Can Universities Be Made PC-free?

by Robert Weissberg

Conservatives are forever complaining about campus PC, i.e., the forceful imposition an unreal political orthodoxy. Regardless of proposed cure, it is always assumed that the disorder is curable. While anti-PC efforts are admirable, I am unconvinced that the battle is winnable. In a nutshell, the desire to be surrounded by like-thinking people and ostracizing deviants is undoubtedly human nature. It thrives in everything from grade-school cliques to college English departments. We barely notice it when we are herd members in good standing; groupthink is far more odious when one is seeking admission to a different herd. This is not to argue that all groups uniformly march in lockstep; rather, if the value is central, powerful norms are inescapable. Group solidarity is perfectly Darwinian: Help fellow believers but not outsiders.

“Our side” of the ideological divide has its own enforced orthodoxies, and our non-believers probably have the same chance of publishing heresies as a sociology professor has of publishing a patriotic best-selling freshman textbook. Tiny exceptions aside, good luck in challenging school choice, free markets, deregulation, or the possible genetic component in crime, academic achievement, or economic prosperity. Yes, think-tank scholars might venture into controversial topics such as immigration, homosexuality, and the links between Islam and violence, but only very, very inoffensively. As among academic, birds of a feather . . .

And while opportunistic university faculty regularly drink the Kool-Aid and spineless administrators pander to offended minorities, think-tank scholars can ill afford to alienate generous donors or, worse, attract unwanted IRS attention. In other words, all scholars, regardless of venues, must honor the dominant gods or risk banishment to the wilderness. PC is not an abomination; the imposition of groupthink is part of our nature.