A Graduate’s Perspective: Thought Police Are Undermining Higher Education

During my time at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where I graduated this spring, many of my peers and professors seemed to genuinely care about the free exchange of ideas, students were often pushed to explore all sides of an issue, and analysis of factual evidence was usually a key goal of any discussion. But I also experienced the opposite—intellectual intolerance spurred on by ideologically rigid students and similarly dogmatic faculty members.

Whereas good professors of all ideological stripes push students to examine the best arguments on each side of an issue, others sometimes function as thought police, telling students what to believe and presenting the best arguments for their views while dismissing counterarguments and other ways of thinking. In my case, that kind of intolerance was compounded by my presence on campus as an “out” conservative—I served as chairman of the College Republicans, editor of the Carolina Review (our campus conservative journal), and did not hide my Catholicism.

To be sure, my undergraduate experience was, on the whole, intellectually rewarding. But I did encounter roadblocks during my undergraduate education that hindered my ability to fully explore subjects in the classroom. Pope Pius XII wrote in 1957 that a liberal arts education helps to impart “penetration of thought, broadmindedness, fineness of analysis, [and] gifts of expression.” Unfortunately, there were too many instances at Chapel Hill where those qualities were absent, both in students and professors.

The first, and most memorable, of these negative experiences happened in the fall of my junior year. I took a class titled “Civil Liberties in the United States,” taught by a professor in the political science department. Since this was a class on constitutional law focusing on the Bill of Rights and its changing interpretation, I suspected that the classroom dynamics and discussions would be contentious from the beginning.

However, I did not expect the professor to be so completely and openly hostile to the expression of opinions opposite his. On issues such as the First Amendment, the working definition to be used in class for religious liberty was the one the professor agreed with—not any other. Forget anything about exercising freedom of religion—this professor had a narrow interpretation of religious liberty, one not even supported by recent Supreme Court decisions.

For example, despite the Court having just ruled in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby that closely held businesses qualify as persons under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and therefore are entitled to its protections, my professor maintained the opposite position without explaining the Court’s decision, or why some legal scholars might agree with it.

The Second Amendment was no different, nor the Tenth. This professor regularly belittled originalist and textualist positions on the Constitution. The professor even went so far as to call Justice Antonin Scalia a “dimwitted idiot” (as opposed to a non-dimwitted idiot…) and question how Justice Clarence Thomas could possibly reach the conclusions he regularly did and still call himself a black man.

By the end of the semester, my fellow conservative students were exhausted. Most of them had simply ceased talking in class. But I—perhaps stubbornly, and certainly ignoring possible grading repercussions—would not let a class go by without expressing alternative views and opinions, many of which the professor disliked.

I continued to voice conservative positions on the Second Amendment, on religious liberty, on freedom of speech, and on the separation of powers between the state and federal government. On my final exam, I even quoted a portion of the Supreme Court’s decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, in which the Court reaffirmed that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual’s right to bear arms. That was something the professor had repeatedly denied throughout the semester, claiming that it only gives an organized militia this right.

What results did this bring? The professor failed me on the final exam and gave me a “C” on participation. This, however, was not the only extreme classroom intolerance I experienced.

The next semester, I took a course on state government, also taught by a political science professor. This professor began class by bashing the Republicans in control of the North Carolina legislature. And often, the professor would share the best liberal arguments on the issues we discussed, but only the worst conservative ones, making little apparent effort to help students understand those with whom they might have disagreed.

When I or another conservative student would contribute a differing opinion or argument to class discussions—say, for example, one in favor of the Republican legislature’s budget and tax reforms—the professor would call our arguments “silly,” fail to actually address their substance, and launch into a tirade of insults about how Republicans hate the poor and want the elderly to just die off. At the end of the semester, despite the fact that I had contributed almost every class period, the professor failed me on my participation grade. I spoke with other conservative students and learned they had failed on participation as well.

Similar scenarios played out repeatedly during my time as an undergraduate—some with less negative consequences, others with more. What matters most, however, is that intolerance of open discussion, which stunts real learning, is occurring in any university classroom at all.

A little over two years ago, Michael Munger, chair emeritus of Duke University’s political science department, wrote a Martin Center article on this very topic. His concern, however, was not just for conservative students like me who are frustrated by the frequent repression of thought and opinion by university professors, but also for our liberal peers. These students almost never have their core beliefs, values, and political ideas challenged in the classroom. Munger had been inspired by John Stuart Mill, who once said:

[The] peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error.

