Ivy League institutions as well as most colleges and universities in America today
lean categorically to the left. Why? If academia cares so much about ethnic and gender diversity, why does it overlook intellectual diversity? Harvey Mansfield responds.
He also defends his position that conservatism is closer to the mission of the university than liberalism and asserts that conservatives are more tolerant than liberals. Finally, he describes why "sensitivity" on campus and in American culture is a type of soft despotism.
Harvey C. Mansfield
Harvey C. Mansfield, Jr. is the William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Government at Harvard.
He is the author of translations and studies of political philosophers from Aristotle to Burke to Machiavelli to Tocqueville and more than a dozen books, including America's Constitutional Soul and the controversial Manliness.
Peter M. Robinson is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, where he writes about business and politics, edits the Hoover Institution's quarterly journal, the Hoover Digest, and hosts Hoover's television program, "Uncommon Knowledge."
Robinson is also the author of three books: How Ronald Reagan Changed My Life; It's My Party: A Republican's Messy Love Affair with the GOP; and the best-selling business book Snapshots from Hell: The Making of an MBA.
Is conservatism closer to the mission of the university than liberalism? Are conservatives more tolerant than liberals?
Harvard government professor Harvey Mansfield defends his two assertions, arguing that while liberals expect conservatism to disappear, conservatives are "much more tolerant of people who disagree with them."
Political and economic doctrine that emphasizes the rights and freedoms of the individual and the need to limit the powers of government. Liberalism originated as a defensive reaction to the horrors of the European wars of religion of the 16th century (seeThirty Years' War). Its basic ideas were given formal expression in works by Thomas Hobbes and John Locke, both of whom argued that the power of the sovereign is ultimately justified by the consent of the governed, given in a hypothetical social contract rather than by divine right (seedivine kingship). In the economic realm, liberals in the 19th century urged the end of state interference in the economic life of society. Following Adam Smith, they argued that economic systems based on free markets are more efficient and generate more prosperity than those that are partly state-controlled. In response to the great inequalities of wealth and other social problems created by the Industrial Revolution in Europe and North America, liberals in the late 19th and early 20th centuries advocated limited state intervention in the market and the creation of state-funded social services, such as free public education and health insurance. In the U.S. the New Deal program undertaken by Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt typified modern liberalism in its vast expansion of the scope of governmental activities and its increased regulation of business. After World War II a further expansion of social welfare programs occurred in Britain, Scandinavia, and the U.S. Economic stagnation beginning in the late 1970s led to a revival of classical liberal positions favouring free markets, especially among political conservatives in Britain and the U.S. Contemporary liberalism remains committed to social reform, including reducing inequality and expanding individual rights. See alsoconservatism; individualism.
"He's says liberals are intolerant of the intolerance of conservatives."
And this just proves Mansfield point about the intolerance of the left.
Mansfield actually says
"Liberals are intolerant of those that don't put tolerance FIRST"
Notice the FIRST. It does not imply anything of the intolerance of conservatives. Just that they don't put tolerance FIRST. They might put doing the right thing FIRST.
The other point, which of course you missed is Mansfield clearly talks about the fact that the left does not use tolerance as 'accepting another point of view'... they demand tolerance as agreeing.
A common example. It is not enough for a person to just let a Homosexual person be (you don't discriminate...). For the left, they must mandate that being homosexual is just as right as being heterosexual.
But of course... this kind of analysis would actually require listening to the speaker. Which is not in the left agenda which again goes to Mans field's point that the left believes any other view point, but their own is something that just needs to be corrected by proper education... so why listen to them. Why consider other points of view?
Does this man own a dictionary?
I apparently have had the wrong impression of Harvard all this time.
This is a prime example why we all need to be independent moderates. Let the situation dictate the solution--not a set of preconceived notions.
I think Mansfield makes it all clear right before this clip when he says, "The people who put toleration first [liberals] are intolerant of those who don't put toleration first [conservatives]."
He's says liberals are intolerant of the intolerance of conservatives. The only way for liberals to avoid this would be to accept intolerance. Mansfield is simultaneously arguing that we should be more accepting of intolerance and also that intolerance is evil. He is in effect saying that we should be more accepting of evil. Good job, sir. Perhaps you feel stigmatized in your university not because of your beliefs, but because of arguments like this one.
In any case, the logical argument is this clip is not sound. Whether or not someone believes their opposition will be around forever does not imply anything about their level of tolerance of other opposition. And what exactly is he basing his assumption that liberals think conservatives will go away and conservatives think liberals will be around forever?
PS bmacrae - Do you really not see the sad irony in your post?
Such a cogent, well balanced comment! Do you have much academic experience youself? No? Well we can't all afford to read. It must be nice living in a thought free zone. Here's a tip, wronghead; if you become senslessly hostile to complete strangers who, obviously, are not speaking to you, you bring the hostility youself. Learn to recognize where the problem lies and please, for the sake of those who must actually speak with you, DEAL WITH IT...
Don't tell me what I think old man, and don't presume to speak for everyone aligned with you politically.
Here I was hoping he would have, you know, actual evidence for his claims. Any studies done on the topic? No? So you're just pulling this out of your ass then? I see.
It must be nice living in a fact-free zone; you can make whatever grand pronouncements you want, with nothing to back them up by an inexhaustible supply of smug.