pageok
pageok
pageok
Self-Identification of the Political Views of College Faculty:
InsideHigherEd has the scoop, based on a survey of "22,562 full-time college and university faculty members at 372 four-year colleges and universities nationwide." When asked to state their political views, professors responded:
Far left-- 8.8%
Liberal-- 47.0%
Middle of the Road-- 28.4%
Conservative-- 15.2%
Far right-- 0.7%
H/t: DartBlog

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. New Study May Underestimate Left-Wing Preponderance in Academia:
  2. Self-Identification of the Political Views of College Faculty:
Bob_R (mail):
Self deluding--100% (except for you and me of course)
3.6.2009 5:38pm
Curious Passerby (mail):
But the 28.4% who think they are middle of the road are actually Liberal and the 47% thinking they are Liberal are really Far left, and the 8.8% who think that ar Far left are actually Marxists and Pol Pot supporters.
3.6.2009 5:39pm
J. Aldridge:
As a former crazed liberal in College I would like to see a survey of how many college liberals eventually drift right in their later years.
3.6.2009 5:39pm
Andy Bolen (mail):
Yeah I bet the Middle-of-the-road portion, at least, is pretty seriously over-stated. Probably considers itself further right than it is (because, after all, it's comparing itself to academia...)
3.6.2009 5:49pm
Dave N (mail):
And in other news, the MSM is liberal, too.
3.6.2009 5:55pm
mewsiferous:
Why do they bother with these surveys?

I'm coming up on 20 years in academia at 5 different schools and the political tint is blindingly obvious everywhere I've been (which includes at least one Ivy League campus as well as a few public universities).

I posted a recent WSJ article (written by rare non-liberal professors) which explained how the gov't prolonged the great depression on my office door a few weeks before Obama announced the revolution budget. It took less than a day for one of my calculus students to walk in and say "you have incredible balls to post something like that around here."

And most people would consider my university conservative: it has a progressive student union, but to date no Maoist International Movement.
3.6.2009 5:57pm
therut (mail):
DUH!!!!! All that needs to be said.
3.6.2009 6:03pm
Crunchy Frog:
Dog bites man: news at 11.
3.6.2009 6:12pm
Sarcastro (www):
Nothing makes me happier than making a short smug comment when a post agrees with my narrative.
3.6.2009 6:15pm
Guest101:
Huh. Educated, intelligent people tend liberal. Must be evidence of bias.
3.6.2009 6:25pm
karl m (mail):
no libertarians?
3.6.2009 6:28pm
EIDE_Interface (mail):
Isn't this a story for The Onion?
3.6.2009 6:31pm
David Warner:
no progressives?
3.6.2009 6:31pm
MCM (mail):
But the 28.4% who think they are middle of the road are actually Liberal and the 47% thinking they are Liberal are really Far left, and the 8.8% who think that ar Far left are actually Marxists and Pol Pot supporters.


Love the attitude. Keep it up, maybe we can have several more Democratic presidents. That one Marxist Pol Pot supporter in the White House seems pretty popular.
3.6.2009 6:59pm
Order of the Coif:
As a former crazed liberal in College I would like to see a survey of how many college liberals eventually drift right in their later years.


That's easy. NONE.
3.6.2009 7:21pm
Order of the Coif:
As a former crazed liberal in College I would like to see a survey of how many college liberals eventually drift right in their later years.


That's easy. NONE.

Because "reality" never touches faculty members.
3.6.2009 7:21pm
Sarcastro (www):
Careful, readers "reality" in scare quotes could be ANYTHING! My theory is that "reality" means "anything but silk underwear."
3.6.2009 7:36pm
Dave in W-S (mail):

As a former crazed liberal in College I would like to see a survey of how many college liberals eventually drift right in their later years.


In the late '60's / early '70's, I was in college and pretty far left. When I turned 21, I registered Democrat and voted for McGovern. I drifted right. I enlisted in the Army to go to Europe, wound up sticking around. Saw the Soviet threat up close and personal, worked to keep Americans from getting blown up by the radical left European terrorists and the idiot raghead brands. Lived in Korean War quonset huts with holes in the walls due to Jimmeh Carter's defense budget cuts. Watched the election of Reagan with trepidation and gradually came to love whjat he stood for and did for our country. Found that my experiences created a gulf between me and the relatives and friends who stayed at home, went to college and "knew" a different reality than I had lived.

Several decades later, I still have empathy for my fellow man. I still want them to succeed to the best of their ability, but I am a defense hawk, a small government advocate, a fiscal conservative, a believer in the free market, an opponent of the welfare state and an advocate of choice that includes allowing all the affected parties to have a voice or advocate.