I have seen firsthand how ideologically-driven professors have, in some instances, robbed conservative students of grades and opportunities rightfully earned. But I also have seen something that will likely be far more pernicious in the long run—liberal students avoiding the sort of “collision with error” that would help them to distinguish truth from falsehood, and sound arguments from emotional or otherwise flimsy ones.

If these trends continue, the “penetration of thought, broadmindedness, fineness of analysis, [and] gifts of expression” identified by Pius XII as the fruits of a college education will be no more. And by preventing our future leaders from learning how to rationally discuss issues and reach mutually agreeable solutions, colleges will have undermined, at least to some degree, our social fabric and our continuing experiment with self-government.

  • DrOfnothing

    Would you mind posting a link so that we can read the assignments you mention ourselves? Otherwise, there is no way to verify that the professors you mention graded you down purely on ideological grounds. Forgive my scepticism, but I’ve seen accusations come from both sides of the political spectrum among students, claiming that they’ve been singled out solely because of their ideology. Sometimes they have merit, and they were not being treated fairly. Other times, however, they were actually being evaluated negatively because they believed strongly-held opinions were a substitute for substantive analysis. Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, for example, is an extremely contentious decision (decided by a narrow 5-4 majority), and while some legal scholars support, it is strongly opposed by others. Please understand, I am not doubting your sincerity, but it is fair to ask for more objective evidence before deciding whether or not your very strong accusations have merit.

    • Glen_S_McGhee_FHEAP

      Yes, some outside validation would be helpful.

      Under certain circumstances, it is not true, and may not be possible that “good professors of all ideological stripes push students to examine the best arguments on each side of an issue.” When I taught biblical studies from a scholarly, academic point of view, it was impossible to accommodate literalist, fundamentalist view points — so much so, that I began the course with an invitation to my bible-belt students to participate in the scholarly conversation. This was generally accepted by the students.

      Without more context, there is no way to tell if this was what you were experiencing. Sadly, the classroom may not be the place to “fully explore subjects” that are not listed in the catalog description. Descriptions of liberal education as a kind of ideal debating society do not accord will with reality. The classroom is a stratification mechanism that sorts students based on grades and a teacher’s perspective. It may tout itself as objective, but it is not. For this reason, I advise students to read the prof’s dissertation to grasp their perspective, and then, *if* necessary, argue from within that perspective. Otherwise, simply mirror back the instructor’s own perspective, since no one can resist their own reflection.

      Another way to avoid the kinds of “exhaustion” you describe is to assess the professor *before* taking the course. It makes little sense to take a course you will dislike (however, I once took a course in Jane Austen in order to find out why I disliked her writing so much).

      Better luck with your future studies!

      • disqus_nBMMez9Ikj

        The difficulty with your next to last paragraph is that there is not a way to asses a professor and find one that may be open minded enough to respect different views. It seems the author *does* like the subjects he was taking. Otherwise why would he take multiple classes in a similar subject if he did not like the subject? The problem here is that universities, and in particular the *soft* subjects have become cesspools for this type of behavior. I know this to be the fact as my nephew attends UNC Chapel Hill on a law track, and he has seen similar situations in class. Also, it is reported on widely all across the country. At least you can still go into the STEM subjects without the indoctrination…as long as you don’t go into the fake science of global climate warming change.

        • DrOfnothing

          Please read the papers attached and explain what about them constitutes “fake science.” “Fake” is a word well over-used these days.

          http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2014GL060140/full

          https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-02520-7

          • Daniel Kohler

            “Fake” pretty well sums up your pious concerns over whether the author’s description of his treatment was accurate. In light of the behavior of professors and students on college campuses, I find it find his story sincere and convincing. The article is one person’s perspective. I don’t believe he needs to provide you anything to verify his assertions. It’s obvious from your multiple tedious comments that seeking the truth is not your objective.

            By the way, nice image. Fitting.

          • DrOfnothing

            If I am not seeking truth, how come I am the only one asking for evidence?

