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One more Post on Respect for Conservative and Libertarian Students:

I'm wondering if all the individuals stating in various threads that conservatives and libertarian students who are concerned about whether they will be living and studying in a respectful environment should "get over it" would have the same attitude about someone who posted something like the following: "I live in the South and my 17 year old daughter's an outspoken feminist, and she's looking for a school not too far from home where she'll be treated by faculty and fellow students with respect, even if she's in the minority." Would they tell him to tell his daughter to "get over it" "suck it up" and just go the nearest intolerant right-wing religious college to hone her ideology? Even if she heard that feminists at that college get death threats, get downgraded by professors for their views, have the administration throw away the feminist paper, and otherwise suffer the indignities conservatives sometimes suffer at elite liberal arts colleges?

UPDATE: I've learned from the comments below that some posters apparently think that opposition to campus feminism inherently signifies hostility to women, that conservatives should never complain about any sort of mistreatment on campus because they control the three branches of the federal government, and that merely pointing out that conservatives are sometimes treated disrepectfully (and I haven't even given the most common example of the heckling of speakers) on certain campuses is "whining" and "hysteria about persecution."

Honestly, given this reaction arising from an initial innocuous question of which elite campuses are more or less open to conservative and libertarian views,* does one really have to wonder why a conservative or libertarian (or merely open-minded) prospective student would want to check out the campus environment before enrolling?

*More specifically, I asked which schools are "'safe'for politically active and or outspoken conservatives and libertarian students in the sense that students and faculty will generally treat them respectfully, even if they are a small minority."

Justin (mail):
::Shrug:: death threats are wrong but must be attributed to individuals. Obnoxious people are everywhere. I've never heard of liberal outrage over the fact that Ole Miss and Auburn are supermajority Republican. I didn't go to Vanderbilt, but that's because I didn't want to wear a suit and bring a to the football game, not because I was worried about conservative arguments (most of my coworkers are conservative, fwiw).
3.29.2006 10:05pm
Commenterlein (mail):
That's almost a fair question.

(Except that even an outspoken conservative at Harvard, Stanford, Yale, Princeton, Cornell or Berkeley is most unlikely to receive death threats or anything close to it, but let's ignore the hyperbole.)

I would tell her to attend the best college she can get into. And if that turned out to be a George Mason or Hillsdale it would not change my view a bit. If it turned out to be a Bob Jones University or (shudder) a nuthouse like Pensacola Christian College (see the recent Chronicle of Higher Ed), I would tell her to go somewhere else. The difference is simply between conservative but rational versus fundamentalist religious and hence almost by definition irrational.

You can learn a lot from a smart and well-educated conservative who argues based on facts and empirical evidence, and even more so if you are a liberal yourself, but you are unlikely to learn anything useful from a conservative whose arguments are derived from a religious tome. Dogma is poison to education, whether the dogma comes from the right, the left, or a deity.
3.29.2006 10:07pm
Justin (mail):
PS

Even if she heard that feminists at that college get death threats, get downgraded by professors for their views, have the administration throw away the feminist paper, and otherwise suffer the indignities conservatives sometimes suffer at elite liberal arts colleges?

I once again state that any of these things, when and if they happen, are wrong. I think if a student is caught doing the first, he should be expelled and prosecuted, if a professor is done the second or third, he should be terminated regardless of tenure.

The problem is the first thing happens rarely, it happens to young political activists on both sides, and it usually happens to people who revel in it, not shy away from it. The second, as far as I can tell, happens once in a blue moon in some community colleges.

Many conservatives these days have so bought the bias screaming from on high that they overvalue their own intelligence. They have generally crappy arguments such as "support the troops or you're a traitor" that are crappy regardless of political views. A politcal science or philosophy professor must objectively grade papers, and if those papers are absolute crap, he has to give them a low grade even if they're also conservative. Conservatives have cried wolf so many times, many of us on the sidelines are wondering if there are any wolves at all.
3.29.2006 10:09pm
Defending the Indefensible:
It's worth mentioning that your example here brings gender inequality into the discussion. Which isn't to say that your daughter isn't every bit as capable academically as a man, but her opinions as a woman might not be as well respected at the intolerant right-wing religious college, independently of what her actual opinions are.
3.29.2006 10:11pm
Hayek:
I'm an undergraduate at Yale, and I've found that my conservative views are almost always met with respect, and a willingness to engage in debate. Certainly, Yale is a predominantly liberal institution, and an outspoken conservative is bound to meet with plenty of criticism and find some hysterical left-wing activists. Some departments tend to have very liberal faculty, but in general, it is rare (though not impossible) to find a professor whose classes are deeply influenced by his or her ideology. My point is more specifically about the student body, however. Its possible that things were very different here 30 years ago, but I would point to Ruth Wisse's article in the WSJ about students at Harvard acquiring "a moral seriousness" that may have been missing in the 70s, as perhaps an indication that this is not an isolated trend.
3.29.2006 10:11pm
LawProfCommentator (mail):
Tell me that the mantra that "all differences between men and women are socially constructed" that I heard in college and continue to hear from individuals who went to elite colleges isn't as irrational as any religious nonsense one can think of.
3.29.2006 10:13pm
No One of Import:
Many conservatives these days have so bought the bias screaming from on high that they overvalue their own intelligence.

That's right. We're all stupid. Or whiny babies. Or insane or have some sort of mental instability. Thus sayeth the latest liberal "science" studies.

That must be it. We are delusional in thinking that with 80% of poli-sci departments running Democrat/liberal we are somehow getting a raw deal and students don't ever get screwed.

I was desperately trying to come up with an example of "self-reinforcing" principle, and this was an easy one.

Thanks Justin!
3.29.2006 10:15pm
Defending the Indefensible:
As a second point, I don't think anyone would suggest that your daughter ought to go to an inferior school if she is qualified to go somewhere better ("elite" as you called it before). It seems to me that the intolerant right-wing religious college is unlikely to be a cream of the crop institution. Fundamentally, good schools encourage students to think, to ask questions, to learn. Conservative schools like, say, Oral Roberts, aren't known for their advocacy of open mindedness.
3.29.2006 10:16pm
Rasi:
Of course I wouldn't, but the analogy is flawed. Conservativism and libertarianism are political ideologies, concerned with what the government is entitled to do and how it should do it. Feminism, however, is in many ways similar to the civil or gay rights movements, an ideology that affirms the self-worth of a woman for a trait she was born with and promotes equality within society. It is an ideology, and it does come with a belief in certain public policy positions, but it is not, at its core, a political ideology.

So no, I would not counsel my feminist daughter to go to a school that attacks who she is as a person, in exactly the same way that I would not recommend my child go to a racist school if he was a minority or a school that believes homosexuality is an abomination if he were gay. All of these are examples of where my child's very identity would be attacked, a very different thing than having your beliefs about government challenged.
3.29.2006 10:17pm
Shangui (mail):
I really don't think the situations are equivalent. The problems she might encounter at a "intolerant right-wing religious college" might well have to do with who she is, in addition to what she believes. If the places are institutionally pushing the idea that she belongs in the home because she is a woman, then no, I wouldn't advise her to go there.

I didn't go to Dartmouth because I loathed the fraternity culture, not the conservative culture. At the school I did end up going to, which was about as left as one can get, I never saw the types of activities you describe though I was very openly libertarian. I did see black students called "niggers" on more than one occasion, though. But those were isolated incidents, not an institutional policy. Bob Jones on the other hand, until recently (at least I think this has changed) did not allow interracial dating. I would not advise a black student (or anyone else for that matter), to go there.

Harvard, Brown, Berkeley, are not monocultures. You can find like-minded students and faculty (though admittedly the latter are fewer). I knew plenty of conservatives at places like these. Do you really think you would find similar diversity at Liberty or Bob Jones? Would it make sense for, say, an aetheist to go to a school that objects to his views and an institutional level?

And do you really think conservatives regularly get death threats and bad grades at most schools? The one's I have know got great grades, even in poli sci, philosophy, and English classes where their views were not at all hidden.
3.29.2006 10:20pm
davidbernstein (mail):
Feminism isn't a political ideology? Nonsense. If it were solely a matter of any women who believes in her own self-worth as a woman is considered a feminist, a lot more than 24% of women would call themselves feminists.
3.29.2006 10:24pm
Sean Carroll (mail) (www):
I don't know, I think the analogy is pretty good. After all, both women and conservatives have suffered through thousands of years of subjugation and discrimination, typically earn substantially less than men/liberals, are vulnerable to unique forms of physical violence, are constantly told that their intellects are genetically inferior, and have consistently been excluded from powerful positions in government and industry. Really, the parallels are uncanny.
3.29.2006 10:27pm
Davidbernstein (mail):
Shang, no I don't think that, but I'm quite confident that there are some schools that have cultures more tolerant of ideological diversity than others, and at such schools such incidents are less likely to occur, which was the original issue (which schools are they?) which started this discussion.
3.29.2006 10:27pm
Shangui (mail):
Tell me that the mantra that "all differences between men and women are socially constructed" that I heard in college and continue to hear from individuals who went to elite colleges isn't as irrational as any religious nonsense one can think of.

