30.1.17

THE VALUE OF PLAYING WITH IDEAS.

Clay Routledge of an organization called The James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal offers advice to young conservatives. You Need College and College Definitely Needs You.
Education is about expanding knowledge and being exposed to new ideas, not affirming existing beliefs. Plus, many college courses have little or nothing to do with political or social ideology.

Now, I would like to speak directly to conservative students. You might not feel at home at many universities but your presence and contributions are important. The only way you are going to impact the fields that lean so far to the left is if you roll up your sleeves and get in the game. The academy is much better off intellectually when it enjoys a truly diverse marketplace of ideas.

If you don’t like the leftist cultural elite echo chambers, break down the chamber doors and chime in. If you are interested, pursue advanced degrees in the social sciences and careers in the academy. Don’t let the view that these disciplines are only for progressives hold you back.

I understand it is easier said than done. Surveys suggest you will face ostracism and discrimination. But, believe it or not, there are conservative, libertarian, classically liberal, and centrist professors out there, even in the social sciences, and they are doing outstanding work. They would welcome you, as would a growing number of academics who worry about ideological homogeneity and want to see a more intellectually vibrant academy. Surveys also indicate that, despite being in the minority, conservative academics are very happy at work.

The truth is, it is not just the case that you need college. Colleges also desperately need you. Leftist academics accuse conservatives of not sufficiently supporting science but turn a blind eye to their postmodernist colleagues who reject the entire scientific enterprise. Many of the concepts campus progressives are obsessed with such as stereotype threat, implicit bias, and microaggressions have not stood up well to empirical scrutiny but remain the foundation of social justice-oriented training programs on campus.
It's not a bad gig, if you can get it.

It's crucial, though, to know the intellectual foundations of the common-room commonplaces better than the people who unthinkingly adhere to them do.  Fortunately, this is not hard.

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