Sullivan, having taken note of educator and leftist Fredrik deBoer's complaint about "antagonism towards free expression within the social justice left," wonders "how many leftists willing to suppress bad speech understand their similarity to their Christianist opponents on the right."
I can answer that. None. Not from my experience in the "liberal" academy, anyway, which was the closest thing to authentic groupthink I ever encountered.
Once during a graduate seminar on historiography (which covered recent and liberally approved historical sensibilities but no actual historiography, such as Herodotus, Plutarch, Gibbon, Carlyle and Ranke) I just about lost it after hearing a half-hour student discussion of absolute non-differentiation on contemporary politics. "Doesn't anybody here disagree with anything just said?" I asked. "Anything at all? For Christ's sake I'll take the illiberal, conservative position on matters just to shake things up and force somebody to defend their position," I cried ... after which the most amusingly uncomfortable pall dropped on the student assemblage. They were aghast.
On another occasion, in another seminar, this time on 20th-century American political history, I casually observed that our initial experience with universal female suffrage made little difference in the 1920 presidential election--this being accepted fact in objective historical circles--because, at least in that election, women tended to vote the opinions of their husbands. In other words, male opinions were simply amplified. For a moment I thought I might be physically ejected from the room by two particularly dogmatic feminists who would have none of that, thank you very much; women have always been independently minded in every way, and I could take any difference of opinion--in this case, fact--and shove it up my presumably sexist butt. Disagreeable reality was inadmissible.
Coming out of grad school, my best friend was a retiring professor of a decidedly conservative bent. We enjoyed disagreement, and over mutual wine and my cigarettes we went at it good naturedly. For me his company was uniquely invigorating, not because we saw eye to eye, but because we differed. That, to me, is education, which never stops--although for so many in my experience, it had stopped way too soon.