by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Mark Bauerlein writes for the Martin Center about a new book focusing on the political left’s role on college campuses.
… [A]n institution dominated by liberal norms and ideas, but functioning in conservative ways, puts leftist professors in an impossible position. They want a better future—more diversity, fewer bars to personal fulfillment—but they must sustain and repeat an aging past of critical theory while working for a business that, in their own opinion, grows ever more “corporate” and utilitarian.
Nobody wants to give up a tenured post, though. The perks and pay are too nice. So they try to accommodate both obligations—the progressive dreams and professional duties. They instruct the young in old things, yes, but at least they’re iconoclastic and progressive old things. They work in the special zones of exclusive schools, but at least they can turn parts of the acreage into safe spaces and reserves for marginalized identities. They inhabit one of the most hierarchical habitats on earth, but that doesn’t stem the egalitarian, anti-discrimination talk at all.
As a result, you can’t pin them down. One of the great frustrations over the years has been to watch libertarians and conservatives catch them in one inconsistency and contradiction after another—for instance, their steady insistence on diversity at the same time that conservatives have disappeared from their ranks—and believe they have scored serious hits in academic and public debate. But nothing changes. Liberal professors just shrug and go back to work.
This is why the affair of the Academic Bill of Rights is illuminating and deserves to be remembered. Happily for us, [David] Horowitz assembles the story in his just-published volume, The Left in the Universities.