Recent studies have confirmed that American universities have become bigoted and biased against the expression of conservative views. One new study documents bias against the expression of conservative views among social and personality psychologists, including those at universities:
We find that respondents significantly underestimate the proportion of conservatives among their colleagues. … that conservatives fear negative consequences of revealing their political beliefs to their colleagues. Finally, we find that conservatives are right to do so. In decisions ranging from paper reviews to hiring, many social and personality psychologists admit that they would discriminate against openly conservative colleagues. The more liberal respondents are, the more willing they are to discriminate.
Also note this passage, from the 2009 book The Politically Correct University:
Substantial anecdotal and quantitative evidence indicates that there is a decided leftist bent to colleges and universities, particularly the most prestigious institutions … Moreover, as several of the following contributions discuss, this political imbalance likely stems from practices within the academy that discourage conservatives from pursuing academic careers. … We maintain that the relative absence of conservative, libertarian, and neoliberal thinkers and thought from the academy is in part caused by discriminatory academic personnel practices.
And read this passage from “A Crisis of Competence,” a 2012 report for the Regents of the University of California by the California Association of Scholars:
This report is concerned with the corruption of the University of California by activist politics. … The condition we investigate is now a well-documented pathology of the modern university. … According to a recent (2007) Zogby poll, a majority (58%) of the public now believes that the problem of faculty political bias is a very serious one.
These are the very institutions that were to promote freedom of speech. How were they taken control of in the first place, to the point where the documented intolerance could be permitted?
Professor David Gelernter’s new book America-Lite: How Imperial Academia Dismantled Our Culture (and Ushered in the Obamacrats) addresses the history behind the transformation of many universities to a system biased in favor of liberal views. He describes how leftist intellectuals were brought into the universities, and how the previous guardians of conservatism in these places bowed out. Gelernter observes that such views spread elsewhere from their new home in the university, including to the mainstream media.
Gelernter believes that the old conservative guard voluntarily stepped aside:
Intellectuals didn’t conspire to make the cultural revolution happen. They could not have forced the Great Reform if they had tried, because the WASP elite colleges were private institutions in the age before massive federal grants let the government sink its teeth in permanently. The reform happened because the WASP elite stepped aside. It was a remarkable event — either a heroic, self-effacing embrace of justice for its own sake, or an act of exhaustion.
But perhaps he is being too kind to the intellectuals. Is it possible that indeed there was a mechanism by which leftists forced out those who didn’t agree with them?