Towards the end of Thursday’s televised debate, the question of academic freedom came up. That surprised and pleased me.
I see in this an indication that the extremely serious crisis that the university is going through is beginning to be understood even outside its walls.
The theme also earned us the funniest moment of the evening: Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois uttering the words “white negroes of America” with a pouting air, as if someone had bitten into a lemon.
If you want to better understand what is happening in our universities, read the book Two universitiesby my University of Ottawa colleague Robert Leroux, Éditions du Cerf, launched on Saturday night.
Only a professor at the top of the hierarchy could afford this book without too much personal risk.
Why this title? Because two conceptions of the university are waging an intellectual civil war.
You have those who cling to the classical concept of the university: we seek objective truth there, whether we like it or not, and we don’t do politics.
If a teacher wants to do politics, let him do it outside his classroom.
The second concept is people who think that there is no one truth, that everyone has their own, but that theirs is so important, so just, that it deserves to be imposed on everyone.
Isn’t it contradictory, you say, to say that everything is relative… except your point of view?
Yes, and precisely because the work is of such extremely low academic standing, these people assert themselves through intimidation, censorship, infiltration of departments, and marginalization of colleagues who do not think like them.
Leroux multiplies examples of academic works that are nothing more than the promotion of ideologies and value judgments.
These professors, described by Nathalie Heinich as “academic militants,” transformed their neurotic obsessions into fields of research.
This is worth it gender studies “, they” fat studies “, they” ethnic studies “, they” queer studies “, they” of disabled studies “, etc.
It is no longer about studying to understand, but about defending and supporting, always starting from the assumption that the people being studied are victims.
The complicity of infiltrated student unions and intimidated administrations, which are increasingly filled with people with degrees in these fields, gives them considerable power.
Imagine young people who have been brainwashed for years entering the job market.
You only have to look at who gets scholarships (and who doesn’t), the subjects of theses, the profiles of the newly hired teachers, to also understand that many felt they were paying for their careers.
Ideological fanaticism combined with personal interest then becomes a formidable cocktail.
In the social sciences, we no longer produce citizens, says Leroux, much less intellectuals, but parrots.
Read this book. You will not regret.