October 3, 2012, 1:06 pm
When I was a new assistant professor at a small liberal-arts college, Dinesh D’Souza—a conservative public intellectual—came to the campus to give a talk. While I knew that most other professors on the campus were liberal, I was still shocked by their belligerent questions and barely disguised hostility toward the speaker. After the talk, a student observed that D’Souza was treated in the same way that an evolutionary biologist might be treated at an ultra-conservative, religious college: with enmity, suspicion, and a refusal to engage in reasoned debate.
As a Republican-leaning, market-friendly economist, I began to reflect on how I should react to the liberal bias in my environment. As the years went by, I learned two important lessons. First, you don’t have to hide your views, but you do have to be respectful when you express them. Second, getting worked up about campus…