Monday, July 30, 2007

Not quite that bad* 

Doug Giles is trying to "brace you for the liberal Kool-Aid crunch" that faces college incoming freshmen.
In a couple of weeks you�re going to have your liberal campus and its professors shove more crap down your throat than Rosie does her gullet during Chili�s Monday Night Nacho Monster Blowout Special.
What can one do about it?
The options are:
  1. You can drink the campus Kool Aid and do the Dhimmocratic do-si-do.
  2. You can run from the conflict to a likeminded conservative ghetto group and hide on the curb with your little cowering crowd.
  3. You and your concurring buddies can get prepped and be a conservative crew that enters campus life and joyfully, earnestly and courageously challenges the purveyors of the anti-American propaganda.
Hold on there now, cowpoke. Things are not quite that bad.

First off, let's understand that much learning that happens in college occurs within groups that study together. Referring to them as "likeminded conservative ghetto groups" may help gather a few more lonely readers for Giles' radio and book, but if that's what was needed for education why go to college?

And there are departments where at least you have a slightly greater chance finding more conservative thought. As I mentioned on Tony Garcia's show yesterday, while the social sciences run Democrat by about nine to one, the ratio in economics is closer to three to one. (I highly recommend listening to the EconTalk podcast with Bryan Caplan for that particular point.) There are good conservative faculty in the humanities if you look.

You'll need one or two, but you don't need the whole school to be that way. Gary has been fulminating over the attempt of liberal groups to organize boycotts of Fox News advertisers. (I don't necessarily see this as a bad thing -- it might drive the price down enough for me to advertise the Final Word on the local cable during FNC programming. Even better, if they boycott the goods produced by FNC advertisers, there are more of those goods for me. Another argument for another day.) Gary points out something we say here often:

Let�s also recognize that Democrats aren�t willing to venture into the �hostile territory� of conservative talk radio or into debates and forums sponsored by conservative organizations. Here in Minnesota, Patty Wetterling didn�t participate in any debates sponsored by the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce against Michele Bachmann.

State Sen. Tarryl Clark told KNSI talk radio host Andy Barnett that she doesn�t do �entertainment talk radio.�

Compare that with how conservatives don�t think twice about going onto liberal TV shows like Chris Matthews� Hardball, Meet the Press or NPR. Frankly, conservatives are used to doing battle with liberals whenever they�re invited.

Yes, and where better to prepare for that than in a university? So you can't just hide in the "ghetto" and nobody who is a sincere adviser to conservative students would have you do so.

But one of the lessons you will learn is how to pick which battles to fight. Conservative freshmen do not cower, Mr. Giles; they err towards many quixotic adventures that leave them bloodied and chastened. They become like Mark Twain's cat that has stepped on a hot stove, choosing not to get into any further adventures, keeping their heads down and just wanting to get their degree in accounting or biology and get the hell out of college. And they will not engage outside of college either.

You can increase your chances of finding your Hogwarts for the journey through school by finding a school that has a classical liberal education available to you. The ISI College Guide is a fine place to start. A good bit of Thomas Sowell's Choosing a College is outdated now, but the parts on what to look for in a classroom are helpful. And for those entering, his conclusion includes this sage advice:
It may be tempting to go to a college where your friends are going, but the long-run consequences have to be kept in mind. In the short run, it will be good to know someone the first day you step on a college campus, but chances are you are going to make new friends there anyway. Moreover, these are years when people grow personally and intellectually, by great amounts and in very different directions. That is part of why you go to college. It can be more than ironic to realize in your sophomore or junior year that you chose the wrong college because of someone you seldom spend time with any more.
Better that you approach your first year in college that way than deciding to tilt at the liberal windmills. Learn first; the windmills will be there when you're ready.

*If you thought I was going to write about my health, here's all you need to know: It appears there was no problem with the gallbladder. I spent Friday and Saturday alternatively fevered and chilled and mostly in bed. Sunday felt like I had been on a three day bachelor party cruise -- headache, really thirsty, but otherwise normal. Walked last night, talked to Mr. Upmann, and feel a little sheepish about seeing my doctor this morning in an hour. But I will go.