It might have been the post-9/11 national realignment stuff, but back in early aught’s when David Horowitz got his fellow travelers dancing the aisles to a Bowie-shrill cover of Pa Buckley’s God And Man at Yale, there seemed at least a small chance that he might convince schools to do something stupid. No doubt University staff even gathered together their
best available minds and tried to work out how this might work. Would they have candidates fill out a questionnaire? Track political giving? And how the hell do we deal with foreign candidates? The Australian Liberal Party: right or left? (right.) Is the For Thais Party to the right or the left of the Proud Thais Party? (For, right, Proud, left…I think.) Since European right is basically American Democrats, do we stop hiring from those countries at all? Maybe we could ask for a signed waiver from the Front National or the Dutch Freedom party.
What do we do when someone like Frum or Christopher Buckley finds himself unexpectedly stranded outside the fickle border of conservative catechism? Do we cancel his tenure and ask National Review for an approved replacement list?
These meetings certainly tapered off after everyone realized that the whole enterprise would basically rewrite the current system of higher education. We have conservative Universities after all. Let them compete freely in the marketplace of ideas.
Today I doubt that anyone in higher education even notices McMegan or John Tierney. Where Horowitz was strident and cued into a zeitgeist that made him impossible to ignore, McArdle and Tierney’s version is a half-assed cover by a flippant valley girl band, an out-of-sync retro cash-in. They don’t care enough to commit anything significant to their idea, and so neither will anyone else.
From Both Sides
The real stupidity is how far out of their way search committees go to avoid bringing up a whole host of subjects (including political affiliation) during the process to avoid giving grounds for a lawsuit. McMegan and Tierney are demanding that a bias be addressed that is almost impossible for committees to actually engage in.
I am willing to do an even swap of academics for wall street assholes. the w.s.a. can teach bored hung over students and the academics can run the economy.
Academia is liberal because critical thinking weeds out the worst ideas.
Adding conservatives to the Professoriat would literally make it stupider.
Parallel 5ths (Jewish Steel)
We could lend “false consciousness” to the right, if it will help them winnow the field.
I just want to help here.
I don’t find the under representation of conservatives among faculty at all surprising. For one thing, to be a successful academic, you need to be able to recognize when facts are conflicting with your pet theory and make the necessary adjustments—–to the theory, not the facts!
The problem with hiring conservatives to be professors is you would have to find conservatives smarter than the average stoned, hung over, half asleep 18 year old. It would be like looking for hen’s teeth.
BTW, speaking of developmentally disabled perverts, it looks like another Republican is going down in a sex scandal. Sweet.
David Bowie is shrill?
The man has issued bonds, for Bieber’s sake, that alone should mark him as serious.
You are totally correct, Tim.
Not to mention that I don’t even understand what they hell they are talking about. I work in academia and there are plenty of conservatives. They just aren’t batshit crazy, for the most part. Meaning they aren’t teabaggers. But they certainly are conservative. The engineering and finance faculty are teeming with them. There are lots of super duper invisible sky wizard prayer group faculty and staff, including some of our science faculty. The problem is that almost all of them are highly competent in their fields and have done enough research to know that you can’t deny verifiable results. And they are motivated less by money than by wanting to make the world a better place through education. Which makes them different from your average “conservative” and probably leads stupid people like David Horowitz and Megan McArdle to see them as one and same as all the DFHs who populate academia right along with them and who sometimes cooperate on research with them. I guess they are RINOs or something.
The “Professoriat” is pretty fucking stupid already. Lots of fucking wankers doing a bunch of mostly worthless shit that no one cares about and teaching a bunch of worthless fucking drunkard kids who don’t want to learn anything. They were, to their credit, aided in the slide to drooling stupidity primarily by the fecklessness of spineless administrators.
A commenter at edroso’s pointed out that anarchists are very under-represented in police departments.
Parallel 5ths (Jewish Steel)
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I’m cool with filling the Kennedy School of Government with teabaggers as long as we get to fill the military and the boards of every company in the S&P 500 with socialists.
I still don’t get WTF politics has to do with academics, especially in the STEM areas. In the social sciences and/or economics, ok maybe I can follow the argument in the abstract. But the physical sciences? Those are structured to create an ever-growing/changing understanding of physical processes, with theories supported (or refuted) by analysis of well-structured empirical data.
I’ll repeat that: science is supposed to change over time, by design. So what does conservatism have to do with it? How does a physicist ‘stand athwart history yelling stop!’, exactly?
If your politics or religion makes empirical claims which are proven to be false, well then… sorry, but your religion/politics happens to be wrong, at least with respect to those particular claims.
@WyldPirate: Yes, who needs scientific research anyways!
Ack, I always forget the s-word gets comments stuck in moderation.
Anyway, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I’m cool with filling the Kennedy School of Government with teabaggers as long as we get to fill the military and the boards of every company in the S&P 500 with people to the left of Bernie Sanders.
peach flavored shampoo
These dirtbags like McArgyBargy are lookin for loudmouth, brash conservative provacateurs (sp?), like they sees on their TVs. Most of the conservative peeps I know on campus are engineers, who are mostly quiet, dorky introverts. B/c they’re not willing to raise hell (ala that idiot from Colorado a few years back), they dont interest (and thus dont “count”) to McAddled.
