It's boring to write about the obvious but at times the obvious deserves to be verified non the less. I stopped into the new Princeton University book store yesterday to verify that they had no journals of rightward opinion. No need for suspense here, of course they didn't. We all know that the modern university is a monoculture, admitting to no actual philosophical diversity.
But I was also struck by how few journals were offered for sale in general. The usual suspects like Mother Jones and The American Prospect were there, as well as more than a few of those obscure little Socialist journals with forgettable names and content. But the total number of journals of opinion and specialist content was surprisingly small. The old book store sported quite a wide variety. But now, one of the premier universities of the world provide only about 12-15 feet of shelf space to cover the whole spectrum of periodic literature.
As I was trying to remember all the many journals like Antaeus and the numerous literary journals once on offer, I noticed these very same journals on sale as used copies. How curious that a store serving an institution of higher learning should recognize the demand for journals that it, itself will not carry. What does this say about the state of intellectual curiosity at Princeton? Ivy League students do tend to be apple polishing careerists who need look no further than the prejudices of their professors to attain their goal. In an establishment that re-enforces mediocrity and conformity, exposure to actual debate is just a distraction. So I suppose once this uniformity is established, the very desire for exposure to ideas atrophies to the point where a desire to read even one's own propaganda flags.
I will visit the Rutgers book store soon to see if this lack of curiosity has seeped down to the state university level.