Why Conservatism Belongs at the Very Center of the Academic Enterprise

by Peter Robinson

Today on Uncommon Knowledge, Harvey Mansfield, Professor of Government at Harvard for nearly half a century, defends himself.  “Conservatism,” he asserted in a recent essay, “is closer to the mission of the university than liberalism is….”

Conservatives are more tolerant.  They don’t expect liberalism to disappear.  Liberals, on the other hand, expect that conservatism will disappear.  They think that conservatism is based on superstition or prejudice, that it’s not necessary to human life and that it can easily be dispensed with.  Conservatives are much more tolerant of people who disagree with them and thus are closer to the mission of the university.  The mission of the university should be to open minds, not to close them.  It shouldn’t declare that certain views are unnecessary.  That’s the way of political correctness.  It’s not the way of a proper university.   

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