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A Brief Note on Universities
as Propaganda Machines

Paul Gosselin (25/7/2023)

This note was previously posted on a forum debating origins issues…


Most here have been through the university system. Some still work in this environment. The article below is from (as far as I know) an alternative British media web site, examining the lurch towards censorship and neototalitarian cancel-culture in universities.

Can we trust our universities and colleges? (Dr Ursula Edgington and Prof. Gloria Moss – UK Column – 4/7/2023)

While to the authors of this article the lurch towards a neototalitarian cancel-culture in universities appears to be a newly discovered phenomenon, Young Earth Creationists (YECs) have been on the receiving end of this kind of censorship and cancel-culture for over two generations now (Jerry Bergman has amply documented the materialistic Inquisition). Those rejecting the materialistic origins myth[1] have been deemed despised pariahs, "untouchables" and “heretics” by gatekeepers in universities and in science journals. All in the name of "Science” of course. Here is an excerpt from the UK Column article that examines some of the consequences of the ideological conformism that has become thoroughly entrenched in universities[2].

In this introductory article to a series for UK Column, we pull back the curtain on the reality of education today. We show how universities have long foregone their mission as beacons of objective research and instead are promoting governmental and global agendas. We also reveal the tools for control as including authoritarian leadership, peer review, a culture of bullying and overt censorship.
The costs to society are immense, not only because graduates take their controlled thinking into the world at large, but also because research conducted in universities percolates into the body of society including schools and public policy. What we are witnessing is the end of education as a system for developing Critical Thinking and knowledge, and its replacement by a system to ensure compliance in a post-truth world. This series of articles suggests that the only way objectivity can be restored is through the establishment of new institutions free from government control.

In my view, the exclusion of the of any serious criticism of the dominant materialistic origins myth (such as that offered by the YEC perspective) in universities (beginning in the 1970s) was a first step in this push to ideological uniformity in universities, though one would expect there is little chance the authors of this article would recognize such an issue.

The authors of the article complain that with universities becoming basically (and solely?) propaganda institutions this situation results in the suppression of “Critical Thinking”, but here’s the thing. There is no magic wand to bring back “Critical Thinking”. You can’t have any such thing as “Critical Thinking” unless you have a socially accepted reference point, a concept of TRUTH, which allows individuals and institutions to compare various claims or views. Individuals and institutions must care about Truth. Postmodernism, the dominant view in universities (which basically claims “Everyone has their own Truth”) vehemently rejects such a quest. As a result there can be no real debates. Which leads to a situation where a view becomes dominant not by simply providing the best explanation of facts, but the one whose proponents shouts down it’s opponents the most effectively (or gets more grants)... Seeking for Truth, by way of caring about facts and real debate is in effect EXCLUDED. This is what they call “Progress”…

Such an issue drew the attention of the French Sociologist Jacques Ellul. In his Cold War era book Propaganda, he pointed out that under the influence of propaganda, views become crystallised, hardened and serious debate becomes impossible (1962: 228-229)

What were, before the intervention of propaganda, only vague tendencies, now take the form of ideas. This is all the more remarkable because, as we have seen, propaganda acts much more by emotional shock than by reasoned conviction, but still produces, after the shocks wear off, an ideological edifice that gives great precision and stability to opinion. (...) This hardening of opinion very quickly leads to views becoming impenetrable to any reason, proof or contrary fact. And MacDougall notes this rather impressive fact: propaganda that acts on opinion without putting forward any evidence; the latent opinion under the influence of such propaganda will absorb everything, believe everything, without control (when propaganda is effective). This causes views to crystallise, and from that point on, opinion no longer accepts anything that is different. As we have already shown, fact, even proven fact, is no match for such hardened views. (translation - PG)

This is precisely where universities find themselves now… And, in addition postmoderns have some rather effective manipulative tricks up their sleeves. One such trick is to label ideological adversaries as "racists", "islamophobes", "homophobes", "transphobes", "whateverphobes". Guilt-mongering about "privilege" or sermons about environmental guilt also have their uses. GUILT and SHAME are the all-purpose shut-them-uppers... All of these tricks have the great benefit of killing off serious discussion, examining facts and argument, all of which postmoderns would prefer to avoid at all cost. But the most effective postmodern trick is calling an adversary a "fascist". Shuts people up right away (or diverts them down useless rabbit-holes)...

