May 30th, 2008

Academia: a self-perpetuating closed shop

We’ve all heard of the obfuscating fog of war. Yesterday there was an article by Crispin Sartwell in the LA Times entitled “The Smog of Academic Consensus.”

Sartwell notes that the University of Colorado is proposing to endow a chair in “Conservative Studies,” much like those for other special interest minority groups. This is not as peculiar as it may seem at first blush: in academia, conservatives are most definitely a minority. And this particular university may be trying to make up for such previous affronts to critical thinking as its former professor Ward Churchill, who became chair of its Ethnic Studies department despite a singular lack of credentials, qualifications, or even basic common sense.

How much of a minority are conservatives in the field of higher education? At Colorado, this much:

…one professor found that, of 800 or so on the faculty, only 32 are registered Republicans. This strikes me as high, and I assume they all teach business or phys ed.

Sartwell points out that the consequences of such a profoundly closed shop in our universities are that students not only get a skewed vision of the world, but that the situation tends to perpetuate itself and close down even more, becoming the accepted and unremarkable norm. It’s a fallacy to think that teachers are somehow immune to their own biases and that they can compensate and present an objective vision; especially in the humanities such as literature, political science, and history, as opposed to accounting or math.

The heart of the matter is that the bias is so profound, long-lived, and global in academia that it has become virtually unnoticed by its perpetrators:

And because there’s a consensus [in so much of academia], there is precious little self-examination; a slant that we all share becomes invisible… Academic consensus is a particularly irritating variety of groupthink. First of all, the fact that everyone agrees and everyone has a doctorate leads to the occasionally explicit idea that all intelligent people think the same thing—that no one could disagree with, say, Obama-ism, without being an idiot…[A] professor has been educated, often for a decade or more, by the very institutions that harbor this unanimity. Every new generation of professors has been steeped in an atmosphere in which the authorities all agree and in which they associate agreement with intelligence—and with degrees, jobs, tenure and so on. If you’ve been taught that conservatives are evil idiots, then conservatism itself justifies a decision not to hire or tenure one. Every new leftist minted by graduate programs is an act of self-praise, a confirmation of the intelligence of the professors.

I’ve noticed this myself, although I’m not in academia. Time and again I flummox people who meet me by seeming to be articulate, intelligent, pleasant, well-informed, and also (by their definition) conservative. I can almost hear the wheels of cognitive dissonance grinding in their minds as they try to parse these seemingly contradictory characteristics of the person in front of them, causing them to wonder (and sometimes to voice aloud) “How can it be?”

76 Responses to “Academia: a self-perpetuating closed shop”

  1. MikeM Says:

    As one of those very rare animals myself (an academic who is a Republican) I can comment from the inside: yes, it’s as bad as it seems, if not worse. Thanks, Neo, for bringing this to a wider audience.

    I started this year to keep track of invited speakers, but gave up after half way through as there was only one who was moderate/conservative (invited by the College Republicans) while the remaining 40 or so were all left/liberal. And this is just one small aspect of what goes on. There’s the use of the faculty listserv for organizing leftist political rallies, the obligatory joke about Bush/Republicans that starts most committee meetings, the shock expressed when someone questions “social justice”, or “sustainibility” etc. etc. etc. It really is an echo chamber, and in an institution that is supposed to be about all ideas being aired.

    Those of us who are conservative and working in academia cannot change the situation; it’s too overwhelming. Where we can get help is from parents and alums. If a daughter or son raises a stink about their classes and the general poltical enivronment, and then parents respond, that’s the only way things will change.

    BTW, I don’t like the route that CU is taking. Just gives the university an excuse to say how tolerent they are that they have their literal token conservative.

  2. FredHjr Says:

    What the University of Colorado is proposing is, in a word, ridiculous. The problem is that people, including the students, are not allowed to be themselves and think critically for themselves. Instead of true freedom, they carve out a niche to fill. A slot which can be publicly identified and manipulated. This is so very much like Leftists: they want control, even over those they allow some slack on the rope that’s tied.

    It’s insulting and it smacks of “quotas.” It rules out the possibility of actually allowing grad students who are not Leftists to advance into academic careers.

    But, why should we expect totalitarians to be anything but who they are?

  3. Artfldgr Says:

    It’s a fallacy to think that teachers are somehow immune to their own biases and that they can compensate and present an objective vision; especially in the humanities such as literature, political science, and history, as opposed to accounting or math.

    actually not… it WAS done before.

    the argument of no such thing as a non biased view is an argument of the left so as to throw out the concept of a neutral view as even possible and replace all views with biased ones for the cause.

    we take it in from the ether, and internalize it and never realize it till a slip brings it out.

    it IS possible to give a neutral opinion.

    but first you have to believe that its possible.

    after all, it IS possible to fly… but if you dont believe it, you wont try to construct something that will let you fly.

    so if you believe that there is no such thing as a neutral presentation or fair presentation, then all presentations are skewed and its ok for you to skew yours too, after all, everyone is doing it.

  4. Amused Cynic » Blog Archive » The academic echo chamber…. Says:

    [...] Neo-neocon posts on an LA Times piece about the extreme lack of ideological diversity on college campuses. I’ve noticed this myself, although I’m not in academia. Time and again I flummox people who meet me by seeming to be articulate, intelligent, pleasant, well-informed, and also (by their definition) conservative. I can almost hear the wheels of cognitive dissonance grinding in their minds as they try to parse these seemingly contradictory characteristics of the person in front of them, causing them to wonder (and sometimes to voice aloud) “How can it be?” [...]

  5. The Thomas Chronicles » Lock Step: Part II Says:

    [...] Bookworm wrote a long-ish post on a related topic, and so has Neo-neocon on the related subject of uniformity in academia. [...]

