Dreams of an ‘Apolitical’ Classroom

April 4, 2005
In the March 18, 2005, issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education, Naomi Schaefer Riley, author of God on the Quad: How Religious Colleges and the Missionary Generation Are Changing America, published the interesting and insightful piece “Conservatives, Too, Are Politicizing Campuses” (subscription required). In the article she points out that the ideal classroom may be the “apolitical” one, where professors choose to not focus on their own politics in favor of encouraging students to develop ideas of their own and students are free to debate their ideas on the merits and regardless of the partisan label attached to them. As we have often pointed out, the goal of fighting illiberal policies on campus is not so that a new oppressive orthodoxy can replace the old one, but rather the goal is to reach the ideal of the “chaotic paradise” where intellectual and philosophical battles are welcomed, savored, and celebrated, not suppressed. We may be daydreaming, but it’s nice to know that there are people out there like Schafer Riley who share our daydreams.