Here are a few pertinent quotes from other authors in this regard. In his book Miracles C. S. Lewis observed (1947/1990: 110):

"Men became scientific because they expected Law in Nature, and they expected Law in Nature because they believed in a Legislator. In most modern scientists this belief has died: it will be interesting to see how long their confidence in uniformity survives it. Two significant developments have already appeared - the hypothesis of a lawless sub-nature, and the surrender of the claim that science is true. We may be living nearer than we suppose to the end of the Scientific Age."

 The Social anthropologist Ernst Gellner wrote (1992/1999: 93)

"Quite probably, the break-through to the scientific miracle was only possible because some men were passionately, sincerely, whole-heartedly concerned with Truth. Will such passion survive the habit of granting oneself different kinds of truth according to the day of the week ?"

Writing in The New Republic, Peter Berkowitz stated (1996: 15)

What is truly troubling about the "cultural" or "critical" study of science as it tends to be carried out in universities today is what is troubling about postmodernism in general. By teaching that the distinction between true and false is one more repressive human fiction, postmodernism promotes contempt for the truth and undermines the virtue of intellectual integrity. Those who have never performed an experiment or mastered an equation can, therefore, enjoy a sneering superiority based on the alleged insight that science is a form of literary invention distinguished primarily by its outsized social cachet. 

As the present trend develops, universities have become massive producers of postmodern nonsense as well as willing lackeys for a rising neototalitarianism. While some may think it “impossible” that institutions such as universities could ever sink so low, history serves us with grim lessons that cannot be ignored. Regarding the 20th century, the French biologist Pierre-Paul Grassé highlights below what happened when early 20th century scientific elites and university professors overwhelmingly bought into fashionable ideology (1980: 44):

After the triumph of National Socialism, German science gave massive, unconditional support to the Fuehrer. Anthropologists, geneticists, economists and lawyers zealously began to serve their new master. [In a footnote [2] Grassé adds]: Support for their Fuehrer among German intellectuals was massive. In the 1933 referendum, statements by professors from many universities (not all) were combined in one volume. Among the authors of these texts, can be found the name of the famous philosopher, Martin Heidegger, which is both surprising, given the idealism permeating his work and revealing of the mind-set that gave Hitler victory.*

Some may be tempted to think that only the uneducated can easily succumb to propaganda. Jacques Ellul in his 1962 book, Propagandes (English translation published in 1965) dealt with this erroneous claim. Ellul has a lot of fun with this concept and turns it on it’s head. In his view, it’s the other way around (1962: 129)

"It is curious to note how many propaganda campaigns in the West have "taken hold" first among the educated. This is not only doctrinal propaganda, which is based on accurate facts, but also acts at the level of the most progressive personalities, who are sensitive to values and have a fairly complete knowledge of political realities: for example, propaganda regarding the injustice of capitalism, or regarding economic crises, or colonialism. It's only natural that the most educated people should be the first to be influenced by such propaganda.
But this is true also of more crude forms of propaganda: for example, the Peace campaign and the biological warfare campaign succeeded first and foremost amongst the educated. In France, intellectuals were the first to buy into the biological warfare scam! This flies in the face of preconceived ideas about the vulnerability to propaganda by the uneducated public. No doubt the educated man claims not to “believe in propaganda”, he shrugs his shoulders and is convinced that propaganda is ineffective. This is one of their weaknesses, and propagandists know very well that to reach someone they must first persuade them that propaganda is ineffective and not very sophisticated! Because they are convinced of their superiority, intellectuals are far more vulnerable to this pressure than others.” (translation - PG)

As Santayana once said: “Those who ignore history, are condemned to repeat it.”

Postmodern Groupthink

In a recent article discussing “Groupthink” in universities Abramson attempts to understand corruption in universities. The Groupthink concept (translated from the French expression “pensée unique”) Abramson discusses is of course the seedbed for cancel-culture. But cancel-culture is only the logical extension of Groupthink as after the ideological conquest of major social institutions by postmodernism,  postmoderns then go into fortress mode ensuring the exclusion of any threats to their entrenched ideological monopoly. Groupthink is intrinscally intolerant. This is where cancel-culture comes into play. While Abramson does NOT get into the origins debate, I think Creationists or Intelligent Desgn proponents[3] can figure out where the issues Abramson raises affect the origins debate.