          • disqus_nBMMez9Ikj

            AGAIN I let you know….your links are not credible either. Why you insist on arguing a subjective situation is beyond me. Sure there are people out there observing glaciers and making observations, so that could be called some kind of scientific observation. But for hundreds of years they have been saying the earth is warming…then cooling….then warming….then like in the 1970’s and 1980’s hysteria cooling….now warming hysteria again. Anyone who believes this is a true rube.

            It boils down to the fact that you and the chicken little’s out there are NEVER going to be able to provide actual facts because climate “science” is not based on facts, just some sort of mis-guded faith, a religion more than science. Based on this, just like the Christians and Hindus….we are going to have to agree to disagree.

          • disqus_nBMMez9Ikj

            In the second link…much of the underlying data has been manipulated to show warming that is not there. I have seen several stories on that over at climate depot over the past year or so.

            Also, GWCC future results are primarily predicated on modelling. I work in financial modelling, and I can tell you there are biases built in. In the case of GWCC models it is an inherent bias to warming built in. Also, it is painfully obvious they do not take sun cycles into account..which when you look at the solar cycles our warming/cooling hysteria in the media for the past 125 years has a pretty good correlation.

            Once their models can tell me something like the exact weather on this day next year in every part of the world to 99+% precision I will believe that they can tell me what the sea level or temp or whatever else related to climate will be in 100 years. Heck, I would even take if in winter they can perfectly predict how much snow I will get three days out from the storm.

          • DrOfnothing

            Can you please point to where, in particular, “much of the underlying data has been manipulated to show warming that is not there?” Climate Depot is driven by ideology, not good science (it is funded by CFACT, a known source of climate disinformation. If you have reliable scientific studies (not industry-funded ones) that contradict the claims of the articles shared, which are from highly reputable, peer-reviewed journals, please post the links.

          • disqus_nBMMez9Ikj

            I am not going to do all the googling for you. Some suggested terms are “NASA manipulating temperature data” “placement of temperature measurement devices” and “climate change email scandal in England” these should be enough to get you started. Feel free to search on other items as you get into it. There is also a lot of documentation at the ClimateDepot.com site which aggregates blogs and articles on the climate scam.

          • DrOfnothing

            Googling the phrases you suggest will, of course, lead me to more pseudoscience. Believe me, I have looked high and low for peer-reviewed research that contradicts the basic tenets of GCD and found none . . . because there is none. Only highly ideological webisites promote the opposite view any more.

            Climate Depot is not in the least reliable, it does not link to peer-reviewed scientific journals. It is a site for the propagation of well-debunked theories that were half-baked to begin with. The authors of the “articles” are not even listed, the methodology is nonexistent. It is not science, it is anti-science propaganda designed to feed the misconceptions of the gullible and the credulous.

            But I am not going to ask you to take my word for it. I am not a scientist. I only ask that you follow the link I posted, which _does_ link to proper articles by experts in the field, published in journals that have been authorities for, in some cases, more than a century, and decide for yourself.

            https://skepticalscience.com/argument.php

            Ask yourself this: do you want to fly in a plane built by an actual engineer, or by someone who doesn’t believe in all that “aerodynamic stuff?” Physics and math can be trusted. The rest is nonsense and ideology.

          • disqus_nBMMez9Ikj

            I definitely do not put as much credence into your sources who have been proven wrong any number of times. They are not reliable at all when you consider the fact they falsify their data.

            You feel that my sources are not up to your reliability standards, with your own justification being whatever it may be.

            We are just going to have to admit that neither of our minds are going to change until there is definitive proof beyond the hysteria that is out there. Essentially we have to agree to disagree.

          • DrOfnothing

            You keep referencing this falsification, but have yet to point to any reliable reports that the data was falsified. ClimateDepot, as I’ve explained several times, is an opinion-blog and not written by scientists. If you can find even one article in a peer-reviewed, reputable scientific journal demonstrating that there was falsification of data in another article on the same topic, then there will be some basis for your arguments.

            If not, by all means, we can agree to disagree. But you must recognize that you are actually disagreeing with science as it is practised in modern Western society.

          • disqus_nBMMez9Ikj

            Again, as I have stated above. I put no credence into any links you have given with just as much justification as you give for my links. Links are links, take them for what you will. Yours are factually unreliable as I have directed you to research…you do not believe the stories out there. Again, we are agreeing to disagree as neither of us feel the other’s references are credible.

            And yes I disagree with how “climate science” is performed as a hysterical cult that feels the need to falsify data to come to a foregone conclusion.

