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New Study May Underestimate Left-Wing Preponderance in Academia:

A new UCLA study finds that 56% of academics consider themselves to be "liberal" (47%) or "far left" (9%), compared to only 16% who say they are "conservative" (15.2%) or "far right" (0.7%). This result is consistent with numerous previous surveys showing that academics are overwhelmingly left of center.

The new survey may actually underestimate the degree of left-wing dominance. In the UCLA study, 28% of respondents say that they are "middle of the road." However, earlier research suggests that self-described academic "moderates" are likely to be well to the left of moderates in the general population. They may be "moderate" relative to their fellow academics, but liberal relative to the general population. Second, the UCLA study probably understates the proportion of academics who are on the extreme left, as opposed to mainstream liberals. The study gives respondents the option of calling themselves "liberal" or "far left" (as well as "conservative" or "far right" on the opposite end of the spectrum). However, "far left" and "far right" are pejorative terms that many people will not want to use to describe themselves, even if such a description might be accurate. Most people don't like to think of themselves as extremists. I suspect that a larger fraction of academics than the 9% who are willing to embrace "far left" would be willing to adopt a more neutral-sounding term such as "very liberal" or perhaps "radical."

The same may be true of academics on the right side of the spectrum (where only 0.7% say they are "far right"). But because there are so many fewer right-wing scholars than left-wing ones, this factor probably doesn't skew the results as much as the use of "far left" does.

There is, however, one aspect of the survey that may lead to underestimation of the proportion of right of center academics: the lack of a "libertarian" option. Many right of center academics are libertarians rather than conservatives, and a large proportion of the former may not want to describe themselves as "conservative" or "far right." In the UCLA survey, such libertarian academics might have chosen "middle of the road" or "liberal" or simply refused to answer the ideology question.

Ideological imbalance in academia isn't objectionable in and of itself. However, it does tend to influence research agendas and the content of classroom instruction, and is therefore worrisome for those reasons.

UPDATE: In the Chronicle of Higher Education article discussing the UCLA study, sociologist Neil Gross is quoted as claiming that liberal dominance in academia merely reflects the leftward movement of general public opinion in recent years. This is highly unlikely for several reasons. First, the UCLA results are similar to those reached in other surveys going back several decades. Second, general public opinion remains far to the right of that of academics. For example, 2008 election exit poll data shows that 34% of the general public call themselves "conservative," compared to 22% who say they are "liberal" and 44% "moderate." Thus, the proportion of academic liberals is at least 2.5 times greater than that in the general public.

UPDATE #2: Neil Gross e-mailed to point out that he meant to say that trends in general public opinion only explain why academic opinion is slightly more liberal than it was a few years ago, rather than the massive overall disparity between academics' ideology and that of the general public. This distinction was not, in my view, clear in the linked article. But I am happy to correct the mistake nonetheless.

UPDATE #3: I have corrected the flawed link to the UCLA study in the first sentence of the post. Sorry it took so long. I was out of town and not checking these matters as promptly as I normally would.

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:
MCM (mail):
For example, 2008 election exit poll data shows that 34% of the general public call themselves "conservative," compared to 22% who say they are "liberal" and 44% "moderate."


But all those people calling themselves moderate are actually liberal, duh!

Thus, the proportion of academic liberals is at least 2.5 times greater than that in the general public.


Conservatives have no one to blame but themselves for this, given their war on intellectualism over the past 30+ years.

Further, who cares? Corporate boardrooms are dominated by conservatives - in comparison to the universities, I wonder who is more influential?
3.8.2009 4:12am
Rock On:
So, you don't think there could be any tendency for the public writ large to understate their liberalism? Liberal has been a dirty word to many people for a long time. I really am somewhat stunned that you believe you can say with confidence, quote, "Thus, the proportion of academic liberals is at least 2.5 times greater than that in the general public". If the message here is that self-identification biases the survey results, how on earth is that conclusion reasonable?
3.8.2009 5:22am
Vernunft (mail) (www):
Given what Leiter thinks of Obama, yeah, it's pretty obvious that academics have no clue where the center is. Stalin? Hitler? Not sure who counts as a moderate in academia.

Conservatives have no one to blame but themselves for this, given their war on intellectualism over the past 30+ years.


Ah, this myth. It's not getting tiresome at all!
3.8.2009 6:42am
Fub:
MCM wrote at 3.8.2009 4:12am:
But all those people calling themselves moderate are actually liberal, duh!
Or maybe they're just liberal to a degree:
Now, I'm liberal, but to a degree
I want ev'rybody to be free
But if you think that I'll let Barry Goldwater
Move in next door and marry my daughter
You must think I'm crazy!
I wouldn't let him do it for all the farms in Cuba.
3.8.2009 7:29am
Anon1111:


Conservatives have no one to blame but themselves for this, given their war on intellectualism over the past 30+ years.



Ah, this myth. It's not getting tiresome at all!


No, it's true. They keep saying it over and over. So it must be true.
3.8.2009 8:27am
PersonFromPorlock:
MCM:

Conservatives have no one to blame but themselves for this, given their war on intellectualism over the past 30+ years.

Yes, especially since that war is waged by the heinous tactic of disagreement.
3.8.2009 8:31am
anonymouseducator (mail) (www):
What do people think the percentages would be in a world without bias? It seems unlikely that they would mirror the percentages in the population as a whole, even if "world without bias" means that curricula and campus cultures change to make academia more attractive to conservatives.
3.8.2009 9:04am
Nick056:
I preferred Orin's post on this.

And Professor Somin, Rock On has an excellent point: you assume that roughly all moderates in the broader population are true moderates rather than left-leaning moderates or plain liberals, but your entire post is based on the danger of mistaking self-identification for true identity. Given the political and idealogical climate today, if those moderates tend to favor or trust to one idealogy over another, it's reasonable to say conservatism doesn't get the better of that contest.

Additionally, it brightened my morning that "you suspect" that liberals mis-identify themselves, but allow that conservatives "may" make the same mistake. Did you consider that if people in academia judge against academia, as you suggest, a high proportion of potentially "far-right" academics may not think they're at all "far right" --they just see themselves as very far from the extreme leftist uniformity of their colleagues.

The distortions on the left side that you posit stand an equally good chance of skewing overall self-perception for both sides of the spectrum, don't they? I personally doubt that less than 1% of all academics are in the far right of American politics.

But these kinds of things don't tell us much. It really becomes Extrapolation Hour with your host Dr. Rorsasch.
3.8.2009 9:38am
vc_site:
Recently, I had a law school professor who, more than once, "considered" himself "moderate." This remark was always met with stunned silence by students from a law school with a remarkably conservative student body.

This professor is so far left that he cannot even see moderate from where he stands. I have repeatedly witnessed this deluded self-labeling from my law school professors.
3.8.2009 9:44am
Desiderius:
anonymouseducator,

Clearly academia would always be more toward the liberal end on a liberal/illiberal scale if it is functioning properly. But such a scale maps more imperfectly onto the actual scales we have (left/right, progressive/conservative) for a myriad of reasons than many academics seem to imagine. To some extent, this has led academia to actually be a more illiberal (for good, progressive, reasons, no doubt) place than many who value the institution highly would prefer.
3.8.2009 9:50am
vinnie (mail):
Lets see...In order to get certified to teach in even a high school in my state I have to have the an equal number of academic hours as an MBA and be willing to start my career in the $28k range and max out at about $50k after 20+ years. I don't understand why does this not attract anybody with a basic understanding of capitalism.
3.8.2009 10:09am
RPT (mail):
Because the last 30 years of conservative government and economic practices has been so successful for the country as a whole? The poster assumes that "conservative" ideology, which he favors, generates better results in the long run. This has not proven true. It makes sense to move away from an ideology that has limited practical benefits for the group whose opinion are being (so badly) sampled. As Vinnie says, why would someone whose highest value is than maximizing their inco want to lower themselves to teach or study or research?
3.8.2009 10:20am
ECM (mail):
I will say this: it's wondeful that those lefties posting on this have finally admitted what's been so obvious for at least the past 30 years and have (finally!) stopped pretending that it's a pretty even split--after all, the first step in solving a problem is admitting it exists.

Sadly, they've now moved from a state of abject denial that the diparity exists and onto the standard leftist cant of: "well, leftism is better for everybody and everything so of course there's a sane, ideologically-slanted, advantage in academia like there should be everywhere and everyplace that corret-thinking people exist (plus you right-wingers suck)!"
3.8.2009 10:25am
Nick056:
ECM,

Yes. That's exactly what I said.
3.8.2009 10:31am
sbron:
I do think the electorate has moved to the left since the 80s. This is most evident in California, where the Democratic party (the left-wing, racialist part of it) has a majority in the legislature, and a lock on the two Senate seats. Barbara Boxer, who is a mindless global warming fanatic, is considered to be a shoo-in for reelection in '10. Villaraigosa, Feinstein or Jerry Brown (yes, the 70s governor) are considered most likely to suceed Schwarzenegger. Arnold is himself pretty far to the left for a Republican, since he is a defacto Kennedy. Finally, the wave of immigration since the 80s has had a supermajority from Latin America which generally supports the welfare state and especially racial preferences/multiculturalism.
3.8.2009 10:44am
Angus:
"well, leftism is better for everybody and everything so of course there's a sane, ideologically-slanted, advantage in academia like there should be everywhere and everyplace that corret-thinking people exist (plus you right-wingers suck)!"
I hear this every time I go into campus. Except for the five weekdays. And the weekends, of course. But apart from those times, that is exactly what I hear every day!
3.8.2009 10:47am
sbron:
To clarify, I believe that Prof. Gross is correct from the California perspective, that

"liberal dominance in academia merely reflects the leftward movement of general public opinion in recent years."

Maybe not in other states, but certainly in California. I disagree that multiculturalism and racialism are consistent with Liberalism, but that issue was not addressed in the survey.
3.8.2009 10:51am
markm (mail):
So 28% of academics think they are moderate - in comparison to Ward Churchill and Bill Ayers.
3.8.2009 10:54am
markm (mail):
I refuse to complete surveys that try to classify me on a left-right or liberal-conservative scale. From my point of view, the main difference between liberal and conservative politicians - or college deans - is which freedom they plan to infringe next.
3.8.2009 11:23am
Calderon:
Seeing a survey that asked about specific positions (e.g., social welfare net, environment, progressive taxation, abortion, death penalty, immigration, affirmative action, etc.) would be interesting, and would seem to avoid the possibility that people are labeling themselves "moderate" when they're really "liberal."

These results are consistent with the experience at my particular college, at least. During the presidential election when I was in college, 96% of the professors voted Democratic, 0.5% voted Republican, and 3.5% voted for third party candidates. Needless to say, the result in the broader population weren't quite so skewed.
3.8.2009 11:27am
pireader (mail):
Professor Somin --

Many occupations show a marked "ideological imbalance", because they attract certain temperments, or nurture certain attitudes, or whatever. Why is the "imbalance" among academics any more "worrisome" than among the other occupations?

If the professoriat's imbalance is really shaping our universities' research agendas, etc. then just imagine what the corresponding imbalances among oil-company executives, military officers, bankers, evangelical clergy, etc. are shaping!

A serious campaign for ideological re-balancing has to start where the power lies; so it will be a while before we get to the Art History faculty. But when we do, we'll replace 40% of them with the involuntarily-retired military officers, who in turn have been replaced by the dismissed social workers, who in turn ... You get the idea.

Can I sign you up for the grand campaign? If not, then why all this concern with the least-important 1% of the problem?
3.8.2009 11:51am
John C:
This reminds of an Andrew Breitbart (I think) comment regarding the "diversity" among screenwriters on some project.

Something along the lines of "sure they had political diversity - the liberals in the group thought Bush was Satan himself, while the moderates just thought he was only one of Satan's minions..."

See - diverse opinions. What's the problem?
3.8.2009 11:52am
Joe Kowalski (mail):
This post is quite a good demonstration of how useless the terms "liberal," "conservative," and "moderate," are without a fair amount of context to define exactly what axis (there IS more than one) is being used and defining the relative positions on that axis that comprise the terms "liberal" and "conservative". Without this context, these kind of surveys are purely masturbatory.
3.8.2009 11:53am
~aardvark (mail):
Somin wouldn't know "research" if he sat on it. His idea of important research findings is linking to his own blog posts that cites a study that contradicts his claim and another self-referential "my earlier research suggests..." Give it up! Social sciences research is not the same as legal research. Defining terminology, such as "liberal", "moderate", "conservative", cannot be a black-box process. There is a standard assumption that self-identification is the best we can do, under the circumstances. I doubt people who self-identify as "moderates" in Texas hold the same social and political views as "moderates" in Minnesota and "conservatives" in Wisconsin are not the same brand as "conservatives" in the House Republican caucus. So these labels are fairly fluid.
However, the alternative that Somin proposes is complete nonsense. His basic premise is that he knows better and we must all bow to his superior intellect in identifying the "true" moderates. If this is the kind of "research" that is going into his doctoral dissertation, I wouldn't hold my breath for changing that "expected" to "completed".
All of this could have been avoided if Somin simply, modestly suggested that in his opinion the categories are skewed to the left. Had he done that, even moderately shallow research findings supporting his conclusion would be seen as productive. By making a strong claim, however, he undermines the strength of his own evidence (that is, evidence that we are yet to see in a non-self-referential statement).
Somin should keep in mind, for example, what happened to Larry Summers when he stated his opinions--and what he later defended as merely opinions--as fact. It would behoove him to remember that many of his blog readers are at least as highly credentialed as he is--unlike, say, the majority of readers of the National Review. Talking down at them, particularly in the area of their own expertise, is highly unproductive.
I am not asking you to change positions, Ilya (although you are clearly wrong in your claims here). Just change the tone and structure in which you present them. A little intellectual courtesy toward your fellow discussants can go a long way.
3.8.2009 11:57am
David Drake:
pireader--


Perhaps because university faculty can reshape the thinking of their students by feeding them selected facts and reading which they are required to regurgitate in order to get a good grade?

Oil co. execs, generals, bankers, etc. do not have that kind of a hold over the next generation of "educated" people. (I use the quotes based on my experience as a former university professor.)


As for evangelical ministers--given the governance structure of the evangelical churches, the ministry reflects the congregation rather than vice-versa.
3.8.2009 12:00pm
Brian K (mail):
Oil co. execs, generals, bankers, etc. do not have that kind of a hold over the next generation of "educated" people.

of course they do. what group of people caused the current financial crisis that will undoubtedly effect future generations? why do you think all these groups heavily lobby and donate to politicians? or are you contending that foreign policy, environmental policy and social policy has no effect on the current and future generation?

although i must say your argument doesn't surprise me given how you put educated in quotes.
3.8.2009 12:22pm
Brian K (mail):
As for evangelical ministers--given the governance structure of the evangelical churches, the ministry reflects the congregation rather than vice-versa.

given that your average college student will self-identify as liberal, the same can be said of universities...but something tells me you won't accept as defense.
3.8.2009 12:23pm
byomtov (mail):
Oil co. execs, generals, bankers, etc. do not have that kind of a hold over the next generation of "educated" people.

Of course they do. Employees' political views are very much shaped by by their work environment. Work in an office in a large company and you will tend to adopt the political views which favor your employer.

It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his job depends on not understanding it.

--Upton Sinclair
3.8.2009 12:40pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
While the authors did make efforts to investigate response bias and other survey problems, they do not report confidence intervals for their results. Reading through the article I found only percentages reported, no counts in the various categories. Some counts might have been so small as to render the results unreliable. The authors should give us counts, or even better the raw data. Without this information I have no confidence in this report.
3.8.2009 12:41pm
Zywicki (mail):
One thing that is striking to me is how insular academia truly is. If you go into a typical college in a typical college town it is probable that any given professor, especially in the humanities or similar softer subjects, literally will not know a single conservative or libertarian person. Literally, they can go years or decades without ever having a substantive conversation with someone who is not liberal or far-left. It is quite likely that they know not a single person who practices religion seriously, listens to talk radio, or subscribes to the National Review.

I can't see how this could possibly not lead to a distortion of one's views of what "the mainstream" is.

And occasionally you will hear them talk about what "conservatives" are like or what conservatives supposedly believe and it is really quite astonishing. The combination of ignorance and self-satisfaction is really quite breathtaking. MCM's comment above, assuming it was just ill-informed and not ill-intentioned, is a good example of the sort of mentality that this gives rise to.

Any self-absorbed echo chamber is likely to be dangerous, especially when it is an echo chamber set-up as a conscious alternative to the mainstream of society, whether it is a tightly-knit religious or ethnic group or the insularity of the academy today.
3.8.2009 12:47pm
MnZ:

of course they do. what group of people caused the current financial crisis that will undoubtedly effect future generations? why do you think all these groups heavily lobby and donate to politicians? or are you contending that foreign policy, environmental policy and social policy has no effect on the current and future generation?


Please...they are trying to support their interests (just like academics try to support their interests).

How often do CEOs try to politically indoctrinate the next generation? How often does it happen for Professors? And don't you find it the least bit curious that the more subjective academic disciplines are the most biased to the left?

