When I heard that a famous anti-feminist got shouted down at a Portland liberal arts college, I assumed it would be commie-hotbed Reed, not middle-of-the-road Lewis & Clark. Has L&C surpassed Reed as Portland's king of political correctness? —Porch Swing Voter
In case you spent the last week doing something more useful than following America's ongoing media conversation about politics—like, say, repeatedly digging a hole and filling it up again, or making your own gravel—here's what you need to know:
On March 5, the Lewis & Clark Law School chapter of the Federalist Society hosted a talk by Christina Hoff Sommers, a conservative writer on gender issues. The event was quickly disrupted by angry, sign-wielding students who consider her—at best—an apologist for institutional misogyny.
This event prompted the usual handwringing from sources like the New York Times token conservative David Brooks: Our nation's universities have become Orwellian indoctrination camps where free speech is trampled by the lockstep Birkenstocks of political correctness. (For today's student activists, Brooks warns darkly, "reason [has] ceased to matter.")
Let me just pause to say that while I did attend Reed, it's been more than 20 years since I've even known what was going on there, much less attended classes. This makes me only slightly more qualified than David Brooks to opine on campus tolerance for dissent.
Still, there's a reason colleges get such a bad rap for repressing unpopular points of view: They're pretty much the only institutions that make a habit of allowing invitations to speakers whose opinions they mostly disagree with. If Rachel Maddow got invited to speak at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, I daresay she'd get shouted down, too.
In this light, the fact that Sommers was invited at all shows a very non-PC openness to heterodoxy. Meanwhile, Reed has been so successful at stifling dissent I haven't seen it in the news all week. Thus, I will assume its status as Portland's leading Stalinist hellscape is still intact.