Nicholas Kristof makes no apologies for being a liberal thinker.
Nor should he. The New York Times columnist, though, offers a serious word of caution to his fellow liberals and progressives: If you mean what you say about demanding diversity in all aspects of contemporary life, then do not shut out those ideas with which you disagree.
Kristof’s essay in the Sunday New York Times echoes a recurring theme on which he has written before.
He chides universities and colleges for becoming echo chambers, for demonstrating unwillingness to hear thoughts expressed by those on the right, even the far right.
He says this about his fellow liberals: “We champion tolerance, except for conservatives and evangelical Christians. We want to be inclusive of people who don’t look like us — so long as they think like us.”
He’s correct. We see this played out on occasion when universities invite noted conservatives to speak on their campuses. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has been victimized by outrage expressed by liberal faculty members and student body officers; so has Condoleezza Rice, the former national security adviser and secretary of state in the George W. Bush administration.
Even here in the Texas Panhandle, when one-time Bush presidential strategist Karl Rove was invited a few years ago to deliver a speech at a West Texas A&M University graduation event, you’d have thought WT had invited the spawn of Satan himself, based on some of the reaction.
Kristof has delivered a sound message for all his fellow liberals to heed. If you truly want diversity of thought and opinion, then open your own eyes, ears … and minds.
As Kristof writes: “It’s ineffably sad that today ‘that’s academic’ often means ‘that’s irrelevant.’ One step to correcting that is for us liberals to embrace the diversity we supposedly champion.”