The public has now picked up the message that “campuses are havens for left-leaning activists,” according to a Chronicle poll of 1,000 adult Americans this year. Half of those surveyed — 68 percent who call themselves “conservative” and even 30 percent who say they are “liberal” — agreed that colleges improperly introduce a liberal bias into what they teach. The matter, however, is clearly not just one of perception. Indeed, in another recent survey, this one conducted by the Higher Education Research Institute of the University of California at Los Angeles, faculty members themselves chose as their commitment “far left” or “liberal” more than two and a half times as often as “far right” or “conservative.” As a Chronicle article last month put it: “On left-leaning campuses around the country, professors on the right feel disenfranchised.”
Meanwhile, Daniel Davies of Crooked Timber takes note of all the commentary on what’s wrong with the Left in America, given their dismal performance at putting candidates in office last week:
The idea is that, it seems, you can connect almost anything to the phrase ěthis is a serious problem for The Leftî in much less than six steps of argument. So the name of the game is to start with a googlewhack from the site and end via a chain of fairly close reasoning with an argument that the Democrats need to consider your googlewhack in depth.
Can you see where I’m going with this? If there aren’t enough conservatives on college campuses, it’s the fault of the liberals. If there are too many conservatives in government, it’s the fault of the liberals. Do you think if we switched things around, the argument would still work? There are too many conservatives on college campuses, and it’s the fault of the liberals. There are too many liberals in government, and it’s the fault of the liberals. Yup, it works that way, too. It’s the universal causality argument!
I think there’s a lesson here for the Democratic party: observe how those on the Right react when they are under-represented. They do not wring their hands and worry about what they’re doing wrong. They do not sit and listen patiently while those from the other side point out their failings. They simply express indignation that they have not been given their fair share. They say, in effect, “We’re right. You’re wrong. Back off and give us some space.”