politics

The Campus Assault on American History

As a professional historian at Hamilton College, I teach my students that the United States was founded on the principles of limited government, voluntary exchange, respect for private property, and civil freedom.  Does any sane parent believe that more than a tiny fraction of students graduate from college these days with a deep and abiding […]

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Politics and the Race/Class/Gender Trinity

My City University of New York colleague David Gordon has penned a convincing analysis about the current state of history in higher education. I share, and fully endorse, his critique about the direction of the field, with the vise-grip of the race/class/gender trinity “distort[ing] historical enquiry.” Stressing above all else victimization and oppression poorly serves […]

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Proving Discrimination Is Almost Impossible

Teresa Wagner’s lawsuit against the University of Iowa law school ended a few weeks ago when a jury declared that the school did not submit her to political discrimination when it rejected her application for a job. Wagner made a second allegation–that her equal protection rights were violated because the law school held her political […]

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Preferred and Prohibited Discrimination

Is the Fourteenth Amendment inferior to the First? If states are generally prohibited from discriminating on the basis of political identity, why should they be allowed to discriminate on the basis of racial identity? Consider Teresa Wagner’s much-discussed lawsuit against the University of Iowa College of Law for not hiring her due to her political […]

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Obama’s Win Is An Indictment of Higher Education

This morning in the Weekly Standard, Fred Barnes summed up one condition of the Republican Party: “What’s their problem? In Senate races, it’s bad candidates: old hacks (Wisconsin), young hacks (Florida), youngsters (Ohio), Tea Party types who can’t talk about abortion sensibly (Missouri, Indiana), retreads (Virginia), lousy campaigners (North Dakota) and Washington veterans (Michigan). Losers […]

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Iowa and the Groupthink Academy

That certain quarters of the academy–humanities departments, most social sciences departments, and many graduate programs (social work, education, and to a lesser extent law)–are ideologically imbalanced is not news. A decision in an Iowa court, however, exposed the difficulty in addressing the problem. The case, which received extensive coverage in the Des Moines Register and […]

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Left-Right Agreement on Affirmative Action?

Perhaps anticipating a defeat for affirmative action in the Fisher v. University of Texas case about to be argued before the Supreme Court, Columbia University political philosophy professor and former Dean of the College Michele Moody-Adams has just suggested moving away from a fixation on affirmative action and “Toward Real Equality in Higher Education.” Whatever […]

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The Ultimate Victory of Liberal Bias

The Daily Texan has reported that a conservative student group at University of Texas-Austin has inaugurated a “watch list” containing the names of professors who “politicize the classroom” and squash “dissenting opinion.”  The chapter of Young Conservatives of Texas describes the list as an information resource, providing information on wayward instructors before students sign up […]

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Those Mealy-Mouthed Statements from Our Cairo Embassy

Near the beginning of Bruce Bawer’s strong new book, The Victims’ Revolution, he talks about the anti-American attitudes that are nearly mandatory on campuses today and how they radiate throughout our culture. Those attitudes, inculcated by so many professors, range from apologetic and guilt-ridden to outright contemptuous and reflexively supportive of our enemies. The incredibly […]

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Campaigning in the Classroom

Last month, distinguished Ohio State English professor Brian McHale sent out the following email to colleagues: Colleagues,            I’ve been in touch with a couple of campus organizers for the Obama campaign, who have asked me to pass along to all of you a request for access to your classes in […]

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Pundits Wrong on the GI Bill

As part of its series on higher ed issues in the 2012 campaign, the Chronicle of Higher Education has a long opinion piece in the form of a news article accusing Republicans of hypocrisy. In “Self-Sufficient, With a Hand From the Government,” author Scott Carlson claims to find “a striking dissonance” between the moving “pull-oneself-up-by-the-bootstraps […]

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University of California’s Politicization is Out of Control

KC Johnson drew our attention to an extraordinary development at UCLA, where the faculty senate of a major campus is now on record approving use of a class to promote an instructor’s personal political agenda. The practice itself is not new, but to date objections have been met either with obfuscation or outright denial.             The […]

