10.01.2008 0

Combating the Hard Lefts Academic Infestation?

  • On: 10/08/2008 10:01:25
  • In: Hard Left
  • Yesterday, in its story on Harvard’s blatant hypocrisy over “taxing success,” ALG News reported to you on the overwhelming bias towards liberalism in the nation’s institutions of higher learning. Indeed, a 2006 survey found that college professors are disproportionably registered as Democrats, 46% to 32% for the general public. And that they are disproportionably liberal, 48% to 22% for the general public.

    Now it appears that one university chancellor may intend to do something about it. And this incipient fight to buck the tide may occur at a long-time bastion of liberal hegemony, the University of Colorado’s Boulder campus. So reports the Wall Street Journal’s Stephanie Simon:

    “How liberal is the University of Colorado at Boulder? … The campus hot-dog stand sells tofu wieners. A recent pro-marijuana rally drew a crowd of 10,000, roughly a third the size of the student body. And according to one professor’s analysis of voter registration, the 800-strong faculty includes just 32 Republicans.

    “Chancellor G.P. ‘Bud’ Peterson surveys this landscape with unease. A college that champions diversity, he believes, must think beyond courses in gay literature, Chicano studies and feminist theory. “We should also talk about intellectual diversity,” he says. So over the next year, Mr. Peterson plans to raise $9 million to create an endowed chair for what is thought to be the nation’s first Professor of Conservative Thought and Policy.”

    Such an unprecedented move by a university official clearly underscores the need to restore intellectual balance and academic freedom to America’s colleges and universities. It also emphasizes just how one-sided curricula on those campuses have actually become.

    Predictably, Chancellor Peterson’s plan is being met with by protest from the very liberals whose monopoly on the minds of young adults he seeks to break:

    “Mr. Peterson’s quest has been greeted with protests from some faculty and students, who say the move is too — well, radical. ‘Why set aside money specifically for a conservative?’ asks Curtis Bell, a teaching assistant in political science. ‘I’d rather see a quality academic than someone paid to have a particular perspective.’”

    It seems to escape the esteemed academicians at Colorado that a “particular perspective” offered from a conservative standpoint provide as much academic quality as that delivered from a liberal standpoint. In fact, such a perspective offers insight into what about 30% of the American people believe, and a good number men and women serving in Congress and other government organs, to say nothing of the, albeit limited, conservative influence in media outlets.

    As well-intentioned, and clearly necessary, as Mr. Peterson’s “kicking against the pricks” (to quote St. Paul) may be, it barely scratches the surface of the real problem to be addressed in lockstep academia. Today’s academicians allowed, yes, even encouraged, an atmosphere of intimidation to develop on our college campuses. And it’s time to ferret out the infestation, not just appoint one Gulliver to struggle futilely against the Lilliputians.

    Liberal bias on college campuses is a systemic problem. And as Students for Academic Freedom (SAF) has clearly documented, it has infected and infested classrooms across the country. Students today refrain from speaking their minds for fear of poor grades. And they are forced to sit in abject silence as biased professors espouse bigoted views – and brook no dissent.

    Accordingly Mr. Peterson really needs to review what is being taught in all of his classes. He needs to make sure that professors are not selective in teaching what conservatism is actually about. The bias in the classroom is to such an extent that the conservative has become a straw man, arguing in favor of everything from racial segregation to the Holocaust. Conservatism has become a foil, an anathema, a boogeyman. And by Mr. Peterson’s own admission, the reigning luminaries at CU allow no interlopers to counter their dogma.

    Setting up a program for conservative studies may be a minor step in the right direction. But the rampant intellectually dishonest so prevalent in today’s classrooms is an abhorrent practice that must come to an end as well.

    Academic freedom advocate, David Horowitz, the founder of SAF and long a supporter for increasing ideological balance on the nation’s campuses, has his own reservations about Mr. Peterson’s plan:

    “While he approves of efforts to bolster a conservative presence on campus, Mr. Horowitz fears that setting up a token right-winger as The Conservative at Boulder will brand the person as a curiosity, like ‘an animal in the zoo.’”

    If nothing else, it’s worth a shot. Appointing one person to generate intellectual diversity on a campus may be a Herculean task. But it is better than doing nothing – and letting the Lilliputians rule the roost and wreak havoc.

    ALG Perspective: While Americans for Limited Government is supportive of Mr. Peterson’s intentions, the fear is that the proposal does not go nearly far enough to address what is a systemic problem that took decades to develop. A massive infestation normally takes more than one visit from a single exterminator.

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