            And you have obviously not gone to ClimateDepot as they and other blogs of that type do link to the sources…sure there is opinion there too but you click through to analysis. But I would not expect you to go there as it may question your world view…which is the true fear of a radical leftist.

          • DrOfnothing

            No, your references are not in the least bit credible, you just won’t admit it because you place belief before science. In this, your stance is no different from that of a religious fundamentalist who claims that climate change isn’t a problem because the rapture will save all the righteous.

            I’m sorry, but I did follow the links, and they simply led me to more questionable pseudoscience from other blogs, industry-funded think-tanks, and paragons of journalism such as the Santa Ynez Valley News.
            http://www.thegwpf.com/noaa-forecast-el-nothing/

            We can agree to disagree, but you are disagreeing with science. You can call me all the names you like, but it doesn’t change the fact that I am putting my faith in math and physics, whereas you are putting ideology before the scientific method.

            My greatest fear is not of being wrong. I enjoy being proved wrong because it is the only way to learn anything. You seem completely confident of matters about which you have no expertise, which demonstrates a fear of something far more profound–the truth of scientific inquiry. Anyway, 20 years will prove just how wrong you are, and by then, it will be too goddamn late for both of us, and for our children. Good day.

        • Glen_S_McGhee_FHEAP

          Yes, no way to assess and find open minded profs — what about Rate My Professor?

          Also, all this is avoided completely in the online courses — there is so LITTLE interaction, of any kind, that all these problems vanish. So, try the online courses, they are so watered down, no one should have these issues with online courses.

    • ajwpip

      Do you post the same calls for rigorous standards of proof on articles claiming right wing bias on campus? Are there many articles on right wing bias from professors on campus? You claim that you see this happening across ideological divides. You used the term common. To the extent that this is common and bipartisan we should be able to find plenty of examples of right wing bias and also a sense of the continuum of political thought in academia that broadly mirrors the general public. There should be roughly equal numbers of conservative professors and activist groups on campus. There should be equal numbers of protests and stunts done with activist advisors if the phenomenon of either partisan misunderstanding by students or unprofessional behavior by profs is “common” and evenly distributed.

      You need to prove your claims. I sympathize with your desire for evenhanded and rigorous analysis. Unfortunately, some people have abused the desire of most of us to be intellectually honest to demand proof of one side in an attempt to derail honestly delivered arguments. I know that this isn’t what you were attempting to do so can you please prove the assumptions of your comments?

      Best of luck in all your future endeavors.

      • DrOfnothing

        I simply asked for verification of _grading_ due to ideological bias. When my own advisees come to me with claims that they were treated unfairly by their professors for _any_ reason (and they due this frequently, every semester) I always ask to see the work itself–standard professional practice.

    • bdavi52

      Your question is a good one (and one any skeptic would ask) …but ultimately, even if answered, would answer not much of anything.

      We all recognize, of course, that bias exists (on both sides of the spectrum). We equally all know that unfair treatment exists, particularly as exercised by martinets in response to perceived challenges by ‘whippersnappers’ (as the saying goes).

      The author tells us he was such a victim, as he perceived the situation. He quotes his professors, as he ‘remembers’ what they said.

      We have no way of knowing whether his memory is accurate; we have no way of knowing if he was truly a victim of left-liberal “true believer” bias or not. But even if he posts his assignments and even if we take the time to read them, we still would not know whether the grade which was given was ‘fair’ or not. We’d only know what grade we would give them.

      So if we read and decide it only deserved a “C”, we’d still have no way of knowing the professor’s standards … or how he graded the other papers …or how the other papers themselves read. Perhaps they’re all equally mediocre. Perhaps they’re all great and only Mr. Pray’s are poor. Perhaps they’re horrible and, by comparison, Pray’s is outstanding.

      In the end, we can only take such tales with grains of salt: it sounds reasonable; it matches what we’ve heard elsewhere from other sources; it may even match our own experience. But even then, we do not and cannot know. And all we really know for sure is that, accurate or inaccurate, true or false, the situation described is absolutely unacceptable for any college, under any banner, as created by any teacher, for any reason.

