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Radicals in Higher Education:
Last week, Sean Hannity expressed the following concern on Hannity & Colmes:
Kids are indoctrinated. They're a captive audience. What can be done to remove these professors with these radical ideas from campus?
Michael Berube responds here.
Cornellian (mail):
Ha ha, great reply.

No one's forcing you to send your kids to Columbia Mr. Hannity. If in fact such places indoctrinate their students with a truckloads of falsehoods, then Mr. Hannity should be happy to send his kids to, say, Jerry Falwell's Regent University instead where he can be confident that they will graduate free of any exposure to ideas inconsistent with Mr. Hannity's ideology.

And by the way, undergraduates are not quite the delicate flowers that Mr. Hannity seems to believe, at least not on my campus. They're a great deal more cynical than you might think and can spot a ranting ideologue a mile away. Sitting quietly in class while pretending to pay attention is very different from actually believing or agreeing with anything the prof is saying.
2.20.2006 9:03pm
Charlie (Colorado) (mail):
Sean Hannity is one of the great demonstrations that anyone in this country can be a success.

No matter what their IQ.
2.20.2006 9:10pm
JunkYardLawDog (mail):
Went to the link and found nothing but a typical childish attempt at humor and denigration disguised as sophomoric satire that failed to contain even a single original joke or thought. The fact that the writer appeared to be completely clueless as to the problem, a serious problem, that was referenced by Sean Hanity revealed much more about Berbe or whatever his name is than Berbe's inane attempts at satire revealed about Sean Hanity.

Orin, I'm surprised you read the stuff from such an immature closed minded fool as this Berbe guy.

Says the "Dog"
2.20.2006 9:12pm
Mike BUSL07 (mail):

If in fact such places indoctrinate their students with a truckloads of falsehoods, then Mr. Hannity should be happy to send his kids to, say, Jerry Falwell's Regent University instead where he can be confident that they will graduate free of any exposure to ideas inconsistent with Mr. Hannity's ideology


To be sure, what Hannity is criticizing is the opposite extreme, which is going to a university that fails to expose you to any ideas that its faculty disagrees with. Hannity, heavy-heanded as usual, opens himself to precisely the ridicule that Berube subjected him to, but Hannity's basic point is pretty much unassailable - if you want an elite education - you have to put up with leftist intolerance. It's a cliche, but it's true.

It's easy for Mr. Berube to attack the straw man of literal captivity and indoctrination. Unfortunately, his witticisms would be far less humorous if toned down to address the reality on the ground. Consider, "Sure Mr. Hannity, I guess students in American better criticize capitalism and glorify Marxism, lest their liberal professors take a dislike to their views." You know why that's not funny? Because it's true - or true at any rate at the supposedly elite poli sci department from which I graduated.
2.20.2006 9:15pm
Mike BUSL07 (mail):
American=America

at any rate [it was true] at the...

Sorry, I've been "regulating securities" since 2 PM.
2.20.2006 9:17pm
OrinKerr:
Orin, I'm surprised you read the stuff from such an immature closed minded fool as this Berbe guy.

Lighten up, JunkyardLawDog.
2.20.2006 9:26pm
dk35 (mail):
Mike BUSL07,

Please provide an example of how someone in your elite poli sci department "glorified" Marxism and, even if you can come up with any, how you were punished by the faculty for expressing any views that didn't "glorify" Marxism.
2.20.2006 9:30pm
therut:
Yes it is too true. The good thing is there is a new day dawning. With the internet, the stupidity of MSM,and more cable news people are waking up out in the country. Parents are mad. There is going to be a tipping point. Children are more Conservative than their baby-boomer parents and I have decided the left has been right all along in that the Revolution will not be televised but the revolution is one toward more Conservative and Libertarian values. They have been a witness to their parents failures and do not want that life for themselves. Who in their right mind wants to see a bunch of naked,gray,wrinkled,screaming people who paint their bodies with "No More War" or lay naked in a group spelling out PEACE, or defecating on the sidewalk in protest. That will really get you far in life. I recommend laughing very loud at the professors. They get very angry when no one takes them serious.
2.20.2006 9:32pm
Commenterlein (mail):
Mike,
Why didn't you simply take a few classes in the business school or the econ department? Plenty of "glorification" (or at least generally sympathetic analysis) of capitalism, and usually rather little patience with Marxism.

I teach in such a place, and I get plenty of complaints from bleading-heart liberal undergrads who presume that I must hate poor people and / or gay wales, simply because I try to explain the merits of free trade, shareholder value maximization, or whatever the topic happens to be. That simply means that their preconceived wisdowms are being challenged, and that means that they are getting an education.
2.20.2006 9:32pm
some guy (mail):
an anti-intellectual arch-conservative? will wonders never cease.
2.20.2006 9:35pm
Mike BUSL07 (mail):
I'm very happy you asked dk35,

I actually alluded to this in a previous comment, but anyway, here it goes. In my freshman Intro to International Relations course, we were given an essay by Schumpeter, and one by Lenin, and asked to pick a viewpoint, explain why, etc. As it happened, of the people I talked to, the overwhelming percentage of good grades fell in the pro-Lenin bunch.

Having never before gotten a "C," I went to complain to the professor, who said "this is college and no one is going to hold your hand." I found that commen ironic, having just gotten out of the Army, where, you know, no one held my hand, about 3 months before writing that paper...

I understand that people get bad grades, even - God forbid - people who think they are smart. It's just peculiar that my 3 "C's" in college came in classes where I was called upon to express a view either consistent or inconsistent with the professor's ideology, and went for the latter.
2.20.2006 9:36pm
Mike BUSL07 (mail):
Commenterlein,

By the time I got wise, it was a little late to switch majors, but I did take some classes at the business school, and found that on the whole to be a much more fair experience.
2.20.2006 9:38pm
Roger Schlafly (www):
Without some context for "these professors", the comment is meaningless.
2.20.2006 9:40pm
Justice Fuller:
Mike BUSL07,

Back when I was in school, my view was this: If your professor is a Marxist, be a marxist; if your professor is a neocon, be a neocon. You don't actually have to believe any of it, you just have to mimic it on the paper or exam. Why doesn't that solve the problem?
2.20.2006 9:41pm
Justice Fuller:
Mike BUSL07,

Back when I was in school, my view was this: If your professor is a Marxist, be a marxist; if your professor is a neocon, be a neocon. You don't actually have to believe any of it, you just have to mimic it on the paper or exam. Why doesn't that solve the problem?
2.20.2006 9:41pm
Mike BUSL07 (mail):
Why didn't I? Optimism and youthful, err, stupidity...
2.20.2006 9:43pm
dk35 (mail):
Mike BUSL07,

Sorry about your C's and I suppose neither you and I will ever know whether or not they were deserved. All I know is that I attended and taught at elite institutions, and never once saw anyone get a C on a paper because they expressed an ideological point of view at odds with the professor (so long as they supported their contentions and wrote in complete sentences, of course.)

But now are you trying to tell us that the professor was not only Marxist, but also a Leninist? As far as I knew Lenin is more in with the conservatives these days. See Fukuyama's op-ed in Sunday's NYT.
2.20.2006 9:50pm
Shangui (mail):
Who in their right mind wants to see a bunch of naked,gray,wrinkled,screaming people who paint their bodies with "No More War" or lay naked in a group spelling out PEACE, or defecating on the sidewalk in protest.

Yes, and this is exactly the scene we see on campuses all across this great land. Come on. I went to BROWN and never saw anything like this (though there was a decent amount of topless sunbathing).

I found it a lot easier being libertarian at a place like Brown than I would have at a place like Bob Jones of Falwell U. Yes, academia leans to the left, but it's hardly the powerful force of indoctrination many make it out to be. If it were, I somehow doubt the GOP would control the presidency and both houses of congress. Which is it, you whiners, are you the voice of the majority or the put upon minority here? You can't be both. Are elite institutions intellectually irrelevant or are they the all-powerful corruptors of our youth?
2.20.2006 9:51pm
Cornellian (mail):
but Hannity's basic point is pretty much unassailable - if you want an elite education - you have to put up with leftist intolerance. It's a cliche, but it's true.

Why do you have to put up with it? Why can't you find a college filled with conservatives or libertarians or both and send your children there? If elite institutions are filled with hardcore ideologues who rant rather than teach then your children aren't going to learn there anyway. If they're really doing such an awful job at educating people then isn't the market going to punish that by giving fewer prospects to their graduates and making it more difficult to attract new students? Don't conservatives claim that market forces are sufficient to deal with things like employment discrimination? Why not here?

I'm not suggesting that the faculty in the humanities and social science departments of elite universities don't lean left. Clearly they do, though I'm not so sure one can say that about science, engineering, medicine, or even law. What I'm saying is, given the free market, and the existence of a diverse range of choices as to what college to attend, why is it a problem that any particular college has a left leaning humanities faculty?
2.20.2006 10:03pm
PierreM (mail):
Shangui:

"Are elite institutions intellectually irrelevant or are they the all-powerful corruptors of our youth?"

The two positions above are not mutually exclusive. From the perspective of classical political philosophy the leftism of most academies is objectively disordered and so inherently corrupting. To put it bluntly, they teach vice by glorifying political evil and denigrating the good.

While students (and parents) are free to choose the schools they attend, to imply a student can just change schools ignores the great investment of time and money that often accompanies matriculation in the original school.

In addition, most of the comments above have focused on undergraduate students. But whatever happens there is nothing compared to the open bullying of graduate students and the grotesque encouragement by graduate humanities faculties of the most craven forms of fawning and sycophancy.
2.20.2006 10:06pm
Lowell R. (mail):
Yes, Berube's reply failed to answer anything. But Hannity's comment is just too inane to be answered by anyone with a PhD -- and this from someone who disagrees with Berube on most substantive points.

FWIW, LawProfDog, surely an open-minded fellow like yourself can spare the time to read Berube's "Employment of English," which is very funny and available for $1.32 on Amazon. If you haven't read it, "The Employment of English," or any of his books on the academy -- well, why are you judging someone's scholarly calibre based on his blog?
2.20.2006 10:10pm
frankcross (mail):
I wish the polisci dept. had been named. I'm relatively familiar with polisci and unaware of any depts. that are unremittingly Marxist. I would think the poster would want to name the dept. to protect others.

Hey, ideological balance is a reasonable issue to discuss, but the point is that Hannity's juvenile comment ("how do we remove these people") called for a juvenile sarcastic response.
2.20.2006 10:10pm
Mike BUSL07 (mail):
Cornellian,

market forces are indeed at work here. I have no empirical proof for the following, but it sounds plausible (to me anyway): rather than dealing with difficulties in a hostile academia, you go work "in the real world," where efficiency is too much of a factor to be hampered by prejudice.
2.20.2006 10:15pm
Shangui (mail):
From the perspective of classical political philosophy the leftism of most academies is objectively disordered and so inherently corrupting. To put it bluntly, they teach vice by glorifying political evil and denigrating the good.

Um, I'm going to need a bit of evidence here. And what aspect of "classical political philosophy" (whatever you mean by that) would see any left-leaning ideas as "objectively disordered so inherently corrupting"? But again, if they are so overwhelmingly powerful why does the country as a whole not share their values?

to imply a student can just change schools ignores the great investment of time and money that often accompanies matriculation in the original school.

Are you telling me that there are a lot of conservative parents out there who will be shocked, SHOCKED, to find out that Harvard, Yale, Brown, Columbia, Berkeley, etc. lean to the left? You'd have to be in a cocoon not to have this general impression. Don't like it, don't go there. Don't send you impressionable young kids there.

grotesque encouragement by graduate humanities faculties of the most craven forms of fawning and sycophancy.

Yes, you like the dramatic adjectives. But again, some specifics? I'm going to go out on a limb and say you had a bad grad school experience. That's a shame and there are certainly horrible egotistical profs out there. But to generalize that they are all on the left and have as their aim the destruction of all that is good about America is just silly.
2.20.2006 10:21pm
Columbia Undergrad (mail):
somebody helppppp meeeeee, im beeeeing indoctrinated!
2.20.2006 10:23pm
Michael Bérubé (mail) (www):
Lighten up, JunkyardLawDog.