Anecdotal evidence, true. But it's one story that supports a rightward drift. My brother, on the other hand, is a teacher and musician married to a social worker and they are lovely people who are oriented quite to the left. Ah, well.
3.6.2009 7:43pm
DiversityHire:
The freshman survey is pretty interesting, too. A minor upsurge in interest in engineering seems encouraging. I'd be interested to hear what professors think of their students' "college readiness by core high school subject area."
3.6.2009 7:49pm
Sagar:
The approximately 2.5 profs who self-identified themselves as "far-right" -- I would like to know if they were for real, and from which univ.
3.6.2009 8:00pm
Sagar:
wrong math - 150 profs!
nevermind. looks possible:)
3.6.2009 8:03pm
Sagar:
J. Aldridge,

I was a regular liberal in highschool and undergrad.(Reagan was going to start WWIII, i remember a poster for a war/romantic type movie with Thatcher in his arms, caption read "she promised to follow him to the end of the world; he promised to bring it" (paraphrasing)
some time after grad school read the short book, 'The Law' by Frederick Bastiat and turned to libertarianism. Atlas Shrugged made more sence after that than the initial read:)

too bad there was no libertarian category in the survey. wonder where VC profs would place themselves!
3.6.2009 8:15pm
Desiderius:
The absence of the libertarian category does speak volumes.

Dave in W-S,

Similar experiences arising from my travels through Eastern Europe during the revolutions there, while my Econ professor back at Man. U. was lecturing us about the wonders of Eastern European/Soviet central planning, complete with textbooks full of statistics backing his thesis.

Makes the current trends stateside especially difficult to stomach/comprehend, in that the rhetoric is so similar to that of the professor.
3.6.2009 8:58pm
RPT (mail):
"Dave N:

And in other news, the MSM is liberal, too."

Not in this world, Jack Welch. This canard is a convenient excuse for non-analysis.
3.6.2009 9:23pm
ChrisTS (mail):
One ought to be careful about all of this - including what people mean when they self-identify as 'far left.'

I have a campus colleague who claims to be 'far left,' with some pride. After listening to her speak on a number of topics, I could not figure out what she meant by 'far left;' she seemd a pretty much garden variety liberal. I asked one of her departmental colleagues about it, and he said, "She thinks she's on the far left because she's against merit pay."
3.6.2009 9:24pm
themighthypuck (mail):
@ Dave in W-S

Your anecdote points to an important truth. Individuals are formed by their circumstances. That's almost Marxist.
3.6.2009 9:30pm
Dave in W-S (mail):
Individuals are formed to a significant degree by their circumstances. Or put another way, we are the sum of our experience.

Marx had some decent thoughts. He was, after all, one of the brighter students of Hegel. The whole dialectic thing makes some decent sense. It's just when he turned it into the "material dialectic" and tried to wrap his philosophy in an economic shell that he lost it. The socialist systems founded on the various interpretations of his work have all been abysmal failures.
3.6.2009 10:08pm
Linus (mail):

Nothing makes me happier than making a short smug comment when a post agrees with my narrative.
And thus Sarcastro's career is cogently summarized by Sarcastro him/herself. Cosmic.
3.6.2009 10:11pm
theobromophile (www):
Rather than asking people to self-identify, wouldn't it have made more sense to ask professors about their stance on various issues, then report those results?
3.6.2009 11:40pm
Vladimir (mail):
That means that 45% are pretty conservative. See, the idea of a left leaning academia is a myth! It's pretty darn balanced
3.6.2009 11:47pm
American Psikhushka (mail):
How much do you want to bet that they are ignorantly and incorrectly classifying libertarians as "far-right"?
3.7.2009 12:09am
American Psikhushka (mail):
themightypuck-

Your anecdote points to an important truth. Individuals are formed by their circumstances. That's almost Marxist.

In that case you could say that Marxism disproves itself in the long term. Once the economy slows down, stagnates, and begins to deteriorate there aren't many true believers left except the upper political class that profits from it:

"In contrast to the West, where Marxist tenets were doctrines of a counterreligion, few in the Soviet Union truly believed in the official ideology: not the state managers, not the professors, not the journalists.[3] It was not necessary that they do so, for Marxism was a means of political rent seeking and of coercive control, not a body of ideas held to by honest men."

The whole article is worth reading. It's by someone that actually experienced and suffered through socialism, rather than someone who thinks its a good idea.

Unfortunately once socialism has done enough damage for long enough for even many of the true believers to admit it doesn't work the economies and societies which it has been tried on are devastated. Not a road that anyone who cares about a country should go down.
3.7.2009 12:32am
pireader (mail):
Question for Professor Kerr and the commenters above ...