  6. Artfldgr Says:

    i would suggest reading:

    The deliberate dumbing down of America.

    the deliberate dumbing down of america is a chronological history of the past 100+ years of education reform. Each chapter takes a period of history and recounts the significant events, including important geopolitical and societal contextual information. Citations from government plans, policy documents, and key writings by leading reformers record the rise of the modern education reform movement. Americans of all ages will welcome this riveting expose of what really happened to what was once the finest education system in the world.

    its free at:
    http://www.deliberatedumbingdown.com/MomsPDFs/DDDoA.sml.pdf

    and i would also suggest reading john tayler gatto a teacher of the year letting you know.

    the underground history of american education
    http://www.johntaylorgatto.com/underground/

    When I was a schoolboy at the Waverly School in Monongahela, Peg Hill told us that David Farragut, the U.S. Navy’s very first admiral, had been commissioned midshipman at the ripe old age of ten for service on the warship Essex. Had Farragut been a schoolboy like me, he would have been in fifth grade when he sailed for the Argentine, rounding the Horn into action against British warships operating along the Pacific coast of South America.

    now why cant we even make 20 year olds that capable?

    why, we centralized the school, and dumbed everyone down!!!

    (which is why they needed troops to get the parents to let their kids go to state school)

    At fifteen, this unschooled young man went hunting pirates in the Mediterranean. Anchored off Naples, he witnessed an eruption of Vesuvius and studied the mechanics of volcanic action. On a long layover in Tunis, the American consul, troubled by Farragut’s ignorance, tutored him in French, Italian, mathematics, and literature. Consider our admiral in embryo. I’d be surprised if you thought his education was deficient in anything a man needs to be reckoned with.

    my education is more of the old kind… i am versed now in rhetoric, the cannon, languages, latin origins, biology, art, physics, and on and on.

    my education reflected the old form we used to have. thats why i made it into bronx science at 12 years old.

    you see, our schools are failing by design…

  7. Artfldgr Says:

    and if you have the stomach you can read Ronald havelocks “change agent manual”

    the dumbing down book covers it. the book is full of governmetn quotes as to the process of usingschools to change the US from an nation of individuals into a collective, like the soveit union.

    dewey was runnnig fronts and in several organizations and he is the father of modern education.

    all this is for something called convergence… to remove the boarders and converge all nations into one super nation.

    the socialists become more like us, we become more like the communists, and then one world government controls all.

    one world communist government with a world wide planned economy.

    the war with terrorists and insurgents shows that this will nto end wars, they will just become internal subversive factions. what was overt will become a world of covert actions…

    eu was part of that convergence.. (you can read about who wrote the first consitution for it. 15 years before it was proposed)..

    now there is the new mediteranian union..

    of course they have also been working on a north american union… (ever wonder why the borders are like a sieve?)

    when you read such planning documents and manuals and political bs… you will find that we are being shoved around to make a new world order and a new socialist man.

    most of us think all of it is natural and are so focusedon the problem we will not consider some basic questions.

    like… how can schoosl be stagnant or worse after 40 years of trying? we cant even get them back to the level they were at!

    we can split the atom, go into space, build a shuttle, all manner of things.

    but we cant teach our kids?

    nothing in government happens by accident.

  8. Sdferr Says:

    Hard sciences are hard in a number of ways. The best is the ruthless competition eliminating bad ideas. Hard to do and hard in rule. Academic fields without this serious discipline can too easily become useless fonts of self-perpetuating ignorance. There is nothing to prevent the transmission of stupidity.

  9. Sdferr Says:

    Outside of the occasional Sokal-like hoaxster and gales of laughter.

  10. gcotharn Says:

    “the fact that everyone agrees and everyone has a doctorate”

    I can testify, in my own case, to the power of simultaneous appeal to numbers(of people in agreement) and appeal to achievement(in education and profession). My thinking was swayed by this for a long time.

    My extended family counts many advanced degrees and doctorates amongst its accomplishments. For all their academic and real world achievement, many of my family are nevertheless uninformed about politics – yet they perceive themselves as quite informed. I spent years and years – at family gatherings – listening to their political opinions … and believing they must be correct opinions, for those espousing them were such educated and successful people. For me, it took a long time, and a lot of careful looking at issues and principles, and a lot of self-questioning, before I finally realized most of my family simply did not have a good understanding of political issues. I triple-checked and quadruple-checked my own opinions before I was confident in accepting that. I had the very hardest time believing my family members had significant ignorance in this area. But they did. I had to become wiser in order to see the truth.

    And, being a somewhat graceful and sensitive person, I quickly determined most of my extended family were not very interested in political opinion which contradicted their own. Very few persons, in life, are interested in political conversation – which is why I stop by here so often. This is conversation which I crave – and in which I can enthusiastically engage – as everyone comes here of their own free will. I can express myself here, and on my own blog. Then I can go through my tactile days, and almost never discuss politics, and be a pleasant and sane person(most of the time!).

  11. Artfldgr Says:

    one major thing that dumbed the kids down was creating picture books to teach..

    prior to my childhood, there were no maurice sendak books, and others.. childrens books were LITERATURE…

    by they time they were in junior high they would have read things like tom sawyer, or Fennimore cooper, nancy drew, etc.

    coopers work is at 13th grade reading level…

    when i was a young man you had to write at 8th grade level for general consumption.

    now we have to write at 5th grade level for that.

