Letters to the Editor

Trump fans, like Hitler, see professors as enemies

Steve Tyllesen’s letter to The Bee (Nov. 17) attacks Fresno State philosophy Professor Andrew Fiala and the educational establishment. He says “Mr. Fiala is among the vast majority of educators in this country who are not interested in teaching their students to think for themselves, but rather to think like they do.”

Another article on the Opinion page that day by Leonid Bershidsky suggests that “…when Trump supporters think about the ‘elite’ or the ‘establishment’ what they really mean is America’s intelligentsia.”

When I was growing up, the term “elite” was never applied to teachers and professors but now that political divisions are widening and demagoguery is keeping us fearful, many of our social institutions are under attack.

This isn’t the first time education and educators have been maligned. German universities were always among the world’s finest, but Hitler saw professors as potential enemies. My favorite professor, Fritz Heider, a wonderful man from a prominent German family left for America well before World War II.

He recalled to his students one day how Hitler’s Brown Shirts terrorized his university and threw professors out of classroom windows. Professors were among those sent to concentration camps like Dachau.

German history is important today.

Sam Franklin, Fresno