Where have you gone, diversity?

The first three sentences of an editorial in today’s Las Vegas Review-Journal set the table for an interesting discussion about the state of intellectual diversity.

The paper opined: “Colleges and universities like to promote themselves as open-minded bastions of diversity. They strive to fill their campuses with people of different races and backgrounds.

“Encouraging diversity of thought is another matter entirely.”


The paper examined a recent controversy at Rutgers University, which had invited former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to speak at its commencement, only to have her withdraw after students and faculty protested her scheduled appearance.

Students staged protests and carried signs, one of which accused Rice of being a “war criminal.”

I’ve written already on the Rice controversy at Rutgers. No need to revisit that issue.

What’s troubling though, and I say this as someone who is of the liberal persuasion, is that liberals are giving their political philosophy a bad name when they protest in such a manner.

By definition, the term “liberal” is meant in the political context to foster inclusiveness; it is intended to bolster the notion that those who lean liberal are open to others’ ideas, that they’ll hear them, consider them and take them under studied advisement.

Someone tell me if I’m wrong on that one.

However, when liberals rise up and protest the appearance of conservative thinkers and policymakers, they turn the very definition of liberalism into a myth.

What’s worse is that these protests occur — of all places — on college and university campuses.

As the Review-Journal editorial notes (see attached link), these institutions promote themselves as “bastions of diversity.” Students enroll there ostensibly seeking to broaden their horizons. Conservative students get exposed to liberal thought; the reverse is true for students with liberal leanings who are exposed to conservative thought.

The Condi Rice episode ought to become — to borrow a term — a “teachable moment” for university faculty and students all across this great land.

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