Conservative Phd--I Resemble That Remark

by Steven F. Hayward

Since I have both a Ph.D and an M.A., I suppose I ought to weigh in on this thread. I went to Claremont for political science 25 years ago because it was one of the few graduate programs that had more than one conservative on the faculty, and had a curriculum that covered serious instead of frivolous subjects. About one-fourth to one-third of the relevant faculty, and roughly half of the graduate students in the department, were conservatives, which meant that we totally dominated the place. This is what liberals really fear: they may tolerate one conservative in isolation, but get two and you have a critical mass that takes over the place. Allow three conservatives on campus and it is all over for them. At Claremont it drove the new lefties crazy that they had do few students doing dissertations with them. To their great credit, some of the old New Deal liberals on the faculty (such people are downright right-wing on today’s campus) recognized that their best students were the conservatives who came to study with Harry Jaffa, Bill Allen, Jim Nichols, Harold Rood, etc and spilled over to their courses. That made some of the old liberals our allies in the academic fights. It is a long sad story, but Claremont Graduate University (not yet Claremont Mckenna College, but watch out) mostly succumbed to political correctness and trendiness.

I went to graduate school with no intention of entering the university, because I knew how bad it was getting. I actually went to graduate school for the quant reason that I didn’t think I knew enough about politics and history to write seriously about it, and needed some time to germinate. And I knew that think tanks (PRI, AEI) would be a better alternative to university life. Most (not all) of my classmates have teaching jobs, usually at smaller, red-state colleges, and are reasonably happy, but on the merits many of them deserve to be department chairs or senior pooh-bahs at the top universities, but have been prevented from doing so by political correctness. But Mansfield is right: the ones who didn’t teach are now helping to run the country in the Bush Administration.

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