At least since I was an undergraduate, I have noticed that some of the most intolerant leftists I have come across hold tenured positions on university faculties. Those who should be best equipped to wrestle with ideas at odds with their own often show the greatest outrage when students present such ideas. The latest example comes from the Hawkeye State:
University of Iowa professor who studies same-sex relationships was so upset by an email from a campus Republican group promoting “Conservative Coming Out Week” that she fired off a vulgarity aimed at all Republicans, according to messages released by the school Wednesday.
“F— you, Republicans” was professor Ellen Lewin’s response Monday to the recruiting pitch from UI College Republicans. She sent the email from her school account, drawing outrage from conservative students and one Republican lawmaker.
UI President Sally Mason responded to the incident Wednesday by condemning intolerant political speech.
The university president may have condemned intolerant political speech in broad terms,* but she did not single out, as she should have, the professor nor even identify her political views, as if such intolerance were not legion on the left. The university should be questioning why a scholar who reacts as Ms. Lewin did was doing on its faculty.
A conservative who spoke out as did she would likely be subject to sensitivity training. Instead of grappling with her prejudice, this academic used her apology to lash out against Republicans. In an “email to the leaders of the College Republicans,” Ms. Lewin explained “that she had just finished reading about ‘fresh outrages committed by Republicans in government’ when she received the pitch”:
“I admit the language was inappropriate, and apologize for any affront to anyone’s delicate sensibilities,” Lewin wrote.
But she said the group’s email contained several statements that were “extremely offensive, nearly rising to the level of obscenity.” She said she was upset that Republicans used the “coming out” language to describe the week given what she called their general disdain for gay rights. She said the email also mocked labor protesters in Wisconsin and animal rights.
This woman just can’t let go of her prejudices and even includes a jibe against those critical of her angry riposte — dubbing their sensibilities “delicate”. Would she consider a gay man’s sensibilities delicate if he were outraged that a professor replied to his invitation to a talk on anti-gay bigotry with, “F*** you f****t”?
“Her subsequent comments” reminded Glenn Reynolds of Forrest Gump: “It’s just this war and that lying son of a bitch, Johnson! I would never hurt you. You know that.” In another post, Glenn links Michael Walsh who observes that some leftists
. . . never miss an opportunity to let the mask of hatred slip. It’s practically Pavlovian; they are so invested in the myth of their own righteousness that their “tolerance” fetish goes right out the window whenever they suffer the slightest affront to their delusional notion of how the world works.
It is an interesting irony that I read this story after returning from a trip to my alma mater where I had occasion to dine with my favorite political science professor, a now near-nonagenarian Marxist who was a favorite among conservative students for challenging us to explore conservative ideas and develop better arguments. He introduced me to Leo Strauss and Eric Voegelin, helping me understand their arguments and delighted when I used the knowledge he helped me acquire to debate him.
Would it that more academics could learn from Kurt Tabuer and his kind and condemn Ellen Lewin and her ilk. The former has strong opinions, yet shows respect for those with views at odds with his own. The latter can’t even acknowledge her bias.
I do want to believe that there are more of the former on university faculties than there are the latter, but the latter do seem legion. Why is it, I wonder, that so many post-secondary institutions include so many supposed scholars whose very narrow-mindedness is at odds with the very purpose of a university?
*This link via Instapundit.