Saturday, January 20, 2007

"Elite" Professors Post Morphs Into A Free Markets Post

I'm not sure which I enjoyed more: this post about whether or not to take the beliefs of "elite" professors at more than face value, or the comment string that post generated.

We can define "elite professors" as those at elite institutions or those who are well-known by people outside of their fields (e.g. Stephen Hawking, Noam Chomsky). Here's the foundation of the post:

Having thus spent 60% of my life hanging out with elite professors, I feel confident in saying that: If all I know about a view was that professors held it more, and elite professors even more so, I would be inclined to be skeptical of that view.


When it comes to matters outside their area of expertise, such as whether God exists...elite faculty deserve no more deference than any other smart people... Outside their areas of expertise (and sometimes even inside it), their beliefs tend to be colored by their ideology and by the need to conform to the expectations of their colleagues.

From there the post sways into liberalism in academia, specifically the anti-free market views of much of the professoriate. And while this next comment is unsupported by evidence in the post, I believe it to be true:

Now the free market, buttressed by public education, has raised more people out of poverty than all government poverty and redistributive programs together have done.

Add Wal*Mart to that list as well.

The entire post is better written than the two excerpts above, but those snips summarize the views contained rather nicely. The comment thread, though, is spectacular. I genuinely enjoyed the reference to the "philosopher-king" (translate: benevolent dictator) needed to oversee liberals' desired government control over the products of society.

The concepts addressed in the linked post tie in nicely with those mentioned in my post on the so-called Fairness Doctrine.

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