Friday, August 04, 2006

Leftie Academia

Debra Saunders gets it right again.

Imagine, if you can, that slightly more than half of the public voted Democratic in the last presidential election, yet some 80 percent of higher education's social scientists voted Republican. In that universe, you would expect the left to demand changes in university hiring practices so that academia would nurture greater diversity so as to better represent the American community.

Then step back into the real world, where academia has become a solid bastion of the Left, as demonstrated by two articles in the latest issue of the scholarly journal Current Review. One article presents a survey of academic social scientists that reports that 79.6 percent of 1,208 respondents said they voted mostly Democratic over the last 10 years, with 9.3 percent voting Republican.

Call that a near monopoly marketplace of ideas...

"I think, partly, it is self-selection," said Klein over the phone Wednesday. He sees "something about intellectuals and hubris and conceit" in academia -- with political scientists pumping themselves up as savvy saviors of a public sorely in need of their enlightened views. While liberal professors often think that they are open-minded, Klein believes that they also often think that "we're smarter" than those outside of academia, which gives them a right to "discriminate against people who get it wrong..."

I've also run into my share of journalists who believe that journalists tend to be liberal because liberals are smarter. It simply doesn't occur to them that editors tend to not hire reporters who don't fit into the well-worn liberal mold.

The Critical Review articles bared two disturbing trends: First, left-leaning academics are more orthodox than right-leaning academics. Klein, and Charlotta Stern of the Institute for Social Research in Stockholm, who conducted the social-scientist survey, polled academics about their views on where government intervention works best. They found "almost no diversity of opinion among the Democratic professors." Republicans -- no surprise -- demonstrated more ideological diversity. GOP scholars also are more likely to work outside the university -- and that's no accident.

I've said it too many times to count: liberals are the most intolerant group of people around.


Anonymous said...

Welcome back.

"I've said it too many times to count: liberals are the most intolerant group of people around."

A lot of adjectives come to mind when one thinks of Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Anne Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Bill O’Reilly. The word intolerant is high on that list. These people never hesitate to pass moral judgments, and certainly only support a very limited plurality of thought.

Wouldn't it be a more accurate statement to say that extremists of all stripes are intolerant?

Furthermore, based on my experiences with interpersonal dynamics, peer pressure, the driving force behind most conformity, is directly proportional the amount of peers. It shouldn’t be surprising to anyone that the majority group in most situations will exhibit far more conformity than the various minority groups for this very reason, since they have more peers to keep them in line, as opposed to mavericks and outcasts who have no peers.

And since we are on this kick, do you have a problem with the majority of military officers being Republican? Did you ever serve under a Democrat President? On my watch, I observed some seditious water cooler conversations while President Clinton was in office.

Or would it be a more fair assessment to say that the inherent nature of the work involved might lead Republicans toward military service and Democrats toward education? Birds of a feather do flock together.

Jell-O Bob

Darren said...

While extremists of all stripes are indeed intolerant, I find liberals as a group to be more so than conservatives. Colorado Springs, home of Focus on the Family, has rainbow flags all around Acacia Park downtown, whereas San Francisco actually passes a city/county bill *condemning* a group of teenage Christians who had a big gathering at Pacbell Park a few months ago. Actually, SF is the most intolerant city I've ever been to, except perhaps for Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

As for your comments about majority groups exhibiting more conformity, I disagree. Conservatives seem to be the majority in this country, at least if you go by the last few elections, and they're far more "diverse" intellectually and politically than the libs. And when they're in the minority, they're *still* more diverse.

I'd love it if more Democrats joined the military. Let's find a way to make that happen, shall we? And no, I never served under Clinton. I got out under Bush 41. I see nothing intrinsic about military service that would cause Republicans to join over Democrats--look at our history in that regard--and I see nothing intrinsic that would draw Democrats over Republicans to teaching. But apparently something is going on here.

Darren said...

Oh, and thanks for commenting!

Foobarista said...

I agree with Darren: as a rare relatively conservative native of the Bay Area, I'm always shocked at the idea that somehow leftists are "tolerant". Maybe they're tolerant of what they regard as "acceptable" oddities, but they are as absolutist in belief as any religious fanatic. If you don't believe in a fairly long laundry-list of causes and ideologies, you are, by definition, A Bad Person.

There are absolutists on the Right as well, particularly in the paleocon religious right, but the ideological diversity of the right does seem to be far more extensive and much less prone to "accept our long slate of causes or You're Out".

Ellen K said...

I think the nature of political orthodoxy within the parties is interesting. It's been my observation that many liberals are very defensive regarding their political views to the point of refusing to accept fact. For instance, today we've had a terror plot thwarted in England, yet already there are posts suggesting that somehow this was just a PR attempt to support President Bush. I just don't get it. At what point do these people begin to realize that reasoning and mediation aren't going to work with rank and file Islamists? They want to cast blame, which is their right, but often want to deny that maybe there are facts that support the opposing points as well. I have listened to a variety of people and some I can agree with in some ways, but with the litmus test that the far left of the democrat party has imposed, there is no room for diversity in opinion. I wonder how this will play out with the 80% of the population that doesn't adhere to either extreme.