual Liberation. Nothing makes this more apparent than the quite mythical figure of the Leftist Professor. Certain organizations of the Neoliberal variety seemingly make their entire need to exist based on this figure. Turning Points USA, PragerU, even actual institutions of Higher Learning like Hillsdale College make their modus vivendi a war against supposed Leftism on campus.
What can we make of this figure then when so many millions of dollars are funneled into these organizations to work as ideological exorcists against the specter of Leftism? For one, we can plainly see that this works in the universities’ interests since it rids them of policing their own faculty since it is now outsourced to the “private sector.” What is more, this external security makes it so that the spectacle of Liberality that universities (state/public and private alike) try to demonstrate themselves as upholding is keep in place. What ends up happening then is that the neoliberalization of state universities in particular can go about seemingly unchallenged since the “free speech debates” and the like are consuming the underpaid hours of university staff.
Moreover, what occurs ideologically is something quite simple. By claiming that Liberal ideas are the “Far Left” and not clearly delimiting what that term actually means, the aforementioned organizations but also much more sinister organizations such as the Mises Institute and the Heritage Foundation etc. are allowed to pump millions of dollars into student groups such as TPUSA, YAFL, YAF, et al. which further create a space where Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman are upheld as liberatory figures while a center-right Democrat professor is literally put on a watchlist for supposedly not being ideologically pure to the standards of the Capitalist paradigm.
In other words, these “debates” which are hosted by various Right-Wing organizations are there only to bring out the Liberal professor who they can then revile as being the spawn of Marx and Lucifer, so to speak. However, this proves itself to be false to all Communists since it frankly makes no difference to us since we wish to see the abolishing of Capitalism and all of its institutions and would thus result in both the Social Liberal and the Classical Liberal wings of Capitalism to be overturned as well. Even so, this guerra delle idee while fabricated to hide the neoliberalization of universities and their turn away from actually being the university of John Henry Newman and instead becoming Uncle Rothbard’s Degree Emporium. Hilarity aside, this ideological pruning and culling of people barely to the Left of Rush Limbaugh means that the university and the idea of the university is one which is meant to dissimulate and confuse the minds of youth. It not only on one hand pushes postmodernist revisionist lines in the Humanities as it dries up their funding and reduces them to mere Freshman Composition teaching stations, but it also pushes Chicago School and Austrian School economics as the sole paradigm which can transform society. It also pushes the economism of STEM in that it wishes to merely reduce university STEM department graduates into free “exposure” labor and then remove any interaction with actual ideas.
This is nothing against STEM, but it is something against why STEM as such is upheld as the only real purpose for Higher Education. It provides the ideological basis for more intense removals as the Social Sciences and Humanities are razed for even questioning the supremacy of absolute privatization and marketization of all existence. Thus, the Myth of the Leftist Professor is a kind of religious experience come to life as the congregants of the Church of Capitalism seek to expel any questioning of their faith and point their finger at an adversary that can only be seen by their members alone.
This should trouble us and give us pause. The university is not a battleground of ideas, but a morgue of victims of nonsensical witch hunts. As state universities in particular become increasingly more and more neoliberalized and in some cases are reduced to institutional bare life or even shuttered, it becomes apparent what this Myth is about. It is to make it so any Leftist who is open on campus can be forced into ideological submission as the Social Liberals in tenured positions or contingent positions get castigated for not being Capitalist enough. It is a spectacle that is beyond farcical to the point where it is consequently bordering on the tragic. As these supposed “wars” go on in academia, I say that we must work on defending Leftist thought by truly engaging in it even more. We must remember that academia is the most conservative institution in the Capitalist world precisely because of this spectacle and thus work to combat it and overthrow it as well.