Phi Beta Cons

Truth, Not Ideological Balance

As the academy grows more stridently left wing, conservatives respond with calls for ideological affirmative action — for schools to hire more right-thinking faculty so students encounter intellectual diversity. This is a seductively alluring scheme, and thanks to wealthy donors, it is proliferating.

It is an ill-advised and ultimately anti-intellectual strategy, even in the unlikely event that it succeeds. The academy can not be, nor should it be, an intellectual version of Noah’s Ark. Sadly, this conservative version of “inclusion” mimics the Left’s subordination of truth to ideology.

The quest should be about insisting that whatever professors teach, content should be truthful, whether this truth is liberal, conservative, reactionary, or Marxist, whether the subject in English or sociology. After all, who wants conservative falsehoods to “balance” radical dishonesty? It is fantasy to insist that if students learn at 9 a.m. that 2+2=3 and at 11 a.m., 2+2=5, they will eat lunch knowing that 2+2=4.

The hunt to hire truth-seekers changes everything. Out with the ideological litmus tests; in with character and temperament. If a Marxist job candidate argues that Africa is poor owing to colonial exploitation, the sharp rejoinder should be, “Can you prove this?” Ditto for the conservative job seeker who insists that only capitalist free markets can solve Africa’s poverty. 

Admittedly, abandoning ideological labels complicates life, and may even discourage donors from funding pet projects, but this is what the life of the mind is about.

Most Popular

Elections

Weirdo O’Rourke

Friends of the young Bill Clinton and Barack Obama spoke of the special glow of promise they had about them, even back in their early twenties. Angels sat on their shoulders. History gave them a wink and said, “Hey, good lookin’, I’ll be back to pick you up later.” Robert O’Rourke? Not so much. He ... Read More
U.S.

McCain at Annapolis

President Trump has been doing a lot of tweeting today -- against TV programs, companies, and other things that have incurred his displeasure. These tweets make for interesting reading. One of them is this: So it was indeed (just proven in court papers) “last in his class” (Annapolis) John McCain that sent ... Read More
Education

Our Bankrupt Elite

Every element of the college admissions scandal, a.k.a “Operation Varsity Blues,” is fascinating. There are the players: the Yale dad who, implicated in a securities-fraud case, tipped the feds off to the caper; a shady high-school counselor turned admissions consultant; the 36-year-old Harvard grad who ... Read More