O.K., I will. Though I don't think all differences between the sexes are socially constructed, I think that position (assuming you mean attributes like abilities, etc., and not physical attributes) is far less irrational than the idea that there is an all-powerful, all-knowing being who will punish me for putting some latex on my penis. Or eating pork and soft-shelled crabs. Or how about every single aspect of Creationism? Or that if I kill a bunch of people I'll be met by black-eyed virgins in Heaven? I could go on for hours. The fact that it is clear that many aspects of what we call gender are clearly socially constructed doesn't make the idea that all of them are true, but it certainly makes it less absurd than ideas that have absolutely no basis in physically discernable reality.
3.29.2006 10:28pm
Davidbernstein (mail):
I'm finding it odd, and indicative of problems that conservatives would face on many campuses, that commentators think that being hostile to feminism means being hostile to women.
3.29.2006 10:30pm
Paul Spirito (mail) (www):
Doesn't everybody at elite liberal arts colleges graduate with a 4.0? So go, get your diploma (with highest honors, just like everyone else), then rule the world. What's not to like?

The idea is that it is unmanly to curtail one's ambitions to avoid psychological trauma.
3.29.2006 10:32pm
David Gross (mail) (www):
“boo hoo, you poor conservative students and what you have to put up with.”

Seriously: why is it that today, with conservative christians running the government and being the standard by which all others are judged in the media, that conservatives and christians are whining like a bunch of politically correct undergrads in a 1990 era Oppressed Persons Minor program? Oh poor us! Who shall we turn to if a professor says a bad word? We'd better turn tail and run, otherwise we'll be mocked and forced to defend ourselves!
3.29.2006 10:37pm
Commenterlein (mail):
David,

Isn't it clear that at the hypothetical "intolerant right-wing religious college" from your question there would indeed be many who are hostile to the idea that women should have the same rights as men, equal opportunities, and be free to choose between family and career?

You can call this hostility to women or hostility to feminism or whatever else you like, but it clearly is hostility to the hypothetical daughter from your question as a person.
3.29.2006 10:37pm
Justin (mail):
DB, while I think your (last, relating to feminism vs gender) point is valid, because feminism is the politics of gender, it is often that uncritical, juvenile (we're talking college kids here) responses to feminism involve the attacking of the person's gender rather than the person's politics (i.e. "b****", "dumb slut", etc.). Think, for instance, of the (horrendous) responses of the CAP and the Dartmouth Review towards multiculturalism in Princeton and Dartmouth, respectively.

No One of Import - if you could read my post, you'd notice that I said "many conservatives" overvalue their intelligence - though I think that's true without conservatives. Most people overvalue their intelligence. But only a loud but small minority of conservatives, and almost never liberals, blame the C they receive for writing drivel on bias, rather than the fact that it is drivel (I should point out that on my first writing assignment at Michigan, in a 400 level class as a freshman, I received a D - and my pro-Rawls, anti-Nozick viewpoint had nothing to do with it. Rather than b**** about my professor hating me, I did a rewrite, worked on my writing, got an A on my final paper, and managed a B (a fair grade) for the course.
3.29.2006 10:38pm
Smithy (mail) (www):
To be a conservative on campus these days is to be a persecuted minority. Period. Many -- maybe most -- professors are somewhere between Hilary Clinton and Marx on the political scale. And their shameless in their attempts to indoctrinate students and to humiliate those who resist indoctrination.

It's time something was done about this. I don't normally advocate harrassment, but someone needs to do something to these left-wing tyrants that are destroying our universities. Maybe lists need to be kept, maybe some of them need to be called out and held accountable.
3.29.2006 10:39pm
Steve:
The problem with the analogy is the extent to which these various indignities occur. If we were talking about a college where feminists commonly "get death threats, get downgraded by professors for their views, have the administration throw away the feminist paper, and otherwise suffer indignities," no, of course I wouldn't tell someone to suck it up. But I think the number of conservatives who routinely receive death threats in college is rather small.

Am I biased in this belief by the fact that conservatives seem inclined to whine about the slightest indignity (ironically, often in the midst of complaining about hypersensitive "PC" liberals). Perhaps. I'm certainly open to being persuaded otherwise. But I simply don't recall a single incident in either college or law school where a conservative received anything worse than a targeted eye-rolling.

Of course I don't think anyone should be expected to tolerate death threats, not in the slightest. But there is a substantial gap between an institution where one conservative out of thousands receives a death threat once in a blue moon, and one where conservatives are routinely hazed as though they were plebes at The Citadel.
3.29.2006 10:39pm
Davidbernstein (mail):
Sorry, it's not 24%, it's 26%:: In fact, according to two recent polls, only 26 percent of American women consider themselves feminists, and 67 percent do not. Age Is Just a Number, Roll Call (July 16, 1998) (reporting on poll conducted for Time Magazine); USA Today Poll: Mothers, daughters see brighter future, USA Today 10A (Feb 17, 1999). 1999 UCHILF 133
3.29.2006 10:40pm
Ray (mail):
Feminism is a political ideology, and thus the example is wholly accurate.

And yes, things would be different as David implies. There would be none of this "suck it up" mentality, as it would be seen clearly as a violation of her basic freedom to be who she wants to be.

Also, the point isn't whether a particular type of harassment would be likely; David is painting an overall picture of ideological oppression where things like death threats do sometimes happen, even if not all that frequently.
3.29.2006 10:45pm
Christopher C (mail):
To complete your hypo, the feminists would have to control the Supreme Court, the Presidency, and Congress, and 2/3 of the state legislatures. In that scenario, I would advise my daughter to go wherever she likes, and then plan to sue and/or complain to the DOJ about discrimination against her on the basis of her 1st amendment rights, etc.(using the good ole 28 USC Section 1983 statute). I would also go on the feminist Bill O'Reilly equivalent show (hosted by Catherine McKinnon or someone similar), the number one show on the feminist Fox network equivalent (the number one cable news channel), and have my daughter give a teary-eyed description of the "discrimination" she suffered, to feed the feminists' victimization view of themselves, which they persist in believing even though they control everything. It would be a blast, and sell many of my soon-to-be-written books, and help launch a successful talk show and blog career.
3.29.2006 10:52pm
Shangui (mail):
Sorry, it's not 24%, it's 26%:: In fact, according to two recent polls, only 26 percent of American women consider themselves feminists, and 67 percent do not.

What about the percentage who are presently college students? Or students at elite colleges. I'll bet it's a lot higher.
3.29.2006 10:54pm
Ray (mail):

You can call this hostility to women or hostility to feminism or whatever else you like, but it clearly is hostility to the hypothetical daughter from your question as a person.


It is generally not considered feminism if a woman prefers to establish her career before having children, IF, she ever chooses the family life at all. Feminism is a larger worldview that seeks to completely erase traditional roles of man and woman in relationships, the workplace, parenting etc. This makes it very much a political ideology.
3.29.2006 10:56pm
davidbernstein (mail):
I've really grown impatient with the ridiculous idea that someone who is being mistreated as part of a group(in this case conservatives on campus) should not be concerned about it because other members of the same group (conservatives with national political power) are doing so well. Next time I get a charity solicitation letter asking for contributions for poor elderly and immigrant Jews in New York I'll send a note back saying, hey, Jews in the U.S. average 160% of the national income. Tell them to suck it up!
3.29.2006 10:57pm
Ray (mail):
Another interesting similarity among the Left here is that if conservatives can be shown to be in the mainstream somewhere else in society, then either 1) they must not be in the minority on campuses, or 2) even if they are in the persecuted minority, they should get over it because Sean Hannity has his own show. This somehow evens things out.
3.29.2006 11:01pm
davidbernstein (mail):
And, without attributing this to Chris specifically, the attitude his post reflects helps explain why conservatives thinking about colleges have to be aware of the possibility of mistreatment. Inevitably some people are resentful of the fact that the other side is in power, and are tempted to take it out on the nearest individual who in their mind represents the other side. Inhibitions about unfairness are overcome by the thought of, why should I feel sorry for this guy (or woman); his side is in power.
3.29.2006 11:02pm
Justin (mail):
DB, your analogy is inapt - in your analogy, the benefit is individual, the harm is group identity, and the two are unrelated. Amongst anticonservative "discrimination", the benefit and the harm alleged are group, and to some degree the reality of the first discredits both the reality and the magnitude of the effect of the second.
3.29.2006 11:05pm
TruthInAdvertising:
"David is painting an overall picture of ideological oppression where things like death threats do sometimes happen, even if not all that frequently."

Come on! We have one anecdotal experience from David as proof that "death threats do sometimes happen"?? Can someone provide any number of these incidents that is actually statistically significant? I doubt it. When it happens, I'm sure it happens rarely and probably has little to do with the student's political viewpoint and more to do with clashing or deranged personalities. Were having a debate about scenarios that border on the imaginary.
3.29.2006 11:06pm
Justin (mail):
So when conservatives were out of power, it was evidence of conservative bias? And now that conservatives are in power, its evidence of conservative bias? What if conservatives got off in the middle of the plane?
3.29.2006 11:06pm
Moderate:
As an '04 grad and a current 2L at top-20 "liberal" universities, I just didn't see this persecution that is being described as not only uncommon but abundant on college campuses.

