The Systematic Eradication of Conservative Thought on Campus

Progressive faculty justify the absence of moderate and conservative voices on campus by saying that conservatives are stupid. As a result, moderate Republicans with Ivy League degrees and genius level IQs sometimes can’t find a job in academia.  My former boss had a degree from the highest-ranked law school (Yale) and had published scholarly articles, but could not find a law faculty job as a young lawyer due to his moderately-conservative leanings. (He later successfully argued a landmark Supreme Court case.

But ignorance certainly doesn’t keep progressives from being hired, especially in women’s studies departments. A classic example is Barbara LeSavoy, Director of Women and Gender Studies at The College at Brockport in New York, who thinks the President can rule by decree. Every schoolchild in her generation was taught that Congress enacts laws, not the President (the President can successfully veto a law only if it was passed with less than two-thirds of the votes). But LeSavoy is unaware of this basic constitutional requirement (typical of all Western democracies), and thinks the President can ban all guns just by issuing a decree. She penned an October 10 op-ed in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle urging President Obama to ban guns: “I urge President Obama to ban firearm possession in America. He is the President of the United States. He can change the country. He can do it today.”

Her op-ed was aptly summed up by a commentator as “Please, Dear Leader — Ban Firearms By Decree.”

Writing “with a bleeding heart,” LeSavoy declared: “I admire Obama. But he has let me down.” Her embattled but resilient faith in her collectivist savior could be fully restored if he would simply “ban firearm possession in America.” Doing this would be a matter of utmost simplicity, she insists, since Obama “is the president of the United States. He can change the country. He can do it today. I believe in him.”

In fact, the only thing about America LeSavoy apparently finds worthwhile is Barack Obama and what she thinks he represents.

“While politically minded, I am not overly patriotic,” she explains. Yet during the 2008 campaign, “my two daughters, partner, and I ate every meal in our house on Obama placemats [that were] plastic-coated, plate-sized paper rectangles with an image of his face framed by colors of the flag.”

By making such a bourgeois purchase, LeSavoy committed an act of capitalist apostasy, but it was in what she earnestly believed was a good cause. While “this mealtime ritual of American allegiance was odd for me,” she found strength in the act of looking “at the image of his face each day and [believing] that he really could be the change in America.”

To be sure, she continues, that faith has been sorely tested. She describes herself as “jaded” in 2012 as Obama stood for reelection, because some of his promises weren’t fulfilled. And yet, she proudly recalls, “I did not waver. I dug into our old dining room cupboards, and found our worn but resilient Obama placemats.”

Those sacred totems were restored to their proper place in the dining room, where LeSavoy, her daughters, and her partner could take strength from the visage of the Dear Leader . . . .

“Firearm possession should be banned in America; president Obama can orchestrate this directive,” insists LeSavoy – who somehow obtained a doctorate degree without learning even the rudiments of constitutional law…. Obama’s presidency “can be remembered as a remarkable turn in United States history where a progressive leader forever changed the landscape under which we live and work,” LeSavoy exults in giddy ignorance of the significance of her mixed metaphor.

Ironically, progressives justify the absence of conservatives from academia on the ground that conservatives are disqualified by their stupidity. “Robert Brandon, chair of the Duke University Philosophy Department, gives this explanation of why faculties at U.S. universities usually lean to the political left: ‘We try to hire the best, smartest people available. If … stupid people are generally conservative, then there are lots of conservatives we will never hire.’” But Republicans actually have a slightly higher average IQ than Democrats.

Progressive faculty also claim that conservatives would rather work in the business world or a conservative think-tank than in academia, ignoring the fact that plenty of conservatives would like a cushy academic job where they can teach only a few courses a year and get paid better than an employee of a low-paid conservative think-tank. Several years ago, Slate reported that the average think-tank senior fellow was paid about $160,000 per year. But while this may have been true for liberal think-tanks, which can count on lots of foundation and government money, it was certainly not true for conservative think-tanks: At the time, my employer, a free-market think-tank, paid most of its senior fellows less than $100,000 per year, despite being located in one of America’s highest-living-cost areas, Washington, D.C. (Some senior fellows were paid closer to $60,000, and non-senior fellows were paid as little as $40,000 per year).

Progressives also falsely claim that Republicans are scarce in academia because they are “anti-science.” Most jobs in academia have nothing to do with science, but this bogus rationale gets invoked even by liberal English instructors like Cornell’s Kenneth McClane.

Some progressives are themselves hostile to (and ignorant of) scientific advances. The agronomist Norman Borlaug, who pioneered the Green Revolution, saved perhaps a billion lives in the Third World by developing high-yield, disease-resistant crops through biotechnology. For this, he received the Nobel Peace Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the Congressional Medal of Honor. For this, he was smeared in the liberal magazine The Nation, which has an irrational phobia of biotechnology and genetic engineering, as being “the biggest killer of all.”

2 thoughts on “The Systematic Eradication of Conservative Thought on Campus”

  1. This title promises something interesting, but the actual article strikes me as more of fairly common conservative whining. Let’s go down the line.

    “degree from the highest-ranked law school (Yale) and had published scholarly articles, but could not find a law faculty job as a young lawyer due to his moderately-conservative leanings. ”

    Could not find any law faculty job, or just one at a school or in a location that he found desirable? Plenty — most — liberal professors do not end up in their dream job.

    “plenty of conservatives would like a cushy academic job where they can teach only a few courses a year and get paid better than an employee of a low-paid conservative think-tank.”

    This sounds both snarky and full of envy. Believe me, going to a faculty job interview saying you’re looking for a “cushy job” will get you nowhere fast, and it won’t matter whether you’re liberal or conservative. The author thinks the pay is low where he works? Maybe it is — but there are conservative think tanks that pay better, I believe. Why do I think so? I had a colleague long ago who left my university for one of the better known ones in DC, and bragged later about how much more money he was making and how much more time he had to write — because, of course, he had no courses at all to teach!

    It’s possible to think of a number of prominent conservatives who bugged out of academia and into conservative think tanks. Maybe because it was so much cushier to do so? People who retired from pretty good academic jobs at a relatively early age. People you have heard of. One of them expressly told me that he had done so partly to escape his “teaching load.”

    But just suppose that conservative think tanks do not pay so well. Whose fault is that? Isn’t there enough conservative money to bankroll them better? Maybe the conservative billionaires need to uncork the money. Or maybe the think tank directors need to get off their butts and raise the dough.

    The question of lack of conservatives in academia is real one, but articles like these do not advance the case, nor do much to solve the problem.

  2. Two things:
    1) you forgot to finish the first paragraph, it just ends in mid sentence

    2) the congressional medal of honor is awarded to military personnel for valor in combat. You’re probably thinking of the “congressional gold medal” which is given to civilians for non-combat achievements.

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