People who dismiss charges of left-ward bias in academia out of hand must be in the faith-based community. When I was in graduate school in Economics, I asked a friend who was getting his PhD in history major why he and his colleagues spent so long working on their dissertations. His response was basically, "In my case, I spent the first 3 years researching the facts, and the last 3 years trying to shoehorn the facts into a theory class struggle at my committee members' instance."
3.8.2009 12:52pm
MnZ:
byomtov said:


Of course they do. Employees' political views are very much shaped by by their work environment. Work in an office in a large company and you will tend to adopt the political views which favor your employer.


I will say it again. This is confusing interests with indoctrination. Are my neighbors indoctrinating me when the tell me about a proposed landfill by my house and ask them to join the fight against it?
3.8.2009 12:57pm
MCM (mail):
While the authors did make efforts to investigate response bias and other survey problems, they do not report confidence intervals for their results. Reading through the article I found only percentages reported, no counts in the various categories. Some counts might have been so small as to render the results unreliable. The authors should give us counts, or even better the raw data. Without this information I have no confidence in this report.


I have to agree. Further, Ilya's conclusion that

the proportion of academic liberals is at least 2.5 times greater than that in the general public


is utterly baseless since he fails to control for important various variables other than occupation. For example, the same polls Ilya looked at earlier should tell him that older people are more conservative than younger people. I'm guessing college professors are typically under 65. I'm also guessing that college professors typically live in higher-population density areas, which correlates with being more liberal and less conservative.

It's clear Ilya isn't a professor of statistics, anyway.
3.8.2009 1:08pm
Federal Dog:
"If you go into a typical college in a typical college town it is probable that any given professor, especially in the humanities or similar softer subjects, literally will not know a single conservative or libertarian person."

Well, they may know one but not realize it. Those people tend to keep their views to themselves to spare themselves gratuitous hostility and associated professional difficulties. Part of the insultarity that you correctly identify is the operative assumption that any educated and intelligent person must be politically left-of-center. Libertarians and conservatives in the academy acquire jobs and tenure by not contesting that operative assumption.
3.8.2009 1:13pm
MCM (mail):
Of course they do. Employees' political views are very much shaped by by their work environment. Work in an office in a large company and you will tend to adopt the political views which favor your employer.

I will say it again. This is confusing interests with indoctrination. Are my neighbors indoctrinating me when the tell me about a proposed landfill by my house and ask them to join the fight against it?


So if an actual Communist political science professor (which, despite majoring in political science, I never met) told me that I should help overthrow the bourgeoise and create the paradise of the worker, so that eventually the state will whither away, he doesn't think that's in my interest? He doesn't think that's in his interest? Of course he does, that's why he's advocating it.

Even if we take a more cynical view of it, and assume that the Communist professor hopes to be a Leninst revolutionary elite that assumes dictatorial power after the revolution, he's still advocating in his own interest.

So even if we assume that all the worst accusations about liberal academia are true, their behavior is perfectly acceptable under the standards you are holding CEOs to.
3.8.2009 1:14pm
Ken Arromdee:
So if an actual Communist political science professor (which, despite majoring in political science, I never met) told me that I should help overthrow the bourgeoise and create the paradise of the worker, so that eventually the state will whither away, he doesn't think that's in my interest?

Telling someone about a landfill generally doesn't involve a lot of subjectivity or speculation. It may be in your interest to oppose the landfill, but you go pretty directly from what a landfill does to your interests. There may be some dispute over the exact effects of the landfill, but they are (or at least should be) not related to one's positions on any broader issues.

While your Communist professor ultimately thinks that creating a worker's paradise is in your best interests, the chain of reasoning is very indirect.
3.8.2009 1:24pm
Federal Dog:
"His response was basically, "In my case, I spent the first 3 years researching the facts, and the last 3 years trying to shoehorn the facts into a theory class struggle at my committee members' instance."

Sorry for the multiple posts -- I did not see this. I laughed out loud when I did.

Too funny. Too on the mark. Too bad for scholarship.
3.8.2009 1:34pm
Bart (mail):
The way to go about measuring the ideological leanings of academia against the general population is the way Pew measures the press against the populace - comparing their positions on specific issues. Pew found that, while the press likes to self identify as moderate, their stands on specific issues are far to the left of the general populace. I would suspect that this is the case with academics.
3.8.2009 1:34pm
trad and anon (mail):
Yawn. People with graduate degrees lean left; conservatism/liberalism tracks risk-seeking/risk-averse attitudes; conservatives are more likely to self-select into more lucrative fields.

I would hardly be surprised if the "moderates" were actually on the left. A lot of self-described "moderates" and "independents" are actually partisans who like to think of themselves as independent.
3.8.2009 1:46pm
libarbarian (mail):

In order to get certified to teach in even a high school in my state I have to have the an equal number of academic hours as an MBA and be willing to start my career in the $28k range and max out at about $50k after 20+ years.



Wow. So in order to get a MASTERS of Business Administration, you only need as much education as a Bachelors in Education?

No wonder I always found MBAs to be roughly as stupid as kindergarten teachers.
3.8.2009 2:00pm
byomtov (mail):
This is confusing interests with indoctrination.

MNZ,

I se your point, but don't agree. The indoctrination happens, not directly, but it does happen. You hear co-workers and your bosses saying over and over again how much good the company is doing, how oppressive the regulations are, how lower taxes would help everyone, etc. After a while you will believe it.

The simple fact is that in that sort of environment you are hearing only one side of the story. That's indoctrination.
3.8.2009 2:03pm
libarbarian (mail):
Some people give teachers entirely too much credit over the minds of their students.
3.8.2009 2:10pm
Calprof (mail):
It would be an embarrassment to conservatives if the figures were otherwise.

There are entire departments in all our leading universities (anthropology, sociology, anything that ends with "studies") that have no intellectually valid content. They are populated by ideologues who, on the odd days that they show up at work, concern themselves most with who slighted them and how they can convince people they are smart and relevant. It speaks well of conservatism that its views are absent from these wastelands.

Calprof
3.8.2009 2:25pm
Displaced Midwesterner:
The sinister control the left has over the minds of the young definitely needs to be broken. It is really disturbing how the longstanding prevalence of liberalism among academics has produced an entire society of brainwashed people where conservatives and even moderates have been reduced to a mere fraction of the population.
3.8.2009 2:28pm
Brian K (mail):
How often do CEOs try to politically indoctrinate the next generation?

I see. i take it as a good sign that the only way you can refute my point is by shifting the goalpost and playing around with definitions.
3.8.2009 2:37pm
MCM (mail):
Libertarians and conservatives in the academy acquire jobs and tenure by not contesting that operative assumption.


Do you know what blog you're posting comments on right now? VC itself belies this statement.
3.8.2009 3:07pm
Desiderius:
libarb,

"No wonder I always found MBAs to be roughly as stupid as kindergarten teachers."

Evidently you don't know many kindergarten teachers. They herd cats to relax from their relatively more difficult day job.

I'm generally in agreement with Zywicki, but think he exaggerates a bit. I did have an Ivy prof (a big Bob Herbert fan, and stalwart Nixon foe) who was fascinated by this strange new philosophy called libertarianism and encouraged me to share it with his class of early twenty-somethings, most of whom had also never heard of such a thing. Most profs, however, had heard of it, but long ago dismissed it out of hand as so much idealistic naivete or, worse, propaganda put out by the pervasive Right Wing.

Present-day academia really is an entirely different world from the others I had previously encountered in my professional life, both non-profit and profit, big and small, producing graduates who either bought into the general zeitgeist, bereft of practice honing their arguments against meaningful resistance, those who clumsily resisted the zeitgeist, enjoying little support from their professors and administrators in making that resistance effective, and the majority who were disengaged from the larger questions of the day, instead pursuing their careers, nurturing networks of friends, and forming nascent families, destined for a life of Somin's rational ignorance.
3.8.2009 3:33pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
Calprof:

"... here are entire departments in all our leading universities (anthropology, sociology, anything that ends with "studies") that have no intellectually valid content."

Are "Asian Studies" a possible exception? I really don't know.

We have at least two theories that might explain the proliferation of "studies" and grievance curricula. The first (which I like) says that they serve as a dumping ground for the affirmative action admissions. The second theory says that what we see can be traced to professors imported after WWII from the Frankfurt School of neo-Marxists who pursued their program to establish "critical studies" departments in American universities.

The theory behind the Frankfurt School is to change the culture so as to facilitate the conversion of a country to socialism. The election of the neo-Marxist Obama seems to bear this out. In any case, the two theories are not independent
3.8.2009 3:33pm
~aardvark (mail):

So if an actual Communist political science professor (which, despite majoring in political science, I never met) told me that I should help overthrow the bourgeoise and create the paradise of the worker, so that eventually the state will whither away, he doesn't think that's in my interest? He doesn't think that's in his interest? Of course he does, that's why he's advocating it.


Interesting... I have never a Communist professor, although I've met a few Marxists. Then, there was a guy who was "finally" happy to admit that he "voted for Nixon... the first time!" at a conservative conference. So what?

In my experience, the actual ideologues do not discuss their political religion with students, especially not in class. The ones who do tend to be intellectually challenged, so they want to show their allegiance by being provocative. That also cuts across the spectrum.

But there is a reason why Republicans are less accepted in academia. Outside of schools of theology and divinity, academics are predominantly humanists. Historically--at least for the past 200 years--academics are also disproportionately atheists. These are not biases--these are natural positions to take in the arts and sciences. But there is also a close correlation between these two categories and liberalism.

To be sure, these parallels are not exact--the largest concentrations of conservatives tend to be in engineering and mathematics departments and these are no less humanist (although likely less humanitarian).

Nonetheless, there does seem to be natural selection in academia that favors liberals, although it has little to do with pragmatism and the path to riches.

There is another reason why conservatives have been a dying breed in American Academia. To see why, you only need to look closely at Republican rallies of the past decade (or even longer). No, I am not talking about racism or just the general "whiteness" of these affairs, or the ridiculous slogans that drive them. I am far more concerned with these events as anti-intellectual assemblies. The likes of George W. Bush, Sarah Palin and many others simply wallow in their own anti-intellectualism (not to be confused with, dare I say, stupidity). There is a difference between not being intelligent and not being interested in intellectual pursuits. And academia is quite hostile to anti-intellectuals in return. The biggest insult a non-conservative academic can offer a conservative one is that the latter associates with creationists and other assorted idiots. In this environment, it is easy to see why even the "moderates" tend to shift to the left.
3.8.2009 3:40pm
ChrisTS (mail):
I'm almost afraid to raise this, but what the hey.
I believe that census-style data show that there are clear correlations between educational level and political perspectives - as well as between educational level and religiosity. (I'm sorry, I cannot recall who does this sort of analysis - probably Pew? THe newest sresults come out every 3 years or so.)

Clearly, here on VC we have many highly-educated people who would not self-identify as liberal or leftist. Some might self-identify as moderates or as conservatives; many would self-identify as libertarians, which gives them nowhere to go with perspectively-limited surveys such as the one in question.

Nonetheless, people with college educations tend to be more 'liberal' than those with high school educations. People with higher degrees [possibly excepting MBAs?]tend to be more liberal than those with college educations. The same pattern holds between educational level and religiosity: the more educated one is, the less likely one is to identify as 'religious' or to attend church, etc.

This, apparently, has held true over several decades, so it is unlikely to be entirely the result of liberal/lefty and/or atheistic professors indoctrinating their students.

I do not know if this is for good or ill, it just seems to be a pattern. If it is, then it is not surprising that most academics tend liberal/left (and nontheistic).

Having said all this, I do believe that there is a contingent of younger faculty who are more likely to self-identify as leftists than their elders. In fact, it is not that they know much about political theory or economics that causes this, IMHO; rather, they assume that being leftist goes hand in hand with a facile brand of post-modernism. And, they tend to be outspoken about the 'obviousness' of their views.

Personally, I think all academics get a bad rap because of some of these people. Not unlike the bad rap conservatives get because of people like Rush Limbaugh.
3.8.2009 3:46pm
MnZ (mail):
byomtov said:


I se your point, but don't agree. The indoctrination happens, not directly, but it does happen. You hear co-workers and your bosses saying over and over again how much good the company is doing, how oppressive the regulations are, how lower taxes would help everyone, etc. After a while you will believe it.


In my experience, these company discussions take the following form:

"If Bill X passes, this is going to cost the firm X."

"Politician Y has made a career out of demonizing our industry. It probably would not be a good thing if he becomes chair of the committee."

"Regulatory Body Z is too much of a stickler for the rules. The compliance activities are killing me."

While in the university context, the discussions can take the following form: "I know you want to interpret the facts differently but, in order for us to sign off on this dissertation, you need to analyze them based on a theory of class struggle."

In other words, in business, the discussion is about firm interests while, in academia, the discussion is about the proper way to think. I admit this tendency to tell people what to think is unavoidable in academia, but when only one way of thinking is represented in a department, then it becomes concerning.
3.8.2009 3:52pm
MCM (mail):
Interesting... I have never a Communist professor, although I've met a few Marxists.


You're going to pick on that? C'mon, the "state with whither away" was far riper.
3.8.2009 3:55pm
~aardvark (mail):

There are entire departments in all our leading universities (anthropology, sociology, anything that ends with "studies") that have no intellectually valid content. They are populated by ideologues who, on the odd days that they show up at work, concern themselves most with who slighted them and how they can convince people they are smart and relevant. It speaks well of conservatism that its views are absent from these wastelands.


Interesting--the most vacuous and vindictive departments that I've dealt with have been led by conservatives. Of course, Calprof's statement itself smacks of religion--if he does not understand it or does not agree with it, it must be intellectual wasteland. Is it any wonder that this kind of narrow-mindedness is usually unwelcome in academia?

And, yes, I am writing this being perfectly aware that there is plenty of narrow-mindedness on the left as well. A classic example may be the Berkeley sociology department grad students going on strike in the early 1990s because an appointment went to a sociologist who spent his life studying African tribes, when the grad students were demanding a "Chicano studies" hire. Another interesting study in idiocy is the demise of then-top-rated Duke English department over essentially ideological disagreements. But these episodes pale in comparison with Calprof-style universal declarations. I suggest reviewing the rather popular Emerson quote on the subject for inspiration.
3.8.2009 3:55pm
Desiderius:
~aardvark,

"The likes of George W. Bush, Sarah Palin and many others simply wallow in their own anti-intellectualism"

Care to provide some specific examples of what you're talking about? I think there is certainly a concern with empty credentialism, but I'll need some help identifying the anti-intellectualism that is so self-evident to you.
3.8.2009 3:57pm
Kirk:
Desiderius,
liberal/illiberal
If you were writing this in the 19th century that would be one thing. But here in the 21st, am I really expected to believe that you don't know the huge shift in meaning that has occurred in the US to the term "liberal" as a political identifier?
3.8.2009 4:14pm
MnZ (mail):

There is another reason why conservatives have been a dying breed in American Academia. To see why, you only need to look closely at Republican rallies of the past decade (or even longer). No, I am not talking about racism or just the general "whiteness" of these affairs, or the ridiculous slogans that drive them. I am far more concerned with these events as anti-intellectual assemblies. The likes of George W. Bush, Sarah Palin and many others simply wallow in their own anti-intellectualism (not to be confused with, dare I say, stupidity). There is a difference between not being intelligent and not being interested in intellectual pursuits. And academia is quite hostile to anti-intellectuals in return. The biggest insult a non-conservative academic can offer a conservative one is that the latter associates with creationists and other assorted idiots. In this environment, it is easy to see why even the "moderates" tend to shift to the left.


Which came first? Did academia become anti-conservative because conservatives were anti-intellectual? Or did conservatives become anti-intellectual because academia became so anti-conservative?*

I largely agree with your paragraph, but it has some really disturbing implications. The level hostility to conservatives is so great that an intellectual with conservative leanings does well to keep his mouth shut or leave academia. Therefore, he or she cannot serve as a bridge between conservatives and the intellectual community. As a result, conservative members of the student body and the public never have an intellectual role model. This feeds conservatives (and many moderates) anti-intellectual viewpoints and makes them suseptible to various charaltans (e.g., creationists).

Given the mission statements and charters of most universities, they seem obligated to look for ways to bridge the gap.

*-Or perhaps they drifted apart mutually?
3.8.2009 4:22pm
Brian K (mail):
We have at least two theories that might explain the proliferation of "studies" and grievance curricula. The first (which I like) says that they serve as a dumping ground for the affirmative action admissions. The second theory says that what we see can be traced to professors imported after WWII from the Frankfurt School of neo-Marxists who pursued their program to establish "critical studies" departments in American universities.


or it might be because these are popular classes and people want to take them. at my undergrad these classes typically filled up fast and were in good demand. is it any wonder why the school would add more popular classes? but such a simple and benign explanation based on the much vaunted laws of supply and demand would get in the way of all the liberal bashing going on here.
3.8.2009 5:00pm
Federal Dog:
"Do you know what blog you're posting comments on right now? VC itself belies this statement."

Take the issue up with, e.g., "Juan Non-Volokh."
3.8.2009 5:01pm
MCM (mail):
he level hostility to conservatives is so great that an intellectual with conservative leanings does well to keep his mouth shut or leave academia. Therefore, he or she cannot serve as a bridge between conservatives and the intellectual community. As a result, conservative members of the student body and the public never have an intellectual role model.


You're posting this on a blog written almost entirely by conservative and libertarian professors.