From my own perspective, if anything the conservative leaning students and their groups were more vocal, more visible and better organized than their liberal counterparts.
3.29.2006 11:07pm
Steve:
Well, I grow pretty impatient with comparisons that suggest conservatives on campus suffer anything comparable to the plight of poor, elderly and immigrant Jews in New York.

David, putting the analogy aside, what kind of experience DO you think most outspoken feminists have in college? Do you think they might have anecdotal tales to recount that equal, or perhaps even exceed, the indignities you suffered as a conservative? Do you think the leader of the Black Student Alliance lives his student life in a pleasant liberal bubble, while conservatives take all the real grief?
3.29.2006 11:09pm
JLR (mail) (www):
I think it is important to note the following:

It seems that this thread is devoted to focusing on a Kantian respect for all persons.

It is my contention that such a Kantian notion of respect is an ethical quality that colleges and universities should foster.
3.29.2006 11:09pm
Cornellian (mail):
To be a conservative on campus these days is to be a persecuted minority. Period. Many -- maybe most -- professors are somewhere between Hilary Clinton and Marx on the political scale. And their shameless in their attempts to indoctrinate students and to humiliate those who resist indoctrination.

I have never encountered a professor at Cornell University Law School who attempted to "indoctrinate" his class (shamelessly or otherwise). If anything, they seem to be me to be excessively cautious about revealing their own views about anything.
3.29.2006 11:10pm
Moderate:
common not uncommon

I guess it was my proofreading abilities--or lack thereof--and not my moderate values that hurt me in my freshman composition class.
3.29.2006 11:13pm
Cornellian (mail):
And on a further note, the Federalist Society here at Cornell law school just invited a speaker from the Alliance Defense Fund to talk about bans on same sex marriage. Check the ADF's web page - they consider the battle against same sex marriage the most important battle facing this country at the present time. Yep those pesky Al Qaeda terrorists are minor league compared to the gays and their homosexual agenda. Lo and behold, the guy wasn't run off campus by a lawless mob of marxist profs and thuggish students.

So pardon me if I read these stories about universal persecution of conservative viewpoints with more than a bit of skepticism. I don't doubt there are more left of center profs than right of center profs but hysterical hyperbole about persecution everywhere (or even just in the Ivy League) just throws away your crediblity.
3.29.2006 11:17pm
davidbernstein (mail):
Steve, I'm sure feminists and black activists face indignities at various campuses, including even liberal campuses. And I'm sure that it would be entirely reasonable for a 17 y.o. student who plans to be a black or feminist activist on campus to try to figure out on which campuses these indignities are more or less common.

BTW, it should be obvious that the analogy was not meant to draw a parallel between impoverished Jews and conservatives, but to illustrate the idea that it's absurd to tell someone that they should take solace in the fact that someone else in their group has much better circumstances than they do, .... If the issue is whether conservatives face disrespect on a particular campus, why would it make someone considering going to that campus, or who is at that campus now, feel better about life at that campus because conservatives control the federal government?
3.29.2006 11:18pm
guest1:
[DELETED. Want to throw around insults? Do it on your own bandwith? Want to engage in spirited debate? Feel free to post again.]
3.29.2006 11:21pm
Walk It:
" So pardon me if I read these stories about universal persecution of conservative viewpoints with more than a bit of skepticism. "

Seconded. Gawd, now he's dragging feminism into his complaints. And "death threats"? These students really should be pursuing their legal remedies, if this is happening so much out there in DB's world.

Even the conservative "feminazi" crowd hasn't voiced such opposition, far as I know. I think the good professor must be watching too many scary movies or crap t.v. Where does he get these "us and them" notions ??
3.29.2006 11:22pm
Elliot123 (mail):
How long do kids expect to be sheltered? College-aged guys are getting shot at every day in Iraq and back home we are worried that some folks will get their feelings hurt? I'd say the entire academic community takes itself far too seriously.
3.29.2006 11:23pm
davidbernstein (mail):
Please give me a specific example of my "hysterical hysteria about persecution" anywhere. This all started by my asking for suggestions for colleges where conservative and libertarian views are more likely to get respect. I don't think anyone doubts that there are campuses where this is more likely and ones where this is less likely. Then I got responses that conservatives should simply not worry about it, and go wherever, apparently regardless of what level of grief they will get at a particular campus. I asked then whether feminists should have the same attitude. None of this has anything to do with "hysteria over persecution." I do, however, see some "hysteria over the idea that conservatives are sometimes mistreated on liberal campuses by their fellow students and administrators."
3.29.2006 11:24pm
Walk It:
"Conservatives have cried wolf so many times, many of us on the sidelines are wondering if there are any wolves at all."

I just wanted to reprint this earlier comment, in case the author is listening.
3.29.2006 11:24pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
DB. Of course it was obvious. But it was also on point. Hence the deliberate pretence of misunderstanding it.
3.29.2006 11:25pm
Justin (mail):
BTW, I remember at Columbia this conservative (coincidentally a first generation Russian-American Jew(Yale undergrad)) who swore the faculty was biased against him. We were at State and Local the first day of class talking about different types of local government and we had gotten to school districts. He said, somewhat strangely, that "school districts should have more power because it is undeniable that they are just there to fight teacher's unions, who are just there to make sure pedophiles get jobs teaching kids." The teacher told him that such a topic was inappropriate for a nonpolitical discussion on types of local governments - he came to me after the class and told me that this was PROOF that the professor was biased.

These are the people I have trouble taking seriously. And this is a double ivy kid.
3.29.2006 11:26pm
Walk It:
ps:

Say Mr. B, can I get you some cheese with that whine?
3.29.2006 11:26pm
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
Seriously: why is it that today, with conservative christians running the government and being the standard by which all others are judged in the media...

Yeah, the one problem with working at the New York Times or ABC is the mandatory prayer meetings... but at least they don't require a baptismal certificate with job applications, like the Washington Post does.
3.29.2006 11:27pm
Ray (mail):

Come on! We have one anecdotal experience from David as proof that "death threats do sometimes happen"?? Can someone provide any number of these incidents that is actually statistically significant? I doubt it.


You're still missing the point. David didn't focus on death threats. He used this as part of a larger hypothetical, and now in an attempt to win a debate, people are focusing only on the rarest kind of harrassment. If they can somehow prove that no death threats ever happen, then the logic follows that there is no ideological persecution of conservatives.

Kind of like blowing up his loose analogy of poor immigrant Jews. Obviously the point wasn't to liken the two experiences, but to draw a parallel of how illogical some of the posts have been. (That conservatives can't be persecuted on campus since a bible thumping republican is in the white house.)
3.29.2006 11:28pm
Justin (mail):
DB, since you like comparisons to Jews lately, would you be surprised if someone wrote on this blog "I was wondering where my kids could go where they wouldnt be brainwashed by Jews" and then found out that the comments were full of people offended by the pretense?
3.29.2006 11:28pm
Ray (mail):

now he's dragging feminism into his complaints. And "death threats"?


No, these were small parts of the hypothetical that others are trying to derail the topic with.
3.29.2006 11:30pm
Davidbernstein (mail):
I'm basing my analogy on something I have personal experience with.
3.29.2006 11:31pm
Walk It:
"This all started by my asking for suggestions for colleges where conservative and libertarian views are more likely to get respect."

All due respect, you're just so wrong with your interpretation of "facts".

"This all started" many many of your posts ago; their seems to be an underlying theme that many of us have noticed. Check out: "Moral Outrage at Yale Law School" and if readers have time, continue reading back through the DB threads.

Say, for fun, has the Conspiracy ever considered "voting off" a regular just to keep things fresh? Somebody might need either a vacation, or an eyeglass adjustment to see things as they really exist in our mutual world. That's not a personal attack; that's a sound piece of advice from someone who would like to see the bar raised and the audience interests here expanded, not culled.
3.29.2006 11:34pm
JLR (mail) (www):
I am wondering if much of this simply has to do with a need not just for a Kantian respect for all persons, but also for a healthy regard for the "marketplace of ideas."

When such negative actions as ones adumbrated in the original post are taken against anyone for their intellectual views, one is exiting the Holmesian "marketplace of ideas" and entering a different realm entirely.

While the "marketplace of ideas" concept has obvious limits, it perhaps is a fruitful concept to bring to bear on the subject.

Most importantly, respect for all persons seems like a good baseline for all of society. I hope that such a proposition is not controversial. Thank you.
3.29.2006 11:38pm
Bob Smith (mail):

It's worth mentioning that your example here brings gender inequality into the discussion. Which isn't to say that your daughter isn't every bit as capable academically as a man, but her opinions as a woman might not be as well respected at the intolerant right-wing religious college, independently of what her actual opinions are.

At the left-wing colleges (I attended UC Santa Cruz, so I know whereof I speak) women are more respected (lionized, even), independently of what her opinions are. Plus, when a man and a woman disagree, the woman's opinion is considered superior.
3.29.2006 11:38pm
Justin (mail):
DB, assuming that you aren't elderly, you're a (private) Brandies undergrad (private) Yale law school impoverished Jew?
3.29.2006 11:38pm
Smithy (mail) (www):
A death threat from a feminist? How seriously would anyone take that?
3.29.2006 11:40pm
Walk It:
Ray:

I read this:
"Would they tell him to tell his daughter to "get over it" "suck it up" and just go the nearest intolerant right-wing religious college to hone her ideology? Even if she heard that feminists at that college get death threats..." in his original post here.

