Bill Maher lambastes elite colleges for their “indoctrination into a stew of bad ideas” and the suppression of free speech.
In a blistering commentary on his HBO show “Real Time,” comedian and political commentator Bill Maher minced no words as he took aim at what he sees as the sorry state of higher education in America, particularly elite colleges.
Maher, an Ivy League graduate himself, argues that American college campuses, especially those deemed “elite,” have devolved into “a combination of a daycare center and a North Korean reeducation camp” where freedom of speech is stifled and the marketplace of ideas is suppressed.
“As an Ivy League graduate who knows the value of a liberal education, I have one piece of advice for the youth of America don’t go to college. And if you absolutely have to go, don’t go to an elite college, because, as recent events have shown, it just makes you stupid,” said Maher.
Bill Maher’s comments followed a barrage of criticisms aimed at the quality and character of education at elite American colleges. He lamented that these institutions, rather than being elite, should simply be branded as expensive—places where they “produce detestable graduates who are arrogant and lack real convictions,” leftist Maher referring to conservative alumni.
One of the most salient points in Maher’s critique was his objection to the naive support for Hamas terrorists and a one-sided blaming of Israel by some student groups, notably at Harvard. Maher cited an instance where 34 student groups at Harvard signed a letter holding Israel solely accountable for recent conflicts, calling it an “apartheid regime,” an assertion Maher rebuts as an uninformed viewpoint.
“They don’t know much of anything, actually,” Maher commented, “but it doesn’t deter them from having an opinion. They’ve convinced themselves Israel is the most repressive regime in history because they have no knowledge of history or even a desire to know it.”
Maher believes the problem here is more than mere youthful indiscretion or ignorance. Instead, he suggested that it’s symptomatic of a more significant issue: colleges, particularly elite ones, have failed to instill critical thinking and encourage a nuanced view of the world.
“I actually believe them that they didn’t read the letter closely. I think they scanned it, said it was blaming Israel, and went back to surfing TikTok. Because college life today is a day spa combined with a North Korean re-education camp. It’s a daycare center with a meal plan, except the toddlers can fire the adults. The fact that college presidents, who usually love to speak out about anything, couldn’t find their voice to condemn the worst attacks since the Holocaust,” he said.
“There’s a lot about who really controls colleges and why. If ignorance is a disease, Harvard Yard is the Wuhan wet market,” he added.
Maher is also concerned with what he sees as the erosion of free speech on campuses, evidenced by guest speakers being chased away and even some of the foundational texts of Western liberalism being disregarded.
The situation has become so dire that the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, a First Amendment watchdog group, ranks Harvard last in commitment to free speech and inquiry.
“To the older folks, I say, college today is not the college you remember. And to the younger people, I say, don’t. Don’t do it. You don’t need four years in a lifetime of crippling debt to learn to hate America when you can just watch five minutes of Selling Sunset,” Maher said.