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Undoing the brainwashing

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By Thomas Sowell
Wednesday, May 22, 2013, 9:03 p.m.
 

As college students return home for the summer, many parents may notice how many politically correct ideas they have acquired on campus. Some of those parents may wonder how they can undo the brainwashing that has become so common in what are supposed to be institutions of higher learning.

The strategy used by Gen. Douglas MacArthur in the Pacific during World War II can be useful in this very different kind of battle. Instead of fighting the Japanese for every island stronghold as the Americans advanced toward Japan, MacArthur sent his troops into battle for only those islands that were strategically crucial. In the same spirit, parents who want to bring their offspring back to reality need not try to combat every crazy idea they picked up from their politically correct professors. Just demolishing a few crucial beliefs, and exposing what nonsense they are, can deal a blow to the general credibility of the professorial pied pipers.

For example, if the student has been led to join the crusade for more gun control and thinks that the British have lower murder rates than Americans because Brits have tighter gun control laws, just give him a copy of the book “Guns and Violence,” by Joyce Lee Malcolm.

My own recent book, “Intellectuals and Race,” exposes the fallacies in most of what is said about racial issues in college classrooms.

The classic study of Third World nations is “Equality, the Third World, and Economic Delusion,” by the late P.T. Bauer of the London School of Economics. He made a veritable demolition derby of most of what has been said in politically correct circles about the relationship between rich and poor countries.

There is no book that exposes the human consequences of the welfare state more poignantly than “Life at the Bottom,” by British physician Theodore Dalrymple. Although Britain is the setting for “Life at the Bottom,” Americans will recognize very similar patterns here. Problems found in black ghettoes in the United States are found in low-income white neighborhoods in Britain, where none of the usual excuses about racism, slavery, etc., apply. The only thing that is the same in both countries is the welfare state and its poisonous ideology.

If your student has been led to believe that “comprehensive immigration reform” — amnesty — is the only way to go, a book titled “Mexifornia,” by Victor Davis Hanson, introduces some cold, factual reality into a subject usually discussed in sweeping and lofty rhetoric.

A book that offers a choice between the island-hopping strategy that MacArthur used in the Pacific and the all-out assault across a broad front that was used by the Allied armies in Europe is titled “The New Leviathan.” It has 13 penetrating articles by leading authorities on such subjects as national security, ObamaCare, environmentalism and election frauds.

Parents who want to follow the MacArthur strategy can recommend reading one, or a few, of these articles, while those who want to follow the strategy of attacking across a broad front can recommend that their student read the whole book.

However the battle is fought, what is most important is that the battle be fought, since the young are the future and the propaganda of today can become the government policies of tomorrow.

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University.

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