It's one thing to say that a pervasive liberal bias limits the number of conservatives in academia. But it's foolish to say that there are no conservative intellectual role models.
3.8.2009 5:03pm
Moneyrunner43 (www):
Those of us who have our noses pressed against the windows of the Ivory Tower are truly in awe of those of you who are our betters.

I'm asking for a refund on my subscription to the Limbaugh letter.

I just love people who make such and awsome financial sacrifice teach us. It's just so ... erotic.

Be gentle.

Just call me angel of the morning, and slowly drift away. I'll understand, even if your wife doesn't.
3.8.2009 5:09pm
Russell L Carter (mail):
It would be really really sad, wouldn't it, if the post-doc, professor, tenured-professor process were in important respects just the current manifestation of an ongoing evolution of the notion of a peer-review based meritocracy?

I mean, that would certainly imply things about the populations of left vs. right leaning people, eh?

But fortunately no, it certainly could NOT be a possibility that the thousands of universities in this country and indeed the world were essentially peer-review based meritocracies! Because that would be sad. Why that would be practically irrefutable evidence of the general weakness of the conservative mind. So it can't be true. There must be a conspiracy.

And also because everybody knows that intelligent[1] conservatives go into business where they invent and implement those amazing financial and legal theories that have propelled us to such lofty heights of economic prosperity. My 401K has never looked better! (Snort!)

Keep these sorts of posts coming VCers. I truly love them.

[1] Not my theory, so I can be unsurprised that academic VCers are seemingly highly intelligent. I mean, they've succeeded in a meritocracy...
3.8.2009 5:32pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
Brian K:

" ... or it might be because these are popular classes and people want to take them."

Notice that I wrote at least two theories. You have a third: get an easy "A." Of course easy courses that would pad the GPA for an aspiring student seeking admission to law or medical school will be popular. But theory three does not explain how these courses and schools got started in the first place. Theories 1 and 2 do.
3.8.2009 5:39pm
Federal Dog:
Russell,

You don't spend a lot of time in colleges and universities, do you? Both are stridently critical of the very idea that "meritocracy" even exists.

Further, peer review (like grant funding) is largely perpetuation of prevailing orthodoxies. Fashion and conformity are key to surviving both processes.

Finally, given how many conservatives who leave the universities end up working as engineers, or practising medicine and law, does the facile equation conservative = stupid withstand even cursory scrutiny? If they are smart enough to perform surgery, they are surely smart enough to teach English (if they wanted to).
3.8.2009 5:58pm
MCM (mail):
Finally, given how many conservatives who leave the universities end up working as engineers, or practising medicine and law, does the facile equation conservative = stupid withstand even cursory scrutiny? If they are smart enough to perform surgery, they are surely smart enough to teach English (if they wanted to).


You obviously haven't read anything written by the average engineer or doctor.

The ability to understand how parts fit together (whether biological, mechanical, or electrical) has no bearing on the ability to write a coherent sentence.
3.8.2009 6:10pm
Desiderius:
Kirk,

"If you were writing this in the 19th century that would be one thing. But here in the 21st, am I really expected to believe that you don't know the huge shift in meaning that has occurred in the US to the term "liberal" as a political identifier?"

Or, say, the Fifth BCE. I'll take my 25 centuries (and 3/4 of the rest of the world, where liberal still means roughly what it always has) over your half century and change of false advertising (on the part of some American progressives) and consequent defamation (on the part of some American conservatives), thanks.

For a happy medium, see. The liberal to which I refer above is the sense found in the liberal arts tradition, which dates itself to the classical education of the Greeks.
3.8.2009 6:29pm
Federal Dog:
"You obviously haven't read anything written by the average engineer or doctor.

The ability to understand how parts fit together (whether biological, mechanical, or electrical) has no bearing on the ability to write a coherent sentence."

You obviously haven't read the PMLA. The ability to complete grad school has no bearing on the ability to write a coherent sentence. ;)
3.8.2009 6:30pm
New Pseudonym:
Just a guess, but I am thinking the 0.7% "Far Right" represents one respondent. Can we root him out and deny him tenure? Oops, he's meaningless since he is within the margin of error.
3.8.2009 6:53pm
josil (mail):
As a former academic, one thing I've observed is the predominance of the Left in those curricula for which there is no objective test of theory or research ideas. This includes the humanities, fine arts, almost all of the social sciences and, of course, the so-called "grievance studies". While such subject matter may be of intellectual interest, they have no scientific content (i.e., capable of being tested). So, why is the Left drawn to these areas more than, say, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Engineering, Mathematics. I'm asking in the spirit of open inquiry.
3.8.2009 7:19pm
MnZ:

You're posting this on a blog written almost entirely by conservative and libertarian professors.

It's one thing to say that a pervasive liberal bias limits the number of conservatives in academia. But it's foolish to say that there are no conservative intellectual role models.


I know from personal experience a conservative student might be able to find sanctuary in some parts of the university. However, he or she would need to tread very carefully when venturing into the humanities or most social sciences.
3.8.2009 7:45pm
ChrisTS (mail):
May I make a plea for informed nuance? The 'Humanities' is a pretty big bag. It includes, in most colleges, Philosophy, and Religion Studies, and Foreign Languages as well as English, and Art, and Film Studies. In many colleges, it also includes History.

Many of us in these disciplines are no ore anti-meritocracy or anti-objectivism [in the epsitemic sense] than folks in other disciplines. I do suspect that English programs have largely gone over the edge, but they really are not the be-all and end-all of 'the Humanities' no matter what Stanley Fish might think.
3.8.2009 8:15pm
Brian K (mail):
Notice that I wrote at least two theories. You have a third: get an easy "A." Of course easy courses that would pad the GPA for an aspiring student seeking admission to law or medical school will be popular. But theory three does not explain how these courses and schools got started in the first place. Theories 1 and 2 do.

sure it does. you quoted it yourself. people want to take the courses! some enterprising student got some teacher to teach a course and viola.

and no, your "theory" 1 doesn't explain much of anything. why start these courses specifically, instead of just expanding currently existing courses? the answer to this gets you back to my theory, only without the racist undertones.

and your "theory" 2 only accounts for the start of these courses. in order for these courses to be "proliferating" (your word and your initial claim, not mine) students have to want to take them! which again gets you back to my theory.
3.8.2009 8:19pm
Brian K (mail):
As a former academic, one thing I've observed is the predominance of the Left in those curricula for which there is no objective test of theory or research ideas.

law and business are two glaring examples that don't quite fit your theory.
3.8.2009 8:22pm
trad and anon (mail):
As a former academic, one thing I've observed is the predominance of the Left in those curricula for which there is no objective test of theory or research ideas. This includes the humanities, fine arts, almost all of the social sciences and, of course, the so-called "grievance studies". While such subject matter may be of intellectual interest, they have no scientific content (i.e., capable of being tested).
I think you are being unfair to the social sciences. The bulk of academic psychology is based on controlled experiments. The same is true of much of (though not nearly all) academic sociology. Political science and economics are a different story, since controlled experiments in those disciplines are extremely rare, though not entirely unheard of. They do a lot of quantitative modeling though, which is an empirical way testing theories although not nearly as scientific as controlled experiments. It's very difficult to do any kind of empirical test in history, but it still has to stay grounded in real-world facts in the form of primary source texts and artifacts.

I don't think anyone claims the humanities have any scientific content.

So, why is the Left drawn to these areas more than, say, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Engineering, Mathematics. I'm asking in the spirit of open inquiry.
I don't think it's so much that the left is more drawn to those areas than that the right is more drawn to the hard sciences, leading to a lower liberal:conservative ratio. Probably this has something to do with science being a lot more lucrative than, say, art history.
3.8.2009 9:04pm
Toby:
I live next to a large state university with well known athletic teams. I know that many on athletic scholarship could not get in without their special talent. I know some of them need to be woken up and urged to go to class by specially assigned tutors. I also know that when interviewed after the game, they almost always list one of the grievance studies as their major. I know that the tutors whose job is to keep them elgible steer then aggressively toward these majors.

Faculty, particulalry liberal faculty, often decry the presence of these athletes as diluting the academic tone of the school. It is good to see that Brian K is willing to engage in debate with them and advocate colleg athletes as cutting edge academics.
3.8.2009 10:42pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
Brian K:

"... why start these courses specifically, instead of just expanding currently existing courses?"

Expanding current courses has problems. You would need a dumbed down version of everything, or at least many things for the affirmative action admits, effectively creating a alternate school within the main school. Then everyone could compare the history course for the AA students against the regular history and so on. Much easier to create the various "studies."

"... and your "theory" 2 only accounts for the start of these courses. in order for these courses to be "proliferating" (your word and your initial claim, not mine) students have to want to take them!"

The "proliferating" comes from expansion of the AA programs. Schools have problems with their AA admits graduating when they take the same courses and held to the same standards as the non-AA admits. This leads to accusations of racism etc. What better way to deal with this problem than have special majors?

I don't doubt that some non-AA admits take these courses for the easy "A," but they can only take so many and complete their major.

Note also that I said the theories 1,2, and 3 are not independent. Theory 1 explains the origin, theory 2, explains the expansion and theory 3 explains the popularity. I don't see a problem.

If you want a case history for what happens when AA admits are held to the same standards in a demanding discipline read Storm Over Biology. The very liberal professor at Harvard Medical School, Bernard Davis, wrote an editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine critical on the compromised standards at Harvard for graduating doctors. While he supported AA, he opposed putting the public in danger. HMS found that the black students were not progressing, so they allowed all students to take their exams as many times as it took to pass. That also had problems which led to the abandonment of letter grades. But the AA students had trouble passing the National Boards, so HMS allowed its students to take the boards up to 5 times. Davis went public with his concerns for public safety, and of course got attacked by all the usual suspects.
3.8.2009 10:46pm
Cornellian (mail):
The very liberal professor at Harvard Medical School, Bernard Davis, wrote an editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine critical on the compromised standards at Harvard for graduating doctors. While he supported AA, he opposed putting the public in danger.

I wonder if he's expressed a similar concern for the public welfare over the lower admission standards that apply to legacy admissions.
3.8.2009 11:12pm
EvilDave (mail):

I don't think it's so much that the left is more drawn to those areas [science/engineering] than that the right is more drawn to the hard sciences, leading to a lower liberal:conservative ratio. Probably this has something to do with science being a lot more lucrative than, say, art history.

No the problem is, if you're on the Left you can not commit the sin of Discrimination.
So, to avoid that, you must be utterly Indiscriminate.
There can be no right answer. That would show the Discrimination of a correct answer and, therefore, bias.
So, majors that include hard right/wrong answers are to be avoided, in favor of majors whose answers depend upon how you feel (your emotions).

Although I admit to live comfortably in your Left fantasy land, you do need the financial stability or at least financial indifference (i.e. "I'm poor but don't really care") that is also needed for the art history degrees.
3.8.2009 11:15pm
~aardvark (mail):
If you want to hear anti-intellectual sentiments on the right, just dial into talk radio. Or recall any of the campaign speeches by the likes of Macaca Allen or Pat Shut-the-Door Buchanan. Every time "elites" are mentioned by these buffoons with 7-figure paychecks, I cringe. And, of course, W and Palin have done their share of elite-bashing, especially the latter. You know, something to the tune of "real Americans" don't care for college education. Or perhaps taking pride in refusing to read is not enough for you?

Look, the point is that even many conservative academics look at these people with contempt. In 2000, many of them looked at Bush as a "useful idiot" only to regret that opinion later. In 2008, Palin had turned them off in droves, at least, the younger ones. It wasn't the case on this blog--all the bloggers on VC, save one, stayed loyal to McCain. But their defense of Palin was rather feeble--and she was not meant to be in charge in any case. And Rush Limbaugh and Michael Steele only make matter worse every time they open their mouths--to a sane person, their tirades have the same effect as Michael Moore and Ted Kennedy have on Republicans.

Then we get this. Even such old hands as Brooks are getting fed up with bullshit. Brooks, of course, is not alone.

The problem is really quite simple. Contrary to Somin's opinion, the "moderates" are not leaning left--they are just staying to the left of the self-professed conservatives. The problem is not with the biases of the "moderates"--the problem is with the conservatives. In fact, most self-professed conservatives in the general population still think that they are voting for the 1950s brand conservatives. But, by today's standards of conservative "leadership", 1950s conservatives would not be let in the door--unless they happened to be members of the John Birch Society. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, conservatives used to gang up on and isolate the likes of Robert Welch because they thought that he went too far to be considered "reasonable"; they would actually protect the Armed Forces against politicization, unlike today's Republicans who use servicemen as props; they were protective of civil rights, instead of taking every opportunity to minimize the influence of minorities in the political process.

Above all, 45-50 years ago, conservatives knew the difference between sane and insane. They understood that what is now represented by conservative leadership is the extreme radical right, not the "mainstream" conservative movement. They did not want to govern the Village of the Idiots. And those in academia who would have identified themselves as conservative in the 1960s now take the protection of the "moderate" label because they are not and do not want to be viewed as radicals. The self-proclaimed conservatives one campus tend to be closer to the Trotskyites than Teddy Roosevelt and Eisenhower. There are exceptions, for sure. Some of these exceptions are VC bloggers (note that Kopel is not really in academia).

As for anti-intellectualism of the Right, you need not go further than Shelley's Frankenstein for a good "mob with pitchforks" metaphor. How many academics would want to be seen as being a part of the same political movement as Dobson, Haggert, Limbaugh and Joe the Plumber? This is a rhetorical question.
3.8.2009 11:16pm
Brian K (mail):
It is good to see that Brian K is willing to engage in debate with them and advocate colleg athletes as cutting edge academics.

from your reading comprehension skills, i take it you were one of those admitted on an athletic scholarship. or are you just bitter that your athletic skills weren't good enough to make admissions officers overlook your glaring academic deficits?
3.8.2009 11:16pm
EvilDave (mail):
My [] editing of the quote in the last post was messed up. Please ignore.
3.8.2009 11:17pm
~aardvark (mail):

I also know that when interviewed after the game, they almost always list one of the grievance studies as their major.


That's BS (and I am using a fairly mild term here). Your sample is both sub-significant and susceptible to the recency effect bias. Just as you suggest that many of the "student-athletes"--as they are usually known--major in "grievance studies", "everyone" at RPI and Cornell "knows" that their hockey players major in beer and business. In fact, "business administration" is the second most common area of concentration (major) for student-athletes, right after--shock and surprise!--sports-related majors.
3.8.2009 11:29pm
Brian K (mail):
Note also that I said the theories 1,2, and 3 are not independent.

your right. theory 3 succinctly explains everything. theory 1 seems like your attempt to explain everything in the way of your own biases, is unneccessary, and assumes, incorrectly, that most AA admits can only make it in lesser classes. theory 2 has a bit of a chicken and an egg problem with it.

as to the med school example, i can speak from experience that no med school admissions program is perfect. i know plenty of people in my school who would easily excel in harvard and i know plenty of people in many schools who quite frankly should not be in medicine. perhaps harvard should come up with better selection criteria?
3.8.2009 11:39pm
Calprof (mail):
aardvark writes:
"Interesting--the most vacuous and vindictive departments that I've dealt with have been led by conservatives"

You must live in an alternate universe that intersects mine here at the Volokh Conspiracy.

Calprof
3.8.2009 11:39pm
Jim Miller (mail) (www):
~aardvark - So you are saying that academics are basically snobs, and that they don't care about the logic of an argument and the evidence for it, just the types of people advocating it?

That's an awfully harsh judgment on academics. I am not sure I would accept it, but I have had very little recent contact with academics. It would be interesting to hear from those who have more recent contact. Is ~aardvark right? Is the leftism so common in academia essentially snobbery?

(Interestingly, not that long ago, academics often claimed to identify with the working class, with people like "Joe the Plumber". Both the snobbery and the identification are illogical, of course. My apologies for mentioning that point, but some, in the heat of debate, forget elementary logical fallacies.)
3.8.2009 11:51pm
Deagle (mail):
I think that those of either side tend to go with the flow.. Today, that is liberalism and thus becomes the most emitted leaning. On the other hand, Conservatism is looked down upon these days so yes, they would tend to agree with any other generalization. Not sure that I would agree with any internal polls without biasing them for the current situation.

I think that is natural for those that even think about leaning left to portray that preference (due to undue peer pressure). Of course that could change but today, it is a given and is necessary for advancement. The future may change that but not likely due to the inherent liberal bias of the profession (ie., artists almost are universally liberal). It seems to me that academics fits into that same category.

Conservative thought will NEVER gain a foothold into the liberal arts. I also think that the conservative ideals are underrepresented in society (polls) due to other factors.
3.9.2009 12:05am
Hucbald (mail) (www):
This is the most interesting thread. I read every comment and then refreshed the page and there were several more to read.

Now, I almost never comment here - mostly because I think the world would be a much better place if all lawyers were dragged to the nearest bar ditches and hacked into little pieces with machetes (I kid, I kid) - but I think I'll add an observation and describe a personal experience to be filed under anecdotal evidence.

1] Studies that ask people to describe themselves only show what percentages of people describe themselves in the ways listed. That's all, and nothing else. Sure, there could have been a category for libertarians, and different descriptions of the extremes, but it would still only show how people describe themselves, and not what the reality actually is.

