The Washington Post realizes that if its conservative subscribers get any less educated than they already are, they will not be able to read even the simplistic swill that this newspaper is feeding them. As a result, it decided to dial back its hate campaign against the commie hippie latte-swigging tree-hugging college professors. Now it is trying to convince its readership that getting a higher education might not deal such a serious blow to their children's Republican convictions. A clumsy article trying to argue in a very impotent way that college campuses are not all that liberal appeared in The Washington Post recently. It's titled "Five Myths About Liberal Academia" and can be found here in case you really enjoy bad writing.
Whatever bill of goods that The Washington Post is trying to sell to its conservative readers, the truth is different. Unless we are talking about a student who has been brainwashed to the point of not having a single thought of their own, college education will end up broadening their horizons and demonstrating to them that any conservatism is unnatural, meaningless, and unintelligent.
To the contrary of what many conservatives fear, progressive professors don't use the classroom to voice their political convictions. We simply don't need to. When I come into the classroom, looking chic, fashionable and professional and begin to share my knowledge with the students, my way of being is the best argument there could be against female subjection. I don't have to proclaim feminist slogans in the classroom. I bring my point across just by existing. In the same way, I make my students reconsider their dislike of immigrants. And of intelligent, knowledgeable, educated people. The list can be continued ad infinitum. (The dislike of people who use expressions such as ad infinitum could be added to the list).
Every literary text we read in class, brings the students closer to progressive values. For some unfathomable reason, there don't seem to be that many great writers who advocate accepting things the way they are, resisting all change, and trying to revert to some imaginary paradisaical moment in the past where things used to be perfect.
We teach our students to think for themselves, identify gaping holes in any argument (such as the above-mentioned article in The WaPo, for example), to analyze and operate with facts. We are not always successful, of course, but when we are we end up creating more open-minded, intelligent, progressive people.
Conservatives exist on campus, of course. They are treated by everybody with compassion. Not because of their political beliefs, but because they are those hapless academics who never manage to publish anything. The conservative academics' CVs are very light on publications not because, as The WaPo article suggests, there is some bias against their so-called ideas in liberal publishing houses and journals. Rather, the very nature of research calls for the creation of something new, for progress, for a rejection of old certainties. A piece of research is always judged, first and foremost, on the basis of whether it contributes anything new to the understanding of the subject. The definition of a conservative is "Favoring traditional views and values; tending to oppose change." It is self-evident, I believe, why this kind of person will not be able to transform their area of expertise in any significant way by their research.
Conservative forces in this country might manage to push another Republican president into office in 2012 by the sheer force of their mass hysteria. That, however, will not stop things from changing, progressing, transforming. Theirs is a losing battle, which is why their rage is so virulent.