Monthly Archives: September 2003

If his latest, cheekily titled “Lonely Campus Voices” is any indication of where he wants to take his new NYT column, then it’s clear that Our Miss Brooks poses no threat to William Safire.

“Most good universities have at least one conservative professor on campus.”

Brooksie begins with typical disingenuousness.

“When, for example, some group at Harvard wants to hold a panel discussion on some political matter, it can bring out the political theorist Harvey Mansfield to hold up the rightward end. At Princeton it’s Robert George. At Yale it’s Donald Kagan.

These dissenters lead interesting lives. But there’s one circumstance that causes true anguish: when a bright conservative student comes to them and says he or she is thinking about pursuing an academic career in the humanities or social sciences.”

“Anguish”? Could it be that Brooksie is about to (clutch the pearls) Play the Victim Card ?

” ‘This is one of the most difficult things,’ says Alan Kors, a rare conservative at Penn. ‘One is desperate to see people of independent mind willing to enter the academic world. On the other hand, it is simply the case they will be entering hostile and discriminatory territory.’

‘Here’s what I’m thinking when an outstanding kid comes in,’ says George, of Princeton. ‘If the kid applies to one of the top graduate schools, he’s likely to be not admitted. Say he gets past that first screen. He’s going to face pressure to conform, or he’ll be the victim of discrimination. It’s a lot harder to hide then than it was as an undergrad.

‘But say he gets through. He’s going to run into intense discrimination trying to find a job. But say he lands a tenure-track job. He’ll run into even more intense discrimination because the establishment gets more concerned the closer you get to the golden ring. By the time you come up for tenure, you’re in your mid-30’s with a spouse and a couple of kids. It’s the worst time to be uncertain about your career. Can I really take the responsibility of advising a kid to take these kinds of risks?’ “

We have, to be sure, heard these familiar strains coming out of Ye Old Reactionary Squeezebox before. Its dancing monkeys — D’Nesh D’Souza, Camille Paglia and The Creature From the Blog Lagoon are probably a tad tired of doing the “Varsity Drag” at this juncture. But what is Brooksie really up to?

“The most common advice conservative students get is to keep their views in the closet. Will Inboden was working on a master’s degree in U.S. history at Yale when a liberal professor pulled him aside after class and said: ‘You’re one of the best students I’ve got, and you could have an outstanding career. But I have to caution you: hiring committees are loath to hire political conservatives. You’ve got to be really quiet.’ “

Why it’s just like that scene in Tea and Sympathy where a concerned fraternity brother tells our Metrosexual avant la lettre hero that he ought to learn how to “walk like a man”!

“Conservative professors emphasize that most discrimination is not conscious. A person who voted for President Bush may be viewed as an oddity, but the main problem in finding a job is that the sorts of subjects a conservative is likely to investigate — say, diplomatic or military history — do not excite hiring committees. Professors are interested in the subjects they are already pursuing, and in a horrible job market it is easy to toss out applications from people who are doing something different.”

What “excites” hiring committees? Is Brooksie beginning to show his hand? Or is he simply smoothing his skirt down over his knees like Tippi Hedren in Marnie ?

“As a result, faculties skew overwhelmingly to the left. Students often have no contact with adult conservatives, and many develop cartoonish impressions of how 40 percent of the country thinks. “

Hold the phone! “Adult” conservatives?

Oh right, that’s because college campsues are rife with Conservative clubs and orgs of all sorts. Well-funded Conservative clubs and orgs.

Obviously a lot of “Adult” money is involved in keeping these Conservakiddies afloat. Too bad these same “adults”are so stingy with their time — consequently leaving the door wide open for the likes of (Big Horrified Gasp !) the dreaded Paul Krugman.

“Hundreds of conservatives with Ph.D.’s end up working in Republican administrations, in think tanks and at magazines, often with some regrets. ‘Teaching is this really splendid thing. It would be great to teach Plato’s `Republic,’ ” says Gary Rosen, a Harvard Ph.D. who works at Commentary magazine.

Though that would constitute promoting the Gay Agenda, wouldn’t it Gary? Midge wouldn’t like that.

“Despite all this, George advises his best and toughest students to go ahead. ‘We need to send our best soldiers into battle, even though we’re going to lose a few,’ he says.”

How timely.

” ‘I hate to tell kids they shouldn’t take risks, they shouldn’t go for their dreams.’

Others say it is possible to have a satisfying career and do good work if you learn not to fly straight into the prevailing ideology. ‘Conservatives are people who teach the value of prudence but are incapable of exercising any,’ says Mark Lilla, a politically unclassifiable professor at the University of Chicago.”

Now here’s a rara avis if there ever was one: a “politically unclassifiable professor.” Oh come on, Brooksie, fess up. Is he a Liberal whose feelings you’re trying not to offend for fear of losing some otherwise valuable social contact? Or maybe he’s a genuine Conservative of the old Stuart and Joseph Alsop school, disgusted with the current Republican party.

No one is “politically unclassifiable.”

Not in George W. Bush’s America they’re not!

“And Jacob T. Levy, a libertarian also at Chicago, says some conservatives exaggerate the level of hostility they face. Some politicized humanities departments may be closed to them, he concedes, but professors in other fields are open to argument.

If it were my kid, I’d say go to graduate school — read the books you want to read. Then go to Washington, where you won’t feel embattled because you’ll exchange ideas with liberals and others in a more intellectually diverse setting. You’ll probably end up doing more good.”

Sure. Look at all the “good” D’Nesh and his once-upon-a-time-intended Laura Ingraham did at Dartmouth.

“Last week the professors at Harvard’s government department reviewed the placement records of last year’s doctoral students. Two had not been able to find academic jobs, both of them Mansfield’s students. ‘Well,’ Mansfield quipped, “I guess they’ll have to go to Washington and run the country.’ “

Ah yes. See where this was all heading folks? In the immortal words of W.C. Fields, Brooksie was just “fooling and pretending.” But with a special kick. After all, what’s he doing other than giving this “Liberal Establishment” the finger? “Keep your little tenure track positions, Losers! I’m off to the Heritage Foundation! I’ve got Paul Wolfowitz on speed-dial!”

And who can blame him for aning to crow? After all the “adults are in charge” now, and we can see all the wonders they’ve wrought at home and abroad. College Liberals got you down Conservakiddies? Just stay in the closet and like they do in the grand finale of Good News
“Down on your heels,
Up on your toes,
Stay after school,
learn how it goes.”
.