Swimming Upstream: The Life of a Conservative Professor in Academia

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Rush was talking about this today, specifically the points I highlighted in bold. He was explaining that this explains exactly the ideological perspective that BHO comes from. This is precisely his viewpoint, his unique way of looking at America and our place in the world, in other words his weltanschauung.


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October 06, 2009
Swimming Upstream: The Life of a Conservative Professor in Academia
By Ron Lipsman
I have been a faculty member at a major State University for 40 years. Several years after my arrival, I voted for George McGovern. Eight years later, I voted for Ronald Reagan. In those eight years, my family and I experienced several traumas that caused me to reevaluate -- and ultimately, drastically alter -- the political, cultural and economic axioms that had governed my life.

Within months of buying my first home in an excellent neighborhood, within walking distance to the University and, most importantly, located in a district with an outstanding local public elementary school, my five year old son was forcibly bussed to an inferior school, many miles away, in a horrible neighborhood in order to satisfy the utopian vision of a myopic federal judge. This betrayal of my fundamental rights was undoubtedly the greatest shock to my political psyche.

Another was a Sabbatical year spent living and working in Jerusalem, during which time the UN issued time the infamous "Zionism is racism" resolution. I was able to observe firsthand that the standard propaganda about Israel and Zionism that was promulgated in America and elsewhere -- almost exclusively by those on the Left that I had formerly supported -- was nothing more than bald-faced, hateful lies. This and other events in the 1970s caused me to rethink everything that I had taken for granted since adolescence about how the world worked.

I emerged from the exercise as an enthusiastic conservative. Thus I was no longer your average faculty member who adhered to the liberal party line, but instead one of a tiny cadre who completely disagreed with the leftist mentality that dominated the thought of campus faculty and administrators.

The overwhelmingly liberal atmosphere on campus is well known. In the one place in society at which there should be diversity of thought, exploration of conflicting ideas and a propensity to challenge conventional wisdom, we have instead a mind-numbing conformity of opinion and a complete unwillingness to entertain any thought or idea that deviates from the accepted truth. That conformity encompasses:

•The legitimacy of virtually any program that promotes the interests of minority and female faculty, staff and students, even if the program is blatantly racist or sexist -- justified by a belief that America's past unjust treatment of blacks, American Indians and Japanese-Americans, and its unfair treatment of women render such discrimination necessary and lawful.
•A multicultural mentality, which preaches that America's Eurocentric, white, Christian heritage is responsible for colonialism, imperialism, racism and sexism, and that its replacement by a culture that "celebrates diversity" will transform the US into a more just and humane society.
•A distrust of free markets and democratic capitalism, and its severe limitation in favor of a centralized, government-controlled economy that will redistribute the wealth of America more fairly.
•A denigration of religious belief and its replacement by the "worship" of secular humanism, with mindless environmentalism occupying a central place in the new religion.

Not being in sync with any of this, how did I cope? Not so well, actually. First of all, it took me a long time to recognize and accept that the university atmosphere I knew as a student was gone. Initially, I was too busy pursuing my career and building my academic resume to notice what a fish out of water I had become.

My epiphany came about 20 years ago at the inauguration of a new campus president. In his acceptance speech, he said many things that seemed bizarre to me, but the comment I recall most vividly was his insistence that he would create a world-class university by building "excellence through diversity." His point seemed to be that by substantially increasing the number of minority and female faculty, staff and students (and consequently decreasing the number of white males), this would of necessity make us a great university.

I always thought that the best way to build a great university was to attract the brightest, most innovative and productive faculty and students -- regardless of their hue -- but I realized at that moment, as the applause for his idea rained down, how out of step I was.

What did I do? To my eternal shame, I ducked. Oh initially, during a painful, but relatively brief period, I contested the new campus consensus. People quickly, but politely, informed me that my ideas were retrograde and that I would be well advised to get with the program. In fact, I was passed over for an administrative position I coveted and for which I was far more qualified than the individual selected. Realizing that my resistance was damaging my reputation on campus, I more or less clammed up and spent more than a decade trying to ignore the poisonous atmosphere.

