Re: Frum Forum’s “Why America’s Top Students Tune Out the GOP”

Frum Forum is putting together a series entitled “Why America’s Top Students Tune Out the GOP” – see here for part 1, part 2. The report isn’t complete yet, and I don’t know how much I agree with the author’s conclusions so far. Liberals conspiring against conservatives, even when proven, lacks “substantial” explanatory power? I’d rather the author say that he wants to work with more careful, more provable assumptions first. A story like this can’t be taken lightly:

Lyons also invited to class a young colleague, who had recently won tenure and was rumored to be a conservative, to talk about living as an ideological minority in the university. She told them how hard it had been and why she had kept her politics hidden until she got tenure. Apparently she had had a sharp political argument with one of her senior colleagues shortly after she was hired, and he told her that unless she moderated her ideological views, she would never get tenure. Whether this was a prediction or a threat was unclear, so she took a vow of silence. Lyons was appalled.

– from Mark Lilla’s “Taking the Right Seriously”

As much as I don’t like David Horowitz, and as much as I don’t personally want to go on a witch-hunt, one cannot discount just how much weight an anecdote can have. Sometimes, one occurrence of a serious injustice is enough to brand an entire institution corrupt. I’m not saying that’s necessarily the case here, but if a professor has to be silent, what does that say about the pressure to conform?

Still, I encourage you to read the posts and join the discussion. There’s something about social conservatism nowadays that sees cultural isolation as more important than engaging the world. Those more to the Left aren’t immune from this, not at all. But not knowing Hayek or taking Aquinas as seriously as one should isn’t quite the same as declaring Harry Potter occult.


  1. I wonder if the impulse toward cultural isolation is anything like the Spartan fear of Medism – that we don’t want to produce Pausaniases as citizens? Or is that just me being a weirdo?

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