Phi Beta Cons

FAIR Follies

While I know that few serious people believe that academic opposition to military recruiting is actually motivated by diversity concerns, it remains consistently necessary to pound away at leftist rhetoric with, well, actual facts. For the last several years (and certainly while the ridiculous FAIR lawsuit was winding its way through the federal system), we’ve seen the academic left self-righteously deny that this opposition is anything less than patriotic or motivated by anything less than a concern for legal equality and fundamental fairness. The issue is diversity, the academics argue, not patriotism. 
Well now I have experienced both the academy and the military, and the military wins the diversity contest hands down. I attended law school at Harvard and taught at Cornell Law School, and both places were ideological, geographical, and racial monocultures compared to my JAG class. It almost goes without saying that the military is far more ideologically diverse than an Ivy League university (almost any institution is more ideologically diverse than Harvard). The diversity in my own unit was such that ideological assumptions were dangerous. In fact, as a social and economic conservative, I found myself decisively outnumbered by my more liberal colleagues.
Nor was the diversity limited to the world of ideas. My own eight-person squad featured a couple of good ‘ol southern boys, attorneys from California and Ohio, a judge from Boston, and immigrants from Taiwan, Korea, and Venezuela. Collectively, we represented four different native countries and four different native languages.  While my experience is admittedly limited (I am merely at the beginning of my military journey), it seems that it is not the military that is increasingly removed from American culture and the American experience but instead the academy (and its cultural allies in the media). 
During the Clinton administration, there was much talk of a cabinet (and government) that “looked like America.”  Our military does look like America, and it is plain that the academy does not like what it sees. So . . . is their real problem with our military, or our nation? 

David French — David French is a senior writer for National Review, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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