Don't blame others trying to derail the train.

I'm basing my analogy on something I have personal experience with. Again, with all respect, your credibility creeps downward with every 20-year-old remark to your girlfriend you recount as "evidence".

If your feminist friends have received death threats, please urge them to respond in the appropriate legal channels. If students contest a grade, urge them to reconsider that yes, they might just have more to learn and the professor may indeed be grading objectively -- they just failed to measure up to the task at hand.

and otherwise suffer the indignities Language like this makes me wonder where are all your posts on other topics, where humans truly are suffering "indignities". Chin up, my friend...
3.29.2006 11:42pm
Christopher C (mail):
Despite my snarky post above, I agree with Professor Bernstein that, of course, conservatives and libeals should be able to speak their views and not be discriminated against, and that, undoubtedly, some profs gauge students' work on a political litmus test basis. I just don't know if it is particularly common. I think Professor Bernstein may be falling into the trap of relying on anecdotal evidence to prove something that may not exist on a widespread basis, or which at least has not been proven to exist. My point about conservative political power is that conservatives are hardly a discrete and insular minority, that legal and other remedies exist to stop unfair discrimination, and I would expect conservatives to be successful in using these remedies. I agree with Professor Kerr's observations, that diversity of viewpoint stimulates debate and made me a better thinker, at least. So, I would not avoid a "liberal" institution if I were a conservative student, I would just go to the school that seemed best for me, based on a long list of other criteria (courses offered, location, class-size, accessibility of facultyy, reputation, etc.). I think, by asking, "which schools are conservative friendly?" you run the risk of going to schools where only like-minded individuals apply, much to your own detriment. Maybe the question should be: which teachers/schools are openly hostile to conservative viewpoints? I still don't know how one can answer that on a school-wide basis. My own advice would be to worry about such issues in terms of which course s you take, not which schools you attend.
3.29.2006 11:43pm
Walk It:
"He used this as part of a larger hypothetical, and now in an attempt to win a debate, people are focusing only on the rarest kind of harrassment. "

Ray:
Can you say... wolf?
3.29.2006 11:46pm
Cornellian (mail):
Please give me a specific example of my "hysterical hysteria about persecution" anywhere. This all started by my asking for suggestions for colleges where conservative and libertarian views are more likely to get respect.

If you're referring to my comments, I used the term "hysterical hyperbole" not in reference to your original post, which poses a reasonable question, but to some of the comments that people have posted here which undoubtedly do qualify as hysterical hyperbole.
3.29.2006 11:50pm
Ray (mail):
walk it

Even if she heard that feminists at that college get death threats.


The hypo went that would you send your daughter to such a place. The thread was subsequently hijacked as you and yours ignored the larger premise and focused on this particular apsect of it as if David was implying that conservatives regularly receive such threats. That wasn't the implication, that was the redirection of you and yours.

And David didn't even complain about the "supposed" persecution. His question was about attitude. Would it still be a matter of "whining" if the tables were turned?

From the comments posted, it seems that the attitudes would be different. Again, no complaints about the persecution, but why two different attitudes about the situations? This is where the whole canard about feminism not being an ideolgy came in, from a frustrated poster.

Point being that when conservatives complain, they're whining. When liberals complain, they're voicing concerns about their human rights.
3.29.2006 11:55pm
guest1:
DB: Sure it was an insult, but also a suggestion. If you want to
convince anyone who doesn't already agree with you, perhaps reconsider
your presentation.

For example, in your update, you say:

I've learned from the comments below that some posters apparently think that opposition to campus feminism inherently signifies hostility to
women.


Actually, that was you who led the thread on the path:

Would they tell him to tell his daughter to "get over it" "suck it up" and just go the nearest intolerant right-wing religious college to hone her ideology?

Ooops.
3.29.2006 11:57pm
Jared K.:
I'm a student at a public university that could be considered "hostile" to conservatives, in that the students are largely liberal. The professors, as I assume most do, maintain a healthy level of professionalism in their classes. Nevertheless, this is a campus where Ann Coulter was effectively booed offstage. Nevertheless, it's hard to feel bad for conservatives because the College Republicans seem to bring it upon themselves. Rather than raise the level of discourse, the two major speakers they've brought to campus in the last two years have been Ann Coulter and the Ultimate Warrior. Liberal students respond to these guests with scorn, and who can blame them? Lately, they've been doing even more ridiculous things, including protesting the Vagina Monologues. One used the facebook (a social networking site that allows posting pictures) to post a picture of flag-draped coffins from Iraq, then tagged the different coffins with the names of well-known liberal activists on campus. I don't even know how to respectfully respond to such behavior.
3.30.2006 12:16am
Commenterlein (mail):
David Bernstein,

I just read the update you put below your post.

These are some of the most intellectually dishonest paragraphs I have read on the Conspiracy.
3.30.2006 12:17am
Justin (mail):
Ann Coulter and David Horowitz get heckled because they work HARD at getting heckled, btw. It's an actual GOAL of these people, not an unfortunate side effect of being antisocial and obnoxious.
3.30.2006 12:20am
Walk It:
"That wasn't the implication, that was the redirection of you and yours."
Lol -- ah, the you and yours mentality, eh? Careful: Lumping together are generalizations that get ya in trouble... For the record, I didn't read any more than 3 or 4 of the comments above mine -- no time. Seems we all independently found troubling the "death threats" part of the original post. Or maybe I'm just unknowingly a part of the vast, left-wing liberal commenters' conspiracy??

"Would it still be a matter of "whining" if the tables were turned?" Yes. See that's our point. Cling to all the tales of liberal "whining" of yesteryear that "you and yours" seem to feed on.

For the record, I don't think questioning a teacher or professor's grade should be done, unless under super-super-extra-extra-ordinary circumstances. Suck it up, and take their advice: you either missed the boat on the assignment or still need to continue shaping your views.

I have been in the classroom as a student more recently than the professor here. In my honest opinion, (objective too, since you might be surprised at my political stances if you can get past pigeonholing folks like me) it is more the young, know-all conservative student (and of course I am not saying all or even the majority of young conservatives are like this) who comes into the classroom with a chip on his or her shoulder, bolstered by "facts" dissimulated by authorities like Prof.B -- still smarting over 20-yr.-old remarks to his gf -- that the professor is out to get them for their political views. Such a student will view unrelated topics through their personal political prism; will try to use anecdotes as "facts" to deny other students' and the professor's comments; and always deserve an "A" unless the professor is a "bleeding heart" liberal out to get them for being conservative. I haven't gone to ivy or elite schools though; maybe that's where all these whiny liberals hang, because like I say, most of those I know do "suck up" the rare instances where they suspect unfair play, and accept the occasional unfairness as part of life. They seem to be balanced and overall satisfied too. Don't sweat the small stuff and all that; pass the class and move on.

Death threats, as I wrote above, are another thing. (Say, are you Stevie Ray or are you Billy Ray or are you RaeRay...? Smile, it's just song lyrics.)
3.30.2006 12:23am
Steve:
I find it ironic that Prof. Bernstein believes the comments prove his point about persecution of conservatives, while the commentors mostly believe the original post proves their point about conservative whining.
3.30.2006 12:23am
Walk It:
Good thing we're not voting somebody off this island.
3.30.2006 12:27am
Smithy (mail) (www):
Ann Coulter and David Horowitz get heckled because they work HARD at getting heckled,

If you consider standing up to the liberals who run universities a form of working at being heckled, then I'm sure you're right. But I'm sure if Naomi Wolf or Lawrence Tribe got heckled the way Coulter or Horowitz do, they'd scream bloody murder.
3.30.2006 12:27am
Smithy (mail) (www):
Ann Coulter and David Horowitz get heckled because they work HARD at getting heckled,

If you consider standing up to the liberals who run universities a form of working at being heckled, then I'm sure you're right. But I'm sure if Naomi Wolf or Lawrence Tribe got heckled the way Coulter or Horowitz do, they'd scream bloody murder.
3.30.2006 12:27am
Moses Malone:
Look, the problems experienced by conservatives in higher education classrooms aren't always overt broadsides by the liberal majority. Sometimes the barely-checked grimace, or condescending "No, really, I'm listening" look on the faces of instructors, and the various snorts from the four corners of the classroom are enough to prevent some of the less confident conservative/libertarians from speaking up. This deprives the silenced student of the opportunity to have his/her viewpoint fairly critiqued, and it deprives the whole class of that student's voice. Why would anyone criticize students for wanting to attend an institution where this happens less frequently?
3.30.2006 12:29am
Moderate:
As to the Ann Coulter booing comments:

Justin--gasp--is exactly right. Ms. Coulter came to speak at my undergrad school a few years back, a speech which ended with the same result.

Here's her m.o.:

Show up 30 mins late. Have the organizers announce that those who interrupt will be escorted out by security. Do 20 minutes of you might be a liberal jokes. Open up the floor to questions. Don't answer the questions; instead belittling the questioner (in a few instances apparent supporters) by saying that Harvard students have better questions than your stupid queries. Then when people get upset at the mockery and general question evasiveness, leave and blame it on the audience for being uncooperative.