Many occupations have strong ideological predispositions. Are the professoriat's left-wing tendencies more significant (or ominous) than the right-wing tendencies of oil-company executives, military officers, bond traders, evangelical clergy, etc.?

Or perhaps this is just an interesting tidbit about Professor Kerr's chosen profession ... like a news story about some guy he went to high school with. In which case, why all the venom in the comments above?
3.7.2009 5:35am
Federal Dog:
"Rather than asking people to self-identify, wouldn't it have made more sense to ask professors about their stance on various issues, then report those results?"

The most informative study would ask for self-identification and, additionally, what you propose above, then compare the results of both inquiries.
3.7.2009 6:29am
AlanP (mail):
Another interesting point in the article is the time reported doing various tasks. As best I can see, the typical full time professor teaches two to three classes per week occupying about ten hours per week. Preparation and grading is reported as slightly lower in time, the median being around eight hours per week. Other tasks such as advising students and committee or other administrative tasks take up about another five hours on average. Thus, in terms of what they report doing for students and the school, professors spend about twenty to twenty five hours per week actually working.

They also report additional time doing research and writing which, in truth, probably does consume most of the time for young and ambitious faculty but for most seems to be at best only an other five hours per week for nearly all faculty.

All in all, not a bad gig.
3.7.2009 6:48am
Phil Byler (mail):
To MCM: Obama may be popular now, but at this point in Jimmy Carter's Presidency, he had higher populariy ratings than Obama does now. Stagflation, energy crisis and the Iranian Embassy takeover sent Jimmy Carter's popularity raings spiraling down. Just wait until you see what stagflation, energy crisis and an Iranian nuke does to Obama's popularity.
3.7.2009 7:31am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Alan P.
If you're correct, I can see why tenure is so popular.
3.7.2009 7:31am
Anon1111:
RPT:

"Dave N:

And in other news, the MSM is liberal, too."

Not in this world, Jack Welch. This canard is a convenient excuse for non-analysis.


What evidence do you have that the MSM (i.e.; major TV networks, major newspapers) is right of center on the whole? Saying that they are controlled by "corporations" and therefore are de-facto right of center "is a convenient excuse for non-analysis."

Even assuming that corporations are right of center (which is a big and usually incorrect assumption - they are motivated to make money, and the easiest way to make money is lobby the government to take it from other people and give it to you, not to have the government stay out of free markets so you can make it yourself) how does that impact the people who are actually putting out the news on a daily basis?

It is beyond argument that the vast majority of reporters for the MSM are liberals at this moment in time (in the American context, and by reference to other Americans, which is the only relevant measure in evaluating the initial charge). I have never heard a good explanation of how, on a day in, day out basis, conservative corporations convince/intimidate/cajole/trick liberal reporters into writing conservative slanted stories.

Most Americans believe that the MSM tilts left. So does the bulk of the research. (Off the top of my head, the UCLA 2005 study, various George Mason studies, the multitude of admissions from various MSM news sources (e.g.; Evan Thomas, Peter Jennings, Bernie Goldberg, Dan Rather, etc.) and dozens of others.

In all seriousness, where is the evidence that the news that flows onto the TV's of the major networks and the national newspapers and newswires is right of center compared to the rest of America?
3.7.2009 7:58am
erp:
I'd like to see a definition of terms.
3.7.2009 8:13am
Desiderius:
pireader,

"Or perhaps this is just an interesting tidbit about Professor Kerr's chosen profession ... like a news story about some guy he went to high school with. In which case, why all the venom in the comments above?"

The liberal arts tradition those professors profess to uphold, specifically its commitment to disinterested inquiry to which has recently been added diversity. The cultural influence such professors rightfully wield in a society committed to sending all its citizens to college. Oh, and venom is likely too strong.
3.7.2009 8:15am
Desiderius:
Guest101,

"Educated, intelligent people tend liberal."

If true, the statement is immodest - akin to whites incessantly bragging on The Bell Curve. If not, you're a buffoon. Where's the edge in saying it?
3.7.2009 8:18am
Curt Fischer:
Dave in W-S said: In the late '60's / early '70's, I was in college and pretty far left. When I turned 21, I registered Democrat and voted for McGovern. I drifted right.[......]

Dave, thanks for your post! I enjoyed your story, and I wonder if many of the comment threads here would become more productive if everyone was as willing to look back at their life and identify some of the factors that contributed to their modern beliefs.
3.7.2009 8:59am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Curt.
Some folks are liberal, some conservative. Of the former, some like "being liberal" for reasons only secondarily connected to the actual issues.
Case in point:
When I was in college, in the Sixties, there was quite a struggle for equal housing in East Lansing, although that went over my undergrad head at the time. I got involved in civil rights issues some years later and met some of the folks involved in the equal housing situation.