    [you can cut and paste text into word and get a little report as to reading levels and things if you turn the feature on. its interesting to paste in common documents from the past, and then now, and see where they land]

    the constitution was written for everyman..

    the bible was readable by the average person…

    the whole educational cannon was gutted… we lost plato, aristotle, voltaire, and many more..

    we gained, abu mamal jamia and his poetry “die ni**er, die”, we have womens studies teaching us that the history of us is one long torture of women by men… we have african studies which try to inform that kwanzaa is real, when it was invented..

    we now have revisionist histories… we just havent gone so far to tell the students to tear out pages and replace them..

    heck, did you knwo that there are leftist organizations who spend their time making sure that images in textbooks have the correct propagandic content?

    its incredible… but if you dont look deep into it, then all you have is the msm chatter… which is to keep us all busy…

    after all, if the kid is out on the street and they are protesting and yelling, are they learning, growing, expanding, and doing what they need to ahve a good life?

    every spend a day watching nickelodeon and thinking about whats being presented?

    check out their show “rebels with a cause”, a show that promotes and teaches kids to be radical revolutionaries for leftist causes.

    Ms. Ellerby uses leftist propaganda buzz words like “taking on the establishment”.

    She shows a group of “tweenagers” walking around in orange jumpsuits, hooded and yelling from a bullhorn. “We are not ok, with people being tortured by American soldiers!” “Are cooperation’s priority over human lives?”

    There is also a call for the impeachment of the President in the second segment of the video, “democracy is at stake because of the President violating the Constitution”.

    The fourth segment of video shows another tweenager, who has put together a video of wounded Iraqi children, with the song Jesus Loves Me playing over it. This teenager blames America, the military, for what is happening in Iraq. This young girl says “she finds, videos and facts on the Internet” to show what is REALLY happening in Iraq. I am guessing she is getting these images from Al Jazeera.

    Nickelodeon is the new training ground for leftist propaganda.

    Amazing. You really must watch this video.

    thats a description… parents work, kids get programmed by tv waiting to spend the quality 5 minutes at night.

    if you put all the different parts together, you will see its all working leaning into each other.

    Nickelodeon website shills for … World Can’t Wait
    hotair.com/archives/2007/10/31/nickelodeon-website-shills-for-world-cant-wait/

    the organization is a known communist front group and turbo nick sends your kids to them.

    there is absolutely no discussion as to issues on nick. they just present the left ideology points as the only right points.

    so there is no question as to whether green is really green…

    its a big mix of propaganda, ageism, and other things.. (for instance, ever notice how often the cool nickolodeon people tend to be poor? in the naked brothers band episode the person they meat is like the oracle in the matrix… even living in a trailer… etc)

  12. Stan Says:

    Dennis Prager wrote in a column that every so often he gets callers with some really insane premises. He asks them where they went to grad school. They are always surprised that he knows they went to grad school. ‘How could you know I went (am in) grad school?

    Because only someone from grad school could come up with something that stupid!

    [note -- I went to grad school]

  13. Occam's Beard Says:

    I was in academia for many years, but fortunately in the physical sciences, and although politics rarely even came up (we were all too busy working!), odd comments made clear that I was a lone outpost of conservatism. (E.g., the colleague who solemnly intoned that the greatest American President was…wait for it…Jimmy Carter, because of his concern for human rights. I scoured his face to see if he were kidding, but he wasn’t. I didn’t have tenure at the juncture, so I kept my mouth shut.)

    But since leaving academia, people have told me (or otherwise made clear, e.g., by their political pronouncements to me) that they presumed from my resume that I was (as one termed it) an “uberlib.” If only they knew that I have cloven hooves…

  14. Thomass Says:

    I’ve been kicking around a meme to use for this. Since the new generation has never had to live under lefties and, after years of Bush bashing, associates authoritarianism with conservatives (even though there are precious few examples of excesses)… how about using Universities / Academia as an example of what its like to live under lefties. You’ve lived under republican government and have probably done some time under lefty rule at college. Ahem, who is more interested in burning witches… exactly?

    Speech codes, saying all disagreement is racist / sexist / blaw blaw blaw, discriminating against those with over views in hiring, et cetera… This is what they want for the whole society (can you say hate speech laws and courts?)….

    I think it is something we should explore… so as to avoid the real thing (actually having to live under lefties in political power)….

  15. Ben Says:

    I’m suspicious about what CU proposes. Does conservative studies mean a class actually taught by a conservative? Or does it mean a class taught by a liberal with a curriculum of bashing conservatives? Will University Security enforce order when the first group of leftist thugs decides to disrupt class? Will the class be interdisciplinary, such as women’s studies, or will it focus on politics? With so much background knowledge lacking, how can one class possibly accomplish much?

    Moreover, an interdisciplinary class has problems of its own. It is common knowledge in academia that the various “studies” classes are utterly worthless and devoid of intellectual rigor. They are more like cheerleading sessions for various aggrieved minorities than actual academic classes in the traditional sense.

    I would much rather have the university commit to hiring one bona fide conservative in each of its humanities departments. Along with that, I would like to suggest that the university abolish all of its “studies” departments and make all of the professors teach real classes. Finally, I would like to suggest that universities concentrate less on hiring professors who publish in obscure sub-sub-sub-disciplines and hire generalists with a broad command of the subject matter.

  16. Occam's Beard Says:

    Excellent point, Ben.

  17. eeyore Says:

    I recently taught some technical classes at a community college for a few years. In 2004 before the election, the dean asked me if I had seen Farenheit 911. I said I hadn’t. He proceeded to tell me why Bush should be impeached and sent to prison, especially since he wanted the Afghan oil and caused 9/11.

    I had read about the lies and mistruths of this documentary and a PBS program had spoken about the Afghan oil situation and was able to answer him with quotes from PBS. He asked why I would believe PBS since it was run by the government.

    Here, a government employee, paid by the state, was asking why I should believe another “pseudo” government entity as if PBS was a neo-con entity. He would bring liberal issues up throughout my term of employment and I was able to refute him with facts which infuriated him. He said I must listen to Rush Limbaugh and I said I thought he was just a blowhard.

    What this 9/11 “documentary” had to do with what I was teaching or any other subject at this technical school is beyond me.