Total time: 35 mins ; Total take home: 15K ; Her nerve: Priceless

This audience, which was open to the public, was occupied by at least 25-30 percent conservatives/supporters, an inference I made after that portion of the audience gave her a standing ovation upon her introduction.

By the end, everyone was pretty upset with her.
3.30.2006 12:33am
Vovan:
The "real" solution to the problem of conservative/liberal/libertarian/progressive heckling/abuse/disrespect is WEIGHT LIFTING. I have never in my life seen anyone over 220 pounds be verabally abused - for the simple fear of swift and brutal retaliation.

After a 17-year old successfully does 10 reps of 225 pounds bench press - his views, no matter how unorthodox they are WILL be accepted and honorored.

To every prospective student out there, no matter the political affiliation - I urge - EMBRACE THE WEIGHTS and many problems that you considered insurmountable - will be simply lifted away

*now back to your regularly scheduled programming*
3.30.2006 12:35am
Defending the Indefensible:
Prof. Bernstein, based on your overwrought Update I wonder if it should be asked what blogs are "safe" for conservatives of your persuasion, and whether the VC has become a hostile environment.
3.30.2006 12:35am
Smithy (mail) (www):
One thing that's being overlooked here is that a lot of this starts well before college. High schools are hardly any better -- most teachers there are liberal as well. The only option is to home school -- which I have done with my children -- but not all families have the wherewithall to do that. This is a serious issue and I don't know what the solution is, but it might be a good start to require that a fixed proportion of new hires at high schools and universities self-identify as conservatives. A low ratio, say even 20 or 25 percent, might go a long way towards making schools feel like a more welcoming place for conservative students.
3.30.2006 12:37am
Walk It:
would you send your daughter to such a place.

Finally, I'm not sure how much experience y'all have with 17 year olds, but I really doubt my daughter would let me "send her" anywhere. I'm from the types (no strong money ties b/w parent and child dictating life choices) that lets individuals -- including offspring -- make their own decisions and accept responsibility for their choices. One life to live, and all that.

(Nope, not lying here either. Such families do exist in many circles; you don't always proceed with familial "blessings" but it's pretty much accepted from the teen years on, that parents are not the ultimate controllers of their child's life. Freedom really is a blessing in itself, scary sometimes, but you get through. I wish more people were cut loose, so to speak, earlier to live a fuller richer life. Looking back, I've made mistakes yes, but absolutely no regrets. Like to think it's made me a better, more well-rounded person, and I don't mean physically. Also helps to keep things in perspective. How about a hypothetical -- "would you let your teen take two years after high school, before entering university, if they had a plan other than sleeping in 'til 10, drinking and hanging w/friends, and could do it on their own dime?" Not that this was me, but I sometimes think a little time off from academia to pursue their own interests might help students in the long run. Apologies for the run-on and personalness here, but it may just help advance discussions like this?? )
3.30.2006 12:39am
Jared K.:
Wow, Moderate. That's almost exactly what she did for us. I say "almost" because she was 40 minutes late, lasted 25 minutes, and took home $30K.
3.30.2006 12:39am
Smithy (mail) (www):
I wonder if it should be asked what blogs are "safe" for conservatives of your persuasion

You're being facetious, of course, but there's some truth to that. It's the reason so many conservative blogs have had to moderate their comments. Liberals have become so aggressive, so belligerent, and so numerous on the internet, that they literally take over the comments section of blogs and turn them into 24 hour-a-day Bush-bashing sessions.
3.30.2006 12:40am
Defending the Indefensible:
Smithy, I'm really starting to be amused by your satire. Are you friends with KMAJ?
3.30.2006 12:41am
Moderate:
And Bush was mentioned when?
3.30.2006 12:42am
Solid State (mail):
Walk It:

You mentioned, "If students contest a grade, urge them to reconsider that yes, they might just have more to learn and the professor may indeed be grading objectively -- they just failed to measure up to the task at hand."

Well, of course, just such an argument can be made to contest any claim of bias in grading. Speaking purely for one of my closest friends and myself - we are absolutely convinced of the value of a pretense of agreeing (at least in a general way) with liberal ideologies presented by professors. We have a total of 13 years undergraduate work (both of us have multiple undergraduate degrees) and four universities between us.

There is no question in my or his mind that the evaluation of our work is deeply influenced by the professor's perception of our ideological stance. As you might imagine, between the two of us we have written quite a few papers graded in big stacks by an instructor not perhaps giving them the deliberately impartial treatment graduate work may receive. It has been amply demonstrated over and over that although some instructors grade quite fairly, the ones that do not require adherence to at least a basic set of liberal/progressive ideological positions.

Interestingly, more challenging and rigorous classes tend to have less bias in grading; while the more mainstream 'core' courses are frequently profoundly influenced.

Take this for what it is worth, anecdotal evidence. Still, it has been gathered over hundreds and hundreds of credit hours and many years.

A real-world thought experiment: I was recently accepted to NYU Law School for the Fall of 06. I am an active duty officer in the military and will be attending as such. One requirement the program may have (it has not yet been determined) is that I attend classes at least one day a week in uniform. How do you imagine such a requirement will impact my education there? Not at all? Horrifically? I have to say that even among my committed liberal friends the very notion has them urging me to attend Vanderbilt instead. If I am not required to wear my uniform should I avoid volunteering my military affiliation even when discussing subjects directly connected?

I am also struggling with the extent to which I will have to engage in pretense. It seems so sad not to take advantage of the exciting possibilities for dialogue and writing about things I believe in while attending - but it directly conflicts with my experience of successful collegiate work to be forthright about my personal beliefs. If an instructor decided to grade me down sufficiently on an ideological basis, I could well lose my support from the military and be re-assigned (be unable to finish my degree). Considering the enormous power that even a single professor will wield over my current (not prospective) professional career, how would you folks advise me?
3.30.2006 12:45am
Vovan:
This is a serious issue and I don't know what the solution is, but it might be a good start to require that a fixed proportion of new hires at high schools and universities self-identify as conservatives. A low ratio, say even 20 or 25 percent, might go a long way towards making schools feel like a more welcoming place for conservative students.

No offense, but what kind of conservative would teach a bunch of inner city 18-year olds for 35 grand a year? I am talking about high schools only, the universities are somewhat different, although the adjuncts don't get paid much anyway.
3.30.2006 12:46am
Smithy (mail) (www):
No offense, but what kind of conservative would teach a bunch of inner city 18-year olds for 35 grand a year?

So you're saying conservatives only care about money? Just like all those conservatives who go to Africa as missionaries? They only care about money, right? Believe me -- a lot of conservatives would be happy to teach high school if they felt like their politics wouldn't be held against them.
3.30.2006 12:48am
Solid State (mail):
Walk It:

And I agree with you completely on the subject of "questioning grades". I have never done it, and it is not easy to imagine when it might be appropriate. Conclusions on the impact of bias I refer to are purely observational - from taking a variety of approaches to frankness in my writing.
3.30.2006 12:53am
Vovan:
Believe me -- a lot of conservatives would be happy to teach high school if they felt like their politics wouldn't be held against them.

This is a very serious claim, especially that in NYC - where I am right now, most of the public schools are understaffed and overcrowded. Pardon me for disagreeing with you, but I am sure that most high schools in any major city - especially New York would be happy to take any warm body that came their way - liberal, conservative, or martian. However I just do not see it happening.

I don't want to completly hijack this thread so let us agree to disagree.
3.30.2006 12:55am
Defending the Indefensible:
Smithy proposes affirmative action for conservatives. I think this is a really funny idea. Actually, though, the Washington Post hiring of Ben Domenich last week was kind of an AA hire, so maybe it's not so far fetched.

Also, in regard to the complaint that the blogosphere is overwhelmingly "liberal" it isn't really so, in my opinion. The wired community has always been on the whole a lot more libertarian than the offline world. When the Democrats were running the government, most mailing lists and discussion groups (this was really pre-blog era, but we had rough equivalents) were more aligned with Republicans. In the last few years, it's shifted, but not because there's been a change in the internet population, but because the Republicans and the Bush administration have set themselves as the main opponents of liberty.
3.30.2006 12:57am
Justin (mail):
Since there's already a large group of JAG aspirants at NYU law, Solid State, it's pretty obvious to me (having been at Columbia) that you have nothing to worry about at NYU. Except for the fact that your attitude is piss poor, and you seem itching to have your martyr fantasies satisfied. For that reason, I doubt you'll enjoy NYU, and so I suggest you go to Vanderbilt, where the students and faculty will be about as liberal, but you'll "notice" it much less.
3.30.2006 1:00am
Ross Levatter (mail):
Smithy: "To be a conservative on campus these days is to be a persecuted minority. Period. Many -- maybe most -- professors are somewhere between Hilary Clinton and Marx on the political scale. And their shameless in their attempts to indoctrinate students and to humiliate those who resist indoctrination."


And when Smithy gets a poor grade on his English Composition submissions, it's because he's a conservative, not because of his use of sentence fragments and his confusion of "they're" and "their".
3.30.2006 1:00am
Justin (mail):
Ross, DTI, please do not feed the trolls.
3.30.2006 1:07am
Solid State (mail):
Justin:

So I imagine your answer is something like:

"How do you imagine such a requirement will impact my education there? Not at all? Horrifically?"