One of them told me, about ten years ago, that when the Klan had a demo on the state capitol steps, he and a buddy went down there the next day and swept the steps off, making a statement. For him, his glory days--and he was active and effective then--were in the Sixties. He cannot move on. So he's gone further left with AA, and permanent lowered expectations, and various other issues which, I submit, he's chosen in order to remain where he was both good and effective.
When there was a reunion, I found others who had done the same thing, afaik.
Others had moved on.
I had a long conversation with an activist from a Sideline Protestant church and he agreed he greatly enjoyed being where he was, in terms of self-image. It had to be that, since his thought about issues was ludicrous.
He said, for example, that once you start labeling World Wars by number, you make the next one inevitable. So, World War I made WW II inevitable. And so WW III had to be coming. I pointed out that WW I was not "first" until the second happened. And, in fact, the Brits call it The Great War. Made no difference. That was about the extent of his intellectual activity, but he was having a great time speaking truth to power and patting himself on the back.
I was always a conservative, drifting nowhere right or left, but found the issues moving around me.
3.7.2009 9:22am
accountant ed (mail):
Imagine a biology prof. wanting to align himself or herself with the side of the asile that denies evolution and wants to undermine its being taught. (No, not all conservatives deny evolution, but nearly all evolution deniers are political conservatives). Ditto geologists, cosmologists, climatologists, archaeologists, paleontologists, geneticists, etc. What's the big surprise here?
Irrespective of what one thinks about marginal tax rates or preemptive wars, few are going to want to be group themselves with the side that is the most hostile to science.
3.7.2009 9:23am
RPT (mail):
"Anon1111:

In all seriousness, where is the evidence that the news that flows onto the TV's of the major networks and the national newspapers and newswires is right of center compared to the rest of America?"

Who has the burden of proof? I think you do. I am using a common definition of conservative as meaning resistant to change. I believe that the corporate media is very resistant to change, and that the well compensated media figures are resistant to change. Thus they see a policy which gives 95% of the population a tax cut and 5% a tax increase (which includes their income stratum) as being an overall tax increase.
3.7.2009 10:32am
Anon1111:

Anon1111:

In all seriousness, where is the evidence that the news that flows onto the TV's of the major networks and the national newspapers and newswires is right of center compared to the rest of America?"

Who has the burden of proof? I think you do. I am using a common definition of conservative as meaning resistant to change. I believe that the corporate media is very resistant to change, and that the well compensated media figures are resistant to change. Thus they see a policy which gives 95% of the population a tax cut and 5% a tax increase (which includes their income stratum) as being an overall tax increase.



Let's be honest, then. You were responding to someone who said that the MSM is liberal. By that he meant "on the left side of the American political spectrum." You said that his comment was a canard. On being challenged, your response was that you meant "conservative" to be devoid of political meaning, rather to use a non-partisan definition.

OK, that's one meaning of conservative. In that sense, I would agree with you. I could call the Democrat party conservative because they don't want to change Social Security - they are resistant to change. Or that liberals don't want to allow people to carry concealed weapons - they are resistant to changing the law.

Of course, in American political discourse, no one actually uses the terms that way. So, lets be intellectual honest on this front and say that the MSM is liberal - using the common political definition of liberal - and quit playing silly semantic games. Or, in other words, the MSM slants its coverage to the left of the center of American politics.

You state that I would have the burden of proof to show that the MSM is liberal, yet I cited several studies showing just that, as well as noted that the vast majority of the people who are actually putting out the news support the party that is to the left of center (i.e.; liberal) in American politics.

Your sole point of refutation is that "...the well compensated media figures ... see a policy which gives 95% of the population a tax cut and 5% a tax increase (which includes their income stratum) as being an overall tax increase." First, you present no evidence that (1) the media do call that a "tax increase" on the whole, or that (2) it is not, in fact, a tax increase. Setting aside whether giving people who pay no income tax "tax rebates" is in fact a tax cut, you neglect to refute the point that the overall tax burden will increase on the 5% in an amount greater than it will be reduced on the 95%. In other words, if the 95% pay $5 less, and the 5% pay $10 more, that is a net $5 tax increase on the whole.

You also neglect to show that the MSM does, in fact, obfuscate the issue on whether this is a tax cut or a tax increase, whereas there is study after study that do show that the MSM treats, for instance, Democrat candidates better than Republican ones, or slants coverage stories and choice of stories to the left of center. Now, if you are so left of center that you think European liberals are "centrist" and think that BBC is unbiased, then yes, American media is "conservative" in comparison to you, but that has nothing to do with whether the American MSM is liberal compared to the country it serves.

