Student Walkout of Greg Mankiw’s Class

Somehow I missed this when it happened a couple of weeks ago and I didn’t see any of my co-conspirators post on it.  But I read that a couple of weeks ago a bunch of Harvard students staged a walkout of Greg Mankiw’s introductory economics course because of its purported conservative bias.  They wrote in a letter explaining their action: “Instead, we found a course that espouses a specific—and limited—view of economics that we believe perpetuates problematic and inefficient systems of economic inequality in our society today. There is no justification for presenting Adam Smith’s economic theories as more fundamental or basic than, for example, Keynesian theory.”

Leave aside that it seems somewhat questionable whether Mankiw’s class is biased as opposed to being just good economics (a detailed description of the course to date is provided here).  Mankiw, of course, is a well-respected economist of the highest order and the author of one of the most popular introductory economics textbooks (apparently he sells 700 a year at Harvard alone–man, that’s a big class!).

Now here’s the humor in the cluelessness of the students who walked out–apparently Mankiw’s class is set up like a typical introductory economics course: the first semester focuses on micro economics and the second semester focuses on macro.  So the Keynesian macroeconomic theory that the students are demanding will be covered in the second semester of the course–when he actually teaches, you know, macroeconomics.

And here’s the irony: when one considers the number of left-wing professor proselytizing from the podium in higher education today, it is comical to think of these students are unable to tolerate the uncongenial views of even a single conservative professor.  If I had walked out of every class where my professors were saying things that were uncongenial to my ideological worldview then I would never have been able to finish enough courses to complete a degree.  By contrast, these students can–and, it seems, probably will–spend their entire four years hearing from professors who will never challenge their preexisting worldview.  I find it quite disconcerting that these kids at one of the premier universities in the world are so resistant to having their worldview challenged in even the slightest fashion.