Friday, November 14, 2003

Campus Politics and Higher Ground? 

On our discussion list we were talking over the Chronicle of Higher Education article (link for subscibers only) about the legislators in Colorado who are worried about anti-conservative bigotry on campuses and are asking colleges how they guarantee students� intellectual freedom. King was nervous that this sort of intrusion of politicians into education gave up the moral high ground we have. He suggested I blog this note I wrote back to him:

I don't know. I'm not sure there is any moral high ground, or if it's the ground you occupy because nobody else is bothering with it -- kind of like having conquered South Dakota. (I can say that -- I come from South Dakota.)

A lot of current liberal theory argues that EVERYTHING is political. I can't prove that wrong, no more than anything being psychological, or cultural, or spiritual. They also say the university has an obligation to pull to the left because the culture pulls to the right. In fact, there's no place to define a center that holds, so again they can argue anything they like.

But the practical results are that students are indoctrinated into voting for Democrats, if only because there's nothing further to the left at the moment to vote for, education funds are used all over the place for political purposes, faculty union membership lists are given to the Democrats for fund raising, Republican students get clobbered and have their grades lowered if they stick to their politics (and yes, it does happen. I've seen examples.) and on and on.

Why should Republicans, who also like to get voters, not use their power to make the leftists uncomfortable as the left uses its power to use funding ostensibly for "education" to change political opinions? King's sense of a high ground is admirable, but I'm not sure it has anything to do with modern politics or the faculty and administrators who say that everything is politics, including everything a university does.

Or put more simply, why would Republican politician in their right minds keep voting funds for higher education when they know faculty will turn those funds into de facto contribution to the Democratic party?