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Wednesday, January 05, 2005
On Naked Dorms and Classes Regarding Porn
The Cal Patriot Blog has cited a column written by a parent of a Wesleyan student, describing the blatant liberal bias there. This brings up old conversations on the biases at Berkeley, but not rightfully so.
I am not saying that Wesleyan isn’t a liberal school. Heck, even now, they’re probably more liberal than Berkeley, and more activist in their beliefs as well. There is no student Republican group as far as I can see. It seems to be a campus devoid of any conservative train of thought.
But Wesleyan can’t be called the Berkeley of the East, and right-wingers here can’t point to this as the inevitable path for this campus, because Wesleyan is a private university. Just like Bob Jones, private schools inevitably have a great potential to have blatant biases in their teaching. It’s the privilege of paying money to go to a private educator – by supporting the academic program, you support the beliefs promoted by the program.
Obviously, this theory runs into problems with a public university like Berkeley. All taxpayers support these schools, and there is an accepted demand for a universally fair education. But who determines that “fair” education? The state legislature, which is fairly Democratic? The governor, who is “Republican”? The students, who are decidedly liberal? The faculty, who might be even more liberal than the students? The student union, which seemingly has the most reign over its student groups?
It’s also important note that there are many other public universities that have conservative biases. Try any US military academy. Or, if you prefer the peaceful path, look at schools in the Deep South, like those in Alabama, Georgia, Arkansas, etc. Saying that there are no conservative public universities in this country is utterly incorrect.
Ultimately, there are two conclusions to this mini-rant:
1) Bias is unavoidable in higher education. The purpose of the university is not to pump young minds full of knowledge, like middle school and high school. It is an environment to fully develop critical thinking skills, test old theories of life and politics, and evolve new ones if the old ones fail. The only way this can happen is if new ideas and schools of thought are constantly reintroduced, whether they are liberal, conservative, socialist, libertarian, or anarchist. It’s important to avoid extremists who allow their ideas to get in the way of their education, and to make sure all groups are represented on this campus. It’s also important to make sure all groups are represented to some extent on campus.
2) Conservative students attending Berkeley get the best education out of anyone. It’s a baptism of fire – if you really think you know your stuff, and know how to defend it, your beliefs are strengthened immensely. If not, you learn new ideas, and incorporate them into your old ones. That’s what learning is all about.
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