Tag Archives: Robert Weisserg

Rescuing The University, II

Part II, The Solution
(The first part of this essay can be found here.)
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Restoring good sense to universities means allowing levelheaded academics to compete with radical imposters who proliferate by printing up their bogus currency. In a phrase: restore the gold standard of discovering and imparting truth. It is unnecessary to re-write university regulations to stop Ward Churchills or stipulate “good” and “bad” scholarship (which, in any case, is legally impossible and futile). The radicals have created a huge infrastructure, everything from journals to foundations, which, together with skilled back scratching, permits them to multiply virtually unchecked. A well-funded counter-weight is necessary. This is not about re-stocking the university with right-wing professors. The aim is encouraging non-ideological, unbiased let-the-chips-fall-where-they-may research. To paraphrase Orwell, victory will be announced when a professor can stand before his class and say, without fear, 2 +2=4.
Research requires money, often relatively small sums, and these are often difficult to obtain for those with the “wrong” views. University research boards, the traditional sources of seed money, are often controlled by PC forces. My own personal experiences here was that no hare-brained leftish proposal, no matter how technically flawed, was denied, even when damned by reviewers. If endangered species faculty are denied support, they will be enticed away by rivals, so it is better to give $10,000 to study cross-dressing Latina truck drivers than recruit a hard-to-find replacement for the “unappreciated” scholar. This is just supply and demand. As for the legitimate researcher seeking funds, a single impassioned rejection is sufficient no matter how ideologically motivated.
Similar obstacles are encountered when appealing to large foundations—requests to fund project that might “offend” politically protected groups are probably DOA, and so unlikely to be submitted in the first place. More generally, and this certainly includes nearly all “right wing” foundations, few foundations favor small grants or small projects—processing is just too labor intensive. Better to give a million to a single program than tediously scrutinize hundreds of requests for $25,000 or less. The Olin Foundation’s $25,000 for Allen Bloom’s Closing of the American Mind is a rare exception but one worth emulating (even Olin favored large scale, institution-building investment, however). To my knowledge, the only conservative benefactor that currently plays this seed money role is the Earhart Foundation, but their resources are modest and, I am told, like Olin, they are about shut down voluntarily (Disclosure—I have received several Earhart grants).

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