Thanks, Orin. Though I have to say that I'm deeply offended that he didn't spell Hannity's name correctly. Besides, should any of your readers really want me to address the "problem" in a more serious mode, I could always direct them to my recent talk on academic freedom, the transcript of which I posted on my blog last month. It's 5000 words long, though, so I should warn people not to bother with it unless they're in the unlikely position of having some free time and nothing better to read. And though I don't imagine that Lowell R. will agree with it, I think it's somewhat more substantial than my facetious reply to Sean Hannity, whose question does not deserve anything more than a facetious reply.

And thanks for the link, too. Much appreciated.
2.20.2006 10:23pm
Mike BUSL07 (mail):
Shangui:


Are you telling me that there are a lot of conservative parents out there who will be shocked, SHOCKED, to find out that Harvard, Yale, Brown, Columbia, Berkeley, etc. lean to the left? You'd have to be in a cocoon not to have this general impression. Don't like it, don't go there. Don't send you impressionable young kids there.


Here is an analogous argument. Are you shocked to find out that Vault50 law firm XYZ tends to promore a greater percentage of white men than of its other employees? If you know this, and you are black or a woman, don't work at law firm XYZ.

In both cases, before we conclude "If you know this, then dont...." we ought to inquire whether the prevalence of a particular group - whether liberals on campus, or white men in law firms - is a good thing, and whether it's "naturally occurring," or a result of discrimination, or other factors we wish to avoid.

To simply say "this is the fact - deal with it," is to admit at least the possibility of a problem, but avoid the need to deal with it.
2.20.2006 10:30pm
Seven Years in the Ivy League:
The social purpose of universities, especially at the undergraduate level, is neither to educate nor to indoctrinate, but to credential. What one studies as an undergrad is irrelevant. The point is to go to the right school and get good grades so that you will get into a good grad/professional school (where you may or may not learn something, depending on the field) or to get a good (i.e., high-paying and/or prestigious) job.

Certain universities--the Ivy League schools, top state schools, a few others--have been around for a while and have attracted smart, successful people over the years. Employers know this and look for those schools on a prospect's resume. They figure it's a proxy for intelligence/motivation/etc. Prospects figure this out and compete to get into the top schools. Only the smartest succeed. They then get the best jobs, do great things, and prove to a new generation that one is most likely to succeed with a degree from a top school. And so the process continues . . . .

Most smart conservatives will not send their children to (and smart conservative children will not choose to go to) places like Regent or Hillsdale, even though the kids would get a better education there, becuase those kids will be more successful in life with Ivy League degrees. The only way this would change is if successful conservative employers changed their hiring preferences to prefer conservative schools (which would, on average, mean accepting less talented, albeit better-educated, employees).
2.20.2006 10:51pm
ficus:
Cornellian,

Market forces do not work so well because the quality of a university, as a learning environment, is influenced by the caliber of the students. There is a small pool of really bright kids who enter college each year, and they tend to flock to the prestige places, where they find others like themselves. A college with a wonderful faculty, but without the high-gloss reputation, won't see so many of them.

A good friend of mine just finished teaching the same seminar to a class at a top-flight private university and at an average state university, and the difference in the discussions and the reports was substantial. This should not be a surprise.

So far as market forces are concerned, the prestige places, who have far more qualified applicants than they have places, probably do not notice the small number of applicants that they lose because of their leftward tilt. Hence I doubt that market forces push them toward the center.
2.20.2006 10:52pm
Shangui (mail):
Mike BUSL07,

That is a good point, and I'm all in favor of change from the inside. The comment to which I was responding, however, seemed to consider all poli sci programs at elite universities as inherently evil. The comment also assumed the parents would be sending their children to these schools in complete ignorance of the schools' liberal leanings then be stuck when they discovered them. "This is the fact, deal with it" (though not my actual words) could easily mean do your best to change the system. I wrote for the school paper and consistently expressed views that were well to the right of the student body in many cases (and well to the left of them in others). That seems to be a more reasonable approach than "kick them all out" or calling them "objectively disordered and so inherently corrupting." I do think that academia in the undergraduate level is pretty open to different ideas. Professors may be more set in their ideas but so are older generations in most contexts.
2.20.2006 10:56pm
Jon L:
Mike BUSL07,

The way to deal with it is for non-Leninist students to have a little more courage. If conservative or libertarian elite students weren't so scared of attending any school that U.S. News hasn't deemed worthy, maybe they would be more inclined to attend the newer crop of right-leaning universities. This would turn them into elite schools in short order, barring some sort of liberal academic conspiracy theory.
2.20.2006 10:58pm
Mike BUSL07 (mail):
Heh. Well, on the "kick them all out point," Sean Hannity is an idiot, whether I voted for the same guy as him in '04 or not.
2.20.2006 11:00pm
SimonD (www):
Some guy:
an anti-intellectual arch-conservative? will wonders never cease.
Help me out here: why would you conflate Hannity's complaint about indoctrination with anti-intellectualism, unless you also conflate indoctrination with being an intellectual?
2.20.2006 11:05pm
PierreM (mail):
Um, I'm going to need a bit of evidence here. And what aspect of "classical political philosophy" (whatever you mean by that) would see any left-leaning ideas as "objectively disordered so inherently corrupting"? But again, if they are so overwhelmingly powerful why does the country as a whole not share their values?

By "objectively disordered" and "inherently corrupting" I mean that they would see most current left-wing positions regarding society, politics, and morals as contrary to what can be reasonably demonstrated to be true about those topics. Most of the ones I have in mind, for example, would see the emphasis on participatory democracy and its extension into the economic sphere as morally dubious and tending towards political tyranny. I am referring to Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Hamilton, de Tocqueville, etc. BTW, the notion that there 'can't be anything demonstrated to be true about those topics' is a conceit of (small 'd') democratic decadence that has been noted since Plato.

Are you telling me that there are a lot of conservative parents out there who will be shocked, SHOCKED, to find out that Harvard, Yale, Brown, Columbia, Berkeley, etc. lean to the left? You'd have to be in a cocoon not to have this general impression. Don't like it, don't go there. Don't send you impressionable young kids there.

Yes, I am: think of the immigrant parents who are not well educated themselves but who sweat 50 hours a week and achieve the kind of modest success that allows them to send their progeny to an elite university. What do you call it when their son or daughter comes home for Christmas break (after mom and dad have payed the 10K tuition bill) spouting pseudo-Foucaultian gibberish about 'logocentric phallocracy.' To me, the terms 'fraud' and 'morally repulsive' come to mind.

Yes, you like the dramatic adjectives. But again, some specifics? I'm going to go out on a limb and say you had a bad grad school experience. That's a shame and there are certainly horrible egotistical profs out there. But to generalize that they are all on the left and have as their aim the destruction of all that is good about America is just silly.

Here are the specifics: a law student in a combined JD/MA program argued with some outrageously biased professors and a bullying feminazi in a seminar on a classic feminist text.

He was accused of 'sexual harassment' and forced to change schools.

The rest of us were wise enough to keep our mouths shut, although the faculty members were subject to considerable ridicule outside of class.

I was fortunate enough to have several very good professors at other universities and even one of the pair in the class referred to above was very much 'on topic' (and an excellent teacher) when it came to his more narrow area of expertise.

My point is that the atmosphere of intimidation is quite overwhelming.

The one bright spot is the fact that students are not as stupid as professors sometimes think: the fact that they regurgitate twaddle for papers and exams doesn't necessarily imply that they have been convinced.
2.20.2006 11:09pm
Sarah Brabazon-Biggar:
My Russian Revolution teacher this semester told us flat out, on the first day of class, that Stalin was a coldblooded murderer on the largest scale ever seen, that Lenin wasn't a nice guy either, and that Marxism was considered discredited by most scholars. She's pretty cool.

I'm going into my senior year, and the overwhelming majority of my teachers have been definitely politically left. I'm a libertarian, and have found most of them quite tolerant and professional. (I should say I've avoided social and political science classes like the plague.)
2.20.2006 11:17pm
Mr Diablo:
As captive an audience as one who watches Fox News... you can always change the channel, always go to Liberty University.

If liberal professors are so bad and so biased and so detrimental to education, then don't go to those schools. The reality is people don't actually believe this crap, they just want to use it as yet another GOP red herring -- this time to try to pass bills as reckless as that of the Arizona legislature. It's another card in the "every environment must have two giant yelling heads who disagree" school of thought. It's so anti-academic freedom it's absurd.

And while I feel bad for whoever got a C on here, the anecdote proves nothing. And time and time again these silly arguments about the bias in universities are nothing more than that: Anecdotes that are less than completely unverifiable.

Justice Roberts seemed to do just fine academically, as did Justices Alito and Scalia, despite their seven crippling years at liberal Ivy league institutions.

Are we really using the word 'Leninist' and expecting to be taken seriously? That too easily bandied word should be thrown into the 'Nazi' pile.
2.20.2006 11:18pm
Shangui (mail):
the emphasis on participatory democracy and its extension into the economic sphere as morally dubious and tending towards political tyranny.

In that case you are correct. Most political science professors as elite universities are in favor of participatory democracy. We're off to hell in a handbasket. Good thing we're not fighting a war ostensibly to spread democracy around the world.

What do you call it when their son or daughter comes home for Christmas break (after mom and dad have payed the 10K tuition bill) spouting pseudo-Foucaultian gibberish about 'logocentric phallocracy.'

I call it straw man. This odd stereotype of elite education is possibly accurate for about 1% of the students involved. Most of the students I know who are the children of hardworking immigrant parents are majoring in econ. They'll make more money than I do and that's fine with me.

a law student in a combined JD/MA program argued with some outrageously biased professors and a bullying feminazi in a seminar on a classic feminist text. He was accused of 'sexual harassment' and forced to change schools.


Ah, the Rush quote (or did your friend go to school in Germany in the 40's where he encountered actual female Nazis?). Makes more sense now. Not that I really care anymore, but define "accused" (are you talking about a complaint brought in front of disciplinary board?) and "forced." If this is true, it's obviously horrible and absurd. But one incident does not an overwhelming social trend make.
2.20.2006 11:38pm
frankcross (mail):
IMHO, someone who casually uses the term "feminazi" essentially disclaims all interest in being taken seriously, no matter how often they reference Aquinas.
2.20.2006 11:40pm
ThirdCircuitLawyer (mail):
What do you call it when their son or daughter comes home for Christmas break (after mom and dad have payed the 10K tuition bill) spouting pseudo-Foucaultian gibberish about 'logocentric phallocracy.'

Doesn't this assume that students are so impressionable that they start mirroring whatever the professors say in class? That seems exceedingly unlikely. When I went to my own Ivy League college, I came home for Christmas break with a very detailed knowledge of heavy drinking. I didn't pay much attention to the political b.s. that my professors were spouting.
2.20.2006 11:49pm
PierreM (mail):
Mr. Diablo:

The reality is people don't actually believe this crap

Well, they do: I know someone who was a department chair at an Ivy League school. Some department members wanted a new sub-department of women's studies. The chair went privately to each member of the department and inquired as to their views. A clear majority were against.

When the faculty meeting was held, a clear majority voted for the creation of the sub-department. The chair was somewhat shocked, and discovered later that those who had changed their votes felt too intimidated to say 'no' in public.

He decided to resign as chair and take early retirement.

So even inside the academy, there are those who clearly recognize the Leninist atmosphere.

