Bloomberg Bashes College Liberal Orthodoxy

It’s not news when conservative intellectuals complain about liberal orthodoxy at America’s colleges.  But recently former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg told Harvard’s commencement audience that colleges needed to include more conservative voices.

The conservative intellectual world has long been aghast at the purported liberal bias of American higher education.  After all, it was in many ways William F. Buckley Jr.’s enfant-terrible critique of Yale that launched the post-war conservative fusion movement.  More recently, as we’ve noted in these pages, conservatives in Colorado managed to insert a prominent conservative into the faculty of that state’s flagship university.  And conservatives have offered prescriptions to heal America’s blighted leftist ivory towers.

In this commencement season, the world of higher education has been aflutter with commencement cancellations.  Rutgers pulled the plug on Condoleeza Rice, Brandeis said thanks but no thanks to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and Asuza Pacific University cancelled Charles Murray’s talk.

Mayor Bloomberg warned that universities must welcome a real intellectual diversity.  Chanting and protesting to shut out conservative voices, Bloomberg warned, threatened the very purpose of the university.  “In the 1950s,” Bloomberg told Harvard,

the right wing was attempting to repress left-wing ideas.  Today on many college campuses it is liberals trying to repress conservative ideas even as conservative faculty members are at risk of becoming an endangered species.

Not surprisingly, conservatives have embraced Bloomberg’s theme.  Richard D. Land of the Southern Evangelical Seminary agreed heartily in the pages of the Christian Post.  Bloomberg, Land enthused,

has done the nation a great service by speaking bold truth to intolerant power.

Liberal intolerance was prevalent when I was a Princeton undergraduate in the 60s. It has become far worse in the intervening decades. Too many students are being brainwashed and indoctrinated, instead of educated, in our nation’s colleges. Unless such dangerous trends are reversed, it will increasingly imperil everyone’s liberties – personal, civil, and religious.

Similarly, Glenn Beck gushed, “you have to respect his willingness to speak so definitively about the intolerant culture at far too many universities and colleges.”

As I argue in my upcoming book, conservatives have worried about the ideological slant of America’s elite colleges throughout the twentieth century.  Now they have a prominent ally in former mayor Bloomberg.

Leave a comment


  1. I took a long break from the news, and have been online sporadically. Too much fighting and nonsense. I think the Mayor is not being accurate here. There are many open-minded liberals on campuses. The problem, as I see it, is with some far left professors who truly are intolerant, and whose views make it into public. Conservatism is fine as long as it is not joined with far right Christian theology. My two cents.

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