That Old Smugness
Feeling a bit too much the elder rebel — whose rebellion is increasingly merely to laugh at the enemy’s antics — I suggested to a URI College Republican in a comment to my previous post that it is only recently that campus communities have had to face the idea that perhaps anti-conservatism isn’t simply an objective indication of compassionate intelligence. I contend that the prejudice is only so visible now because it is being challenged. Well, as if to provide me evidence, URI student Arthur Ferri has published a humorous example of the old mentality in The Good ¢5 Cigar:
The University of Rhode Island’s conservatives lament that their social science and humanities professors are liberal. Professors who spent their entire lives analyzing the beloved “marketplace of ideas” under the strictest academic protocols and guess what? Conservatism lost. That is why conservative faculty members in these disciplines are few and far between.
… Maybe conservative students are “captive and vulnerable,” but no liberal student I ever met felt “captive and vulnerable” in the classroom, but rather proud and confident that his liberal values (yes, we like that word) stand up successfully to vigorous academic scrutiny. Liberal students find “political propagandizing in the classroom” stimulating and a challenge, especially from conservative professors.
Ah yes! The pride and confidence of students who believe that they are regurgitating an ideology that has emerged victorious in “the ‘marketplace of ideas’ under the strictest academic protocols.” The stimulation and challenged of not taking “two seconds of verbal abuse from conservatives in the classroom without hitting back hard with solid academic evidence” that is provided readily by the many professors — not “few and far between” — with whom the students agree. Oh the confidence of the smug and the stimulation of the sneer built on political dominance in an environment in which “intellectual diversity” means degrees of Leftism (which, as we all know, professors push merely for the unobjectionable reason that it has been proven correct):
Conservatives are never going to have power here and nothing can possibly be done about it. At the university, conservatives will never be allowed to sit at the cool people’s table in the cafeteria.
Witness the hamartia of those who cannot ponder the possibility that authoritarian mechanisms are possible, indeed victorious, in the world of higher education. Rest assured, College Republicans (and Arthur, too), that Mr. Ferri’s is the voice of a doomed elite. We who’ve been sputtered at with the “solid academic evidence” of the intellectual comme il faut can hear the hollow echo of stagnation in its strains.