      • disqus_nBMMez9Ikj

        What is also an issue is that the low grades are given on the subjective part of his total grade. There is no assignment other than participating in the class. If the author actually spoke up in many classes that should mean he gets a passing grade on that portion regardless of what his views are (subject to actual against the law type actions). The fact that the subjective part of the grade is what caused the poor grades is suspect. I would fault the guy for not spouting back the answer the prof wanted on the exam…this is a known strategy in college and a Junior/Senior should know that is the way to get by.

        • bdavi52

          I’m sure he did know that ‘regurgitation & mimicry’ is a well-proven path to a good grade. The question is why he chose to ‘dissent’ — why he chose to oppose

          Only a fool could possibly think (given what he already knew about the professor) that continued opposition & the voicing of contrarian perspectives would lead to a good grade. I would guess, therefore, that he reached a ‘breaking-point’ at which the value of the higher grade was not significant enough to outweigh the pain of saying and doing something he did not believe.

      • DrOfnothing

        “And all we really know for sure is that, accurate or inaccurate, true or false, the situation described is absolutely unacceptable for any college, under any banner, as created by any teacher, for any reason.”

        This suggests that neither accuracy nor truth have any value. If so, what is the point of reason at all?

        The great thing about evidence is that you don’t have to _believe_ it, you simply counter it with better evidence or you are forced to revise your understanding of the matter at hand.

        • bdavi52

          Not at all. I’m saying that in the absence of evidence (evidence which we will never have, even if we could read the author’s assignments as he wrote them), all we can know is that the situation as described (even if it’s fictional) is absolutely unacceptable.

          Surely you would agree?

          • DrOfnothing

            I agree, it is, at the very least, vastly exaggerated. If I had a dollar for every C student who claimed that they deserved a higher grade and only did poorly because of X bias (too conservative, too liberal, not feminist enough, too feminist), I could single-handedly found my university at this point. It would, of course, be called the University of Nothing, and its motto would be “Si minor plus est ergo nihil sunt omnia.”

          • bdavi52

            Great motto!

            I’m sadly sure, though, that as long as the UofN is handing out diplomas, no one will care that Nothing is taught at UofN to the ‘deserving’ students of Nothing.

          • DrOfnothing

            If Nothing is what they put into it, then Nothing is exactly what they’ll get out of it, and they will have Nothing to complain about. In future years, they will look back on Nothing and say to themselves, “Nothing was really worth all that effort!”

          • bdavi52

            There’s really nothing more which needs to be said!

  • EX GOP

    Mr. Pray, if only UNC-Chapel Hill would hold itself to the same standards as your other commenters on this article did, we could have integrity in those hallowed halls. Also, I notice no one seriously doubts the professor’s bias.

    Given a bully pulpit and a narrow mind, I can completely understand how your situation could turn ugly towards conservative views. There is a professor at UNC-Wilmington, Dr. Michael Adams, who has written many columns about the bias at universities. He took UNC-W to court and won his tenure based on the views he expressed and the resentment he received from the university.

    https://www.adflegal.org/detailspages/case-details/adams-v.-trustees-of-the-university-of-north-carolina-wilmington

  • philster7656

    I graduated from Northern Illinois University* in 1984. I had a physics professor who was an over-the-top progressive, maybe even a communist. He was an older guy, (easily in his 70s,) and he taught the main lecture plus a couple of the lab sections, one of which was mine.

    During one lab class, he told us we had to stand up, one at a time, and denounce President Reagan. (He actually used the word, “denounce,” which is why I say he might have been a communist.) My first instinct was to tell him to buzz off, but then I reconsidered.

    I wasn’t a very good student, and I knew the jerk was going to flunk me if I disagreed with him. That would mean re-taking the course, and I was paying for my education myself (back then you could still do it.) So I thought about it, and decided I would denounce Reagan with the following statement: “Well, they say he doesn’t like poor people very much.”

    I justified it by telling myself I wasn’t really doing anything bad; I was just honestly reporting what Reagan’s opponents had said. I didn’t have strong political opinions at the time, but I felt like a weasel for deciding to do what I knew was wrong.

    As it turned out, I never had to denounce Reagan. All the apple-polishers in the class recognized a golden opportunity to curry favor with a despot when they saw it. A few students took up all the class time by obsequiously telling my professor exactly what he wanted to hear.

