I'm often accused of overstating the case (as in the title I have chosen for this note). I have long argued that those who call themselves liberals in the contemporary political arena are really leftists, and that inside most leftists a totalitarian spirit lurks. Our universities are dominated by the political left and that means that intellectual diversity that includes viewpoints outside the leftist spectrum are anathema to them; that they are utterly ruthless in their desire to suppress dissenting thought, and that their political repression of conservatives in the academy is far worse than anything Senator Joseph McCarthy attempted. I stand by the literal truth of all these statements, and will share with you three emails I received from Harvard Law students which will justify the title of this piece.
The Harvard Law left is up in arms because a still sane Harvard law professor observed that "Critical Race Theory" has made no contribution to the law of torts in its ten years or so of existence. Critical Race Theory is a derivative of what might reasonably be called Mussolini Marxism, which is the reworking of tired and discredited Marxist formulas into a framework in which race is illogically substituted for class. Happily, from the left's point of view, this leads to similar totalitarian conclusions.
The Three Emails:
I'm a second year student at Harvard Law School. An organization called the Committee for Multicultural Unity held a meeting to discuss the role of "intellectual diversity" and specifically, whether conservative thought is being stifled.
The Federalist Society blog site contains comments from two students who attended (I did not). Very interesting stuff.
This evening's CMCU meeting was really eye-opening for me. I've always approached issues involving clashing ideologies from a "let's all be reasonable" perspective, and that has some accommodationist consequences. In the past, that has never really been a problem - most of my liberal friends were fairly reasonable themselves, and we'd eventually wind up meeting somewhere in the middle. The contempt in which we're obviously held, and the vitriol with which it was expressed, makes any accommodation the act of a Quisling. In fact, the warlike terms in which the moderator spoke (at one point, he likened intellectual debate to "trench warfare") make it clear we can expect no accommodation from the HLS Left. The fact that they would come out and blatantly state that they're trying to keep us out of power anyway they can - even at the law school level - makes it clear that lines have been drawn. Wide, broad, permanently inviolable lines. Given that they've drawn those lines, I'm not sure why they keep wanting "dialogue."
Another thing that struck me was their obvious contempt for conservative intellectuals. One of their main arguments was that we have fewer conservative professors because conservatives just aren't that good at the free exchange of ideas that academia requires. Not just that conservatives don't value free speech (which they also said,) but that conservatives aren't GOOD at it. I don't know about y'all, but I'll put up my conservative ideas against anything the left can bring to the table - as long as the left can't rig the marketplace of ideas ahead of time, as they seem quite anxious to do here.
The CMCU (Committee on Multicultural Unity, a student group devoted to discussing issues of multiculturalism) meeting tonight was quite frustrating. There was a huge turnout from the right, which was a nice surprise, but those on the left said wildly stupid things like "At a conservative law school we wouldn't even be having this talk - conservatives don't respect freedom of expression, but at a liberal school like this we can have these discussions." At which point I brought up the speech code and was accused of spreading propaganda. The Left is as closed minded as they've always been - they don't give a rat's patoot about diversity on the faculty. One even said that the law school should deprive conservatives of opportunities so as to keep them out of power. One student from our property class explained to me that most smart people don't like conservative ideas because they are offensive, that we can appeal to middle America but not to anyone intelligent, and that basically we need to change our ideas if we want to attract smart people.
I invite other law students who attended this meeting to share their impressions.