Saturday, January 10, 2004

ON TO BOB JONES! Roger Simon is mad because there was a lot of anti-war talk at an MLA conference:
The University Class is one of the most rigid in America in its thinking... At a conference like the MLA, whose primary raison d'etre is job search, the pressure to conform is compounded. Attendees with pro-war views would naturally be reluctant to express themselves for fear of losing out in the marketplace. I know I'd keep my mouth shut in such an atmosphere. I already know not to broadcast my pro-war views when going to a meeting in Hollywood.
One of Simon's commenters is surprised to hear that Simon censors himself. Oh, says Simon, "I had my tongue pretty far in my cheek to make a point. I'm not the kind of personality who could hide his views even if I wanted to."

Not like the rest of you, he might have added. You're a-scared.

Sigh. You see this kind of thing all the time now. Seen from this POV, liberals are nervous nellies for objecting to the Patriot Act, but such conservative members of the Modern Language Association as may exist are justified in fearing for their very tenures.

"I certainly don't want to be whiny and self-pitying" says one such whiny, self-pitying fellow, but in his freshman year at the University of Michigan (1982!), "there was a whiff of violence in the air, on that campus of mine. There really was. Of course, you have to be careful whom you talk to this way, because you could be marked off as an exaggerator or paranoid or worse." No shit.

His remarks were delivered at the 20th Anniversary celebration of the conservative Harvard Salient. No doubt there were a number in attendance waving prostheses and crutches, legacies of campus battles endured in the second year of the first Reagan Adminstration. Or perhaps no one was there at all, their forces long since decimated by the implacable jackboots of the Left.

Despite the miraculous survival of the Salient and its friends, some folks like David Horowitz want a form of affirmative action to get right-wingers into college professorships. As soon as that one goes through, I want a job at Fox News.

One thing has always puzzled me about this. If liberals have a hammerlock on most faculties, and this is a terrible detriment to our nation (as conservatives from Revilo P. Oliver to Megan McArdle have long known), why not let the marketplace solve the problem?

Instead of sending fat checks or resumes to hotbeds of liberalism like Harvard and Berkeley, why not build new citadels of learning upon foundations already laid by sympathetic educators? Jerry Falwell's Liberty University comes to mind. Or Hillsdale, or Wheaton, or any of a number of Catholic colleges and universities that would happily turn the best and brightest conservative minds to a higher, nobler purpose.

What a great advance for the cause it would be if some parents would find the gumption to say, "I know you've been accepted to Yale, honey, but the American Renaissance demands that we send you to Bob Jones U." Or if Harvey Mansfield were to rise up and shout, "Farewell, Harvard commies, glory calls at Magdalen College!"

The gains, admittedly, would not be immediate. But isn't conservatism about taking the long view?

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