In Defense of Hillsdale

As usual, there are a handful of criticisms of my Reporter editorial about free speech, most of them not worth addressing—the usual assortment of illogic & dishonesty (FDL54935—one of the liars referenced in my editorial—is a conservative?  Yeah, right).  One, however, warrants a response, as this isn’t the first time it’s reared its ugly head, and it won’t be the last:

DotingDad: “I wonder: when does he have time to do his schoolwork, since he is constantly writing these long-winded letters to the editor? Maybe Hillsdale is just about right-wing indoctrination, and as long as you subscribe to that, you’ll pass all your courses.”

Yes, Hillsdale College is a conservative-leaning school, but it’s also an honest one.  Its mission is to provide students with a solid grounding in the foundations of Western civilization—Greco-Roman philosophy, Judeo-Christian morality, the political ideas of the English Enlightenment and the American Founding, and classical free-market economics.  To be sure, genuine study of these things generally leads to ideas more in line with American conservatism than with progressivism.  However, that’s a sign not of how biased Hillsdale is, but of what a radical departure progressivism was from pre-20th-century thought, as well as how factually inaccurate much of mainstream education is.

Most public schools are presented as impartial institutions with no aim beyond offering students a well-rounded knowledge base and preparing them for adulthood.  Ideology is disseminated—sometimes overtly, sometimes by stealth—to an unsuspecting, often-apolitical audience, their parents forced to support the school with their tax dollars, the teachers state-approved authority figures in the lives of impressionable minors.

Hillsdale, however, is honest about its mission.  The school’s emphasis on classical thought (which, as anybody actually familiar with the professors and the classes can guarantee, is a far cry from RNC propaganda) is out in the open; anybody considering Hillsdale is free to apply or not with full knowledge of its mission.

At most colleges, you can barely swing a dead cat without hitting some washed-up Marxist or an ex-Black Panther, and odds are he’d have tenure.  K-12 public education has more than a little propagandizing of its own to answer for, too.  Rest assured, if DotingDad is really that concerned about education, he’s barking up the wrong tree.


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