  18. harry McHitlerburtonstein the COnservative Extremist Says:

    Neo-neo:
    “Time and again I flummox people who meet me by seeming to be articulate, intelligent, pleasant, well-informed, and also (by their definition) conservative. I can almost hear the wheels of cognitive dissonance grinding in their minds as they try to parse these seemingly contradictory characteristics of the person in front of them, causing them to wonder (and sometimes to voice aloud) “How can it be?”

    LOL! I have a friend who happens to be smart, articulate and a Hispanic female. That really pops their breakers. Your description of their reactions are exactly the same! Their faces become frozen and their eyes blink with confusion. You can almost hear their brains screaming…”Landru help me! Help me Landru! Help me! Help me! Help me! Help me! Help me! Help me! Help me! Help me! Help me!

  19. Kurt Says:

    Of course, one of the consequences of this situation is that those sympathetic to the left are completely clueless about anything other than a charicature of conservative ideas, whereas most conservative thinkers are very familiar with liberal ideas, having been force fed them throughout their entire educations. One result is the impoverishment of liberalism, where dissent is only tolerated if it is coming from a point further to the left.

  20. strcpy Says:

    “LOL! I have a friend who happens to be smart, articulate and a Hispanic female.”

    I’m a fairly large (read fat) male hillbilly from East Tennessee. I have a really thick southern accent. For about 4 or so years I worked in an academic setting (a national lab) in high performance computing. I wrote many papers and gave a few speeches. I’m sure if I had been female the following would have been more amusing.

    There were a large number of times where people assumed I was stupid because of my accent – never mind the large “speaker” badge I was wearing around my neck. They would tell me how once I learned how this wonderful piece of software that we were all here to hear the actual author talk about life would be grand. That person had some really interesting ideas, etc, etc, and I could learn a lot from them (still never noticing my “speaker” badge). I always watched them out of the corner of my eye when it was time to start the conference and I was introduced as the author and guest speaker for the session.

    Further amusing is if any decided to bring up politics at a guest supper later – I am a gun toting conservative raised in the rural south and I did a pretty good job of absorbing the local culture. So yea, there was some “culture shock” that regularly went on there. Even funnier was when it turned out our whole group regularly shot firearms and hunted which is a fairly rare thing.

  21. Thomas Says:

    Kurt Says:

    ” whereas most conservative thinkers are very familiar with liberal ideas, having been force fed them throughout their entire educations.”

    Yeah, you almost have to adopt a tolerant stance… or you’ll go insane..

    It’s not a dig either, just saying. I’m sure some individual conservatives could be control freak jerks, but being a conservative in the midst of the liberal consensus… cultivates humility.

  22. Thomas Says:

    strcpy Says:

    “Even funnier was when it turned out our whole group regularly shot firearms and hunted which is a fairly rare thing.”

    Computer people don’t tend to be as lefty as other professional groups.

    I’m one and almost all of my friends are computer people… and they’re almost all conservatives or libertarians. Most own guns too… Also, we’re all in the west…

  23. strcpy Says:

    Where I was they were mostly liberal – most of them were out of the large cities and large universities. Interestingly enough most of the mathematicians where I worked were on the conservative end of the spectrum.

    Where I went to college (East Tennessee State Uni) what you said is true and I also find it true when you get to the rank and file technologists (where I am at now).

    However medium to large academics pretty much only hire liberals unless the individual in question is in some way famous in their chosen field and then all bets are off on anything.

    I also know some companies sometimes do not hire outside of a liberal persuasion. I’ve interviewed in a few places (Amazon.com for one) that “not fitting into the corporate culture” was the reason for not hiring me (shortly after an explicit question on something about politics – you could hear the disappointment in the voice). Though I will readily admit that was just one HR person and may just be them too.

    Outside of our group most fit right in at Slashdot social, but then we were also developing Open Source software and that end of software tends to attract leftist, socialists, and communist (not that it has too – I like many of the concepts of OSS but I don’t see it as a political/semi-religious movement either).

  24. strcpy Says:

    I will also add that while many are libertarian they are still hard left. Hard left isn’t necessarily totalitarian – libertarians can include hard left and right people and is one of the reasons the philosophy has so much infighting.

    I also agree that many of us use guns – when I used the phrase “gun toting” I meant it as a whole with “gun toting conservative raised in the rural south” which should bring up a specific image :)

  25. Beverly Says:

    Y’all are cracking me up. I’m in New York City, aka Moscow on the Hudson, which is at all times swimming in a smog of lefty smug. It’s now the new bonding ritual to make a Bush-bashing remark on being introduced, to establish your bona fides, dontchya know. People speaking in public, ditto. It’s amazing to me that they’re so bloody arrogant that they assume that EVERYONE IN THE ROOM must of Course agree with them: they’re all bien-pensants, aren’t they?

    Yesterday I stopped to talk with the (young) receptionist at the studio where I work, and somehow we discovered that we both had, ahem, antediluvian ideas. We smacked each other such a high-five that our hands stung! I’ve been working there since 2001, and she’s been there a bit longer: but even in an office with just a dozen people, the pressure to conform is almost unbearable. And in NYC, it’s really as much as your job’s worth to “come out” as a conservative. Or even a liberal hawk.

    Her parents, like mine, were country-club Republicans, and naturally neither of us grew up thinking republicans had horns and tails. But this vicious nonsense is permeating our nation.

    Well, I simply must drop down for the night. Good rest to you all.

    (BTW, I loved the anecdote by the Southern man about being mistaken for a dolt by the Yankee bigots. I’ve had the same thing happen to me in NYC, being a (National Merit Scholar, etc., etc.) Carolina girl originally. Just keep messin’ with their minds, bro. ;-))

  26. Vince P Says:

    I’m sure some individual conservatives could be control freak jerks, but being a conservative in the midst of the liberal consensus… cultivates humility.

