Re: Nothing sinister about liberal campuses
- Hmm. I'm wondering whether colleges have a blacklist of conservatives,
or if there's simply more liberals than conservatives who are trying
to get jobs as professors. Though I can certainly imagine a university
president interviewing possible professors and getting a conservative
vibe off one candidate and thus not hiring that person (or, if it was
Bob Jones or somewhere like that, getting a liberal vibe from them).
--- In email@example.com, "Ram Lau" <ramlau@y...> wrote:
> Nothing sinister about liberal campuses
> Steven Lubet
> Published December 1, 2004
> Conservative activists are on the march, determined to expose
> hotbeds of liberal influence wherever they find (or even suspect)
> them. Their latest target is higher education, one of the few
> corners of American life where liberal ideas still hold sway.
> Indeed several recent studies have confirmed that Democrats greatly
> outnumber Republicans -- by ratios as much as 7-1 -- on many
> university faculties. This revelation has caused outrage in
> conservative quarters, where it is seen as evidence of liberal
> manipulation, and worse.
> Leading the charge is David Horowitz, a former student leftist who
> is now president of the right-leaning Center for the Study of
> Popular Culture. According to Horowitz, there has been a "successful
> and pervasive blacklist ... of conservatives on American college
> campuses" that can only be rectified by the intervention of state
> legislatures and boards of trustees. He has called for enactment of
> an "Academic Bill of Rights" to protect the interests of
> conservative faculty and students.
> Other conservatives make similar claims. Thomas Reeves of the
> Wisconsin Policy Research Institute, for example, has insisted
> that "conservatives are discriminated against routinely and
> deliberately" in faculty hiring.
> These are odd arguments to hear from conservatives, since they
> usually deny that disproportionate statistics can be taken as proof
> of discrimination.
> When it comes to job discrimination or affirmative action,
> conservatives blithely insist that the absence of minorities (in a
> workforce or student body) simply means that there were too
> few "qualified applicants." And don't bother talking to them about
> a "glass ceiling" or "mommy track" that impedes women's careers.
> That's not discrimination, they say, it's "self-selection."
> Conservatives abandon these arguments, however, when it comes to
> their own prospects in academe. Then the relative scarcity of
> Republican professors is widely asserted as proof of willful
> Of course, there are other possible explanations. Perhaps fewer
> conservatives than liberals are willing to endure the many years of
> poverty-stricken graduate study necessary to qualify for a faculty
> position. Perhaps conservatives are smarter than liberals, and
> recognize that graduate school is a poor investment, given the scant
> job opportunities that await newly minted PhDs. Or perhaps studious
> conservatives are more attracted to the greater financial rewards of
> industry and commerce.
> Beyond the ivy walls, many professions are dominated by Republicans.
> You'll find few Democrats (and still fewer outright liberals) among
> the ranks of high-level corporate executives, military officers or
> football coaches. Yet no one complains about these imbalances, and
> conservatives will no doubt explain that the seeming disparities are
> merely the result of market forces.
> And they are probably right.
> It is entirely rational for conservatives to flock to jobs that
> reward competition, aggression and victory at the expense of others.
> So it should not be surprising that liberals gravitate to
> professions -- such as academics, journalism, social work, and the
> arts -- that emphasize inquiry, objectivity and the free exchange of
> After all, teachers at all levels -- from nursery school to graduate
> school -- tend to be Democrats. Surely there cannot be a conspiracy
> to deny conservatives employment on kindergarten playgrounds.
> Alas, there have in fact been instances of political discrimination
> in academic hiring and promotion. And yes, conservatives, both
> faculty and students, have been snubbed or mistreated on
> overwhelmingly liberal campuses. More seriously, certain professors,
> and in some cases entire departments, have crossed the line from
> legitimate scholarship to overtly politicized advocacy, most
> frequently coming from the left. These situations should be
> vigorously addressed as individual cases, and remedied where
> necessary. But none of this is proof of systematic intimidation or
> blacklisting, as alleged by Horowitz and others.
> The reality is that universities, by their nature, tend to be
> liberal institutions (not only in the United States, but in many
> countries around the world).
> Conservatives may bemoan the social forces behind this phenomenon,
> but there is nothing sinister about it. Nonetheless, liberals (like
> me) should admit that faculties face a resulting risk of
> intellectual conformity, which can be stultifying and confining even
> when it is unintentional.
> Most major universities would likely benefit from the presence of
> more conservative scholars, who would sharpen the dialogue and
> challenge many assumptions. I might even be persuaded to support
> some form of recruiting outreach or affirmative action for
> Republicans -- but surely my conservative colleagues would never
> stand for it.
> Steven Lubet is a professor of law at Northwestern University.
- Blacklisting conservatives? Vast left-wing conspiracy? =)
Most likely not, I'd say. I actually think what the professor said
is true. A conservative authority in academia is in demand, but
there just aren't that many. I guess it's harder to turn
conservative after so many years of learning, regardless of the
- At my college it does seem like there are few conservative professors,
and there are quite a few self-described liberal professors. We do
have one economics professor who worked in the Reagan White House, Tim
Roth. I remember hearing that he's the faculty sponsor of the student
Republican group. I would like to take a class with him, but as I've
seen from the Introduction to Economics courses I've taken, I'm
terrible at economics. Or terrible at all the math involved anyway.
Roth's written a book (which I have no intention of buying or
reading), "The Ethics and the Economics of Minimalist Government".
Amazon also has a book by two political science professors from my
school who I know slightly, Irasema Coronado and Kathy Staudt. The
book is "Frontera No Mas: Toward Social Justice at the U.S.-Mexico
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "Ram Lau" <ramlau@y...> wrote:
> Blacklisting conservatives? Vast left-wing conspiracy? =)
> Most likely not, I'd say. I actually think what the professor said
> is true. A conservative authority in academia is in demand, but
> there just aren't that many. I guess it's harder to turn
> conservative after so many years of learning, regardless of the
> seen from the Introduction to Economics courses I've taken, I'mGreg,
> terrible at economics. Or terrible at all the math involved anyway.
> Roth's written a book (which I have no intention of buying or
> reading), "The Ethics and the Economics of Minimalist Government".
Economics is so much fun with or without the math. Forget about what
that Roth guy wrote, start from reading the great dialogue between
Keynes and von Hayek instead. Commanding Heights is a great book
that describes what has been happening in the last century:
PBS did a good job introducing the book:
You gotta love the Homo Economicus. =)