Phi Beta Cons

PC-Free Universities?

Robert, I don’t think conservatives (especially those in the conservative academic freedom movement) believe that PC is curable or that any kind of university can be “PC-free.” We know and understand groupthink, including the reality that groupthink affects our own community and even our own thinking. At the same time, however, we know that individual minds can be changed and that our universities would benefit from having more than one form of orthodoxy represented in the classroom. If we can’t end PC, why not have our competing versions of political correctness engage each other in the academy? At the very least — and until we can begin to change the way universities hire and fire — we seek to puncture any notion that the university’s ideological orthodoxy by itself discredits dissenting ideas.

I enjoyed your previous post about hiring truth-seekers rather than chasing ideological balance. Yet I don’t know many conservatives who truly seek ideological affirmative action. The goal is to end discrimination, to end the practice of using ideology as a substitute for merit, not to give conservatives bonus points for their conservatism. I like your concept of truth-seeking, and such a world would never elevate the likes of a Ward Churchill to the ranks of department chair at a premier state university, but so long as the university remains a one-party state, it will be difficult to even define what “truth-seeking” means. An actual truth-seeking university would inevitably become quite a bit more ideologically diverse as good faith inquiry leads scholars down different paths. But in the current university monoculture, all too many truths are deemed settled — including truths regarding religion, culture, war, peace, history, and policy — so what is there to seek?

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.

Most Popular



For your amusement, I hope, I’ve done a Jaywalking episode. It begins with a bit of the overture to Semiramide -- a Rossini opera I reviewed from the Met last week. Then I get into Russia and, after a while, China. The Marriott company fired an employee for “liking” a tweet by a Tibetan independence group. ... Read More

Campaigns for World Down Syndrome Day Go Viral

As World Down Syndrome Day approaches on Wednesday, several campaigns supporting those with the condition have taken over the Internet. Fifty mothers of children with the condition put together a viral video of them and their children singing along in the car. The video helped the children and their mothers ... Read More

Viva l’Italia?

Italy has just had elections, with very interesting results. I wanted to talk with Alberto Mingardi, which I have. He is one of the leading classical liberals in Italy -- the director general of the Bruno Leoni Institute, in Milan. (Mingardi himself is Milanese.) He is also an authority in arts and letters. In ... Read More

Putin and the Cult of Leadership

On Sunday, Russian dictator Vladimir Putin won an unsurprising reelection-campaign victory against Communist Party candidate Pavel Grudinin, by a margin of 76.7 percent to 11.8 percent. The results were unsurprising because Putin is a tyrant who murders or imprisons political rivals, and who isn’t afraid to use ... Read More

Trump and Brexit Derangement Syndrome

I am not one of those Brexiteers who believe that Brexit and Trumpism are essentially the same phenomenon in two different countries. To be sure, they both draw on some of the same political trends, notably a distrust of elites and an upsurge of popular anger over evident failures of public policy such as illegal ... Read More