    Well I dont know about humility but one of these things it does do to the conservative is that conservative is more profound thinker as his ideals are continiously challenged and combatted. The conservative is thus able to withstand criticism.

    Leftists almost scummb to nervous breakdowns if you oppose their most cliched opinions. They cant believe that someone actually differs with them..after all they are the Sun and all thier buddy planets orbiting them have always been in unison… what is this comet doing crossing our orbits ! How dare it!

  27. Perfected democrat Says:

    “It’s now the new bonding ritual to make a Bush-bashing remark on being introduced, to establish your bona fides, dontchya know.”

    It’s classic mob mentality culture, not unlike the hearty “Heil Hitler” and stiff arm salute (in lieu of a friendly and neutral handshake) at the height of Nazi power in europe; Bush hating, and baiting, essentially garden variety scapegoating combined with unabashed hypocricy and double standards… Imagine Bush or Cheney with a “Chappaquidick” in their past. You wouldn’t know that gulf state governors and mayors had any culpability or responsibility for their lack of adequate (long-term) planning and responses to a Katrina in their own back yards…

  28. Vince P Says:

    Fundamentally I see Bush a proxy for the ideal America. When they hate Bush they are hating the America of our founders.

  29. SteveH Says:

    This whole scenario reminds me of the body art craze that is so thoroughly embraced by those wishing to be portrayed as societies uniquely different rebels. But are by now revealed to be nothing more than the “establishment” of a bunch of approval seeking lock step conformist.

    Thoughts and ideas are now regretably marketed to our youth as trendy fashion statements.

  30. Perfected democrat Says:

    I doubt the Bush haters are consciously that deep, Vince. It seems more like adolescent fantasy, a combination of self-righteous indignation and cowardice, entailing neither personal risk, significant personal commitment, or even fundamental respect for the realities and complexities implicit in confronting the problems of the real world, especially of the jihadi/left-wing alliance, ie. yapping about the Patriot Act and Guantanamo, and a mostly contrived “compromise of personal freedom”, but they easily gloss over the phenomenon of a Hugo Chavez.

  31. Sergey Says:

    Ideological purity imposed by educational establishment will surely lead to intellectual stagnation of the sort I witnessed in USSR. What about Academic Bill of Rights advocated by David Horowitz? Had this campaign any traction?

  32. Tatyana Says:

    I’ve noticed a different (but related) often repeated situation: I meet people who seem well-read, intelligent, some even exceptionally smart, well-mannered – until certain point that reveals their leftism. And it leaves me flummoxed: how that could be? How come this person who’s capable of deductive logic can not see screaming irregularities in his leftist rationalizations?

  33. Sergey Says:

    Deductuve logic has nothing to do with someone’s world view. There only norms and values count; and conformism is enough for majority of people to be supreme judge of these.

  34. Jamie Says:

    My (slightly right-of-center) husband actually got the spoken, “But you’re nice!” from a hyper-left lawyer in his office. (This woman is a piece of work: freely claims to be socialist, gives as her reason that some [possibly most] people just can’t take care of themselves, and that she’s willing to pay a lot of money to get someone else – i.e., the government – to keep them out of her life. Yes, she has actually put it in those terms. She and her husband each have half-time jobs paying six figures for a household income in excess of $300K, which is neither here nor there but is certainly an exclusive club…)

    I work in a church in the Anglican communion, where – as in academia – one’s leftism is taken as read. I get d*mn sick of Bush-bashing from the pulpit, Bush-bashing in Bible study, Bush-bashing at staff meetings, but what’s a gal to do? My husband, who is a very smart guy, has an interesting perspective on it: Why, he asks, are churches like ours so eager to have government take over their turf? If government provides all the charity necessary, what good works would remain for the striving faithful to perform? “Someone/The government should…” is code for “Here’s something I believe should be done, but I don’t want the responsibility or cost of doing it to fall on me.” At least not directly.

    Sigh. Oh, to move back to Texas-sans-Austin, where people are sensible…

  35. expat Says:

    strpcy,

    It just hit me as I read your coments: Wouldn’t it be great if we had recordings of some of our esteemed historical figures? I would love to know how Washington, Jefferson, and Jackson sounded.

  36. FredHjr Says:

    The company I work for (I am not in academia) is chock full of Leftists or liberals (slightly left-of-center), so for the sake of my own social (and maybe career)survival I stay away from any discussion which would reveal that I am a former Leftist who is now slightly right-of-center. And if these topics come up and I cannot find a convenient excuse to flee, I just grin and nod my head when it seems appropriate, in order that my cover not be blown. I realize this is cowardly. It makes me angry to think that I must live this way. But, I know Leftists VERY well, having been one of them thirty years ago. Many have only the most shallow patina of ethical reasoning, and I’ve seen them knife people (not literally) and ruin them. I have a family to support, and so I take one for the team.

    I know that in almost every contentious issue to debate I could demolish these people, but I also know their tactics and how they “debate.” They shout you down, resort to “tu quoque” and ad hominen. I know I would be cut off during one of my usual thoughtful pauses to think about what I am going to say. Now, not all of them are like this. In fact, decades ago when I was one of them I had the same style I have now. I actually listened to conservative critiques of socialism, and took them seriously. So seriously, that when I was a Jesuit seminarian and before that a college student I would go in search of – and put a lot of time into – finding ways to carve a “third way” socialism that would honestly address the very concerns that conservatives would voice. I RESPECTED those people, which was something I rarely saw among my fellow Leftists. Mostly rabble who were not interested at all in the philosophical and psychological overlays of the ideas they parroted.

    Only recently have I grasped the reasons why, in totalitarian societies, the intellectuals are feared and then “dealt with.” We saw what Stalin, and his forebear and then his successors, did to socialist intellectuals. People who ask uncomfortable questions are quite threatening to the activist types and the ones Who Would Be Saviors.

