Conservative’s analysis shows why that approach is not a good one.
We recently covered Fox News Channel host Bill O’Reilly’s call for affirmative action in getting more conservative faculty onto American campuses.
This week, Minding the Campus contributor Ronald Radosh takes a look at a shocking opinion piece written by a “classical liberal” that agrees with the FNC pundit’s stance.
Last week, Professor Jonathan Zimmerman of New York University wrote a surprising op-ed in The Christian Science Monitor, “US Colleges Need Affirmative Action for conservative professors.” Describing himself as a “devout Democrat” as well as a “frequent O’Reilly critic,’ he found himself agreeing with the Fox News channel’s host that “Universities should institute affirmative action for conservative professors, so all the professors don’t think the way I do.”
Obviously, Professor Zimmerman, a professor of history and education at NYU, is something of an anomaly. On the face of it, he is what we used to mean when calling someone liberal in his attitudes; i.e., he thinks that his own beliefs are not the only ones that should be present in institutions of higher education, and that as a real believer in tolerance, those who vigorously oppose him should be included in the conversation, and even more to the point, students at his institution should hear these opposing views.
While Radosh disagrees with affirmative action on principle, he doubts it would ever happen.
How anyone in a liberal arts, history or humanities department with such a point of view would even agree to affirmative action for conservatives makes it clear that it will never happen. Most of those who control leftist departments seek consciously only to hire more of their own, in order to use these departments as vehicles to create what some of them openly call a socialist university. I recall that a chairman of a sociology department at such an institution, who I personally knew when I was on the Left, told me that this was precisely his goal upon taking over the department. Had a conservative been a chairman and announced the same, that person would have been condemned as a violator of academic freedom and as a man usurping his power in the service of reactionary ideological conformity.
Radosh then offers when he considers a better path.
So, I agree with Prof. Zimmerman that there should be “a better kind of ideological balance.” That will not happen until leftist group-think comes to an end, and the leftist academics stop being a perpetual “herd of independent minds.” Conservatives will unfortunately have to develop their own schools of thought at conservative institutions like Hillsdale College and Claremont, hoping that the work they carry out will reach independent minded students who think for themselves. But it’s a long, long road through the existing institutions until liberal academia holds out a welcome mat for conservatives.