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Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Mistah Kurtz, he dead right

Reporting on a brand-new survey of college professors, Howie nails us:

College faculties, long assumed to be a liberal bastion, lean further to the left than even the most conspiracy-minded conservatives might have imagined, a new study says.

Even the most conspiracy-minded conservatives? I don’t know any conspiracy-minded conservatives who are obsessed with liberal professors.  Do you?

By their own description, 72 percent of those teaching at U.S. universities and colleges are liberal and 15 percent are conservative, says the study being published this week. The imbalance is almost as striking in partisan terms, with 50 percent of the faculty members surveyed identifying themselves as Democrats and 11 percent as Republicans.

The disparity is even more pronounced at the most elite schools, where, according to the study, 87 percent of faculty are liberal and 13 percent are conservative.

“What’s most striking is how few conservatives there are in any field,” said Robert Lichter, a professor at George Mason University and a co-author of the study. “There was no field we studied in which there were more conservatives than liberals or more Republicans than Democrats. It’s a very homogenous environment, not just in the places you’d expect to be dominated by liberals.”

Religious services take a back seat for many faculty members, with 51 percent saying they rarely or never attend church or synagogue and 31 percent calling themselves regular churchgoers. On the gender front, 72 percent of the full-time faculty are male and 28 percent female.

The findings, by Lichter and fellow political-science professors Stanley Rothman of Smith College and Neil Nevitte of the University of Toronto, are based on a survey of 1,643 full-time faculty at 183 four-year schools. The researchers relied on 1999 data from the North American Academic Study Survey, the most recent data available.

Hold the phone—1,643 full-time faculty?  Folks, Penn State alone has more than 1,643 faculty.  You’re telling me that this survey is based on an average of nine professors at 183 different schools?  And let’s see . . . there are over two thousand four-year colleges in the United States, so . . . well, you do the math.  All I can tell is that this “72 percent” figure keeps coming up:  72 percent are liberal, 72 percent are male.  I’m not a specialist in statistics, but my guess is that it means that all the male faculty are liberals.

I do know, however, that the survey was undertaken for very scientific reasons:

The study appears in this month’s issue of Forum, an online political-science journal. It was funded by the Randolph Foundation, a right-leaning group that has given grants to such conservative organizations as the Independent Women’s Forum and Americans for Tax Reform.

But pay no attention to the men behind the curtain!  Look at what these far-left professors actually believe:

The liberal label that a majority of the faculty members attached to themselves is reflected on a variety of issues. The professors and instructors surveyed are, strongly or somewhat, in favor of abortion rights (84 percent); believe homosexuality is acceptable (67 percent); and want more environmental protection “even if it raises prices or costs jobs” (88 percent). What’s more, the study found, 65 percent want the government to ensure full employment, a stance to the left of the Democratic Party.

Did you get that?  A stance to the left of the Democratic Party! That’s gotta be some wild, far-out stuff there—completely off the Howard Kurtz map altogether, or perhaps marked only by a blank space and an ominous legend, here there be Spartacists.  It’s a good thing the survey didn’t ask us how we felt about workers seizing the means of production!

But wait, let me take this thing more seriously for a moment.  After all, there’s really no question that college faculty are generally more liberal than the rest of the population.  OK, now, let’s see . . . I’m strongly or somewhat in favor of abortion rights, check—whatever that “somewhat” means (rape? incest? life of the mother? for Sherri Finkbine and no one else?).  I believe homosexuality is acceptable, check—though I’m really curious about the five percent of “liberals” who disagreed with this one.  I want more environmental protection even if it raises prices or costs jobs, check—though it all depends on whose jobs we’re talking about.

Which brings me to the bit about the government ensuring full employment.  Here’s where I’ve got to part ways, yet again, with some of my brothers and sisters on my left.  “Full employment” sounds nice—it’s sort of goofy and utopian, like imagining that access to health care is a human right or something—but it’s dangerously naive.  Certain people should definitely be unemployed.  In fact, I have a nice long list of names on my hard drive, all alphabetized and ready to go.  (But readers can feel free to make their own suggestions in comments!)

In the meantime, something needs to be done about all these totalitarian leftist professors, and in this as in so much else, Florida is leading the way.  The next time your liberal biology professor insists that you have to accept “evolution” in order to take his class, just sue the bastard! 

Posted by Michael on 03/30 at 10:01 AM
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