The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

‘Kafkatrapping’ and the Left’s Mental Assault Against America’s Future

Posted on | September 4, 2013 | 50 Comments

“In the hands of a skillful indoctrinator, the average student not only thinks what the indoctrinator wants him to think . . . but is altogether positive that he has arrived at his position by independent intellectual exertion. This man is outraged by the suggestion that he is the flesh-and-blood tribute to the success of his indoctrinators.”
William F. Buckley Jr., Up From Liberalism (1959)

How would you know you were being indoctrinated if you didn’t actually know any facts to contradict the indoctrination? And if liberalism were pervasive throughout popular culture — in the news media, in the entertainment industry, etc. — where could a young person possibly get the kind of education that would prepare him to resist the intellectual violence university professors perpetrate against their students?

A professor at Michigan State University (MSU) opened the first day of his creative writing class on Thursday by bashing Mitt and Ann Romney and ranting against “old Republicans” who he says “raped” the country, according to a student who made a secret recording of the class.
The eight-minute secretly recorded video also reveals Prof. William S. Penn bullying a student who apparently disagreed with his Democratic politics and arguing that Republicans want to prevent “black people” from voting. . . .
“This country still is full of closet racists,” he said. “What do you think is going on in South Carolina and North Carolina. Voter suppression. Its about getting black people not to vote. Why? Because black people tend to vote Democratic.”
“Why would would Republicans want to do it?” he asked. “Because Republicans are not a majority in this country anymore. They are a bunch of dead white people. Or dying white people.”

You can read the whole thing by Josiah Ryan and Caleb Bonham at Campus Reform. This kind of ideological bullying is not rare, but altogether commonplace, in America’s classrooms.

This only became news because Professor Penn’s psychological brutality was so clumsy and was caught on video. And most students never even notice the indoctrination in college because they have already been indoctrinated through 13 years of public schools. (Fact: Communist Howard Zinn is on the reading list of many high school advanced history classes, as are other radical authors.)

Because this deliberate brainwashing has been going on for decades, very few conservatives are employed as educators. This is not simply a matter a discrimination — although conservatives are deliberately and openly discriminated against, especially in graduate departments in the humanities and social sciences — but also a result of the self-replicating nature of any ideology that gains intellectual hegemony within academia. If an educated person is someone who attends school, and if all schools teach liberalism, within a generation there will be no person who is both “educated” (i.e., holding advanced credentials) and conservative.

Quod erat demonstrandum.

The shift in American educational philosophy — away from the teaching of facts toward the teaching of ideology — was evident as early as 1951, when William F. Buckley published God and Man at Yale. After the radical takeover of campuses in the 1960s, however, this shift became a landslide and, with a few notable exceptions, all American universities are now dominated by radical ideologues.

Remember that the bizarre pornographic perversion of “male feminist” Hugo Schwyzer was not merely a personality problem, but was actually part of the curriculum, and not at some elite school, but at Pasadena City College. Schwyzer had a Ph.D. in science, but was teaching “gender theory” and pornography-as-art with the full knowledge of the administration. And we must presume the faculty that hired Schwyzer chose him over many other qualified candidates (the supply of history Ph.D.’s is vastly greater than the demand for history professors) precisely because of his radicalism.

Because such radicalism is now so common as to be nearly universal in academia, leftist ideology is now taught to future elementary and high school teachers, so that it suffuses downward and students arrive at college either already fully indoctrinated with radical beliefs, or predisposed to accept such beliefs.

It is therefore remarkable that any of Professor Penn’s students even disagreed with his partisan monology. His accusatory diatribe resembles what has been called a “kafkatrap”:

One very notable pathology is a form of argument that, reduced to essence, runs like this: “Your refusal to acknowledge that you are guilty of {sin,racism,sexism, homophobia,oppression…} confirms that you are guilty of {sin,racism,sexism, homophobia,oppression…}.” . . .
Real crimes – actual transgressions against flesh-and-blood individuals – are generally not specified. The aim of the kafkatrap is to produce a kind of free-floating guilt in the subject, a conviction of sinfulness that can be manipulated by the operator to make the subject say and do things that are convenient to the operator’s personal, political, or religious goals. Ideally, the subject will then internalize these demands, and then become complicit in the kafkatrapping of others.

