Sucking wind for an idea of what to write for Newswithviews this week, I got a tip from Susan. We were talking about our college experiences, and this little memory bubbled to the surface.
“They did a pretty good job of indoctrinating us,” I said, “except for the biology course I took in my sophomore year. It was taught by Nazis, and nobody was buying what they were selling.”
By “Nazis” I did not mean goose-stepping, armband-wearing, “Sieg Heil!” shouting followers of Adolf Hitler. I meant American scientists in 1969 who had ideas about re-engineering society along lines first suggested by Heinrich Himmler. They spent the last two weeks of the semester trying to convince us that the way to have paradise on earth was to refashion human society into a kind of ant-hill ruled absolutely by themselves.
They seemed surprised that the students weren’t happy. The instructor could hardly believe her ears when one student asked, “Well, what about freedom and identity?”
Oh, okay, she was prepared for that one!
“Those,” she replied, “are outmoded concepts that will have to be engineered out of the system.” The quote is verbatim, etched into my memory.
Lesson 2: Every student in the class would have been ashamed to pass such a course, so when they gave us our final exams, we all flunked.
But it looks really bad for the faculty when a whole class flunks, so the next thing we knew, we had all been upgraded to a passing grade and they washed us out of their hair.
Lesson 3: College, schmollege.