‘Outside the Liberal Consensus’

by John J. Miller

Wesleyan University president Michael S. Roth is a liberal who means well. He’s concerned about the virtual eradication of conservative ideas from America’s campuses. Over the weekend in the Wall Street Journal, he even called for “Affirmative action for the study of conservative ideas” (according to a subhead in the print edition). In his essay, he also wrote this:

Another new initiative for intellectual diversity, launched with the support of one our trustees, has created an endowment of more than $3 million for exposing students at Wesleyan to ideas outside the liberal consensus. This fall, our own academic departments and centers will begin offering courses and programs to cover topics such as “the philosophical and economic foundations of private property, free enterprise and market economies” and “the relationship of tolerance to individual rights, freedom and voluntary association.”

That’s nice, but look what he’s saying: private property, free enterprise, market economies, individual rights, and voluntary association are outside the liberal consensus.

What exactly does that leave inside the liberal consensus?

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