Universities Without Ideological Diversity

It’s well known that among college and university faculty, liberals outnumber conservatives. Sam Abrams at Heterodox Academy presents some typical data:

The liberal-conservative ratio among faculty was roughly 2 to 1 in 1995. By 2004 that figure jumped to almost 3 to 1. While seemingly insignificant, that represents a 50% decline in conservative identifiers on campuses. After 2004, the ratio changed even more dramatically and by 2010, was close to 5 to 1 nationally. This shows that political diversity declined rapidly in our nation’s centers for learning and social change.

What’s more surprising is how extreme the difference is in one part of the country: New England. For college and university faculty in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont – the liberal to conservative ratio is above 25 to 1!

In the figure below the liberal to conservative ratio is graphed for faculty in New England and in the rest of the country. The green line at the bottom graphs the ratio in the population at large. Universities everywhere are not as balanced as the general population but New England is like another country.

Do conservative professors face discrimination? Defenders of the universities have argued, sometimes quite cogently (but compare), that professors tend to be more liberal than the general population not because of discrimination but because of factors like education, income, or social class. The universities can hardly be blamed if the people who want to become professors tend to be liberal! But large geographic differences in the ratio of liberals to conservatives suggests that this may not be the full story. Somehow I suspect that conservatives professors would be quite happy to live and work in New England should they be offered jobs in that part of the country.


The "New England" curve looks like what one would expect of a scientific discipline shortly after new evidence is published that discredits a previously legitimate theory. E.g., the ratio of Ptolemaists to Copernicans after Galileo discovered the phases of Venus. I wonder what might have happened around year 2000?

but why does you hypothesis posit only new england?

Think about this: 400 years after Galileo, there are STILL people who think that the discovery of the phases of Venus discredited geocentrism, despite the fact that every historian of science knows this is false. (https://thonyc.wordpress.com/2014/06/09/the-phases-of-venus-and-heliocentricity-a-rough-guide/)

So, sorry, this things are more fads of opinion than actual intellectual conclusions. (I.e., most academics are liberal because most academics are liberal. People think the Venus discovery discredited geocentrism because most people think that, not because it is true or they have thought this through.)

I didn't intend to say anything about geocentrism. Galileo showed that Venus's phases are not consistent with the Ptolemaic system. I agree I should have used "non-Ptolemaists" rather than "Copernicans." Thanks for the correction!

Isn't it established in psychology that if you start with a group in agreement on some issue where the members do not hold that opinion strongly, over time the members come to hold the opinion ever more strongly? This phenomenon is a strong argument for intellectual diversity.

I don't believe these results.

First of all, a 25 to 1 ratio in an entire region just doesn't seem plausible. Political views are only directly relevant, and thus possibly subject to pervasive discrimination (or pervasive self-selection bias), in a subset of fields. I don't know how the entirety of academia in New England could be 25-1 liberal when a significant portion of it is devoted to things like engineering, physics, mathematics, foreign languages, music, etc. that are not directly political. (Studies have shown that the liberal-conservative split is much less dramatic in some of these fields).

Also, there doesn't seem to be a plausible explanation for why New England is so different. It is a liberal area, but not that different from the rest of the country. Some other regions studied, like the pacific coast, are also left-leaning. And anyway, academia and the academic job market are national/global.

Why doesn't the author link to the actual data or even provide a reference naming the specific publication this comes from? Lame. It seems to be based on data from the survey reported on here: http://heri.ucla.edu/monographs/HERI-FAC2014-monograph.pdf But I couldn't find the underlying data or any description of his analysis.

Another reason for skepticism is the massive change in the New England results in only about 10 years.

Their politics may not have changed dramatically, but the homogenization of political identity in america could have skewed it greatly - plenty of once-upon-a-time conservatives in the North East now consider themselves moderates or even liberals when compared with what the Solid-South/Mid-West/Western brand of Conservatism looks like these days. The development of that identity was sped up by 9/11 and the GWOT

The timing of the Global War On Terror is difficult to distinguish from the timing of Bush Derangment Syndrome, which was soon followed by Obama Derangment Syndrome. The blue trace in the figure above actually starts to pick up steam in the mid 90's, the heyday of the "old" political correctness.

Good point. Also note that a lot of Republicans became independents over that period. This is likely realignment.

there is one potential relevant difference: number of liberal arts schools

also lib con ratio doesn't mean 3.5% con to 96% liberal it means probably a dramatic decline in self declared cons in new england you double the national ratio by having us go from 20% con teachers in 1990 to 10% nationally but you double ratio in New england perhaps bydropping from 8% to 4 to 2%

also link in article http://heterodoxacademy.org/2016/01/09/professors-moved-left-but-country-did-not/

Yeah, that was the first thing that sprang to mind for me. Does New England have a much large number of small liberal arts colleges?

The makeup of the regions in terms of type of college has changed very little over the last 10 years, but that is when the difference being reported mainly appeared.

Agreed, the regional make up of the type of colleges can't explain that drastic a difference.

I have found that many professors in the physical sciences etc are dependent on research dollars flowing from the government. That helps shape their view of proper role for the state

I had a hilarious conversation with three electrical engineering professors at MIT in the late nineties in which they professed deep appreciation for the good Clinton (he was so good!), expect that these defense spending cuts were a real mistake! That spending was super important for the nation.

They had no self awareness at all. They were apparently sincere while they tied knots in logic.

Political views may or may not be relevant to the field, but they are definitely relevant to the society of academia. Your politics may not have anything to do with your work, but they have a great deal to do with whether or not you are hired, invited to dinner, or offered tenure. See Curtis Yarvin.

Academia has been ideologically cleansed. Even the non-liberals are mostly libertarianish sorts, or hard communists. I've spent twelve years in academia. I know more bisexual Filipino dwarves who are full professors than traditional social conservatives.

I agree there is a large bias, and there is some bias even in non-ideological fields. But I find the ratio measured in New England, as well as the difference from other regions and the rapid change over the last 10 years, hard to believe.

What a wonderful collection of denialist rationalizations. One suggestion after the other.

"Denialist" implies ignoring or rejecting solid evidence. In this case, very little supporting information was given on the data or methods, so it is not possible to critically assess the strength of the evidence. In addition, I've given reasons why I don't find this specific result plausible.

None of this is to deny that there is a marked liberal bias within academia. This has been well established.

It strikes me that such surveys ask that academics keep some old, purer form of "liberal" and "conservative" ideals than are found in popular (actual) politics.

Why. Seems like the UCLA survey is asking the professors to self catigorize themselves into one of the buckets based on their understanding of the current ideology meaning of the terms rather than asking them about certain positions and then pigion-holing the person into one of the categories.

Was that question coy? You ask people to divide themselves into one of two buckets, each with hard fought definitions and borders, with with internal fights of who is in and who is out?

Brilliant. Also, see below.

Doesn't such a large change in that ratio over such a short period of time imply some combination of 1) massive job turnover 2) massive job growth 3) massive about-face shifts in political identities. None of these seem super plausible.

Perhaps they just took it as a poll on GWB.

Indeed. I confess I don't know how great the job turnover is at New England Universities (and I would like to know), but I wonder. How much more likely is a professor hired in the last 11 years to be a liberal compared with someone hired between 1983 and 1994 or hired between 1994 and 2005 was? Are 1994 and 2005 Conservatives still at job? Why not? Retirement or purges? If they are still there, are they still conservatives? If they aren't, why not?

looking at original post just as big of a deal is decline in moderates http://heterodoxacademy.org/2016/01/09/professors-moved-left-but-country-did-not/

so how much of this is massive changes versus having moderate left democrats iding as liberals?

