Ross Douthat in The New Republic:
There is no project more evergreen, and more quixotic, than the conservative quest to tug American higher education rightward. It’s a movement traditionally longer on rhetoric than on tactics–tactics being hard, and taking potshots at lefty academics being easy. But lately there have been stirrings of an actual strategy for remaking academia–a mix of government action, intervention by alumni and trustees, and the use of the left-wing “diversity” mantra to press for greater conservative representation in the one-party state that is the American university.
Much of this newfound assertiveness is the work of the indefatigable David Horowitz, whose proposed “Academic Bill of Rights”–currently being considered in the legislatures of 16 states–offers a case study in how the promotion of diversity can be turned to the right’s advantage. Denounced by academics as a McCarthyite outrage, the bill is written in the language of liberalism–there are guarantees for free speech on campus, provisions to allow students and professors to file grievances if they sense political persecution, a requirement that schools consider “intellectual pluralism” in selecting speakers and disbursing funds to student groups. But there’s no question which professors and students are expected to file most of the grievances, nor which end of the political spectrum stands to benefit most from more intellectual pluralism in the lecture hall…