Many educated Westerners, may consider cancel-culture a “new” thing. But in fact, YECs, beginning perhaps in the late 1970s and early 1980s, became cancel-culture's first targets. It should not be surprising that YECs should be targeted first as the materialistic origins myth (also known as the theory of Evolution) is the foundation for all the ideologies and belief systems that are part of Groupthink. A YEC perspective on origins was a serious threat to Groupthink in universities so had to be excluded at any cost. Just ask Jerry Bergman about this...

And as you well know, the courts were relied on to exclude any YEC or ID footholds in the education system, even in primary schools. YECs or IDers could NOT be allowed to even get their foot in the door (and gain legitimacy thereby). There is a deep irony here though. Evolutionists love to claim that “Evolution is Science!!” but ask a historian of science if he ever saw a real scientific theory resorting to court decisions to ensure it’s monopoly??? In the early 20th century did proponents of Newtonian physics demand courts exclude relativity all the while thumping their desks that “Newton was the CONSENSUS!!”?? Think about it...

Below Abramson (2024) raises a basic question ALL worldviews and belief systems have to answer: “Where is Truth?” and then goes on to look at how this plays out in postmodern educational institutions in the West and how this locks universities into Groupthink intolerance.

Most people turn to one of two heuristics. The first is personal, and few people like to admit it openly: They accept whichever theory comes closest to what they’d like to believe. The second is societal, and most people who advocate it do so with pride: They ask the experts.
Academic institutions—built by experts and for experts—have enshrined this second approach, using mechanisms that sound unassailable, like “peer review” and “faculty governance.” Success in academia flows to those who most impress the key decision-makers. Many students encountered this phenomenon in classes known for handing the highest grades to those best adept at parroting the professor’s views.
What few students appreciate is how powerful that approach remains throughout the academic hierarchy. Graduate students seeking faculty positions maximize their chances by embracing and building upon the work of their faculty interviewers. Assistant professors are most likely to gain tenure and promotion if they anchor their work to that of their senior colleagues. Authors seeking publication in prestigious journals cite the previous publications of the editors and reviewers. The same is true for those seeking research grants.
In other words, the safest, surest, most common path to success in academia involves telling those already designated experts precisely what they most want to hear: That their own work had been so groundbreaking that the most interesting and exciting path forward is to build upon it.


Abramson, Bruce (2024) The Root Cause of Academic Groupthink. (RealClearWire - 8/1/2024)

Bergman, Jerry (1980) Peer evaluation of University Faculty. College Student Journal Monograph, 14(3):2, Fall.

Bergman, Jerry (1993) Censorship in secular science; The Mims case. Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith, 45(1):37-45.

Bergman, Jerry (2011) Slaughter of the Dissidents: The Shocking Truth About Killing the Careers of Darwin Doubters Leafcutter Press, 475 pages

Bergman, Jerry (2016) Silencing the Darwin Skeptics: The War Against Theists. Leafcutter Press, 385 pages

Bergman, Jerry (2018) Censoring the Darwin Skeptics: How Belief in Evolution Is Enforced by Eliminating Dissidents. Leafcutter Press, 495 pages

Berkowitz, Peter (1996) Science Fiction; postmodernism exposed.

Ellul, Jacques (1962/2008) Propagandes. Economica Paris (coll. Classiques des sciences sociales) 361 p.

Gellner, Ernst (1992/1999) Postmodernism, Reason and Religion. Routledge London/New York 108 p.

Gosselin, Paul (1979) Myths of Origin and the Theory of Evolution. (Samizdat)

Gosselin, Paul (2013) Flight From the Absolute: Cynical Observations on the Postmodern West. Volume II. Samizdat xiii - 566 pages with Foreword, Index, Bibliography and Notes

Grassé, Pierre-Paul (1980) L'Homme en accusation : De la biologie à la politique. Albin Michel Paris 354 p.

Lewis, C. S. (1947/1990) Miracles: A Preliminary Study. Fount Publications London



[1] - Also known as the theory of Evolution… While one can get a glimpse of this claim in my 1979 article, the full argument appears in Flight From the Absolute, Volume II.

[2] - Even "Christian universities" in the US have not put up much of a fight to this trend.

[3] - Initially, Intelligent Desgn proponents thought they could avoid the cancel-culture targetting Young Earth Creationists by ignoring issues such as the identity of the Creator or the age of the Earth. They were soon undecieved... The Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed (2008) movie documents their newly discovered awareness, that even an ID perspective was considered heresy by the dominant view.