I'll give you a possible pathway: Around about 1965, New England schools stopped hiring people who offered certain social and cultural cues. What you're looking at there is the older cohorts (which had a certain population of such people) retiring and being replaced with people hired according to the post-1965 norms.

At the liberal arts college I know best, an irritated group of alumni went to the local boards of elections and pulled the buff cards of the faculty. What they discovered was that the Republicans on the teaching faculty fell into two tidy groups. Group A had been hired in the previous half-dozen years and lacked tenure. Group B were all hired prior to 1985 and tenured prior to 1990. In between there was this one guy. During his years on the faculty, he'd been subject to trumped up charges of harassment as well as a two minutes hate organized by the director of the humanities division. A number of years ago, David Horowitz visited a campus like this and had dinner with an elderly Republican on the History faculty. The man tells Horowitz that 'they haven't let me serve on a hiring committee since 1985'. So, how does this happen? There's an answer.

Is it that universities are becoming more liberally biased or is it that the definition of conservative is changing in a way that fewer academics want to identify with? I thought this post by Paul Krugman was worth reading:

Yeah. I have long considered young earth creationism a very unfortunate wedge issue.

Whoa there, fella. Most folks around here think those last five words constitute an oxymoron.

I swear I didn't even see your answer before writing mine below. Ha

That would mean that New England academics had stayed the same over the past 16 years, while the American population, and to some extent academics elsewhere, had changed dramatically (i.e., the relatively steady percentage who call themselves conservative now hold very different beliefs than they did in 2000).

See http://heterodoxacademy.org/2016/01/09/professors-moved-left-but-country-did-not/ where Krugman's view is challenged.

"But is the process Krugman refers to so powerful that it can explain the full trend, or even most of it? I don’t think so, and here’s why.

First let me explain how I made the graph. The Higher Education Research Institute (HERI) at UCLA has been conducting triennial surveys of undergraduate teaching faculty for the past 25 years. The HERI samples are huge — tens of thousands of professors — and this is a robust and well-executed survey. The data is comparable and responsibly collected over a long period of time. The survey includes a question asking respondents to describe themselves using a 5-point ideology scale that offers these options: “Far left,” “Liberal,” “Moderate,” “Conservative,” and “Far right.” I merged far left with liberal, and I merged far right with conservative, so that we can see the big picture most clearly. Figure 1 plots the percentage of respondents who fell into those three groups, in each of the 3-year data collection periods. The data is weighted to represent the national population of full-time faculty with teaching responsibilities for undergraduate students."

I think in a real sense, yes, you'd want to look at actual measures of attitudes, and not identification, because if people are simply thinking of "Liberal" as "free thinker" rather than "unquestioning traditionalist" then obvious professors are going to identify that way for obvious reasons (that not being an "unquestioning traditionalist" is essentially their job description).

Oh, by all means, *do* describe conservatives as "unquestioning" and liberals as "freethinkers." It's SO...unbiased and putatively accurate.

That *is* the hallmark of liberal academics, right--to be unbiased?
No? Gee, I'm. ..shocked.

I agree with Krugman's assessment of this trend in an earlier article (http://heterodoxacademy.org/2016/01/09/professors-moved-left-but-country-did-not/), "Overall, the evidence looks a lot more consistent with a story that has academics rejecting a conservative party that has moved sharply right than it does with a story in which academics have moved left."
I'm no longer an academic, but I used to be registered as a Republican, but became an independent when the GOP lurched further and further to the right. I was a right-centrist that fit well within the GOP. I haven't changed much, but the party and the labels have (e.g., the term "conservative" tends to connote closed mindedness and a rejection of science)... but then again, I live in New England! :)

Since the Republicans control pretty much every level of government, sometimes by wide margins, except the Presidency, that would mean that the whole country has lurched to the right, except for John and Paul Krugman. As my mom used to say, "Look at that! Everyone's out of step but me."

I'm trying to remember when Paul Krugman used to say admiring things about the old-style, moderate Republicans, but I can't. My own mental deficiency, no doubt. Anyone have a link?

So, by that logic Massachusetts is really conservative because our governor is a republican?

Illinois too!

Massachusetts is certainly a lot more conservative than the Harvard faculty, and Illinois is more conservative than the University of Illinois faculty. But if you are saying that Republicans are not, in fact, very conservative, and their moderation enables them to get elected in Massachusetts and Illinois, then that rather destroys Krugman's claim that Republicans have become extremists.

Nope, that's not what I'm saying at all.

"So, by that logic Massachusetts is really conservative because our governor is a republican?"

Ask yourself how your state managed to elect a Republican, if there was this large shift to the Right by Republicans? It seems more plausible that there's a significant shift to the Left among the much smaller group of College professors, than a significant shift to the Right among the entire state population.

"Ask yourself how your state managed to elect a Republican, if there was this large shift to the Right by Republicans? "

Republicans get elected to governor (but nothing else) in Mass. to watch the crooks in the legislature.

That claim assumes that the electoral process actually produces a representative set of political representatives in Congress. I'm not sure that's true (even though it seems a lot of people still want to believe in the system so don't think too much about it and assume it's so).

What this theory doesn't explain is the regional differentiation. The Republican party has moved to the right nationally, not just in New England. If this was the cause of the trend described in the OP, why would it be dramatically different in New England than in the rest of the country? For example, Krugman's graph (see Jerry's post) shows regional differences in DW-nominate scores diminishing over time (at least for Democrats). This speak to homogenization, which is the opposite of what Alex's graph shows.

"this post by Paul Krugman was worth reading"

Why? He ignores the leftward thrust of the Democratic Party to focus totally on icky conservatives.

I know it is a quasi-religious belief that conservatives have "GOP lurched further and further to the right" but it can be said with equal validity that the "Democrats have lurched further and further to the left" on abortion, gay marriage, "transgenders", environment.

I mean, not if you look at vote scores per DW-nominate. One of the links above shows the changes in voting patterns, and it looks like the shift to the right for Republicans is about 2-2.5 times the magnitude of the shift to the left for Dems. How that reflects how professors identify politically can probably be debated.

Other measures show far larger moves to the left by the Democrat party, larger than the later move to the right by Republicans

Vote scores, what a lying shuckster you are. Measuring real change based on vote change assumes an unchanging group of legislative bills to vote on. Next lie?

It's not equally valid. The only changes in policy favored by the main body of the Republican policy on the federal level in 35 years have involved changes in the matrix (e.g. the end of the Cold War) or caving in to the lawyer left in the appellate judiciary.

Personally, I have no idea what is being talked about when it is said the GOP "lurched to the right." I think GOPers have been doing bad things, but I can't see any sense in calling them "right wing" bad things, other than hating the right wing. Torture? Mao and Stalin would be surprised to find out that is a "right wing" thing. Starting wars? The old right was attacked as "isolationist" and Democrats got the US into most of its 20th century wars. SSM? Here it is very clear that the opponent's position was almost everyone's position 20 years ago, and it's the American government that has "lurched left."

On which issues has the Republican Party lurched to the right over the past 15-20 years?

