As if it were somehow a closely-guarded secret that liberals hate Republicans, a University of Michigan communications professor decided to come out of the closet – so to speak – in a diatribe she titled, “It’s Okay to Hate Republicans.” In the op-ed, written for In These Times magazine, Susan Douglas tells the world that she “can’t stand the thought of having to spend the next two years watching Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, Ted Cruz, Darrell Issa or any of the legions of other blowhards denying climate change, thwarting immigration reform or championing fetal ‘personhood.’”
In making her case for the enlightened emotion of hate, Douglas calls on a history of spurious research into partisan politics. Drawing on this social science folderol, she says that conservative thought is centered in “core elements of social intolerance. The need for certainty, the need to manage fear of social change, leads to black-and-white thinking and an embrace of stereotypes.”
Inevitably, not everyone at the University of Michigan agreed with the professor’s views. Grant Strobl, chairman of UM’s Young Americans for Freedom group, said, “the university should take action on the behalf of intellectual diversity and all of the students who are intimidated into silence.” Joining him in the rebuke was Bobby Schostak, chairman of the Michigan Republican Party: “The piece by Professor Susan J. Douglas is ugly and full of hatred, and it should not be tolerated by the University of Michigan.”
The controversy, of course, is not whether or not Douglas is right to hate Republicans. That’s her privilege as an American citizen (and her obligation as a liberal wingnut.) It’s whether she has the right to sit in a position of authority at a public-funded institution and make clear her unambiguous hatred for half the country. Because it is obvious in her language she is not speaking solely of elected GOP representatives; she is speaking to the millions and millions of Americans who embrace conservatism.
As far as I’m concerned, though, it’s fine. Let her holler. If anyone was still laboring under the misapprehension that our country’s higher learning institutions were not wholly run by socialists and feminists and liberals, well, it’s time to wake up. I encourage more professors to follow Douglas’s lead, take the mask of civility off, and let their true feelings be known. At the very least, it will show a generation of young people what the elitist left is all about. It might make for an inoculation of sorts. You can’t easily brainwash students after you’ve thrown all your cards out on the table.
Republicans have been characterized as the party of hate and intolerance for most of the last three decades. Conservatism – contrary to what Douglas thinks – is not a black-and-white, bumper sticker ideology that can easily be explained in a soundbite. It is an all-encompassing, complex amalgam of thought that chooses to include the last 4,000 years of human wisdom in its debate about how to move forward. It is not opposed to social progress. It is not anti-minority. It is not hateful. It is pragmatic, though, and it has no tolerance for silly ideas that abandon logic, reason, and common sense. If that makes it a target for hate, well, it might be a sign of just how loony some of these intellectual “progressives” really are.