*Not at all

"If I am not required to wear my uniform should I avoid volunteering my military affiliation even when discussing subjects directly connected?"

*It won't matter.

Considering that JAG aspirants at NYU and Columbia affiliate with Manhattan College's detachment because of the ban on military presence there it seemed a reasonable to question the hostility of the environment. The 'piss-poor attitude' and 'martyr complex' personal attacks are not particularly reassuring if you consider yourself a typical member of the community.
3.30.2006 1:08am
U.Va. 1L (mail):
Jared K., Moderate:

I saw both Coulter and Horowitz in undergrad. They behaved in exactly that fashion. I saw Ward Churchill too. While he was positively looney, he actually took the time to substantively respond to questions from the audience, and he also ate lunch with my history class and dealt with criticism there. It's sad when Ward Churchill is, comparatively speaking, a stellar example of professionalism.

DB:

I've been reading the VC for two years now. This post--especially the update--is easily the most intellectually dishonest I've ever seen here. I'm disappointed.
3.30.2006 1:09am
Walk It:
Solid:
"Well, of course, just such an argument can be made to contest any claim of bias in grading."

For related thoughts, please see my comment to Rod at 12:50am on COLLEGE THREAD. It's directly relevant here.

Considering the enormous power that even a single professor will wield over my current (not prospective) professional career, how would you folks advise me?

Hmm... I personally would go with "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself." That is: Sometimes we spend so much time in the darkness, because we've heard of all the bad things that can happen to us in the light, and then when we do finally venture out, we see... light isn't all that bad. And perhaps we regret sitting in the darkness listening to others play on our feels -- "All the time, all the wasted time..." as the song goes.

Remember: you are not alone, but you do have some power over how you present yourself and the choices you make, even in military life, which I respect immensely. Don't keep quiet out of fear; again, you may be less alone than you think and it takes only one to lead change, a genuine change, not falling into the trap of responding to the imaginary "wolves" out there.

Take care and God bless.
3.30.2006 1:12am
Justin (mail):
The fact that you think because Columbia and NYU desire to enforce their nondiscrimination policy that everyone there is anti military and that you'd be harrassed for wearing your uniform is a product of reading too many right winged blogs and listening to too few (none, I take it, and particularly none in the military) graduates of NYU and Columbia Law School, Solid State.
3.30.2006 1:17am
Walk It:
oops...
feels should be "fears"
3.30.2006 1:22am
Walk It:
3.30.2006 1:24am
davidbernstein (mail):
How about this: (1) grading bias exists; (2) whiny students who complain about grading bias when they hand in subpar work also exist. Commentors are treating these propositions as mutually exclusive, but they are obviously not.
3.30.2006 1:27am
Justin (mail):
How about liberals run 8 zillion posts about how conservative like to shoot minorities for sport? Then we can say

How about this: (1) Conservatives shoot minorities for sport; (2) Some liberals complain that particular conservatives shoot minorities for sport wrongly. Commentators are treating these propositions as mutually exclusive, but they are obviously not.

(I'm not saying no conservatives have ever been subject to a bad grade despite well articulated political beliefs. I am saying the number of conservatives who have been subject to such a grade is smaller than the number of blondes who have been subject to a bad grade espite well articulated political beliefs. In other words, its a phenomena that is so nonsubstantial that it might as well be zero. This is independant of the small but vocal minority of conservatives who whine about their grades on blogs.
3.30.2006 1:39am
Solid State (mail):
Walk It, Justin,

Both useful insights, and I appreciate your second post Justin. I agree, I have very little concept of what the social environment is like at NYU/Columbia and have not had an opportunity to talk to military graduates about it. I am currently trying to find some sense of the place - and it seems largely reassuring.

It didn't help my apprehension that so many of my non-"right-wing blog reader" (i.e. liberal) friends seemed to make similar assumptions about the place. Considering the wide-spread (read unanimous) assumptions about the environment there from those I've spoken to with no personal experience, I'd say the perhaps manufactured concern over these issues is quite a bit more widespread than the right-wing blogsphere.

Despite what you may imagine, I am terribly excited about potentially living in NYC/Greenwich Village (and attending NYU) and have zero desire to be a figurative 'martyr' for any cause. In fact, my questions and concerns were largely driven by the opposite desire. I am trying to discover if my concerns are legitimate, not prove that they are. I am well aware of why the schools prohibit military, and I know that it does not neccessarily imply hostility. It certainly doesn't preclude it either, and it is nice to get some personal testimonies that my assumptions are incorrect.

It sounds like both of you feel that the concerns are largely manufactured or at least of too little consequence to govern my behavior. I appreciate your taking the time out to answer the post.
3.30.2006 1:50am
Defending the Indefensible:
DB, I always considered the intellectual challenge of presenting and defending my actual views to be far more interesting and productive than worrying about whether it was the easiest route to a good grade. And I'm quite used to holding extreme minority viewpoints, but rather than desiring to conceal them I welcome the opportunity to persuade someone that a defensible argument can be made for ideas generally thought indefensible.

Individual professors may have been more or less receptive to this, and I've certainly been frustrated a few times by seemingly impenetrable orthodoxy, but I never let it worry me too much. I just took this as an opportunity to discuss my ideas with fellow students, and by the end of the semester there were usually at least a handful of us that were willing to challenge the orthodoxy.
3.30.2006 1:50am
davidbernstein (mail):
"a phenomena that is so nonsubstantial that it might as well be zero."

You don't have any idea what goes on out there, Justin. To take one of several examples that happened to friends of mine, I know someone who took a law school school Criminal Procedure exam. It was an open book exam, and she had accurately anticipated one of the questions. She wrote out a very thoughtful, well articulated anwwer to the (purely policy) question before the exam, and then copied it to her exam book. The professor, who she knew took the opposite approach to the issue in question, wrote a huge X across her answer, and wrote something like "ridiculous", even though her policy solution was precisely what my own (somewhat more conservative) Criminal Procedure professor had advocated. He gave the answer a C, at a school where you get a B for breathing. The fact is, professors have largely unreviewable authority over grades, and some of them will abuse it for ideological, personal, or other reasons.

I also know students who have whined about bias when their papers/exams sucked.
3.30.2006 2:00am
Mike Smitherson:
I don't mean this to be mean, but I just think it's funny. The posts today:

DB: complaining about persecuted conservatives
Prof V: complaining about Scalia being misquoted
Prof V: complaining about Israeli election results
TZ: complaining about being misquoted in court opinion

I know a lot of posting is "complaining" in one form or another, but it all seemed a bit personal today. Was everyone just in a pissy mood today at the VC?
3.30.2006 2:02am
Cornellian (mail):
I am an active duty officer in the military and will be attending as such. One requirement the program may have (it has not yet been determined) is that I attend classes at least one day a week in uniform. How do you imagine such a requirement will impact my education there? Not at all? Horrifically? I have to say that even among my committed liberal friends the very notion has them urging me to attend Vanderbilt instead.

Like another poster mentioned, it sounds like you've been relying a bit too heavily on Bill O'Reilly and assorted right wing blogs for information about what life is like on campus. You could certainly attend class in uniform at Cornell Law School without any adverse reaction. There's even a chapter of the Federalist Society that seems to carry on like every other student group (i.e. hard to get anyone interested in it). Everyone knows who the members are and I have yet to hear any of them complain about being harassed because of their viewpoints. Go to NYU. Someone trained to deal with being shot at can presumably handle the occasional disapproving glance from a clueless student. Your job prospects will be immeasurably better than they would be at Vanderbilt.
3.30.2006 2:39am
M. Simon (mail) (www):
Let us hear it for Free Inofensive Speech at NYU.
3.30.2006 4:29am
Hotel Coolidge:
Goodness, is anyone going to answer the original question? To me it was not threatening in the least and could have been answered by descriptive anecdotes. After ALL OF THE THINGS (exception is the poll and only a semi-exception for the many obvious reasons) THAT PEOPLE ARE TALKING ABOUT ARE ANECDOTAL. Sorry about the shouting - but anecdotes can be used to illustrate BUT NOT TO PROVE. Which is what is happening on both sides.

