BOOK REVIEW: Marxist Madrassas
Is there any hope for the modern university? Can it be redeemed? Is it worth it?
These, among others, are the questions Cliff Kincaid of Accuracy in Media set out to answer in his new book Marxist Madrassas, in which he conducts a postmortem on America’s failed system of higher education that he claims has ripped off and let down both students and parents alike.
The book, coauthored by his son, Clifford Kincaid, and Dr. Tina Trent, diagnoses academia’s disease and offers a prescription to remedy the malady, albeit one that would ultimately require abandoning the modern university as we know it.
Cultural Marxism’s hold on America’s once-great institutions is, Kincaid suggests, largely to blame for our country’s higher-ed problem, which routinely suppresses one side (the conservative one) of the argument yet charges students ungodly amounts of money for degrees that yield few remunerative opportunities.
Kincaid calls it a scam.
“The real scam is leftist domination of higher education,” Marxist Madrassas contends. “It is why this book makes the case that old brick-and-mortar schools which have been taken over by the left can and should be replaced with true centers of learning that offer real academic freedom, and courses that teach marketable skills at a reduced cost.”
Kincaid himself is no stranger to the scam, and has even been a personal victim of Marxism’s “takeover” of academia, when in April he was disinvited from representing the conservative side of a debate scheduled to take place at the State University of New York at New Paltz, whose administrators objected to the “right-wing” views of one participant, as Campus Reform first reported.
Now, after witnessing the demise of higher education first-hand, both in his own experiences at SUNY New Paltz and his son’s experiences seeking a degree from Clemson University, which initially landed him a job selling phones, Kincaid has tackled the problem head-on, proposing real solutions to a growing a crisis.
“What’s unique about this book is that we don’t just complain about what’s happening on campus, but that we have a chapter in there from my son on how to get beyond this,” he explained in an interview with Campus Reform.
Indeed, Kincaid and his son, who eventually returned to the academic world via an online program, suggest that the “revolution in online learning” will revitalize higher-ed and afford students the freedom to complete degrees at their own speed and at lower costs.
“I do think as we argue in the book that most of these colleges and universities cannot be reformed and cannot be saved,” Kincaid conceded, suggesting that “what has happened to journalism should happen to academia in terms of the Internet revolution.
“Look at the revolution that’s occurred, through a variety of factors, we’ve got so many options now, and yet I don’t think the Internet revolution has been applied to academia,” he continued, listing several benefits of such a revolution, most of which would give students the liberty to “not only save money, but take courses when it’s convenient for them” while avoiding “a lot of the political correctness.”
Kincaid, though, has concerns about some of the traditional institutions “monopolizing” online courses, or, on the other hand, simply disregarding them.
“I think we need the competition from the online courses and we have to guard against some of these big schools dominating or monopolizing these online fields, because they see the writing on the wall,” he explained, but also observed that it may not be “in their interest to tell potential students of these options.”
While Kincaid seems ultimately pessimistic about the future of “brick-and-mortar” institutions, as he calls them, he does agree that there’s always “going to be a need for social interaction between students and professors,” encouraging conservative students that “you can still go and survive and prosper, but it can be difficult.”
It can be, as Campus Reform’s reporting repeatedly demonstrates and which Kincaid’s latest book lays bare, yet he did have a few pieces of advice for conservative students braving the liberal storm, the first of which was to avoid the fruitless majors that his book exposes.
“They need to focus in on areas of study that produce a marketable skill and a good job,” he advised. “Not that you can’t take a philosophy course, but understand that the purpose of an education is so that you can take care of yourself; so you can take care of your family. It’s going to be a struggle at some of these institutions.”
Finally, Kincaid encouraged conservatives on campus to find like-minded students and professors who can help push back against the liberal grip on their institutions.
“There are great websites out there, and great libertarian and conservative groups to be among like-minded students, so I encourage that as well. Make contact, however few there are, with the professors who happen to be conservatives,” he suggested, warning conservatives to “be aware, understand what’s going on, and be willing to not shrink away.”
Even as they resist the pressure to moderate their beliefs, though, he also reminds them to “be diplomatic about reaffirming your own points of view.”
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