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PARALLEL UNIVERSE: Intellectual Diversity? We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Intellectual Diversity!

Posted by kinchendavid on December 22, 2006

By David M. Kinchen
Editor, Huntington News Network

Hinton, WV  – I’m at the point where I hesitate to open my bookmarked FrontpageMag.com site, for fear of what fresh hell (apologies to Dorothy Parker) awaits me on the P.C. front.

Sure enough, Roger Kimball has an essay on the Dec. 20, 2006 site about radical professors fighting back as conservative/libertarian ones – a tiny minority – try to establish beachheads of thought at their academic homes.

We’re talking about prestigious and very expensive private colleges and universities like Hamilton College in Clinton, NY or Amherst College in Amherst, Massachusetts, where the $33,000 annual tuition is on a level with a similar amount at Harvard. Room and board extra, of course! Hamilton is also in the $33,000 range, according to my new 2007 “World Almanac.”

A Midwest equivalent would be Antioch University in Yellow Springs, OH. On the Left Coast, Occidental College in the Eagle Rock district of Los Angeles is in the same league. Reed College in Portland, OR is a good example in the Pacific Northwest. Wonder of wonders: Both Reed and Oxy are in the $33,000 tuition and fees club!

Kimball, co-Editor and Publisher of The New Criterion and President and Publisher of Encounter Books, says that “intellectual diversity is unwelcome at American universities” with the predominantly left-wing faculty and administration running what are effectively one-party states: “bastions of what the literary critic Frederick Crews called ‘Left Eclecticism.”

Kimball: “At many institutions, you’ll find 57 varieties of Marxist, feminist, post-colonial, deconstructionist, new-historicist animus, united by reader-proof prose and a thoroughgoing hostility to traditional American values. But you have to look long and hard to find more than token representation of conservative ideas.” This point was emphasized this year with my reading and reviewing books like David Horowitz’s “The Professors” and – most recently – Elizabeth Kantor’s “The Politically Incorrect Guide to English and American Literature.” There are outposts of conservative/libertarian thought at many elite universities, Kimball states: “The imbalance is so great that at some institutions, dissident — i.e., conservative–faculty members have created centers where students and faculty can encounter alternative points of view. The James Madison Center at Princeton is one conspicuous example, as is the Political Theory Project at Brown and the Center for Freedom and Western Civilization at Colgate. Such centers do not alter the fundamental chemistry on campus — nearly all colleges remain reliably left-of-center–but they do at least provide a smidgen of reality to all the rhetoric about diversity.” Apparently, such centers are too much for the overwhelmingly left-wing faculty member, he says, pointing to Amherst College, where “ the political philosopher Hadley Arkes wanted to start a center for the American Founding. He lined up a donor willing to invest $10 million to establish then Center. The administration turned down the money. Why? Good question. They had just accepted $13 million to establish a Center for Community Engagement, but that initiative did not threaten the ideological status quo at what many now call the People’s Republic of Amherst.”

For the complete article by Kimball, click on

http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=26062

I, for one, hope that as the current Baby Boomer generation of hard left-wing ideologues retires and/or dies off, a younger generation of academics more tolerant of true intellectual diversity will shift the balance. I don’t want a dictatorship of either left-wingers or right-wingers. This is my hope and dream and I thank Kimball, Horowitz, Kantor and many others this year for pointing out the problem in academe.

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