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Universities have long been considered hotbeds of liberalism. Radical protests, dreary PC speech codes, far-left professors and outright attacks on conservatism are not just common but expected. Academia has become so stridently left-wing, faculty views even a single ember of center-right thought as a dangerous wildfire.
For the past three years, Stanford University had allowed one tiny exception to their monolithically liberal course catalog. In 2009, Professor John McCaskey began teaching “Moral Foundations of Capitalism” at the Palo Alto, Calif. institution. The seminar explored and evaluated historical arguments for the free-market model, presenting the views of economists such as Milton Friedman, of Protestant and Catholic defenders, and of Ayn Rand-influenced Objectivists.
The course proved more popular than Stanford expected, drawing double the planned number of students with even more sitting on the floor outside, trying to get in. So what does a university do with a runaway academic hit? Cancel it, of course.
Stanford’s Center on Ethics in Society discontinued the course this month, blaming “a restructuring of Stanford’s general education requirements.” Professor Rob Reich, director of the ethics program, told the Stanford Review that his center “will play a role in supporting the creation of new courses and existing courses in ethical reasoning, and the Center decided to allocate its limited resources (human and financial) to this task in the coming years.”
Apparently “restructuring” didn’t touch another Ethics in Society course titled “Moral Limits of the Market,” which highlights liberal critiques of capitalism. Neither did it force the cancellation of Stanford’s many other student loan-funded attacks on conservatism.
Stanford’s Department of History presents such essentials as “Capitalism and Its Discontents: From Adam Smith to Adbusters” and “Social Democracy from Marx to Gross National Happiness.” The English Department offers “The Literature of Inequality: Have and Have-Nots from the Gilded Age to the Occupy Era,” which steeps young minds in the “profound gap between those who have and those who do not” through “literary and artistic explorations of social and economic inequity.”
Students can still sign up for “Noam Chomsky: The Drama of Resistance,” “The Personal is Political: Art, Activism and Performance,” and that old liberal arts classic, “Black (W)holes: Queering Afro-Futurism.” The only pariah that had to be shutdown was the single course that might help college students transition to the real world. When creating your résumés, be sure to list that C+ in “A Post-Hip Hop Search for a Black Feminist Politics of Pleasure!”
Stanford University’s motto is “the wind of freedom blows.” By canceling their only conservative-friendly course, the university blotted out the first three words.
Follow me on Twitter at @ExJon.