Postmodern Conservative

Conservatives in Academia: The Decorous Silence of Hadley Arkes

Hadley Arkes, erudite author of the one must-read pro-life book, Natural Rights and the Right to Choose, and a professor at the very liberal Amherst College, comments at the Library of Law and Liberty site on the recent spate of withdrawn invitations for higher-ed commencement speakers. As is his wont, he makes unforeseen but telling connections to certain Supreme Court decisions, in this instance Lee v. Weisman and West Virginia School Board v. Barnette. But my favorite part is the following, which we just know comes from years and years of pained personal experience:

For conservatives the Commencements have become the occasion in which we sit, in courteous silence, as honors are bestowed on people we would be far from commending to the students or the public, to put the matter gently. To put it less gently we are asked to pay homage to people whose policies and teaching we would regard as morally destructive. And yet, we preserve a decorous silence. In the current state of affairs, that is not a restraint that has to be observed by people on the Left.

Arkes offers a glimmer of an alternative to such courtesy on the part of conservative professors and students in the piece, but seems hesitant about really recommending it. In the comments, I’m even more hesitant. So RTWT, and let us know what you think.

Most Popular

White House

The Democrats’ Burisma Bait and Switch

Imagine you get indicted in a swindle. The prosecutors represent that they can prove you and your alleged co-conspirators planned to fleece a major financial institution. You counter that you weren’t fleecing anyone. Sure, you were asking for millions in loans, but the collateral you were prepared to post was ... Read More
White House

The Democrats’ Burisma Bait and Switch

Imagine you get indicted in a swindle. The prosecutors represent that they can prove you and your alleged co-conspirators planned to fleece a major financial institution. You counter that you weren’t fleecing anyone. Sure, you were asking for millions in loans, but the collateral you were prepared to post was ... Read More

A Nation of Barbers

It seems almost inevitable that long hair is unwelcome at Barbers Hill High School. There’s a touch of aptronymic poetry in Texas public-school dress-code disputes. When I was in school in the 1980s, at the height of the Satanism panic, the local school-district superintendent circulated a list of ... Read More

A Nation of Barbers

It seems almost inevitable that long hair is unwelcome at Barbers Hill High School. There’s a touch of aptronymic poetry in Texas public-school dress-code disputes. When I was in school in the 1980s, at the height of the Satanism panic, the local school-district superintendent circulated a list of ... Read More
Politics & Policy

15 Flaws in Adam Schiff’s Case

Adam Schiff did most of the heavy lifting for the House managers, and if he performed ably, he also relied on arguments and tropes that don’t withstand scrutiny. The Democratic case for impeachment and removal is now heavily encrusted with clichés, widely accepted by the media, meant to give their ... Read More
Politics & Policy

15 Flaws in Adam Schiff’s Case

Adam Schiff did most of the heavy lifting for the House managers, and if he performed ably, he also relied on arguments and tropes that don’t withstand scrutiny. The Democratic case for impeachment and removal is now heavily encrusted with clichés, widely accepted by the media, meant to give their ... Read More

When There Is No Normal

One of the ancient and modern critiques of democracy is that radicals destroy norms for short-term political gain, norms that they themselves often later seek as refuge. Schadenfreude, irony, paradox, and karma are various descriptions of what happens to revolutionaries, and unfortunately the innocent, who ... Read More

When There Is No Normal

One of the ancient and modern critiques of democracy is that radicals destroy norms for short-term political gain, norms that they themselves often later seek as refuge. Schadenfreude, irony, paradox, and karma are various descriptions of what happens to revolutionaries, and unfortunately the innocent, who ... Read More