Conservative ideals: A campus faux pas
Minority opinions – even conservative ones – should never be shelved in order to preserve the status quo
Anna Gould – Staff Writer for the Badger Herald
UW – Madison takes pride in its efforts to achieve diversity.
We want diversity in race, culture, religion, etc. What we do not want is
diversity of opinion.
Trapped in ideological insularity, the UW community, as well
as most college campuses, has shut its ears to opposing viewpoints, particularly
According to a poll by Luntz Research Companies, only 9 percent
of Ivy League professors voted for our current president, and Bill Clinton
was selected as the best president of the past 40 years.
That’s right. A draft-dodging, womanizing, lying-under-oath,
impeached president. Furthermore, only three percent identified themselves
as members of the GOP.
This study, while conducted on the Ivies, also reflects academia
elsewhere. How many times have you sat through a lecture while the professor
howls about the evils of the West and the United States, and then acts like
all of the students agree with him?
As columnist Thomas Sowell said, “No one has been more
favored and indulged than those in academia and the media – and no one
has acted more like spoiled brats.”
In an October report for the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute,
UW professor Donald Downs discusses the challenges to civil liberties at universities.
He outlines several attempts that have been made in the past to suppress mainly
For example, in the late ‘’80s, “numerous
law professors consented to speech codes that were later declared unconstitutional.
Part of the reason low professors can conveniently ignore the law is based on ideology.
Downs says, “All too many campus leaders … were
blinded to the sometimes questionable consequences of their actions because
of their fervent beliefs in their own good intentions.”
The professor cites another example from a law student at UC
– Berkeley. While expecting “an intellectually free university,”
the student writes, “eyes rolled” and “glares flashed”
whenever the lone conservative spoke in class. “Diversity of mind was
declared dangerous and unwanted,” he says.
Downs says our very own history department was “engaged
in a secret investigation” of a professor “for alleged gender
What was their evidence? Apparently the professor was unaware
that iit is scandalous not to have women TAs. By the end of this ridiculous
manhunt, the university naturally came up with nothing.
The professor eventually sued the university and settled out of court.
In yet another case, a 74-year-old professor allegedly broke
a speech code and was questioned by university officials in a “closed
room protected by armed guards.” We are not talking about Stalin’s
Russia here – this is UW.
In the early ‘90s, Lee Hawkins, an African-American editor
for The Badger Herald, was told by a “top administrator to remain quiet
about his opposition to codes in the name of loyalty to his race.” You
see, Hawkins was writing First-Amenndment editorial pieces that did not bode
well with the politically correct crowd, and they wanted to silence his opposing
opinion. He ended up fighting back harder.
According to the Supreme Court Justice nominee Robert Bork,
Hispanic and African-American students at the University of Pennsylvania stole
every copy of the student newspaper when a conservative columnist wrote a
piece against affirmative action.
In the end no students were punished and the police who attempted
to stop the theft, were reprimanded by the university.
Those who lack strong reasoned arguments are the first to run
from serious discussions. Their greatest fear is that they will be converted
once their weak reasoning is exposed.
When volatile issues like race came up, the first tendency on
the left is to embrace an emotional debate.
Unfortunately, when emotions run high, reason leaves the room,
and no progress is made.
Using ad hominem (“you’re just a racist”)
does not get to the heart of the issue; bringing two informed sides to the
Shouting down Ward Connerly or absconding with newspapers tends
to conjure up images of Nazis burning books.
Fascists thrive in suppressing alternative viewpoints so they
can maintain power; likewise, campus leftists want only their opinion heard
in order to ensure uniform thinking.
Exposing yourself to a variety of opinions is helpful in anyone’s
education. Effective arguing for any cause will only be achieved when one
Leave the personal attacks at home and concentrate on breaking down political and ideological barriers for truth.