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In the latest Chronicles of Higher Education , Mark Lilla explains that conservatism is a tradition, not a pathology:

This month the University of California at Berkeley opened a Center for the Comparative Study of Right-Wing Movements. The center is housed in the Institute for the Study of Social Change, which the university advertises online as an institution placing “issues of race, gender, and class at the center of the agenda,” conducting “research with a conscience,” and capitalizing on “Berkeley’s history as the birthplace of transformative social movements.” Needless to say, the center is not promoting conservatism. This is, as the university reminds us, Berkeley.

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The unfortunate fact is that American academics have until recently shown little curiosity about conservative ideas, even though those ideas have utterly transformed American (and British) politics over the past 30 years. A look at the online catalogs of our major universities confirms this: plenty of courses on identity politics and postcolonialism, nary a one on conservative political thought. Professors are expected to understand the subtle differences among gay, lesbian, and transgender studies, but I would wager that few can distinguish between the American Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foundation, and the Cato Institute, three think tanks that have a greater impact on Washington politics than the entire Ivy League.

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