2] Perform this experiment to learn everything you need to know about leftist bias in academia: Get yourself a Bachelor of Music degree, get yourself a Master of Music degree, and then attempt to get a Doctor of Musical Arts degree; all the while being an outspoken libertarian-conservative Christian white male. Go ahead, and try it. Bonus points if you have a high enough level of talent to embarrass your leftist professors, and also if you are a former state finalist in extemp and can shut their vacuous defenses of leftism down with just two or three sentences.

Here's what the results will be: Your leftist professors will have little or no choice but to award you the BM and MM degrees, because those simply require courses and degree plans to be completed. Pretty objective, really, even for the Master's degree. However, when you get to the Doctoral degree, you will be told, in no uncertain terms, that you will never be awarded the degree, no matter how well you compose music, because of your incorrect politics. Even if you can write far more masterfully than any of the - very large, in my case - composition faculty (If you are really and truly literate, and are not just limited to the world of words, you can go here, for some recreational reading).

Don't tell me leftist bias isn't real in academia, because it is, and if you do admit to the reality of leftist bias in academia, don't tell me that is the result of the academy being a pure meritocracy, because it isn't. Libertarians, conservatives, and especially Christians are actively discriminated against by the academy: That's a self-evident fact to those who've experienced it first hand.
3.9.2009 12:28am
vmark1:
Liberals in higher education?

ZZZzzzzzz....you have to be kidding...zzzzz

Dog bites man...details at 11...who would have known????
3.9.2009 12:30am
A. Zarkov (mail):
"I wonder if he's expressed a similar concern for the public welfare over the lower admission standards that apply to legacy admissions."

I don't know. Are you saying that Harvard had or now has legacy admissions to medical school?
3.9.2009 12:31am
Deagle (mail):
Hucbald,

Unfortunately, that seems to be leaking into the Science fields as well. Really too bad - that surely ought to be a field requiring common sense and facts. It really is a problem in the liberal arts field...

Put me down as one of the older generation giving up on education today (hmmm., maybe we just need more money!). I leave it to my son to pave the way...
3.9.2009 12:36am
~aardvark (mail):
Calprof wrote:

You must live in an alternate universe that intersects mine here at the Volokh Conspiracy.


Obviously you've lived a sheltered life and never worked at Boston University or Northwestern.

Jim Miller wrote:

So you are saying that academics are basically snobs, and that they don't care about the logic of an argument and the evidence for it, just the types of people advocating it?


Although I agree, in principle, that academics tend to be snobs--and this cuts across the political spectrum--I actually wrote nothing of the sort. It is true that some people are so intellectually repugnant that their "arguments" are ignored wholesale. This is not, however, the general state of affairs. It is only one aspect, one reason for academia shying away from self-identifying as conservatives.

There is a reason why the pseudo-academic right (a.k.a., punditocracy) is often mocked as "glibertarians". Somin's argument in this thread demonstrates quite clearly that little knowledge (and a lot of puffery) can go a long way. And the same can be said about a lot of professoriate that self-identifies as radical left. There is as much shoehorning going on on the right as there is on the left. And most "liberals" along with the "moderates" are quite immune to accepting argumentation based on ideology.

But my main point is based on something entirely different. Like Somin, I can claim that, in fact, the labels in the survey are misleading. However, unlike Somin, I suggest that the labels are biased toward the right, rather than the left. In other words, the self-described "conservatives" are really radicals, and the self-alleged "liberals" are mostly political moderates and not the Socialists that the right-leaning talking heads would like them to be.

There is a simple reason why the Right does not like "liberal" academia--in order to win them over, they would actually have to make logical arguments backed by evidence, and not the glib observation that easily win over the media and the nation of Joe the Plumbers. It's the same reason why Marxists appeal to the Proletariat and exterminate the "liberal academia" at the first opportunity.

"Liberal academia" still lives in the 19th century sense of liberalism (which can be a problem on its own), while conservatives invent new labels practically daily. I'd like to see some intellectual consistency from conservatives--not to mention some evidence--instead of blame du jour.
3.9.2009 12:37am
Deagle (mail):
"But my main point is based on something entirely different. Like Somin, I can claim that, in fact, the labels in the survey are misleading. However, unlike Somin, I suggest that the labels are biased toward the right, rather than the left. In other words, the self-described "conservatives" are really radicals, and the self-alleged "liberals" are mostly political moderates and not the Socialists that the right-leaning talking heads would like them to be."

I must say, that is an unusual argument if nothing else. Just who are these right leaning radicals you speak of? Just who are the politicians that are leading us down the flowered path?

"There is a simple reason why the Right does not like "liberal" academia--in order to win them over, they would actually have to make logical arguments backed by evidence, and not the glib observation that easily win over the media and the nation of Joe the Plumbers. It's the same reason why Marxists appeal to the Proletariat and exterminate the "liberal academia" at the first opportunity."

You seems to be taking a specific conservative argument and spreading it across all academia...really? The tendencies of the liberals tend to be much more Socialist (with Marxists tendencies) than any Conservative that I know (fairness doctrine). I seem to think that Conservatives are more Constitutionalists and tend toward individual freedom. Not too sure where you are getting your conservative definitions.
3.9.2009 12:46am
A. Zarkov (mail):
Brian K

" ... theory 3 succinctly explains everything."

No it does not, but we are going in circles I've already covered why.

" ... assumes, incorrectly, that most AA admits can only make it in lesser classes."

Then why do we have AA at all? Why have different admissions standards? Why is it that at UCLA the law students in the Critical Race Studies Program generally (with a few exceptions) perform at the bottom of the class? Now don't tell me this isn't true because there are class discussions as to why minority students do so poorly in the law program.

As to medical schools, Harvard's experience is hardly unique. In fact one of my friends, who is black, told me that she got to take a special summer preparation course in anatomy (not open to non-minorities). In effect at her school (which was not Harvard) minority students get to take anatomy twice. Why would minority students have to take anatomy twice if they were equally prepared?

I can see that no amount of facts is going to pry you out of your illusions.
3.9.2009 12:48am
PlugInMonster:
BTW, it seems to be conventional wisdom that Sarah Palin is anti-intellectual. But who gave us this "conventional wisdom", but the left-wing media? Any real examples? Oh, she didn't go to Hah-vad. Ok...
3.9.2009 12:52am
Nick056:
If Calprof is reading, I just want to know for clarification if he feels that there are entire studies without merit -- including, from memory, sociology -- or if there are entire departments staffed by people unable to communicate to students the merits and findings of their own fields? It seems like a problem of probability to suggest that there are very meritorous fields of study whose departments can never, to a person, teach their students any of that merit. But perhaps it's true.

Yet it seems frankly like a problem of ignorance to suggest that there are entire fields -- including sociology -- without merit at all. But since Calprof didn't say that. I'm only curious if he intended it.

Also, this thread comes across rather loaded with insular contempt toward people whose chief sin is insular contempt. Allow me a suggestion. The two major fields in which liberals are held by conservatives to be both hugely dominant and very biased in their work are academia and the media. In other words, liberals control education, and they control the mainstream means of distributing information. Whatever else, that's a very convenient theme to return to. "In a country of stalwart conservative traditions -- in a 'center-right country' -- we still lose elections to leftists quite often. Conveniently, they control the flow of information!

Has there been any idealogical grouping in history, which casually held itself to be mostly dominant, all correct, and entirely without need of compromise, who did not also believe that the smaller, more venal opposition controlled the flow of information?
3.9.2009 12:57am
Deagle (mail):
"Also, this thread comes across rather loaded with insular contempt toward people whose chief sin is insular contempt. Allow me a suggestion. The two major fields in which liberals are held by conservatives to be both hugely dominant and very biased in their work are academia and the media. In other words, liberals control education, and they control the mainstream means of distributing information. Whatever else, that's a very convenient theme to return to. "In a country of stalwart conservative traditions -- in a 'center-right country' -- we still lose elections to leftists quite often. Conveniently, they control the flow of information!"

Liberals dominate academia and the media... Do you not agree? If that is really the case, do you expect the country to become more conservative? Yes, the media actually do help the liberals (Democrats), but hey, we do occasionally win... Sometimes, it just takes the liberals being in charge that changes peoples opinions for the next election. I do think that that might occur during the next two elections. If not, we can become another mini-France...(and working toward full-fledged membership in the EU)...
3.9.2009 1:06am
Desiderius:
~aardvark,

"You know, something to the tune of "real Americans" don't care for college education."

Sing us the tune then, or a link if you're not feeling musical.

"Or perhaps taking pride in refusing to read is not enough for you?"

It would be if Bush or Palin took such pride. Again, some of that evidence of which you profess to be so fond? Bush is by all accounts an avid reader, and according to her high school classmates, Palin once was. Even if she has slacked off recently (which has not been established, but would explain some of her more vapid moments), it does not follow that she takes pride in doing so.

"Look, the point is that even many conservative academics look at these people with contempt"

No doubt, but the existence of contempt is not evidence of its merit, indeed often the opposite, especially on the part of the (culturally) powerful vis-a-vis their chosen outgroup.
3.9.2009 1:11am
Nick056:
PlugInMonster,

Thank you for illustrating the point. The left wing media and their prized left wing universities collude to create an impression of anti-intellectualism for not having gone to hahvad. They created that conventional wisdom.

Let me ask you. Is it possible that Palin's own words and performance as a candidate could have created that overall impression in people? Or that people not in the mainstream media aided this impression -- like a McCain aid who called her a "hillbilly" and other McCain aids who spread rumors that she thought Africa was a country? Was it liberal media malice for FOX News to report those claims? I don't doubt they had about a million axes to grind halfway across Alaska, but can we agree that they're not liberal, not the media, and that "hillbillies" are usually seen as pretty anti-intellectual? But it's just the media!

I've got no particular need to show that Palin hated or feared or derided intellectualism. But obviously some not-liberal people were conveying that image, and no less than FOX News passed it on. But it's just that Hahvad-luvin' liberal media! They create the public perception of Republicans. I guess they're so insidious they even shape the minds of high ranking Republican staffers. Not to mention, a lot of people found her attractive. Did the media convince them of that, too? Or are some impressions honest?

Again, Plugin, thanks for speaking directly to my point. That's a fantastic illustration of just what I was saying.
3.9.2009 1:19am
Sagar:
aardvark,

anti-elitism is not the same as anti-intellectualism.
3.9.2009 1:22am
Nick056:
Desiderius,

I disagree very strongly about the climate on college campuses. This thread makes it seem like campuses are veritable indoctrination programs. Yes, most professors are liberal, but far more of them than this thread suggests are also excellent educators who leave politics outside the classroom. And this thread very frequently doesn't just dismiss the people teaching the classes, but veers toward a dismissal of what they teach. There's a broad assumption that anything that's a "studies" course is void of content and an easy A. I took a course or two like that in college -- we all did. But the generalizations here say less about the classroom and more about the thread.

As for the vaunted liberal media, well, there's a great deal to be said there and much of it is complex. Suffice to say I'm satisfied making the assertion that the Washington and New York political media do beat people up for being socially conservative, but not for being economically conservative, and that a great deal of their coverage is narrative or character-driven rather than policy intensive. I think the media did turn on McCain to help Obama -- but in 2000, Gore was utterly and endlessly hated in about a million different ways, and the liberal media was much kinder to Bush.
3.9.2009 1:35am
Nick056:
Desiderius,

I disagree very strongly about the climate on college campuses. This thread makes it seem like campuses are veritable indoctrination programs. Yes, most professors are liberal, but far more of them than this thread suggests are also excellent educators who leave politics outside the classroom. And this thread very frequently doesn't just dismiss the people teaching the classes, but veers toward a dismissal of what they teach. There's a broad assumption that anything that's a "studies" course is void of content and an easy A. I took a course or two something like that in college -- we all did. But the generalizations here say less about the classroom and more about the thread.

As for the vaunted liberal media, well, there's a great deal to be said there and much of it is complex. Suffice to say I'm satisfied making the assertion that the Washington and New York political media do beat people up for being socially conservative, but not for being economically conservative, and that a great deal of their coverage is narrative or character-driven rather than policy intensive. I think the media did turn on McCain to help Obama -- but in 2000, Gore was utterly and endlessly hated in about a million different ways, and the liberal media was much kinder to Bush.
3.9.2009 1:38am
George Vogt (mail):
Um, Hucbald, I'm sorry to have to be the one to break this to you, but I've listened to your mp3, and read the other movement of your Sonata, and I think your professor was trying to be kind by criticizing your politics instead of your music. I'm by no means a credentialed music theoretician, but I have read some of the original treatises by great composers such as Hindemith and Messiaen, and I can recognize good counterpoint when I hear it whether it comes from Bach or Mahler, and sad to say, if counterpoint is the soul of the fugue, your compositions are as soulless as the ramblings of Yanni or Ray Lynch. Go back and listen to the fugue in Benjamin Britten's "Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra", and marvel at how he has no fewer than four different voices going on all at once in different directions at different speeds, but making a coherent whole. When you can duplicate that phenomenon with even three voices, and not start out by quoting something 400 years old, then you might be worthy of the DMA degree in composition. You don't even need to attempt the fabulous orchestration that Britten achieved.

Now when it comes to political preferences of academic faculty, you have to remember that the academy is by its very nature a progressive organization. If it wasn't, we'd still be learning about the incontrovertible validity of the divine right of kings. You want real conservatism? Go to Oxford or Cambridge England, or to Florence, Italy.
3.9.2009 1:39am
Nick056:
That last was for Deagle, and sorry for the double post.
3.9.2009 1:51am
Deagle (mail):
Nick056,

I would agree that most of what you said is true... I do think that there are several schools (for some reason, they also seem to be the most trumpeted) that go against the trend though - maybe those are the ones that get most mentioned by the media.
3.9.2009 2:03am
Nick056:
Deagle,

Thanks. I'd agree with a lot of what you said, too. 2010 and '12 will be interesting election years, is for sure. If Geithner doesn't star impressing soon, what you said about very brief liberal leadership might be a prediction I'd bet on.
3.9.2009 2:19am
Ken Hahn (mail):
Academia is far to the left of almost everything else. Maybe we ought to stop paying them for it. Or giving them unheard of job security through tenure. But, I hear, they could make more in the private sector. Fine, let them. I wish them well. But outside the sciences, law and medicine there are vast areas of academia whose members are unqualified to do anything outside of a university environment. So let them try.

Academia, like journalism, is pretty well wreaked in this country. Like the lapdog media, the mindless left on campus has campaigned endlessly for Obama. As the disaster unfolds, the last shreds of credibility will fall from both. And neither will ever be trusted again.
3.9.2009 2:20am
MCM (mail):
Academia, like journalism, is pretty well wreaked in this country. Like the lapdog media, the mindless left on campus has campaigned endlessly for Obama. As the disaster unfolds, the last shreds of credibility will fall from both. And neither will ever be trusted again.


Could you fill out my NCAA bracket for me next week?
3.9.2009 2:46am
Ken Arromdee:
There is a simple reason why the Right does not like "liberal" academia--in order to win them over, they would actually have to make logical arguments backed by evidence,

Then why is it that the least left-wing of departments are ones like science and math--exactly the same ones where making logical arguments does some good?
3.9.2009 3:33am
Nick056:
Ken,

Are you of the opinion that "logical arguments" are irrelevant to history, sociology, psychology, and philosophy?
3.9.2009 3:45am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Anti-credentialism does not equal anti-intellectualism, and anti-elitism wants to know who appointed the elite.
3.9.2009 8:23am
Thales (mail) (www):
Note that public opinion remains distinctly to the left of the averaged politicians elected in America.
3.9.2009 8:44am
Brendanav (mail):
"There are entire departments in all our leading universities (anthropology, sociology, anything that ends with "studies") that have no intellectually valid content. They are populated by ideologues who, on the odd days that they show up at work, concern themselves most with who slighted them and how they can convince people they are smart and relevant. It speaks well of conservatism that its views are absent from these wastelands."

Calprof

"There is a simple reason why the Right does not like "liberal" academia--in order to win them over, they would actually have to make logical arguments backed by evidence,

Then why is it that the least left-wing of departments are ones like science and math--exactly the same ones where making logical arguments does some good?"

EXCELLENT POINT! the no-content blathering departments of rubbish track along with the real stuff becuase they can!
Society in general gives credence to Academia becuase of real accomplishments, and the vermin infest the bilges because they can.

I make it a point to wear my NRA emblazoned cap around the campus. F'rinstance to the (Medical) Library, where the competent lurk, not the free-range loons that are housed over in Afro-lesbian studies or whatever. I did a little survey last week. There were 41 students at 2 p.m. on Sunday. One guy looked mid-eastern, there were 10 caucasians, but the surf was up, and 30 kids likely from Japan, China, Korea, maybe a couple of of folks from other asian climes (as far as I could tell from my physical anthro classes). I got a few looks coming in, but on the second floor, where the young asian couples sit on opposite sides of the table while studying (and offset at that…because they are concentrating, and not on that...) I got frank smiles of approval. Yeah, they're FOB's (Fresh off the boat) but they know a lot about having to circumvent entrenched administrator hoodlums masquerading as academics, and they also intuitively know what I am trolling for, and they smile, because all bulls….. to the side, they are in heaven. They know, as do I, that these worthless jokes appointed by lazy go-along administrators, these freaks that crawl the campus with their vapid "activism", exist only because those lazy old farts in administration were perfectly willing to give away to losers what they did not even themselves earn, cloaking it in the apparently impervious attributes of academic freedom. When I see these diligent kids, I am reassured that the clowns with the death grip on the campus are exactly that, desperately grasping onto something was never theirs in the first place, a pathetic, contemptible embarrassment.
3.9.2009 10:04am
Brendanav (mail):
"There are entire departments in all our leading universities (anthropology, sociology, anything that ends with "studies") that have no intellectually valid content. They are populated by ideologues who, on the odd days that they show up at work, concern themselves most with who slighted them and how they can convince people they are smart and relevant. It speaks well of conservatism that its views are absent from these wastelands."