    Eventually facts, history, logic, and then, finally, a lot of insights from neuroscience about the manifestations of evil convinced me that socialism and utopia are impossible, and that pursuing them is madness. Now that Scientific Socialism has been demonstrated to be DOA, all that remains of Socialism is the myth of it, energized by Georges Sorel and then the struggle for this religious myth given structure by Antonio Gramsci and then the Frankfurt School Marxists. Literally, the Left is now reduced to barking Moonbats who have no idea of what they are talking about or the epistemological fallacies they have embraced. But, we are dealing with a religious faith now. This is not something rational. I know this, which is why I tread very carefully around these people. A pensive, rational exchange is not the likely outcome if you get drawn in to their web.

    What’s frightening is that our societies in the West are so balkanized now that any well-done book or paper that exposes the fallacies of socialism just ends up ignored by the other side. Dismissed. The sound of crickets in the background. All of us have retreated into our echo chambers because there are no longer any ground rules for how to conduct a dialog.

  37. nyomythus Says:

    This strikes me as high, and I assume they all teach business or phys ed. from the quote you quoted; party affiliation should be immaterial, I think there are many free thinkers in academia who vote outside of standardized demo/repub templates, it doesn’t help when republican legislatures are forever on the attack against funding education.

  38. Vince P Says:

    party affiliation should be immaterial, I think there are many free thinkers in academia who vote outside of standardized demo/repub templates,

    True.. there is always the Workers of the World Party, Communist Party, International Clique of Nonthinking Indoctrinators etc..

    republican legislatures are forever on the attack against funding education.

    LOL.. Republicans want your kids to go to school in a box!

  39. Beaman Says:

    Regarding the overwhelming numbers of ‘Liberal Leftists’ in academia, I can only concur and state that it is the same in my own country of Great Britain. The long string of University Union boycotts against Israel being a prime example of their madness in action.

    I like this article and agree.

    By the way, I have an interview with the leading British Neo-con commentator and author on my blog.

  40. Vince P Says:

    Bearman: I haven’t been to your site yet.. so I let me guess who it might be, and then I’ll go and see if i’m right.. Douglas Murray!

  41. Vince P Says:

    I was right! I was afraid it was going to be some old guy I should have known but didn’t.

  42. Toes Says:

    I received my grad degree from a fairly liberal faculty of a fairly liberal university in a fairly liberal country, and I’m a fairly liberal guy.

    It’s been my experience that academics of any political stripe respect critical thinking and intellectual chops. When the political conversation becomes substantial, if you can’t provide informed opinion you’re just branding yourself a lightweight. Having an informed opinion matters far more than having the majority opinion!

    Maybe it’s different on American campuses, and if so: the horror, the horror …

  43. Truth Says:

    Here is old article by Matthew Continetti Columbia University, specking about anti-War back in 2003 looks no changes till now.

    Teach-In, Turn On, Walk Out

  44. Thomas Says:

    Vince P Says:

    ” is that conservative is more profound thinker as his ideals are continiously challenged….

    …Leftists almost scummb to nervous breakdowns if you oppose their most cliched opinions.”

    I just think they’re two different things. Although, the same pressure helped cultivate both.

    Example, you can be a thinker AND totally intolerant.

  45. Vince P Says:

    I am totally intolerant of child molestation.

    You?

  46. Vince P Says:

    I thought you said “can’t be”

  47. Thomas Says:

    strcpy Says:

    “I also agree that many of us use guns – when I used the phrase “gun toting” I meant it as a whole with “gun toting conservative raised in the rural south” which should bring up a specific image”

    It does… I just shoot people down who use the phrase. ;) By mentioning I own them or ‘yeah, I really need to fly to Texas for a gun show… get away from it all’

  48. Thomas Says:

    Beverly Says:

    ” Bush-bashing remark on being introduced, to establish your bona fides, dontchya know. People speaking in public, ditto. It’s amazing to me that they’re so bloody arrogant that they assume that EVERYONE IN THE ROOM must of Course agree with them”

    You’re going too easy on them. :) Think about the guy who talked about the political question at the Amazon interview.

    You’re really being given a Stalinist loyalty test.. serves two purposes. Root out heretics and force further conformity (if no one dissents, then this view really must be the majority of all people in my peer group, I should accept it)…

    If you must play Winston Smith, I’d go with something about the republican bash being hate speech. It’s worked for me a couple times.

  49. Thomas Says:

    Sergey Says:

    “What about Academic Bill of Rights advocated by David Horowitz? Had this campaign any traction?”

    None at all.

    I think conservatives have already outmaneuvered the left when it comes to academics via creating think tanks (AEI, Heritage, et cetera).

    The next step will be to create (or find existing) degree granting organizations they can send their children to that are not leftist dominated (although, I did somewhat enjoy tweaking the noses of leftists when I was in school).

    Example, I’m taking a university class on line and am enjoying it. Part of reason I’m checking it out is to test whether it is a real school (or scam) as it may be something for my children to do. It’s harder to fit indoctrination in when everything said is in electronic form. ;) So far I have to say it’s real btw… I can’t say it’s hard, but I’m doing more reading and writing for this class than most I took at a California state university…

  50. Thomas Says:

    nyomythus Says:

    ” it doesn’t help when republican legislatures are forever on the attack against funding education.”

    The rate of increase has so outpaced inflation it’s just time to slow it down… plus, we don’t get results for the extra spending…

  51. Thomas Says:

    Vince P Says:

    “I am totally intolerant of child molestation.

    You?”

