The Right Coast

May 11, 2005
Fate of the academy
By Tom Smith

This at opinionjournal is a must read, if not the best written thing in the world.

Some observations and quibbles. I simply do not believe that the University of California will, or is anywhere close to deciding to, provide sex change operations to "transgender" students on the California taxpayers' dime. I don't have any evidence for not believing it; I just don't believe it. California taxpayers would go insane. There may be some committee talking about it somewhere, but they may as well be talking about our ethical obligations to extra terrestrial visitors.

I do think that the quotation from Marcuse is well taken. The enemy of many on the sexual left really is the family. Just because you're a paranoid right wing nut doesn't mean there really are not people who want to kick the legs out from under ordered liberty. Why they want to do so is a job for a psycharitrist. One hopes someday there will be a medication that works for this problem. I must say, it is the hard core anti-family people that give me pause about gay marriage. Every time I meet some nice gay couple that seems more married than, oh, say, some people in my parish I could name, I think, of course gay marriage should be legitimized. Just about then you read something that makes you realize there really is a campaign against the family (you may have to decipher a lot of jargon to realize that, however).

Kimball is also correct that a lot of the zaniest left wing claptrap has been institutionalized in universities. Maybe Catholic universities will be like Irish monasteries of old, preserving civilization while the rest of the country slides into the PC Dark Ages. Or, maybe they'll just all become "universities in the faith tradition formerly known as Catholic, but please don't hate us!"

One note of cautious optimism. Students seem increasingly sensible to me. (Granted, I am at a Catholic university, and at a law school known as conservative because we have a half dozen conservatives out of 40 or so faculty members.) The looney academic left must have difficulties gaining converts. It must be graying. When Smith or Wesleyean goes all PC weird, that creates opportunities for other institutions. The marketplace for ideas works slowly and imperfectly, but I think it still works. But who knows. Look at France.