Commentary

Cancel Marxism. Defund the Universities

By Scott McPherson | March 28, 2022 | 1:41pm EDT
A man proffers dollar bills. (Photo credit: Getty/Yuri Cortez/AFP)
A man proffers dollar bills. (Photo credit: Getty/Yuri Cortez/AFP)

No institution in the United States, or the Western world in general, is more enamored with Marxism than so-called “higher education.”

Marxism is grounded in class hatred, the notion that we are each born into a particular economic group that is either oppressor (the capitalists) or oppressed (the proletariat), it being the duty of every member of the latter group to smash the alleged source of all human misery – capitalism – and replace it with socialism, euphemistically described as the unification of all working people through the “abolition of property” and the public ownership of the “means of production.” 

In reality, however, socialism creates an authoritarian society run by an elite who rule through terror. The “freedom” of the proletariat is actually collective misery and abject fear. Despite a century and a half of evidence, which demonstrates to any honest person that liberal societies with free markets have done more than any other system to provide even the most disadvantaged members of society a higher standard of living than the world has ever known, the love affair with Marxism persists – especially on college and university campuses.

Increasingly, they don’t even try to hide it. At the University of Florida, a “group study room” was recently named after Karl Marx, the founder of communism. (The university did eventually cancel this move, but only because Russia invaded Ukraine, not because Karl Marx was a racist bum whose political philosophy is responsible for the deaths of a hundred million people.) At the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a leftist group papered the campus with fliers proclaiming that “only socialism can defeat COVID.” Washburn University has a bust honoring Chairman Mao. This list could go on and on. The New York Times wrote of the “mainstreaming” of Marxism on campus over thirty years ago. Today, we’re seeing the result.

This “mainstreaming” has degenerated into moral hysteria. Deviation from socialist platitudes is now evidence of a “counter-revolutionary” conspiracy meant to oppress the new proletariat – women (the very existence of which, interestingly, is obliterated in other contexts) and minorities. And lest we think that free, open, and honest discussion (once the hallmarks of a university education) will shine a light on the insanity, free speech itself has been added to classism, sexism, and racism as the root of all societal ills. Anyone questioning this radical leftist narrative will be shouted down and even threatened with violence. Conservative and libertarian speakers are regularly subjected to riots and threats of violence. Conservative and libertarian students are frightened into silence, afraid for their grades and even their physical safety. It is “that bad.”

Sadly, few have the courage to embrace the solution. Superficial attempts are made, but they rarely succeed and never strike at the root of the problem. For example, South Dakota governor Kristi Noem just signed a law meant to keep racist “critical race theory” out of the state’s colleges and universities, claiming it will maintain campuses as bastions of “freedom of thought and expression.” How incredibly naive. In Wyoming, some lawmakers in the state senate had a brief moment of clarity when they tried to strip funding from the state’s budget for the “gender studies” program at the University of Wyoming. The budget was passed with the funding intact.

Our universities, once the envy of the world, have descended into a cesspool of leftwing hysteria, hatred, and hauteur. They are now stale and soulless, devoid of any meaning beyond degrading the mind itself. Administrators and professors are willing to either support the Marxist violence or look the other way when dissenters are threatened or attacked. Incredibly, politicians at the federal and state levels continue to pump tens of millions of dollars into these schools. 

Conservatives like to encourage people to identify the worst colleges and universities and send their kids, and their money, elsewhere, but that won’t make a bit of difference. Lawmakers who want us to believe they are genuinely concerned about what is happening on campus should lead the way and stop funding this hate and evil with our tax dollars. They are subsidizing our destruction. 

Defund the universities entirely and let them compete in the marketplace. Like Marxist societies elsewhere, they will then collapse under their own dreary weight.

Scott McPherson serves as a Future of Freedom Foundation policy advisor and wrote "Freedom and Security: The Second Amendment and the Right to Keep and Bear Arms."

Editor's Note: This piece originally appeared on Future of Freedom Foundation.

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