    Dude, stop trying to misunderstand me. I’m a conservative. I know many other conservatives. I’m also a moderator on a big conservative internet forum. I sometimes have to ban conservatives for being intolerant / ass*s. We have some jerks in our ranks too. We can succumb to group think just like lefties. We can also loose perspective and be jerks when we think we have the upper hand… it’s part of being human (vs. a core lefty trait). Conservatives know that.

    As to child molestation. Depends on what intolerant means. I usually assume the perp was abused as a child and suffers from a mental disorder. In some ways I feel bad for them. On the practical side though, they probably can’t be cured so they must be locked up for life or executed. In many ways their experience is an example of classical tragedy. But I’d give them the lethal injection just the same.

  52. Vince P Says:

    Yeah i messed up

  53. Jimmy J. Says:

    I’m a grad of University of Colorado. (1954).
    Even then, the social sciences had a fair number of lefties. There were some lefty students. Mary Berry is probably the most (in)famous of that bunch. They were full of sound and fury but most students paid them no attention.

    I used to contribute money regularly to good old CU. However, when the Ward Churchill scandal surfaced I started returning all requests for donations with a note saying I was opposed to suppoprting a University with such low standards as to hire and give tenure to the likes of Churchill.

    This chair of conservative studies may be an attempt to woo back some alums who have cut them off. Thanks to neo I now intend to mention the tiny ratio (4%) of conservative to liberal faculty members as a further reason for not supporting them.

  54. Kurt Says:

    Jimmy J: My mother is an alumna of Colorado who graduated a few years before you (and my maternal grandparents were also alums). She has, like you, returned requests for donations by saying that she’s not giving on account of the Ward Churchill scandal. I’m sure there are many more like you.

  55. Jimmy J. Says:

    Kurt:
    Thanks for your family anecdote. Good to know I’m not alone.

  56. Ymarsakar Says:

    antediluvian ideas

    Gotta love those antediluvan and downright anachronistic folks.

    http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/2008/05/30/the-question-of-multiculturalism-why-it-doesnt-work/

    On the subject of liberal group think, it is interesting to compare their actual behavior with the beliefs they are touting.

    The question of multiculturalism and how the more diversified the community the better it becomes, is a question of common sense.

    Do, in fact, people want to live in a diversified community full of people they hate, disagree with, and are functioning via mutually exclusive philosophies with? Like say, they eat pork and you don’t. They kill animals for sacrifice and you are part of PETA. Do people actively seek out such “diversified” communities because they believe it creates a better community or state in human affairs?

    No, they don’t. What people seek out is others like themselves.

    Instead of introspection and questioning or testing their beliefs, Leftists often will just accept it on face value regardless of the inconsistencies or outright contradictions such as Gore burning up our ozone layer with his jets while preaching “Green” kickback investment funds to “save Gaia”.

    How come this person who’s capable of deductive logic can not see screaming irregularities in his leftist rationalizations?

    Because deductive logic requires a person to assume certain premises to be true. In this case, their premises are not the same as yours, and mostly mutually exclusive in addition as well.

  57. The Question of Multiculturalism: Why It Doesn’t Work « Sake White Says:

    [...] be surprised when somebody comes in and purges those of weak faith out of existence. UPDATE: Neo has up a pretty good post and comment section here. Some highlights. # strcpy Says: May 31st, 2008 [...]

  58. Sergey Says:

    Neo, had it ever come to your mind that you also are a part of this closed loop? This neo-conservatism, at least in your (and even more in Bush’s) interpretation still contains a lot of liberal nonsense – and you simply do not notice it. As if all positions to the right of neoconservatism simply do not exist, or, at best, do not deserve serious consideration. Keeping in mind how many neoconservatives were someday Trotzkites or leftists of other stripes, it is at least suspicious that they still carry a lot of unsavoury ideological baggage with them.

  59. Chris White Says:

    There is more than a hint of unintended irony … or parody … in this posting and comments thread. Neo et al profess they are shocked, shocked and angry, that relatively low paying positions [pay measured as a function of educational level] dedicated to teaching, especially in subjects outside the hard sciences, are dominated by liberals. Given free will and the free market is it really so odd that those who believe in the primacy of the private business sector (conservatives) would choose to enter that sector rather than education? Or that those who believe in “progressive” ideals might find teaching consistent with their ideals and therefore worth the economic loss that deciding to teach entails?

    If one takes Neo’s final italicized paragraph with the intro;
    “The heart of the matter is that the bias is so profound, long-lived, and global in academia that it has become virtually unnoticed by its perpetrators:”
    and replaces “academia” with, say, “financial services industry”, “doctorate” with “MBA”, “Obama-ism” with “Friedman-ism” and so forth it would be no less accurate … and equally problematic.

    Now, having tossed a comment into the echo chamber that fails to confirm the biases and (given artfldgr’s comments) paranoid fantasies, of the commenting cohort, I’ll sit back and watch the piranha like frenzy as this group of supposed critics of “group think” fall all over themselves ripping me … and my wrong-headed, potentially treasonous, leftist ideas … to shreds, in the name of open mindedness, of course.

    “But, why should we expect totalitarians to be anything but who they are?”

  60. Vince P Says:

    yawn

  61. Sergey Says:

    Liberal arts professionals should know better difference between education and indoctrination. The anomaly of nowadays academy is not absolute prevalence of leftists in it, which is easily explainable, but its consequence: complete ignorance of possibility of other perspectives and inability to understand these different views. The situation is not symmetrical, as Chris asserts: conservatives as a rule have much more adequate knowledge of their opponents and their views, they rarely are surprized to hear them, while most liberals are really stunned when confronted with a live conservator: their idea of conservative thought is a laughable caricature.

  62. Ymarsakar Says:

    http://www.bookwormroom.com/2008/06/01/how-moonbats-party/

    You have to read this to believe it, but I’ll give you a hint: a school in New Hampshire had an evening celebrating Saudi culture that included marginalizing all the girls!