    As I was walking back from school that day, I had an epiphany. I realized that right at that very moment, there was some college kid walking back from class at Moscow University, or Vladivostok Polytechnic, or somewhere in the Soviet Union, who had to do what I had just been told to do. In a class totally unrelated to politics, a professor had told him he had to stand up and denounce Reagan.

    The difference was, both that Soviet student and his professor knew that the exercise was a load of BS. At my school, the professor clearly did not know that.

    *In NIU’s defense, the next time I went to class it had been taken over by the chairman of the Physics Department. Shortly thereafter, my original professor was referred to as “professor emeritus.” I always thought they forced him into retirement, but I don’t really know. I’m not sure if that would still happen today.

    • DrOfnothing

      Oh please. If you stood up at Moscow State (there is no “Moscow University”) and denounced Krushchev, you’d have been thrown in jail or sent to Siberia. By Reagan’s time, in any case, people were _openly_ denouncing the Soviet state and various leaders with very little consequence. What your professor did was over the top, but that is a preposterous comparison, and not even accurate about the Soviet Union at the time.

      • David Gilbert

        DrO, I think you missed his point. His prof was demanding a political denunciation of the professor’s ideological enemy (Reagan). In his thought experiment (if you will), a Soviet professor was demanding a political denunciation of the same ideological enemy (Reagan). His point is twofold: (a) the ideological enemy is the same person and (b) only the second professor/student pair knows that the denunciation is baloney. I don’t think his thought experiment would have struck many people as nonsense in 1984.

        • DrOfnothing

          My bad, you’re right. Comment removed!

    • disqus_nBMMez9Ikj

      These days, the guy would be given some kind of reward, probably promoted to the chairman’s post and set up with a Soros funded six figure salary.

  • Thomas Murray

    I graduated from UNC-CH in the late 70’s, when we would take turns making fun of the then-nascent trend towards political correctness in speech. Unfortunately, this trend has only intensified, reinforced by the twisting of the meaning of words, and the politicization of more and more elements of our lives and culture. Universities have been at the forefront of this movement, and my alma mater has been an example of what is wrong with our colleges and universities on multiple occasions. This is why I had stopped contributing as an alumnus, and why I prompted my children to look at other schools.

  • Dagnabbit_42

    I graduated from UNC-CH in the early 90’s.

    My impression at the time was that the campus consisted of…

    1. Leftist students who were shrill and predisposed to ranting and raving about a strange mix of things that no sane person could disagree with and no sane person could agree with (e.g. “women should not be raped” and “one in five women at UNC gets raped every year”).

    2. Christians and other right-of-center persons who wouldn’t have been welcome (or happy) participating in student government or any of the various social-justice student groups, but who could more or less ignore the leftism by joining the various on-campus Christian fellowships and making friends there. There was even an on-campus Christian singing group which sometimes had concerts on campus.

    3. Students who didn’t pay any attention to politics or culture-war, because they were there to study and socialize in various proportions. (Frat brothers and sorority sisters are a subset of this group which leaned more heavily on the socializing side of the equation.)

    4. Obnoxiously leftist/anti-Christian faculty (e.g. Bart Erhman in the religion department).

    5. Friendly and thought-provoking leftist/anti-Christian faculty (e.g. Peter Kaufmann in the same department).

    6. Administrators who might as well have been ghosts 99% of the year, but who materialized on rare occasions to laud the efforts and pat the heads of any of the lefty social-justice student groups.

    7. Athletes, who took “rocks for jocks” (geology having the reputation as an easy-to-pass science course for athletes), grad-students, med students, law students, and other persons with esoteric pedigrees.

    That was pretty much it. Category #3 were far-and-away the most-numerous group. I don’t know where any of them stood politically, and I’m sure most of them didn’t know either. I think most of them rolled their eyes at the shrill lefty types and the visibly-devout Christians pretty equally: Neither leftism nor piety helped you either to study or to socialize.

    I think non-lefty types mostly kept their heads down in classes, in case their professor turned out to be one of the Bart Ehrman types instead of the Peter Kaufmann types.

    My sense of things is that leftism wasn’t so required for passing classes as it is now. But I was there THEN, not NOW, so it’s hard to compare.

    P.S. I don’t know the story, but it appears the on-campus Christian singing group (“Heels to Heaven”) was, at some point, joined and occupied by some leftist grad-students who then converted it into some kind of lefty grad-student group, under a new name, with an entirely different mission.

