Mark Bauerlein talks about the problem of left-liberal groupthink in academia:
Conservatives on college campuses scored a tactical hit when the American Enterprise Institute’s magazine published a survey of voter registration among humanities and social-science faculty members several years ago. More than nine out of 10 professors belonged to the Democratic or Green party, an imbalance that contradicted many liberal academics’ protestations that diversity and pluralism abound in higher education.
Unfortunately, it seems as though the problem is insoluble when it comes to certain fields of study:
Some fields’ very constitutions rest on progressive politics and make it clear from the start that conservative outlooks will not do. Schools of education, for instance, take constructivist theories of learning as definitive, excluding realists (in matters of knowledge) on principle, while the quasi-Marxist outlook of cultural studies rules out those who espouse capitalism. If you disapprove of affirmative action, forget pursuing a degree in African-American studies. If you think that the nuclear family proves the best unit of social well-being, stay away from women’s studies.
William F. Buckley compares this “academic divide” to a racial divide:
When the jury found O.J. Simpson not guilty of killing his wife and her companion, the American people reacted along racial lines. Seventy percent of whites thought him guilty, 70 percent of blacks thought him not guilty. What everyone could see was an epistemological divide.
Economically speaking, the left is very interested in leveling the playing field and balancing inequities. We are told that the social forces at work in this country keep large numbers of individuals from refraining from behavior that is proven to be self-destructive.
To the left, cultural diversity is a thing to be sought after, no matter the cost. This is called affirmative action: authority-mandated diversity as a means (once again) of leveling the playing field. The idea of merit is cast aside, because the socially and economically disadvantaged aren’t given the opportunity to exert the effort that would properly place them within a truly meritocratic system.
So if the answer to feeding the poor is to raise taxes on the “wealthy,” and the way to employ the disadvantaged is to mandate employment no matter the qualifications, what about the idea of intellectual diversity? If there are imbalances in intellectual outlook, should they not be fixed as well? Don’t we owe it to the children to give them more than just one outlook?
We’ve seen in academia how conservative opinions are shouted down, protested against, and generally slandered to seem like racism. Most colleges are chiefly staffed and run by the left. For the sake of intellectual diversity, wouldn’t requiring more conservative ideas on campus constitute the inherent good of “questioning authority?” The belief that the mere act of dissent is to many of us a good deed no matter what the issue even extends to the President’s own Cabinet: that Bush should have people who don’t agree with him in important Cabinet posts (and, presumably, would carry out his policies with foot-dragging reluctance). If after you’ve won for your side it’s time to reach out to the losing side, then I think that conservative affirmative action on college campuses is long past due. It’s time to break the monopoly and heal the divide.
Do it for the children. Think of the children.
(Thanks to Ace for the Free Republic link.)