I see this trope a lot, but it seems detached from reality. Both Parties have changed, but it is just as easy to argue that the Democratic Party has lurched left. DOMA and Don't Ask Don't Tell were under Clinton. As was a balanced budget and welfare reform. George W. Bush brought neocons in with him, but now we have a neocon as the Democratic candidate for President.

I suspect that either your views have changed more than you think, or your Party affiliation was more an issue of identity than political positions.

On which issues has the Republican Party lurched to the right over the past 15-20 years?

Precisely none. The discourse of federal Republicans has been remarkably consistent for at least 35 years. There dispositions have two: the judiciary comes up with some rancid innovation in social policy and Republican pols cave. Every time. There have been some innovations (welfare reform, the discussion of which for general audiences was most fruitful among disgruntled Democrats like RM Kaus and Lawrence Mead). There have been changes in the matrix in which policy is made (the self-dismantling of the East Bloc, the rise of China, and the increasingly rabid Near East).

Federal Democrats have abandoned a number of policy instruments and aspirations over the years, or abandoned explicit references to them. Wage and price controls, Ralph Nader's 'consumer's democracy', 'industrial policy', 'welfare rights', George McGovern's functional pacifism, Robert Kuttner's 'managed trade'. &c are examples of this. At the same time, there has been an escalating inability among Democrats to regard opposition with equanimity, conjoined to a constant or escalating tendency for the appellate judiciary to succor liberals by imposing their social policies arbitrarily. Anyone of a certain age who is exposed to liberal discourse has to be stunned to the degree to which they've made themselves the bitch of truculent homosexuals, something liberal politicians simply were not ca. 1985.

I think climate change would count. Back in the late 1980s many Republicans were supporters of a carbon tax and greater environmental regulation. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2015/12/03/reagan-bush-41-memos-reveal-how-republicans-used-to-think-about-climate-change-and-the-environment/

Health care is another. The Heritage Foundation pushed for a Romneycare/Obamacare style health care plan. It didn't have the Medicaid expansion but it was certainly closer to the Romneycare bill than what many of the free market folks are pushing for now. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_Equity_and_Access_Reform_Today_Act_of_1993

On most other issues they've been steady or even moved to the left a bit.

Romney's 2012 tax plan called for a top marginal income tax rate well above Reagan's 28% level. Today, many Republicans openly support gay marriage. That certainly wasn't the case even 5 years ago.

I don't think it's fair to say that one paper by one conservative think tank represents the views of mainstream conservatives vis-a-vis healthcare.

Yes. The way conservatives have drifted left along with the rest of the country is so remarkably mundane that people don't even register it as any kind of phenomenon; e.g. acceptance of interracial marriage, legality of gay bars, support for basic animal welfare laws and broader laws against littering, smoking etc.

Miscegenate marriage was unlarwful only in a selection of Southern states. I have news for you: the vast majority of the population, black and white, did not care for it ca. 1955. I think you'd have to troll far and wide to find penal code provisions which defined, much less proscribed 'gay bars'.

Dain thinks 'conservatives' are people who want to throw trash in the streets and torture puppies. Dain is a caricature.

Again, I just never thought of James Watt as a big environmentalist. What did I know? I just wish I could find some of those New York Times editorials congratulating the Reagan administration on its concern for the environment, then I would know that the Republicans have moved to the right.

Health care is another. The Heritage Foundation pushed for a Romneycare/Obamacare style health care plan.

No, Cooper. A fellow at the Heritage Foundation named Robert Rector floated a sketch of a health-care financing plan which included a coverage mandate. Democratic talking-point meisters seem to think Robert Rector is the Republican pope who binds the conscience of all other Republicans.

Do voters vote on absolute or relative positions? I vote for Republicans because I want policies pulled to the right, not because I endorse everything that Jeff Sessions has ever said. So the "lurched to the right" hypothesis assumes that voters don't understand that politics is about incremental moves left and right.

You know, news yesterday was that "Trump May Become The First Republican In 60 Years To Lose White College Graduates"

I suppose a particularly lazy political scientist migjt say that white college graduates have moved left.

Trump would have been considered a centrist fifty years ago, so the lazy political scientist would be right.

But what about four years ago?

You don't think white college graduates have moved left over the past 60 years?

I don't have to guess. It is a mixed bag:


Odd comment. Of the dozen + challenger for the Republican nomination, Trump was the least stereotypically "right wing." By far.

Yes, but that may be overthinking it. Trump's association with the Republican/conservative brand causes its stock to go down. Even if that isn't fair to the many conservatives who don't want Trump.

How long ago was Trump a Democrat? Not very long ago.

" The universities can hardly be blamed if the people who want to become professors tend to be liberal!"

I would argue that people who are liberal tend to want to become professors for reasonable motivations:
1) Liberals tend to be more radical, wanting to change the world. One path to this is by changing the minds of those who will be in the world, i.e. teaching them your idea of history, economics, social justice, etc. Ambitious liberals migrate to positions of power for this reason.
2) Liberals find a more or less traditional career less satisfying - as a liberal you're rejecting the bourgeoisie life which comes with working in business towards success. With those paths cut off your choices are more limited. Becoming a professor is one of the fewer options appealing to you.
3) Similar to #2, a liberal is less likely to be motivated by money, which leaves other things to motivate them. Other than money, some of the chief motivations in life are fame, esteem, and power. A liberal can achieve esteem and possibly fame through a professorial path. Power is also achieved (#1 above) and if fame is achieved you have more access to influence and power.

Professors I know don't do it because they want to change the world. They do it because they like teaching and research and are good at one or both.

I don't think you know many liberals. Many folks I know have left-of-center views, and I can't think of any that would claim to "reject the bourgeoisie life".

"Many folks I know have left-of-center views"

Why do people, especially "scientists," persist in a horribly stupid two choice quiz?

It's not like Alex is going to be neatly filed as a liberal or conservative. Very few of us would.

A single-axis system isn't great for modeling individual views of things, but its pretty reasonable for modeling our politics, which is characterized by a two-party system and up-or-down votes. It's certainly not perfect, but there's some reasoning behind it.

But maybe you were being rhetorical.

Actually, I fight a losing battle against this now and then. It's sad, because I think the 2 party reduction, like the 5 race reduction, is stupid and unnecessary.

We have data, we can use it. We are not so constrained that we need to bucket sort things to the point of triviality BEFORE we do our analysis.

In general, people are not always aware when their arguments are self-referential, that the divisions they see are there because they need them to be, not because the data neatly divides.

Obviously it's not trivial. This is the way people categorize themselves, it's foolish to insist that the rest of the world use more fine-grained categorizations that you yourself decided on for all discourse

Who is deciding? There are *more* independents than partisans.


Begging the questions of why they like teaching or research.

Does it though? At a basic level, most people like things they're good at. If prestige is kicked in (as it is for research profs but not necessarily for teaching profs), that's a bonus. There's also value in flexible scheduling, but that's not the (self-reported) primary motivation for the sub-group I'm talking about.

Why would conservatives not like teaching or research?

I would be surprised if the "flexible scheduling" were a major contributor. Some scheduling is flexible. A lot of it isn't. You often don't get to decide when or where your courses are offered. Many faculty report working 55-65 hours a week, so even if you have flexibility over which hours those are, that is more time working than a lot of people. The much-derided "summer off" 1) isn't a summer off if you are at smaller institutions with lousy salaries and need to teach summer courses to keep afloat financially; 2) isn't a summer off for most professors in the sense that summer is when most of the data collection and paper writing happens if you don't have a lab to do it for you.

