You have to wonder, under the circumstances, whether the ambitions of a young conservative novelist would be unreservedly encouraged and diligently nurtured in a contemporary MFA program.
If the answer is no, then the ramifications are profound — and profoundly disturbing. For the issue here runs deeper than the run-of-the-mill ideological browbeating that goes on in college classrooms across the country. Students can always weigh their professors’ rants against more moderate views, and indeed contrary ones, that they hear off campus. But MFA programs now seem to exercise a gatekeeper function. If you don’t pass through one of them, your odds of literary recognition are vastly diminished. It may be that we’re cutting off future generations of conservative novelists at the knees.
That’s not fair. Fairness, though, is a secondary consideration. If conservatives are being denied entrée into the halls of literary production — not by a sinister gentlemen’s agreement but by an inbred ideological disdain — then what we’re cutting off is not just a group of writers, or a political agenda, but an entire sensibility.
Be sure to read the whole thing.