Carol Platt Liebau

Friday, June 10, 2005

Writer Richard Rodriguez will not be speaking at California State University-East Bay's commencement. Apparently, there were protests by some who intended to boycott the ceremony. Rodriguez believes in assimilation, apparently, and that's too much for the ethnic pride fanatics who apparently dominate the school.

Similarly, last year, Professor John Yoo of Boalt School of Law (a friend, incidentally) didn't attend its commencement because students had threatened disruptive protests, given Yoo's association with the controversial (and oft-misrepresented) torture memo during his tenure at the Justice Department.

In the linked piece discussing the treatment of Rodriguez, Debra Saunders notes the danger of Americans never being required to entertain opinions that are different from theirs. But let me add that -- at least for college-educated Americans -- that danger is much greater for those on the left than for those on the right.

That's, of course, because American universities are almost monolithically liberal. It's almost impossible to attend one without being confronted by a barrage of left-wing ideas -- in the classroom, through campus protests, etc. Look even at the ranks of graduation speakers, which tends to be predominantly liberal. (At Princeton in 1989, the end of the Reagan years when there were plenty of recent administration alumni available, our baccalaureate speaker was . . . Pat Schroeder).

In contrast, liberal students can get by without ever having to confront conservative ideas -- at least until they're out in the real world. And then, because of their earlier "holiday", they're at a disadvantage.

How ironic that the leftist faculty is creating a generation of conservative students who have been intellectually challenged and have the "battle scars" of ideological combat, while the leftist students are ill-equipped to defend their intellectually impoverished ideas after they must leave the nurturing arms of the ivory tower.


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