One of America’s best universities is making an effort to increase intellectual diversity. This fall, Princeton University will offer a course on the intellectual foundations of modern conservatism.
The course, which will be called “Intellectual Foundations of Modern Conservatism,” will be taught by Philosophy Professor Thomas Kelly and offered exclusively to freshman.
“What first interested me in offering this particular course was my growing conviction that, in at least some respects, Princeton University is something of a progressive bubble, where students are not really exposed to the best arguments that can be made for various heterodox political and social views,” Kelly told The College Fix during an interview.
Kelly went onto explain that administrators and faculty initially claimed that conservatism was well-represented at the university due to the presence of notable conservative scholar Robert George.
“When I expressed concerns about viewpoint diversity at Princeton,” Kelly said, “the stock response that I received was: ‘conservative views and arguments are well-represented here; after all, we have Robbie George!’”
Kelly retorted by explaining that it is not ideal that a university can reduce a major political worldview to a single faculty member, despite George’s notoriety. “I don’t think that it’s educationally ideal when an entire political philosophy or cluster of ideas is so closely associated, at least locally, with one individual,” Kelly said.
Kelly plans to assign great conservative thinkers such as Thomas Sowell, Samuel Huntington, and James Q. Wilson. He believes that the course will be helpful for freshman because it will allow them to hear well-articulated arguments for views that are often unpopular on the Ivy League campus. He wants to use these great thinkers to move the course away from the day-to-day politics of the Trump administration and towards giving students a better understanding of the philosophical origins of conservatism, which he believes is most important.
“Like all of the readings for the course, I selected these because I think that they argue intelligently and in a challenging way for views that in my judgment are sometimes given short shrift at Princeton,” Kelly added.
Tom Ciccotta is a libertarian who writes about economics and higher education for Breitbart News. You can follow him on Twitter @tciccotta or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org