As Alexis De Tocqueville demonstrated convincingly, sometimes a foreigner can visit these shores and see clearly aspects of our society that remain unquestioned, unexamined, and unnoticed by Americans. At Macalester College, an elite and highly selective liberal arts college (dubbed one of the "25 new elite 'Ivies''' according to Newsweek) in St. Paul, a junior division example of this phenomenon has appeared in the form of Bassem El-Remesh, a foreign student who shared with his fellow students his view of the state of discourse at that very liberal college (hat tips to Legal Insurrection and College Insurrection for bringing this to my attention). The entire piece, published in the campus newspaper The Mac Weekly, is worth reading. Here is a generous excerpt:
As the election approached, I saw that everyone here supported Obama! Everyone supported voting "no" for the Marriage Amendment and the Voter ID amendment. I have no problem with that; I saw a campus full of political engagement and campaign volunteering. But for one candidate! Where are the Republicans?
As time passed, I listened every day to people talking about the same ideas and same political views. While at meetings, I saw people making fun of other students liking Romney's Facebook page, or even putting a Romney ad in their room or window. They called them idiots! I tried for the sake of being funny to say in front of someone that I am supporting Romney. She got mad at me and asked me never to say that again even as a joke! At another meeting, a girl was angry because she saw a "Vote Yes" sign somewhere off-campus, and she was struck on how people could do that. Another time, I was walking with one of my friends, and she also saw a "Vote Yes" sign outside someone's house. She started to get angry and accuse those people of being ignorant.
Hang on, what is the liberal ideology exactly? Is it that we are right and everyone else is wrong? I thought I came to an international college that promoted world peace and tolerance! Unfortunately, Macalester College only shows us one side of the country, and carefully selected people to satisfy the tradition of it being a liberal, Democratic institution.
I told people about that: apparently they have a nice argument that everyone uses (although I firmly believe 90 percent of them have no clue what evidence there is for it). The argument is that Macalester is the college that has the most conservatives in the state of Minnesota. Well cool! Macalester also has a Republican club. Interesting! Apparently I was just making up all what I wrote above and being liberal and closed-minded is a fact that we can't change.
Out of curiosity, I went around campus searching for Republicans. I found two! One of them told me how annoying it is to be here and regretted that he came. Of course he is free to speak up, but there is a ratio of one to 100 of Republicans to Democrats. Put simply, Republicans don't dare to speak up. But this is not a problem, because only liberals apply to Macalester since it is known to be a liberal college. The problem arises when some faculty voice their opinions. Although they are not allowed to tell students their political opinions, some of them do, and I saw that in my first month here. Republican students would get offended by their professor saying unpleasant words about their political candidate (with all respect to my great professors).
It appears to me that I live between conservatives (according to my definition of the word)-people who are not willing to accept the opinion of the other. But those people are very good at being nice to international students. Honestly, I did not come here to brainwashed by one ideology. I came here to see debates, I came here to see open-minded people talking and accepting each other. I came here also to see Americans discussing what is best for their country, not the best for Obama and the liberal party.
By writing this article I know that some of my friends will be mad at me, and they might also question why I came here in the first place. Sorry guys, this is the only way we will start rethinking about our life here. If students will not work for the best of the institution they are being educated in, no one will. I kindly ask Macalester students to reconsider and challenge their thoughts, open up to Republicans and have equal talks with them, and make Macalester not only an internationally neutral college, but also nationally neutral, where different ideologies come together and talk responsibly, and give its students the opportunity to decide what is better, not only expose them to one philosophy of thinking.
To be honest, at first I was suspicious that this might be a hoax, but that does not appear to be the case. Macalester is so small, with approximately 2000 students, that it would be impossible for a poseur to publish a piece in the college's own weekly newspaper and not be busted as a fraud. The real question is whether or not some eyes will be opened at Macalester or in academia at large.
If liberal academics were as open and tolerant as they claim to be, there would be a major soul-searching. But of course, they are, as Bassem El-Remesh discovered, phonies, who mask their own intolerance in the Orwellian language of political correctness.
The only leverage that clear-eyed people have is mockery, and on this point we have a small opening. Macalester, for all its academic rising star status, is not a comfortable member of the top tier of liberal arts colleges. For one thing, it is in the Midwest, not in Massachusetts, Connecticut, or the other Ivy League states, and therefore sports an unspoken and usually unconscious inferiority complex. More than anything else, colleges like Macalester want desperately to be seen as top rank, just as good as Amherst, Dartmouth, and the rest of the older, richer, and more established rivals that populated America's elites for decades before Macalester was even founded.
Alinsky's Rule Number 4 reads: "Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules." If the rule is that every letter gets a reply, send 30,000 letters. You can kill them with this because no one can possibly obey all of their own rules.
It is time for Macalester College to face a storm of criticism and mockery over its atmosphere of intolerance.