Just make them all sign loyalty oaths to not deliberately undermine conservative causes. What could go wrong?
Isn’t the free market supposed to sort this all out?
Wow. Don’t know where you went to school, but it in no way resembles my place of work.
@WyldPirate: On the contrary, I’m not stupid and my students aren’t drunk, stupid, lazy, or even young.
Not all Unis are big party schools.
Culture of Truth
Do we cancel his tenure and ask National Review for an approved replacement list?
I’m surprised Horowitz ever made that much headway. He never seemed that influential even in the heyday of wingnuttery. I think he creeps out most other conservatives, and he is reputedly quite an asshole.
@WyldPirate: Yeebus. Go join the fucking Khmer Rouge or the Red Guards or something. One half of the country’s political realm being insanely anti-intellectual is far too much already.
This is a pretty tedious subject, honestly, but it’s worth pointing out that for someone like McArdle, there are only a few schools she knows about and they are in a very narrow range of what’s out there.
For those of us who have attended and taught at many universities, public and private, big and small, there is a broad range of personnel (as others have pointed out, in engineering, finance/business, law, economics there are lots of conservatives).
If you only went to Penn and U of Chicago (MBA), what do you know about the thousands of schools out there?
That’s right. Diddly.
Why don’t all those clamoring for more conservatives just go start their own universities. How hard could it be to staff them? There’s obviously a boatload of poor, overlooked conservatives who would love to be faculty members.
I was an econ major in college. The best two profs in our department, by far, were also the two most extreme (one was a libertarian, the other a marxist). Both were charismatic and riveting teachers.
They were hired because the head of the department (a typical Keynesian New Dealer type) really believed in promoting a vigorous exchange. The department he created had real intellectual energy, which is unusual for undergraduate econ. A critical mass of students (not everybody, of course) got really interested, thought things through, and took sides. It was great.
This is a long way of saying that I think ideological diversity really does have value. I certainly wouldn’t want anyone from the outside to try to impose it on universities. But wise administrators should try to foster it.
WP is speaking from inside the castle walls. He is a scientist.
Who is that?
I almost hate engaging with this stupid idea, in the sense that it validates it as an idea worth engaging with. But the hypothesis that there are departments or schools magically screening out conservatives (through some unexplained mechanism) is preposterous, at least when compared to the alternative hypothesis that attidudes correlated with conservatism lead conservatives to self-select out of academia.
Let’s face it, academia is not the place to be if you want to get filthy rich, again compared to other options available to people willing to put in the time and effort and ability to get a PhD and faculty position. Roughly 2 months in to my job as an assistant professor (so that I could wank away doing worthless shit and teach a bunch of worthless fucking drunkard kids), I got a call inquiring my willingness to work/whore in private industry at roughly 3 times my current salary. If you want to make money, it’s clear where you need to be, and it ain’t in academia. I got into this gig because I love learning and communicating that learning with others – to the extent that is correlated with a more liberal inclination, that correlation is going to appear in the aggregate statistics.
It would be interesting to look at the correlation between academic salaries across disciplines and the ideological make-up of departments (not to imply causation, but I’m guessing the correlation is strongly positive)
@EconWatcher: Not surprisingly, those departments where conservatives can make a coherent argument (e.g., business schools, econ, poli sci and even philosophy) tend to have plenty of conservatives in them. Some of them, for example the Chicago school of Econ, even lean notably to the right. That is fine and even healthy.
The problem is fields where the conservative catechism is utterly anti-academic. I cannot think of any reason why a biology department, for example, would want to hire an outspoken conservative. As someone pointed out upthread science itself is a constant revolution. We make a living by proving each other wrong. It is idiotic (but nonetheless too common) to have a basic scientist stand in the way of change simply for the sake of preserving what already is.
Please note that I didn’t say that society doesn’t “need scientific research anyway”; I simply said that much of it was shit that no one cares about anyway (other than a minuscule number of people working on it. An example of this is in the link from:
@Parallel 5ths (Jewish Steel):
Thanks for the link, Parallel 5ths. I enjoyed reading it, particularly this bit:
This stands as an example of two things. First, it’s research that a vanishingly small number of people outside of “Carmina Biruna scholars” and Middle Age historians give a flying fuck about. Secondly, it’s a not too inaccurate a description of some in academia today.
Big honking, mediocre southern State unis for BS, MS and PhD.
Part of my comment is due to being in a foul mood and part of it is due to years of observation and working in those environments.
I don’t really think what I said is universally true. I’ve taught long enough to realize that all students are not worthless drunkards who don’t give a fuck about the classes they were sitting in. Were it not for the 1 or 2 students per class that you could see the lightbulb go on in their brains during class and the indications of a few others, I don’t think I could have done it as long as I did. Most, however, didn’t give a fuck, didn’t want to work and felt entitled to a good grade for their lack of effort and interest.
WRT the faculty, not all of the research was worthless shit that had no utility in everyday life and that no one cared about, but most of it was/is. Most isn’t even read or cited outside the little group of folks that work on the particular subject. That said, many academics delude themselves into thinking that their research is truly important when it leaves no more impact on the world than if one had stuck their finger into a pool of water and pulled it back out.
