To the Editor:
This is in response to Matt Esposito’s “Pervasive liberal bias undermines academic freedom.” I’ve read a number of bad arguments, but this one is particularly terrible. The main point states that the liberalness of the College is adversely affecting the freedom of conservative students, but the evidence is inadequate and completely impertinent.
The outrage at California Polytechnical Institute was not caused by a teacher trying to get a conservative speaker to address the students in an oppressively liberal environment, but by the reasonable offense students of African American descent perceived at the racially offensive suggestion of the poster: “It’s OK to leave the plantation.” This was not a liberal issue. The complaints against the teacher in South Brunswick who put the photo of the Bushes on a bulletin were not produced by the tyranny of liberalism in that school, but by the parents who feel that they have discretion over their children’s environment. This is not a liberal ideal.
But what is least pertinent about all of this “evidence” is that it has nothing – not a thing – to do with the College. His examples of what’s going on at the College only prove that a lot of people on campus are liberal (although there is a difference between being a Democrat and a Liberal), but the so called “hostility” is completely unfounded.
Esposito notes that we have liberal speakers, authors like Tim O’Brien, and that we hold mock gay marriages, but he doesn’t (because he can’t) make the link on how these events “undermine academic freedom” for conservative students. If we are to accept that the majority of students are liberal, what is it that he expects? For people to change their political views so that he feels more included? Or does he feel that when liberal students get liberal speakers instead of conservative ones they are doing him an academic disservice?
And finally, Esposito made possibly the most misguided point. He seems to believe that the First Amendment guarantees him respect and reverence for his opinions from the people his view may offend. That’s not in the Constitution. He can say anything he wants – after all, this article was printed. In fact, he can look me in the eye, sieg heil, and scream “6 million more.” I can’t stop him, but I’ll be damned if I have to respect his personal beliefs, pat him on the head, and go, “Well, it’s a difference of opinion.” Can one claim respect from the people who may be offended by your views as a Constitutional right? No. All you can do is what this article did: whine about it when the offended people talk back.
My biggest problem with this article is its empty complaint. The columnist is right – there really haven’t been that many conservative speakers here at the College. So … whose fault is it? Is it the administration or departmental organizations (who, by the way, do hold bipartisan talks like “Forum on Presidential Economics” that will have a Democratic and a Republican speaker)? Is it the liberal students who do not invite conservative speakers to campus? Or maybe, just maybe, it’s the fault of the conservative students who never actually brought in a conservative speaker to campus. The College held mock gay marriages, and we had liberal speakers, but until Esposito can show me how we College liberal tyrants picked up the pitchforks and torches, and ran Bill O’Reilly off our campus, I don’t want to hear it.
“Intellectual domination?” “Real freedom of speech?” Give me a break. If you want representation then get off your butt, invite a conservative speaker, reserve a room, and do it for yourself instead of whining about how it’s everyone else’s fault but your own.