The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes
Saturday, December 11, 2004
US colleges as the People's Republic of Academia
In the Founding Fathers' house are many mansions: whilst Bush and his conservative friends have taken over some (via the K Street Project and talk radio, for instance), others are in the hands of his ideological opponents , in particular, college faculties.
This one reads not on Rush Limbaugh's site but in a piece Liberal Groupthink Is Anti-Intellectual in the Chronicle of Higher Education by one Mark Bauerlein, described as
a professor of English at Emory University and director of research at the National Endowment for the Arts.Not your average Dittohead, then.
Bauerlein's piece looks at how the bias is sustained: a club that recruits new members based on how well they will fit in with the existing membership; something like Japan's 1635 Closed Country Edict keeps the ideology pure; the False Consensus Effect allows MLA-Speak-spouting Marxists to suppose that they represent the true interest of the People; the Law of Group Polarization skews the views of this closed coterie towards those of the most extreme of its membership.
Bauerlein does not show how the Left managed the takeover of academic institutions; it clearly wasn't in charge during the 1950s when it was fellow-travellers, not Republicans, who were were liable to be purged. Perhaps it was the Vietnam generation whodunit, and the story is too well-known for him to summarise.
The other question - not within Bauerlein's remit - is how the Marxist takeover of American college faculties could have coincided with a rollback of the left in the wider society: the atrophy of the unions, for instance, the lack of whose GOTV abilities the Democratic Party so grievously feels.
Generations of students have imbibed at the multi-culti fountain, yet many go on to vote Republican: how does that happen? (Clearly, pace Janeane Garofalo, GOP electoral success nationally cannot entirely be attributed to the crackers.)
Bauerlein has no solution: quite rightly, he rejects affirmative action for conservatives. But surely, in consumerist American, it's up to the customers to make their views felt. If conservative faculty are few and isolated, conservative students are many and able to organise: they should be mad as hell: perhaps when they are, we'll get some movement.
[The Bauerlein piece I got from the folks at Crooked Timber - who are, some of them, no mere kibitzers of the game. It's a whole big thing - even George Will gets in on the act.
A lot more erudition on the subject at CT - without the offer of an actual solution.
Perfect meta, in fact.]
Stennis to SC legislator William Winter following Brown I (p7):
I still believe there are many counties in Mississippi, including your own and my own, in which the white people and the colored people could meet and work out a plan satisfactory to both. This agreement plan would perhaps work for 15 or 20 or 25 years in many of these counties.
Fanciful, once the Brown bombshell had been unleashed. But - in the counterfactual I suggested yesterday, with a Chief Justice Vinson rejecting the Dred Scott approach in favour of continuing to plough the separate but equal furrow, some sort of gradual emancipation might have been a runner.
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