While writing a tribute to his father, a survivor of the Holocaust who educated him on the importance of faith and Jewish values, Scott Shay was disturbed and dismayed to discover the presence of extremist anti-Zionist professors (Far Left and Far Right) on the faculty of his alma mater, Northwestern University. As a student of Jewish thought, history, and current events, who has written extensively on contemporary Jewish issues, he was compelled to take a deep dive into the world of anti-Zionist conspiracy theories and academia.
“I learned that Northwestern University, my beloved alma mater and a jewel of American academia, has enabled some of its professors to openly promote conspiracy theories,” says Shay. “Sadly, many academics can no longer even identify conspiracy theories. Professorial proponents insist that far from being conspiracy theorists, they are brave truth tellers.”
Set against the framework of Northwestern University’s motto, Conspiracy U not only illustrates the issues present when serious and trustworthy scholarship is abandoned in favor of theory and ideology, but proposes that the motto itself points toward a better option. Rather than dismissing ideology or giving it undue precedence, Shay suggests that the motto and the Golden Rule together form an unbiased and universally applicable framework which provides the intellectual and moral criteria to distinguish between facts and conspiracy theories, leaving room for diversity while also excluding approaches that devalue our common humanity.