BTW, the chair was a cofounder of a small Trotskyite party in his country of origin, so he is hardly a conservative politically. But he has too much respect for his subject area to participate in the teaching of fraudulent ideological indoctrination.
2.20.2006 11:49pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
My daughter went shopping for a history elective at Dartmouth a few years ago. Every course she sampled seemed an exercise in America bashing, so she decided against a history elective. She also attended an elite private middle and high school in California and encountered a similar atmosphere. She told me that the school never once had a conservative speaker. But I’m happy to report that all those years of exposure to liberal dogma, including the last three years at an elite law school, didn’t make her into a liberal. Quite the reverse. Lots of kids know the score, I don’t think we have to worry.
2.20.2006 11:52pm
PierreM (mail):
frankcross:

Then you haven't really met one of the type who will brook no disagreement regarding the sacred tenets of her doctrine, and who knows how to manipulate the ideological weaknesses and procedures of a school that already leans left to get what she wants.

Are you an attorney? I thought that's what you guys do in the courtroom all them time :-)

In all seriousness: arguing with the woman was like a arguing with a religious fanatic and she was a bully to boot. I think you are seriously underestimating the atmosphere of intimidation at some schools.

ThirdCircuitLawyer:

Heh. Yes, I note above that the fact that students are not as impressionable as professors sometimes take them to be.

But in reference to the education in alambics to which you refer, we were the ones who cheated our parents, not the university :-).
2.20.2006 11:59pm
sbron:
As someone inside academia, my experience is that
failure to believe in multiculturalism, racial
preferences, and open borders will render one
ostracized. The problem is not how many Democrats
versus Republicans are on the faculty, but the
presence of a cohort of racial Marxists whose
hatred for the bourgeosie overlaps with lunatic
anti-White and sometimes anti-Semitic rantings.
2.21.2006 12:04am
AnonLawStudent:
[Relatively] conservative top tier schools do exist - West Point, Annapolis, and Colorado Springs. The huge difference between academy graduates and those of Columbia or Brown - a 2LT has an unforgiving marketplace for his ideas.
2.21.2006 12:06am
John Stossel (mail) (www):
I think you are seriously underestimating the atmosphere of intimidation at some schools.

Give me a break.
2.21.2006 12:09am
LIBERAL Arts Alum:
A professoriat grossly skewed toward the extreme left is not an impediment to intellectual discourse, per se. However, at too many schools, including the small liberal arts college where I went, the faculty are not content to harbor their political leanings privately. When professors en masse openly condemn the conservative point of view as, at best, lacking in sense or, at worst, sinister in some form, they are foreclosing meaningful debate. They are also labeling the political beliefs of 50% of their student body (according to most surveys, student populations at elite schools reflect the national split among liberal and conservative) as unacceptable. At my school, this led to a professor flipping me off when I tried to discuss the clinton impeachment with him, and the atmosphere that such behavior created led another conservative to be punched in the face at a party by some liberal kids. These examples are extreme, but, unfortunately, not atypical.

I will say that law school has been far better, on balance. The realities of the judiciary and of legal practice dictate that faculties cannot ignore or ridicule originalism or other conservative philosophies. The faculty are far more balanced (I'd say the conservative leaners make up 30% of the faculty, as opposed to less than 1% in undergrad), and even the most liberal profs are unfailingly courteous and open to discussion of opposing views.

Those who think you should have to choose between acceptance of opposing viewpoints or an elite education in the Ivy League, Little II, or other comparables have missed the entire mission of education. They betray themselves as interested only in maintaining the liberal dominance of the undergraduate intellectual community at any cost.
2.21.2006 12:25am
Mark H.:
The good news is, even if the indoctrination routine is real (and I think it is), you'd think after 4 or 5 decades of it that we'd have 535 Dems in the congress, a Dem President and 8 Ginsberg clones on the Supreme Court by now.

That we don't, is obvious proof of an untenable message that students throw on the ash heap as soon as they've conned their way to good grades and graduated.

Given their miserable track record so far, I think the left-wing ideologues should try even harder!
2.21.2006 12:29am
PierreM (mail):
John Stossel:

"There are none so blind as those who will not see."

BTW: there is some confusion in this discussion between Marxists and others.

I don't have any opposition to Marxism or good old fashioned diamat being taught. I may disagree with it and find it a politically pernicious doctrine, but at least it's a doctrine.

What I object to is the coercive presentation of free floating politically correct nonsense that is obviously designed to influence partisan politics yet is dressed up as academic theory.
2.21.2006 12:30am
Tom Anger (mail) (www):
Professor Bérubé protests too much. I have no time for Sean Hannity, but the essence (if not the tone) of Hannity's question deserves a thoughtful reply. The usual appeal to academic freedom is no more than an effort to deflect attention from the intellectual bankruptcy of leftist academic cant. I have not noticed that Americans are better off for having been subjected to such cant. It took me a few decades to outgrow my own "indoctrination" at the hands of the mostly left-leaning faculty at a State-supported university. And I suspect that my alma mater was far less to the left when I went there in the Dark Ages of the late 1950s and early 1960s than it is today. As for the bias evident in Professor Bérubé's own port-side emissions, I had this to say a while back about a piece Bérubé wrote for The Nation:
Michael Bérubé [is] a professional academic who is evidently bereft of experience in the real world. His qualifications for writing about affirmative action? He teaches undergraduate courses in American and African-American literature, and graduate courses in literature and cultural studies. He is also co-director of the Disability Studies Program, housed in the Rock Ethics Institute at Penn State.

Writing from the ivory tower for the like-minded readers of The Nation ("And Justice for All"), Bérubé waxes enthusiastic about the benefits of affirmative action, which -- to his mind -- "is a matter of distributive justice." Bérubé, in other words, subscribes to "the doctrine that a decision is just or right if all parties receive what they need or deserve." Who should decide what we need or deserve? Why, unqualified academics like Bérubé, of course. Fie on economic freedom! Fie on academic excellence! If Bérubé and his ilk think that a certain class of people deserve special treatment, regardless of their qualifications as workers or students, far be it from the mere consumers of the goods and services of those present and future workers to object. Let consumers eat inferior cake.

Bérubé opines that "advocates of affirmative action have three arguments at their disposal." One of those arguments is that
diversity in the classroom or the workplace is not only a positive good in itself but conducive to greater social goods (a more capable global workforce and a more cosmopolitan environment in which people engage with others of different backgrounds and beliefs).
Perhaps Bérubé knows the meaning of "capable global workforce." If he does, he might have shared it with his readers. As for a workplace that offers a "cosmopolitan environment" and engagement "with others of different backgrounds and beliefs" I say: where's the beef? As a consumer, I want value for my money. What in the hell does diversity -- as defined by Bérubé -- have to do with delivering value? Perhaps that's one reason U.S. jobs are outsourced. (I have nothing against that, but it shouldn't happen because of inefficiency brought about by affirmative action.) Those who seek a cosmopolitan environment and engagement with others of different backgrounds and beliefs can have all of it they want -- on their own time -- just by hanging out in the right (or wrong) places.

Alhough Bérubé seems blind to the economic cost of affirmative action, he is willing to admit that the practice has some shortcomings:
Affirmative action in college admissions has been problematic, sometimes rewarding well-to-do immigrants over poor African-American applicants--except that all the other alternatives, like offering admission to the top 10 or 20 percent of high school graduates in a state, seem to be even worse, admitting badly underprepared kids from the top tiers of impoverished urban and rural schools while keeping out talented students who don't make their school's talented tenth. In the workplace, affirmative action has been checkered by fraud and confounded by the indeterminacy of racial identities--and yet it's so popular as to constitute business as usual for American big business, as evidenced by the sixty-eight Fortune 500 corporations, twenty-nine former high-ranking military leaders and twenty-eight broadcast media companies and organizations that filed amicus briefs in support of the University of Michigan's affirmative action programs in the recent Supreme Court cases of Gratz v. Bollinger and Grutter v. Bollinger (2003).

Stop right there, professor. Affirmative action is "popular" because it's the law and it's also a politically correct position that boards of directors, senior corporate managers, and government officials, and military leaders can take at no obvious cost to themselves. Further, those so-called leaders are sheltered from the adverse consequences of affirmative action on the profitability and effectiveness of their institutions by imperfect competition in the private sector and bureaucratic imperatives in the government sector.

As I wrote in "Race, Intelligence, and Affirmative Action," here's how affirmative action really operates in the workplace:
If a black person seems to have something like the minimum qualifications for a job, and if the black person's work record and interviews aren't off-putting, the black person is likely to be hired or promoted ahead of equally or better-qualified whites. Why?
* Pressure from government affirmative-action offices, which focus on percentages of minorities hired and promoted, not on the qualifications of applicants for hiring and promotion.

* The ability of those affirmative-action offices to put government agencies and private employers through the pain and expense of extensive audits, backed by the threat of adverse reports to higher ups (in the case of government agencies) and fines and the loss of contracts (in the case of private employers).

* The ever-present threat of complaints to the EEOC (or its local counterpart) by rejected minority candidates for hiring and promotion. Those complaints can then be followed by costly litigation, settlements, and court judgments.

* Boards of directors and senior managers who (a) fear the adverse publicity that can accompany employment-related litigation and (b) push for special treatment of minorities because they think it's "the right thing to do."

* Managers down the line learn to go along and practice just enough reverse discrimination to keep affirmative-action offices and upper management happy.
I reject Bérubé's counsel about academic freedom as utterly as I reject his counsel about affirmative action. Academic freedom seems to be fine for leftists as long as they hold the academy in thrall. More parents would send their children to schools that aren't dominated by leftists if (a) there were enough such schools and (b) the parents could afford to do so. But the left's grip on the academy seems to be as secure as the grip of the labor unions on the American auto industry -- and you can see what has happened to the auto industry as a result.

As I wrote here,
The larger marketplace of ideas counteracts much of what comes out of universities -- in particular the idiocy that emanates from the so-called liberal arts and social sciences. But that's no reason to continue wasting taxpayers' money on ethnic studies, gender studies, and other such claptrap. State legislatures can and should tell State-funded universities to spend less on liberal arts and social sciences and spend more on the teaching of real knowledge: math, physics, chemistry, engineering, and the like. That strikes me as a reasonable and defensible stance.

It isn't necessary for State legislatures to attack particular individuals who profess left-wing blather. All the legislatures have to do is insist that State-funded schools spend taxpayers' money wisely, by focusing on those disciplines that advance the sum of human knowledge. Isn't that what universities are supposed to do?
2.21.2006 12:32am
James Lindgren (mail):
First, I found Berube mildly amusing, and was glad that Orin linked him. Hannity may not be a straw man, but neither is he a difficult target to hit broadside. Unfortunately, it isn't clear whether, leaving Hannity's bad arguments aside, Berube recognizes any problem with the lack of ideological diversity on most elite campuses.

Some commenters in this thread question that professors still claim to endorse Marxism in class.

Besides being a Northwestern law professor, I am a grad student in Sociology at the Univ. of Chicago. Chicago's Sociology dept. is far from the most liberal one (I know of at least 2 professors who lean Republican). Yet even at Chicago, I heard professors say some amazing things in class.

1. Wm Julius Wilson (now at Harvard) was asked by a student during a required class why he wasn't more explicitly Marxist. Wilson assured the student that he was indeed a Marxist and his work was Marxist, but that he refrained from using Marxist terminology because it made his work less palatable to a wider audience. The sad thing is that I have read enough of Wilson's work to believe that Wilson is not really Marxist. I got the impression that even one of the department's most famous and most accomplished professors felt so constrained by the academic atmosphere--at the U. of Chicago no less!!--that he didn't want to admit to a student in class that he wasn't really a Marxist. Or maybe I was wrong and Wilson really is what he claimed in class to be: a Marxist.

2. Another example in a required class: the professor and the class discussed Marx's "labor theory of value" as if it were a sensible and insightful critique of capitalism. I kept waiting for the professor (or a student in the class) to point out that the idea was economic nonsense, that Marx really didn't understand capitalism very well, and that this idea was at the heart of the collectivization of agriculture, which (conservatively) cost at least 50 million lives in the 20th century (not including the wars started by collectivist regimes). (On death totals from collectivization, see Bob Ellickson in the Yale Law J. (ca. 1998).) But no, the labor theory of value was taught straight, not just as an important historical idea (which it is), but as a sound critique of capitalism!
2.21.2006 12:33am
dk35 (mail):
I love it when conservatives start with the victimology (the conservative kid gets punched at the party) and the less than 1% conservative leaning academic stuff.

