Leaning Ivory Tower

“If you’re not a liberal when you’re 25, you have no heart.  If you’re not a conservative by the time you’re 35, you have no brain.”

We’ve probably all heard this famous quote before. It’s often falsely attributed to Winston Churchill. I’m not sure the originator of the quote is important, nor do I buy into it completely. I have many friends of each persuasion and I’m quite sure at the time this observation was first stated, both political orientations were quite different from today.

I do know for an absolute fact that our school systems, and especially our universities lean far, far to the left. This is probably an incredibly obvious statement to most people, but it’s the extent to which this statement is accurate that causes me concern.

My credibility on this subject is substantial. I spent way too many years as a student and an entire career teaching at several major universities. Trust me, the fix is in. In fact, it’s one of the reasons I retired sooner than I had planned. Personally a conservative, I always felt like I was part of some underground organization.

What brings up this subject today? Well, first of all, it’s been simmering in my brain for many years. Secondly, the Young American’s Foundation reported today only 1 in 7 commencement speakers invited to speak at the top 100 universities in the country is politically conservative. Shocking? Yes. I couldn’t believe there were any conservatives invited to speak.

How bad is the educational bias? Let me share my favorite, albeit somewhat dated example. One day near the end of my career while teaching at a very prestigious college, I began to notice the many pictures that had been posted all over campus. You could not walk ten feet inside or outside without seeing them. They were pictures of the communist, black panther, and former FBI top ten most wanted Angela Davis. She had been invited and was being paid a large sum of money to visit the campus and speak to the students. The build up went on for days. The students were excited, and the faculty (with at least one exception) was nearly orgasmic. On the day she arrived, classes were cancelled and professors made attendance at the event mandatory. O. K., but at least we were being fair and balanced, right? The next week I noticed Elizabeth Dole, a former cabinet member in the Reagan administration was coming to speak. When I walked into class, I asked if any students were planning to attend Ms. Dole’s presentation. There were crickets. Finally, one student asked, “Who’s Elizabeth Dole?”

Fact is, I’m more of an observer than a drum beater, but all parents and grandparents paying good money to these bastions of education should know this bias has only gotten worse through the years. Some time back, someone asked me why I stopped teaching when I did. After thinking for a moment, I responded, “Because I enjoyed teaching people how to think, not what to think.” Students today have very little choice. 

 

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