by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Just as the academic monoculture of the 1950s was a problem, so is today’s?—?and the problem is getting worse. …
… In response, some academics and advocates have admirably pushed back, launching speaker series, skirmishing over campus speech codes, and suing and shaming in response to especially egregious cases of institutional bias. There are organizations like FIRE and the Heterodox Academy which have called out and challenged the ideological tilt in higher education. Such efforts are important and praiseworthy. There have also been vital efforts to erect campus centers that challenge orthodoxy, as with the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton.
While wholly welcome and sorely needed, these hubs are hamstrung by the reality that they operate as isolated outposts within largely uninviting institutions. As such, they provide perches for individual scholars and offer a redoubt of atypical thought, but they lack the infrastructure, critical mass, or organizational muscle to do much more than that.
What is needed, then, is a place where serious scholars can have the space to pursue questions and subjects that don’t fit the progressive orthodoxy at today’s most prestigious institutions of higher learning. We need an incubator where promising young intellectuals could pursue their research without being forced to conform to the prevailing ideology, and where they can find the scaffolding?—?employment, funding, networks, and publication outlets?—?to enable them to achieve independent viability. What is needed is an ivory tower of our own.