Read more at Legal Insurrection.

Why aren’t you home-schooling your children yet?




  • Alessandra

    “In the hands of a skillful indoctrinator, the average student not only thinks what the indoctrinator wants him to think . . . but is altogether positive that he has arrived at his position by independent intellectual exertion.”

    And one of the greatest example is how young (and older) people are being indoctrinated that homosexuality is normal, because science. Ask them what they have read of science, and they haven’t read a thing. “But the APA said so, so I don’t need to read!” Blind faith in authority is “critical thinking” for these people. Progress!

    Speaking of science, Sprigg has a new article out on FT:
    Why Science Doesn’t Support Orientation-Change Bans

  • RS

    It’s even worse, if that’s possible. Now, progressive ideology is the “shibboleth” used to admit or deny access to the profession. See, e.g. this from David Thompson.

  • Alessandra

    Especially since socons fund a lot of the very academia they are excluded from.

  • Fareedi al Laayla al Qakhaul

    This isn’t necessarily a bad thing… The squirmimg mass of ordinary humanity simply must have something larger than themselves to believe in. Should the labouring classes realise that their trivial inconsequential existence is meaningless except to the extent that they serve the whims of their betters, I suspect they’d all abandon their work stations and suicide!

  • Becca Lower

    What’s with today and Thai pose? “brutalLy clumsy” 🙂

  • RS

    Argumentum ad autoritatem is the most pernicious in the hands of someone charged with teaching. If the teacher lacks virtue, s/he will appeal to his own authority to lead students astray. This is why it is ubiquitous in the Grievance Studies industry.

  • Finrod Felagund

    Speaking of crap science, at least one group has spoken up and said that global warming is ‘no longer a planetary emergency’:

  • Alessandra

    70% of Americans either don’t care about or hate their jobs!

  • Becca Lower

    Ah, that’s better!

  • herddog505

    RSMWhy aren’t you home-schooling your children yet?

    My wife and I have discussed this (we have not got children yet). The short answer is that we can not easily afford for one of us to be out of work to teach. The best we’ve come up with is “Mommy / Daddy School”, which is a fairly brief period in the evenings where we will try to cover what ISN’T taught in the public schools.

    But consider:

    Let’s assume that the conservative-minded parent DOES homeschool, and so his children grow up with a pretty good, well-rounded education. They don’t believe in global warming because they learn how to look at the data for themselves; they don’t buy into the “America is Evil” line because they know the real history of the country (warts and all); they don’t fall for the con game of liberal economics because they understand how market forces actually work; etc.

    What happens when they go to college? Talk about fish out of water! And what to do when they encounter professors like this clown Penn? Hard moral choice: say what you know to be true and get an F, or go with the flow, keep your head down, and get the sheepskin.

  • Fareedi al Laayla al Qakhaul

    That’s rather what I was implying…

    People stripped of pride, dignity, an objective orientation for their moral compass just become “cogs in the machine” and realising this, cease to care about anything!

    Too many people these days don’t “earn a living” or even “earn their keep”, and probably more than a few don’t really feel entitled to their entitlements! What’s left to fill the void?

    Even tools need to be needed, and since the Left creates only tools, they need an ideology to sustain that. When people realise they’re being played by their self-appointed human “betters” with an ideology based on false premises, maybe they’ll wake up!

  • Fareedi al Laayla al Qakhaul

    The future seems bleak to me when so many people can be made to sincerely believe that homosexuals can really be married to one another…

    I’ve long thought that the secular arguement for “natural marriage” had more potential than any faith-based approach. (Hate me if you must, but Christians don’t own marriage! Too often they act as if they do — much to the delight of the Left, I’m afraid.)

    And keep that blog of yours going, Alessandra! I believe you’re onto something glorious there!

  • Alessandra

    Are there no conservative private colleges that are affordable?

