Beneke and Stephens: "Colleges should see political diversification as a matter of self-preservation…

…as well as a genuine public good.”

Check out Chris Beneke and Randall Stephens’s essay at The Chronicle of Higher Education in which they argue that Republicans and academics need each other.  (The piece was published yesterday–April 1–but I don’t think it is an April Fool’s joke).

They argue that “conservative disaffection with higher education is costing the Republicans both young talent and the opportunity to sharpen their skills through regular contests with savvy adversaries.”

They also argue that colleges and universities need “right leaning donors and legislators” and political diversification for the common good.

Here is a taste:

To suggest that Republicans and colleges look for ways to embrace one another may seem like asking the Hatfields and McCoys to just kiss and make up. Identifying common and respectable arenas for dialogue and cooperation won’t be easy. Faculty and administrators will have to acknowledge that their institutions tend to be ideologically narrow, while Republicans will have to concede that most social and economic problems are terribly complex and require prolonged investigation by communities of researchers.

Left-leaning professors may want nothing more than to see the Republican Party go the way of the woolly mammoth. But that is no more realistic than Republican hopes for retaining a vigorous policy-making role absent the knowledge and analytical skills of so-called smart people. Without Republicans in the colleges and college-friendly intellectuals among the Republicans, both the political party and the colleges are worse off. And American public life is diminished as a result.

Shortly after the piece went live, one commentator wrote that the “Republican party should simply be enabled to die of its decrepitude….”  Some things may never change. 

One thought on “Beneke and Stephens: "Colleges should see political diversification as a matter of self-preservation…

  1. They argue that “conservative disaffection with higher education is costing the Republicans both young talent and the opportunity to sharpen their skills through regular contests with savvy adversaries.”

    Obama's 2 election wins presaged it, but they could be explained away as a perfect storm of demographics vs. rich white dudes.

    I think the last straw is the current turn in the polls in favor of gay marriage—it's dawning on conservatism at this very moment that it's been losing the future for quite awhile now, Dr. Fea.

    Please let your students know that America's most famous conservative magazine, National Review, is now offering free digital subscriptions to college students! [Retail value $19.95. Really.]

    http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/339776/nr-digital-now-ifreei-all-college-students-nro-staff

    I trust you'll spread the word. 😉

    Seriously, although conservatism isn't the “political love that dare not speak its name” that it was in the William F. Buckley days*, Fox News, talk radio, and the occasional 700-word conservative op-ed in the paper don't convey the depth of argument that a magazine-length article can.

    There's more to conservatism than Sean Hannity. More to it than the Republican Party. National Review is a good place to start finding out.
    ________
    *Well, it is at most colleges, let's face it.

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