They have. For example, here’s a top ten list. Sadly, the only one I’ve heard of in that top ten (leaving out the honorable mentions) is Liberty.
@BGinCHI: I know you’re not, BGinCHI. I got up on the wrong side of the bed this AM and should have been a little more precise and specific in casting my daily acerbic aspersions. ;)
@WyldPirate: No worries.
The winger talkers have ads for or mention Hillsdale College on their shows a lot.
Amanda in the South Bay
Well, I think the word STEM is too broad. As others have pointed out, there are plenty of engineering conservatives. I think that any program that allows you to earn a comfy upper middle class job when you graduate, as opposed to having to go to grad school, probably has a higher proportion of conservatives, I’d guess.
@Tim…… well Douchebag is balls deep in the IQ-bussing scam, and he’s a Very Serious Person.
So is Peter Beinart, and Sully the Conservative Shill talked it up too.
Could someone please ax Ross if this is related to Grand New Party page 154 and Salam-Douthat Stratification on Cognitive Ability?
The thing to understand is that their real beef is with academia producing all these liberal ideas and “evidence” for things supported by liberals, and pointing out how unworkable policies “debated” in hothouse conservative “think” tanks are. Much like Louie Goehmert’s declaration that the CBO can’t possibly be nonpartisan because it keeps giving bad scores to GOP proposals, academia must be biased against conservatives, because the only alternative is that their ideas could be wrong, and that is unpossible.
Well, I don’t know about Southern public universities. But the two Northeastern public universities I got my degrees from and the one I work for do, for the most part, important research and the students are, for the most part, pretty damn good, smart, motivated kids.
Parallel 5ths (Jewish Steel)
There you go WyldPirate. “Secular Songs of Bennedictburn” shows how little the academic life has
changed since the middle ages. When reactionaries and anti-intellectuals howl about the academy, this is where my memory takes me.
How do I know all this? A professor taught me.
@Parallel 5ths (Jewish Steel): Everyone should hug a professor today.
This is a very dangerous over-simplification. The European right is both more diverse and at points far nastier than you wish to believe. Berlusconi certainly isn’t remotely a Democrat, nor are the right-wing in Austria and Poland. It’s even possible to argue that Cameron, for all Sullivan’s pathological wishing on a star, is increasingly heading towards a crazy GOP perspective, minus the God issue, which simply doesn’t matter to most UK conservatives.
@WyldPirate: Well, now that you’re in a better mood…
But see, I think this is recycling a lot of right-wing memes about “ivory-tower” academics. What objective measures of “utility” are possible for basic research? There aren’t any.
Which leaves you with measures that will be either a) political, or b) economic. Which are fine for applied research. But applying those to all research would close down the breakthroughs in basic knowledge that will power later applied research.
By its very nature, science (and this is a very science-centric comment) sucks at predicting its own future. “If we knew what we were doing,” the old cliche goes, “it wouldn’t be called research.” We’re better off just letting curiosity-driven research take its course. That’s where the surprises come from.
I asked McArdle how many communist professors she had in business school.
She replied by saying that business schools trend slightly liberal, and they are among the most conservative faculties.
Rhetorical fucking questions: How do they work?
To paraphrase Nietzsche, “Life without art would be a mistake.”
@Silver: Um, B schools are liberal, Megs? Got a link for that? I call bullshit.
And let’s just cut to the chase: instead of assuming that academia should reflect the ideological makeup of society, how about if society tries harder to reflect the ideological makeup of academia?
It might have been the post-9/11 national realignment stuff, but back in early aught’s when David Horowitz got his fellow travelers dancing the aisles to a Bowie-shrill cover of Pa Buckley’s God And Man at Yale, there seemed at least a small chance that he might convince schools to do something stupid.
You know, I actually try to read your posts because i like your shit, but seriously, could you have someone edit…
No doubt University staff even gathered together their best available minds and tried to work out how this might work.
Is that even a sentence?
Citizen X, I really do agree with you and what you said. I was part of the “basic research” thing for a long time.
Part of my vitriol was based on the attitudes of the the people performing the research and the exploitive nature of academic science. There are way too many PhDs being trained in the sciences today and the system exploits the shit out of students and postdocs.
I kind of view basic research in the sciences like an Impressionist painting. Thousands and thousands of scientists put in their little “dot” of color that lends to our understanding of how the world works. Most of those dots are meaningless, though. But on the other hand, you can never really tell which one will be meaningful or which multiple “dots” will lead to a breakthrough in understanding.
Apparently quotas are only OK in McMeganland if they’re quotas that benefit conservatives.
I hate to say this, but bad ideas do persist in academic long past their sell-by dates. It’s also very common for professors to dig in and defend their pet theories against all the evidence. Believe me, the academy is far from perfect, and has a lot less in the way of disinterested discussion than you might hope.
i unnerstand you guyz being bioluddites, IQ-refuseniks and anti-empiricists an all……but sheesh Tim.
Conservatism has simply devolved to selection for stupid, where even the smart people are retards.