    Funny how that happens. How is it that leftists always sneak into an institution, gut it, and walk around wearing its carcass like a skin-suit? Why is it that institutions dedicated to leftism never, a decade later, turn out to be conservative or libertarian?

    • disqus_nBMMez9Ikj

      I would bet the mix is still about the same, just as it is in society as a whole. What has changed is that the bat squeeze crazy types are now in bed with the media and thus promoted exponentially more than what is warranted when you consider their idiotic positions on most issues. This whole “movement” is nothing more than a huge marketing and propaganda scam.

  • ThroatWobblerMangrove

    It is insane to me that you would receive a failing grade for simply disagreeing with the professor. Completely unacceptable and disgraceful. Did you ever challenge the grades?

    • disqus_nBMMez9Ikj

      The thing is, a “participation” element is just a subjective part of the grade the professor can use just for this purpose. If there were any objective way to quantify it there would be a way to challenge it. As it stands, I assume it would be one’s word against the other..and the university is definitely going to take the professor’s word first. Especially when he relates that the student did not toe the party line.

  • bdavi52

    As Stalin so eloquently noted, “Ideas are more powerful than guns. We would not let our enemies have guns, why should we let them have ideas.”

    Clearly Chapel Hill, et al, would agree.

    Harvard’s Sandra Korn, author of the essy, “The Doctrine of Academic Freedom” concurs, telling us “If our university community opposes racism, sexism, and heterosexism, why should we put up with (anything) that counters our goals simply in the name of “academic freedom”?

    In the end, it’s very simple. If you already know the answers, then learning becomes a waste of time. If as True Believer, you possess the Revealed Truth, then entertaining ANY other perspective is not just unnecessary, it’s sinful and must be punished; the heretic banned.

    Hoffer put it this way, ““The quality of ideas seems to play a minor role in mass movement leadership. What counts is the arrogant gesture, the complete disregard of the opinion of others, the singlehanded defiance of the world.” Thus the Classroom of Today.

    And Stalin again: “Education is a weapon whose effects depend on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed.” Obviously, at N.Carolina, it’s aimed only at the Infidel. We should all beware.

    • DrOfnothing

      As Mandy Patinkin put it, “when all else fails, quote Stalin. Everybody hates Stalin.” 🙂

      • bdavi52

        Thought about Hitler, Lenin, and Pol Pot — but Stalin seemed a better choice!

  • Obbe Haverkamp

    I hope and pray that Mr. Pray will loosen his rigid interpretation of the 2nd amendment. An amendment more suited for the 18th century than the 21st.

    • FC

      One only has to read the Federalist Papers to understand the principals upon which the Second Amendment is based. It has more to do with the tyranny of government, and the citizens ability to defend themselves from that tyranny. There are dozens of documented examples in (recent) history tyrants and dictators first course of action in consolidating their power is to disarm the populace to eliminate armed resistance to their agenda. Usually the second action is to control the press (and opposing viewpoints).

      Our Founders were intelligent enough to anticipate the impacts of overbearing government on personal liberty–be it King George or the current Beltway political elite.

  • That’s insightful, to note how the liberal students are also being cheated by not being challenged. They just have to agree with the Lefty professor to get an A, just pull the lever & get a pellet, no different from lab rats.

  • DrOfnothing

    We never asked an essential question here: what were Mr. Pray’s grades overall? That would provide a very useful contest on the grades he received in his Poli Sci classes. Was he an A or B student otherwise?

  • Lisa

    Yes! I have a openly conservative child in the ivy league system now. yikes! similar extracurricular activities. his conservatism has not been an issue until now… post Trump election. He is an A through the fall semester of his junior year, until… receiving a c+ on a major paper this semester. I’ve read the paper. It is good. I am no professor, but have read all his other papers, which received A’s and this one is better, which makes sense that he would improve over the years. this professor is very angry over the Trump election. my son made the mistake of asking this professor to moderate a debate being sponsored by one of the clubs he is a member of. the professor declined and their ‘relationship’ changed after that… became more distant (not that they had any kind of personal relationship prior, but this professor was a chosen mentor for a major paper, and they needed to have a rapport). and the professor’s comments for the paper were threatening and angry. however, the department chair, who is on his way to retirement, has deferred the issue back to the professor… darn shame.

    • DrOfnothing

      Can you be more specific about the threatening and angry comments?