Rick Santorum: Obama College Plan Part Of Plot To “Indoctrinate” Americans

Rick Santorum went on Glenn Beck’s Internet-only television show yesterday and apparently decided to go all-in on the Beckian conspiracy theories:

DALLAS, Texas – Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum said Thursday that President Obama wants more young adults to go to college so they can undergo “indoctrination” to a secular world view.

In an hour-long interview with conservative television host Glenn Beck, Santorum also defended his record on abortion and his vote in favor of President George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind education law.

On the president’s efforts to boost college attendance, Santorum said, “I understand why Barack Obama wants to send every kid to college, because of their indoctrination mills, absolutely … The indoctrination that is going on at the university level is a harm to our country.”

He claimed that “62 percent of kids who go into college with a faith commitment leave without it,” but declined to cite a source for the figure. And he floated the idea of requiring that universities that receive public funds have “intellectual diversity” on campus.

And by “intellectual diversity,” of course, he means “teaching what Rick Santorum approves of.”

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, Education, Quick Takes, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Just anecdotally, I’m one of those people who went to college a Christian and left an agnostic. Ironically, the cause of my loss of faith had nothing to do with any of my classroom instruction, but was the result of two things: one was Gary Cattell (aka “The Willard Preacher”), a man who one of the local fundamentalist churches paid to stand in front of one of the classroom buildings five days a week and harrange passing students about how they were all sodomites who were going to hell, etc. The second was a bible study run by Campus Crusade for Christ.

    I’d grown up in a theologically liberal mainline protestant church, and college really was my first exposure to the hardcore fundamentalism. When you’re exposed to people who use your religion as what amounts to a hategroup, you start to question your beliefs.




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  2. Ron Beasley says:

    Rick Santaliban.




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  3. legion says:

    So, we’ve spent years convincing our children to take on huge debt loads early in life, because they can’t expect to be successful unless they have a college degree, but colleges are also “hotbeds of liberal debauchery” that are unfit to send God-fearing young people into…

    For a guy so committed to the principles of his religion, he sure does lie a lot.




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  4. Brummagem Joe says:

    Basically Santorum practises a sort of religious fascism of the Opus Dei variety. His fulminating on Beck’s station isn’t going to attract much attention unless he becomes the candidate in the general. Interestingly I saw a piece in the NYT confirming that for the first time the number of adult Americans with an underrgrad degree has exceeded 30% of the population. Quite honestly I find it hard to understand how the basic tenets of christian belief can survive exposure to a decent university education so in that sense Santorum is correct. Universities are in business to teach the importance of empirical evidence, scepticism and sound reasoning so how could it be otherwise. Short of turning higher education back over to the religious establishment this process is not going to be reversed.




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  5. HinterlandG says:

    More hogwash from Rick Santorum. Was he indoctrinated when he went from his undergraduate years to law school? Who do we have to thank for his warped views?




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  6. Gromitt Gunn says:

    Rick is also apparently touting the “advantages” of for-profit higher ed, like U of Phoenix and Kaplan U, over traditional state colleges and universities.

    Not sure exactly what the advantages are, other than the advantage to the operator of using peoples’ student loan money as an indirect method of obtaining corporate welfare without having to deliver much in return.




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  7. Universities are in business to teach the importance of empirical evidence, scepticism

    Well, in the science and engineering colleges, anyways. 😉




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  8. de stijl says:

    And he floated the idea of requiring that universities that receive public funds have “intellectual diversity” on campus.

    I’m sure some sort of accommodation would be found for the Oral Roberts, Liberty, Ave Maria, and Patrick Henry type of universities under Santorum’s scheme.




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  9. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Well, in the science and engineering colleges, anyways. 😉

    I would have said this generally true of all subjects at good universities (certainly the major social sciences like economics or liberal arts like history). God knows what they teach at places like Regent but I don’t regard that as a serious university.




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  10. certainly the major social sciences like economics or liberal arts like history

    The fact Newt Gingrich was able to obtain multiple degrees in history from two relaitvely prestigious schools pretty much refutes this idea. Science and Engineering have the advantage that reality ultimately forces them to be empirically correct. You can’t BS your way out of a collapsing bridge. And while there are certainly a lot of well edjucated historians and economists out there, anyone who pays attention can see that it’s a lot easier to get by spouting properly phased gobbledy-gook in those fields.

    This isn’t to say that there aren’t similarly ignorant engineers or scientists out there, only that it’s far rarer to see an engineer or scientist who graduated from a good school as is incompetent in their field of expertise.




