The Spectacle Blog

View from the Ivory Tower

By on 9.28.10 | 12:11PM

A classmate has written to draw my attention to the 2010-2011 Public Interest Law and Policy Speaker Series of my alma mater, Washington University School of Law. Prominent among the ten speakers are not just the de rigueur columnist from the New York Times, but two Obama administration appointees who were deemed too radical even for the current political class in Washington.

Dawn Johnson was tapped to head the Office of Legal Counsel. The Senate couldn't confirm her, so she finally gave up the ghost and withdrew her nomination. Van Jones was rushed into a phony position as "Green Jobs' Czar, only to be chased out when his moonbattery caught up with him.

And, no, the field is not balanced with conservatives. Surely this sort of overweight is because the students simply need a break from all of that right-wing indoctrination from law faculty?

It will not come as news to you -- though it certainly is a shocking proposition on campus -- but just because the Left has poured spectacular sums of money into public interest groups as a tool to effect policy change does not mean that they have cornered the market on ideas. Sigh.

My first week of school featured alum Clark Clifford taking to Graham Chapel to inveigh, in exceedingly high dudgeon, against the Reagan administration as unethical. Oh, the rich irony. This is also the same school that, after I left, offered to forgive student aid for graduates who entered public interest service. Oh, unless that was with the military. Van Jones' various radical groups? Sure. The people who put their lives on the line in defense of your right to be obnoxious? No way.

There are two ways to get a university's attention: federal money, and alumni...meaning, once again: money, money used to, well, fund axe-grinding, unbalanced speaker programs. A few alumni phone calls brought about a quick, embarrassing reversal of the anti-military policy. Don't expect any similar reversal of the bias here. But it doesn't hurt to remind the public, and any alumni who might be out there, know how certain institutions operate.

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