When I read Dr. Kelly’s weekly Eagle & Journal articles, I anticipate a conservative interpretation of world events; I feel obligated to read pro-Trumpian positions to understand better what the current is like on the other. However, Kelly’s July 14 article, Nation on the Brink, made me pause. It was both disconcerting and erroneous.
Kelly begins his article with a Cynthia Ozick quote: “A vengeful mob is a fearsome thing, but the true monsters are its teachers.” Her quotation provides the core of Kelly’s editorial that suggest the leftist college professors have brainwashed their students and prompted them to get out there and march for a socialist state.
Dr. Kelly quotes an article from Professor Gary Saul Morson, who states that there is a substantial similarity “between what is going on in America today and what occurred in Russia before the Communist revolution, which overthrew the Czarist government and replaced it with a communist regime”. Morson states that “Many of today’s revolutionaries (white) were nurtured on college campuses all over America where leftist ideology prevail unchallenged. Our universities are producing a generation of young socialist. Moral force seems lacking in America today as it was in Russia then and that many of today’s revolutionaries are wildly successful and privileged and white.”
Mr. Kelly, both you and Morson are wrong. All the data linking college students to the political ideology of their professors is correlational. You know causation cannot be derived from correlational investigations. Even if there was a correlation, self-selection confounds the equation such that students who enter college are more liberal before they take their first step into the classroom, compared to those who do not attend? Columbo (2019) wrote an article in the National Review a conservative journal entitled “Liberal Indoctrination on Campus Isn’t Working.” For Kelley, college students are incapable of independent thought, automatons.
Professor Kelly, we both are university professors. You are a conservative, but can you say that your conservative ideology influenced your pedological interactions with your students? I doubt it. I taught psychology for 36-years at St. Bonaventure, a Franciscan University. I am a Democrat and have been since I was six years old when I found out my day way a Republican. Over the years, I have become more progressive, more liberal. My concerns in the classroom never politicalized in class; my my intention was to teach my students the relationship between human anatomy and human behavior. I also taught a course in Learning and Memory and spent several weeks discussing Pavlovian learning and his salivating dogs and that is about as close as I came to the Russian revolution.
In summary, why do folks on the right, like JF Kelly, always blame professors for the country’s ills? That notion has been going on for decades, and it’s just nonsense; it is just another science-free conspiracy theory. At what point did professors make it harder to earn a living wage in the U.S.? Or make healthcare so expensive? When was the last time a professor put their knee on someone’s back, taking their last breath?
So, instead of pointing fingers at phantoms, maybe J.F. Kelly, you should listen to the folks in the streets protesting racial injustice and economic inequality. My guess is, they’ll have more to say about the state of America than some professor equating U.S. protests to Lenin’s Communist Revolution.