But how about this for another starting point - these are just anecdotal: Dartmouth - if the conservative is outdoorsy this is a great area for bonding wth others both students and professors. Conservative tradition of several decades both good and bad. Recommend on this basis. Santa Cruz: no way if you have to wear a uniform or feel comfortable in a suit - hey you won't be dissed so much as think you are on another planet. Very laid back. If you are a vegan conservative you might have some common ground. Harvard: perhaps. There is quite a large amount of posturing and BS in this place now but there is a bright enough and diversified/quirky amount of students and there is no doubt that if you find the right mentor/s you can zoom. Not for the socially shy tho'. NYU - probably not. The admin has been unable to set any real standard for place. Perhaps becasue of the locale people "live" their politics more, which in a small but signicant minority (and even higher in poly sci/soc sci) gets brought into the classroom and is chilling to all but the boldest.
3.30.2006 6:48am
Quarterican (mail):
Huh. Should've stayed up longer last night so I could notice that Bernstein would spin one of his comments in the original thread into a new post here. Of course, in that original post he listed Muslim, gay, and feminist students as his hypotheticals, and from that collection I presumed Mr. Bernstein was mostly concerned about the attitudes of the student body - especially since, out of his three examples of disrespect towards conservative viewpoints in the second post on this topic, two of them (a death threat and a botched cockblock) had to do with the social atmosphere and not the administration (unless the death threat came from the provost...?) Let's change "death threat" to "physical violence" since Mr. Bernstein has decided that speaking about death threats is hyperbolic. I suggested that, in ascending order, outspoken feminists, Muslims, and gays were all more likely to be subject to physical violence in a socially conservative atmosphere than conservatives were in a socially leftist atmosphere - I'm not claiming such violence is common, because I simply don't know, but I'd put $ on the one being more common than the other. The Muslims and gays especially I'd be worried about, which is why I'm amused that they were dropped from the example in this new post. And as to the "Update" to this post, I'm sure Mr. Bernstein is aware that when hostility towards outspoken feminists is expressed it frequently takes the same form *as* hostility specifically directed towards women in a way that hostility towards gays, Muslims, or pot-smoking-Republicans tends to remain focused on their gayness, Muslimness, or fauxbertarian-ness.

I started to type out my thoughts to the new face of Mr. Bernstein's shifting version of what we're talking about, but never mind. He doesn't deserve the armchair psychoanalysis some people were giving him, but I do think he's being whiny, just like most of the actual examples I've read at the VC about professorial bias resulting in unfair bad grades over the past few years have seemed to me like piles of horse puckey. Whatever. I doubt this is the height of intellectual dishonesty Mr. Bernstein has demonstrated over the years; the stakes are just too petty.
3.30.2006 8:57am
Quarterican (mail):
Just to be clear, I should amend that when I write about "hostility towards feminists" I mean the sort of hostility I don't think anyone should be subjected to in college - not hostility confined to intellectual viewpoints, but hostility which crosses into the realm of the personal attack; the difference between saying "Libertarianism is a bad ideology for reasons A, B, C..." and "You're a libertarian? You're a jerkwad!" It's in the latter territory that I'd argue hostility towards feminism often becomes hard to distinguish from hostility towards women.
3.30.2006 9:08am
Aultimer:
There's a significant difference in the importance of a school's political bent for a student majoring in something political, and anything else.

For non-poli sci majors, you should "get over it". Every elite school has sufficient diversity (in the non-P.C. sense) that you'll find like-minded friends and lovers. If you plan a poli sci-type major, have the credentials to choose among elite schools and don't know the relative liberal/conservative bent of the elite schools, maybe you ought to reconsider your major and take up something you're interested in.

DB - if your hypothetical feminist wants to study engineering, would you suggest that it's wise to steer away from MIT, Cal Poly or Stanford because they're notoriously unfriendly (or at least overly friendly in creepy, unwanted ways) toward women, or would you tell her to get over it?
3.30.2006 9:36am
Justin (mail):
DB, you know thousands of conservatives, and you can present one example that doesn't even make sense (exactly how many questions were on this exam? I forgot to ANSWER one of my civ pro exam questions (didn't realize there was a back to the exam) and still managed a B - she got a C for arguing with the professor on one question). I didn't say it didn't happen, I said it happens once in a blue moon. Sure, I know a couple people who have gotten undeserved bad grades, as do we all, and none of them were about politics (or even claimed it was about political). If you, who have actively sought out only conservative friends your entire life,

[EDIT: Justin, how the hell do you know who my friends are, much less who I've sought out? DB]
3.30.2006 9:48am
APR:
That's only because of the well known fact that virtually all the hottest college age women are left leaning.

From my experience at Stanford and in California generally, this is totally incorrect. Try going to Berkeley or Stanford sometime when there's a protest going on. Take a look at who's protesting (old burnt-out hippies who bought property in the area when it was cheap and are protected by CA's cap on property taxes and the handful of radical student chicks who don't shave their legs) versus who's just going to class. Attractive girls have more power in society as a starting point — so it shouldn't be a surprise they're not as angry and have better things to do.
3.30.2006 10:00am
Justin (mail):
DB,

I will also grant you that I did not go to college during the "politicized" era of the 1960s and 1970s. It is certainly possible that what you state is a problem actually was a problem. Also, I'm not disagreeing with at least two of your propositions - that professors are mostly liberal (tho I disagree with your reasons why) and that there's an element to subjective grading (tho at least today I think it benefits conservatives as much as it hurts - professors feel unwilling or unable to see weaknesses in policy they're unfamiliar with, and modern conservatives have gotten "simplify to the lowest common denomenator" down to a T as a theory).

But while there may have been "grade activists" in 1975, I haven't heard of ANY today at EITHER Columbia or Michigan (sure, you hear of a few junior professors who really like it if you parrot back their law review article, but that's not the same thing, at least in my view - they're looking for their answer to a niche question, and generally don't penalize for taking a contrary voice). While conservatives have been outraged over one professor at CLS, those conservatives who have done poorly in that class do poorly ON PRINCIPLE, by refusing to even engage the subject matter. It doesn't help your argument, of course, that the law review at Columbia is slightly more conservative than the overall student body, and that several of the last EICs were also conservative.
3.30.2006 10:18am
Justin (mail):
DB,

I will also grant you that I did not go to college during the "politicized" era of the 1960s and 1970s. It is certainly possible that what you state is a problem actually was a problem. Also, I'm not disagreeing with at least two of your propositions - that professors are mostly liberal (tho I disagree with your reasons why) and that there's an element to subjective grading (tho at least today I think it benefits conservatives as much as it hurts - professors feel unwilling or unable to see weaknesses in policy they're unfamiliar with, and modern conservatives have gotten "simplify to the lowest common denomenator" down to a T as a theory).

But while there may have been "grade activists" in 1975, I haven't heard of ANY today at EITHER Columbia or Michigan (sure, you hear of a few junior professors who really like it if you parrot back their law review article, but that's not the same thing, at least in my view - they're looking for their answer to a niche question, and generally don't penalize for taking a contrary voice). While conservatives have been outraged over one professor at CLS, those conservatives who have done poorly in that class do poorly ON PRINCIPLE, by refusing to even engage the subject matter. It doesn't help your argument, of course, that the law review at Columbia is slightly more conservative than the overall student body, and that several of the last EICs were also conservative.
3.30.2006 10:18am
Quarterican (mail):
APR -

I have no idea who you're quoting from what context - can't find that sentence in this thread - but are you implying that of the women on campus at Berkeley and Stanford the only left leaning ones are those who go to protests? And by your admission, there's only a handful of young women at these protests. So you're saying that there's only a handful of left leaning women at Berkeley and Stanford? Maybe all this "campuses overrun with liberals" stuff isn't true after all!
3.30.2006 10:20am
Freder Frederson (mail):
You know all this alleged persecution of poor, put-upon, conservative and libertarian college students (and this is from someone who got his undergraduate degree in 1984 during the Reagan counter-Revolution, returned to school in '89 for his law degree, and is now back once again working on a master's in engineering) reminds my of a Bloom County strip published in the mid-eighties.

Milo and Opus visit a college campus to organize a anti-nuclear protest. They are promptly accosted by a bunch of frat boys who say "look, minature communists". Opus, slightly confused, reads from a magazine, "but it says here college campuses are hotbeds of liberalism". Milo responds, "Exactly how old is that issue of Life?"
3.30.2006 10:52am
BobH (mail):
Smithy says: "To be a conservative on campus these days is to be a persecuted minority. Period. Many -- maybe most -- professors are somewhere between Hilary Clinton and Marx on the political scale. And their shameless in their attempts to indoctrinate students and to humiliate those who resist indoctrination."

Smithy, where's the evidence for this? My son, a sophomore at Harvard, is pretty apolitical -- or, I should say, he's pretty analytical, and is willing to listen to and analyze all kinds of arguments without consciously overlaying any ideology of his own. (I raised him well, doncha think?) Not once has he reported, at least to me, any instances of any professors' attempting to indoctrinate or intimidate any students. So where do you get your information? Can you cite any concrete examples? Or is this just (as it appears) a rant coming from a position of ignorance?
3.30.2006 11:27am
JosephSlater (mail):
The obvious answer to DB's question is, "there is no school where anyone, feminist, conservative, leftist, libertarian, etc., can expect that they will never be challenged, and since there are rude and polite people all along the political spectrum, there is no school where one could safely predict that there would never be a rude challenge to any perspective."

But of course the false implicit premise is that rude challenges happen more often to conservatives. This is another long thread in a long series of threads where the implicit or explicit claim is that colleges and universities are often/generally quite hostile/punitive to conservatives, in which no actual evidence is presented to support the claim beyond a few undocumented anecdotes, typically from long ago.