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Surprise! Faculty Money Goes to Dems

This week featured some interesting political news regarding campaign contributions: confirming the partisan shift on Wall Street, Business Week revealed that around 70 percent of Goldman Sachs employees who have donated to this year’s presidential campaign send funds to Mitt Romney. The contrast to 2008, when about 75 percent who made contributions had donated to […]

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Foolish Defense of the Politicized University

Political observers might have noticed that hostility to higher education has formed a sub-theme of the Republican presidential race. Mitt Romney has criticized Barack Obama for embracing the ideals of the “Harvard faculty lounge.” Rick Santorum, more recently, has faulted Obama for encouraging all students to attend college, which the former Pennsylvania senator has termed […]

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Campus Libertarianism up, Civic Commitment Down

One of the most mentioned findings in the annual UCLA survey of college freshmen is a decided trend toward more “liberal” political attitudes. The survey shows increased support for same-sex marriage (supported by 71.3% of students, representing a 6.4% increase since 2009); for a pro-choice position on abortion; for the legalization of marijuana; and a […]

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Students More Liberal? Not So Fast

“Political and Social Views Decidedly More Liberal.”  That’s the first finding in the 2011 American Freshman Survey, a project of the Higher Education Research Initiative at UCLA, one of the largest annual surveys of college students.  Last year, the Survey chalked up 204,000 first-year-of-college respondents who filled out a lengthy questionnaire on behaviors, attitudes, and […]

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More Campus Claptrap about 9/11

Our own Charlotte Allen has a wonderful piece in the Weekly Standard on campus events marking the anniversary of 9/11. While some of the events are rational enough and a few seem moving, the general tone reflects the fact that after a decade, our campuses are still as out of sync with the rest of […]

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A Campaign Against the Koch Foundation

There is an old saying in politics that “They don’t scream unless you hurt them.”  When your adversaries scream, it is a good sign that your measures have been effective. Judged by this standard, the Koch Brothers (David and Charles) have been very effective in recent years in advancing their causes of limited government and […]

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A Double Shock to Liberal Professors

Social psychology has long been a haven for left-wing scholars. Jonathan Haidt, one of  the best known and most respected young social psychologists, has heaved two bombshells at his field–one indicting it for effectively excluding conservatives (he is a liberal) and the other for what he sees as a jaundiced and cult-like opposition to religion […]

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Politics and the Demise of the Humanities

“But when humanism became the servant of the political or university establishment it lost its vitality and, indeed, its credibility…          Willem Frijhoff discussing 16th century humanism in           A History of the University, Vol. II (Cambridge U Press), p. 45                        […]

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The Impasse at Hamilton College

A month ago, Robert Paquette, history professor at Hamilton College, wrote a commentary at the National Association of Scholars website that concluded with a sad note. After reviewing several initiatives and offices at Hamilton that aim to promote the atmosphere of diversity and raise the “comfort level” of all students, then rehearsing some of the […]

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The Odd Cold-War Center at NYU

Many universities have set up centers to examine the history of the Cold War. The Wilson Center for Scholars in Washington D. C., for example, created an offshoot called The Cold War International History Project. That institute has over the years hosted many conferences, with panels of scholars representing all points of view. Two years […]

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Could the Feds Tell College Students What to Do?

If the Obama administration’s argument that Congress has the authority to require every individual to purchase health insurance is upheld by the Supreme Court, many students may be in for a big surprise. Yes, students. The administration argument, briefly, is that access to affordable health care is so essential to both personal and national security […]

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The Big, Bad, “Right Wing”

Each fall, the NEA comes out with Thought & Action, the union’s higher education journal. (The 2010 edition is not yet online.) The publication functions as a clearinghouse for defenders of the academic status quo; safe from their position of dominance within the academy, they rail against their imagined oppressors. This year’s edition includes defenses […]

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