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Monday, July 3, 2017

College student bolts liberal college, wins the 2017 Captain Renaud Prize for The Obvious

Breitbart News has been flogging a teapot-sized tempest at Washington's Evergreen State College for weeks.

A professor there got cross with the undeniably PC culture of the experimental state college, and the #AltRight has made of him a poster boy.

So now a student has been outed by right-wing media outlets, one of which found his personal email to the professor in a freedom of information act request response. In it the "conservative-libertarian" student said he won't be returning to Evergreen next year because he is shocked- shocked!- to discover its liberal orientation.

Usually the "dayum, how'd ah end up in a godless hole lahk Princeton or Yale?" gambit is a pitch by precocious conservative kids wanting to skip graduation and get an early draft pick by Human Events or National Review, living out the decades until their calendar age matches their mindset, and penning weekly essays and book-length screeds against the modern world.

You gotta wonder what these kids expect. Schools have repuations. Evergreen was designed from the ground up as a non-traditional school, a sort of public sector Bennington or Bard (the student radio station call letters are KAOS).

The man who created it, and made it famous, was a three-term Republican governor of Washington and US Senator, Daniel J. Evans.

Image result for daniel j. evans

The nut of the #Altright jihad on higher education is that it isn't all #AltRight. It's not as if liberal schools keep it a secret, springing it on unsuspecting YAFers once their parents' deposit checks have cleared. 

I know. When I chose St. Andrews University in 1974, I did so with my eyes wide open. The first dean, Robert Davidson, was a champion of Usonian design and liberal thinking who assembled a faculty team who devised a nationally-renowned new core curriculum. 

Two philosophy profs organized the referendum that brought beer and wine sales to Scotland County. 

Students protested the Vietnam War. The 1972 yearbook cover bore a cross and a Viet Cong flag. 

At church, people asked me why I didn't go to a respectable church school, like Davidson or Presbyterian College.

"They didn't want me as much," I replied.

St. Andrews recruited me hard, and gave me a big scholarship. The campus was the first in America built to be 100% handicapped-accessible. At my interviews, the chairs of the history and politics departments vied to sign me up. 

It was the right place. I didn't want to go to a place that reassured me I already know everything I need to know. My hometown was like that. Most of my classmates stayed there, married each other, and have grown old and comfortable never thinking a single unorthodox thought, at least not after divorce and ear studs for men became acceptable at First Baptist Church (I knew the game was up when the pastor got a perm).

I started a College Republican chapter weeks after the Nixon pardon, and by the time I graduated was a power broker in the state organization. I had endless debates with classmates, all of whom are still friends. Many have moved right and waved as they passed me, moving left.

I didn't expect St Andrews to change to suit me. I expected it to challenge me, and it did. The education I received there got me a place at Mansfield College, Oxford in 1978.

If you don't like a school, you transfer. That's the free-market solution. Th Evergreen student is doing the right thing. He just didn't have what it takes to compete in the marketplace of ideas at Evergreen.

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