I was wondering what are your thoughts on why modern Universities tend to support “progressive ideals” and go left. As a conservative on a University completing a postgraduate degree , it seems that this left leaning culture seems to be increasingly and overtly celebrated on campus.
Secondly, what is your opinion on the role of a University professor/Academic as a vocation and how it fits in with the idea that we ought to be obsessively pre-occupied with serving God’s fellow creation? The reason for asking is that the science field I am involved in is largely knowledge/theoretical based rather than service based.
Many excellent books and articles have been written explaining why campuses overwhelmingly tilt Left. They make fascinating reading and we do suggest that if your life is heavily campus-based, you delve into this subject.
In brief, however, as I often explain on my podcast ( https://soundcloud.com/rabbi-daniel-lapin-show ) there are basically only two lenses to reality. One is God-centric and humble while the other is arrogant and secular-materialistic. The former says we’re on this lonely planet because God put us here while the latter takes the position that we’re here by a random accident that makes us nothing more than super-sophisticated chimpanzees.
Though universities both in America and Europe started off as bastions of Christianity, firmly embracing the first lens, round about the middle of the 20th century they commenced a revolutionary transformation to radical secularism that is still ongoing.
Progressive is merely a polite word for a Marxist worldview believing that some people, such as university faculty and often students as well, have a right to live in comfort off the sweat of other people’s brows. Today, universities, are, with few exceptions, temples of secularism willing to offer almost any heretic as a sacrifice to their gods.
Certainly, we do feel that anyone who is considering sending a child to a college campus should do serious research and due diligence before doing so.
As to your personal question, we’d like to suggest some questions to ask yourself. Knowledge can be greatly valuable. We can think of many people who contributed to humanity by theoretical scientific exploration, among them Johannes Kepler, Isaac Newton and Galileo.
You might ask yourself what is the purpose of your studies? Is what you are researching an arcane obsession or can you see the ultimate potential for a practical application eventually? Would time teaching be an escape from having to deal with the real world or an opportunity to positively inspire young people and improve their lives?
Most importantly, is what you are teaching true to the best of your knowledge? If you are in the science department or the mathematics department, that is probably the case. However, if the name of your field includes the word “Studies” as in “Jewish Studies,” “Environmental Studies” etc, it is a good clue that the curriculum might contain more of an agenda rather than truth.
Also ask yourself whether you are delivering to your students material of value that will help them understand how the world REALLY works.
Should you continue on your path and find yourself isolated, whether in a laboratory or on a campus, we would encourage you to actively seek opportunities to get out of your cocoon. Make sure that some time each week is physically spent outside both campus and college towns and interacting with people who have nothing to do with organized academia.
Asking the questions we have raised and others you will come up with suggests that you have reservations about your path. That is a brave and honest thing to do and whatever your decision, you are better off for facing your doubts as early as possible.
Wishing you success,
Rabbi Daniel and Susan Lapin