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What one professor learned by teaching conservatism to liberal students

Intellectual Takeout recently highlighted Professor Andrew Latham of Macalester College in Minnesota who teaches a class on conservative political theory:

In a video for Macalester College, Latham explains that Macalester students have come flocking to his class, eager to engage and learn about conservative political theory:

“… Out of that 30 or 32 students, one or two will be self-described, they will identify as conservative, and the rest are just progressive, left-of-center Macalester students really interested in ‘How could anybody think other than I do? What are the roots of these alternative political perspectives?’”

Why this intense interest, particularly in a time when political viewpoints are so polarized? Latham suggests that the interest is driven by a genuine hunger for knowledge and understanding:

“Macalester students by and large had not systematically been exposed to conservative political theory. They tended to view conservative political thought as either insanity or evil, but on the basis [of] really no systematic exposure of it. So I thought I would teach a course in which we exposed our students to thinkers – really it begins with Edmund Burke, and then builds on that, Russell Kirk and a few other – mostly American, although some British thinkers. It has been a wonderful experience.” …

“Nobody changes their mind in the course of this class, and that’s not why I offer this class – I’m not in that business – but I think the progressive students, the leftist students understand better what the other side of the aisle looks like and thinks like. And the one or two conservative students are a little more grounded in their conservatism. It’s not all visceral, it’s not all instinctive, there’s actually some philosophy behind it.”

Read the full post.

Watch the video …

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