Finding the Right Tactics in the War for Education | National Review

Finding the Right Tactics in the War for Education | National Review

Students and pedestrians walk through the Yard at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., March 10, 2020. (Brian Snyder/Reuters)

For a long time, we have known that we’re in a war over education with the Left, which insists on complete control so it can sculpt young minds to accept “progressivism.” But the Left has been winning that war because our tactics have been defective. I’m reminded of the American Revolution in the South in 1780-’81, when patriot forces were routed until General Nathaniel Greene was put in command and came up with tactics that turned the tables on Cornwallis.

Could it be that our Nathaniel Greene is a young man named Christopher Rufo?

The Martin Center’s Sumantra Maitra recently heard Rufo speak about change in education and writes about Rufo’s talk here.

Maitra quotes Rufo: “Critical theory . . . is entirely a creature of the state. It was born, and nurtured, and raised within publicly financed and publicly subsidized universities and it now survives only in this vast constellation of publicly supported and publicly subsidized bureaucracy; It also gives us a tremendous opportunity because what the public giveth the public can take [ ] away . . . We should never fight directly. It’s very hard. We should fight indirectly, in a more sophisticated way, to start slowly chipping away at these bureaucracies and institutional powers.”

What he advocates is nothing less than a counter-revolution to reclaim higher education for the actual purposes of education, not leftist thought-control. The key element in that would be to disrupt the flow of federal money into our colleges and universities. Requiring that schools accept some responsibility for student-loan defaults would be a step in the right direction.

Maitra sums up with another historical analogy: “It is a strategy, that Polish Solidarity movements, for example, utilized against their communist overlords, during the end days of the Cold War. It is also the same strategy the left in the West forever used, subversion instead of revolution. Just this time, it is in reverse. What Rufo gets, and what is seemingly creeping in the ideas of the new right, is: you cannot conserve an already overwhelmingly revolutionary edifice, you topple it and start fresh.”

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.

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About the Author

Tony Beasley
Tony Beasley writes for the Local News, US and the World Section of ANH.