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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Conservative students learn to argue in college -- liberals stay in their bubble

Conservative students sharpen their ideas and listen to alternative perspectives -- they learn -- on very liberal college campuses, writes Lauren A. Wright, a Princeton political science professor, in The Atlantic. "Liberal students, surrounded by like-minded peers and mentors, have less opportunity to grow in this way."


More than 90 percent of conservative students she's interviewed "report attending events featuring speakers with whom they disagree," she writes. Nearly said they've been challenged in classroom discussions.


By contrast, less than half the liberal she interviewed listen to speakers with whom they disagree and even fewer say they've been challenged in class discussions.


National surveys also "find that conservative students are more open to speakers of any ideological bent than are liberal students, who tend to support only speakers they agree with," Wright notes. "Conservative students tend to know both sides of the issues cold," she found. They can critique their own positions and explain why others disagree. Liberals know only their own side.

In her first year at Princeton, Danielle Shapiro, a Jewish student journalist . . . would read her peers’ Instagram posts and ask herself, “Why is that point they made wrong? Why do I disagree with it? Every single day, I’m getting sharper and sharper, and they’re not, because they’re not hearing the other side … How can you have a good argument against an argument you’ve never heard before?”

Only 12 percent of Princeton undergraduates are conservatives, the professor writes. They tend to have thick skins.


Conservative students shouldn't opt out of college to avoid liberal bias, Wright argues. They have a chance to "experience what higher education has long claimed to offer: exposure to different perspectives, regular practice building and defending coherent arguments, intellectual challenges that spur creativity and growth. Liberal academia has largely robbed liberal students of these rewards."


Jonas Du, a right-of-center undergraduate at Columbia, says developing resilience and argumentation skills doesn't make up for being slandered on social media and yelled at on the street after reporting on anti-Israel protests for the Columbia Sundial and The Free Press. It's a very hostile environment.


Rachel Slade writes about a radical "experiment" at Tufts: Political science Profesor Eitan Hersh, a "right-leaning centrist," is teaching a course on conservative thought.


Liberal professors out number conservatives 28 to 1 in New England, according to a 2016 study, she writes. Hersh thinks students need to hear different ideas without the constraints of "language policing." He asks them to give each other "wiggle room" to express their ideas without censure.


When Hersh first taught the class in the spring, students told him "they felt freer to talk about contentious issues than anywhere else," he told Slade.


Students, many of them in their first year, say they're most concerned about "rights — gay rights, trans rights, abortion rights," she writes. They "tend to see right and wrong through the very narrow lens of oppressor versus oppressed."


In late September, students discussed whether pro-choice students had a right to drown out anti-abortion speakers invited by the Federalist Society.


Two days after Oct. 7, Hersh, an Orthodox Jew, asked students about Students for Justice in Palestine's email celebrating the Hamas attack on Israel. Is it hate speech? A violation of community norms?


One student argued that Hamas was justified, that only "white supremacy" explained the concern over Jewish victims of rape, torture and murder. Yet a few weeks later, he offered a nuanced view of social justice, conceding the impossibility of righting historical wrongs.

5 comentários


JK Brown
JK Brown
11 de jul.

Conservative students should avoid college, unless they are pursuing hard STEM. Why on earth would a student put themself at risk of star chamber accusations or retaliation by petty professors. This is their future. Leave the colleges to die. The student can get a far wider exposure to both sides by frequenting podcasts. Certainly don't need to risk random professors seeking to render the student debt worthless by retaliation.


"Conservative students tend to know both sides of the issues cold," she found. They can critique their own positions and explain why others disagree. Liberals know only their own side.

Conservative students do have a better chance of becoming educated than the indoctrinated Leftist students.


Without education, we are in a…

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superdestroyer
13 de jul.
Respondendo a

So one wants to surrender Washington, DC; Silicon Valley; Wall Street, etc to liberals so that conservative can be plumbers or franchise operators?


And going to Hillsdale College or Patrick Henry College does not do conservatives any good when compared to where their jobs are.

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rob
11 de jul.

We have to remember that a large driver here is that the conservative students are in the ideological minority and are thus naturally challenged more. That's a good thing, IMHO, and it would be better if all students were subject to challenges of their ideological beliefs.


It's such a shame that "debate" is now non-existent in high schools. Learning how to really argue, and to do it formally, is very valuable in life.

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superdestroyer
13 de jul.
Respondendo a

The Brookings Institute argues that being in high school debate is beneficial because one has to learn more the affirmative and the negative arguments and one also learns that one needs cites and references to make an argument.

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Heresolong
Heresolong
11 de jul.

They "tend to see right and wrong through the very narrow lens of oppressor versus oppressed."


Classic Marxist theory. It's what they are being taught, so it's what they tend to see. Glad to hear that conservative students develop better skills, but what about middle of the road students who are indoctrinated by the 96% liberal/progressive professors into becoming more liberal?

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