The only field that has been studied in regard to discrimination against conservatives has wildly agreed that they discriminate. Hmm, what's going on here? Would Barkley Rosser ever agree to tenure for a conservative? Lol.

actually many are good at neither

I don't think you know many professors. Being a professor is mostly about research, with teaching being the chore that nearly everyone hates.

I think my wife would say the opposite. But I understand we're painting with a broad brush today.

No, only at research institutions, and even there many faculty burn out as researchers well before retirement. North of 40% of all faculty are at rank and file private colleges or state colleges wherein it would be about normal to produce 1 paper every 5 years or so.

Are any institutions moving to the right?

Off hand, I'd list the following as shifting left: academia; large media including the NYT, Post, Economist, FT; scientific journals like Nature and Scientific Anerican; professional science groups like the Royal Society; National Geographic, and bureaucracies like the IRS, DOJ and EPA. The military too seems increasingly preoccupied with things like gender and climate change.

It's said organizations are usually captured by the left but are there any that have been captured by the right?

I bet if you explained exactly how Scientific American was "left" you would also explain how "right" has changed.

"The military too seems increasingly preoccupied with things like gender and climate change."
And race. They even have a desegregated Army now. The times, they are-a changing. #whitegenocide

Worst comment on thread. Please delete.

John L uses some ugly humor, but it is a harsh fact that the 2016 election is "widely known" to be about race:


Perhaps many thought that electing BO in 2008 was some finish line on MLK's dream, but it proved not to be. The backlash was broad and creepy.

It was a reaction to the anti-white frontlash.

I don't think "anti-white" was something I even heard until a few years ago. My egalitarian California bubble?

Using the google ngram viewer and "antiwhite" (one-word as a clean search term), I see a 1970 peak, but as I say, not in my neighborhood.

If the white portion of the population is shrinking and the non-white portion growing, wouldn't you expect non-white identity groups to become stronger and more able to be "anti-white" in their battle for political power?

As a successful college graduate, STEM, I never felt anyone was coming after me, and the prejudice I actually saw was against traditional minorities.

Well, white would-be college and graduate students are in fact discriminated against by institutions of higher learning on the basis of their skin color. But you got yours, so all's well.

That is not very data driven. College enrollment is down a bit, but near the high.


It's 100% data-driven. Why the hell would you look at overall college enrollment when you can look at the very public admissions policies of the universities which explicitly and to liberal applause "punch up" and discriminate against people with white and yellow skin? No one is trying to hide this.

With high, arguably too high, college admissions, what are you actually complaining about? People not going to college, or not winning the lottery to elite colleges?

I actually know someone who asks why they can't win the lottery "because everyone else does."

Not everyone goes to Harvard. Big surprise. And if you have 140 IQ, and you miss the Harvard lottery, you might actually be smart enough to come up with a Plan B.

I am "complaining" about explicit racism in the admissions process, something that I imagine might not be so spectacularly hard to understand if it were another skin color being discriminated against. "Too bad you didn't get into Harvard because white folks get preferences, but if you were smart enough to have gotten into Harvard otherwise I'm sure you'll be fine". Is that your logic?

I went to a State school, and did fine.

How is your math, Cliff?

"Only 0.4 percent of undergraduates attend one of the Ivy League schools."

What kind of redress should we give the 99.6% for not being in the 0.4%?

Were you raised in the generation of trophies for everyone? Should everyone be in the top half of one percent, because darn it, they turned in most of their homework?

Sorry, the top 0.4% is by definition out of reach, and random substitutions within the top 0.4% for legacy kids or affirmation action don't change that big picture.

I am a rural white kid. My parents were both born to poor farming families and met while enlisted in the military. I went to public school. My IQ as tested in 5th grade was 147 or 149. I went to a SUNY school for college. I went to Harvard Law.

In law school, people of my background were a rarity. People given an advantage because of their race/ethnicity (with no regard to their socioeconomic status) were not so rare.

Sure, my experience is at a tail end of the distribution. But my fellow students were given a shortcut to political power, financial success, and cultural influence. Their impact far outweighs their percentage of the population. And the legality of discriminating against people of my background on the basis of their skin color is not limited to this tail end of the distribution.

I am doing fine. But my kids are white. And the willingness of many on the left to deny or obsuficate the racism that they support in this arena pisses me off.

Anon is better than his fellow white people and is okay with handing the crumbs that the lower whites fight over to minorities. That is literally all he has to say on the subject. On the bright side, BLM won't care and anon will be against the wall.

"On the bright side, BLM won’t care and anon will be against the wall."
See, I told ya. If only we hadn't integrated the Army... Or hadn't ended Slavery or something. Now, everyone dies.

The problem with Cliff and JMU's argument is that I am not a member of the elite and did not have elite advantages. My parents were middle class. I am middle class. I just recognize the advantages of the middle class.

They on the other hand seem to be mixing up the fact that we can't all go to Harvard with .. getting crumbs? Seriously?

And if Turkey Vulture is as smart as he says he is, he should see the legacies and every other special admission to Harvard as no different from affirmative action.

Harvard never in its history was a meritocracy, and he should damn well know that.

I have an iq of 130 and I am not doing fine. I thought that intelligence was a social construct?

Popular Science the magazine had an editorial staff turn over and took a dramatic shift to the Left.

Those Commumists surely lost me after they stopped telling me every other page how to pimp my car and my boat. Why do they hate America? I miss the 70's when men were men and cars were Pintos.

Reading's not your strong point, eh?

Popular Science not Popular Mechanics.

No doubt some unkind people are now assuming that you have anti-science beliefs, and you blame Popular Science in reaction.

Please set them at ease ...

I'm amazed that regularly reading Popular Science in your mind equates with anti-science beliefs. I pointed out that the magazine became more Left wing, because of a change in staff. That's not anti-science, that's an observation.

That might make people even more suspicious.

I notice that this poor guy makes the classic error. He separates himself from science, and then blames science for "toeing a line"


You'd think that anyone who has been following this for more than a few years would understand that science won on that one, and that "toeing the line" was a bit reversed after all.

"That might make people even more suspicious."

So, you're some kind of self appointed ideological Minder. That's pretty creepy.

I'm just mildly amused that you want to fault PS on being "liberal" without saying what makes them so. That probably means you know your own dissonance.

No, my strong suit is disciplining fools.


"No, my strong suit is disciplining fools."

Ooh, the cover .... from 1970.

Well you really schooled me.

"I’m just mildly amused that you want to fault PS on being “liberal” without saying what makes them so."

I doubt you really care. I suspect you are just trying to score points. However, I think there are some readers that wouldn't mind a thoughtful response.

There has been a shift in the tone of the article with many of them taking on a more political stance. Historically, (at least for the 23 years I've been subscribing), the magazine didn't take much notice of politics and tended to just go with light science and cool tech articles. That changed a few years back.

Three recent events come to mind:
a) In late 2013, they closed their forums. Explicitly because of anti-global warming comments.

I can understand and even expect a Science magazine to follow the bulk of the science and be pro-AGW. Personally, I believe in AGW. I think the science supports it. However, the idea of a popular magazine closing it's forums because of dissent is, in my opinion, ill considered.

b) This article was written early the next year (March 2014):
"Stop Looking For 'Hardwired' Differences In Male And Female Brains"

There were other articles that I thought indicated a decline in quality, but this article was in direct contradiction to the Scientific Method. The author explicitly calls for a halt to scientific investigation into this topic because this type of neuroscience "perpetuate stereotypes", in her words. It's shockingly bad for a Science magazine to post an article that's essentially anti-Science.

c) This year, for the first time in their history, Popular Science hosted a President on their cover.