Calprof

"There is a simple reason why the Right does not like "liberal" academia--in order to win them over, they would actually have to make logical arguments backed by evidence,

Then why is it that the least left-wing of departments are ones like science and math--exactly the same ones where making logical arguments does some good?"

EXCELLENT POINT! the no-content blathering departments of rubbish track along with the real stuff becuase they can!
Society in general gives credence to Academia becuase of real accomplishments, and the vermin infest the bilges because they can.

I make it a point to wear my NRA emblazoned cap around the campus. F'rinstance to the (Medical) Library, where the competent lurk, not the free-range loons that are housed over in Afro-lesbian studies or whatever. I did a little survey last week. There were 41 students at 2 p.m. on Sunday. One guy looked mid-eastern, there were 10 caucasians, but the surf was up, and 30 kids likely from Japan, China, Korea, maybe a couple of of folks from other asian climes (as far as I could tell from my physical anthro classes). I got a few looks coming in, but on the second floor, where the young asian couples sit on opposite sides of the table while studying (and offset at that…because they are concentrating, and not on that...) I got frank smiles of approval. Yeah, they're FOB's (Fresh off the boat) but they know a lot about having to circumvent entrenched administrator hoodlums masquerading as academics, and they also intuitively know what I am trolling for, and they smile, because all bulls….. to the side, they are in heaven. They know, as do I, that these worthless jokes appointed by lazy go-along administrators, these freaks that crawl the campus with their vapid "activism", exist only because those lazy old farts in administration were perfectly willing to give away to losers what they did not even themselves earn, cloaking it in the apparently impervious attributes of academic freedom. When I see these diligent kids, I am reassured that the clowns with the death grip on the campus are exactly that, desperately grasping onto something was never theirs in the first place, a pathetic, contemptible embarrassment.
3.9.2009 10:04am
MCM (mail):
I got frank smiles of approval. Yeah, they're FOB's (Fresh off the boat) but they know a lot about having to circumvent entrenched administrator hoodlums masquerading as academics, and they also intuitively know what I am trolling for, and they smile, because all bulls….. to the side, they are in heaven. They know, as do I, that these worthless jokes appointed by lazy go-along administrators, these freaks that crawl the campus with their vapid "activism", exist only because those lazy old farts in administration were perfectly willing to give away to losers what they did not even themselves earn, cloaking it in the apparently impervious attributes of academic freedom.


Or they want to avoid offending the gun-toting lunatic, so they smile politely and look away.
3.9.2009 11:44am
11-B/2O.B4:
Look, there's a lot of generalized stereotyping running rampant here, so lets cut the BS and talk reality. Academia is leftist. Ask a "moderate" professor about his/her stances on major issues and if you get a 10% conservative response rate, I'd be shocked. This does not (usually) translate into their being ineffective teachers. There are always good profs and bad ones, but on the whole, the ideological slant isn't enough to force an ideological change is students. On the other hand, for young undergrads with no particular ideology, I can see them sort of being swept along with the liberal flow of academia. Not a huge issue, badly educated liberals are low hanging fruit.

It is rare that even the most liberal profs actively engage in frontal assaults on student's politics, but it does happen. I once had an english prof fail a superb paper simply because I defended the Second Amendment in it (the Dean's office reversed this). Last semester, I had a prof announce to the (psychology) class that anyone who didn't believe in anthropogenic global warming was an "idiot" and that this opinion could be taken as a sign of mental illness. I came to class two weeks later with a fourteen-inch stack of scientific journal articles and demanded his apology (which was not forthcoming). In any case, the soft liberal slant doesn't bother me, it gives me something to fight on a daily basis, and I relish it. The more aggressive stances are usually taken by the worst professors, and I avoid their classes. The aforementioned psych prof taught almost nothing but buddhist dogma in his classes. He had literally no clue about anything relevant to the subject of his class, and was generally the "idiot" he accused others of being. How he ever got a Doctorate is beyond me.
3.9.2009 12:16pm
cbyler (mail):
"There are entire departments in all our leading universities (anthropology, sociology, anything that ends with "studies") that have no intellectually valid content. They are populated by ideologues who, on the odd days that they show up at work, concern themselves most with who slighted them and how they can convince people they are smart and relevant. It speaks well of conservatism that its views are absent from these wastelands."

Presumably the author of this passage would describe himself as a conservative - yet people still wonder why academics think conservatives are anti-intellectual?

Every time the subject of conservative anti-intellectualism comes up, two kinds of conservatives come out of the woodwork: the kind that bashes academics and academia, and the kind that denies that conservatives are anti-intellectual. Funny how the second kind never notices the first, even when posting on the same thread.

Aside from reality having a well-known liberal bias, I think the main factor in the liberal slant of academia is anti-anti-intellectualism. If conservatives want to be more respected in academia, they might try dissociating themselves from some of their less respectable fellow travelers.
3.9.2009 12:47pm
Interested Party:
Hardwork earns degrees, not intelligence.
3.9.2009 12:48pm
Brendanav (mail):
"Or they want to avoid offending the gun-toting lunatic, so they smile politely and look away."

Ka-ching!

I rest my case, yer honor.

Thank you for your comment. Diagnostic. I a bet going with some collegues on how long it would take for the hyperbolic, extremist ad hominem attack, but I completely missed the side bet on sereotyping of asians as reflexively docile. And this string was about what?

Anyway, thanks for helping out and no, I will not split the $44.
3.9.2009 12:58pm
Brendanav (mail):
Thank you for your comment. Diagnostic. I a bet going with some collegues on how long it would take for the hyperbolic, extremist ad hominem attack, but I completely missed the side bet on sereotyping of asians as reflexively docile.

Sorry for the errors; that should read "I had a bet..."
and "...stereotyping of..."

apologies.
3.9.2009 1:05pm
MCM (mail):
Apologies. What I meant was that they want to avoid offending the person they perceive as a gun-toting lunatic.

My point was that it's extremely unlikely that they actually share your political views, particularly as to gun control.

What you are describing is known as the "false consensus effect". You assume that others think as you do, when there is empirical evidence to the contrary. Particularly as to the "gun thing".

Every time the subject of conservative anti-intellectualism comes up, two kinds of conservatives come out of the woodwork: the kind that bashes academics and academia, and the kind that denies that conservatives are anti-intellectual. Funny how the second kind never notices the first, even when posting on the same thread.


Excellent point. The third post in the this thread claims that conservative anti-intellectualism is a myth. Yet read a little further and there's plenty of anti-intellectualism here.
3.9.2009 1:12pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Anybody want to define the "intellectualism" conservatives are supposed to dislike so much?
3.9.2009 1:14pm
MCM (mail):
Look, there's a lot of generalized stereotyping running rampant here, so lets cut the BS and talk reality. Academia is leftist.


Sarcastro couldn't do it better himself.
3.9.2009 1:14pm
Ubu Walker (mail):
These studies ask the wrong question. The real questions is does it matter that the academy leans liberal.

A study that will appear soon in the journal PS: Political Science &Politics by a Republican professor and a Democratic professor followed students political leanings over the course of their college careers and found no evidence of indoctrination and only marginal changes in political leanings of students.

Of course, another good question is why more professors are liberal than conservative. I think the answer lies in the nature of what it means to be a professor. A professor is a person who professes to be an expert in some art or science, and a teacher of highest rank. This means that they dislike simple, incorrect or dumbed down views of how science or society works and functions. Professors want to advance knowledge, not keep it the same. Plus, Professors tend to get most of their funding from the government and private charities.
3.9.2009 1:30pm
~aardvark (mail):

Then why is it that the least left-wing of departments are ones like science and math--exactly the same ones where making logical arguments does some good?


For one, most of science departments tend to be politics-neutral. Physicists, biologists, chemists, when they have an opinion, tend to lean left. Math and engineering tend to lean right. I could say, I suppose, that these are the least "human" subjects, where the practitioners tend to live fairly sheltered lives and have limited interactions with people. But that would be to easy.

Brendanav--why don't you do us all a favor, trip on your gun and blow your own head off. It doesn's look like it would be missed.
3.9.2009 2:16pm
Federal Dog:
"Political Science &Politics by a Republican professor and a Democratic professor followed students political leanings over the course of their college careers and found no evidence of indoctrination and only marginal changes in political leanings of students."

This is not the concern. The concern is that students are not receiving full and responsible exposure to intellectual issues.

One one hand, if instructors given to political grandstanding take time away from teaching the assigned subject matter for that purpose, education is being sacrificed in favor of mere political advocacy.

On the other hand, if the instructor's political leanings lead that person to omit or falsely slant dissenting viewpoints, what exposure students may be receiving is irresponsibly limited in its nature and scope.
3.9.2009 2:34pm
cmr:
Two things I'm surprised people have really mentioned:

1. Much of academia, especially in the Humanities, have a lot of women. The feminization of academia might as well be a ringing endorsement for Liberalism. Women are more emotional and concern themselves less with objective truths, so that's why on the whole academia has become liberalized in these areas. Because it's sopping to its female constituency -- educator and students alike.

2. Universities have become more racially and ethnically diverse, which leads to liberalism as well. I bet if college was like it was forty years ago -- mostly white, mostly male -- there wouldn't be the categorical criminalization of conservatism like there is now.

I think it's also a ploy of the American Left -- they lump conservatives, Republicans, and the Christian fundies in together, turning them into basically the same thing (and they're not), and they try and make members who can even vaguely be called one of the above answer to the inconsistencies or crimes of one of those groups. And also, they equate being wrong with being "offensive" -- yet they thoroughly reject the idea that offensiveness is reason to modify their beliefs (or ways of expressing them). Liberals are massive hypocrites, though, and intellectually and emotionally, they cop-out and instead go for the least laborious moral truth: that the true evil in the world is telling other people what to do, or judging others based on their actions.

Surprisingly, many Liberals haven't read "Paradise Lost".
3.9.2009 2:46pm
cmr:
^haven't
3.9.2009 2:47pm
David Drake:
MCM


The third post in the this thread claims that conservative anti-intellectualism is a myth. Yet read a little further and there's plenty of anti-intellectualism here.


After reading this, I reread all the comments on this thread. I didn''t see much anti-intellectualism, unless you equate "intellectual" with "academic." Or "intellectual" with "not leftist."
3.9.2009 3:57pm
Joseph Slater (mail):
cmr:

Did you just argue -- explicitly -- that women and minorities are less able to deal with "objective truths" then white men are, and that's why more women and minorities are liberals?
3.9.2009 3:58pm
Brian K (mail):
they lump conservatives, Republicans, and the Christian fundies in together, turning them into basically the same thing (and they're not),

all 3 of these groups almost exclusively vote republican, so it's not the liberals who are lumping them together...they're doing it themselves. when a controversial piece of legislation goes up to vote and republicans vote in party line, it's obvious why others lump them together too.
3.9.2009 4:09pm
MCM (mail):
Much of academia, especially in the Humanities, have a lot of women. The feminization of academia might as well be a ringing endorsement for Liberalism. Women are more emotional and concern themselves less with objective truths, so that's why on the whole academia has become liberalized in these areas. Because it's sopping to its female constituency -- educator and students alike.


Part of this is demonstrably false. Amongst all professors, the gender balance is relatively equal. Amongst full-time tenured and tenure-track professors, the vast majority are men.
3.9.2009 4:17pm
Brian K (mail):
No it does not, but we are going in circles I've already covered why.

no you have not. you've made many assertions, some of which are not really based in reality.


Then why do we have AA at all?

have you never heard of racism and all the stuff that along with it? or the current massive disparities in school funding and whatnot? have been living in a cave or are you just willfully blind?


Why would minority students have to take anatomy twice if they were equally prepared?

at my school, nearly 30% of my class had to retake all or part of anatomy. despite about 60% of our classes either having taken anatomy (in a med-school/undergrad program which chooses applicants based on merit) before or taking related classwork as an undergrad. if you think people having to take anatomy more than once is indicitive of anything other than anatomy being hard, i've got a bridge to sell you...

I can see that no amount of facts is going to pry you out of your illusions.

HAHAHAHA....talk about the pot calling the kettle black.
3.9.2009 4:23pm
Brian K (mail):
oh...i should add that my school doesn't have an AA program. so have fun warping whatever i say to fit your desired outcome.
3.9.2009 4:31pm
ohwilleke:
While bias in reporting is possible, it is equally plausible that the most high profile biases in the system (in the humanities and social sciences at the top of the academic food chain) are not as stark in less political disciplines (e.g. math) and in lower profile institutions (e.g. non-flagship state colleges in the South).

Keep in mind that outside the Ivy League and selective liberal arts colleges, business and engineering, neither of which is associated with particularly liberal faculties, make up a quite large percentage of the total student body.

Also, support for a Democratic candidate in 2008 does not necessarily make you a liberal. Moderates and independents swung heavily for Democrats this election cycle, and there are many places in the country (e.g. the third Congressional District in Colorado) where Democratic elected officials are quite conservative.
3.9.2009 4:34pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Brian K.

Couple of years ago, a court, not SCOTUS, threw out the practice of ethnic-group-only remedial classes.
I don't know what the thinking was behind them in the first place. Budget, maybe. Fewer kids.
Or, perhaps giving both AA folks and whites the same lift would be like putting them on the escalator. If you start off a couple of steps up, you may stay a couple of steps up. Is that allowed?
Anyway, that remediation is necessary is not the point. It's the disproportion.

Massive disparity in ed funding. Look up Newark, DC, New York, or, for that matter, Detroit. More money per pupil than many of the near 'burbs, and hugely more than the far 'burbs and small towns.
Think of something else.

Also, it isn't the kids from the hood who get into or don't get into the top-tier U based on their education. Hardly anybody from those schools gets in. It's the the diverse kids, pretty good students from good schools who are still a couple or a dozen points shy of requirements but have the appropriate melanin or family name or odd accent. That's a second reason the "massive disparity" doesn't apply.

Racism? Who's been running, say, Detroit schools, and for that matter, Detroit for forty years? With the exception of an occasional state-imposed Big Boss (currently the case,again) it's been the locals.
3.9.2009 4:35pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
Brian K

" ... have you never heard of racism and all the stuff that along with it?"


Are you asserting that absent AA admissions would be racially biased? The behavior of the UC system contradicts that. AA was outlawed, yet they engage in every subterfuge to get around the law as shown by this mathematical analysis.

Group educational performance disparities are predicted by group IQ differences as shown by this mathematical analysis. We don't have to resort to bogus theories of racism to explain what we see.

"if you think people having to take anatomy more than once is indicitive of anything other than anatomy being hard, i've got a bridge to sell you..."


Of course anatomy is hard, but why do black students have more trouble with it on average than white students? You skirt around the issue.
3.9.2009 4:48pm
Brian K (mail):
Are you asserting that absent AA admissions would be racially biased?

i'm refering to the past. jim crow laws and the associated stuff.


Group educational performance disparities are predicted by group IQ differences as shown by this mathematical analysis.

ah yes. this again. this would be why i've hinted at your intellectual dishonesty upthread...many counterarguments have been given in earlier threads, all of which people such as yourself conveniently ignore. many factors influence IQ including environment (e.g. prenatal) and nutrition status. which groups in the US are most likely to not have prenatal care and be malnourished. it doesn't take a rocket scientist to put 2 and 2 together...although in your case it couldn't hurt.


Of course anatomy is hard, but why do black students have more trouble with it on average than white students?

why do you assume that the 30% given in my real world example is disproportionately black? my school is about 3% black, none of whom to my knowledge had to retake any part of anatomy. and you say racism doesn't exist.
3.9.2009 4:59pm
MCM (mail):

Massive disparity in ed funding. Look up Newark, DC, New York, or, for that matter, Detroit. More money per pupil than many of the near 'burbs, and hugely more than the far 'burbs and small towns.
Think of something else


I think of the cities being more expensive places in general than the burbs and small towns.
3.9.2009 5:35pm
Brendanav (mail):
"Physicists, biologists, chemists, when they have an opinion, tend to lean left. Math and engineering tend to lean right. I could say, I suppose, that these are the least "human" subjects, where the practitioners tend to live fairly sheltered lives and have limited interactions with people. But that would be to easy."

"But that would be to easy."

Then why did you say it?

Lets review it anyway....

*"For one, most of science departments tend to be politics-neutral."

That was my point and a number of other respondents as well).

*"I could say, I suppose, that these are the least "human" subjects" (ed. math, biology (biology?), physics, chemisty)

Really? Really? The scientific disciplines you listed are profoundly affecting humans, from muons to stem cells, and here's a news flash...we know it. Scientists are also the second most respected profession in the U.S., so apparently the unwashed public doesn't agree with your cartooni ...er, insight.

