When Students Cheat Liberals Retreat


The best argument against liberalism is that it doesn’t work. That should be obvious to any teacher who has to deal with student cheating. Even some sociology teachers are beginning to learn this although they are not aware that they are learning it. Like rats in a Skinner box, their behavior is being modified by reality even when they lack the intellectual capacity to recognize it. It warms my heart to see old liberals changing their ways, even if mindlessly. So I have written a column about it, which I am hoping will someday be reprinted by the New York Times.

Liberals are reticent to address the issue of student cheating because it reminds them of the fallen nature of man. Utopia requires cooperation and evidence that people tend to cheat undermines the view that they are inclined to cooperate. So liberals would prefer to ignore evidence of cheating in order to preserve a vision of what “society” ought to be and could be if only they were given the means (read: more of our money) to re-engineer it.

But evidence of student cheating has become too widespread to ignore. So the liberals in my department have started circulating articles on the subject coming from reputable sources like the New York Times (sarcasm = off). Some of these articles and some of the faculty reactions to them have focused on what they describe as “a culture of cheating.” Accordingly, some liberal faculty members have started talking about what needs to be done about it. Others have started acting on it. This should be causing cognitive dissonance for several reasons:

1. Merit is irrelevant. Sociology students are frequently fed the liberal line that people do not succeed in America on the basis of their own merits. The old “it isn’t what you know, it’s who you know” maxim is more than just a cultural adage. It seeps into the college curriculum in sociology classes that focus on Marxian conflict theories. Students are routinely taught that wealth, power, and privilege are the keys to success. This tends to denigrate the importance of knowledge. It should go without saying that people are less inclined to rely on their own achievements if their efforts are thus devalued. The connection of such notions to acceptance of cheating is fairly obvious. If we teach people that they cannot succeed through legitimate efforts we will soon see them pursue success through illegitimate means. As always, liberals fail to understand that ideas have consequences. And bad ideas can have very bad consequences.

2. Ethnocentrism is unacceptable. Sociologists like to teach others that it is wrong to judge other cultures by the standards of one’s own culture. Such judgments are called “ethnocentric.” This concept has slowly crept into mainstream liberal thinking. That is unfortunate because promoting anti-ethnocentrism is problematic for at least two reasons: 1. it tends to undermine the idea that one’s actions (including cheating) can be considered objectively wrong. 2. It renders efforts to condemn a “culture of cheating” hypocritical. Remember that we aren’t supposed to judge other cultures!

3. Punishment is ineffective. Sociologists routinely teach the liberal idea that punishment is ineffective and the corresponding idea that “society” has an obligation to rehabilitate criminals. Then, in their own syllabi, they warn students that cheating will be punished. Claiming to be shocked when their threats are ignored, they send students through the campus penal system, not through rehabilitation. And the liberal campus penal system can be quite punitive and dismissive of due process. No attorneys, no tape recorders, no note taking, no soup … oops! I mean, no due process for you!

In a nutshell, sociology, like modern liberalism, teaches that we can’t get by on our own merits, we should not judge other cultures, and that punishment does not work. When students cheat, however, the sociologist urges advancement through one’s own merits, condemnation of the culture of cheating, and punishment of the transgressor.

It is little wonder that many students are intellectually lost and morally confused. They make the mistake of taking their sociology professors seriously, which means buying into contradictory liberal ideas. So my advice is two-fold: First, don’t cheat in college because it is objectively wrong to do so. Second, don’t cheat yourself by choosing a major populated by hypocrites who cannot abide by the consequences of their own ideas.


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Mike S. Adams was born in Columbus, Mississippi on October 30, 1964. While a student at Clear Lake High School in Houston, TX, his team won the state 5A soccer championship. Mike Adams graduated from C.L.H.S. in 1983 with a 1.8 GPA. Mike Adams was ranked 734 among a class of 740, largely as a result of flunking English all four years of high school. After obtaining an Associate's degree in psychology from San Jacinto College, Mike Adams moved on to Mississippi State University where he joined the Sigma Chi Fraternity. While living in the fraternity house, his GPA rose to 3.4, allowing him to finish his B.A., and then to pursue a Master's in Psychology. In 1990, Mike Adams turned down a chance to pursue a PhD in psychology from the University of Georgia, opting instead to remain at Mississippi State to study Sociology/Criminology. This decision was made entirely on the basis of his reluctance to quit his night job as member of a musical duo. Playing music in bars and at fraternity parties and weddings financed his education. Mike Adams also played for free beer. . Upon getting his doctorate in 1993, Adams, then an atheist and a Democrat, was hired by UNC-Wilmington to teach in the criminal justice program. A few years later, Adams abandoned his atheism and also became a Republican. He also nearly abandoned teaching when he took a one-year leave of absence to study law at UNC-Chapel Hill in 1998. After returning to teach at UNC-Wilmington, Adams won the Faculty Member of the Year award (issued by the Office of the Dean of Students) for the second time in 2000. . After his involvement in a well publicized free speech controversy in the wake of the 911 terror attacks, Adams became a vocal critic of the diversity movement in academia. After making appearances on shows like Hannity and Colmes, the O'Reilly Factor, and Scarborough Country, Adams was asked to write a column for Townhall.com. . Today Mike Adams enjoys the privilege of expressing himself both as a teacher and a writer. Mike Adams is also an avid hunter and reader of classic literature. Mike Adams published his first book, Welcome to the Ivory Tower of Babel, in 2004. His second book, Feminists Say the Darndest Things: A Politically Incorrect Professor Confronts "Womyn" On Campus, was published in 2008.