This is clearly taking the publication into political waters that it has long steered clear of.

" That probably means you know your own dissonance."

Granted, this is my own personal opinion. But I think it's pretty reasonable to conclude that they've moved to the Left. Dissonance or a well thought out critique? I'll let the other readers decide.

Read the magazines (this is why I linked a decade, not a specific issue), don't just look at the pictures! When I wrote 1970's, do you assumed I was talking about the 1990's? Oh, well, maybe you're better just look at the pictures, them.

The problem in a thumbnail, is that global warming is science.

I doubt you really care. I suspect you are just trying to score points. However, I think there are some readers that wouldn’t mind a thoughtful response.

Thanks JWatts, some readers do indeed really appreciate your comments.

And I also think you have identified some aspects of science where liberals are as much (if not more) in denial as conservatives about AGW.

Here is an example from someone who couldn't be mistaken for a conservative

...I am a fuzzy, bleeding heart leftist... someone looked me straight in the eye today and said it would "good" if I stopped doing science... Their rationale? Because calling anything heritable is "problematic". Actual tenured professors at Ivy League schools have said: "you shouldn't talk about animal models", "You should never use race as a variable if you are talking about biology" (I was talking about pubertal timing), "All of twin studies are flawed and should be abandoned". It's like they've thought about things for all of 30 min and don't even understand the basic math but feel free to dismiss entire fields. Genetics is going to keep on keeping on, and if liberals are pushed out of the field, that makes things worse for progressive agendas.

Another example:

In addition to this strong liberal presence, the field of social psychology is extremely hostile to researchers and writers within the field who present arguments or research consistent with more conservative views.
we mustn't ignore the fact that liberals themselves are now under fire for stifling debate on college campuses, in favor of their own ideology.
Researchers who are exploring the mechanisms or potential of how pornography may contribute to sexual violence for instance, often encounter a strong liberal bias and rejection from their fellow researchers, as they explore these important social questions. Dissent, and the challenging of established ideas, must be able to occur, for progress to happen.
our field is replicating the modern extremist, bipolar view of political/social attitudes.

Of course, there is also Lee Jussim's articles about this.


Oops, some missing slashes totally messed up the formatting.

Having the time now to read that "stop looking" article, I don't think it means "stop funding" at all. It is saying, combatively, that you aren't going to find any. This is possible.

Though the data is not all in, it certainly looks like genetics explains parts of variation, and doesn't hardware much. Why should it? Hardwiring would be maladaptive.

Genetics doesn't even manage to hardwire sexuality.

It's actually not possible, because the evidence has already been found and is overwhelming

C!off, "hardwired" means p=1.0

I was a long-time subscriber to both PopSci and PopMech. The former definitely got hijacked by politics while PopMech stayed focused.

Wired is another magazine that lost its way.

The Economist's embrace of statism was perhaps the most bizarre, having originated as a classically liberal voice for free markets and civil liberty.

@JWatts, good comment. Interesting.

anon's being a captious twat today. 'Twill pass.

@anon, it's true that the article itself doesn't include an explicit statement equivalent to the headline's demand for research to stop. However, the author does suggest that the entire field of research is advancing sexism just by choosing to look at genetic male/female differences. Surely this is an implicit call for research in the field to stop?

Even if you don't agree with that reading, JWatts is making a point about the bias of the magazine, so the chosen headline of the editors reinforces his point.

Also, the article itself certainly slants to the left. She suggests thousands of studies showing genetic male/female differences are fatally biased. A scientific way of making this point would be to either cite countering evidence, or explain what is wrong with the methods. But she provides no such critique. Instead, she points out that, despite there being male/female differences in brain size, there is a large overlap between men and women--a complete red herring that doesn't disprove anything.

For psychological differences, she cites a single meta-analysis that reports that most (but not all) cognitive studies found only a small difference between men and women. But this only reinforces the point that at least some studies found a significant difference. And of course there is no consideration of the fact that researchers on her side might be biased, as well.

I agree with JWatts's reading that this is a biased, anti-science article.

@dan1111, I think you reiterate the error she identifies, without seeing it as an error.

It all hinges on "hardwiring." That has a concrete meaning. It is in contrast to software, decision based systems. Hardwiring is on or off, one choice.


You acknowledge overlap between two broad categories, but think she is anti-science when she says don't look for hardwiring, p=1.0?

I think you actually agreed with her.

I didn't start reading Popular Science until the 1980's. So if it was more like Popular Mechanics before then, that would explain the disconnect.

You have my apologies for my rude reply and mistake.

No problem. We all make mistakes.

Still, you have derailed the thread with a meaningless observations about something 45 years ago when we are talking about the last few years or 10-15 at most

JWatts, you are one of the commenters most worth listening to. This thread is a good example of why. +1

"Anger may in time change to gladness; vexation may be succeeded by content."
Sorry, but it's just how I feel.

You mean that as "conservatives" are marginalized, moderate Republican might come to feel glad at not having to put up with or defend biblical literalists, racists, and Trump voters?


Thanks for the comment, John L.

>roughly 2 to 1 in 1995. By 2004 that figure jumped to almost 3 to 1. While seemingly insignificant, that represents a 50% decline in conservative identifiers on campuses.

Genuine question. How is a move from 33% to 25% a 50% decline?

Now that you mentioned that... I have no idea. 3 is 50% bigger than 2, but it doesn't help us here. It should be a 25% decline.

Assume there are 6 liberals and 3 conservatives (2 to 1 ratio). One conservative quits, now there are 6 liberals and 2 conservatives (3 to 1 ratio). The decline is 33%.

Then we probably should be Explicitly told that more than 10% of the faculty is gone with no replacements and--unlike what one would expect-- liberals didn't become more numerous.

Liberals are as rare as the unicorn, yet one would come to the opposite conclusion with the warnings of liberal domination heard daily on Fox News, from Rush Limbaugh, and even on this blog. Nothing serves to fire up the right-wing populist like frequent warnings of liberals conspiring to dominate the university, the government, the world, even the economics department! Of course, the reality is very different. http://www.vox.com/2016/7/7/11820864/limousine-liberal-review-steve-fraser

"Liberals are as rare as the unicorn ..."

What are you smoking? From the link:

"According to the General Social Survey from 2014, of those who have a graduate degree of some sort, 30% identify as liberal or extremely liberal"
"Additionally, in contrast to graduate degree holders, those Americans who have a high school degree or less, 13% identify as liberal or extremely liberal"

It's astounding to claim that a group that accounts for about 20% of the population is "as rare as the unicorn".

"It’s astounding to claim that a group that accounts for about 20% of the population is 'as rare as the unicorn'."

Maybe, rayward believes in unicorns.

Of course, we don't have a system of proportional representation in America; hence, 20% might as well be 1%. I understand there is the occasional unicorn sighting, along with the occasional big foot and liberal sighting. That the media is dominated by a highly profitable network devoted to dire warnings of the imminent takeover of America by unicorns and big feet (or is there only one?) suggests to me that those afraid of liberals are probably afraid of the dark too.

