Guest-blogger Kathy G. at Crooked Timber, protesting Washington University's plan to award an honorary degree to Phyllis Schlafly, manages to express a certain academic mindset (all emphases added):
Nor do I believe that conservatives should never receive honorary degrees. There are conservative scholars who do work that is respected within academia—many economists, for example—and they would not be inappropriate candidates for such an honor. Nor would I have a problem with conservative pundits, so long as they're sane and genuinely distinguished (which these days admittedly narrows the field to practically zero), such as the late William F. Buckley. I'll even grudgingly accept the reality that conservative Republican elder statesmen are regularly awarded these things. Though even here there are limits—while personally I wouldn't protest the awarding of a degree to George H.W. Bush, even though I find him pretty hateful, far-right lunatics like Cheney, Dubya, and Jesse Helms should be entirely out of bounds.... as much as conservatives may whine and scream to the contrary, liberalism and conservatism are not moral equivalents. Because, on the one side you have the thinkers and activists who have advanced freedom, social justice, and human rights, and on the other, you have those who have attempted to thwart all those things.
Not that this mindset is limited to academics, of course, nor, do most academics have such juvenile ideas regarding politics, but it's sufficiently common in academia that it's little wonder that bright young conservatives will think twice before going into the academy and potentially putting their career fates into the hands of those who think that they are presumptively "hateful," "lunatics," who are not "sane" and are attempting to thwart all that is good and just.