Care to cite the studies showing that conservative undergraduates get punched more than liberal undergraduates? And if you went to a school where 50% percent of students are conservatives, I would like to see your source showing that less than 1% of the faculty were conservative.
2.21.2006 12:44am
Billy Budd:
For what it's worth, I'll give my impression of Duke (undergrad) and Columbia Law School.

At Duke, most professors in the international relations side of the political science department were moderates. Most econ professors were free-market oriented. Most science professors were probably liberal, but never let their views affect class. However, there were pockets of fervently Marxist professors. The literature department was just insanely Marxist. Some literature majors seemed like they were brainwashed.

I've now had 8 profs at CLS. Seven never let their views affect class in any harmful way (Of those 7, I would classify one as a Law-and-EC "conservative", one as a libertarian, two as moderates, and four as Democrats/liberals). The last prof was an avowed Marxist who really let her views get in the way of class. Although her grading was opaque and senseless enough to thwart any attempt to figure out if it was influenced by political considerations, everyone in the class operated on the assumption that serious disagreement with her would be fatal. Anecodotally, the one person that I know tried to seriously disagree with her positions got a pretty bad grade on the exam.

In general, I would say that instances of harmful professor bias are rare, but that there are some pockets of crazy, irrational professors. I guess that there is some truth behind Hannity's musings, but I think that he overstates his claims.
2.21.2006 12:48am
Billy Budd:
(the last two sentances of my post somehow weren't included. They were:)

There are crazy, irrational, and biased people in all walks of life. The fact that some work in academia should not be very surprising.
2.21.2006 12:51am
Kendall:
Most science professors were probably liberal, but never let their views affect class.

That's a little odd. So, they're probably liberal but they never showed it in class? I'm curious how one can discern a professors ideology if he never expresses it or lets it affect him in class.
2.21.2006 12:53am
Perseus (mail):
Although most members of the American political science profession are not Marxists, I would point out that many in the profession thought it necessary to start what is now known as the "Perestroika" movement in order to promote methodological pluralism. I think that the profession would likewise benefit with a Perestroika movement to promote political pluralism, but I won't hold my breath since a token conservative seems to be the extent of the profession's commitment to "tolerance" and "diversity."


And I wouldn't characterize the higher education market as particularly free given the subsidies provided to state colleges and universities.
2.21.2006 12:55am
canadianllb (mail):
Hardline conservative students seem to come out quite well because their views are challenged and refined so much. Being a minority doesn't kill them, it only makes them stronger.

Liberal students would benefit if they demanded to hear from more (openly) conservative professors too. Who wants to study in an echo chamber?
2.21.2006 1:17am
dk35 (mail):
What I find to be interesting is how Billy Budd casually states how most econ professors were free market oriented, but lingered on the Marxist professors.

My educators taught me to be critical of all grand theories. And certainly, if there was any time to practice this critical thinking, it's in college. I also learned that it helps to learn and understand a theory before feeling like I could justifiably critique it. This might explains Jim's experience in the class on Labor Theory of Value. In any event, the Labor Theory of Value can be critiqued on many levels. And certainly many arguments have been made that it is "economic nonesense." Of course, many arguments have been made that Reagan/Bushonomics is "economic nonesense" as well.

Also, I think many here are playing fast and loose with the term Marxist. Marxism means a lot of different things to a lot of different people, and is for obvious reason a loaded term.
2.21.2006 1:32am
used to be in college (mail):
The cures proffered by Hannity and Horowitz are far worse than the illness. Rather than resort to drastic remedies, most students simply slip the professor a "oh, you are soooo right" placebo and move on to the real world (where, perhaps not coincidentally, the far left has been unable to convince many people of anything at all).
2.21.2006 1:44am
Grand CRU (mail):
My constitutional law professor in law school was a liberal. He is even an unabashedly results-oriented liberal. He had John Kerry stickers plastered all over his office door during the election. Students complained about how liberal he was; they complained he was skewing the arguments in a biased liberal way.

Here's the thing. The guy is a liberal, but he also agrees with much of Robert Bork and Alexander Bickel and hates Scalia. In other words, much of the time he was disagreeing with students who were advocating "the conservative viewpoint," they were really advocating a Richard Epstein-type argument or an Antonin Scalia-type argument, both of which can be attacked from the right with some Beckel or Bork.

And the same people who complained about how liberal he was flunked his tests, which basically begged students to analyze all the possible conservative arguments (i.e., know them) and explain why they were unsuccessful based on the facts. In other words, he was a liberal who taught his class all the conservative arguments that he didn't believe in. Students who were blinded to learning by that mere fact that he was personally a liberal completely missed out on the conservative education he supplied.

So I'm not so sure a teacher's personal views matter, so long as the teacher is a good teacher. Sorry for the after school special comment.
2.21.2006 1:56am
used to be in college (mail):
Grand CRU,

There are some profs like that. I had a jolly warrior Marxist prof who insisted we all read Hayak, Friedman, and the WSJ. Of course, I had several more who wanted the Marxist party line -- and that's what I served up for them.

But isn't your default value set at "tell them what they want to hear" unless you have unimpeachable proof that they are an exception to the rule?
2.21.2006 2:02am
Charlie (Colorado) (mail):

So, they're probably liberal but they never showed it in class? I'm curious how one can discern a professors ideology if he never expresses it or lets it affect him in class.


Easy, Kendall: sometimes one interacts with one's professors out of class.

(Having been a graduate student, technician, and instructor in sciences at Duke, I think Billy mostly has it right. And the English department was very heavily and explicitly Marxist, eg, Fredric Jameson.)
2.21.2006 2:10am
Charlie (Colorado) (mail):
Hey, Billy, one of my grade school classmates is now a law prof at Columbia, I understand. Drop me an email at chas r martin AT gmail DOT com; I'm curious about him and the place.
2.21.2006 2:13am
Grand CRU (mail):

But isn't your default value set at "tell them what they want to hear" unless you have unimpeachable proof that they are an exception to the rule?



No, my default in law school was argue like hell with the professor and use him or her as a sparring partner to construct my own legal theory and political philosophy. I was one of those idiots who thought law school was a Platonic Academy. I would put a novel argument down on an exam that contradicted what the professor wanted to hear or that the professor did not expect to see, knowing full well it would ruin my grades because it ticked off the professor or went overlooked. I still did better than most of the people there. So, whatever. No, I don't compromise. But, then, law professors are generally a smart and diligent bunch. Regardless of their ideological commitments, if their philosophy is coherent, they've usually read all the stuff someone disagreeing with them should have read but hasn't. At least, throwing up a crazy argument elicits an intelligent response you can steal and a citation to something you otherwise wouldn't have known to read. The two best ways to get information from other people are: 1. play dumb and 2. say crazy things that tick them off.

Now, if I am on a date with a hot girl...yes, I tell her whatever shes want to hear, if I can figure that out before I have offended her.
2.21.2006 2:43am
Noah Klein (mail):
To all the wronged conservatives:

I feel so sorry for you brave men and women, who fought diligently against the evil Marxists at your school to maintain your conservative philosophy and independence. College must have be hell for you. All the professors and other classmates laughing and ridiculing you in class. How did you manage it? We offer too little praise in our society for the great men and women who survived the evils of college.

Give me a brake. I don't know if anyone here went to GW or any school in D.C., but they are pretty liberal. The fact is that the school is located in D.C. (the most liberal city in America) and faculty and student body is pretty liberal (hundreds of College Dems vs. 50 college Reps and whole host of liberal student orgs.) Yet through all that conservative students were still able to make their views known. They consistently got conservative speakers (politicians, government bureaucrats and other scholars) to come to their student orgs. (thankfully the liberal faculty did not bar the students from hearing these speakers) and even in the classes (oh how could it be?). The conservatives at my school were unafraid to speak up (even when the socratic method was used) or even taunt us liberals with the fact that they owned the government. These conservatives even received good recommendations for jobs like the friend of mine who worked in the Bush White House during the 2004 election.

Where did the crimes of supressing intellectual development take place? At GW, people were rewarded for making coherent arguments and not just the liberal ones. At GW, professors offered arguments for both sides of the political divide (I'm not sure about other disciplines because I was a poli sci/history major). I did learn about Marx and Hegel and I learned about Burke and Hume and Mill. I did learn about the New Deal and I learned about the Reagan Revolution. I learned about the campaign finance laws (which conservatives argued was against free speech) and the nature of the political system with the Hamiltonian and Jeffersonian and other ideologies presented.

Please tell me where these crimes against you conservatives occurred, because I will my best to prevent from happening again. But you can't. Why? Because if you thesis was correct that all these lefty professors were indoctrinating their students, then four things would be impossible: 1) the baby-boomers would not be voting Republican (since they were the first to be so indoctrinated and thus would be less observant of the bias) 2) the Republicans would not control the Congress, the Presidency and the judiciary 3) there would not be a majority of college-educated people voting Republican (check every poll's demographics and you will notice that college-educated people vote more Republican than Democrat) and finally 4) those conservatives on this blog would be unable to make intelligent and coherent arguments in support of their philosophy.

I am not saying that liberals are in academia in equal proportion to their numbers in the general populus. I am also not saying that conservatives in business are in equal proportion to the general populus. Conservatives choose business more often and liberals choose academia more often. If you want to change this, go into academia. There are plenty prominent conservatives there. I'm sure they would welcome you.

I am also not that there are not crazy liberal professors who demand that their students regurgitate the professor's beliefs back to them. I am saying though that these people are not a majority, but a small minority in higher education. The good teachers, which I have noticed are numerous in higher education, teach everything about their subject.

Finally, I want to point out to those who above have disparaged our higher education system that it is most well regarded higher education system throughout the world. The evidence of this is the many numbers of foreign students who come to not England, France, Egypt, Japan, South Africa, Bolivia, Canada, but to America to gain a higher education.

Noah
2.21.2006 4:02am
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
Overall, I think that law school is much better than undergraduate school about thought police. For example, in Con law, about half the class filed a grievance about the prof asking that some of the women argue against Roe v. Wade. Come to find out, he is a raving liberal, yet, where it counted, in class, he kept it strictly controlled. My only bad classes were torts and contracts 1L, and that had nothing to do with the politics of the profs, and everything to do with their competence. Starting 2L, it was easy to avoid the dogmatic profs if you were diligent about reading reviews and listening to the grapevine.

But undergraduate is somewhat different. A degree from Harvard is worth far more than one from your state university in most cases. Ditto for much of the rest of the Ivy League. The extra value is in the reputation of the school and the connections made, then and later. It is fine to say, just go to a less politically correct or leftist school. But that will ultimately cost, probably much more than the tuition differential.

In the past, you could argue that you didn't go to Harvard because you weren't a legacy, didn't have good friends who were Harvard grads, etc. Maybe your family immigrated here within the last 100 years, and so weren't connected well engough. It is unlikely that Al Gore and Teddy Kennedy would get into Harvard today, or would George Bush or John Kerry get into Yale today. Then, it was much more important who you were and who you knew than how smart you were. So, if you didn't go to Harvard, it often wasn't because you weren't smart enough. You just weren't well enough connected. Now, admission is mostly based on merit.

Today, getting into schools like that is extremely, highly, competitive. With limited exceptions for some legacies whose families have given large amounts to the schools, most of the undergraduate admittees of these elite schools are the best of the best. And graduation from one of these schools is evidence of that for the rest of your life. To a very great extent, the value of a diploma from a school today is highly correlated with the difficulty in being admitted to that school.

