Liberal academics often prefer to dismiss arguments in favor of socially conservative views rather than engage them. This is done, in part, on a principled basis: Since conservative views are (supposedly) excessively harmful to minorities, treating arguments in their favor as worthy of consideration contributes to the perception of conservative views as at least somewhat reasonable. But we cannot have that; and so we must exclude conservative arguments from the realm of polite discourse and as entirely unworthy of any reasonable person’s attention. We must treat them as “beyond the pale,” just as we treat, say, racism or Nazism (though, curiously, often not Communism). Witness some of the comments here, for instance. Examples could easily be multiplied.
But the “beyond the pale” strategy isn’t a very good one. The reason: It is very unlikely that conservative views are just going to stop existing in the face of social exclusion.
Assimilating all conservatives to pre-civil-rights-era racism is far too simplistic, and just applying the solution that worked then to conservatives now will not work. This is because, like it or not, there are intelligent, devoutly religious conservatives, who have strong, sincere beliefs, and a little bit (or even a lot) of social pressure isn’t going to change those beliefs. If too much pressure is applied, it will simply make these people leave academia and continue to live their lives and propagate their beliefs elsewhere. (Though, increasingly, liberals advocate the “beyond the pale” strategy in the public and legal sphere too, making this more difficult; but this will not ultimately be successful in eradicating so-called “hatred,” for the reasons mentioned below.)
There are many crucial differences between the case of segregationism and, say, traditional Christian morality: Unlike the case of racial segregationist views, traditional views about morality and religion are not just held in a peculiar geographic location under peculiar circumstances. They are held by many of your colleagues, probably several in your own departments. They are held even more broadly by your neighbors, by the poor and the rich, the educated and uneducated, by whites and blacks, in the north and south, east and west. Also unlike racial segregationist views, traditional views about morality and religion are actually entailed by certain sacred texts, and are an essential part of the world’s traditional religions. (Yes, yes, you could dispute this with alternative interpretations; but sometimes alternative interpretations are flatly wrong, and no amount of ivory tower mental gymnastics will convince the sincere believer.) This is why these views are not restricted to a specific race, class, geographical location, or socio-economic status, and why even a significant academic minority tenaciously continues to exist.
So these beliefs aren’t going to disappear; at most, they will just move elsewhere. Of course, maybe liberals just want conservative beliefs out of academia. And that might be feasible. The problem is that, given how strongly held these beliefs are, it is not worth it for these people to concede and just conform; so, instead, they will just segregate themselves, where they can continue to flourish stably, possibly even better than before. (See, e.g., Thomas Schelling’s discussion of self-segregation in Micromotives and Macrobehavior.)
Keep in mind that “outside of academia” does not mean “no intellectual support.” There is a mistaken perception of conservative voters as mostly poor, ignorant people who simply need more education; on the contrary, more and more resources are popping up for middle-class conservatives to find intellectual backing for their beliefs, and very many people who self-identify as conservative take advantage of them. (Maybe liberals don’t even realize this! But there’s conservative talk radio, conservative podcasts, conservative Youtube channels, conservative news sites, etc. that very many people follow. Hence, the unconscionable fact that over half the country is, and will continue to be, conservative.) Of course, I’m not assessing the quality of these sources, but only pointing out the sociological fact that conservatives who are pushed out of academia will just make their own “academia.” I’m not saying this would be a good thing; just that we are in the territory of “non-ideal theory,” and this is what is likely to happen in the actual world.
I don’t think this would be ideal for conservatism, since conservatism would become ideologically homogeneous, whereas right now conservatives feel a sense of obligation to engage with liberal opponents. And even leaving aside issues about why academia shouldn’t become an echo chamber for liberal views, I don’t even think this is the best strategy if you’re a liberal, since at least with dialogue liberals can influence conservatism for the better, whereas pushing all of them out will just create a more ideological, defensive enemy, with less cooperation going in both directions. So the better strategy would be to have open, constructive dialogue, given the actual circumstances of what is likely to ever happen to conservative views in the actual world. It is simply futile to attempt to treat traditional religious, conservative people as “beyond the pale.”