The View From 1776
Thursday, May 25, 2006
Anti-American Speaks the Truth
For once, we can agree with a college student’s anti-American tirade: The New School’s founding ideals are definitely not conservative.
The New York Times, in a May 20 article by David M. Herszenhorn, reported that, “The jeers, boos and insults flew, as caustic as any that angry New Yorkers have hurled inside Madison Square Garden. The objects of derision yesterday, however, were not the hapless New York Knicks, but Senator John McCain, the keynote speaker at the New School graduation, and his host, Bob Kerrey, the university president.
“No sooner had Mr. Kerrey welcomed the audience to the university’s 70th commencement than the hoots began to rise through the Theater at Madison Square Garden. Several graduates held up a banner aimed at Mr. McCain, an Arizona Republican and likely 2008 presidential candidate, declaring: “Our commencement is not your platform.” Other students and faculty members waved orange fliers with the same message.”
“.... The first student speaker, Jean Sara Rohe, 21, said she had discarded her original remarks to talk about Mr. McCain. “The senator does not reflect the ideals upon which this university was founded,” she said, to a roaring ovation.”
Miss Rohe’s statement is all too true: the ideals upon which The New School for Social Research was founded are utterly different from the ideals that underpin the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Whether Senator McCain represents the latter is a question for another discussion.
What is now called simply The New School was founded in 1918 as The New School for Social Research, with the emphasis on the word social, as in socialism. Its model was the London School of Economics, which was organized in 1895 by Sidney and Beatrice Webb, the founders of the socialist Fabian Society in England.
The intent was to bring to the new and burgeoning population of post-World War I socialists in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village an adult version of “progressive” education. This was to prepare them for cooperative living in the “good socialist society” toward which the United States appeared to be headed in the post-war disillusionment.
Principal founders of The New School for Social Research were three professors from Columbia University: John Dewey, James Robinson, and Charles A. Beard.
Professor Dewey was the originator of “progressive” education and the most influential single voice of socialism in the United States in the first half of the 20th century. Of him, liberal-socialist Professor Sidney Hook wrote, “In Dewey’s philosophy we have a sustained and systematic attempt to take the pattern of scientific inquiry as a model for knowledge and action in all fields…. The life of democracy in our day and age depends upon “taking the method of science home into our controlling attitudes and dispositions [i.e., atheism], employing the new techniques as a means of directing our thoughts and efforts to a planned control of social forces [i.e., socialism].”...”
Professor Robinson, according to the Columbia University Encyclopedia, “... stressed the ?new history??the social, scientific, and intellectual progress of humanity rather than merely political happenings.” This was in the tradition of Henri de Saint-Simon, the founder of socialism, who interpreted history as an inevitable progression from primitive times, through medieval religious ignorance, and into the golden age of “science” that was to be socialism.
Charles A. Beard?s outlook was molded by Auguste Comte?s Religion of Humanity as it appeared in England during the late 19th century.? Studying in England from 1889 to 1891, Beard became enthralled with John Ruskin’s thesis that the political state should provide free education, vocational training workshops, guaranteed employment, job security, housing and social security for the old and poor, minimum wage laws, rent control, income ceilings, and public ownership of transportation.?
As a professor at Columbia in 1913, Beard published his now completely discredited book, ?An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States,? which asserted that the Constitution was a conspiracy by wealthy property owners to subjugate the working classes.
Early faculty members at the New School were socialist economists Thorstein Veblen, Leo Wolman, and Alvin S. Johnson.
Regarding Veblen, Max Lerner wrote in his editor’s introduction to the Viking edition of Veblen’s works, “America, which has produced the most finished and tenacious brand of business civilization, has also produced the most finished and tenacious criticism of it. That is the core meaning of Thorstein Veblen’s work…. His critique of our civilization is as unsparing as the Marxian.” Lerner, by the way, was no conservative critic. His own writing first appeared in “The Nation” and “The New Republic,” the two most liberal, general-circulation publications of that day.
To complete the picture of The New School for Social Research as a seminary whose ideals are the atheistic and materialistic catechism of the socialist religion, note that its early lecturers were John Maynard Keynes and Harold Laski.
Keynes was the propounder of the collectivist economics doctrine adopted by Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal as the rationale for collectivistic planning and managing of the economy.
Laski, after teaching at Harvard from 1916 until 1920, returned to England to teach socialist economics at The London School of Economics and to serve on the executive committee of socialist Fabian Society.