The Miller Center calls itself “a nonpartisan affiliate of the University of Virginia (UVA)” and pledges to carry on “a unique nonpartisan tradition” while promising to represent “presidential and political history accurately and fairly.”
But for all of their talk of being impartial and unprejudiced, two Miller Center professors proved themselves to be the very embodiment of partisan fanatics when they resigned from the think tank to protest the hiring of former White House Legislative Affair Director Marc Short.
In a condemnatory letter addressed to Miller Center Director William Antholis, professors Melvyn Leffler and William Hitchcock argued that “the decision to offer a ‘senior fellowship’ to Mr. Marc Short … “violates the values of the Center.” Professor Hitchcock was sure to share his humble act of resistance via Twitter:
I resigned from a think tank at UVa today because I felt it betrayed its principles in giving a senior fellowship to Trump advisor Marc Short. It is a sad day for me but I’ll continue to work at UVa with brilliant colleagues in the cause of civil discourse. pic.twitter.com/HsH1pw2hXK
— William Hitchcock (@WillHitchUVA) July 30, 2018
Leffler and Hitchcock are both esteemed historians and public policy experts who may have been responding to calls from the Democratic “resistance” to confront Trump administration officials wherever they are. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) infamously instructed her supporters last month to tell Trump cabinet members “they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere.”
Answering this call-to-arms, Leffler and Hitchcock questioned Short’s “ongoing attacks on a free media,” and accused him of forging a common cause with “rhetoric and policies that have empowered and emboldened white supremacists.”
Antholis, establishing a voice of reason at the liberal institution, argued that Short helps fulfill the Miller Center’s mission to study the American presidency. He insisted that his newest employee “brings a missing critical voice—one that represents members of Congress and the Republican Party who continue to support the president in large numbers.”
For his part, Short agreed with the Miller Center director, telling The Washington Post that, “There is an irony at Thomas Jefferson’s university that professors are seeking to silence debate instead of fostering civil conversation.”
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In Leffler and Hitchcock’s letter of resignation, the liberal scholars called Short’s appointment “especially egregious” given that it falls so close to the violent Charlottesville protests which occurred one year ago on UVA’s campus. They wrote:
Until his appointment to a fellowship at UVA, Short did not distance himself from President Trump’s remarks about [Charlottesville]…by not emphasizing the threats to human decency posed by the public display of Nazi symbols and racist diatribes in our own neighborhood, Mr. Short was complicit in the erosion of our civic discourse and showed an appalling indifference to the civility of our own city and university.
Short told Politico earlier this month that he is “sympathetic to the pain in the community” caused by white nationalist demonstrators. “I think we could have done a better job expressing sympathy for the victims and outrage at those who perpetrated this evil,” Short concluded.
He also referred to Trump’s “unambiguous” speech last August, in which Trump declared, “Racism is evil, and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.”
Even as the Miller Center’s director stood by his decision welcome Short, he couldn’t help but advertise his personal feelings about Trump. Antholis made sure to say that he “understands the frustrations people feel” about the Trump administration, but hopes to give Short the “opportunity to help us understand the presidency better.”
Like most of his liberal peers in academia, Antholis believes that the Trump White House is “disruptive and dangerous,” yet worthy of studying. From his remarks to ABC News, Antholis gives the impression that the Miller Center treats the Trump presidency like some negative social phenomenon, worthy of study only as a mechanism for preventing a similar political reoccurrence.
Liberal narratives dominate in the classroom, where only 14 percent of professors identify as conservative. In fact, in the social sciences, an astounding 18 percent of instructors identify as Marxist — not liberal, not socialist, but Marxist — compared to just 5 percent who call themselves conservative.
There is a disproportionate representation of ideas in American academia, and the onus lies upon higher learning institutions who continue to perpetuate the leftist echo chamber. Even in resisting this ideal, the Miller Center director was sure to land a few parting blows on the Trump administration.
Despite the dominating opinion in America’s classrooms, academia, and the mainstream media, half of the country still maintains the common sense to see through the progressive smokescreen, despite the best efforts of professors like Leffler and Hitchcock.
For now, that is …