    Leftists are great celebrating the culture of their allies. Not so great about tolerating conservatives, though. Kind of gives the lie to their preachings of multiculturalism and rational behavior, no matter how much Chris might say otherwise.

  63. Toes Says:

    There is more than a hint of unintended irony … or parody … in this posting and comments thread.

    Uh, more than a hint, don’t you think? This place serves it up in rich, creamy dollops.

    You wouldn’t happen to be the comedy writer Chris White?

  64. Thomas Says:

    Sergey Says:

    ” Keeping in mind how many neoconservatives were someday Trotzkites or leftists of other stripes”

    I think only a handful were really. The rest is some crazy lefty meme… US ‘conservatism’ has its own tradition (devoid of any lefty influence) of wanting to spread classical liberalism. Goes back to Jefferson trying to support the French in the revolution… it’s never really stopped. I think the world would be better with classical liberalism (what people in Europe just call liberalism) than social democracy. Euro social dems know this and it’s why they hate US Republicans…

  65. Thomas Says:

    Chris White Says:

    I was interested in being an academic once. I decided it would be too much an uphill fight due to bias in the field.

  66. sergey Says:

    “I think only a handful were really.”
    This handful has defining influence on what is now known as neoconservatism. Most of them were influenced by Allan Blum and William Buckley, who re-defined long standing, but almost marginalized in 70s tradition of mainly isolationist traditional conservatism.

  67. steve miller Says:

    Re strcpy Says:
    May 31st, 2008 at 1:05 am

    I would love to find out who that was at Amazon. While the company is uniformly & crazily “progressive” at the lower & middle levels, that type of question is completely out of line.

    One reason they are so “progressive” (except when it comes to employees actually giving their own money to charity) is that they hire an inordinate amount of people from Canada (Waterloo U) who (a) love the free social care of Canada but (b) love the freedom of expression & lower taxes of America. They are doing their best to turn America into Canada but neglect to consider the affect upon their own tax rates. It’s a wonderful system for them: they get to act morally superior as Canadians and yet avoid paying all those pesky Canadian consumer taxes. It’s like the best of both worlds!

  68. Sweetie Says:

    I’m not seeing the irony. Political web sites are self selecting as is entering acadamia. However, acadamia is supposed to serve those of all political persuasions. Neo’s site simply serves herself, and like minded individuals (as well as trolls and the occasional polite leftie).

    Choosing to click on a policital website to engage in an exchange of ideas and having political ideas pushed at you in acadamia (or the business world) aren’t the same. In my experience only one side engages in the latter.

    I spent 11 years in the Navy (Reagan to Clinton) and didn’t once, from memory, hear any political talk. I wasn’t interested in politics myself at the time but I was a ‘legacy’ Democrat (and from MA to boot). I was also voting officer at two commands. Typical voting rates on the ship were 5 to 10% and at shore 10 to 20%. I conclude, then, that the military was largely ambivalent about politics. Not sure about now.

    In the San Francisco business world, however, politics is broached like the weather. Rather one kind of politics – anti-Bush politics. How someone can inject politics into business activities, particularly when there are people they don’t even know are present, is a mystery to me.

  69. Ken B Says:

    I know you are not assuming that more objective subjects such as math and accounting are immuned to political biases, but I have an example that they are not. I had an accounting professor take up a week of class preaching the wondrous benefits of socialized medicine. I, of course, argued with him with most of the class against me.

  70. Thomas Says:

    sergey Says:

    “Allan Blum and William Buckley, who re-defined long standing, but almost marginalized in 70s tradition of mainly isolationist traditional conservatism.”

    and neither of them were lefties if memory serves. I think the American tradition of isolationism stems in part because of the left’s attempts to ‘realize the social possibilities of war’ to quote an old progressive. They tended to use the national emergency of war to push ‘war socialism’ which they hoped would outlive the war/s. So, the other side dug in towards isolationism. Also, the British used to take of it all (keeping the sea lanes open and such).

    Also, there is another reason why American conservatives can sometimes have leftyish thoughts compared to Euros. Marx found the US interesting. I think he tried to pick and choose a few American attitudes and fit them into his theories in order to recreate our success. If you give an American ‘right wing’ conservative a term neutral quiz about things like historical materialism he probably would give you the left wing (in Euro terms) answer… it’s simply part of our wider cultural assumptions. We (‘the right’) even assumed the Marxists-Leninists were, in part, bad because of their econ system made them so…

  71. nyomythus Says:

    Where’s the liberalism in neoconservatism these days? Comments here are looking more and more paleoconservative and stinking of theism.

  72. Gringo Says:

    Where’s the liberalism in neoconservatism these days? Comments here are looking more and more paleoconservative and stinking of theism.

    As an un-Democrat more than a Rep[ublican, perhaps a neocon, and never a churchgoer, my long-pondered reaction:ROTFL.

  73. nyomythus Says:

    As an un-Democrat more than a Rep[ublican, perhaps a neocon, and never a churchgoer, my long-pondered reaction:ROTFL. Ha, I would expect nothing more than such a long crank of the engine and a sputtering cough. Well here’s a direct salvo, eat me.

  74. Jamie Says:

    OK, nyomythus, how’s about this: the liberalism in neoconservatism lies in neocon support of the Bush Doctrine (fostering democracy as an antidote to the conditions that lead to terrorist activity and support) and in neocon rejection of the loyalty oaths seen too often in universities.

    Paleoconservatism: I assume you mean “isolationism,” the standard paleocon thing, which hasn’t been terribly evident herein, to my view. Am I wrong?

    “Stinking of theism”: why, how tolerant of you. Thanks so much for your contribution to civilized discourse.

  75. nyomythus Says:

    Thanks for your attempt to quiet me :)

  76. Krie Says:

    Well said, finally a good report on this stuff

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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