Wednesday, December 29, 2004


think about it

The AP has a story on a growing conflict on college campuses betweeen conservative students and liberal/progressive faculty. Apparently, some students are objecting to having, say, the Quran assigned to them, citing that this impinges on their religious beliefs. God - or Allah - forbid that students actually be expected to learn divergent points of view or new bodies of knowledge in college.

I always find it surprising that people react with surprise and horror to know that most professors in America are overwhelmingly liberal or progressive in their politics. It's the same kind of indignation that's directed towards the fact that the majority of journalists in this country hold more progressive views too. Call me crazy but - what would you expect? Academics and journalists are in the business of discovering, conveying and offering information - as truthful as possible - and that pursuit seems fundamentally contrary to many conservative movements who want to control, distort and censor knowledge. Case in point, the "crusade against evolution" that Wired reported on over the summer. The attempts at discrediting Darwin's theories and replacing them with the thoroughly unscientific "intelligent design" approach is mind-boggling in 2004 but then again, it seems to fit into the illogic of the times. Another example, as it relates to politics and education: the spectacular failure and shortcomings of "abstinence-only" high school sex ed.

So yes, college environments (ideally) are supposed to encourage open intellectual environments, where ideas are freely exchanged and debated. Is it any wonder then that people who commit themselves to careers in this atmosphere would find conservative ideologies to be anathema?

P.S. Just as an addendum, I was reading the latest issue of The Week and they report that 55% of Americans "believe evolution is just an unsupported theory, and that God created human beings just as they are today." Amazing, simply amazing.