"I could say, I suppose, that these are the least "human" subjects"

Given that in the hard sciences results are necessarily verifiable, human emotions like deception, hatred, fraud, greed, self-dealing, grievance-nursing, and jelousy, when passed off as scholarship is theend of a career. To that extent, I agree with you, scientific scholarship is not so "human". Nice insight.


"where the practitioners tend to live fairly sheltered lives and have limited interactions with people."

a. if true, why would your thought provide insight on the premise(s) of this thread (given your comic-book comprehension of scientists)

b. if it's not true (and it isn't), what point are you making other than just making up some jive? I can see you've never been to a major drun...er, scientific or medical conference, have you? And if so, not on the big stage, right?

...and not least:

"Brendanav--why don't you do us all a favor, trip on your gun and blow your own head off. It doesn's look like it would be missed."

Damn! That sure left a mark.

P.S.:

You should try to write like Vogt, you know, and skip the ad hohumuminum attacks. Concise, good points, made me think...

Vogt writes:

"Now when it comes to political preferences of academic faculty, you have to remember that the academy is by its very nature a progressive organization. If it wasn't, we'd still be learning about the incontrovertible validity of the divine right of kings. You want real conservatism? Go to Oxford or Cambridge England, or to Florence, Italy"

He's got a point. There is nothing wrong with progressivism, as long as it is freely entered into, and not some cheesy "grey democracy". Enthusiastic academic progressives are a real problem, though, because they conflate bias with the catalogue of facts that provide real institutional evolution; yet they don't have to answer for their enthusiasms when things get out of hand. Bad juju, and the public is awake.
3.9.2009 5:36pm
trad and anon (mail):
all 3 of these groups almost exclusively vote republican, so it's not the liberals who are lumping them together...they're doing it themselves. when a controversial piece of legislation goes up to vote and republicans vote in party line, it's obvious why others lump them together too.
I agree about Republicans voting Republican. Just looking at the most recent election, self-identified Republicans voted 90% for McCain. The same exit poll found that 20% of self-identified "conservatives" voted for Obama though--that's one in five. And among white evangelicals 24% voted for Obama, almost one in four. They don't have results for nonwhite evangelicals, but presumably even more of them voted for Obama since he soundly trounced McCain among every nonwhite ethnic group, so the total Obama vote among all evangelicals would be even higher.

Looking at the same poll questions from the 2004 election, we have 93% of Republicans voting for Bush, only 15% of conservatives voting for Kerry, and 21% of white evangelicals for Kerry. Maybe that's conservatives voting "almost exclusively" for Bush but it's definitely not white evangelicals voting almost exclusively Republican.
3.9.2009 5:37pm
Conservative Activist Judge:
Who gives a rat's ass? It sucks if you have to work there and deal with the troglodytes, but it's your career, you chose it. If you don't like it, start your own university.

Besides, the same thing that's happened to media is happening to universities. Wait till students learn that their piece of paper they paid $100,000 for is a piece of paper that counts for less and less in the real world, and may even be a negative if it displays a joke major at one of the hundreds of expensive joke schools.

Colleges that are intellectually rigorous will thrive, and those that are not will fade away. The run-up until now has been due to demographics and an economic bubble. The bubble popped and demographics are changing.
3.9.2009 5:39pm
MCM (mail):
Group educational performance disparities are predicted by group IQ differences as shown by this mathematical analysis. We don't have to resort to bogus theories of racism to explain what we see.


Wow. Modern-day phrenology at its finest.
3.9.2009 5:41pm
ChrisTS (mail):
cmr
The feminization of academia might as well be a ringing endorsement for Liberalism. Women are more emotional and concern themselves less with objective truths, so that's why on the whole academia has become liberalized in these areas.

I can see, now, that I am a philosopher because I dislike logic and evidence. I will share this information with my female colleagues in Bio, Physics, Chemistry, Math, and Psychology - where they outnumber or equal in number the males. I won't mention it to my colleagues in English, Art, Music, or Theater - where the faculty are mostly men.

*******************

mcm
Amongst all professors, the gender balance is relatively equal. Amongst full-time tenured and tenure-track professors, the vast majority are men.

And have been for decades. It makes one wonder - doesn't it cmr? - how these real men are letting all these intellectually soft women get PhDs and jobs.

CMR, your posts about SSM and gays/lesbians have suggested revealed limited intelligence. Your posts about women and members of minority races now confirm that yours is a generalized deficiency.
3.9.2009 6:24pm
Brian K (mail):
Maybe that's conservatives voting "almost exclusively" for Bush but it's definitely not white evangelicals voting almost exclusively Republican.

you can quibble with my word choice, but replacing almost exclusively with vast majority doesn't change the point. whether it is 4/5 or 9/10, the 3 listed groups primarily vote republican, so it's no surprise when they get lumped together. especially when many of people they elect are fiscally conservative white evengelicals. or when rallying "the base" of the party means rallying the socially conservative/evangelical wing.

you might have a point if the breakdown was close to 50/50 or if the majority varied between democratic and republican in different years, but it isn't and it doesn't.
3.9.2009 6:24pm
ChrisTS (mail):
Pardon: have suggested revealed limited intelligence.
3.9.2009 6:25pm
Brian K (mail):
CMR, your posts about SSM and gays/lesbians have suggested revealed limited intelligence. Your posts about women and members of minority races now confirm that yours is a generalized deficiency.

hahaha! i wish i had come up with this one
3.9.2009 6:27pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
"i'm refering to the past. jim crow laws and the associated stuff."

We are not living in the past. I'm talking about the here and now. Universities are bending over backwards to admit minorities. AA is unnecessary to correct a bias that doesn't exist anymore.

"many counterarguments have been given in earlier threads, all of which people such as yourself conveniently ignore. many factors influence IQ including environment (e.g. prenatal) and nutrition status. which groups in the US are most likely to not have prenatal care and be malnourished."

The one-standard deviation gap between blacks and whites has persisted for over 8 decades. If the gap were simply a matter of nutrition or prenatal care, it would have at least narrowed long ago as everybody became better nourished. Then we have Fig 11.2 in in Jensen's book The g Factor which plots full score IQ against socio-economic status for both blacks and whites. The curves diverge with increasing socio-economic status. Thus the black-white gap is actually greater at higher incomes. If the gap were explainable by nutrition and prenatal care, we would expect the curves to converge. This data disproves your theory. However all this is besides the point. Even if the IQ difference were induced solely from environmental factors it still predicts educational performance. High IQ blacks do as well as high IQ whites and don't need AA. AA is there for political reasons.
3.9.2009 7:06pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
MCM

"Wow. Modern-day phrenology at its finest."

If you don't know the difference between phrenology and psychometrics, then you need to do a little reading.
3.9.2009 7:19pm
common sense (www):
For those who state that reality has a liberal bias, I wonder if you have read "The Myth of the Rational Voter." It has some interesting work on bias versus reality, and on purely economic concerns, illustrates that reality tends more conservative than public opinion. I'm not asserting that all of the author's findings are correct, but I wonder if someone can adequately refute them?
3.9.2009 7:21pm
Brian K (mail):
i provided 2 examples, the data on which is not nearly as clear cut as you want it to be. your response is completely predictable given what i pointed out earlier:

"many counterarguments have been given in earlier threads, all of which people such as yourself conveniently ignore."



AA is unnecessary to correct a bias that doesn't exist anymore.

i have no idea how you can say this with a straight face given your own posts.
3.9.2009 7:30pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Brian.
So, what bias is there in university admissions that would exist absent AA?
3.9.2009 8:43pm
cmr:
cmr:

Did you just argue -- explicitly -- that women and minorities are less able to deal with "objective truths" then white men are, and that's why more women and minorities are liberals?


[sighs] Yes. I had to take a break from arguing that God Hates Fags to argue that women and minorities aren't concerned with absolute truths.

all 3 of these groups almost exclusively vote republican, so it's not the liberals who are lumping them together...they're doing it themselves. when a controversial piece of legislation goes up to vote and republicans vote in party line, it's obvious why others lump them together too.


No, it's actually not. All three of those groups aren't almost exclusive Republican. That's a fabrication, like I said. Blacks and Hispanics tend to be socially conservative and largely religious, but they don't all tend to exclusively vote Republican. And almost without exception, every Democrat in Washington has some type of religious affiliation...just like their Republican counterparts.

Part of this is demonstrably false. Amongst all professors, the gender balance is relatively equal. Amongst full-time tenured and tenure-track professors, the vast majority are men.


Quick: on the whole, are there more men or women in universities across the country? Is there a "crisis", of sorts, to get more men into college or women.

Yeah.

I never will understand why people intentionally ignore gaping holes in their logic and then accuse someone else of being demonstrably wrong.

I can see, now, that I am a philosopher because I dislike logic and evidence. I will share this information with my female colleagues in Bio, Physics, Chemistry, Math, and Psychology - where they outnumber or equal in number the males. I won't mention it to my colleagues in English, Art, Music, or Theater - where the faculty are mostly men.


Where do you teach? I'm curious, because this sounds like a lame exaggeration just meant to be contradictory. But, I don't know...

But I think you do dislike evidence, considering this:

And have been for decades. It makes one wonder - doesn't it cmr? - how these real men are letting all these intellectually soft women get PhDs and jobs.

CMR, your posts about SSM and gays/lesbians have suggested revealed limited intelligence. Your posts about women and members of minority races now confirm that yours is a generalized deficiency.


Because I was clearly ONLY talking about women educators and not at all about the student body. Even if I did mention educators and students in my initial post.

Hmm, maybe you don't care about objective truths and evidence, since you gleefully ignore it.

And do remind me what about my "posts" have "suggested revealed" limited intelligence. I'm sure it'll be interesting. Or, maybe it wont. I suspect I committed that heinous act of disagreement that you liberals call "anti-intellectualism".

And I didn't just make that up. There's a whole area of compositional studies based on open admissions policies in the 70s and how they changed the way teachers taught writing. And, there's a huge area of compositional studies devoted to determining the difference between male and female writing students. Of course, that's just one section of English, but this idea that women and minorities mean nothing to the age-old university system is pretty...anti-intellectual.

It's the same reason why big cities tend to be liberal whereas small towns tend to be more conservative. Cities tend to have a lot of diversity, which does lead to liberal political ideas, IMO. Now, if you plan on proving that wrong using evidence and some objectivity, I'd love to hear. If you're just going to pay me more lip service because I offended your understanding (or lack thereof) of the world, do save it.

hahaha! i wish i had come up with this one


Why would you wish to have come up with an ignorant and false statement like that? Have more self-respect.
3.9.2009 11:00pm
Brendanav (mail):
Hey, this was a great thread. I just read the whole damn thing. Lots of good action here to relieve another dreary day slogging DNA sequences. May I say I am delighted that even the BS has that sun-dried but piquant nose that speaks of sun drenched hay nicely digested; yessir, a real Montana parfait.
"Activist Judge" brought up some interesting thoughts on the future of academia and that parts of it may parallel the newspapers as a kind of self-extinguishing irritation. Maybe, maybe not. But a depression didn't kill the newspapers, their persistant offense did. So here is a word given in all seriousness to younger academics, left or right (if any left). Instead of standing around the kool-aide dispenser, some of you should probably start thinking about your next career, and that doesn't just apply to the gas-house disciplines; just as the consumption of autos is highly elastic, so too are consumption of academic products and even law services and expert consulting. The bloating of the universities was all very fine when nobody noticed where all that money was coning from...(and no, I didn't mean "coming from"...).
TAke a look at a lot of formerly bullet-proof people on the Street, tens of thousands actually, who were drawing salaries that would stop your heart, and are now wandering around just like Bernie Madoff's fifty year old socialites (you know, who used to smile with their upper teeth and say stuff like "dahling, so good of you to come"). Both groups are wondering what they are going to do now that their occupation has disappeared, principally consisting of $20,000/month bar bills, $7500 suits and those interminable charity parties are.... Whether Boca Raton or the Street, how could this happen? Like Activist Judge said, who cares, the party is very likely over, especially for the expanded universities and their highly entertaining smorgasboard of assorted departments of self-concious importance.
My uncle used to tell me that the U. Chicago paid him in promissory scrip at times during the depression, and the merchants took it until they couldn't. Although nothing has changed yet, there is that pesky little matter of 40T of vaporized wealth, and OPM or not its coing out of your hides. You are in a depression up to your knees right now, and pretty soon you will be told to stand on your heads. So now what? Well, any work is honorable they say, so can you say "do you want fries with that?"
Save your money. But a little gold if you can.
Sleep tight.
3.10.2009 12:01am
MCM (mail):
Quick: on the whole, are there more men or women in universities across the country? Is there a "crisis", of sorts, to get more men into college or women.

Yeah.

I never will understand why people intentionally ignore gaping holes in their logic and then accuse someone else of being demonstrably wrong.


The balance is something like 55-45 among all undergraduates. I wouldn't exactly call it a "crisis".

However, at the top schools, a majority of undergraduates are still male. Ivy League student bodies are majority male. Duke undergraduates are majority male. University of Chicago is 50/50.

And again, those undergraduates will be taught, in the vast majority, by men.

So yeah, I will never understand why people intentionally ignore facts to suit their own arguments.
3.10.2009 12:56am
MCM (mail):
If you don't know the difference between phrenology and psychometrics, then you need to do a little reading.


I think you miss the point.
3.10.2009 1:01am
Kevin P. (mail):

~aardvark:
Brendanav--why don't you do us all a favor, trip on your gun and blow your own head off. It doesn's look like it would be missed.


LOL, you must be one of those tolerant and inclusive liberals I keep hearing about, respective of diversity and all points of view.
3.10.2009 1:15am
David M. Nieporent (www):
Every time the subject of conservative anti-intellectualism comes up, two kinds of conservatives come out of the woodwork: the kind that bashes academics and academia, and the kind that denies that conservatives are anti-intellectual. Funny how the second kind never notices the first, even when posting on the same thread.

Excellent point. The third post in the this thread claims that conservative anti-intellectualism is a myth. Yet read a little further and there's plenty of anti-intellectualism here.
"Anti-academia-as-currently-constituted" is not the same as "anti-intellectual."
3.10.2009 4:22am
David M. Nieporent (www):
Brendanav--why don't you do us all a favor, trip on your gun and blow your own head off. It doesn's look like it would be missed.
Isn't it about time to ban "aardvark"? His first comment in the thread was extraordinarily rude to Prof. Somin, but I'm pretty sure that this violates any and every comment policy out there. I'm not ordinarily a comment police sort of person, but I think that crosses the line.
3.10.2009 4:28am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Women writers are different. They use exclamation points. Any fool can spot that. Geez.

Liberal profs have several possibilities. One is to play it straight.

Another is to preach one side. This has two effects. Most of the kids spot it and ignore it except for tests and papers. The other is that it, by taking up time, reduces the time for real teaching. Or it crowds out other views. That means the U is breaching the implicit contract.

Oh, yeah. If the preaching is bad enough, the course, if a prereq, doesn't prepare the student for the follow-on course.

It is the crowding out that's more troubling. Not to mention the $$ tuition for crap.
3.10.2009 7:42am
Brendanav (mail):
Richard,

Oh, yeah. If the preaching is bad enough, the course, if a prereq, doesn't prepare the student for the follow-on course.


It is the crowding out that's more troubling. Not to mention the $$ tuition for crap.
***********************

MAKE SAIL!
3.10.2009 9:49am
cmr:


The balance is something like 55-45 among all undergraduates. I wouldn't exactly call it a "crisis".

However, at the top schools, a majority of undergraduates are still male. Ivy League student bodies are majority male. Duke undergraduates are majority male. University of Chicago is 50/50.

And again, those undergraduates will be taught, in the vast majority, by men.

So yeah, I will never understand why people intentionally ignore facts to suit their own arguments.




It's more like 56-44, but same diff.

And considering I did say I was talking about both female educators and the majority of their students being female, the fact that they may be taught by more men...really doesn't make a whole lot of difference in my point.

There is a correlation between ethnic diversity and a school with a lot of women and liberalism.

And you may want to start trying to understand it, since you're kind of doing it here. I make a general statement about universities, and you try to get more specific about "the top" schools. Because that changes what I said. Except it doesn't.
3.10.2009 10:23am
Joseph Slater (mail):
cmr:

I am now confused about your point. I agree that more diversity in urban areas is one reason such ares trend more liberal.

But you did say, didn't you, that women (and maybe also minorities) are less capable of handling "objective truth"? Or did I misunderstand you?

I can think of a lot of reasons why urban areas would trend more liberal that have nothing to do with women and minorities being less able to handle "objective truth." So what was your point with that?
3.10.2009 10:56am
cmr:
I'm pretty sure you misunderstood me.
3.10.2009 11:28am
Joseph Slater (mail):
OK, I misunderstood you. Could you re-state your point?
3.10.2009 11:42am
MCM (mail):
It's more like 56-44, but same diff.

And considering I did say I was talking about both female educators and the majority of their students being female, the fact that they may be taught by more men...really doesn't make a whole lot of difference in my point.

There is a correlation between ethnic diversity and a school with a lot of women and liberalism.

And you may want to start trying to understand it, since you're kind of doing it here. I make a general statement about universities, and you try to get more specific about "the top" schools. Because that changes what I said. Except it doesn't.


Your point was that academia has been "feminized", and you're wrong. The vast majority of professors are male, which probably means the vast majority of scholarship is being written by men, and read in approximately equal numbers by women and men, in classes taught to them by men.