There are a lot of reasons why markets don't really work here. One is the interaction between tenure and how long the kids are at a school. Tenure is for life, often meaning 30 or so years, while undergraduate school for most of us was 4 years. Similarly, the reputation, and thus desirability, of these schools, has been built up over decades, and in some cases, centuries. It isn't going to dissipate overnight, or, in most cases, within the teaching careers of those tenured profs, almost regardless of what the schools do.

So, when a HS senior is faced with finally deciding whether to go to an elite college with a lot of, for example, avowed Marxist working there, or a notably lower status school that doesn't, many, if not most, pick the more elite school, knowing that the tradeoff is a much more valuable diploma in trade for putting up with the BS. (State schools have their own problems this way - note the Ward Churchill situation here at the University of Colorado).

And the parents are similarly conflicted. After paying private school tuition for 12 years to get your kid into the best schools possible, and if they work hard and pull it off, do you then tell them that they shouldn't go because of the liberal/marxist orthodoxy at those schools? After all, much of that tuition was for exactly that - getting them into those elite schools. I, for one, when faced with that decision in a bit, will most likely push for the elite education.

Worse, these elite private and public high schools are geared for this, and by then, the kids are mostly all tuned into that competition. Yes, the guidance counselers give lip service to getting the kids into the best schools for them personally, but invariably, where the kids go each year is featured (subtly, but noticably) in their advertising - because that is a big thing the parents are looking for in sending their kids to private schools. The more kids a private school can send to the top colleges, the higher the tuition they can usually charge, etc.

The military academies are not a viable alternative to this for most. Admission is still partially political. And, then, the military character of these schools doesn't fit a majority of students. Plus, they have other requirements - my best friend's nephew is at the prep school for Anapolis. He enlisted, aced nuclear training, and was then offered an appointment next year if he can get through the year at the prep school and qualify physically. The former is easy for him. The later is quite problematic, with less than a semester to go. He is too much the thinker, and not nearly enough the athlete.
2.21.2006 4:51am
KMAJ (mail):
As interesting as all this dialogue is, I thinbk it is safe to say that most teachers are able to separate their ideology from what they teach. Though academia defintely leans left, it is the Ward Churchills that tar them. Academia has itself to blame for that. They allowed tenure to provide protection and make these professors untouchable. It is an interesting aside that you never hear of conservative professors presented or protected in such a light. You hear stories of conservative professors denied tenure and if they dare go off the far end, like Churchill, they are summarily released. It is not really the professors that are the problem, it is the administrations who set the curriculum and do the hiring.

I am not sure that those studying economics are getting a focus on free-market capitalism. As long as Keynes is given hallowed status in relation to economics today, it would be easy to question that assertion. When he was creating his Keynesian economic theories, Marxism did not have the stigma it has today. He studied Marx and Engels incorporated some Marxist thought in his economic principles, particularly where he saw government as an influential engine in economic policy. For the longest time, academia rejected Friedman, Hayek, Mundell and Laffer. There are still Keynesians in prominent positions in economic academia. John Maynard Keynes economic theories are what guided this country from the New Deal until Reagan, even then they fought against change, some still do today.

I wonder if the trend here to claim law schools are unbiased is due to the legal profession of most posters. Why are trial lawyers, one of the democrats biggest financial supporting special interest groups, undeniably democrat in their political support ? Is it strictly for financial reasons, that democrat policies are more profitable ? Or do law schools turn out those with a more leftist bent ?
2.21.2006 6:00am
Grand CRU (mail):
You avoid the crazy liberals in law school by avoiding more theoretical classes and instead taking courses taught by practitioners, judges, or that deal with the regulatory state. It's classes without substance like, say, Gender Theory And the Law, where the professor feels free to indoctrinate.
2.21.2006 6:08am
Pete Freans (mail):
Every now and then I will dust off my college notebooks from well over a decade ago and wonder at some of the class discussions: Multiculturism? Eco-feminism? Earth and its inherent feminine nature and man's misogynistic rape of her? "Better Red than Dead?" While I understand these points of view, I certainly don't hold them with the kind of religious intensity I once did and I've learned to place them in context.

At the time, I was seeking the highest GPA possible. So if my professor thought his dog's death was more tragic than his father's death? "It certainly was, professor. My goldfish held a similar place in my heart." Africa will never have a naval fleet because blacks don't like water? "I never thought of that professor, thank you. Now how much is class participation worth?"
2.21.2006 8:03am
Smithy (mail) (www):
Some won't like to hear this, but many of these professors are guilty of sedition. The fact that we are at war makes these radical professors' statements that much more treasonous. It is time to start prosecuting sedition.
2.21.2006 8:48am
Dustin R. Ridgeway (mail):
However worthy of praise, or at least unobjectionable they might otherwise be, the modern conservative's capacity for self-pity is one of the most unique phenomena in our current political life.
2.21.2006 9:06am
Smithy (mail) (www):
It's not about self-pity, Dustin Ridgeway (a liberal-sounding name if I ever heard one), it's about keeping us safe and preserving our values. There's a difference. I don't feel sorry for myself -- I feel sorry for the liberals who are too dumb to see what is happening to this country.
2.21.2006 9:12am
Chukuang:
Wow, I thought Smithy was a parody ("a liberal-sounding name") but then I went to his site.

Liberal professors are a danger to freedom of speech. Let's put them in jail for what they say! When everyone is in jail, we'll all be free! Go team!!!
2.21.2006 9:22am
SimonD (www):
in Con law, about half the class filed a grievance about the prof asking that some of the women argue against Roe v. Wade.
You've got to be kidding...You would think that people that dumb would be weeded out by the admissions process; still, that's affirmative action for you. ;)
2.21.2006 9:38am
Smithy (mail) (www):
The universities fill themselves with substandard students admitted via affirmative action -- and then they guarantee that these admits get good grades by basing their grading scale on political correctness.
2.21.2006 9:40am
SimonD (www):
Some won't like to hear this, but many of these professors are guilty of sedition. The fact that we are at war makes these radical professors' statements that much more treasonous.
What exactly does "shall make no law" mean to you? Gore, Kerry et al may be off the reservation, off their medication, foolish, unwise and ridiculous, but prosecute them for sedition? Are you out of your mind?
2.21.2006 9:41am
Anderson (mail) (www):
Tom Anger lost me with his gibberish about Bérubé's not being in the "real world."

There is a field of academic study called "literature," reading old and new books and studying them. Shakespeare was real. So was Tolstoy. So, believe it or not, was Derrida. They are part of the real world. So is the job of teaching students.

Mr. Anger has an impoverished notion of "reality."
2.21.2006 9:42am
SimonD (www):
Tom Anger lost me with his gibberish about Bérubé's not being in the "real world."
What I suspect he means is that Berube spends his life in cloistered academia, rather than interacting with America at large. While this may not be an especially strong point, it is hardly "gibberish."
2.21.2006 9:55am
Anderson (mail) (www):
Grand CRU: My constitutional law professor in law school was a liberal. He is even an unabashedly results-oriented liberal.

So you did take Con Law, Grand? I was wondering.
2.21.2006 9:56am
Anderson (mail) (www):
What I suspect he means is that Berube spends his life in cloistered academia, rather than interacting with America at large.

A "cloister," Simon, is a place where monks isolate themselves from the world.

A "university" is a place where students from many walks of life and places of origin come to learn.

Does that help?
2.21.2006 10:11am
Smithy (mail) (www):
The Sedition Act of 1918 made it possible to prosecute "whoever, when the United States is at war, shall willfully utter, print, write or publish any disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language about the form of government of the United States or the Constitution of the United States, or the military or naval forces of the United States, or the flag of the United States, or the uniform of the Army or Navy of the United States." So, yes, such a law has been put into effect before. And few would argue that WW I posed as great a threat to the US as the current terror war does.
2.21.2006 10:12am
Michael Benson (mail) (www):

As interesting as all this dialogue is, I thinbk it is safe to say that most teachers are able to separate their ideology from what they teach. Though academia defintely leans left, it is the Ward Churchills that tar them. Academia has itself to blame for that. They allowed tenure to provide protection and make these professors untouchable. It is an interesting aside that you never hear of conservative professors presented or protected in such a light.


Ward Churchill is not a problem of tenure. Ward Churchill should never have been hired in the first place (indeed, at least one department turned him down because they did not want to be associated with him). Churchill has little credentials and never has been highly regarded in the academic community.
2.21.2006 10:19am
Anderson (mail) (www):
The problem, Smithy, is that the Sedition Act is unconstitutional and would be struck down by today's Court in what would likely have been an 8-1 vote before Alito got on the bench; maybe 7-2 now, maybe still 8-1.

The Court has discovered the First Amendment since that statute was enacted.
2.21.2006 10:26am
keatssycamore (mail) (www):
So you did take Con Law, Grand?

Anderson,

Thanks for the link following your question.

Grand CPU,

You got pwned.

To that guy who once got a C at grad school...nevermind that was so ridiculous that I have nothing.
2.21.2006 10:30am
Houston Lawyer:
As an outspoken conservative my first year of law school, I had the opportunity to spar, mostly unsuccessfully, with my professors, all of whom were liberal. They were all good natured about it and some even sought me out in class when they needed an opposing point of view. They were, on the whole, a far more tolerant group than my liberal classmates, who liked to hiss in unison when a particularly unpopular view was espoused by another student.

At no point in time did I feel that I was being indoctrinated. All of the professors would quickly put down someone spouting nonsense, from the left or right. My most awkward moment in class came my second year, when it became apparent to me and my prior years classmates, that the second-year professors knew me by reputation before I even spoke in class. I guess professors gossip like everyone else.
2.21.2006 10:30am
lucia (mail) (www):
So, they're probably liberal but they never showed it in class? I'm curious how one can discern a professors ideology if he never expresses it or lets it affect him in class.

Charlie already gave the correct answer to this mystery. You can learn a professors ideology outside of class.

I have a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering, and worked at two national laboratories and taught at a univeristy. My impression is that the majority of science professors are liberal. Some engineering professors are liberal. Most practicing engineers are conservative.

Political leanings rarely show during lecture because no one cares about Lenin's writings about Newton's First Law.
2.21.2006 10:41am
Mike BUSL07 (mail):

Grand CPU,

You got pwned.



"pwned?" wow, at least you didn't say he is "teh ghey." most people here are grown-ups dude.
2.21.2006 10:58am
Lysistrata (mail) (www):
I'm not sure how I feel about a Sedition Act. But the thing is that a lot of liberals have forgotten the art of constructive criticism. If they were criticizing the administration with an eye towards helping our country, by offering viable alternatives and courses of action, then that would be fine. That would be great. That's what an opposition is supposed to do.

But the Dems aren't doing that. They're muckraking for no other reason than to score political points, and to engender distrust of the President. Should it be illegal? I'm not sure. But I do think it should be frowned upon and discouraged.

If they think they can do a better job, fine. Why don't they tell us what they'd do? Why don't they start acting like leaders, instead of a bunch of schoolyard brats?
2.21.2006 11:10am
Justin (mail):
Did anyone see the article in townhall.com by Ben Shapiro advocating reintroducing the Sedition Act?

Shapiro is a Harvard Law student...what the hell are they teaching up there?
2.21.2006 11:14am
Smithy (mail) (www):
I think Shapiro is on the money, as I said earlier. Perhaps the Sedition Act of 1918 goes too far for today's more liberal courts, but there must be some modified version of it that would pass legal muster. It's a very pressing issue -- people like Al Gore are undermining the credibility of the nation.
2.21.2006 11:35am
JunkYardLawDog (mail):
Houston Lawyer,

my liberal classmates, who liked to hiss in unison when a particularly unpopular view was espoused by another student.


I definitely encountered this in law school as well. I entered law school later in life than almost all of my classmates. As a result, I hadn't been part of all the multiculturalism (i.e. its all the fault of white europeans and their descendants) and anti-freedom marxist indoctrination that had obviously taken hold in the majority of my classmates. I guess all those years of government run schooling, primary, secondary, and undergraduate level indoctrination combined with their herd instincts and closed minded bigotry of political correctness to cause these kinds of reactions to thoughts not officially approved by their herd.

