Exposing Social Justice Ideology in Higher Education

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A new project lays bare the use of public funds to promote hateful discourse.

Many Americans are ignorant of the thorough corruption of our educational institutions. Leading officials at public schools, universities, and many private schools actively undermine the American way of life across nearly every inch of educational terrain. Remember what grandpa used to say in the 1980s? “Once these kids get out into the real world they will have to drop all of this PC nonsense.” But the real world now resembles our educational institutions. PC nonsense is a road to riches. It is way harder than grandpa knew.

Today, our efforts to save America must start locally, making education serve civilization from the ground up. Legislators and governors in red states can, if they choose, use the levers of state power to root out the hateful doctrines of social justice ideology. We need to start yesterday, so we started something up in Idaho.

The momentum of the social justice agenda, underway for generations, is at a critical juncture. Having experienced a quasi-cancellation event in 2017 at my home institution, I grew convinced that thinking about the social justice agenda in the old terms from the 1990s—as free speech vs. political correctness—missed the heart of the matter. Universities are peddling hateful lies that are undermining the country; state legislatures are funding revolutionary forces to indoctrinate the next generation in their false ideology. That is unjust and stupid, and it had to stop. Only the state government, answerable to the people of Idaho, would be in a position to make meaningful changes to the university.

As a private citizen, I partnered with the Idaho Freedom Foundation (IFF), a state policy think tank, to produce a comprehensive account of how far social justice ideology had penetrated Idaho’s universities. The goal of this report was to illuminate the problem to the state legislature, and to offer specific points of action the state of Idaho could take to curtail the intrusion of this pernicious agenda into public institutions of higher education in the Gem State. By disseminating our research to legislators and publicizing our findings, our efforts have borne fruit. Criticism of practices and policies at the University of Idaho and Boise State University has forced administrators to defend an educational agenda that is not aligned with the values of the state. The Idaho state legislature has begun to cut funding to the schools, and with any luck, the universities will reevaluate their woke curricular emphases.

What follows is a brief account of how we produced our reports and got them in front of the relevant decision makers. My purpose here is to offer a modest model for conservatives in other states who are concerned about the rot that has settled into our taxpayer-funded educational systems, and who want a roadmap for pushing against the forces of so-called progress.

By Scott Yenor

Scott Yenor is a Washington Fellow at the Claremont Institute Center for the American Way of Life. His new book, The Recovery of Family Life: Exposing the Limits of Modern Ideologies, is just out from Baylor University Press.

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