Have you considered the obvious? Maybe the answer is that conservatives aren't very smart and self identifying conservatives are getting dumber. I mean what this graph really represents is the hiring practices of the top tier academic institutions in America: Harvard, Yale, and MIT. Conservatives have long told me that they are the brightest minds in America are in the Ivy League (just ask the bell curve folks).

Conversely, the worse academic universities in America are the most conservative: Liberty University and Bob Jones. Don't look to these places to cure cancer.

What do you think will eventually happen in a unipolar academia?
Let's suppose that "liberals" succeed at "winning" by driving "conservatives" entirely underground or our of the echelons of power altogether. Do you think that "liberals" will then unite and implement a unified progressive platform? Free college, free healthcare, the glorious socialist future at last?

I suspect that what would actually happen is that "liberals" would split into two different camps. One of which would subsume the positions of moderate Republicans and libertarians.

Maybe we're already seeing that start to happen.

I suspect that public funding of unipolar universities would dwindle away.

To be replaced by public funding at the federal level via free tuition. Via executive order maybe?

I wonder if the free tuition thing is really a kind of reaction to declining funding of education in state budgets. Left-leaning academia is hurting from state-level budget cuts and sees better chances of replacing the income at the federal level where Democrats control the White House.

"What do you think will eventually happen in a unipolar academia?"

Politically, it means that conservatives will seek to reduce their power and punish them.

We already see it starting in state universities. State legislatures in Tennessee just eliminated funding for the "diversity" office and in Missouri cut funding because of the surrender to the BLM last year.

Those big endowments at Harvard and Yale sure are tempting for a cash starved government too.

Look at labor unions. While always mainly pro-Democratic Party, some [Teamsters] would support certain GOPers and the AFL-CIO under Meany was anti-Communist. As unions started giving 100% support to not only the Democratic Party but left wing social causes, the GOP hardened its views towards unions. Wisconsin and the spread of right to work laws in Michigan! and West Virginia!!!!! are what "unipolar" labor gets.

Conservatives are home schooling their children and trying to educate them such that they do not need to attend college when they grow up. They are starting to consider credentials as a negative, a college degree as a sign of indoctrination, like a certificate of re-education from Maoist China, not evidence of any actual education.

Harvard, Yale, and MIT are a tiny fraction of New England coleges. (Southern Connecticut has more undergraduates than any of them, and UConn has more than all of them put together.)

Hmm. So you're a self-identifying conservative?

Nazis aren't represented in the political science department,

Creationists aren't represented in the biology department

Whatever happened to the School of Theology.

This country is going to Hell.

But, fortunately, there is a market for higher education,

So we can go to YouTube and get a higher education.

>Nazis aren’t represented in the political science department,

And yet Marxists are. There is no shortage of extreme, bloodthirsty ideologies on campus.

Propaganda. Name 5 Marxist professors.


In contrast, some 18 percent of social scientists say they are Marxist. So it’s easier to find a Marxist in some disciplines than a Republican.

Bob, I asked for 5 Marxist professors, and all you did was cite an article quoting the very source this post is using. Echo C H A M B E R

I take your answer is that you can't prove Marxists are represented in the political science departments.

My entire Poli Science (6-8 full time profs) was Trotskyite.

Look up Susan Weissman, Patricia Longo. St. Mary's College of CA.

Can also name a number at a big ten school I attended for grad school.

see also http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=


Maybe you need to re-examine yourself in terms of where you lie on the spectrum and the ease in which you call people Marxists or Trotskyites.

Here are the descriptions of the faculty you label as Trotskyites at St. Mary's College from their webpage:

1. Professor Susan Weissman: "Weissman's political coursework includes Social Justice organizing, Labor Movements, East European Politics, American Foreign Policy, Soviet history, Russian-American relations and the Cold War.

She also hosts a weekly public affairs program on public radio in Los Angeles."

2. Professor Patrizia Longo: "A professor in the Politics Department, Patrizia Longo is an expert on gender politics and issues of social justice, particularly affecting women, in the U.S. and internationally.
Patrizia Longo, Ph.D.Her research also includes gender discrimination in the field of medicine, such as the glass ceiling for female surgeons, and human rights and labor equity issues revolving around immigrant women. Professor Longo is currently involved in research on food politics, such as the absence of fresh food and grocery outlets in urban areas."

Bob, I guess the value of a liberal arts education and tolerance escaped you. Ask for a refund.


You think that "evidence" forecloses the possibility that they are Marxist?

Cliff, It was Bob's burden of proof and he did not meet it.

"Propaganda. Name 5 Marxist professors."

Sometimes Bill writes such obviously out of touch posts, that I suspect he might be a sock puppet.

When confronted with failure to identify the five Marxists, JW resorts, in frustration, to ad hominem.

Come on Bill, he's not suggesting your moniker is stolen, he's saying you're not an idiot and you know what you're saying is false and misleading. He's giving you credit, in a way.

Saying that extreme socialism flavor 7.92b is not at all the same as extreme socialism 7.92a is not much of a defense. I ran into Chomsky at school, and even my scary statist professors thought he was scary.

"When confronted with failure to identify the five Marxists"

Bill it's not hard to actually get statistical data on this.

" Here are the results from a 2006 nationally representative survey of American professors. The survey asked if the professor considered himself "radical," "political activist," or "Marxist." Survey says:"

"Overall, Marxism is a tiny minority faith. Just 3% of professors accept the label."


As to actual names, that's a silly exercise I don't have time for. It's obtuse for you to pretend they don't exist when I've cited actual evidence. So obtuse that I assumed the original post wasn't actually serious because the issue isn't in doubt.

"He’s giving you credit, in a way."

Yes, I was. I thought it was possible someone was using a sock puppet to have you appear to make obviously wrong statements in an attempt to undermine your credibility.

I hope you guys took some 19th century European history, or a course in political economics, because you would understand that a Marxan can mean many things, including the view that economics determines history, or that revolutions are inspired by economics. Here is one definition: "Marxism is a method of socioeconomic analysis, that analyzes class relations and societal conflict using a materialist interpretation of historical development and a dialectical view of social transformation. It originates from the mid-to-late 19th century works of German philosophers Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels."

Watts, I followed up on the blog you cited and then went to the actual study, which finds:

"Collapsing this to a three point scale, we thus find that about 51 percent of professors are Democrats, 35.3 percent are Independents (with Democratically-leaning Independents outnumbering Republican-leaning ones by a ratio of more than 2:15), and 13.7 percent are Republicans. These figures are very close to those reported by both Rothman et al. and Tobin, and should now be regarded as definitive.6 In 2006, according to Gallup polls, 34.3 percent of Americans identified themselves as Democrats, 33.9 percent as Independents, and 30.4 as Republicans. By 2007, according to polls done by Pew, the percentage of Republicans had dropped to 25, while the percentage of Democrats remained nearly steady at 33. Our survey thus indicates that Democrats are doing better inside academe than outside it in terms of formal party affiliation by a margin of about 16 percentage points."

"No Campus Marxists"

from Bill, MR's haikuist

just adorable

Grover Furr of Montclair State, David Harvey of the Graduate Center at CUNY (and formerly Johns Hopkins), Nicholas de Genova (formerly Columbia, now in Britain), Thomas Weisskopf (Michigan), Ismael Hossein-Zadeh (Drake University). Once upon a time, Ty Miller (UC Santa Cruz) belonged to a Trotskyist outfit. Not sure that still describes him.

And, of course, these reds are not the issue. The purveyors of the race-class-gender discourse are pervasive in academe, and distort and disfigure institutions.