One semester I took to wearing a National Rifle Association cap to class just to piss them off. One particularly funny moment happened when alone in an elevator with a student who didn't know me, and he inquired if NRA on my cap stood for the National Retailers Association. When I told him it stood for the National Rifle Association, he literally looked like he wanted to climb out of the elevator in fear for his life or something. It was pretty damn funny.


Changing subjects:

Orin, that was the lightened up version.

Says the "Dog"
2.21.2006 11:41am
Mike BUSL07 (mail):
Smithy, under Brandenburg v. Ohio it's extremely difficult for any law restricting political speech to be upheld. Whether or not the current court is as excited about free speech as the 1969 court is another qyestion.
2.21.2006 11:41am
James Lindgren (mail):
On the issue of tenure, it has been my experience in law schools that meritorious conservative professors are NOT denied tenure because of their politics. Indeed, some on the left sometimes face tenure problems because some use unconventional methods or styles of argumentation. The problem for conservatives is in the initial hiring decision.
2.21.2006 11:42am
Anderson (mail) (www):
Smithy, sorry if I'm out of the loop, but what exactly did Al Gore say that you think he should be indicted for?
2.21.2006 11:43am
Chukuang:
The universities fill themselves with substandard students admitted via affirmative action -- and then they guarantee that these admits get good grades by basing their grading scale on political correctness.

Any evidence? I've taught at Ivy and small liberal arts colleges for the last 7 year or so and my experience (and practice) has been that poorly argued papers get bad grades and well-argued ones get good grades. I've happily given C's and below to papers that simply mouth what was said in lecture. It is certainly very likely that some professors reward agreement with their own ideas, but to state this as the general practice is absurd. Again, do you have a single shred of evidence of this as a general practice (and please, not another anecdote about a friend who criticized Andrea Dworkin in a Gender Studies class and got a B-; I want actual evidence).
2.21.2006 11:44am
Smithy (mail) (www):
Mike, with Alito and Roberts on the court, wouldn't we have a good shot at some kind of Sedition Act passing muster? I've got to believe that Thomas and Scalia would go for it. And I would think Alito as well and possibly Roberts. All we would need is one more vote to get it through. It seems like it's worth trying, at least.
2.21.2006 11:45am
Smithy (mail) (www):
2.21.2006 11:46am
Mike BUSL07 (mail):
Smithy, that's a question that might be better addressed to EV himself. Based on my substantially more limited knowledge, I would guess that no one is planning to roll back Brandenburg.
2.21.2006 11:53am
Smithy (mail) (www):
Maybe EV will do a thread about it. I'd be curious to hear what others think about a possible Sedition Act.
2.21.2006 12:01pm
Cornellian (mail):
"pwned?" wow, at least you didn't say he is "teh ghey." most people here are grown-ups dude.

I believe the proper spelling is "dood", heh.
2.21.2006 12:21pm
Daniel Chapman (mail):
I think it's nuts. The answer to the "liberal dominance" of academia is not to use the coercive power of the state to imprison them. This is a pragmatic/conservative argument that ignores the unquestionable unconstitutionality of what you're proposing.
2.21.2006 12:25pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
Smithy, nothing in Malkin's link demonstrates that Gore said anything false. Her best bet might be the visas issue, but that seems like a very thin reed.

Some of the people allegedly beaten up are now suing, I heard on NPR a while back, and maybe the courts will cast some light on what really happened.

Anyway, if that's your best example of why we need to abridge the First Amendment, count me unpersuaded. Thanks for the link though.
2.21.2006 12:27pm
Michael Bérubé (mail) (www):
The problem with Tom Anger isn't that he doesn't value literature. The problem with Tom Anger is that he's nuts. Absolutely, positively, loony-tunes, Daffy-and-Elmer nuts. Go ahead, click on the link he provides, and discover for yourselves the "basis" for his opposition to affirmative action: "intelligence (and hence income) is a heritable trait, one that remains differentiated along racial lines."

OK, he's got a point about income being heritable. I admit that.

Personally, I liked Tom Anger better when he was the opinion columnist for the Weekly World News. He was funny back then.
2.21.2006 12:40pm
Justin (mail):
If EV wanted to be cruel, he could do a list on whether the Sedition Act is a good thing or not, and then just ban the people who support it as people whose views are simply beyond the pale and detrimental to useful discourse.... :)
2.21.2006 12:40pm
Justin (mail):
Please note I was kidding in the above post.
2.21.2006 12:40pm
Steve:
One semester I took to wearing a National Rifle Association cap to class just to piss them off.

I took to hissing at my conservative classmates just to piss them off. Judging by the grudges some people apparently bear years or decades after graduating, it seems to have worked!
2.21.2006 12:52pm
KMAJ (mail):
Smitty,

I think you are barking up the wrong tree with the Sedition Act. You have to be very careful where you tread in the free speech area. Though his comments in Saudi Arabia were stupid, and when asked to back up his charges with specifics, his press secretary refused to do so, it is still a fine line between stupidity and sedition. If Gore were phoning Bin Laden or terrorists directly, or screaming muslims should rise up and kill Bush and Americans, you might have a leg to stand on. What is unfortunate, is that intemperate comments like Gore's probably fan the flames of support for terrorists in the muslim world and tangentially cost soldiers and peoples lives. Your problem with extending that to sedition is that there is no tangible connection, just words/speech.

You should be more careful and discerning what you ask for, if you get it, the long term results would be far worse. Politicizing free speech is anathema to that very principle, it is no longer free (not that it is totally free now). Stupidity and bad judgement are not necessarily crimes, Gore has become a Michael Moore on left wing steroids (steroids effects on temperment).
2.21.2006 1:27pm
dk35 (mail):
Buried in KMAJ's partisan rhetoric is a rather good defense against sedition laws IMHO. For those conservatives on here still inclined to such laws, let me slightly reword KMAJ's best point:

What is unfortunate, is that [publication of cartoon's offending Muslims] probably fan the flames of support for terrorists in the muslim world and tangentially cost soldiers and peoples lives. Your problem with extending that to [government bans on publishing the cartoons] is that there is no tangible connection, just words/speech.
2.21.2006 1:42pm
keatssycamore (mail) (www):
"pwned?" wow, at least you didn't say he is "teh ghey." most people here are grown-ups dude.

Well mike, when the 'grown ups' like yourself are done blaming the C's you got in grad school on everyone but yourself, then I might step it up your level. Until then I figured 'pwned' or 'pwnd' was right in your intellectual wheelhouse.
2.21.2006 1:45pm
farmer56 (mail):
Acadamia is rife with quasi socialist. It is a fact. Personal experience? Or at least close. My son has 2 semesters left in Engineering. to date a perfect 4 point. Yeh, the kid is scary smart in math and physics. But, to get a degree you got to take all the other stuff,Duh. He does not need a foriegn language. His high school transcipts show him with 4 years of spanish with a 4 point. But he passed out of first year spanish at college and took a semmester of a 200 level spanish course. he aced it. eight more credits and he would have a minor in spanish to go with his major in engineering. But, he could not devote the time to college level spanish studies and engineering. So, now, he stubbed his toe in History. the above was to illistrate that my son learns different things very well,em, well rounded. History he tangled with the prof because he had the silly notion that since the US has been the dominate nation for more that a century, capitalism worked well. the Prof on the other hand Believed that Communism is far superior, just no one has done it quite right yet. After a F on a test. and a talk with the school advisor. the Prof getting an explaination that a difference of opinion is not a reason to target a 4 point student with perfect grades in english, spanish, etc. my son found relief.

so do not tell me that educators are not liberal. 99% are.

My son just got accepted to study abroad programs in Spain, Germany, England, and Peru. He is going to Peru. Peru required the need to be fluent in Spanish. He walked into the Spanish prof's office unannounced and explained to the prof; 'you dont remember me, but if you would look back at your records I was woundering if you would write me a recomendation for a study abroad program to Peru.' Her response. Ah you? Ah, yea. I remember you. Passed out of 1st year Spanish and aced my 2cnd year spanish and you are an engineer. Yes no problem.

My point. In hard science and math. No problem. Liberal arts A pissing match with an idiot history prof.
2.21.2006 1:55pm
Justin (mail):
Farmer, doesn't it seem more likely that a person who took what seems to be a non-intro history course as his only college level writing class might simply be a poor writer for that level, which doesn't affect his grades in math and comp sci?

I graudated from an ivy league law school with their highest honors, and on my first writing class in college (I was a business major), a 400 level Philo/Poli Sci crossover, I got an F. I worked my butt off, improved, got a B on the class, and didn't need to go whine to an advisor. I don't think that my (fairly orthadox liberal) views on Rawls and Nozick were the reasons for failing that first paper.
2.21.2006 2:17pm
Justin (mail):
That should read, corrected: "I got an F on my first paper."
2.21.2006 2:18pm
alwsdad (mail):
Farmer56, your one anecdote about one professor at one school is presented as proof of what 99% of professors are like?
2.21.2006 2:45pm
Michael B (mail):
"What is unfortunate, is that [publication of cartoon's offending Muslims] probably fan the flames of support for terrorists in the muslim world and tangentially cost soldiers and peoples lives. Your problem with extending that to [government bans on publishing the cartoons] is that there is no tangible connection, just words/speech." dk35

Excepting several prominent distinctions. One of those distinctions being comparing Gore's speech in Saudi Arabia with an expression of social/political commentary in a Danish newspaper, as recently explained by Flemming Rose, the publisher of Jyllands-Posten, is to compare apples and oranges. Gore's speech cannot be construed as seditious, but it can be interpreted as positively supporting some rationales in the Arab/Muslim world; by contrast the twelve cartoons have been construed, to put it in the mildest of terms, as failing to support those Arab/Muslim rationales. Flemming Rose's commentary is particularly thoughtful and well grounded in fundamental aspects of the Western tradition, both pre-Enlightenment and post-Enlightenment precepts of that tradition.

Apples and oranges. Or better still apples and rotten apples, comparing Jyllands-Posten's apples with Al Gore's rotten apples.
2.21.2006 2:47pm
BU2L (mail):
dk,

by assigning responsibility for the cartoon violence to the publishers, rather than to those who carry it out, you effectively concede that we must adjust our own cultural norms to prevent offending muslims. this is pure heckler's veto - or molotov-thrower's veto, as the case may be.

if we believe, really believe, in freedom of speech, then sometimes we have to bear the costs of offending people - but we can't silence ourselves to accomodate the intolerance of others.
2.21.2006 3:00pm
Mr Diablo:
Kendall, some of those hard sciences professors at Duke who were perceived to be liberal probably thought that evolution was more than a theory: Clearly placing themselves with a minority of Americans. (Sigh.)

Chukuang, you'll be waiting a long time for that evidence because there isn't any. It's everyone's special anecdote about something laughably unprovable and bitchfest about a bad grade.

Although, it is fun to see conservatives play the victim of all that awful liberalism.

I don't understand how John Roberts and Ken Melhman survived their Ivy indoctrinations.
2.21.2006 3:06pm
dk35 (mail):
BU2L,

I think you misinterpret my post. I'm actually agreeing with you.

My point was to argue against the sedition law backers with a plea for consistency. If one opposes government efforts to ban the publications of the cartoons, one must also be against sedition laws.
2.21.2006 3:09pm
Smithy (mail) (www):
I bet that if you put it to a vote, most Americans would support some sort of Sedition Act. That should count for something. There has to be a way to punish people like Ward Churchill for trashing the United States.
2.21.2006 3:10pm
JunkYardLawDog (mail):
The problem with Tom Anger is that he's nuts. Absolutely, positively, loony-tunes, Daffy-and-Elmer nuts.

And Orin told me to lighten up???

Berube, if you description of Tom Anger's site is accurate I would in general share your criticism's of his thinking. That is assuming you have accurately described his site.

Anyway, I'll be waiting for Orin's caution to you to see if Orin is a content neutral cautioner. (smile).

