Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Free Lunch for Lefties!

Michael Simpson writes below that for whatever reason, university professors tend to lean left.

D'oh.

In fact, one of my correspondents, who's a philosophy prof, tells me that as a self-defined liberal, he's far outnumbered by committed leftists on his own faculty.

And I consider my philosophy prof friend more a leftist that a "liberal," if a liberal has anything in common with FDR, Harry Truman, JFK, or Bill Clinton, which he doesn't, so go figure.

I could live with all that if only a leftist educator could educate.

But as sorta-right-leaning Robert Maranto, who actually worked for the Clinton Administration, recently wrote in the Washington Post:

At many of the colleges I've taught at or consulted for, a perusal of the speakers list and the required readings in the campus bookstore convinced me that a student could probably go through four years without ever encountering a right-of-center view portrayed in a positive light.


The problem isn't that the lefties in "higher education" attempt to influence their students toward their point of view. They do, and that's understandable---we're all human, and very few of us are truly neutral.

The problem is that these university professors seem incapable of educating about other points of view. I've yet to meet a lefty who could explain my righty point of view fairly, without making me into Hitler or Satan. That's the rub, and that's what Maranto's saying here.

Now, as a conservative, it's well-known that I dig war and imperialism and torture, no taxes, huge deficits, and pushing Grandma down the stairs after her wheelchair gets a flat. I mean, now she can't even fix me the breakfast I need to go out and exploit the American working man and the undocumented immigrant. So who could blame me for getting sick of her whining as her wretched, broken body crawls to the stove every morning, lest I be forced to have her put out on the streets to fend for her own miserable self?

Gran, I love you and all, but life is a business. Take a loan for that tire or something. Pull yourself together here.

In the real world, of course, I meself drive a 1991 Honda Civic that only has 3 cylinders left firing, and I couldn't exploit anyone even if I wanted to. Here in Los Angeles, the going rate for exploited undocumented day laborers is 10 bucks an hour, plus lunch if you're going to exploit them for more than 4 hours. I can't even afford to buy 'em lunch, let alone exploit them for the rest of the day.

So, I wish that the university could teach its young fetuses something, anything, about me, a lousy conservative whose yearly salary is often below the cost of a decent college's yearly tuition. I'd volunteer to host a student exchange program, except that the studentry would be repulsed. The dorm has cleaner floors and more regular meals.

But I'd pay to get yer typical college prof to come live how I live, oh yeah, even though I can't afford his hourly rate either. He'd learn a lot more than he teaches, and hey, I'd even make us lunch, or get Gran to do it, if she's still around here somewheres.

_______________________________________

Monday, December 17, 2007

Right and Left in Academe

The disparity between the political affiliations of America's professoriate and the wider population is, well, a bit more than statistically significant. Something like 90% of the faculty ID as Dems and/or liberals. But don't worry, it's not bias in hiring, it's just the natural outcome of what liberals and conservatives choose to do. Libs like learning and conservatives like money. Or something like that.

Righty-o. Suppose that women were pretty much on level with men in their secondary and college educational achievements and then suppose that there was, nonetheless, something like a 9-1 male-female faculty imbalance. Just what folks choose to do, right? Oh, wait, no, THAT's an occasion for numerous conferences, subsidies for women hires, and an almost obligatory sentence at the end of every job ad that women (as well as "minorities") are "especially encouraged to apply." But conservatives? They're just greedy or stupid or whatever. Righty-o, dude.

Now, I'm not much in the conspiracy business and while I have *no doubt* that there is a liberal hiring bias in the academy, that's not the whole story. I mean, you can be as crazy Marxist/postmodernist/whatever-the-left's-flavor-of-the-month-is as you want to be and you can still get hired just about anywhere. Write a dissertation defending traditional marriage as normatively preferable and see how many places drop that application into the "it'll be a cold day in Hades" pile. But it's also the case that the grad students who are earning PhDs tend to be liberal and that is itself, I think, a product of a self-perpetuating cycle. Smart students who think that maybe they'd like to be a prof look around and see that, well, most of the profs are liberals. This has, I think, a rather natural selective effect on conservative students, some of whom (perhaps rather reasonably) think that academia must not be for them. And so you get a winnowing-out process.

The biggest problem with that explanation is that it leaves untouched the original "liberalization" - why are the professors more liberal in the first place? Patrick Deneen, a prof at Georgetown, has what seems to me a pretty good answer: the changed nature of the university. Whereas the university used to be about (generally speaking) the preservation and transmission of knowledge and intellectual capacities, it is now about (generally speaking) about the production of research and promoting change in society. That is, the university has become the citadel of scientistic progressivism (e.g. we can "solve" any problem - and will solve any problem - merely by applying the proper scientific research techniques). There's not much of a place in the academia for conservatives of an older stripe, then, perhaps helping explain the wide disparities in political temperament and identification. Go read all of Deneen's post.

Fred08.com? Fred Dead? Only in My Head

OK, OK, I admit it. I'm weak.

Although I unilaterally fired his ass from thenewswalk.com news ticker, Fred Thompson just got 50 bucks out of me. Anyone who's lazy, hates people, and is the only true conservative running for president can't be all bad, and that makes him 3 for 3 with me. Plus, he never says anything genuinely stupid.

Do not, under any circumstances, go to his website and contribute yourself. Just don't. You ain't lazy, you love people, and you're not even all that conservative.

Plus, you dig candidates who say stupid stuff all the time. Here's your man. Or maybe this one. Not Fred, though.