The recent book by Amy J. Binder and Kate Wood, Becoming Right: How Campuses Shape Young Conservatives, finds on the basis of interviews with students and alumni that the tonier, more intellectual colleges such as Harvard are less aggressive in displaying their left-liberal bias than the rambunctious, freewheeling flagship state schools of the West. Why am I not convinced?
Perhaps because Harvard was the setting for the worst PC lynching of recent decades, which still shocks and chills, namely, the attack on and vilification of Lawrence Summers for stating a few obvious truths about women at a conference on “diversity” in science and engineering in 2005. One female faculty member was so seized with horror at Summers’s words that she nearly passed out. According to Wikipedia, On March 15, 2005, members of the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Science passed 218 to 185 a motion of “lack of confidence” in the leadership of Summers, with 18 abstentions. A second motion carrying a milder censure passed 253 to 137, also with 18 abstentions. What were those 18 thinking? It is true that the students were more supportive of Summers, 57 percent of them. That leaves 43 percent, 19 percent of whom were actively opposed, and I suppose the remaining 24 percent joining the 18 faculty fence-sitters and unwilling to take a side. But if Harvard students don’t see the left-liberal bias around them, could that be because it’s like the oxygen they breathe, and thus invisible?