Low #s of Conservatives in Academics

An interesting opinion piece in Inside Higher Ed talks about what some people argue are the reasons for fewer conservatives in academics. And KC Johnson writes using the liberals own words.

The four U of Pittsburg guys examining the study that says conservatives are outnumbered said:

“Many conservatives,” the Pitt professors mused, “may deliberately choose not to seek employment at top-tier research universities because they object, on philosophical grounds, to one of the fundamental tenets undergirding such institutions: the scientific method.”

Wow. Conservatives don’t believe that you should test your hypotheses. I didn’t know that. I guess I’m not a conservative after all.

SUNY-Albany’s Ron McClamrock reasoned, “Lefties are overrepresented in academia because on average, we’re just f-ing smarter.”

Okay. I would say that I am an average person in academia. Maybe even below average, because of my publication and presentation rate. And I’m in the top 97% of the nation. Liberals must be brilliant. That’s why they make such excellent and articulate arguments.

I’ve told my boys that using vulgarities simply indicates a lack of vocabulary. What does that say about McClamrock’s vocabulary?

n a slightly different vein, UCLA professor John McCumber informed The New York Times that “a successful career in academia, after all, requires willingness to be critical of yourself and to learn from experience,” qualities “antithetical to Republicanism as it has recently come to be.”

R will tell you that I have taken navel gazing to a higher level. And since I can remember every single thing I have ever done wrong, I think I’m having trouble with the idea that that is the opposite of modern Republicanism. I am, after all, a modern Republican.

According to Montclair State’s Grover Furr, “colleges and universities do not need a single additional ‘conservative’ …. What they do need, and would much benefit from, is more Marxists, radicals, leftists — all terms conventionally applied to those who fight against exploitation, racism, sexism, and capitalism. We can never have too many of these, just as we can never have too few ‘conservatives.’”

If that doesn’t make you question liberal’s view… Read the comments. Here’s Furr’s comment:

KC Johnson claims he wants intellectual diversity in faculty hiring. What he really wants is that “conservatives” be hired simply because they are “conservatives.” He dishonestly equates “liberal” with “Left”, an absurdity that lumps John Kerry with Marx or Lenin.
But it’s no leap at all to lump “conservatives” — say, David Horowitz — with racists and fascists, such as those Horowitz has published several times in his own blog.
“Conservatism” champions racism, exploitation, and imperialist war. It’s the enemy of 90% of the human race. We need LESS of it, not more. Sure, it should be “represented” in classes — but only for the sake of exposure and refutation.

Conservativism is the enemy of 90% of the human race. I think we should tell the French that. Oh wait, they already believe it. And what about the Iraqis. You’d think from the paper they agree.

It is not championing racism to argue that we should not use racism as a way to grant favors.

It is not exploitation to expect people to work for their living.

And it is not an imperialist war to take out a vicious murdering man and replace him with a constitutional democracy. If you say we are going to stay there “forever,” well, we stayed in Germany and they don’t think we have them under our thumbs.

University of Michigan professor Juan Cole, denouncing the “ridiculous and pernicious line” that major universities need greater intellectual diversity, complained about insufficient attention to the ideological breakdown of “Business Schools, Medical Schools, [and] Engineering schools.”

This is the best argument I have seen. If, indeed, business, medical, and engineering schools are overwhelmingly conservative. But I would be surprised if it were so. At this point Cole’s denouncement is simply a straw man. He is not alone.

UCLA’s Russell Jacoby wondered why ” conservatives seem unconcerned about the political orientation of the business professors.”

Apparently Cole and Jacoby are talking through their hats. I have found the information on the business school. And it is in fact a straw man. There are far more Democrats than Republicans in the business schools at Berkeley and Stanford. Go to this site to download the PDF. When you do so, you will find that Democrats compose 25.8% and Republicans 3.2% of the accounting and marketing professors. The law schools are 36:6 and 19:2. I think we can safely say the straw man is burned.

BTW, since this did come up in my search, I don’t think that affirmative action is the right thing to do. I think stopping our prejudices against upcoming academics who are conservative is. If you don’t think there is prejudice, you haven’t been reading much in academia. None of the theories I was taught in rhetoric would have been supported by a conservative. But there I was, a conservative, trying to understand them, trying to see where the theorists were coming from and where they were trying to take us.

Duke Law professor Erwin Chemerinsky more ambitiously claimed that “it’s hard to see this as a time of liberal dominance” given conservative control of the three branches of government.

This is why the differential is being given such play. If conservatives control two of the branches of government (I defy anyone who says that Kelo and Roe are conservative decisions.), then the conservatives are the bulk of the nation. But they are not the bulk of the higher educational system. That is why it is interesting.

Otherwise, Chemerinsky’s argument is totally worthless. We aren’t talking about liberal dominance in the US government. We’re talking about liberal dominance in academia. And that IS there. As the studies show.

And that is why all the academics are going wild on this topic. They don’t want to lose their dominance. They don’t want to admit their dominance. Why not? Perhaps because Americans have typically gone for the underdog. I am not sure, but it is clear that Democrats significantly outnumber Republicans in the academic workplace.

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