This less than noble strategy proved effective and eventually I achieved a high administrative position in which I adhered to policies and shepherded programs that were diametrically opposed to my fundamental beliefs. For years I tended to my bleeding tongue because I was constantly biting it during meetings to prevent myself from blurting out my true feelings about the bigoted ideas that constituted the consensus of the folks at the table.

But as I began to near retirement, I decided there was no point in maintaining my forced silence any longer. As I had 15 years earlier, I unburdened myself and let fly my misgivings about the liberal campus hegemony. What happened this time? Here come three novel observations:

•1. To my surprise, my "retrograde" conservative opinions were not met with calumny or derision, but rather with smiles and amusement. "Oh, that's just Ron being Ron," it was said. I wasn't viewed as a threat to the campus philosophy, but rather as some kind of queer duck to be tolerated at best, ignored at worst. This was certainly more pleasant for me than being told to shut up and get your head straight as I anticipated. But it was also incredibly frustrating that colleagues didn't take me seriously. The impression I had was that they felt there was no reason to take my ideas seriously because I was so obviously wrong that no right-thinking person could be swayed by my arguments.

•2. My second observation is that I was not the only one failing to make waves. In fact, there were no waves whatsoever. There was no debate, no controversy; just the calm serenity of a campus at peace with its almost universally accepted mind set. I attribute this to three things. First, of course, anyone raising an objection was viewed, as I was, as hopelessly out of it and worthy only of being ignored. This has a chilling effect, perhaps even more effective than derision. Second, I suspect that those who believed as I did were still in lockdown mode -- for the same reasons as I was over the years. And third, I believe the liberal brainwash has been so effective on campus -- and in the national educational system in general -- that many in the liberal majority can't even fathom that there is anyone who doubts the legitimacy of their point of view.

•3. My final observation is the following. The liberal hegemony exists in many quarters of the country beside academia -- e.g., the mainstream media, major foundations, law schools and the trail lawyers they produce, public school teachers, the Democratic Party, even big corporations. But none of these can maintain the atmosphere as effortlessly as campus profs and administrators. Politicians encounter opposition from their constituents; the media from its readers, listeners and viewers; trail lawyers from their clients; and corporations from their stockholders and consumers. But the educational establishment-both higher and lower-encounters little resistance. The students are ignorant, the parents are cowed, and Boards of Regents are cowardly. The ivory tower is alive and well in America and the intellectual product it presents is completely one-sided. What a tragedy for our nation and especially for its youth.
101 Comments on "Swimming Upstream: The Life of a Conservative Professor in Academia"

And to my dismay this is where all the clintons,obama's,reids and every other left wing elected official comes from. We think that obama is the cutting edge of the new nation,he is not,he is one in a long line of many to come. This will culminate in the end of the American conservative as we know it. The education system is producing little liberals as fast as they can put them out, the higher eduction institutions are pumping them out by the thousands. We the conservative masses,may have a hard time argueing with the well educated liberals,one thing that comes to mind is a discussion I had with a younger co worker recently. At the root of it is the Constitution and free enterprise. The Constitution grants the people of the United States the freedom to succeed ,,,,or to fail,,it is not anyones place to take care of anyone else,unless we take it out of kindness of heart. They have a very hard time grasping this concept. But it is the truth. God help us,if we as a country would only turn from the ways of wickedness.
The education system in this country needs reforming,if we as a country were to do this,it would change the course of our future. My children attend a private school,they can pray,Bible study is not only allowed but encouraged, every sporting event,school meeting,or anything else is opened with PRAYER. I have paid dearly for this,probably more than most college educations would have cost me. It was worth it. There is a plaque with the Ten Commandments at the entrance to our school. If a man or woman wants knowledge and wisdom,let them read Proverbs. Amen?
I get on my rants sometimes.
liberal screws

