Friday, March 15, 2013

Intellectual Integrity Takes Another Hit As University of Colorado Fills a Chair in Conservative Ideology

But Even C Students These Days Are Probably Smart Enough to See Through This

Conservatism might best be described as a non-theological faith based philosophy.  The faith based part comes because Conservative arrive at conclusions based on faith alone, and then go about the process so trying to collect data and information to support their positions.  Since many times the data and analysis supports opposite conclusions, modern Conservatism is best described as a mythology.  And since the data and analysis that contradicts their positions must be ignored or perverted, modern Conservatism lacks intellectual integrity.

One of the complaints of Conservatives is that universities are biased against their views.  This is only partially true.  Universities and higher education are founded on the objectivity of intellectual integrity, the results are what the results are.  To the extent that these results conflict with established Conservative dogma, Conservatives could argue that higher education is biased towards the truth and hence biased against Conservatism.

Conservatives want to offset this supposed bias by having Conservative dogma preached in colleges.  Their thinking is that since they would use a college class to proselytize their views, they assume the other side does the same thing.  But the other side does not.  While there are exceptions, almost all university faculty is dedicated to intellectual honesty, integrity and excellence.

But Conservatives have money and clout, and now they have succeeded in getting a major state university to allow an endowed chair to promote Conservatism.

The school on Wednesday named Steven Hayward, a former fellow at the Heritage Foundation think tank, as its first visiting scholar of Conservative Thought and Policy. The position, which was funded with private donations and is among the first of its kind on a U.S. campus, was created to broaden the intellectual diversity among the faculty, said Earl Wright, a Denver banker who sat on the selection committee and helped fund the position.

There is no question the purpose here is promoting a particular partisan economic and political philosophy, an attempt to convert students.

Mr. Hayward, who has written a two-volume biography of Ronald Reagan, holds a Ph.D. in American studies from Claremont Graduate School. He is scheduled to teach four classes, including constitutional law and free-market environmentalism. He said he would sprinkle his syllabus with authors like Friedrich Hayek and would try to "fill in the gaps" on some subjects.

Now it is possible that a few students will be converted to the true religion of Conservatism, but most likely the classes will be filled with the ‘already believers’.  So the only losers here will be higher education and the integrity of the classroom, but as noted above that is not really a goal or objective of Conservative studies.

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