The left is pulling our universities off centre

The left is pulling our universities off centre, by John Anderson, deputy prime minister of Australia, 1999-2005.

For all the benefits they continue to bring us in so many vital areas, Western universities can no longer be regarded as bastions of free thought, open inquiry and vigorous debate. The evidence is copious and irrefutable — now, in the early part of the 21st century, it is true to say that too many univer­sities in general are enemies of free speech, enclaves of intellectual narrowness and conformity, and purveyors of political propaganda and bureaucratic oppression.  …

[Jonathan Haidt] recently published a study showing that in 1990 in the US about 20 per cent of faculty tended right politically, with more than 40 per cent of faculty tending left (the rest occupying the moderate middle ground). By 2014 those on the right had fallen to nearer 10 per cent and those on the left had jumped to about 60 per cent. A similar tendency can be ­observed right across the Western academy, including Australia.

We are indebted to the Institute of Public Affairs for its work last year revealing that only one Australian university places no ­restrictions on free speech. (It was the University of New England.) …

Haidt’s ­insights seem to point [out] that progressive politics is morally trun­cated, failing to account for all the innate moral concerns that universally occupy humanity. … Progressives mostly place value on only three of the six universal moral foundations — care, liberty and fairness — with a particular emphasis on care. Conservatives, conversely, value all six moral foundations pretty equally, supplementing their moral palette with the added social relational concerns of loyalty, authority and sanctity. …

PC is certainly fact-truncated.