The diversity of ideas

The elite, liberal intelligentsia is a devoted guardian of political and social dogmas that now form the very political foundation of the modern Democratic Party. It blindly endorses such na?ve slogans as “stronger gun laws reduce crime” and “universal health care for all.” In the case of fighting fanatical terrorists intent on our destruction, we incessantly hear “America must always work through the United Nations.”

While many of these trite political clich?s serve to perpetually irritate conservatives, they are actually of little political consequence. Such slogans only resonate in fashionable, progressive academic circles and not in mainstream America. Still, as long as the Bill of Rights exists, liberal academics are certainly free to espouse their own political beliefs and opinions, regardless of how absurd.

However, the liberal mantra of racial “diversity” in education that is predominant among the university elite is particularly harmful. It seriously undermines the intellectual and academic values that should be non-negotiable in the university setting. One would be hard-pressed to find a professor or administrator who does not cite the supposed educational benefits of “diversity” in the classroom as a justification for affirmative action programs. While most studies show that diversity has little-to-no effect on a student’s educational progress, the vast majority of academics believe racial “diversity” is a critical facet of higher education.

Yet, while liberal professors are busy preaching about the mysterious merits of artificial, “feel-good” racial diversity, they conveniently overlook a more important, more genuine kind of diversity – the diversity of ideas. Diversity of political and social thought among our nation’s university professors is dangerously absent. This harsh reality has led to an undeniable suppression of conservative voices on our college campuses and an impediment to intellectual development. Being a true intellectual requires the ability to engage in the free exchange of ideas, the ability to remain open to and tolerant of all opinions and all viewpoints. It means constantly challenging conventional wisdom and never accepting absolutes, with the ultimate goal of obtaining the truth. Unfortunately, many American universities no longer exhibit such attributes of true intellectual diversity, as they duplicitously claim, but rather have been transformed into impenetrable bastions of liberal groupthink, offering little more than standard liberal indoctrination.

In fact, conservative professors have been systematically barred from university positions, now constituting a mere 5 percent of professorships in the United States. Throughout the entire Ivy League, only three administrators have identified themselves as Republicans. The number of liberal guest speakers outnumbers that of conservatives by a margin of more than 10 to 1. This is nothing more than reverse McCarthyism. The few conservative speakers who do make it onto a campus, such as conservative intellectual David Horowitz, usually require a security detail. Even more appalling are the thousands of documented cases of hostility directed at conservative students who dared to disagree with their liberal professors.

Thankfully, some Washington lawmakers have realized the urgency of this issue and have decided to take decisive action. Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) recently introduced the Academic Bill of Rights in Congress, asserting that it will “safeguard a student’s right to get an education rather than an indoctrination.” The bill calls for colleges and universities to end any discrimination against hiring conservative faculty and stresses the importance of intellectual balance on campus. While the U.S. Congress debates the passage of the bill, this is also legislation that our own GW administration can endorse. I urge President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg to adopt this policy immediately. As Rep. Kingston stated, “If our students are not shown the whole picture, they are being cheated out of a true education.” While I have yet to personally encounter any liberal discrimination at the hands of my GW professors – my experience has actually been the opposite – the recognition of this Bill of Rights by the GW administration is still necessary to prevent future academic injustices.

This is not a liberal or conservative, Democratic or Republican issue, but rather an issue so important that it transcends petty political matters; it is an issue of academic freedom. If GW is serious about fostering a genuinely intellectual environment – one open to all ideas – then it will finally guarantee the most important diversity of all, the diversity of thought.

-The writer, a freshman majoring in political science, is a Hatchet columnist.

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