Give considerable credit to the moderate to conservative students who post on these threads words to the effect of "Um, actually it's really not like that where I go to school." Intellectual honesty and understanding that one must deal with actual facts -- even when they don't support the claims of some folks who are on "your side" -- are some of the most important things one can learn, in school or otherwise.
3.30.2006 11:32am
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

I have never encountered a professor at Cornell University Law School who attempted to "indoctrinate" his class (shamelessly or otherwise). If anything, they seem to be me to be excessively cautious about revealing their own views about anything.
Lucky you. I will say that most of my history professors (a field fraught with political viewpoint potential) were pretty careful to stay on topic, and it took a very long time before I found out that one of them was a socialist, another a liberal. But I had other professors who were not at all shy about engaging in shameless political indoctrination in class, and of course this being a university, it was always liberal, progressive, or socialist. I knew a professor in the business administration department who was a conservative, but I only knew him because we were members of the same gun club.
3.30.2006 11:45am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
This discussion and the related ones seem to make two errors:

One is to conflate the prospect of having one's conservative views mocked, or being treated with some kind of hostility on campus in general with the concern for actual grades as a result of being conservative in a liberal world. Those are separate concerns.

The other is to tell prospective or hypothetical students to suck it up and get over it while stoutly insisting there is no "it" to get over.
3.30.2006 12:23pm
Justin (mail):
One is to conflate the prospect of having one's conservative views mocked, or being treated with some kind of hostility on campus in general with the concern for actual grades as a result of being conservative in a liberal world. Those are separate concerns.

I think those are two seperate arguments, and while they sound conflated, its just because DB has relied on one or the other in what appears to be goalpost shifting.

EDITED: [Justin, if you are paying attention to the thread you participated in, you brought up grading before I did. DB]
3.30.2006 12:29pm
Sydney Carton (www):
Vovan had it right the first time: whether you fear being mocked will depend on other specific attributes you have. If you're a man, and lift weights and are generally intimidating on your own, then you don't have to worry about it. If you're a girl and are attractive enough to discourage male derision, then you don't have to worry about it.

Ideology doesn't trump biology. Attractive people aren't teased. That's the real answer.
3.30.2006 1:14pm
EricK (mail):
I have never attended college, so I am looking in from the outside. It appears to me that most of the bias is not from students, but from the schools administration. DePaul University is just one example of that.
3.30.2006 2:05pm
JunkYardLawDog (mail):
There is one assumption that seems to be getting thrown about here by all participants on both sides that is blatantly false, imho.

"Conservatives" do NOT control the federal government in any branch. Those who are asserting this is true are just plainly wrong.

While its true that Republicans control the whitehouse and the congress and more supreme court justices were appointed by Republicans than democrats, the basic assumption that Republicans = Conservative is patently false.

If *conservatives* controlled the senate there would have been no gang of 14 sell out deal, the constitutional option would have been exercised, and *ALL* of president Bush's conservative judicial nominees would have been approved (not just 3 of them).

If *conservatives* controlled congress federal spending wouldn't be as out of control as it is right now.

There are currently with Roberts and Alito 4 conservative justices on the Supreme Court. Going back through presidential appointments to the Supreme Court by republicans from Nixon forward, around half if not more than half of them turned out to be flaming liberals. Blackmon the father of Roe v. Wade was a Nixon appointee. Souter (which to conservatives is an expletive deleted) Bush 1 appointee. Wasn't Stevens appointed by a Republican? O'Connor had moved strongly to the left during her tenure on the court. No matter how you slice it. Whether right now or at any time in the past the Supreme Court has NEVER had more than 4 conservative justices, and usually less than 4.

So just for the record. *Conservatives* do NOT control ANY branch of government. It would be great for the country if they did, but this is NOT the case.

Says the "Dog"
3.30.2006 3:17pm
JunkYardLawDog (mail):
BTW,

"Whether right now or at any time in the past the Supreme Court has NEVER had more than 4 conservative justices, and usually less than 4."


Clarification: In my mind if not in the words above, the time frame for the "past" was around 1937 forward. I am willing to concede that *conservatives* may have had a majority on the court from time to time from 1797 through 1937.

Says the "Dog"
3.30.2006 3:21pm
Elliot123 (mail):
How about naming the schools that are unfriendly to conservatives and libertarians? What are the hostile schools? Does anybody know? Name them.

I hear people talking about personal experience. OK. Where?
3.30.2006 4:27pm
Justin (mail):
DB: EDITED: [Justin, if you are paying attention to the thread you participated in, you brought up grading before I did. DB]

DB: "Even if she heard that feminists at that college get death threats, get downgraded by professors for their views, have the administration throw away the feminist paper, and otherwise suffer the indignities conservatives sometimes suffer at elite liberal arts colleges?"

Justin: Wow. I brought it up in the thread before the post?
3.30.2006 6:46pm
Justin (mail):
PS was there any reason to delete the portion of that post that you aren't disagreeing with, leaving *only* the part you thought was incorrect?
3.30.2006 6:46pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Elliot. Do you want a link to the university web page where it says conservatives are not wanted?

Is there any kind of evidence for this that can't be dismissed as anecdotal?

Here's mine: Michigan State University in the late Sixties, when I was there. Now, according to students I know there, and U-Mich according to students I know.

Asking for the abandonallhopeconservativeswhoenterhere sign as the only indication this is a real problem may strike you as a neat tactic. But remember, the issue here is not to get you to admit what you know to be true but wish not to admit. The issue here is whether you can convince those who've had the experiences that they were hallucinating. On balance, I don't think you're doing all that well.
3.30.2006 7:16pm
Justin (mail):
I stopped reading at "Michigan State" WTF would a Sparty know? ;)
3.30.2006 8:09pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
So, Elliott et al.
How's that?
How do you intend to convince me I didn't experience or see what I experienced and saw?

BTW, as to the immunity of the large and the beautiful, not the same in my case, from harassment, I played lacrosse at MSU--charter member of the team in 62--I got half the immunity. I was fortunate to hang out with some who got the beauty half. I also competed in intercollegiate judo when the first string light-heavies were injured. So most of what happened I observed happening to others. Oddly, this allowed me to have relatively civilized conversations with people who would rather not piss me off.
One of the things that interests me about speech codes and so forth is that they usually include status as a Viet Nam veteran. Howscome that happened, ya think?


The most common indication of the difficulty conservatives had was their incandescently angry talk to each other about the "stuff" they heard from their profs that they knew they'd be in trouble to confront in class. It wasn't the snickering from other students, or the disgusting glottal noise that passes for scholarship, it was the fear of being graded down or embarrassed by one in a position of power. It's one thing to be harassed by somebody to whom you can reply. It's another when the person has power,and profs are presumed to have power for purposes of sexual harassment, so I guess they have power for purposes of making sure an exchange is one-sided.
I speak of only a few profs. We were not an elite institution where the radicals gathered in later decades.
But I saw it happen, and others I know had it happen to them, then and now.

And, to stifle the most likely reply, it wasn't a matter of having an uninformed opinion and not wanting to admit it.

I tried, once, when I was in a class I didn't need, to ask the following question:
How come, if the American colonists were divided on the question of independence, either half and half or three roughly equal thirds, the rebels turned out in far greater numbers than the loyalists did? Consider that the loyalists had access to British money, organization, and equipment.
Oh, boy. Redneck (snicker) patriot!!! Hahahaha. But, and this is the interesting part, the prof simply would not address the question. He was interested solely in making me look bad. I figure the real way to make me look bad was give me a good answer.
But he had to play me as the no-neck knuckle-dragging Norman Rockwell patriot, who of course could know and think of nothing beyond the next meal.
I hope(d) that some of the students saw through the act.
3.30.2006 8:44pm
Walk It:
R.Aubrey asks: How do you intend to convince me I didn't experience or see what I experienced and saw? ... I played lacrosse at MSU--charter member of the team in 62-- ...

F.Federson, above, wrote: Milo and Opus visit a college campus to organize a anti-nuclear protest. They are promptly accosted by a bunch of frat boys who say "look, minature communists". Opus, slightly confused, reads from a magazine, "but it says here college campuses are hotbeds of liberalism". Milo responds, "Exactly how old is that issue of Life?"

This is why personal anecdotes aren't always reliable.
3.30.2006 10:38pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Walkit.
I have never heard of Milo and Opus until this thread. But I got the impression they were a cartoon or something.

If that's true, what is the equivalence between what I saw and what a cartoon shows?

Anyway, are you telling me I am not supposed to depend on my own experience because it's not necessarily reliable?

You forget: The point is not that I am not in a position to get you to admit what you know to be true but won't admit. The point is that you are trying and failing to convince me that what I saw didn't happen.
3.31.2006 10:00am
Colin (mail):
I think his point may be that however relevant personal anecdotes may be, stories from the early 60's are not hugely useful in describing the state of universities today.
3.31.2006 2:45pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Colin. I guess that's so. But the feeling I get is that as the evidence appears, restrictions on what counts as evidence become more restrictive.
So let's have somebody explain how--no anecdotal evidence allowed--things have gotten better in the last forty years.

Or how I should forget what my kids told me. They graduated in 2000-2001. So that's too old to count, too, huh?

For the fun of it, I've kept that question about the turnout in the Revolutionary War around. The last time I used it was with a couple of high school history teachers.
Same result, almost. Some of the reasons the Loyalists mostly stayed home were that they were older than the rebels ??? Another that they were Anglicans. So? But, anyway, those hopelessly lame attempts at facts were rare raisins in a pudding of contempt and ad hominems. I have to figure two things from this: One is that they learned it someplace and the other is that they're passing it on.
3.31.2006 3:59pm