So, I would rather say that you have the burden of proof, and that merely asserting that those who think that the MSM is liberal are fools or peddling tired canards is intellectually dishonest.
3.7.2009 11:09am
sternhammer (mail):
I agree with the commenters suggesting that self-definition is strongly relative to their environment. Here's a true story. An academic friend was telling me how much everyone he knows hates Sarah Palin.

I said, well, that's because you and the people you know are all on one side.

He was indignant, and said, "I am not on any side. I am neutral and non-partisan."

I asked him when was the last time he voted for a republican.

He said, "never."

I think in the survey he would have self-identified as middle of the road.
3.7.2009 11:14am
Prawo Jazdy:
sternhammer: "An academic friend was telling me how much everyone he knows hates Sarah Palin."

It really is quite astonishing how thoroughly threatened some people are by Sarah Palin. The rabid hatred goes very far beyond mere political dissent or distaste for someone who is very unlike them. There is something about that woman that touches a raw nerve and compels not only hyperventilating emotionalism, but desperate resort to open libel and slander.

I just don't get the level of overwrought emotion attached to her.
3.7.2009 12:06pm
ChrisTS (mail):
Ah yes, the underworked professoriate. This week - my 'vacation' - I have completed grading 56 midterms, 20 5-6 page papers, and I have another 30 or so to go. I wrote up notes for the midterm to help anyone who bothers to look at the notes rather than just their grades. I read, and wrote a referee's report for, an article submitted to a journal. I wrote up a report on curricular models (and had to learn how to do fancy diagrams in SmartArt) for a committee. To do that, I had to try to figure out the curriucula at ten other colleges and summarize them. I read about 80 job applicant files; more to go. I did our departmental budget. I got ready for this weeks classes. I wrote about 10 letters of recommendation. All this while fighting the flu.

Now, I have no idea how hard others work - in any field. I do note that there seem to be quite a few lawerly types here on VC who appear to have ample free time, judging by the frequency and length of their posts. :-)
3.7.2009 1:07pm
erp:
ChrisTS - cry me a river. A good friend who was an administrator at several ivies, always said the reason so many faculty are stressed is because they never know when they're on vacation.
3.7.2009 2:04pm
Sam H (mail):
"Imagine a biology prof. wanting to align himself or herself with the side of the asile that denies evolution and wants to undermine its being taught. (No, not all conservatives deny evolution, but nearly all evolution deniers are political conservatives)."

More correct would be to say that nearly all evolution deniers are religious. They may also be political conservatives, but the religious belief is the driver for the anti-evolution stance not the conservationism.
3.7.2009 3:19pm
ChrisTS (mail):
erp: :-)
3.7.2009 3:36pm
Anon1111:

Imagine a biology prof. wanting to align himself or herself with the side of the asile that denies evolution and wants to undermine its being taught. (No, not all conservatives deny evolution, but nearly all evolution deniers are political conservatives). Ditto geologists, cosmologists, climatologists, archaeologists, paleontologists, geneticists, etc. What's the big surprise here?
Irrespective of what one thinks about marginal tax rates or preemptive wars, few are going to want to be group themselves with the side that is the most hostile to science.


Interesting, because the humanities are far more liberal than the hard sciences. If conservatives were "most hostile to science" would this really be the case?

Also interesting, when you consider the reaction to any question that a scientist raises regarding, for instance, biological differences between the sexes impacting career path (Larry Summers), or race-related biological differences (Charles Murray), or that global warming solutions do more harm than good (Bjorn Lomborg), or that Egyptians weren't sub-Saharan Africans and Cleopatra wasn't black, or that American Indians didn't live in beautiful harmony with nature.

Even take the global warming debate. Assuming, arguendo, that one believes in the validity of man-made global warming, to declare that "the debate is over" is deeply hostile to science. Science moves forward by testing against assumptions, continuously and without end. The debate is never over in science - once the debate ends, you move into religion. Or, to borrow from Robert Heinlein, "One could write a history of science in reverse by assembling the solemn pronouncements of highest authority about what could not be done and could never happen."

Your assumption that conservatives are more clearly hostile to science than liberals is without merit.
3.7.2009 3:46pm
geokstr:
Anon1111:

The left uses whatever definition of "conservative" makes those on the right look bad regardless of whether it makes any sense at all. For instance, back when the USSR was crumbling, those Russians who wanted to keep communism and were willing to do anything to retain their power were loudly proclaimed to be "conservatives" by the MSM. They were using the ol' "resistant to change" definition then too because it suited their propaganda purposes, even though it stood the real world on its head to do so. Those who wanted to abandon communism and install democracy (sort of) were called "liberals".

See, it's like this: left=good, right=evil.