Art, Do you ever require evidence for your statements.

1. Re David Harvey (from Wikipedia): David W. Harvey FBA (born 31 October 1935) is the Distinguished Professor of anthropology and geography at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY). He received his PhD in geography from the University of Cambridge in 1961. Harvey has authored many books and essays that have been prominent in the development of modern geography as a discipline. He is a proponent of the idea of the right to the city.

In 2007, Harvey was listed as the 18th most-cited author of books in the humanities and social sciences in that year, as established by counting cites from academic journals in the Thomson Reuters ISI database. On that basis, the books of Harvey were cited 723 times in 2007.[1] In a study of the most-cited academic geographers in four English-speaking countries between 1984 and 1988, Harvey ranked first.[2]"

2. Nicholas de Genova: "Nicholas de Genova is a lecturer of human geography at King's College London.[1]

He held the Swiss Chair in Mobility Studies during the Fall semester of 2009 as a visiting professor at the Institute of Social Anthropology at the University of Bern in Switzerland.[2] Previously, he was assistant professor of anthropology and Latino Studies at Columbia University from 2000 to 2009.[3] His research centers primarily on the experience of Mexican-Americans in both Mexico and the United States, especially the transnational urban and conceptual spaces they inhabit. He is also concerned with the methodological problems of anthropology.

De Genova received his BA and PhD in anthropology from the University of Chicago. Prior to his time at Columbia, he served as a visiting professor at Stanford University.

He is the author of Working the Boundaries: Race, Space, and "Illegality" in Mexican Chicago (2005), and co-author of Latino Crossings: Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, and the Politics of Race and Citizenship (2003). He is also the co-editor of The Deportation Regime: Sovereignty, Space, and the Freedom of Movement (2010) and the editor of Racial (Trans)Formations: Latinos and Asians Remaking the United States (2006)." He was criticized for his opposition to the Iraq War, so maybe that's why you don't like him.

3. Weisskopf: " om Weisskopf holds a Ph.D. in Economics from MIT and is Professor ofEconomics at the University of Michigan, where he also teaches in the Social Science Program of the Residential College.
He is a long-time member of the Union for Radical Political Economics and the Democratic Socialists of America[1].
He is the son of Victor Weisskopf and the brother of Karen Worth."

4, Ishmail Husain-Zadeh: "An Iranian born Kurd, Drake professor Ismael Hossein-zadeh came to the United States in 1975 as a foreign student to pursue his college education in economics. After completing his graduate work at the New School for Social Research in New York City he joined Drake University faculty in the fall of 1988, where he taught classes in political economy, comparative economic systems, international economics, history of economic thought and development economics until his retirement in 2011. His published work, consisting of three books and numerous scholarly articles, covers significant topics such as financial instability, economic crises and restructuring policies, currency-trade relations, globalization and labor, economics of war and military spending, and the roots of conflict between the Muslim world and the West. He is the author of the following books:

- Beyond Mainstream Explanations of the Financial Crisis: Parasitic Finance Capital (Routledge 2014);

- The Political Economy of U.S. Militarism (Palgrave–Macmillan 2007);

- Soviet Non-capitalist Development: The Case of Nasser’s Egypt (Praeger Publishers 1989)."

Art, you are relying on falsehoods, hoping people do not follow up on what you proclaim. Or you are living in a world of make believe. Either way, You will be embarrassed and humiliated, as you should be, for your statements that are unsupported.

Art, Do you ever require evidence for your statements.

I cannot help it if you cannot be bothered to look up their writings and public statements.

None of these faculty members have concealed their Marxism. It is, by the way, what David Harvey is known for more than anything else. I and others used to tangle with Grover Furr at Inside Higher Education. I thought of him first because he's a nutty admirer of Joseph Stalin. Nicholas de Genova hit the papers around about 2002 for his stupefying remarks at a public forum at Columbia University. Thomas Weiskopf and Hossein-Zadeh have academic and non-academic publications where their ideas, if that's what they can be called, are developed. I used to know both David Harvey and Ty Miller, FWIW. No clue what Miller thinks of his world at this time, but I don't think he'd deny his Trotskyist affiliation.


I am the one who has provided evidence, and you have not. You have a funny way of claiming that someone has the burden of disproving your claims without ever having to offer evidence. I had no obligation to offer anything, but just took the time to look on the internet.

What did you do.

Nothing. You just made a statement without any support.

By the way just calling people Marxists doesn't swing it. This is not the 1950's.

I am the one who has provided evidence, and you have not. You have a funny way of claiming that someone has the burden of disproving your claims without ever having to offer evidence. I had no obligation to offer anything, but just took the time to look on the internet.

You asked for five Marxists, you got your five Marxists. Now you've got your fingers in your ears like a kid. I cannot help you.

Art, Either your name calling or your judgement isn't very good. I listed the background of each of these individuals for all to see, including yourself, apparently, and there is nothing in their background to support your claim.

I had at least two of them when I went to college in New England.

One of my sociology classes used Naomi Klein's "The Shock Doctrine" as a textbook to understand neoliberalism and its negative impact on the proletariat.

Another was an outspoken supporter of the Hugo Chavez and socialist revolutionaries more generally.

Bill is a fucking liar, don't bother engaging with him.

JMU, if you haven't noticed, I respond to outlandish and unsubstantiated claims. So, if you dont want to have me comment, just make claims you can support.

That's no lie.

Higher education is a market.

+1 Absolutely. You can go to Liberty University and listen to Don Trump give a lecture; you can go to good Christian Schools where they dont teach Sharia Law and have bathrooms that are clear and unambiguous.

But, where do you think the author of the above piece finds better balanced schools, other than Christian schools he identifies, and other than the South: Here's where:

" Idaho, Montana, Utah, Colorado and Wyoming. Here, between 1989 and 2014, the liberal to conservative professor ratio dropped to 1.5 to 1, from 2 to 1. To be sure, social science professors became marginally more liberal, with a liberal to conservative ratio rising to 3 to 1, from 1.5 to 1, but fields such as engineering and business became more conservative. (Engineering went from 27 percent conservative in 1989 to 52 percent in 2014. Business went from 26 percent conservative in 1989 to 51 percent conservative in 2014.)" http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/03/opinion/sunday/there-are-conservative-professors-just-not-in-these-states.html?_r=1

Go South, go to a Christian School, and go to Idaho, Montana and Utah. Leave Colorado alone, please.

That market is greatly distorted by state and federal subsidies.

As well as credentialism that doesn't actually care about quality. Harvard grads hire from Harvard because they were trained--at Harvard--to think that Harvard is the best, so if you want to be the best you go to Harvard, which gives Harvard all the best students, who in turn graduate thinking that Harvard is the best.

The quality of the professoriate--much less its ideological leanings--plays no role in this cycle (other than to perhaps assuage the occasional pang of self-guilt).

The university system is decidedly anti-market. It's filled with people, as the poll shows, who do not like free markets. Universities are about as far removed from a market as one can get, even the systems for spreading knowledge, such as peer review, are anti-market systems designed to enforce popular opinion. The actual market is the Internet.

Indeed, why the hell would anyone let their children attend a Marxist indoctrination camp instead of getting a useful degree?

I have to imagine it's some sort of latent hippie brainwashing that the boomers received. Spending four years being a political activist is needed for the kids to experience what it was like to grow up in the 60s.

