The New York Times has an opinion piece about intellectual diversity. I think this tells us how important this issue is and how much work there is to do.
It’s difficult to convey the contempt many, but not all, faculty hold of conservatives. I can vividly recall sitting in various university meetings where faculty from other departments would start out a sentence with “Those fucking conservatives want to...... (fill in the blank with defund higher education, starve children, or throw women into chains).” Or where in one meeting a professor said, to widespread shaking of heads up and down, “I wish we could just kill all of those bastards.” I have plenty of other examples but I’ll hold off.
This is meaningful in many ways. Once, while sitting in a bookstore drinking coffee and reading the latest edition of "Guns and Ammo,” I listened to a conversation between three young women. These women were bright, articulate, and clearly successful. Their conversation moved into their experiences in college and how liberal their professors were. One said that conservatives simply aren’t bright enough to become professors. Another said that her liberal professors were very balanced but that she was never presented with conservative views and she didn’t think that was educationally defensible. Another chimed in that it would have been nice to have experienced alternative viewpoints but that she had learned that all that was really necessary was to tell faculty what they wanted to hear. She went on to give examples about how sexism dominates American business, how affirmative action is necessary, and how conservatives are racist.
Anecdotes are just that but there is confluence between the views of these young intelligent women and our experiences. Other faculty who tilt conservative have also confided in us about what they, too, have experienced.
It’s unfortunate that the academy has become so politicized. It cannot end well.
John Paul Wright and Matt DeLisi
Professors of Crime and Criminology