The Coming of the Fourth Reich?

It is unfortunate, as George Bernard Shaw complained, that youth is wasted on the young. There is nothing to be done about that. But it is doubly unfortunate that the youth of today has fallen casualty to the untenanted idealisms of a species of mentorial irresponsibility that refuses, in Storhaug’s words, “to take care of the future.” Devoid of traditional standards of conduct and learning, living in a society emptied of history, suffering a long fugue of inner dispossession, and disgorged by an educational institution that has betrayed its mandate to preserve the memory of the past and teach the protocols of independent thinking, they have been transformed into a callow, revolutionary proletariat.

And at the root of this monstrous evolution is the modern university which, as Victor Davis Hanson asserts, “is one of the most politically illiberal and prejudiced institutions in America.” In the same vein, Patrick Poole points to the extent to which prestigious American universities “are actively colluding with Islamic foreign governments” in their aim to criminalize (a non-existent) “Islamophobia,” thus putting them “in direct opposition to the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment protections.” Coming at the matter from a different though related angle, Roger Kimball focuses on affirmative action, the “suite of politically correct attributes” that significantly determine university admission. Kimball argues that college administrators have learned from the racial policies of Reich Minister Alfred Rosenberg who, we may recall, was appointed head of the Hochschule, the future German State University. The fact that Rosenberg and his peers, says Kimball, “favored a different population is neither here nor there. The goal is racial and ethnic purity.”

Any way we look at it, the totalitarian contagion radiates across the academy and the “escape from freedom” is in high flood. The pressure of affirmative action privileging students on the basis of lineage and color rather than merit and the insidious effect of Islamic money on the syllabus and university policy are undeniably warping elements that need to be countered. But the greatest peril remains the connection between a disaffected professoriate and its suggestible wards. Like their teachers, the young have no experience of what it is to live under real oppression, but they are even more corruptible owing to their jejune and cloistered idealisms. As to be expected, student groups propagate across the academic spectrum in support of their professors’ anti-democratic agenda. The same is true, mutatis mutandis, in Europe, as it is in America. Operating in a cultural vacuum, the university capitalizes on the bone-deep ignorance and susceptible condition of those it purports to educate.

It worked in the 1930s and looks likely to work again. What the German authorities called Gleichschaltung -- the “coordination” of a curricular mission to enforce uniformity of beliefs and attitudes -- is once more the shaping principle of the “liberal” university. The professional associations which govern parietal life, such as the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), the American Historical Association (AHA), and the Modern Language Association of America (MLA), vigorously oppose sensible reform and insist on maintaining patently discriminatory hiring and grading practices.

Meanwhile, the next generation twists in the throes of its ideological deformation and many will graduate to occupy the seats of influence and power. Many others, of course, will be left by the wayside, the vast number of students who are ill-equiped for university studies and, as historian Clayton Cramer contends, are the victims of government grants and loans “for the overproduction of degrees.” Students in the social sciences and liberal arts will have difficulty finding remunerative jobs upon graduating, their diplomas being useless and a faltering economy unable to fully absorb them. They will have to concentrate on merely getting by and paying off their student loans.

But the remnant is sufficiently robust in both numbers and conviction to eventually carry out the task for which they have been groomed. They will become professors, government bureaucrats, politicians, lawyers, judges, public officials, civil servants, community organizers. They will be animated by the dream of unreason and infatuated by the siren of collective salvation. They will find their vindication in the delirium of an exalted purpose that envisages the end of history and a reborn mankind. Applying their seminarian training, they will pledge allegiance to the transnational empire that their syndics and preceptors aspire to. And they will unleash a carnival of destruction, turning once again on the Jew as the bearer of a dangerous intelligence and a despised moral heritage.

Barring something like a miracle — the recognition among the general population of the socialist dystopia in the making and the brainwashing of the young needed to bring it about — the prospects for the West will be unrelievedly bleak. Recognition is the prerequisite for action; for example, the implementing of David Horowitz’s Academic Bill of Rights as laid out in his Reforming Our Universities, the abolition of tenure or the cashiering of those whom Kimball identifies as “tenured radicals” on the grounds of dereliction of duty, or, in extremis, the selective defunding of the liberal academy, which may be appositely described as a funded liability.

In the latter event, apart from those institutions capable of passing a genuine fairness test, only the hard science, technology, medicine, business, and some professional faculties would be retained. Wise leadership and legislative oversight will be required to restore the university to its original purpose. But if the political will is lacking to effect such changes, whether comparatively moderate or necessarily drastic, we will have no choice but to accept the inevitable. The paradigm of the ideologized universities of the German 1930s will have been transplanted into the new century.

This is how the Fourth Reich, however different in its political origins and existential particulars, rises from the cinders of the Third.