And if universities are "feminized", then why are the women at the lower-ranked schools? Why aren't they getting all the spots at the top schools? It certainly has implications for what your point.

In fact you can probably chalk the vast majority of the 55-45 gender "gap" to a single demographic: African-Americans. The gender gap among African-Americans students is something like 2-1 in favor of women, and African-Americans are ~12-13% of undergraduates. We could talk about what makes black men not go to college, but it's not some problem universal to men or the "feminization" of academia..

As for the "correlation" between gender balance and liberal politics, you're also wrong. The large state universities have more conservative student bodies than the Ivy league schools. The big Us are also the same schools that have the most women. The Ivy League schools, with majority men, are the ones that are more liberal.

Again, stop ignoring the evidence.
3.10.2009 2:00pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
MCM.
Try defining "feminized" differently and then look for, say, the sexual harassment doctrine. Look for women's studies and how many majors require credits from that department.
Look for PCness regarding women.
Look for spineless administrators modeling how to deal with trouble.
It might not be "feminized" in some senses, but perhaps one of the adjectives is "infantilized" or passivied (pacified?)
What would happen, for example, if a guy in any kind of social studies/humanities class brought up--when more or less on point--the fate of the movement for shelters for battered men here and in the UK?
Harvard proved the efficacy of retreating to the fainting couch as a form of intellectual exercise. See Summers.
So even a male prof is going to play shy of the battered men's shelters issue. Is he feminized, passivied, infantilized, or terrified? Considering the latter three are in service of feminism, "feminized" might be appropriate.
3.10.2009 2:28pm
MCM (mail):
Try defining "feminized" differently


No, I think I'll stick with how cmr used it. He said academia has a "lot of women", which is why academia is "liberal". Turns out academia is pretty much like every other industry: the total population of people is roughly equal, and most of the top jobs are held by men, for whatever reason. So again, what cmr said was demonstrably false.

Personally, I don't really like changing the definitions of an argument in order to reach a conclusion I've picked out beforehand.
3.10.2009 3:35pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
mcm.
You don't? That makes you one of a small group.

However, to take a bit of stereotyping, the accumulation of the passivied, terrified, infantilized LOOKS feminized.
What do you say about a guy who is passive, scared and infantilized? He'd make a good follow on for John Wayne or Clint Eastwood? Rightly or wrongly, the p-word comes to mind.

And when the entire campus organization twists itself into knots on behalf of whatever feminist whim comes down the pike this week, the passivied, terrified, infantilized reactions seem to be controlled by feminism.

IMO, whether the state of the campus is due to a large proportion of women, or estrogen in the faculty and admin water supply, or a spine-ectomy as a condition of employment, the place could be seen to be "feminized".

Seems to me the argument is whether it's that way because of a disproprtionate number of women, or some other reason. I don't see an argument that it really isn't that way. The more important question is whether it really is that way.
3.10.2009 3:57pm
MCM (mail):
That's a whole new set of arguments from what this thread was about. The thread is about the dominance of "liberal" and "left wing" political self-identification in university professors. And you're certainly using "feminized" differently than cmr did. You admit yourself that most of your argument is based on "stereotyping", so I don't see the point in discussing it.

You're advocating a narrative, not discussing measurable factors or specific events that you find objectionable. There's nothing to talk about. If you think that men in academia are pussies (is the "p-word" to which you refer?), then fine, but it's not an opinion that can be rationally debated as you've advanced it.

cmr's statements provide something riper, though:

I bet if college was like it was forty years ago -- mostly white, mostly male -- there wouldn't be the categorical criminalization of conservatism like there is now.


The great irony of this is that colleges are mostly white, and colleges are mostly male, at least among the faculty, with student bodies being generally split.

So not only is he speaking in foolish generalities, he's simply factually wrong.
3.10.2009 4:25pm
Joseph Slater (mail):
But ya see, MCM, REAL white men are conservatives, so those white men who AREN'T conservatives, are, basically, women. In other words, people who can't handle the "objective truths" that lead one to be conservative.

And THAT's why liberal academia is a bad thing. Get it?
3.10.2009 4:35pm
ChrisTS (mail):
Well, thanks to MCM and Joespeh Slater for sticking with this. I cannot make sense of many of cmr's comments, myself.

One comment that I can address: Where do you teach? I'm curious, because this sounds like a lame exaggeration just meant to be contradictory. But, I don't know...

The last point is quite correct, and I certainly will not identify my institution. However, I can give you some rough data on the deparments I mentioned:
Bio is 50/50 male/female; Chem is something like 60/40 - just to stick to even numbers; Physics has only 2 full-time faculty - one female, one male - and the woman is the Chair; Psychology has about 8 women and 2 men. English might be closer than I was thinking: 8 men, 6 women; all the Chairs have been men. Art has 5 men and 1 woman. Theater has 5 men and 2 women. Music is a tough count as so many of their staff are part time; of the full time faculty 3 are men and 2 are women [one of whom arrived in tow with an administrative spouse].

Perhaps I should ask where you teach, cmr?
3.10.2009 5:11pm
cmr:
Your point was that academia has been "feminized", and you're wrong. The vast majority of professors are male, which probably means the vast majority of scholarship is being written by men, and read in approximately equal numbers by women and men, in classes taught to them by men.


...which proves nothing regarding whether or not academia has been feminized. Again, it's not just this kind of lunkheaded "there's a preponderance of men therefore, ergo, things can't possibly be feminized" sentiment that you seem to be aping. It's a bit more complex than that. To take another example from feminist pedagogies concerning composition: http://filebox.vt.edu/users/bhausman/information/femped.html

The fact that a lot of women are in universities has -- and if that's too lofty a notion, will, to some degree -- affect how professors, male and female, go about their methods. The whole idea that academia is more about exploration of ideas without settling on one major idea is, in effect, a feminized idea. That's not to say it's wrong, but that is what I meant by objective truths.


And if universities are "feminized", then why are the women at the lower-ranked schools? Why aren't they getting all the spots at the top schools? It certainly has implications for what your point.


This is...actually quite irrelevant.

In fact you can probably chalk the vast majority of the 55-45 gender "gap" to a single demographic: African-Americans. The gender gap among African-Americans students is something like 2-1 in favor of women, and African-Americans are ~12-13% of undergraduates. We could talk about what makes black men not go to college, but it's not some problem universal to men or the "feminization" of academia..

As for the "correlation" between gender balance and liberal politics, you're also wrong. The large state universities have more conservative student bodies than the Ivy league schools. The big Us are also the same schools that have the most women. The Ivy League schools, with majority men, are the ones that are more liberal.

Again, stop ignoring the evidence.



You've not produced any evidence. You've made theorized statements posturing as evidence. And more importantly, you seem to be going on emotional response and not really engaging the idea in front of you. Which is...kind of anti-intellectual.



No, I think I'll stick with how cmr used it. He said academia has a "lot of women", which is why academia is "liberal". Turns out academia is pretty much like every other industry: the total population of people is roughly equal, and most of the top jobs are held by men, for whatever reason. So again, what cmr said was demonstrably false.


Uh, not quite. I know it's hard to see nuance in people's opinions when you have none regarding your own, but what I meant was that the presence of women (both as educators and the student body) and the presence of more diversity (which doesn't just include racial diversity, btw) have, IMO, caused some of the liberal saturation of academia. Now, if you care to actually disprove that, not that you could anyway, but let's hear it. We already have proof that it's happening, so really it's anyone's guess.

That's a whole new set of arguments from what this thread was about. The thread is about the dominance of "liberal" and "left wing" political self-identification in university professors. And you're certainly using "feminized" differently than cmr did. You admit yourself that most of your argument is based on "stereotyping", so I don't see the point in discussing it.

You're advocating a narrative, not discussing measurable factors or specific events that you find objectionable. There's nothing to talk about. If you think that men in academia are pussies (is the "p-word" to which you refer?), then fine, but it's not an opinion that can be rationally debated as you've advanced it.


It can if you factor in some of the things he's mentioned:


Try defining "feminized" differently and then look for, say, the sexual harassment doctrine. Look for women's studies and how many majors require credits from that department.
Look for PCness regarding women.
Look for spineless administrators modeling how to deal with trouble.


...and when these started being issues.

cmr's statements provide something riper, though:

I bet if college was like it was forty years ago -- mostly white, mostly male -- there wouldn't be the categorical criminalization of conservatism like there is now.



The great irony of this is that colleges are mostly white, and colleges are mostly male, at least among the faculty, with student bodies being generally split.

So not only is he speaking in foolish generalities, he's simply factually wrong.



MCM, what the hell are you on about? You just conceded that WOMEN make up way more than half of the overall student body. I didn't have to post a stat for you to concede that, though I could post several. So why are you now saying they're "generally split". Understand your definition, "generally split" could be 80-20.

And like I said before, or perhaps you should just look this up yourself, the 70s were an interesting decade for academia. You have no idea what effects open admissions policies have had on academia. Which is fine...a lot of people don't. But you're generally being dismissive of it based on that ignorance.

The fact that you have to keep saying I'm wrong exposes the insecurity in your position.

But ya see, MCM, REAL white men are conservatives, so those white men who AREN'T conservatives, are, basically, women. In other words, people who can't handle the "objective truths" that lead one to be conservative.

And THAT's why liberal academia is a bad thing. Get it?



I'm trying to discern between whether you're acting like a little girl or catty gay man. Help me out.
3.10.2009 5:23pm
cmr:
The last point is quite correct, and I certainly will not identify my institution. However, I can give you some rough data on the deparments I mentioned:
Bio is 50/50 male/female; Chem is something like 60/40 - just to stick to even numbers; Physics has only 2 full-time faculty - one female, one male - and the woman is the Chair; Psychology has about 8 women and 2 men. English might be closer than I was thinking: 8 men, 6 women; all the Chairs have been men. Art has 5 men and 1 woman. Theater has 5 men and 2 women. Music is a tough count as so many of their staff are part time; of the full time faculty 3 are men and 2 are women [one of whom arrived in tow with an administrative spouse].


[sighs] How did I know you wouldn't tell me where you teach? Why mention something that can be verifiable if you're not going to verify it?

I'm not even going to entertain your points, if you have any, again. You'd think someone who teaches at a university would understand what I'm talking about at least a little, because what I'm saying isn't a new theory nor is it arbitrary. Your incredulity tells me all I need to know.

And FYI -- curious to where I said I'm a teacher.
3.10.2009 5:27pm
MCM (mail):
The fact that you have to keep saying I'm wrong exposes the insecurity in your position.


Actually, the fact that I have to keep saying you're wrong is because that's the conclusion the facts compel.

You just conceded that WOMEN make up way more than half of the overall student body. I didn't have to post a stat for you to concede that, though I could post several. So why are you now saying they're "generally split". Understand your definition, "generally split" could be 80-20.


Wait, are you saying that a loose term "generally split" means that I have conceded that student bodies are majority female everywhere?

I've already said, that yes, nationally undergraduate student bodies are 55-45 or so, and that this is explained by the fact that for whatever reason, black men are highly underrepresented in student body populations. Black students make up 12% of student bodies and 12% of the overall population. But 2/3rd of black students are female. Student bodies aren't "feminized" because for whatever reason, black men don't go to college. (Whole different discussion).

Regardless, if universities are "feminized", how is it that having a few more % women than men caused this? You're telling me that an undergrad lecture class of 110 women and 90 men caused the "feminization" of academia? Seriously? How is that remotely a cause?

Not to mention you still have explained how academia can be "feminized" despite 80% of full-time tenured professors being male.

You have a bullshit narrative you heard on talk radio and you'll rationalize away any facts you come across that don't fit into it.
3.10.2009 6:14pm
MCM (mail):
The whole idea that academia is more about exploration of ideas without settling on one major idea is, in effect, a feminized idea.


Is this because their wombs draw too much blood away from their brains, and as a result they can't focus too much on a single idea, or what?

I'm trying to figure out how that statement works. Why is the exploration of ideas a "feminized" idea?
3.10.2009 6:19pm
MCM (mail):
You've not produced any evidence. You've made theorized statements posturing as evidence. And more importantly, you seem to be going on emotional response and not really engaging the idea in front of you. Which is...kind of anti-intellectual.


I'm going by the US Census data. It's not theorized.
3.10.2009 6:20pm
MCM (mail):
Look for women's studies and how many majors require credits from that department.


Show me a major at a major university that requires 1 credit explicitly from women's studies, besides a women's studies major itself.

Look for PCness regarding women.


Non-quantifiable bullshit.

Look for spineless administrators modeling how to deal with trouble.


Non-quantifiable bullshit.
3.10.2009 6:23pm
Joseph Slater (mail):
I'm trying to discern between whether you're acting like a little girl or catty gay man. Help me out.

I was, earlier, politely trying to figure out what the hell you might be talking about that wasn't obvious bigoted nonsense. Let's just say I've failed to elicit anything from you that isn't, and leave it at that.
3.10.2009 6:24pm
MCM (mail):
How did I know you wouldn't tell me where you teach? Why mention something that can be verifiable if you're not going to verify it?


Here, again: the poster's facts don't fit your opinion, so the poster's reliability is suspect.
3.10.2009 6:32pm
CRW:
ChrisTS:

I don't know what school you are referring to, but at the risk of sounding like a snob, a college with only 2 full time physics faculty is unlikely to be representative of major research schools

Anyway, for some comparison with MIT which is a top school in science and engineering:

MIT Physics dept:counting all names w/o photos that aren't obviously male as female and excluding emeritus professors which would be heavily slanted towards male physicists, assuming I counted right, out of 90 physics faculty members, at most 7 are women.

MIT math dept: out of 51 faculty, at most 6 are women

MIT Electrical Engineering and Computer Science: out 144 (!) non-emeritus faculty, 16 are women. Incidentally, I went to school with one of them.

MIT Biology dept: out of 69 faculty (note that emeriti weren't specifically labeled), 21 are women
3.10.2009 6:47pm
ChrisTS (mail):
CRW: I do not suspect any snobbism at all. I teach at a small liberal arts college. Sadly, department size is at least partly a function of student interest. I should note that some departments rely on lots of non-tenurable people - some part time some full time but with non-tenure status. So, the Physics Dept. has more than 2 'people' working in it, but only 2 were tenure track. The other faculty might teach and run the compliance program or mix teaching with some other work. I believe they are hiring one or two people - probably one tt and one VAP - for next year. Still, if compared with the Theater Dept [especially with all of its non-tt folks] Physics is in the doldrums.

I do think it is worth noting that R1s (top research universities) make up a small portion of U.S. colleges and universities. On the other hand. it seems that anecdotes of faculty craziness from those places predominate in the public perception of academe.

I am not suprised that MIT, in particular, has mostly male professors. Let me be clear about my claims in this thread:
1) In U.S. colleges and universities, it is not the case that women faculty always inhabit the so-called 'soft' disciplines and men inhabit the .... others. This was an assumption of CMR's earler post.
2) To the extent that it is true that men are more evident im the faculty of the so-called 'hard' disciplines, this is not a result of the 'softness' or irrationality of women, as such. This was the claim of CMR's earlier post.

Of course, no one ever clearly distinguishes between the 'soft' and 'not-soft' disciplines. Some people assume it is a Natural Sciences &Math versus Everything Else distinction. Others seem to want to distinguish between the Natural Sciences &Math &Their Approved Social Sciences and Everything Else. Few recognize that these purported 'divisional' distinctions vary across institutions - often for reasons of faculty representation rather than disciplinary character.

As a philosopher, I find the suggestion that the 'Humanities' are all wishy-washy, 'soft,' and [worse yet] anti-logical, disciplines offensive. As a woman philosopher, I find the suggestion that I am not concerned with logic, evidence, and reason offensive.
3.11.2009 12:39am
ChrisTS (mail):
CRW:
I should also make clear that I do not dispute MCM's observation that the most [tenured, full professors] are male. I simply wanted to dispute crm's insinuation that female academics are only in those icky 'soft' fields.


cmr: Your incredulity tells me all I need to know

Say what?
3.11.2009 12:53am
ChrisTS (mail):
Agh: Please just mentally correct the typos. Sigh.
3.11.2009 12:56am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
MCM.
(Can you say "bullshit" on this board?)

So it's non-quantifiable. Does that have anything to do with whether it's true or not?
I mean, considering that a great deal outside the hard sciences is non-quantifiable, then all those non-hard science departments must be peddling bullshit. Right?

Harvard's female professors, those exemplars of capable, strong, take-no-stuff women, good as a man any day, professed themselves offended and shocked and, on the strength of that as opposed to any actual malfeasance, got a $50 mill women's center, groveling apologies, and still took Summers' job.
How much effort would it take to get the same result honestly?
At Harvard, the women clasp their hands to their bosom--collectively speaking--collapse onto the strategically handy nearest upholstered piece of furniture and they win. Don't call the response feminized if you like. Passivied, terrified, infantilized.
3.11.2009 9:59am
MCM (mail):
(Can you say "bullshit" on this board?)


I guess we'll find out when the lightning comes down from on high (or from out of our computer monitors).

So it's non-quantifiable. Does that have anything to do with whether it's true or not?


It makes it harder to know if it's true. The assertions you're making are pretty broad: they cover millions of people who live in all 50 states. So I think it's sensible to require measurable evidence and not just outrage at individual incidents.

