The Higher Education Monoculture

I have written before that many universities have focused on creating true diversity of skin pigments and reproductive plumbing among their students but in their primary world of ideas, have created an intellectual monoculture.  If you don't believe it, check out this quote from a Yale dean in the Yale Daily News.

Despite ongoing campus discussions about free speech, Yale remains deeply unwelcoming to students with conservative political beliefs, according to a News survey distributed earlier this month.

Nearly 75 percent of 2,054 respondents who completed the survey — representing views across the political spectrum — said they believe Yale does not provide a welcoming environment for conservative students to share their opinions on political issues. Among the 11.86 percent of respondents who described themselves as either “conservative” or “very conservative,” the numbers are even starker: Nearly 95 percent said the Yale community does not welcome their opinions. About two-thirds of respondents who described themselves as “liberal” or “very liberal” said Yale is not welcoming to conservative students.


By contrast, more than 98 percent of respondents said Yale is welcoming to students with liberal beliefs. And among students who described themselves as “liberal” or “very liberal,” 85 percent said they are “comfortable” or “very comfortable” sharing their political views in campus discussions.

In an interview with the News, Yale College Dean Jonathan Holloway said the results of the survey were lamentable but unsurprising. Holloway attributed conservative students’ discomfort at sharing their views partly to the pervasiveness of social media.

“So much of your generation’s world is managed through smart phones. There’s no margin anymore for saying something stupid,” Holloway said. “People have been saying dumb things forever, but when I was your age word of mouth would take a while. Now it’s instantaneous, now context is stripped away.

So the reason Conservatives have a problem at Yale, according to the Yale administration, is that Yale people don't tolerate folks who are stupid.  LOL.  The Dean later tried to back away from this statement, arguing that he did not mean Conservatives said stupid things, but his comments don't make any sense in any other context.

The institution is certainly hurt by this sort of narrow-mindedness.  It is more of a mixed bag for students.  While Conservatives are certainly frustrated they are frequently not allowed to bring speakers from their side of political issues to campus, there is potentially a silver lining.  As I wrote previously in my letter to Princeton:

I suppose I should confess that this has one silver lining for my family. My son just graduated Amherst College, and as a libertarian he never had a professor who held similar views. This means that he was constantly challenged to defend his positions with faculty and students who at a minimum disagreed, and in certain cases considered him to be a pariah. In my mind, he likely got a better education than left-leaning kids who today can sail through 16 years of education without ever encountering a contrary point of view. Ironically, it is kids on the Left who are being let down the most, raised intellectually as the equivalent of gazelles in a petting zoo rather than wild on the Serengeti,.


  1. bloke in france:

    Great piece.
    As I tell my children, you get educated despite your teachers, not because of them.
    And then they argue with me.

  2. johnmoore:

    A lefty professor, acquaintance of mine, implied that the reason faculties are overwhelmingly lefty is because they are composed of smart people.

    BTW, Yale writers haven't learned numeracy - it is cringeworthy to see "11.86 percent."

  3. J_W_W:

    The left has grown very very fond of dehumanizing everyone on the right. Yet they think their leftist caring and objectively better humanity will keep them from doing horrible horrible things to those they dehumanize.

    They are as wrong as they have always been about how "kind" they will really turn out to be...

  4. kidmugsy:

    Dissolution of the Monasteries: it's the only solution. Pension off the monks and nuns, put the endowments to other uses, and sell off the buildings.

  5. CC:

    The diversity of views that exist is not fully captured by lib vs conservative. There are people who are socially liberal but fiscally conservative--their social views are supported at Yale but no one wants to hear about their fiscal views.
    One can be an ardent supporter of minority rights and believe that our judicial system acts like debtors prison and that civil forfeiture is insane, but not necessarily believe that BLM has a valid or coherent agenda or that riots are a positive development. One could support equal rights for women without believing that men are evil or that there is a rape epidemic or that all women should become lesbians. One could support gay rights and yet still think bakers should not be forced to bake a gay wedding cake. All of these things are complex and deserve discussion. Shutting people up and trying to dumb down all issues to simple choices does not do any of us any favors is not worthy of a university.

  6. CC:

    Any group that hounds people out of jobs and gets rid of due process for male students only stops where they do because of lack of sufficient power. People have been calling for climate deniers to be executed for example (James Hansen called for coal company execs to be tried for "crimes against humanity" if you need a prominent example).

  7. Maximum Liberty:

    +1 for obscure yet awesome historical reference.