That's the only definition you really need to know.
3.7.2009 4:30pm
PeterWimsey (mail):
Interesting, because the humanities are far more liberal than the hard sciences. If conservatives were "most hostile to science" would this really be the case?


Cite?
Also interesting, when you consider the reaction to any question that a scientist raises regarding, for instance, biological differences between the sexes impacting career path (Larry Summers),

Larry Summers is a hard scientist? He's an economist and certainly was not representing anything found in the scientific mainstream when he suggested that women may be biologically inferior. Do you believe that science proves his assertion?


or race-related biological differences (Charles Murray),


Murray has degrees in history and poly sci. He's not a biologist nor any type of hard scientist.


or that global warming solutions do more harm than good (Bjorn Lomborg),

I don't know that "liberals" as a group have an opinion on this, specifically. But I do know that climate scientists are, actually, hard scientists.

or that Egyptians weren't sub-Saharan Africans and Cleopatra wasn't black,


Mary Lefkowitz, who has done the most to debunk these claims is liberal, but, with her degree in classics, also not a hard scientist. Her problems, too, were specifically with black africanists, not with liberals, who tended to also believe her, as do all reputable egyptologists.


or that American Indians didn't live in beautiful harmony with nature.



This view is widely supported by liberals, sorry.


Your assumption that conservatives are more clearly hostile to science than liberals is without merit.


Sorry, but we were paying attention during the Bush years and saw a lot of support for creationism, including not just attacks on evolution, but attacks on the "so-called" big bang.
3.7.2009 5:04pm
byomtov (mail):
It really is quite astonishing how thoroughly threatened some people are by Sarah Palin. The rabid hatred goes very far beyond mere political dissent or distaste for someone who is very unlike them. There is something about that woman that touches a raw nerve and compels not only hyperventilating emotionalism, but desperate resort to open libel and slander.

Spare us the amateur psychoanalysis, Sigmund.

The comments one reads on this very blog during the various two-minute hates directed at Obama are vastly more irrational than anything said about Palin.
3.7.2009 5:35pm
davod (mail):
byomtov "The comments one reads on this very blog during the various two-minute hates directed at Obama are vastly more irrational than anything said about Palin."


Please. Any comments directed at Obama are the result of research into the man's past history and what he has done since becomimg president.

Pun: His past history would be the subject of comment if it had not been scrubbed from the face of the earth.
3.7.2009 9:32pm
DiversityHire:
The comments one reads on this very blog during the various two-minute hates directed at Obama are vastly more irrational than anything said about Palin.

Let's revisit that claim once he and Malia are pregnant at the same time...
3.7.2009 10:23pm
Brian G (mail) (www):
My law school faculty percentages:

Trotskyite: 9%
Stalinist: 4%
Maoist: 12%
Communist: 21%
Socialist: 38%
Liberal: 16%
Coservative: 0%
3.8.2009 3:25am
guys in my high school:
Mine was 100% weathermen.
3.8.2009 4:37am
Prawo Jazdy:
byomtov:

What exactly is it that you think you know about my professional background? Maybe you should take your own advice to heart before groundlessly assuming anything about people you do not know.
3.8.2009 8:04am
Anon1111:
@Pete -

there have been numerous studies showing the political affiliation/donation patterns broken down by university department. The social sciences are far more affiliated with the green party and democrat party than are the hard sciences. The studies are all over the place - GMU, SAF, AEI, etc., that look at party registrations of university professors.

I stand corrected as to my bad writing. Summers and Murray, (possibly Lomborg depending on definitions) are not "hard" scientists, but they all raised questions posed by science and relevant to the issue - which is the question of whether conservatives are more likely to attack scientific inquiry (declare war on science) than liberals. If one were to ask whether the following propositions would be more likely to be attacked/suppressed by liberals than conservatives, the answer would clearly be liberals, since the propositions contradict dearly held beliefs:

- Men and women have innate biological differences that lead to differences in their intellectual and physical prowess in various areas;
- Ditto for racial diffrences;
- AIDS isn't a serious problem for heterosexual non-drug users in the US;
- The costs of fixing global warming are greater than the costs of letting it proceed;
- American Indians didn't live in harmony with nature;
- Ancient Egyptians weren't black;
- Buying food from the supermarket is better for the environment than from a local farmers market.

Whether these propositions are true or not is irrelevant. What is relevant is whether the proponents ill be shouted down, denounced, and prevented from speaking, or will be debated, even if in a vigorous manner. Of course, if the "debate is over", then no need entertain their ideas, eh?

