In recent years, there has been much discussion about whether or not universities are liberal. Some claim that they have become increasingly politically oriented and socialist. Others say that students feel more socially conscious but that this is due to social media, online forums, and constant exposure to political messages. Either way, most agree that colleges today seem to promote democratic values such as diversity and tolerance.
However, does this mean that these institutions of higher learning are truly academic? This question was asked by student protesters back in 1968 during the Vietnam War. Back then, many schools were accused of being too focused on educating students while disregarding their careers after college. A growing number of employers require at least a bachelor’s degree for career opportunities so why should students pay attention to what professors teach when it comes time to find employment?
I believe that both answers to our initial question are yes. I will discuss some examples of how academia can be considered progressive even if society is not necessarily. When we look closer, we see that educational institutions play an important part in shaping people’s perceptions of societal issues.
Academic disciplines like sociology, psychology, and history emphasize the importance of understanding individuals’ behavior within broader contexts. Concepts such as power imbalance, inequality, and influence describe ways in which individual actions effect larger groups. Therefore, studying these areas is an effective approach to exploring social issues.
There are many different types of universities
Almost every university is considered liberal at some level, but not all liberal institutions are the same. What makes an institution liberal or conservative depends mostly on your moral values and how you perceive other people’s morals.
Some things that have been categorized as “liberal” ideals include equality (of the rich and poor), civil liberties (freedom from governmental interference in personal life) and social justice (fair treatment for those who may be less fortunate).
Other things that are labeled as “conservative” ideals include patriotism (love for one’s country), economic conservatism (fostering wealth through risk-free investments) and individualism (belief in self-sufficiency).
There are several ways to determine if an educational facility is more socially liberal or conservative than another. Some traits like age, gender, and location can play a significant role.
With this information, it becomes easier to identify which schools are politically neutral, leaning towards either end of the spectrum. By studying these campuses, we can get an idea of whether they are socialist or capitalist, communist or fascist.
Some are very liberal
Many universities have programs that promote social justice, multiculturalism, and diversity. These programs aim to increase understanding of other cultures through courses, activities, and collaborations with like-minded organizations.
Social justice is defined as equal opportunity for all individuals in our society. Multiculturalism means having more than one culture – not just white Western ones. And diversity refers to the variety of people who make up a group or community.
These terms mean different things to different people, but they share one common goal: equality for everyone. This can include racial, ethnic, religious, economic, and gender groups.
Many universities now offer degrees and certifications in these areas so students can get professional experience in them. Social justice professionals work towards creating an environment where every person has their basic needs met (food, shelter, healthcare) and rights protected (to live free from discrimination).
Multiculturalists organize events, classes, and conversations to explore differences between various cultures and how they influence us. Students gain knowledge about other cultures and learn about the effects of cultural norms across societies.
Some are moderately liberal
Many universities these days have what they call “social justice” programs that promote diversity, inclusion, and multiculturalism. These include student organizations dedicated to improving racial equality, LGBTQ+ rights, and other issues such as poverty or gender inequality.
Many also have honor societies or alumni associations that reward students for their work in social activism or philanthropy.
But is this really an example of liberalism? After all, some people use terms like “diversity” and “inclusion” very differently than we do.
And while many schools now offer courses about marginalized groups, with their emphasis on how different cultures relate to each other and past events related to race, colonialism, and feminism…what about the value of capitalism? Or free speech?
This article will talk more about why using “liberal” to describe yourself may not be the best idea.
Some are moderately conservative
Many universities have very moderate political ideologies. These schools tend to be more socially liberal, but they are not necessarily pro-capitalist or anti-government intervention.
Many people refer to these types of institutions as “liberal” because that is how liberalism has been portrayed in popular culture.
Liberalism has become synonymous with things like equality, freedom for individuals, humanitarian efforts, and tolerance of diverse views.
However, this perception is heavily influenced by Hollywood movies and media stories about wealthy white men who use their power to dominate others.
These narratives reinforce stereotypes about liberals being arrogant elites who enjoy exploiting other people.
It also ignores the fact that not all liberals are rich white males. In fact, most do not belong to any one group!
Not only that, but some conservatives claim that many liberals promote immoral behaviors such as greed, materialistic living, and unethical practices.
This article will discuss which traits some universities share and what students at these schools can expect.
Some are very conservative
Many people believe that universities have a liberal bias, with professors teaching students about controversial topics like evolution, capitalism, and racial inequality. These people often cite examples such as classes titled “The Origins of Capitalism” or “Capitalism and Literature.”
However, these types of classes are not only limited to having a liberal bias, they also do not exist at all!
There is no class called “The Origin of Capitalism.” There is no course that teaches literature about capitalism. What there is is an introductory sociology class which covers some concepts related to capitalism such as economics, power, and politics. Beyond that, most college courses assume that you know what socialism and communism are, so they don’t include any content about those systems.
Furthermore, even if there was a class about capitalism, it would probably be criticized for being too capitalist. We’re talking about a system where someone else gets paid while you lose money, so why should you learn something that benefits them over you?
Lastly, many students take socialization seriously, believing that studying inequality will create more inequalities. Therefore, they choose to avoid learning anything beyond their personal experiences- something that important lessons teach you.
Universities should be more liberal
Liberals often argue that universities have too much respect for moneyed, powerful people and corporations. They claim that this influence is preventing students from learning about important issues and systems of oppression.
This influence comes in many forms. For example, some professors may use class materials or resources which emphasize themes like capitalism, white supremacy, and patriarchy.
Other professors may promote political ideologies such as socialism or communism over free-market economics. Some might teach only about politically neutral topics and not apply concepts like equality to questions of social justice.
These instances are just examples of how academia can become biased against radical ideas. It is very difficult to learn about hard lessons in inequality when your professor is always talking about how great our current system is!
Liberal colleges also seem to value diversity over unity. Many institutions feature “diversity weeks” where they focus on black studies, women’s studies, LGBT+ studies, etc.
These special events usually exclude any references to other groups who have been oppressed by our society (like whites, men, Christians). This attention does not help anyone achieve understanding of societal inequalities.
Universities should be moderately liberal
Recent events at universities across America have shown that there is an increasingly polarizing environment due to excessive political bias. These biases are not limited to one side of the aisle, as many people believe colleges to be politically biased against Republicans.
Colleges were once seen as insulated from outside influence, but this is no longer the case. Students and professors are constantly exposed to messages with moral superiority towards certain groups or individuals.
In fact, some argue that today’s students are more polarized than those in past years. In their view, young adults seem less tolerant and willing to accept differences in opinion.
This lack of tolerance is both internalized and externalized. Internalized intolerance comes from within you; your own beliefs about what is “good” make it difficult to tolerate things that are different. Externalized intolerance happens when you impose these limits onto other people.
It can take the form of refusing to sit next to someone on a train because they don’t look like you, or boycotting a business because it supports racist ideologies. More commonly though, it takes the form of denying jobs to candidates because they are religious or promoting academic theories that challenge traditional narratives.
Universities should be slightly conservative
Liberals have a very strong perception of what an “university” is. They assume that every institution that calls itself that is, in fact, liberal. Therefore, they believe that universities must be liberal and encourage students to adopt these ideologies.
This assumption is wrong. An educational institution does not need to be liberal to be successful! In fact, being liberal can actually hurt your education.
Universities are institutions funded by taxpayers who expect them to educate their students while promoting academic excellence. These taxpayers do not pay money to support politics that are clearly opposite of this goal.
Students also invest large amounts of time in university courses and facilities, so they deserve to learn about all different philosophies instead of only ones that agree with our pre-existing beliefs.