Searching for Conservative Scholars

, Malcolm A. Kline, 1 Comment

Here’s one of the reasons we do what we do. Even when the remaining journalists on the education beat bend over backwards to cover a story fairly, they still wind up giving it the educational establishment spin.

The Chronicle of Higher Education recently covered the conservative scholar program at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Writer Courtney Kueppers took note of the program’s success.

Nevertheless, she claimed, “There simply aren’t enough qualified conservatives in higher education for more colleges to try a program like Colorado’s.” She follows this assertion with a quote from one of the scholars, Steve Hayward, that doesn’t really back up that claim.

“A lot of conservatives don’t really want to go to graduate school or pursue an academic career because, one, it’s a crapshoot for everybody, academic jobs are hard to get these days,” Hayward told her. “But then also there’s the fear that if you’re a conservative, it will be harder to get hired.”

Hayward’s observation point towards a different, and far more insidious, problem than the one alleged by Kueppers. There are plenty of conservatives with advanced degrees: That’s why the conservative think tanks that seem to be cropping up in nearly every state have no trouble finding applicants.

Moreover, that’s why the conservative think tanks started, as a practical refuge for conservative scholars. Yet and still, they sought refuge there because of the ideological hostility that awaited them in academe, an attitude that has only become more prevalent with each passing year.