Also, that liberals have debunked some of these ideas is irrelevant - we are dealing with who the denouncers of the ideas will be, who is "declaring war" on these ideas, and those individuals are on the left. If, for instance, American Indians didn't live in harmony with nature, and most liberals believe it, that's nice, but doesn't speak to which side of the political spectrum the denouncers of the idea come from. People will vociferously denounce ideas that violate their religion, and to many on the left, particularly the far left, political ideas take on religious significance.

What you are left with are attacks on evolution. The interesting thing is that those who attack evolution (wrongly), have no real impact on the lives of humans in general. They don't attack genetics - they still know and recognize that you can create peas with different attributes through selective breeding. Honestly, if someone thinks that God was directing the genetic mutations of our flora and fauna for the last 5 billion years, so what? Even if they think that God put everything here 6,000 years ago, I think they're stupid, but, again, so what? Their attacks on evolutionary theory have no impact on the general well-being of man, other than as impacts our knowledge of events that have no effect on the material well-being of our lives. If, however, people believe that men and women are basically identical but for the plumbing, that belief has profound implications for how we structure society and make political and social decisions.

Again, simply repeating the canard that conservatives are hostile to science, unlike liberals is just intellectually dishonest.
3.8.2009 9:11am
Anon1111:
@geokstr

Agreed. We can also find useful illustration on how liberals use the word fascism.

One of the neatest tricks leftists pulled was to switch the language around. Conservatives, in America, want to conserve things, it is true, but what we want to preserve is the Classical Liberal tradition. Leftists/Liberals/progressives want to abandon that tradition in many respects.

To quote yet again, this time from Calvin Coolidge:

About the Declaration there is a finality that is exceedingly restful. It is often asserted that the world has made a great deal of progress since 1776, that we have had new thoughts and new experiences which have given us a great advance over the people of that day, and that we may therefore very well discard their conclusions for something more modern. But that reasoning can not be applied to this great charter. If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. Those who wish to proceed in that direction can not lay claim to progress. They are reactionary. Their ideas are not more modern, but more ancient, than those of the Revolutionary fathers.
3.8.2009 9:19am
Desiderius:
Anon1111,

Thx for taking the time to craft compelling responses to RPT and Accountant Ed. Hopefully they will do some good in helping those in the middle too busy with their careers and families to delve too deeply into the ideologies to stand up to intimidation from the left, or at least give those of us who follow the ideological battles some ideas about how to contain them, given that those in the middle likely lack the time to read blogs to begin with.

The canard that conservatives are anti-science is too often a pretext for the dominant left (in influence, not necessarily numbers, given the disengaged careerist middle noted above) to purge what few conservatives there are or to discredit conservative ideas or even questions regarding progressive ones, the conservatives in this case actually playing the traditional liberal role of questioning authority and orthodox views.
3.8.2009 9:39am
Desiderius:
Wimsey,

"He's an economist and certainly was not representing anything found in the scientific mainstream when he suggested that women may be biologically inferior. Do you believe that science proves his assertion?"

Do you believe that he asserted this? Asserted anything, rather than asking a question to spur debate? Or are you relying on us being unaware of what it was he actually said? Either way, you need to do your homework (he didn't assert it, and we are not unaware of the fact).
3.8.2009 9:45am
PeterWimsey (mail):
Let's look at a couple of things Summers said. He said "that women do not have the same 'innate ability' or 'natural ability' as men in some fields." He also said "Research in behavioral genetics is showing that things people previously attributed to socialization weren't due to socialization after all."

Summers is, of course, ignoring the huge body of work that suggests that socialization is responsible for most differences between men and women, and the claim about behavioral genetics seems to be true for autism, but there's no actual evidence suggesting that it relates to differences between men and women.

Well after the fact, Summers told reporters that he was just sort of putting the question out there, but that doesn't seem to be the impression that people who heard him speak had.

And, FWIW, Summers isn't a conservative.
3.8.2009 12:40pm
11-B/2O.B4:
I am currently back in college following my retirement, so here is my read on my university professors. The only ones I know who would self-describe as politically conservative are in the engineering program (stereotypes strike again). The vast, overwhelming majority are significantly left of center, but there is this interesting phenomenon whereby a significant number of them will be conservative on one or two points, and these points happen to be their areas of expertise. For instance, my Learning Psychology prof is pretty hard-left, classic feminist and a brilliant teacher. Her specialty is teaching theory, and she is hard conservative on this one point. She supports the government breaking and banning the teacher's unions, and instituting merit-based pay systems. I have found several instances of this on campus (if you're looking for scientific data, this is merely anecdotal). So yes, I have found the academic community to be a solid, if mostly well-intentioned, wall of liberalism. What is more, the caliber of conservative or libertarian thought among the students is quite low. The professors are shocked when I can debate and win with them, because it seems no one ever has. When I presented a libertarian view of Gay Marriage, it was as if no one in the room had ever considered the possibility that government had no right to sanction or forbid a religious practice. I've hammered profs on Gun Control, Affirmative Action and Global Warming, and come out even or on top every time.

