Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Naomi Schaefer Riley is everywhere

Win Myers called my attention to a piece by Naomi Schaefer Riley in the current issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education, to which I don’t subscribe. (Take that, establishment media!) But I found the article here, on Riley’s GOTQ website (click on the articles button).

In the Chronicle piece, she takes issue with this list of "top ten conservative colleges" and praises ISI’s Choosing the Right College. The former, she argues, is too political, simply offering the conservative counterpoint to leftist efforts to politicize education, which echoes a concern that I expressed here. By contrast, the ISI guide:

focuses more on which institutions provide a strong core curriculum in the traditional liberal arts. Rather than looking just at conservative colleges, the institute’s guide advises students on finding strong professors and useful courses at the top 100 or so colleges in the country. Though the institute supports conservative student newspapers and helps bring conservative speakers to campuses, its guide does not seem to be searching for colleges that create young Republicans.

Good for ISI; I expected no less. But I find it perhaps a little ironic that Riley, whose book looks to the "missionary generation" educated by traditionalist religious colleges for assistance on the conservative side of the culture wars, now takes a stance that seems to be above politics. That isn’t to say that I don’t endorse her current sentiments. Anyone who tries to keep politics out of the classroom is welcome in my club. But she might have written a somewhat different book if she had taken then the stance she seems to take now.

Update:There’s also a not terribly hard-hitting interview with Riley in the same issue of the (I borrowed a communal copy to read while at the gym; you’ll find it on A28.)

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