January 19, 2016


Comedy for college kids? Fuhgettaboutit (Lawrence J. Siskind, 1/18/16, Times of Israel)

The ruling orthodoxy on college campuses these days is political correctness. Universities have become incubators of intellectual uniformity. Many elite colleges seem determined to eliminate any Republican or conservative influence from their faculty lounges. As this blog has previously reported, 96 percent of all campaign contributions from Ivy League faculty and employees in the last election went to Barack Obama. At Princeton, according to an analysis by the university newspaper, only one faculty member and a janitor donated to the campaign of Mitt Romney. At Bowdoin, a top liberal arts institution, 100% of the donations went to Obama. And the trend cannot be explained as support just for the nation's first black President. It is wider than that. Federal Election Commission data for the period of 2011 to 2014 shows that 99% of the political donations of Cornell's College of Arts and Sciences went to liberal campaigns.

To put this in perspective, compare Cornell to Kazakhstan. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, that nation has been ruled by one man, Nursultan Nazarbayev. He has a perfect electoral record.  After his reelection last April with over 97% of the vote, Nazarbayev felt compelled to publicly apologize for his margin: "I apologize that for super-democratic states such figures are unacceptable: 95 percent participation and more than 97 percent [of ballots cast for him]. But I could do nothing. If I had interfered, I would have been undemocratic."

So the odds of finding a conservative faculty member at Cornell are slightly less than the odds of finding any opposition to Nursultan Nazarbayev in Kazakhstan. Sacha Baron Cohen made a funny movie (Borat) about Kazakhstan. Couldn't we also use a satire about Cornell?

That's why stand-up comedy is vital to college campuses. Stand-up comedians, like medieval jesters, are needed to ridicule the regnant political orthodoxy, to disclose its contradictions, and to pierce its sanctimony. Faculty members won't do so, because they are the advocates of that orthodoxy. Administrators won't because they either advocate it, or lack the spine to oppose it.

That leaves it up to Jerry Seinfeld and company. But many of them have gone on strike.

Posted by at January 19, 2016 5:37 PM