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  11. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    The fact Newt Gingrich was able to obtain multiple degrees in history from two relaitvely prestigious schools pretty much refutes this idea.

    I don’t see how. Of course you may believe Newt is a man of massive personal integrity who wouldn’t dream of departing from the first principles of scholarship but some of us are more sceptical.

    You can’t BS your way out of a collapsing bridge.

    Oh really. This might be news to the various parties engaged in lawsuits over the BP oil spill.




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  12. sam says:

    And he floated the idea of requiring that universities that receive public funds have “intellectual diversity” on campus.

    Mandate!




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  13. @Brummagem Joe:

    Of course you may believe Newt is a man of massive personal integrity who wouldn’t dream of departing from the first principles of scholarship but some of us are more sceptical.

    Of course I don’t think that. That, indeed, is my point. Newt’s complete rejectipn of the basic principles of his discipline was not a barrier to him proceeding quite far in that field anyways. By comparison, could someone end up a professor of, say, civil engineering while rejecting the core principles of physics or mathematics?




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  14. OzarkHillbilly says:

    And he floated the idea of requiring that universities that receive public funds have “intellectual diversity” on campus.

    Like all of the intellectual diversity contained within his schizophrenic head.




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  15. @Brummagem Joe:

    Oh really. This might be news to the various parties engaged in lawsuits over the BP oil spill.

    By BS-ing out of, I don’t mean avoiding legal responsibility. I mean if the physics says the bridge won’t stay up, it’s going to collapse no matter how much you want it to stay up. If the physics says the o-ring will shatter during a launch at the current temperature, the Challenger is going to explode no matter how important it is for NASA to launch on schedule. And if Halliburton says you can’t use current cementing techniques in unstable hydrate fields without creating the risk of a catastrophic methane release, the Deepwater Horizon rig is going to be destroyed no matter how much BP wants to cut corners.




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  16. Rob in CT says:

    For a lot of people:

    1) Education: teaching people things you like
    2) Indoctrination: teaching people things you don’t like.

    That’s silly, of course, because indoctrination means “teaching to accept uncritically.” Which is something you could perhaps accuse an elementary school of doing, but Ricky’s talking about colleges.

    Heck, I was one of those terrible liberal arts majors (History). One of the best courses I took was Historiography, which was all about examining multiple sources in an effort to get at the truth (as best you can).

    The point about engineering is valid to a point. There really is less room for BSing.




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  17. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    By BS-ing out of, I don’t mean avoiding legal responsibility. I

    The bs-ing in most cases involving technology and medicine invariably involves abstruse scientific and technical arguments….not points of law. Sure it’s possible to use experimentation to test scientific theories with greater accuracy than say historic ones but that doesn’t mean most serious historians or economists aren’t engaged in a search for the truth by for example going to original sources or creating economic models. You’re making a fundamental error in confusing the principles and practice of scholarship which are central to the educational process with the subsequent disregard of them by mountebanks and charlatans with an agenda. Just because Gingrich for example distorts history doesn’t mean he wasn’t (as you suggest) taught the importance of empirical evidence and scepticism at school.




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  18. Tsar Nicholas says:

    “Glenn Beck’s Internet-only television show…”? I have no idea what that’s about.

    In any case, Santorum here is barking up the wrong tree. Neither Obama nor the Democrat Party is all that interested in having kids go off to left-wing universities (I know, redundant) to indoctrinate them into a secular world view. Obama wants kids going off to colleges and universities, especially this year, because that sort of thing holds down the reported unemployment rate. The more full-time students there are the less jobless people there will be in the measured workforce. As for the Dems, it’s more about indoctrinating them into being Democrats than secularists, although the two often go hand in hand.

    That all said, this mostly is a moot point. Young kids are and always will be the least likely to vote. By the time people reach a level of maturity at which they become regular voters a distinct majority vote Republican. That won’t change. Generation Y has far greater problems than the dichotomy between theism and atheism. Rampant unemployment, pitiful job prospects, along with burgeoning inflation and the incipient collapse of the entitlement systems, merely to name a few. If that generation was a stock I’d be short selling it.

    Lastly, regarding the idea that public funds at universities should be conditioned upon “intellectual diversity,” that dog simply won’t hunt. That would be like conditioning public funds to Hell’s Kitchen on getting rid of the beer and the tattoos.

