Maybe It’s You

I was doing a show at Ft. Polk for the troops in Louisiana a few months ago. Anyway, there are 40,000 men stationed at Ft. Polk. And this really well-dressed, drunk lady yells out, “Every one of them is a bad f***!” You know, after about 39,000 times, wouldn’t you start to go, “Maybe it’s me. I seem to be the only common denominator in this equation.”

Comedian Ron White/You can’t fix stupid

Conservatives are wringing their hands over what they believe is liberal indoctrination of young Americans at the nation’s colleges and universities. This is nothing new. In 2004, George Will, using an American Enterprise Institute survey, wrote:

 [The survey] of 1,000 professors finds that Democrats outnumber Republicans at least seven to one in the humanities and social sciences. That imbalance, more than double what it was three decades ago, is intensifying because younger professors are more uniformly liberal than the older cohort that is retiring.

This ideological shift is not limited to the humanities and social sciences. A similar review of faculty at Stanford and Berkeley, which included engineering and natural sciences professors, reported nine Democrats for every Republican. Pretty damning evidence that higher education in the United States is populated with left-wing madrasas. Except for a universal truth, there is a difference between correlation and causation.

Will points out this disparity has doubled in the past 30 years. So, just maybe, it is important to take a look at exactly how the conservative movement has changed in that same period.

  • The Republican Party, led by Ronald Reagan, believed the Soviet Union (now Russia) was an “evil empire.” Today, registered GOP voters give Vladimir Putin a higher favorability rating than Joe Biden, despite the former’s invasion of Ukraine and multiple crimes against humanity.
  • The current GOP majority in the House of Representatives rails against the national debt, but conveniently ignores the fact George W. Bush’s and Donald Trump’s tax cuts are the single largest contributor to the spending/revenue imbalance.
  • Conservatives claim the best government is government closest to the people. Yet, they fire locally elected district attorneys, intervene in local criminal investigations, dissolve local school boards, and yesterday, expelled two members of the Tennessee General Assembly for daring to challenge the state’s permissive gun laws.
  • They wrap themselves in the First Amendment, but ban books and punish those who disagree with them.
  • They claim to be for “law and order,” but are silent when the MAGA wing of the Republican Party honors convicted felons who pummeled Capitol police with American flags.
  • The party that once impeached Bill Clinton saying “character matters,” again plays deaf, dumb and blind when it comes to falsifying business records to disguise hush money payments to a porn star and a Playboy model and calls efforts to investigate the alleged perpetrator a “witch hunt.”
  • They declare “individual freedom” to be a sacred except when it comes to a woman’s right to choose and sexual orientation.
  • They promise economic opportunity for all but continue to push two economic theories (supply side and trickle down) which have resulted in an ever growing disparity between the haves and haves not.
  • And just yesterday, we watched as Republicans cried foul over Judge Juan Merchan’s donations to Democratic causes in 2020 (totaling $35) but said nothing about Justice Clarence Thomas’ accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars of unreported gifts from a major GOP donor.

Which brings me back to Ron White.  Conservatives sound an awful lot like that well-dressed, drunk woman at his Ft. Polk performance.  They are dissatisfied, not with sexual gratification, but ideological fulfillment.  Imagine if White had said:

There are thousands of college and university faculty out there. And you think every one of them is a socialist or communist who hates America. They come from a lot of different places and different backgrounds. So, maybe it’s you. You are the common denominator in this equation.

An argument can even be made that even the most conservative educational institutions contribute to this liberal movement.  Hillsdale College’s website states this uber conservative Christian liberal arts school challenges its students to “study timeless truths.”  If the administration and faculty believe what they say, they should not be surprised when students compare the brand of conservatism being peddled by the growing MAGA influencers in the Republican Party to that of a previous era and look elsewhere.

There was a college which promoted the principles of curiosity and personal exploration.  New College of Florida.  Once described as the learning ground for “free-thinkers and risk takers,” the school has been emasculated by Governor Ron DeSantis.  After replacing the entire board of trustees with friends and political allies, applications have declined, current students are transferring to liberal arts colleges in other states and alumni donors have pulled back $30 million in pledges.  Among its first actions, the new trustees abolished the Office of Outreach and Inclusion Excellence.

So much for school choice.  Oh, you can go to any college or university you want.  But it is becoming a false choice, much like having the freedom to select any flavor at the local ice cream parlor.  Except every tub is vanilla.

When Donald Trump said, “I love the poorly educated,” he made the point better than I can.  If a generation of young people with college degrees, at institutions where they were taught research skills and critical thinking, grow up to be liberal professors that is not the fault of the professors.  They are responding to the social, political and cultural environment in which they live, using a value-free skill set to observe and come to their own conclusions.

If conservatives want a better ratio of kindred ideologues in higher education, return to true conservative values that might make sense to inquisitive young people.  Until then, stop playing the victim, accept some personal responsibility, stop whining and lead by persuasion, not force and suppression of free thought. You know, the very things you allegedly claim to believe.

For what it’s worth.



3 thoughts on “Maybe It’s You

  1. It’s not Trump’s “poorly educated” that concerns me as much as the educated that continue to support Trump. Dinner parties are now choreographed so that a commonality among the diners cannot include the gorilla in the room (politics). It also questions the value of the supposed friendships that existed before Trump. There may be too many issues to overlook on both sides. Although, a mighty 30% of Republicans will never overlook any issues and will continue to find new ones. Just maybe, the rest of the Republicans, independents and Democrats can figure a way out of this morass.

  2. In MHO, one of your best yet, Doc. It screams for broader publication. Even if it’s read mostly by “the choir”, at least a reasonable, sane exposition about the state of our institutions of higher learning and the status of intellect discourse will be on the record! Thank you.

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