I mean, considering that a great deal outside the hard sciences is non-quantifiable, then all those non-hard science departments must be peddling bullshit. Right?


Again, if they were making claims about millions of people being pussies, yes, that would be bullshit. And I'm sure many of them do make bullshit claims, especially outside of their own fields.

For example, when an English professor says Billy Budd is about homosexual love, and then he points to passages X, Y, and Z, that's probably not bullshit. You can actually open the book and read those passages and see if it makes sense to you, and debate it, provide alternate meanings. It's debatable, but it's also limited to a specific book.

Harvard's female professors, those exemplars of capable, strong, take-no-stuff women, good as a man any day, professed themselves offended and shocked and, on the strength of that as opposed to any actual malfeasance, got a $50 mill women's center, groveling apologies, and still took Summers' job.
How much effort would it take to get the same result honestly?
At Harvard, the women clasp their hands to their bosom--collectively speaking--collapse onto the strategically handy nearest upholstered piece of furniture and they win. Don't call the response feminized if you like. Passivied, terrified, infantilized.


The Summers thing is one incident, and there's certainly a lot to discuss about it. Unfortunately, all you've done is take it as evidence that men in academia are pussies and that women thus control the academic world. Further, you've described it in a manner that's needlessly provocative. There's not really any room for discussion.
3.11.2009 9:05pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
MCM.
I use the Harvard incident because I used to work with one of the women in question, decades ago. Got my attention.
And labeling it "one incident" doesn't mean it's the only.
I suppose if I wanted to I could find a huge number of incidents. Some would be of the lack of due process in sexual harassment cases. Some would be the twisting of the campus inside out in case of a false claim of, say, rape, or anti-minority bigotry with nary an "oops" after the consciousnes raising, mandatory sensitivity training, and so forth.
In fact, I know I could because they make the news regularly and are sometimes discussed here.
But I use Harvard as an example, not as a lone datum. You know as well as I how many of these things happen.
The Duke lax case is another. You should have read the femblogs when that was going on. Sickening.
There really was a rape at Duke during the time of the highest noise level about that but the racial lineup of the perp and vic were unhelpful to the narrative and so the vic was abandoned by the sisterhood. But until that happened, it was all about women and violence--supposedly.
Take back the night? From who? Every swinging whatsit on campus is who and no guy is allowed to be offended by the imputation.
Hell, I don't need to continue.
You know this stuff as well or better than I do.
Check out Hugo Schwyzer. Assertions about the plight of women which are false are just dandy and anybody who disputes them is anti-feminist. And banned. He's a femstudies prof. Think he's the Lone Ranger? Imagine trying the same stuff wrt guys.
And, lastly, look at the campus response to any victim group's trespass. The VG gets a pass. IOW, passivied, terrified, infantilized. That's not how to deal with trouble, but the admin models it.
3.12.2009 8:46am
cmr:
Actually, the fact that I have to keep saying you're wrong is because that's the conclusion the facts compel.


No, they don't. That's the conclusion you're reaching with a layperson understanding of what this issue entails, or what my point entails.

Wait, are you saying that a loose term "generally split" means that I have conceded that student bodies are majority female everywhere?

I've already said, that yes, nationally undergraduate student bodies are 55-45 or so, and that this is explained by the fact that for whatever reason, black men are highly underrepresented in student body populations. Black students make up 12% of student bodies and 12% of the overall population. But 2/3rd of black students are female. Student bodies aren't "feminized" because for whatever reason, black men don't go to college. (Whole different discussion).


You're still not making much sense. You're jumping to conclusions you can't prove. With there being a majority of women overall, that does men, at least in the literal sense, colleges have been feminized. To take it a step further, I think with that influx of women (and minorities) has caused academia to become diverse, and with that diversity comes liberalized ideas.

Regardless, if universities are "feminized", how is it that having a few more % women than men caused this? You're telling me that an undergrad lecture class of 110 women and 90 men caused the "feminization" of academia? Seriously? How is that remotely a cause?


Don't try that false parallel stuff with me, MCM. It's not just a "few" more women than men (why you continue to need to downplay that fact is odd). It's a lot more, and universities have started to yield to them, ideologically. Do you not understand differences between men and women beyond biological make-up?

Not to mention you still have explained how academia can be "feminized" despite 80% of full-time tenured professors being male.

You have a bullshit narrative you heard on talk radio and you'll rationalize away any facts you come across that don't fit into it.



The feminization of academia isn't just contingent upon the presence of women. It can be, and is, true, even with most tenured professors being men.

No, MCM, you have a bullshit narrative you've been fed by liberals that no difference between men and women exist, "gender is just a patriarchal construct meant to subjugate women", and, to top all of that propaganda off, you're ignorant and really have no idea what you're talking about. Do you even have a degree beyond high school?

Is this because their wombs draw too much blood away from their brains, and as a result they can't focus too much on a single idea, or what?

I'm trying to figure out how that statement works. Why is the exploration of ideas a "feminized" idea?


No, MCM, you're trying to be a dick. And you're succeeding. It's very anti-intellectual, but I'd really expect nothing less from you.

I'm going by the US Census data. It's not theorized.


You're drawing conclusions based on census data. That's theorized. You're assuming that because there are more men that the whole idea of feminization, in this context, is impossible. And that's actually quite uneducated, and theorized.

I was, earlier, politely trying to figure out what the hell you might be talking about that wasn't obvious bigoted nonsense. Let's just say I've failed to elicit anything from you that isn't, and leave it at that.


...which isn't true, because I hadn't even responded to you before you made your comment. But you're right, let's do leave it at that.

Richard Aubrey: I understand what you're trying to say, but you're giving a lot of examples without applying them. I think you're kind of making the point I am, but you should make that point. MCM isn't going to catch your drift any other way, unfortunately.
3.12.2009 11:54am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
CMR.
Okay. Passivied, terrified, infantilized equals feminized.
Clear?

Now, that's not the same as feminine, or female.
Not at all off topic, you won't see Leigh Ann Hester or Theresa Broadwell as strong figures to feminists. Nope. They weren't raped, assaulted, or demeaned. Useless. May as well be guys. Imagine trying to get one of them to speak on campus.

It means the campus(es) react to angry feminism in a passivied, terrified, infantilized way. So they are "feminized". In addition, the campus(es) react to certain other problems--mostly regarding Accredited Victim Groups--in the same way.

So, if a women's group builds a huge snow sculpture of a vagina, that's okay. A bunch of guys who build a huge snow sculpture of a penis...not so okay. The women have a serious message. The guys are just goofing. Except the guys may have a serious message, except that guys are not expected to have serious messages which to not amount to autoemasculation. So, ipso facto, they're just goofing.

Now, standing up to a problem and fighting back successfully while not whining or referring to victim status is masculinist. Which is to say, mean. Not allowed, not that any such thing would occur to a university administrator.
3.12.2009 12:22pm
MCM (mail):
With there being a majority of women overall, that does men, at least in the literal sense, colleges have been feminized.


Except that not all colleges are majority women. Some are, some aren't. How does UNC-Chapel Hilll being majority women make Duke feminized? It doesn't, it's just a nonsense sweeping generalization.

To take it a step further, I think with that influx of women (and minorities) has caused academia to become diverse, and with that diversity comes liberalized ideas.


This is my biggest beef. This makes zero sense, and you provide no explanation of why it is so.

Along the same lines, I'd still like an explanation of why the "exploration of ideas" is a "feminine" concept.

Earlier in this thread you were laboring under the delusion that universities are no longer majority white, when they

Don't try that false parallel stuff with me, MCM. It's not just a "few" more women than men (why you continue to need to downplay that fact is odd). It's a lot more,


As we agreed earlier, undergrads nationwide are split 55-45. If an undergrad lecture class has 110 women and 90 men, that's the same proportion. I don't understand what you're saying when you say "It's not just a 'few' more women than men." Do you mean that 110-90 is not an accurate parallel, or do you mean that 110-90 is not the same as 55-45? Across a medium/large state university, maybe that's 16500 women and 13500 men.

and universities have started to yield to them, ideologically.


So those few extra women somehow bring the whole university to its knees? It just doesn't make sense. It's alarmist tripe.

Do you not understand differences between men and women beyond biological make-up?


I'm not sure what to answer here because you apparently don't understand what the word "biological" means. All differences between men and women are biological. I'm not sure how you could possibly posit a difference that isn't biological.

Even if you're going to take Summers' position that female brains are differently suited to tasks than male brains, that's still a difference of "biological make-up".

No, MCM, you're trying to be a dick. And you're succeeding. It's very anti-intellectual, but I'd really expect nothing less from you.


What's up the ad hominem attacks? I'm literally trying to understand what it is you think that makes women and minorities less concerned with "objective truths".

What is the basis for that? The womb drawing blood away from the brain is a hypothesis that has been offered in the past. If that is not the hypothesis you hold, then please tell me what it is.

And again, why is the exploration of ideas "feminine"?

You're drawing conclusions based on census data. That's theorized.


No, it's not a theorized. When I say that the gender gap in student bodies is explained by the lack of black males, that's not a theory, it's just a description of empirical data.

Compared to the general population, whites are overrepresented. Blacks are proportionally represented. But among blacks only, males are underrepresented.

To say that "males are under-represemted in student bodies" is inaccurate. Earlier you used the word "crisis" to describe the lack of males in college. There's no problem getting white males in to college. But sure, there is something going on with black males and college.

None of this is theory drawn from data. It simply is what the data tells us. When you try to apply a normative description like "feminized", you're the one drawing conclusions.

I was, earlier, politely trying to figure out what the hell you might be talking about that wasn't obvious bigoted nonsense. Let's just say I've failed to elicit anything from you that isn't, and leave it at that.
...which isn't true, because I hadn't even responded to you before you made your comment. But you're right, let's do leave it at that.


You're misperceiving the facts again. I didn't make that comment. Come back when you learn to read.

No, MCM, you have a bullshit narrative you've been fed by liberals that no difference between men and women exist, "gender is just a patriarchal construct meant to subjugate women", and, to top all of that propaganda off, you're ignorant and really have no idea what you're talking about.


Wow, talk about putting words in to my mouth. I never said any of those things, so I'm not really worried that saying them would make me "ignorant" in your eyes.

Do you even have a degree beyond high school?


I do. Do you understand that ad hominem attacks don't hold any persuasive value for clear-headed people? Maybe when you learn some basic civility you should resume the conversation.
3.12.2009 4:29pm
MCM (mail):
So, if a women's group builds a huge snow sculpture of a vagina, that's okay. A bunch of guys who build a huge snow sculpture of a penis...not so okay. The women have a serious message. The guys are just goofing. Except the guys may have a serious message, except that guys are not expected to have serious messages which to not amount to autoemasculation. So, ipso facto, they're just goofing.


I remember reading about this debacle at Harvard, actually. I'll certainly agree that there are some scholars and professors (mostly in the Ivy League) who hold radical views about gender and society, with a bias in favor of women.

That said I think there are plenty of professors in Chicago who hold radical views about law and society.

But I wouldn't grant those few women somehow control all of academia or universities. The vast majority of universities don't have events or problems like that. I don't think academia is generally "feminized", despite a few schools where things like you described have happened. In the most part, I think it's due to a particular small cadre of thinkers who will slowly die out as their scholarship becomes increasingly less relevant.

The Duke lax case is another. You should have read the femblogs when that was going on. Sickening.
There really was a rape at Duke during the time of the highest noise level about that but the racial lineup of the perp and vic were unhelpful to the narrative and so the vic was abandoned by the sisterhood. But until that happened, it was all about women and violence--supposedly.


Yeah, I was there for that, actually. Pretty much everyone was convinced they were guilty the moment the story went out.

But I wouldn't blame just the feminists. Everybody had a field day with that one - native North Carolinians blamed it on them being from the North (the 3 guys charged were from Jersey and Connecticut), the populists and left-wing people blamed it on them being wealthy, the race people blamed it on the race angle, and the feminists blamed it on hyper-aggressive sports culture.

It was basically a conflict buffet, for everyone to pick out whatever they wanted. And frankly, there was nothing to like about these guys. Remember, right after the story broke one of them had to go up to DC to answer for a prior assault charge. Who likes spoiled kids from Jersey? Of course, turns out, they're not actually rapists. Whoops.

The lesson I take from that is that the public is gullible, and when you have unsympathetic defendants, everyone is going to pile on. It wasn't specifically a feminist thing - everybody was taking potshots at them.
3.12.2009 4:49pm
MCM (mail):
Now, standing up to a problem and fighting back successfully while not whining or referring to victim status is masculinist.


So Nietzsche was right about Christianity?
3.12.2009 4:51pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
MCM. depends on what he thought Christianity taught. If he was wrong about that, his assessment of it would be meaningless.
You will be familiar, I expect, with various folks' view that the church--taken large--has been feminized. See Podles, and others on the subject.
3.12.2009 6:58pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
MCM
Was their scholarship ever relevant?
And according to various folks like Christina Summers, they're, if not breeding, reproducing in various femstuds, I mean feminist studies, programs.
And since degrees in such are absolutely worthless off campus, the credentialed will be desperate to remain on campus, or, if not successful there, be bitching as taught off campus about the lack of opportunity provided by the patriarchy.
The Duke case was not about rape--see the reaction toward the real rape--and not even about the perp being out on bail and raping again. But the feminists pretended it was as long as that horse would go. The reaction of the admin was feminized in the sense they were terrified, passivied, and infantilized. There is a short story, by Twain, possibly, in which a guy, about to be lynched, faces down a crowd. That's masculine. If the Duke admin had taken a real leadership position, rather than the PC crap they did, shut down the 88ers and so forth, that would have been masculine, or, for that matter, femine. But not feminized.
My point is that you don't need a majority of women undergrads to be feminized. You need to be terrified of offending the angry womyn. That's feminized.
And if you pay attention, you will see what is probaby a twentieth of the cases of lack of due process in cases of sexual harassment on campus.
3.12.2009 7:06pm
MCM (mail):
Was their scholarship ever relevant?


Well, if they've somehow used it to hijack American academia, then it probably is. It's certainly relevant within its own field. I mean, reader-response theory isn't really relevant to anything outside of literary criticism circles, but that's pretty much how academia is.

And according to various folks like Christina Summers, they're, if not breeding, reproducing in various femstuds, I mean feminist studies, programs.
And since degrees in such are absolutely worthless off campus, the credentialed will be desperate to remain on campus, or, if not successful there, be bitching as taught off campus about the lack of opportunity provided by the patriarchy.


Again, though, that's very tiny minority - I haven't been able to find a major university with more than 50-100 people majoring in women's studies or gender studies, usually out of a student population of 30,000+. Who cares what 0.2% of the students are majoring in? Of course they're going to go on to either 1) teach it, 2) go to law school, or 3) work for an NGO.

The Duke case was not about rape--see the reaction toward the real rape--and not even about the perp being out on bail and raping again. But the feminists pretended it was as long as that horse would go. The reaction of the admin was feminized in the sense they were terrified, passivied, and infantilized. There is a short story, by Twain, possibly, in which a guy, about to be lynched, faces down a crowd. That's masculine. If the Duke admin had taken a real leadership position, rather than the PC crap they did, shut down the 88ers and so forth, that would have been masculine, or, for that matter, femine. But not feminized.


Sorry, I don't see it in that case. You have three guys who are accused of rape - not just some woman making noise about it, but she's actually been to the police and reported it. The students were arrested and had to post 6-figure bonds. What do you want the administration to say? I never understood criticisms stemming from Brodhead's statement.

My point is that you don't need a majority of women undergrads to be feminized. You need to be terrified of offending the angry womyn. That's feminized.
And if you pay attention, you will see what is probaby a twentieth of the cases of lack of due process in cases of sexual harassment on campus.


Actual facts would help. In my years in undergrad and law school, I never heard of any actual sexual harassment cases. Maybe they're that good at keeping them quiet, but I doubt it. I don't think there are really as many as you make it seem like there are.
3.12.2009 7:46pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
MCM.
It ain't size of the dog in the fight....
The womyn have the admin(s) terrified. Doesn't matter how many of them there are.
Doesn't matter.
At all.

You should read K.C. Johnson's "Durham-in-Wonderland" for a detailed discussion of, among others, Brodhead's actions. There were references to his pitching an instructor under the bus at Yale, as well. And his position did not change as the crap unraveled until it was far too late to claim anything but spinelessness. It also details the false nature of the accusations of bad character against the laxers.

I recall a report of a sexual harassment case at Columbia where the administrator remarked, apropos the lack of due process, that it was probably a good thing for guys to have to suffer that.
3.12.2009 10:28pm
MCM (mail):
I'm familiar with that blog, actually, and I've read his criticisms of Brodhead's statements before. I don't find much in there that's convincing. Reading his posts, it's clear that he's already got a conclusion in mind and is warping the facts to fit it.

For example, Johnson admits that Brodhead said, on more than one occasion, the students were innocent until proven guilty, but takes Brodhead to task for not saying it enough times. And Johnson does so in a manner that's useless provocative. I just don't see the point of it all: he comes across as just another internet blowhard.

And frankly, KC Johnson doesn't really know what he's talking about to a large extent. He doesn't work at Duke, didn't go to Duke, and from what I can tell has never been to Duke. I'm sure he's a smart guy, but it's easy to criticize from New York.
3.13.2009 1:20am

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