The Right Coast

February 18, 2004
What a relief!
By Tom Smith

I can only say I am greatly relieved that this non-conservative academic is not very troubled about discrimination against conservatives in the academy. What with 9/11 and all that, there is all together too much anxiety in this world. It is a relief, a truly soothing realization, that liberals and others on the left are not racked with guilt, anxiety or that urge to do something, however awful the consequences, that so often arises in them when they see an injustice. As someone on the right, I am relieved personally, because if liberals thought something should be done about hiring more conservatives, they would come up with some policy that would discredit us and undermine us, all the more so because they were trying to help us.

Furthermore, I think we should be grateful that some liberals are so broad minded, so, well, liberal as to understand our pain, our frustration at being excluded from their wonderful little world. It is good to know that conservatives are not discriminated against, but rather take themselves out of the running for academic jobs, thus absolving those who would discriminate against them if they had the chance of having to do the dirty work of actually discriminating against them. It's nice when the gentlepersons' agreement is self-enforcing like that. Sort of like the Invisible Hand.

And the point that someday conservatives will dominate the world anyway, so liberals should make hay while the sun shines, so to speak, shows an ethical sensitivity that just shouts "PhD in philosophy." I have to admit, not being professionally trained in ethics and the like, that that one had not occurred to me.

I know I have made this point before, but let me just suggest a little method to philosophers and others in fields intellectually superior to us mere lawyers. A thought experiment. Try substituting "blacks" or "Jews" into your propositions about conservatives and just see how it sounds. "I personally don't subscribe to the view that blacks are stupider than other people . . ." Oh, you don't! Somebody call the NAACP! This man has an award coming! Or, "Jews are going to take over the world, so a little discrimination against them now won't do that much harm . . ." Careful with that one. Maybe you shouldn't cede ground to the Jews so easily. Give them an inch and they take a mile, you know.

So far the left's position in this little internet kerfuffle over conservatives in the academy could be summed up almost fairly as, conservatives are wicked, and conservatives are stupid, and in any event, we don't discriminate against them, they just mysteriously choose not apply for jobs. (Mysteriously, having sat through classes about how America started the cold war, committed genocide against various groups, or has a bad culture, or economic system, or that art that mocks it is just swell, etc. etc. We went to college, you know.) I just have one question for you: Would you like ice in that mint julip, Massa?