Are conservatives suppressed on college campuses?

Discussion about "Political Correctness" at US universities

The liberal and politically correct majority on campus is seductive. It's easy to join her. Because she basically has a noble goal: She wants everyone to feel good. But “everyone” should actually be so many different people at a public institution like a university that one person's well-being cannot always be that of the other. And the desire for a feel-good atmosphere basically contradicts what a university wants. Because there, students should learn to think critically. You should be challenged intellectually. That can't always be convenient.

The power of the majority has consequences. Critics say that the campus has already become a “liberal echo chamber” in which only one's own opinions echoed off the walls. We all know this from our own lives. In which the Facebook algorithm and the filter bubble constantly tell us what we like and thus encourage us to do so. In which our society is becoming increasingly polarized, both politically and socially. In Germany you can currently see this in the different ways people talk about refugees. And in America, how Trump supporters in the country and liberals in the big cities despise each other.

If people only deal with those who tick just like them, they become more radical

“Polarization is a consequence of what we perceive as progress,” says Greg Lukianoff. “We have the opportunity to live in communities in which everyone ticks like us - that sounds wonderful! But the more people live in such groups, the more radical they become in their beliefs. And perceive the other groups as either stupid or evil. ”Lukianoff believes that the current situation at universities will worsen this general polarization. “University graduates have a lot of power. For example, if they become lawyers, the way they think can change legal practice - because the First Amendment is only as strong as it is interpreted. "

That is of course a very gloomy look into the future. There is reason to hope that the letter from the Chicago dean sparked such a big discussion is a good thing: At least people are talking to each other again. Peter, the conservative Georgetown student, believes that his university is currently at a “crossroads”. That there is more open discussion here than at other universities. He wants to work to ensure that it stays that way and would like discussion events at which, for example, the College Republicans and the Black Student Alliance come together and discuss publicly with one another.

And Greg Lukianoff wants discussion not only to be practiced, but also to be taught in concrete terms. That so-called “Oxford style debates”, as we know them from debating clubs, become an integral part of the training. In such a debate, the students have to argue for something that they personally disagree with. Because it is very pleasant to let your thoughts circle together in only one direction. But it doesn't make you any smarter.