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anti-american academics

Reader comment on item: Columbia University vs. America

Submitted by mark a jacobs md (United States), Apr 1, 2003 at 13:30

Your article does not surprise me. I suppose that the students of my day (University of Pennsylvania, 1972) are the professors of today. The atmosphere on the campus in those days was completely anti-establishment. In a sense, the inmates graduated and are now running the asylum. But there is another psychological explanation that explains the vitriole of today's professors. Academics spend their days surrounded by 18-22 year olds, and they lower their belief systems accordingly. In a sense, they are not unlike the Hollywood crowd. Some of them stay in the University environment because they are too isolated, angry, or lacking in social skills to enter the real world. To be sure, the Hollywood crowd lacks formal education. But like the academics they are surrounded by a chorus of yes-sayers and stuck perpetually in angry adolescence. And both crowds consider themselves elite.

I am optimistic about the long term prognosis. Most students graduate, enter the real world, and learn to appreciate the difference between teaching and doing. Most look back on those years as just a stage, literally and figuratively.

In Texas, we have our own buffoon, Professor Jensen of the University of Texas in Austin. He writes that Sept 11 was no worse than the crimes America perpetuated on the world. He is aghast that the business school at U.T. teaches only capitalism. He is very full of himself, has his own web site, and writes op ed pieces for the local papers. I mention him to illustrate how the President of UT responded. He made a public statement that Jensen does not reflect the attitude of UT, and that as far as he was concerned, both Jensen and his article were utter foolishness. Would that the presidents of Columbia and othe schools respond in kind.

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