Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Fish cheer

Stanley Fish belatedly hears that CU is looking for a professor of conservative thought:
I’ve just returned from New Zealand and find that in my absence the University of Colorado – the same one that earlier this year appointed as its president a Republican fund-raiser with a B.A. in mining and no academic experience – has gifted me again, this time with the announcement of plans to raise money for a Chair in Conservative Thought and Policy.

Why? The answer is apparently given in the first sentence of a story that appeared in the May 13th edition of the Rocky Mountain News: “The University of Colorado is considering a $9 million program to bring high-profile conservatives to teach on the left-leaning Boulder campus.”
Fish thinks it's all rather silly, of course--which it is, though not for the reasons he thinks--but volunteers anyway:
G.P. Peterson, the chancellor of the Boulder campus, who has been prattling on about “intellectual diversity” (always and only a stalking horse for political diversity), did have a moment when he seemed to be an academic administrator rather than a political operative. He acknowledged that the professor of conservative thought didn’t have to be an actual conservative, and pointed out that many teachers of French “aren’t necessarily French.” (Of course the analogy doesn’t work: you don’t get to choose your country of origin; you do get to choose your political beliefs.)

Taking him at his word, I hereby apply for the job. If what is wanted is someone to teach conservative political thought starting with Plato and Aristotle and hitting the highlights including Hooker, Hobbes, Adam Smith, Burke, Schmitt, Wyndham Lewis, Oakeshott, Strauss, Kirk, Bork et al , I can do that. And if the job is to teach the tradition of conservative aesthetic thought, again beginning with Plato and Aristotle and including Dante, Puttenham, Swift, Pope, Bergson, Matthew Arnold, Irving Babbitt, Eliot, Pound and Allan Bloom, I can do that, too. The only sticking point might be the salary. The suggested figure, which is supposed to include money for an assistant, is $200,000. That, I’m afraid, is pretty low-end. But then again, Boulder is a nice place.
Boulder's got it all!

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