In order to have productive national conversations on illegitimacy/poverty, race and sex, we must first be able to freely express our point of view. Unfortunately, the left, like any other orthodoxy, sees all new information and different ideas as apostasy:
When I was an undergraduate at Cornell , then Yale and a graduate student at Oxford, then Yale once again, the American university was an exceedingly lively place in which students were encouraged to explore a diversity of perspectives. The people in charge were, by and large, New Deal liberals — moderate in manner, open to argument, and distinguished first and foremost by their curiosity. They welcomed into the ranks of their colleagues both those to their left and those to their right — for they did not regard the university as an instrument for transforming the world. They supposed, instead, that it was a space within which one could spend one’s time trying to understand that world. Intellectual sparring partners were, in their opinion, a great boon.
Most of the New Deal liberals that I once knew have passed on. They have been replaced in positions of authority by a generation for whom everything is political. Its motto is “the personal is political and the political is personal.” What this means in practice is that the members of this generation tend to regard those at odds with them not as merely wrong and perhaps intriguingly, interestingly wrong but as simply immoral. In the face of an argument or observation that does not sit comfortably with what they believe, they resort to denunciation. The dissenter is labeled a racist or a fascist or something worse, and he is read out of the human race. In this environment, conservatives are no longer welcome. No advertisement states that they need not apply for jobs at certain institutions, but that is nearly always the case.
The key to understanding what has happened is that the new generation has made of the university a political instrument. Its purpose, as they see it, is to help them transform the larger world. Those not on board with the program are interlopers to be demonized and driven out, and the quality of the scholarly work and the teaching they do has no weight. One can write and be widely read. One can be invited to conferences and to give lectures. But, if a job comes open at a major university, one will not even be interviewed. Trust me. I know from long experience.