People sometimes tell me they would never send their children to a public university because the campuses are overrun with liberal feminists. Nothing could be further from the truth. Most of these campuses are overrun with leftists posing as liberal feminists, not true liberal feminists. There’s a huge difference. A recent evaluation I found on Rate My Professors illustrates the distinction:
"I took Mike Adams' class because I read his articles and heard about how horrific he was. And the truth is that he is by far the best professor I've ever had. He is hysterically funny and ridiculously smart. He cares about his students and if you make an effort, he duly notes it. This class alone made me want to go into law. Highly recommend him."
These evaluations are anonymous but students usually tip their hand when writing them. The author of this one is a feminist who enrolled in one of my introductory level courses. Several characteristics of her thinking show that she’s actually a liberal, rather than a leftist. In case you missed them, here they are:
1. She actively seeks out opinions contrary to her own. Note that this student read my articles before enrolling in the class. And please note that “articles” is plural. After reading the first one, which surely presented her with at least one idea running contrary to her worldview, she kept on reading. This is the antithesis of the “safe space” mentality, which is espoused by campus leftists seeking to be insulated at all times from ideas that run contrary to their own.
2. She is undeterred by pressure to engage in intellectual conformity. Note also that she had heard how “horrific” I was before enrolling in the class. This probably means that both her feminist friends and her leftist feminist professors discouraged her from taking the class – probably through the use of ad hominem attacks on the instructor. Nonetheless, she decided to resist the pressure to conform intellectually to her surroundings. In other words, she resisted the leftist mob mentality and decided to think and act as an individual.
3. She has a sense of humor. Do you know how many feminists it takes to change a light bulb? If you are a feminist and you just said, “That’s not funny” you’re also a leftist. If you paused and waited for the punch line, you just might be a liberal.
4. She does not dismiss disagreement as evidence of intellectual inferiority. After taking my class for a whole semester, this student arrived at the conclusion that I am “ridiculously smart,” (not just ridiculous). Realistically, there is no chance that after just a semester she now agrees with all or even most of my points of view. In all likelihood, there is still a Grand Canyon sized gap between our views on most issues. Yet the student refuses to accept the leftist idea that the people with whom we disagree must be stupid. In other words, she understands that tolerance is not about celebrating people who espouse your views. It’s about truly coexisting with people who don’t. Tolerance presupposes intellectual and moral judgments.
5. She recognizes that reinforcement should be tied to performance. Finally, and perhaps most notably, this student recognizes that my concern for students is not unconditional. She notes that I care about students if they “make an effort.” Furthermore, she seems to be applauding the fact that my concern for students is contingent on their willingness to work. This is a clear rejection of the idea that people are simply entitled to things based upon group membership, rather than individual attributes. The leftist mob mentality is not the same as the liberal view that people deserve fair compensation for their efforts.
The only downside to this student’s evaluation is that it ends with the suggestion that she is now determined to become a lawyer. Since she is undoubtedly reading this column I will end with the following plea for her to reconsider:
We have plenty of lawyers both good and bad. But we have a real shortage of truly liberal feminist professors. In fact, I can say without hesitation that the young feminist professors I work with are the least qualified I’ve ever seen. They are intellectually insecure, hyper-conformist, humorless, intolerant, and wildly biased in their treatment of their students – often grading them on the basis of group membership, rather than performance.
So, please, reconsider being a lawyer and instead become a college professor. We need you for more than what you can teach the next generation of students. We also need you for the example you can set for the current generation of ms-guided educators.