The professor is on target. Leftists have dominating the cultural, educational, and social controls for many years. It will not be long before we walk around as stepford citizens. As constitutional supporters, we should be shouting about the abusive interpretations of long established fundamentals by leftwing judicials. But, as the professor we seek a disgruntled co-existence. A post mentions Rush Limbaugh, who cowered to the left by not airing an advertisement by Frontsight. The screws of the left are tightened. I am sure I am not alone believing American status as a power is being diminished. The day will soon be coming when the rights of the many will be defended by the few. God help us.
This one has made the rounds quite a bit:

"A young woman was about to finish her first year of college. Like so many others her age, she considered herself to be a very liberal Democrat, and was very much in favor of the redistribution of wealth.
She was deeply ashamed that her father was a rather staunch Republican, a feeling she openly expressed. Based on the lectures that she had participated in, and the occasional chat with a professor, she felt that her father had for years harbored an evil, selfish desire to keep what he thought should be his.
One day she was challenging her father on his opposition to higher taxes on the rich and the addition of more government welfare programs. The self-professed objectivity proclaimed by her professors had to be the truth and she indicated so to her father. He responded by asking how she was doing in school.
Taken aback, she answered rather haughtily that she had a 4.0 GPA, and let him know that it was tough to maintain, insisting that she was taking a very difficult course load and was constantly studying, which left her no time to go out and party like other people she knew. She didn't even have time for a boyfriend, and didn't really have many college friends because she spent all her time studying.
Her father listened and then asked, "How is your friend Audrey doing ?" She replied, "Audrey is barely getting by. All she takes are easy classes, she never studies, and she barely has a 2.0 GPA. She is so popular on campus; college for her is a blast. She's always invited to all the parties, and lots of times she doesn't even show up for classes because she's too hung over."
Her wise father asked his daughter, "Why don't you go to the Dean's office and ask him to deduct a 1.0 off your GPA and give it to your friend who only has a 2.0. That way you will both have a 3.0 GPA and certainly that would be a fair and equal distribution of GPA."
The daughter, visibly shocked by her father's suggestion, angrily fired back, "That wouldn't be fair! I have worked really hard for my grades! I've invested a lot of time, and a lot of hard work! Audrey has done next to nothing toward her degree. She played while I worked my tail off!"

The father slowly smiled, winked and said gently, " Welcome to the Republican party."

Liberals and Conservatives (as far as people who work for their money goes, not politicians, lawyers and reporters) want the same basic things. Healthcare, we all want the best cheapest. Crime, we want it reduced. Taxes, we want them lower, etc.
The arguements all stem from how do we get to the result. The media feeds us the extreme positions, but not the facts. The politicians polarize the issues. No one just supports us. We need to start electing engineers instead of lawyers. And we need to demand the truth from the media......both liberal and conservative.
I am somewhat ashamed to say, that after 10 years as a college professor (published, tenured, promoted, great student reviews), I resigned rather than staying in the fight. I now own my own business and constantly do "battle" in the competitive marketplace. I don't make as much money as I did, but at least I don't have to put up with the Leftists on a daily basis. However, I sometimes wonder if I should have stayed in the fight. But I had promised myself that when my bad attitude began to affect my teaching and the students, that I would leave academia. Not to sound self-righteous, but that's what happened and that's what I did.

At this point, I am quite pessimistic about our country. People don't know the Constitution and politicians of all stripes ignore the Constitution. As "sheeple" will continue to vote for anyone who promises them "free" stuff, I think the American experiment is about over. This was foretold by pundits a couple centuries ago: as people realize they can vote themselves largesse from the federal treasury, the constitutional democracy will fade. It is happening now.

The opposing worldviews between leftists and constitutional conservatives seem to be irreconcilable to me. I have NOTHING in common with the left. Their vision of what they want for a country is so far from mine, I don't see how we will ever find a middle ground.

Where does this leave us? I don't know...

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