Conservative students regularly have to deal not just with left-wing students but also with openly biased progressive instructors. Speaking your mind in such an environment can seem intimidating and dangerous if you hold conservative beliefs. One author’s suggestion for students? “Pander to their professors’ left-wing ideology.”
That’s what Hans Bader argues at Minding the Campus. Bader, a senior attorney at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, points out that “professors are much more likely to be progressives than they are to be moderate or conservative…Progressive professors view progressive views as a sign of intelligence, and conservatism as a sign of stupidity.” He cites as an example “Prof. Robert Brandon, head of Duke University’s philosophy department, [who] argued that conservatives are rare in academia because they are stupid.”
In order to secure a good grade, Bader says, “moderate or conservative [students] should pretend to be progressives when taking their final exam. That will make them seem more intelligent to their left-wing professors:”
They should echo their professor’s left-wing ideology in answering exam questions — such as questions about what a vague provision of the Constitution means, or about who should win a lawsuit where both sides have a plausible legal argument.
Parroting my professors’ left-wing ideology worked for me at Harvard Law School. For example, I got a good grade in my tort law class, because I parroted the professor’s male-bashing and left-wing extremism. I got a high grade even though I did not understand tort law as well as most of my classmates. When I failed to pander to my left-wing professors’ ideology, I got lower grades. I received only a B- in property law, which I understood better than many classmates. Why? Perhaps because I did not echo the anti-property-rights mindset of the left-wing professor.
Bader quotes law professor Robert Anderson, who has advised students:
Remember to echo your professor’s ideology on your final exams! If you haven’t noticed this on Twitter, many profs are incapable of separating “is” from “ought,” acknowledging trade-offs, or recognizing the validity of counterarguments.
Academia has skewed sharply left for decades. A 2017 poll, for instance, revealed that only seven percent of professors at Yale identify as conservative.
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