    What we need as far as left-wing academia is concerned is fundamental reforms to the student loan systems, to hiring and firing rules, to compensation packages, and to the K-12 systems.

    Public money should not be used to subsidize useless college degrees. Teachers unions need to be reigned in, with an eye ultimately to having them disbanded. Tenure at public-money universities should be eliminated. Public sector teachers and professors need to have their wages capped, their benefits drawn down and merit-based compensation programs. We need right to work laws everywhere. We need real school voucher programs in all 50 states. It’s time to drain the swamp.




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  19. @Stormy Dragon:

    Newt’s complete rejectipn of the basic principles of his discipline was not a barrier to him proceeding quite far in that field anyways

    I would note that he did not, in fact, get quite far in his field. A lot of his work after finishing his studies actually is the equivalent of the engineer who, upon graduation, gets a job and oversee the construction of the bridge that collapses.

    Trust me: no history department in the country worthy of the name would accept Newt’s publications as being recognizable as part of the discipline.

    (But yes, by definition history is different than engineering, but trust me: good history departments teach skepticism and empiricism).




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  20. James says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    I have no idea what that’s about.

    Indeed.




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  21. @Steven L. Taylor:

    (But yes, by definition history is different than engineering, but trust me: good history departments teach skepticism and empiricism).

    Oh yes, I’m sure they do teach it (and I’m sure Newt was taught it). But how much does someone have to apply those teachings once they get into actual professional practice? Again, if and engineer was routinely just winging his calculations, it would very quickly become obvious that they weren’t doing things properly. I still think it’s much easier to get away with bad scholarship in a subject like history.

    And I don’t think being an assistant professor, even at a small university, is comparable to being an entry level engineer. I believe you yourself have written several times on how competetive the fight for professorship positions has become in academia. Someone thought Gingrich was not just an adequate historian, but a exceptional one to choose him over all the other PhD candidates who ended up not being in academia at all.




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  22. @Brummagem Joe:

    Sure it’s possible to use experimentation to test scientific theories with greater accuracy than say historic ones but that doesn’t mean most serious historians or economists aren’t engaged in a search for the truth by for example going to original sources or creating economic models.

    Again, I’m not saying economists or historians are as a group trying to pull a fast one. I’m just saying that for the minority who are, either with intent because they have some sort of agenda to push or without intent due to laziness or incompetence, it’s easier for them to get away with it in soft disciplines than it is in hard ones.




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  23. James says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    I still think it’s much easier to get away with bad scholarship in a subject like history.

    Well, currently your only data point here is Newt Gingrich. I find Mr. Gingrich to be the exception rather than the rule of most things.

    I can speak for economics in that if you don’t come with your equations, you’re going to get laughed out of the room fairly quickly.




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  24. @Stormy Dragon:

    Someone thought Gingrich was not just an adequate historian, but a exceptional one to choose him over all the other PhD candidates who ended up not being in academia at all.

    My point would be that he would have been hired as an assistant professor on his potential to be a historian and he failed to produce. He did not get far in his profession, but rather got far in his education–this is an important difference.

    As best as I can tell, he produced almost zero as a historian, properly defined.




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  25. @Stormy Dragon:

    By way of example, I find it hard to imagine something akin to the Sokal Affair occuring in the hard sciences or engineering.




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  26. James says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    easier for them to get away with it in soft disciplines than it is in hard ones.

    Is it harder to fudge equations solutions than it is qualitative data? Sure. But if you don’t know what you’re talking about it’s going to be clear very quickly within the profession.

    Oh, and from your link

    At that time, the journal did not practice academic peer review

    There’s your problem.




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  27. @James:

    Is it harder to fudge equations solutions than it is qualitative data? Sure. But if you don’t know what you’re talking about it’s going to be clear very quickly within the profession.

    Exactly.

    At that time, the journal did not practice academic peer review

    There’s your problem.

    Indeed.




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  28. mantis says:

    Science and Engineering have the advantage that reality ultimately forces them to be empirically correct.

    For the most part that is true, but not always. Go ahead and try to test string theory. Good luck!




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  29. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Again, I’m not saying economists or historians are as a group trying to pull a fast one. I’m just saying that for the minority who are, either with intent because they have some sort of agenda to push or without intent due to laziness or incompetence, it’s easier for them to get away with it in soft disciplines than it is in hard ones.

