Anarchists for Affirmative Action


At the L.A. Times, Crispin Sartwell has a good column on affirmative action for conservative professors:

That the University of Colorado is raising $9 million to endow a professor of conservative studies is rather delicious in its ironies. It smacks of affirmative action and casts conservatism in the syntax of departments decried by conservatives for decades: women's studies, gay studies, African American studies, Chicano studies and so on.

Furthermore, the idea of affirmative action for conservatives seems gratuitous. These other groups may be oppressed, but conservatives run whole wars, black site prisons, sprawling multinational corporations. In fact, if these other groups are oppressed, it's conservatives who are the oppressors, which may render faculty meetings a bit tense.

Well, yeah. The overwhelmingly liberal consensus among professors at elite universities is not obviously a problem for anyone other than aspiring conservative academics. You have to have a weirdly romantic view of university life to believe that students readily absorb the political biases of people they see for a few hours a week or the sociology readings they're half-skimming while watching Two Girls One Cup. If there is any reason to hate on liberal universities, it's surely for the sense of victimization they inspire among crazed, wild-eyed packs of Michelle-Malkin-quoting 17-year-olds who attend CPAC. But Sartwell makes the best case I've seen for the institutionalization of token conservatism:

If you've been taught that conservatives are evil idiots, then conservatism itself justifies a decision not to hire or tenure one. Every new leftist minted by graduate programs is an act of self-praise, a confirmation of the intelligence of the professors…

So as my liberal old professor Richard Rorty said, referring to Allan Bloom, conservative Platonist: "Let a thousand Blooms flower." And if they take root in endowed chairs of conservative thought and policy, that's at least pretty funny.