Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Those poor, oppressed Republicans ...

There was an editorial in today's Durham Herald Sun (warning: link will probably expire ... the Herald-Sun apparently thinks people will actually pay to read their old crap) about how Duke University doesn't have enough "intellectual diversity" because most of the professors are registered Democrats.

The writer took offense at the explanation offered by Philosophy Department Chairman Robert Brandon, who said Duke tries to hire the smartest people around. "If, as John Stuart Mill said, stupid people are generally conservative, then there are lots of conservatives we will never hire." According to the editorial, the remark "mocked and stereotyped a minority on campus -- conservative Republicans. Substitute any other minority and imagine the outcry."

Yeah, being Republican is exactly like being black, Asian, Latino or native American. So many poor Republicans grow up disdvantaged, ghettoized in crappy neighborhoods and separate-but-unequal schools that don't prepare them to compete with their more advantaged peers in college or the job market. They are always getting followed around in stores by salespeople who think they're out to steal something. Putting a "Bush/Cheney" bumper sticker on your car is like screaming "Hey cops, please pull me over and search my car!" And the job discrimination the poor things face ... I'm sure more than one has balked at wearing a "power tie" to an interview lest it give him away. The downtrodden thin-skinned conservatives have to face every day knowing that some mean-spirited liberal may mock them and, horrors, perhaps even argue vehemently against them.

So the editorial sort of proved Prof. Brandon's point. As does the fact that the Republicans have chosen as their figurehead perhaps the most anti-intellectual president this country has seen since Ronald Reagan and his sidekick "Einstein" Quayle. Now please don't mistake me for a Democrat (I think it's pretty obvious I'm not a Republican either), but at least Bill Clinton was a Rhodes Scholar and Al Gore was mocked for his hyper-intellectualism.

The editorial went on to quote another Duke bigwig, Vice Provost Cathy Davidson, who suggested universities could attract young Republicans to the humanities by offering programs for "affluent, gated communities, so baby Republicans can learn the joy of the classics." She was obviously speaking tongue-in-cheek, but the really funny thing is that we already have a program like that in Durham, and it's called Duke University.

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