    Except this isn’t what you were saying originally. At least as I understood it which was that the teachers of the social sciences and liberal arts were less committed to the basic principles of scholarship than teachers of scientific subjects and that Gingrich’s receipt of a degrees from some good universities was evidence of this. In fact the only thing its evidence of is that he doesn’t have much regard for the principles of scholarship. You now appear to be changing the terms of this debate from one about the integrity of teaching methods to one about the relative malleability of data between the sciences and other subjects. As I said above this is probably true but it doesn’t mean the scientific/medical community without it’s mountebanks also.




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  30. @Brummagem Joe:

    Except this isn’t what you were saying originally.

    It’s what I was trying to say. I meant “it’s a lot easier to get by spouting properly phased gobbledy-gook in those fields” as being a failing of the people who do the spouting, not the people who were responsible for training them. I can see though that the original phrasing was ambiguous since I never explicitly state where I place fault. I’ll try to be more clear in the future.




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  31. grumpy realist says:

    @Brummagem Joe: I wouldn’t call Newt an exemplar of a historian–I wouldn’t call him an intellectual, period.

    At least when we did our silly-season-when-drunk scenarios at the MIT dorms late at night, we at least tried to make sure the science/engineering was right, no matter how outlandish the idea was in general.




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  32. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    It’s what I was trying to say.

    Understood. And you know that although there may not have been many scientifc hoaxes there have been no shortage of scientific blind alleys that for awhile at least were believed to be gospel. The great difference with science is that you can test theories with experimentation and keep changing the variables under the same set of controls.




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  33. Brummagem Joe says:

    @grumpy realist:

    I wouldn’t call Newt an exemplar of a historian–I wouldn’t call him an intellectual, period.

    Neither would I …..someone else suggested he was…he considers himself a public intellectual…on what basis I’m not sure.




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  34. Bennett says:

    @Tsar Nicholas: Good God dude. Is there really NOTHING you can’t find an ulterior motive for? It’s not possible that Obama truly believes that going to college helps you later in life? What flavor of Kool-Aid do you drink? I suggest Thorazine.




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  35. sam says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Science and Engineering have the advantage that reality ultimately forces them to be empirically correct.

    Ah were the human condition as neat.




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  36. anjin-san says:

    I wouldn’t call Newt an exemplar of a historian–I wouldn’t call him an intellectual, period.

    By the standards of the modern conservative movement, Newt is a charter member of MENSA…




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  37. Jim Cap says:

    @de stijl: Would witchcraft be included in this “diversity” of instruction advocated by Santorum?

    Just wondering…




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  38. Jim Cap says:

    @Tsar Nicholas: Typically vile, hate-driven, hoary nonsense. Where did you learn such absolutely discredited blather? And why the vicious, mendacious attacks against both education and working people?

    But, I’ll give you credit for one thing: You’re completely open and transparent about your real objectives. Unlike many of the miscreants supporting the “Education Reform” movement, you’re not pretending to care about either education, our students, or our teachers.

    You’re at least admitting that your real goals are to:
    1) Defund student loans and reduce funding to our public colleges and universities

    2) Strip teachers of any control in their classroom, their job protection, their already modest pay, and their benefits, and destroy their union. (Maybe you can explain why student test scores are far higher in the unionized teacher states, like Wisconsin and Massachusetts, as opposed to the non-unionized teacher states like Mississippi and North Carolina?)

    3) Defund our Public Schools by mandating an odious “Voucher System”—which studies show has never been successful anywhere it’s been tried. The real intent of “vouchers”, as you candidly admit, is to destroy the entire public school system, crush the idea of community and cooperation in education, and turn most schools into for-profit businesses where Walmart wages prevail, and where “education” is exclusively about filling in circles on test forms.

    When questioned about their own public school, roughly 85% of Americans are “happy” or “very happy” with the education it provides. If more people realized that the real intent of the “educational reform” movement, was exactly what you’re proposing, it would lose support very rapidly.

    Thanks for helping to turn the tide. The educated middle class of our country is beginning to rethink their initial support for No Child Left Behind (a complete fraud and failure) and other, related, “education reform” ideas. You’ve helped spotlight the truth that Michelle Rhee and others have worked so hard to conceal.

    You let the mask slip. Thank you. You’ve just helped our public schools and the very people you detest so passionately.




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  39. Snarky McSnarksnark says:

    “Intellectual diversity” means “more social conservatives,” right?




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  40. DR. ROSENBERG SPEAKS OUT. THE TEACHER WHO CARES. THE ROSENBERG REVOLTION SHARE WITH OTHERS.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xlhvPRkS9a8&feature=youtu.be




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