Next week, one of my classes starts a section on Abortion. The games begin.
3.8.2009 12:51pm
Desiderius:
Wimsey,

"He said "that women do not have the same 'innate ability' or 'natural ability' as men in some fields.""

Ummm, source?

It is my understanding that Summers was speaking to the well-documented greater variance among males than females, and asking for conversation regarding the ramifications thereof. Given how much of the identity of the listeners in the room was tied up with being on the side that fights sexism, and a good thing too, I'm not surprised that they heard merely another nail that they needed to hammer. It does not therefore follow that what Summers said was sexist, or that such shouting down of potentially controversial ideas or shunnings of their broachers is in any way liberal.

I would contend that it is in fact illiberal, and thus has no place in an academy dedicated to the practice of the liberal arts.
3.8.2009 12:58pm
PeterWimsey (mail):
Interesting, because the humanities are far more liberal than the hard sciences.


As you failed to provide a cite for this, I did some research and came up with this:

The numbers are liberal/moderate/conservative.

Humanities profs: 52/44/4
Hard science profs: 45/47/8


While the humanities profs are somewhat more liberal than the hard science profs, they are not "far more liberal".

Here's a link to the paper

(I hope the link works). The numbers I cited are found at table 2; table 10 is also interesting, showing that 77% of hard scientists voted for Kerry.
3.8.2009 1:11pm
Desiderius:
11-B,

I share much of your experience as an Ivy League second-careerer, except that I got hammered as often as I hammered. Unfortunately, I'm past the age at which I could join my classmates regularly in getting hammered again afterward.
3.8.2009 1:20pm
trad and anon (mail):
If one were to ask whether the following propositions would be more likely to be attacked/suppressed by liberals than conservatives, the answer would clearly be liberals, since the propositions contradict dearly held beliefs:

- Men and women have innate biological differences that lead to differences in their intellectual and physical prowess in various areas;


I wasn't aware that there was any dispute about the fact that men and women have different reproductive organs, which the last time I checked was a pretty significant difference. Likewise with their different distributions of height, weight, and strength.

You wouldn't have a hard time with "intellectual" unless you added some kind of "significant" to it. Nobody really cares about men being better at certain types of 3-D rotation tasks, unless you start extrapolating from it.

- Ditto for racial differences;


This one you would indeed get a lot of shit for, and justifiably so.

- AIDS isn't a serious problem for heterosexual non-drug users in the US;


Depends on what conclusion you're trying to draw for it. If your conclusion is "and therefore it's easy for selfish heterosexuals to dismiss it as only a problem those 'other' people have" you get one response; if your conclusion is "and therefore it's not an important problem" you get another.

- The costs of fixing global warming are greater than the costs of letting it proceed;


You'll get a lot of shit for this. This is not really a scientific conclusion though—it's a normative conclusion.

- American Indians didn't live in harmony with nature;


When I was in college a few years ago, he far left said the view that they did was part of the myth of the "noble savage" and a form of infantilizing racist bullshit.

- Ancient Egyptians weren't black;


Maybe some people in the Black Studies department would get angry with you about this--I don't know. Everyone else would roll their eyes at them, including the Egyptologists in the history department.

- Buying food from the supermarket is better for the environment than from a local farmers market.


You'd get trouble for this one, since it is completely bogus.
3.8.2009 8:39pm
Timekeeper:
Professor Kerr,

Cutting through all of the drivel about the lack of a "Libertarian" option, if you had been asked this question, how would you have responded?
3.9.2009 12:13pm

Post as: [Register] [Log In]

Account:
Password:
Remember info?

If you have a comment about spelling, typos, or format errors, please e-mail the poster directly rather than posting a comment.

Comment Policy: We reserve the right to edit or delete comments, and in extreme cases to ban commenters, at our discretion. Comments must be relevant and civil (and, especially, free of name-calling). We think of comment threads like dinner parties at our homes. If you make the party unpleasant for us or for others, we'd rather you went elsewhere. We're happy to see a wide range of viewpoints, but we want all of them to be expressed as politely as possible.

We realize that such a comment policy can never be evenly enforced, because we can't possibly monitor every comment equally well. Hundreds of comments are posted every day here, and we don't read them all. Those we read, we read with different degrees of attention, and in different moods. We try to be fair, but we make no promises.

And remember, it's a big Internet. If you think we were mistaken in removing your post (or, in extreme cases, in removing you) -- or if you prefer a more free-for-all approach -- there are surely plenty of ways you can still get your views out.