College Guide


January 26, 2012 4:17 PM Rick Santorum: Colleges and Liberal Indoctrination

By Daniel Luzer

Former Pennsylvania senator and long-shot GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum apparently believes that American colleges are centers for liberal political indoctrination

According to a piece by (former Monthly intern) Brian Montopoli at CBS News:

Santorum said Wednesday that “the left” uses universities to indoctrinate young people for the purpose of “holding and maintaining power.”
“It’s no wonder President Obama wants every kid to go to college,” said the former Pennsylvania senator. “The indoctrination that occurs in American universities is one of the keys to the left holding and maintaining power in America. And it is indoctrination. If it was the other way around, the ACLU would be out there making sure that there wasn’t one penny of government dollars going to colleges and universities, right?”

If, indeed, American liberals are using higher education to hold and maintain power, they’re doing a disgracefully bad job at it. America remains a fairly conservative country. As of 2004, for instance, 41 percent of American adults considered themselves conservative; only 19 percent saw themselves as politically liberal. The vast majority of our presidents are Republicans (since the Civil War the country has elected 18 Republican presidents and 9 Democratic ones). Even Democratic presidents end up moving to the right in the course of their presidency. As Gore Vidal once said, “there is, in a strict since, no operative left in America. It’s a country evenly divided between conservatives and reactionaries.”

About 56 percent of Americans have attended college.

Granted, the country is perhaps not quite as conservative as Santorum would like, but that’s hardly higher education’s fault. Santorum went on to suggest that American higher education was particularly hostile to organized religion. As he said:

If they taught Judeo-Christian principles in those colleges and universities, they would be stripped of every dollar. If they teach radical secular ideology, they get all the government support that they can possibly give them.

In fact, through Pell grants and Stafford loans, religiously affiliated colleges receive hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funds.

Santorum apparently declined to say what he would do to combat higher education’s liberal indoctrination if elected.

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer


  • PQuincy on January 27, 2012 8:00 AM:

    We know that politicians are sometimes challenged by facts, reality, and the truth, but the national epidemic of Republican and right-wing lies -- simple falsehoods stated without hesitation -- is deeply harmful to the fabric of our society.