Says the "Dog"
2.21.2006 3:11pm
farmer56 (mail):
Justin;

I will try to explain. My long post was to explain, that, My son has gone thru the English class, The Spanish class. and the other liberal arts required by anyone getting a college degree. He is A perfect four point to date. He is not unable to learn. He learns very well. They problem? Something subjective like History? Gee! You get a bad grade! Wow! the things that are defined? A four point. History? You got an attitide. Go back and read my previous post....very slowly. I got big doubts about your self proclaimed credentials.

To repeat my point. The hard educational things. not a problem. the wishy washy liberal arts crap? Its up to the Prof. And, in order to get a prof job in these areas you need to learn the art of creating a suction with your lips on the anus of the profs that teach you.
2.21.2006 3:13pm
Lowell R. (mail):
Prof. Berube, don't make me withdraw my partial endorsement! Why do you call Thomas Anger "looney-toons" for saying "intelligence...is a heritable trait"? I'm not saying you should embrace The Bell Curve, but surely you're aware that the APA task force report on the issue of race and intelligence said "At present, this question has no scientific answer," and "It is clear...that genes make a substantial contribution to individual differences in intelligence test scores, at least in the white population." I don't wish to argue about the veracity of these interrelated theories (that's for people more qualified to do so than anyone on this forum), but I do wonder why you found it necessary to take such a cheap shot -- and unlike the one that effected this post, it's one you can't possibly know the final answer to.
2.21.2006 3:26pm
BU2L (mail):
Sorry dk, I did misunderstand you.
2.21.2006 3:26pm
Lowell R. (mail):
Smithy,

Most Americans oppose most of the things you support on your blog. What should that count for?
2.21.2006 3:28pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
I bet that if you put it to a vote, most Americans would support some sort of Sedition Act.

Most Americans used to support anti-miscegenation laws and lots of other wicked things. So what?
2.21.2006 3:35pm
BU2L (mail):
Smithy, one argument generally advanced in support of broad freedom of speech, a freedom inclusive of the right to "trash the US," is that a robust "market of ideas" is condition necessary to find any kind of objective truth. This means that we must face "wrong" ideas to develop our "right" ideas.

Another argument is that if an idea is patently ridiculous, which is the case with most of, say, Ward Churchill's ideas, we don't have to worry about those ideas prevalent. To paraphrase Justice Holmes, folks like Churchill are "miserable merchants of unwanted ideas. Their wares remain unsold." Holmes was speaking about communists, but the point remains valid with respect to people who refer to 9/11 victims as "little Eichmanns."
2.21.2006 3:35pm
BU2L (mail):
"those ideas [becoming] prevalent.


.... I wish we could edit our posts here :(
2.21.2006 3:36pm
Justin (mail):
I'm still not understanding what you are trying to say, farmer. Apologies.
2.21.2006 3:38pm
farmer56 (mail):
Justin;

Bone up on your requirments for getting a degree. My son has taken lots of courses that require very good skills in communication. He did a video in his spanish class that had to be written, approved then taped. So, His writing skills, after 6 semesters I think his writing skills are just fine. Lessen you dont never been to kolage
2.21.2006 3:44pm
Justin (mail):
Errrr...still not following....
2.21.2006 3:54pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
I wish we could edit our posts here

Let's just be happy we can't be arrested for them!
2.21.2006 4:11pm
BU2L (mail):
I'll drink to that
2.21.2006 4:13pm
JosephSlater (mail):
Ah, yet another long string of comments on the idea that academia is horribly, dysfunctionally biased towards Marxism, yet another set of pleas for actual evidence, and nothing more than one or two anecdotes that don't name institutions and from which it is impossible to glean what really went on.

And the irony of Sean Hannity making the point that some institution that claims to be and should balanced isn't really balanced is really off the charts.
2.21.2006 4:29pm
farmer56 (mail):
justin

Follow this. Liberal art Profs are in fact Liberal. Hard factual studies can be judged on student performance. Art History, Literature...Those are subjective. and judged at the discretion of some idiot that has attained tenure by firmly attaching their lips to the anus of those that grant tenure. again I doubt your self proclaimed credentials
2.21.2006 4:59pm
farmer56 (mail):
Joeseph

How 'bout you come up with a counter? See? I have tons of examples where teachers 'teach' things that are just false.

My daughter was taught that BT corn killed birds. If I did not correct that out right lie by a teacher in Biology, my daughter would still believe what she was 'Taught'.
2.21.2006 5:04pm
JosephSlater (mail):
Farmer:

First, you're the one supporting a claim, so you need to come up with some evidence. More generally, my counter is everything I've seen and observed in my years of teaching in higher ed. which is nothing like the bizarre and false portrait painted by hacks like Hannity to try to scare poor conservatives that the big bad liberals are out to get them.

Also, the point is that you *don't* have tons of examples, and neither does anybody else when they are actually asked about it, as this entire thread, and the multiple other threads on this subject on this blog and others demonstrates.

Finally, as to your example about one person who once got a bad grade in a history class, at risk of running afoul of this blog's commendable policy of civility, based on your posts on this blog, I don't find your opinion about what constitutes good writing particularly persuasive.
2.21.2006 5:23pm
BU2L (mail):
Aw Joe, why that was a dig at me. You oughta lighten up :) - as Orin would say.
2.21.2006 5:27pm
Smithy (mail) (www):

Most Americans used to support anti-miscegenation laws and lots of other wicked things.


I realize they might have been "wicked" but they were on the books laws. If the majority supports anti-sedition laws, then Congress should consider them. Or we should consider voting them out.
2.21.2006 5:28pm
Mr Diablo:
Nothing personal to everyone who wrote in with their bizarre and (for some) uninteligible anecdotes, but I'd currently be more convinced of this crippling bias in academia by a tale of a German Shepherd who got a bad grade in obedience school because of his ancestry.
2.21.2006 5:32pm
Michael B (mail):
"Ah, yet another long string ..." JosephSlater

Yet another long string of self-approbation, generalized dismissiveness and polemical cant.

Which is not to say that Berube should not be highly regarded for his brave and intrepid intellect in taking on Hannity's formulation. And if you believe that, there's a bridge in Brooklyn ...

By contrast, and a stark contrast it is, for an example of someone who actually does take a formidable stand, Leon Wieseltier's recent review of Dennett in the NYT Book Review is prominent and noteworthy.
2.21.2006 5:34pm
Ziske68 (mail):
Although much ado has been made about professor's liberal leanings, it seems that most conservatives/libertarians issues are actually more with the administrations of these college/universities. With that said, I also believe from my own experience at a small liberal arts college, that the professors' overwhelmingly left stance ( which has been substantiated many times no link right now, but i can get it ) does also contribute to a bias against any conservative thought. Can you simply regurgitate what your professor espouses? Sure. Is that what you paid for? Doubtful.
Beyond just the classroom, the faculty and administration's liberal bias/agenda is even more appalling...examples can be found here, also a nice article here.
If books are more your style I suggest this one.

All good starting points. Regardless of those things, there is ample anecdotal evidence to suggest that there is indeed a reason to be concerned about the one-sided nature of the academic environment in general, and calling conservatives babies and/or whiners is less than a compelling argument to me.
2.21.2006 5:39pm
JosephSlater (mail):
BU2L: Didn't mean it about you, I was referencing an earlier post by Farmer. Sorry if that wasn't clear and for any misunderstanding.

Getting back to the subject at hand, my argument is bolstered by an article in the Chronicle of Higher Ed., Jan. 20, 2006, p. A33 (sorry I just have the hard copy and not a link). The article is titled "Conservative Activist Admits Lack of Evidence for Some Allegations of Faculty Bias."

Two quick points from that article. First, in a legislative investigation into this issue in PA, after two days of testimony, "only two students voiced any complaints about professorial bias."

Second, David Horowitz, the guy behind this crusade "admitted that he lacked evidence to back up two of his past allegations: that a biology profesor at Penn State inappropriately showed students the film 'Farenheit 9/11, and that a professor how opposes abortion gave a student a low grade for supporting it."

So you see why many of us that work in higher ed sometimes feel skeptical about claims of bias.
2.21.2006 5:45pm
Steve:
Let us follow the chain of logic here.

1) Farmer's son got a bad grade from one particular professor;
2) The evidence that this bad grade was politically motivated is the fact that an overwhelming majority of other professors give his son good grades;
3) Thus, because an overwhelming majority of professors give him good grades, and one professor gives him a bad grade for political reasons, the only logical conclusion is that an overwhelming majority of professors are biased for political reasons.

I am still wending my way through this chain of logic. What is it they say, the plural of anecdote is data?
2.21.2006 6:04pm
Daniel Chapman (mail):
I'm amazed that a post that was obviously linked for humor has drawn out such a heated argument...
2.21.2006 6:04pm
Justin (mail):
I'm sorry you "doubt" my credentials. Believe me when I say that I think the reason I had trouble following your ideas is because you were writing in fragments and run ons, and I couldn't decipher the broken English.

As for the argument, "Those are subjective. and judged at the discretion of some idiot that has attained tenure by firmly attaching their lips to the anus of those that grant tenure," you've established no facts (as far as I can tell from your ramblings) that has made my prognosis more likely than yours. And what if I don't believe YOU? Maybe you don't even have a son. You haven't shown a propensity to write well, and you haven't even done so much as listed the school your "son" has gone to? Whether you believe me, I don't care. My point still basically stands if I'm a high school drop out at McDonald's. It's your credibility on the line if you want us to believe your argument, and you aren't even willing to defend it based on facts where I'm willing to give you the benefit of the doubt.
2.21.2006 6:05pm
Justin (mail):
If Smithy's "the constitution is meaningless because we have free elections" argument wasn't so often cited by the Constitution, I'd find it amusing. Instead, I find it tragic.
2.21.2006 6:07pm
Michael B (mail):
Daniel Chapman, it's a humor of a certain kind.

Also. In addition to The Shadow University: The Betrayal Of Liberty On America's Campuses by Kors and Silvergate, a more specific example, one tailored to Mid-East Studies department types and one which convincingly responds to Edward Said, Robert Irwin's For Lust of Knowing is formidably on point and is also well documented.
2.21.2006 6:25pm
chuck bronnimann (mail):
Consider the concept of "motivated social cognition" wherein conservatism is considered a mental disorder. Berkekey, as I recall.
2.21.2006 8:19pm
Huh:
Let me see if I've got this right:

1) Liberal intolerance and discredited Marxist dogma are still ruling elite academia. They have been predominant in America's institutions of higher learning for many years.

2) Somehow this has not been able to halt the tilting of America to the right. Conservative thought has gained broad traction and sway in American political life. Indeed, at least part of the reason for the tilt has been a backlash in response to the policy failures of the modern American left.

3) For some reason we're still worried about a few of these kooks standing in front of our kids for a few semesters.

I don't get it. What's the problem? Even assuming #1 is true (my own experience as a student at two major universities leaves me awfully skeptical), I'm not seeing the danger. I don't understand what has some conservatives in such a tizzy. Was the oft-trumpeted conservative revolution not complete enough?
2.21.2006 8:27pm
Smithy (mail) (www):
The problem is that too many of these professors aren't just liberals, they're anti-American. My son went to a college where the students were forced to read the works of Karl Marx. It's outrageous. Marx was wrong. That has been proven time and time again. Why are students being forced to read discredited theories? It just doesn't make any sense. Some of these professors don't realize that the cold war is over -- and their side lost.
2.22.2006 12:09am
James Lindgren (mail):
It's fine to read the works of Marx (or Lenin, or Hitler, or Mussolini); indeed, it's important to do so. But the work should be put in context: historical, social, and economic.
2.22.2006 12:59am
Shangui (mail):
My son went to a college where the students were forced to read the works of Karl Marx. It's outrageous. Marx was wrong. That has been proven time and time again. Why are students being forced to read discredited theories?

