[First published December 28, 2004] Links suggested and commented on by a “Colleague:”
Two good essays — nothing new, but apparently the “problem” of lack of conservative presence in the academy is becoming more acceptable to write about. The first is a short op-ed by George Will. The second is an excellent critical essay by Mark Bauerlein, “Liberal Groupthink Is Anti-Intellectual,”
in the Chronicle Of Higher Education (November 12, 2004).
Will is only really passing on campus poll results and what Bauerlein has to say. I want to focus on Bauerlein, who is maddening.
First, not a minor point, he says of the dominance of the left on campus: “outright blackballing is rare. The disparate outcome emerges through an indirect filtering process that runs from graduate school to tenure and beyond.” He is wrong, badly wrong. The black balling takes place against conservative students and in faculty hiring. It is a conscious thing, I’ve seen it many times in many ways, and it has operated as well against me.
To give him credit, he well captures the groupthink, and consensus that dominates, but he misses the essential nature of it. He refuses to see that there is a rational, conscious, left wing agenda that underlies much of this. To him, again, it is a natural growth, a social dynamic that as well could happen with a right wing faculty in charge. Bull. The left set out to capture the campus, and have done so. True, they set in motion and were helped along by a certain naturalness in the process, but their conscious effort sped it up.
I remember as a student the days when there were a fair number of conservatives or moderate democrats around (No, I never shook hands with Theodore Roosevelt, although that is rumored). Then, the word was that we should hire a Marxists or so to give the students another side. Can you imagine a Marxist or leftist saying we should hire a conservative for students to get their side?.
Finally, Bauerlein’s solution is like the Hawaii highway engineer: If people drove slowly and carefully onto or off the ramps, there would be no problem with traffic merging.” No thought given to treating human beings as human beings and constructing ramps to compensate for this. Bauerlein’s similar solution is that professors must do this and that, and panels must . . . etc. Nothing should be done by force and coercion or command. Why? “That would poison the atmosphere and jeopardize the ideals of free inquiry.” Ha!! He seems to have no comprehension that it is like telling the North Korea thugs that they should allow more freedom of speech and discussion.
In all, he writes with rational naiveté and a political blindness to the nature of the left. Sure, they should be more accepting of conservatives ideas and faculty in their midst. Sure, when pigs fly.
Link of the Day
Freedom as a solution to war and violence By R.J. Rummel
Freedom lovers, unite. Your beliefs are incredibly more powerful than you realize. The freedom you prize is not only the solution to genocide and mass murder (democide), as I explained in a commentary on the antiwar.com website, but also to war. Yes, a solution to war!