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Impossible problem

Reader comment on item: Conservative Professors, an Endangered Species

Submitted by John Philips (Japan), Apr 13, 2005 at 00:13

I'm still not convinced that this is a problem. I've seen professors try to shove their ideas down classes' throats, once from a conservative point of view, once from a liberal. Both times it backfired badly. Any professors who are trying to do that are making a big mistake.

The idea that there must be ideological balance in departments also assumes that ALL professors are going to try to shove their ideas down students' throats. In other words, it assumes that professors should not only be unprofessional, but stupid.

Trying to define "balance" would be nearly impossible, too. Just on the matter of Israel vs. the Palestinians, do you split 50-50 between those who support Israel and those who support the Palestinians, or do you give one third of the positions to those who support a two-state solution? How about a certain designated number of positions for Hamas, Gush Emunim etc. Do you change the proportions within the "pro-Israel" camp every time the Israelis have an election?

Multiply such problems by all the possible positions one could take on any conceivable issue, foreign or domestic, and you quickly realize that enforced "balance" of professors' opinions is not only unwise, it is impossible.

American universities are the best in the world. If they ain't broke, don't fix 'em.
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