Smithy again as self-parody.
2.22.2006 8:07am
Jeek:
I don't get it. What's the problem? Even assuming #1 is true (my own experience as a student at two major universities leaves me awfully skeptical), I'm not seeing the danger. I don't understand what has some conservatives in such a tizzy. Was the oft-trumpeted conservative revolution not complete enough?

Wonder what the liberal reaction would be if the universities (especially the elite institutions) were overwhelmingly conservative? Would it be "not a problem, not dangerous, deal with it, go elsewhere if you don't like it"? Somehow I am doubtful.
2.22.2006 8:55am
farmer56 (mail):
So we have an impase. Idiot tenured proffessors running of at the mouth, and not making a lick of sense. I have given two examples of the acedemic elite not being able to find their own ass. How is that to be corrected? See? if you get tenure you can do as you please screw the STUDENTS! any one want more examples I got em. Lets go back to my son. (I love my kids, I did not let the idiodts in education control their education.) We were told by two persons that held phd's in education to hold him back a year from entering Kindergarden. Why? Because he excelled at all of the performance skills required. A 5th grade vocabulary. The reason to hold my son out of school for a year. He had testicles and a penis and was born in June. A promise that he would fail. Next year, JH, HS, but a promise of failer. Just the facts are that today he has three hard copy job offers in his lap, and 2 semesters of college left. And two of the ofers come from companies that do not hire a year in the future. so, excuse my disdain for educators. Thats it. So. Sorry for thinking that educators are morons. Its a personal experience thingy.
2.22.2006 9:59am
JosephSlater (mail):
Jeek:

It would be a problem if and only if there was evidence that liberal students were being punished/suppressed by conservative teachers for being liberal. But there isn't. In fact, my guess is there is as much of that going on right now (in a few business schools and economics departments) as conservatives being punished for being conservative, with the caveat that in both cases the truth is "it's not going on much at all."

Because again, in yet another long thread, we've seen basically no reliable evidence of "liberal bias" actually being a problem. Again, the Penn. state legislative committee looked into this, and found essentially nothing (well, maybe learning that Horowitz didn't have evidence to back up his claims is something, but it cuts the other way).
2.22.2006 10:26am
Jerry M (mail):
I guess Summers resigning from Harvard is further proof that radical leftist professors are just simple researchers searching for the truth. Give me a break!
2.22.2006 1:30pm
Jeek:
It would be a problem if and only if there was evidence that liberal students were being punished/suppressed by conservative teachers for being liberal.

Frankly, I don't believe this would be the liberal response in an analogous case. I think the mere fact of conservative domination would be taken as proof positive of a pernicious and unacceptable ideological influence on impressionable youth. That there would be "no reliable evidence" of conservative bias in such a case would be dismissed as irrelevant.
2.22.2006 1:33pm
farmer56 (mail):
Why did Summers resign?

Oh , Sorry, the conservitives made him do it.
2.22.2006 4:58pm
Noah Klein (mail):
Jeek,

That was the liberal response to the conservative dominated universities of the 19th and early 20th centuries. I don't recall the great cries from the liberal community at the religiosity of the early universities. I don't recall the great cries from the liberal community about the history that was being taught. If you could show me that this was the case when the universities were more conservative in the past, then I would agree with you.

Noah
2.22.2006 6:48pm
Enoch:
Noah, "liberal" did not mean the same thing back then as it does now, nor was religiosity regarded as ideologically offensive. Therefore the cases are not parallel. Nor do I think you actually know what people thought about universities back then. Tell me, are you a scholar of public perceptions of higher education in the United States, 1865-1914?

Discard the habits of a lifetime and speak with candor. Admit it, if conservatives dominated academia, it would drive you crazy.
2.22.2006 10:08pm
Grand CRU (mail):
Anderson,

As a matter of basic logic, one cannot deduce from a subaltern to a categorical proposition, e.g., even if it is true that the First Amendment traditionally protects one category of speech, that does not prove that it traditional protects all categories of speech. So your implicit claim, that because Cohen v. California is a First Amedment case involving one instance where an utterer of profanity won, profanity is therefore a traditionally protected category of speech.

By contrast, one can deduce from a categorical proposition to a subaltern, e.g., if the First Amendment traditionally protects all political speech criticizing government, then it is therefore true that the First Amendment traditionally protects political speech criticizing government that uses harsh language.

Profanity is not a traditionally protected category of speech. Nor does Cohen v. California so hold. What Cohen holds is what all First Amendment cases hold: that political speech criticizing government is the core of that which is protected by the First Amendment.

As to your (mis)characterization of the facts of Cohen v. California, I would suggest that you read the case. Cohen was not a mere "Fuck the Draft" case. Your analysis suggests that the case concerned the right to shout the word "Fuck!" as loudly as one pleases. By contrast, Cohen concerned the right to wear a "Fuck the Draft" tee shirt in or on the steps of a courthouse. Of course, one has the right to criticize the government policy on the steps of a courthouse -- if not, the First Amendment is meaningless. So I vehemently disagree: Cohen does not concern profanity as a category of speech, nor does it even concern an instance of an utterance of profanity, because criticizing Vietnam on the steps of a courthouse is not profane.

Your mistaken citation to Cohen, as well as your mischaracterization of its holding and its facts, also ignores the argument that I raised: regulating profanity is within the mandate of the Federal Communications Commission and the courts have held its mandate contains an intelligible principle, i.e., Congress has legitimately delegated the FCC constitutional authority to regulate profanity. Contrary to your belief, profanity is not a traditionally protected or presently protected category of speech. If I did not make that sufficiently clear before, I hope I will now sufficiently clarify it for you: if you believe that profanity is categorically protected by the First Amendment the Constitution, you are wrong.

Lastly, your straw-man to the contrary, I never claimed to be an expert on the First Amendment. I am not. But it is equally true that you are no expert on basic logic or theory formation.

Says "the Grand CRU"
2.22.2006 11:32pm
Grand CRU (mail):
Anderson: So you did take Con Law, Grand? I was wondering.

Yes, I did.
2.22.2006 11:39pm
Noah Klein (mail):
Enoch,

I would disagree as to liberals and religiosity in the 18th and 19th century. Were the majority of liberals religious? Yes. But there were nonreligious liberals as well. Walt Whitman is an excellent example of a nonreligious liberal and I don't remember him complaining about the conservative nature of universities. If you would look at the curricula and student body of any university until the mid-20th century, you would notice a focus on studies that would not be defined as liberal. Furthermore, you would notice that these schools were very elite and discriminated against the lower clases. Another thing for which liberals were/are not known.

I am disappointed that you think I'm liar. I don't I've demonstrated that on this website, but you don't know me so it doesn't hurt my feelings. Am I a scholar on the attitudes people had towards higher education in that period? No. I have studied the issue, but to be defined as a scholar would required a great deal more study.

As to my attitudes of a conservative faculty and student body, I don't think I would have a problem. I have in the past been surounded by conservatives and did not have any difficulties or major incidents with them. I come to this website specifically to debate conservatives, because I hate echo chambers and I find that I can better define my beliefs by debating people with other beliefs. Furthermore, my favorite teacher is not a liberal or a conservative, but a libertarian. This man who taught me in high school how to see bias and to overcome it. I don't think I would have an issue with a conservative faculty and student body, but I also don't think it would happen. Scholars and teachers prefer knowledge to money just like liberals prefer knowledge to money. Thus you will not see many conservatives choose teaching. Secondly, what did Churchill say "a person who is not liberal at 20 has no heart and a person who is not conservative at 40 has no head." I don't think America will ever produce heartless children and thus the student body will be liberal.

Noah
2.23.2006 1:37am
Grand CRU (mail):
Noah: Scholars and teachers prefer knowledge to money just like liberals prefer knowledge to money.

That is not necessarily true.
2.23.2006 2:48am
Noah Klein (mail):
Grand CRU,

First, that is not an example of a person prefering money to knowledge. You may argue that it is an example of a person doubting the knowledge provided by another because of that second person's inconsistency. You may be right that this is not the correct position for a person who prefers knowledge, but you can't say that the first person values money over knowledge.

Second, I don't remember JAO say he was a liberal. So far I have seen him argue liberal positions, but on this website it is not hard to be left of the majority. Even if JAO is a liberal, I have never heard him say he values money over knowledge. In fact, I have heard him generally try to provide others with reasoned and knowledgable responses.

My response was not meant to insult you, who I disagree with, but think has also made many reasoned arguments. If it did, I'm sorry, but the evidence you provided does not prove anything.

Noah
2.23.2006 3:26am
Grand CRU (mail):
1. JaO makes liberal arguments; it is reasonable to believe he is a liberal. Do you think it is unreasonable to refer to someone who consistently makes liberal arguments as a liberal?
2. Who cares whether he said he values money over knowledge? That is irrelevant.
3. It is proof of someone who does not value knowledge at all. If he thinks knowledge has zero value, assuming that the computer he uses to make posts was not free (or that he has a job), he values money over knowledge.
2.23.2006 7:26am
Jeek:
I am disappointed that you think I'm liar.

That was not the accusation. You were challenged to provide specific evidence to support an extremely broad statement ("I don't recall the great cries from the liberal community at the religiosity of the early universities. I don't recall the great cries from the liberal community about the history that was being taught."). Have you ever challenged anyone to support a sweeping generalization on this blog? I would be surprised to find you hadn't, and good for you if you have.

That you choose to respond to this as a challenge to your probity rather than your ability to substantiate your arguments tells me that you probably can't substantiate your arguments.

Scholars and teachers prefer knowledge to money just like liberals prefer knowledge to money. Thus you will not see many conservatives choose teaching.

Another sweeping generalization! Can you possibly know how many conservative academics there would be if there were no real or perceived ideological impediments to conservative success in academia?

How would you respond to these analogous assertions?

1. Fewer women succeed in careers in math or science because they prefer to enter other fields. Thus you will not see many female mathematicians or scientists.

2. African-Americans are overrepresented in professional sports and underrepresented as health care professionals because they prefer playing sports to attending medical school. Thus you will not see many African-American doctors.
2.23.2006 8:45am
Noah Klein (mail):
Grand CRU:

I never heard JAO make the claim that he did not value knowledge. Furthermore, the evidence you provided there did not demonstrate that he/she did not value knowledge. It demonstrated that JAO believes that a person should maintain a consistent argument. You may disagree, but that has nothing to do with whether someone values knowledge or not.

Jeek,

"Discard the habits of a lifetime and speak with candor."

Now, if Enoch wishes me to "discard the habits of a lifetime and speak with candor", wouldn't that indicate that he believes it is my habit to not speak with candor? What is candor? Well, dictionary.com defines candor as "the quality of being honest and straightforward in attitude and speech." Thus if the habit of my life, according to Enoch, is to not speak with candor, he is calling me a liar. You don't need to be an English major to make that leap.

Furthermore, I did substantiate my points in the first post with my later post. I was asked whether I was scholar and said I wasn't. I further asked for evidence and I provided it, but if want to see more evidence I can't show to you on a blog. The evidence is the curricula and student bodies of universities in the past. If you don't believe me or want to further study the issue, go to a university library and look at the curricula. You will notice that they are conservative for both now and then.

Finally, as to the "generalizations" that you complain about, I do not and have never seen any bias directed conservatives. The evidence provided by Joseph Slater (the Horowitz hearings in the Pennsylvania legislature) demonstrates that the supposed bias is manufactured. Thus I reject your framing of the issue as "real or perceived ideological impediments" to conservative success in academia. The difference between the "generalization" that I made and the two generalizations that you made is that in my statement ideology and profession are choices, while in your generalization race/sex is not a choice. The reason this important with regards to the statements is that I am saying the choices are linked. The generalizations you made say that something that is a not a choice is linked to something that is a choice. I reject that, as I am sure you expected me, to but for the reason I laid out. If you want to make an another analogy in which two choices are linked that you think I would reject, then make it and perhaps I'll change my mind.

Noah
2.23.2006 5:38pm