  • Alessandra

    Thanks! Glad you liked it! More to come… 🙂

  • unknown jane

    LOL! Do you really think it’s just conservative leaning profs that get hammered?
    I have many friends in academia who are pretty liberal (and conservative and inbetween), and because they refused to play the game under the new rules they have suffered just as badly — many were pushed to early retirement (primarily out of frustration and weariness).
    It’s whoever gives the biggest grants to the school who get their ideology taught…and if you refuse to be ideological, you will pay (a particular case involved a good friend, very liberal, very classically correct humanities teacher, did not interject their political leanings into the class — would argue both sides of the equation if it was brought up; quit due to the way the syllabus guidelines got set, and the fact that the college created the syllabus rather than the prof should be grounds for worry — you could no longer eveninterject your own material, it all had to be the approved curriculum, and that curriculum was very slanted ideologically — she left about a semester before I did).
    It’s only the profs who are gung ho to go full ideology (whatever ideology the college desires) that get laid off of anymore — that’s the problem. That is indeed what everyone should be worried about — we are creating generations of children who readily accept indoctrination, and we are hammering down anyone who stands against that…and it’s irregardless of what flavor the ideology is.

  • Bob Belvedere


  • Bob Belvedere

    It is a dilemma, but the education they receive will be worth more in the long run than any skin of a sheep.

    And let us not forget that the American parent’s obession with having their children getting a degree is, when you step back from it, foolish.

    A good many people do not belong in colleges. There is nothing shameful about attending what used to be called technical schools or joing the Trades. In fact, we have a shortage of those types of people.

  • Jason Lee

    “…with a few notable exceptions, all American universities are now dominated by radical ideologues…”

    Which of the exceptions are notable?

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  • richard mcenroe


  • richard mcenroe

    If you want to see the effects of Kafkatrapping in action, look at how Ann Althouse “handled” the situation at her blog. She couldn’t bring herself to imbed the video, so she settled for misrepresenting it to make it seem as though the prof was being taking out of context. Her commenters called her on it big time.

  • Bob Belvedere

    Ann who???

  • Jason Lee

    That’s one. Any outside the PROM?

  • Jason Lee

    Her claim to fame: She voted for Obama, but Instapundit links to her all the time. Not sure why. Must be Glenn’s libertarian impulse to be transgressive.
    (I know you know all this. Just sayin’)

  • Lee Reynolds

    Homosexuality is an example of Murphy’s law in action. The causes of homosexuality will be found, and parents will be able to act to prevent it from happening. This is the same with folic acid and spina bifida. Of course the gays will scream bloody murder about this and claim that parents acting to prevent this defect is tantamount to genocide, just as effective treatments for deafness has the deaf community up in arms about the loss of their precious culture. In the long run, neither deformity will endure in large enough numbers for distinctive cultures to exist.

  • Bob Belvedere

    Oh, that Annie Althouse!…she’s been dead to me for a *looong* time.

  • herddog505

    That’s why I hope that any children of mine will go into STEM: liberals try hard, but it’s pretty difficult to politicize chemistry, physics and engineering.

  • herddog505

    I agree. I hope that any children of mine go to college (for the simple reason that I did), but if they find some other path that makes them happy and doesn’t involve handouts from the .gov I’ll be OK with it.

  • Linda

    Amen Mr. B. I’m hoping mine get an actual skill and an assoc degree at a technical college–then they have more choices & better ability to work themselves thru more schooling.

  • Linda

    I recently talked to a fellow homeschool mom whose oldest daughter just started college, and she is unhappy w/ having to put up with all of the propaganda posed as curricula. It chafes to keep your opinions to yourself, but most of the time you can give an “acceptable” answer without lying. Most of the time, not all.
    As far as fitting homeschool into the family routine, don’t give up the idea yet. Maybe one of you will acquire a more flexible work sked, or an at-home work situation. I see that a lot. Also if you have extended family nearby willing to help, that is gold.

  • herddog505

    If I may ask, how much time do you have to devote to it on a daily basis? I gather that the time requirement increases as they get to middle- and then high-school age. Is there a particular curriculum you favor?

    As for the extended family… My mother may be a bit rusty, but I’m pretty sure she could get back into the groove of holding young noses to the grindstone pretty easily!


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