Hazel, faculty members born prior to 1938 generally experienced that decade as institutional employees, not students. Faculty born after 1954 have no palpable experience of that era whatsoever. About 2/3 of the faculty in-between have one thing in common: they're retired.

But their kids are not. My point is that boomer parents are paying for their kids to go to liberal colleges because they want *their kids* to enjoy the experience of being a political activist, just like mom and pop were in the 60s.

Yeah, a market highly distorted by subsidies and regulation.

I see the problem, but I don't think anything is solved by complaining about the lack of diversity.
The problem is that "conservative" can be a grab bag of ideas that don't belong in academia at all (creationism), to ideas that are widely accepted within their fields but hated in others (neoclassical economics in the history department). People should be able to reject the bad ideas, but should be open to the good ones.
What's really needed isn't affirmative action for self-identified "conservatives", but less dogmatism altogether in social sciences and humanities. It's really more about the intellectual culture. Are people being open-minded about other people's ideas or are they driven by a missionary zeal to purge the bad ideas? I think there's just way too much of the latter going around. An academic environment should be one in which people are dispassionately seeking the truth, regardless of where it is coming from.

Theology departments (which train clergy, among other things) should not have anyone who believes that the world was created by a divine being?

Theology departments should only exist in seminary school.
Religious studies should be non-denominational.

I think you mean divinity schools and theology are appropriate in private institutions. Seminaries are small and concerned with formation, which divinity schools and theology departments in arts and sciences faculties are not.

On what basis? Who gets to decide that certain religious beliefs are not acceptable within the realm of academic enquiry? This would be a major infringement on academic freedom.

The reality is that much clergy training happens within academia--both in theology departments at universities and at seminaries that are academic institutions.

Even if academia were realigned to your liking, so that only generic religious studies were part of it, it would be odd indeed to exclude religious believers from religious studies. Surely they ought to be considered an important voice within the discipline.

Nobody gets to decide. This is a matter of intellectual culture. The academic culture ought to be open to the search for truth, and *because of that* matters of faith don't belong there. What you're asking for is some sort of affirmative action to force a bunch of atheist scientists to accept Christian theology as an equal part of the culture, even though the claims of Christian theology are not open to investigation.

not sure religious studies should be there at all. Empirically, all "~ studies" fields are at much greater risk of bein vacuous and leading to te kind of popularity dynamics we're bemoaning

Universities are indoctrination centers. If you want to pursue knowledge, do it on your own.

I think there is quite a bit of evidence that non-left views are actively suppressed and non-left faculty members are actively discriminated against in hiring and promotion, which seems like an obvious porblem but not one that requires "affirmative action"

Right. It doesn't require affirmative action. It requires a change in the culture. It requires academics to stop being a bunch of pig-headed dogmatists and adopt some sort of professional decorum and respect for legitimate differences of opinion.

it may require closing down some departments

My wife was an academic/Physician. She left because she lost interest in research but she did notice a strong and growing left bias. My wife is pretty apolitical but she felt their was great pressure to conform to liberal views. Even staff who might have more moderate views were required to voice the official party line which was generally to the left. Department heads tended to voice liberal platitudes in part, I think, because it was the path of least resistance. Expressing more conservative views had the potential to make you a lighting rod and invite confrontation with interest groups. The left often seems to enjoy such confrontations and the accusations often become personal. i.e. Conservatives do not hold their views out of ignorance but out of racism, Uncle Tomism, etc.

Yes. The environment is one in which a left-wing person can vent extreme hatred of Republicans and nobody will say a word. But if anyone so much as questions leftist dogma on economics - say defends NAFTA or something - they will be publicly chastised and then treated as a social pariah. Mean-spirited jokes about Republicans and their stupidity/venality are commonplace. Any questioning of the dogma is treated with immediate suspicion, as if the person doing the questioning might be a closeted Republican who must be exposed.

Its really pervasive and effects what you can say socially and what you can teach. I am probably the only traditional conservative on my campus. I have to listen to tons of sermons on white privilege and racism. But when I look at Chetty's and other evidence I see that the thing everybody except Charles Murray avoids is that the single motherhood looks like the biggest correlate of bad kid outcomes: https://spottedtoad.wordpress.com/2016/02/01/why-have-marriage-rates-declined/
Yes, there are probably economic reasons for this, but society has changed as well. But If I were to bring up single motherhood rates and how Chetty etc all point to that, I'd have demonstrations outside my door. Same with the very good evidence on (some) effects of affirmative action mismatch. I think the evidence there strongly points to strong degrees of affirmative action being bad for those who "benefit" and those who are discriminated against. I think people are going to look back on this era and think we were at least deeply unethical people who were sacrificing the well-being of our students in order to virtue signal to people like us.

Gun control is of course the other place where the empirical evidence is simply not affected. There just isn't good evidence that gun control would do a lot. But I can't bring that up at all.

The though control PC left really does make it very hard to debate most important topics. And I haven't even gotten into the very strong evidence on IQ heredity and how that needs to be a fundamental fact in social policy discussions but instead the blank slatism religion renders anybody who discusses IQ heredity in social science a Nazi.

Make no mistake the religious orthodoxy of the left is at least as anti-science as the right is about climate change.

Is this akin to the flight from cities to the suburbs in the 60's and 70's? Why would anyone who has self respect tolerate the inanities of acedemia? To have the brilliance and towering personalities of college administrators improve your life?

Maybe it is simply that conservatives are the first to leave rotting corpses of once proud institutions. Who in their right mind would devote a career to supporting an extraordinarily expensive day care system?

Maybe these places are full of Liberals because they have no marketable skills?

"Is this akin to the flight from cities to the suburbs in the 60’s and 70’s?"

It seems likely that if the Left manages to completely push the Right off campus, public funding will start to dwindle. Or at least it will become even more controversial and harder to push through additional increases. Which will put pressure on schools to raise tuition, which will make the ROI on degrees worse. This will impact the humanities more than the STEM departments. Over time the system will reach a new balance.

Gresham's Law, as modified for academic political self-identification, may explain the trend.
That seems to apply in various situations where some tipping point is reached.
How long until that trend reverses, based on dissemination of Listen, Liberal and similar voices?

Hence the free tuition movement. And student loan debt forgiveness, which is basically a backdoor method of implementing free tuition.

Alex is bringing up something that Liberals, or the more enlightened and dare say smart liberals have been saying recently. What happened at Mizzou was a more extreme example of the currents in schools; essentially an ever larger group of young people with utterly no personal foundation, who need a mommy and daddy more than they need an education. They are open to manipulation, open to finding someone or something to blame, and on the edge of the dysfunctional emotional states of mild mental illness. These ways of thinking are encouraged by those who are seeking a power base for their ridiculous notions that never got anywhere when more people were sane.

I see a movement towards Conservative administration and a sprinkling of tenure positions, something akin to Giuliani, all to keep the whole thing functioning. Someone to put a bit of fiscal discipline in place and to tame the more ridiculous notions that are floating around. And to have someone to blame.

These are Liberal institutions and the full expression of Liberal thought. The bubble is already collapsing, and will get worse. Trump University is a great distraction, a very handy conservative(??) to whom blame can be assigned. It will work for a little while. But the ruined futures of a generation of middle class won't stay in the ghettos like the blacks or on the reserves like the native indians.

"I see a movement towards Conservative administration and a sprinkling of tenure positions, something akin to Giuliani, all to keep the whole thing functioning. Someone to put a bit of fiscal discipline in place and to tame the more ridiculous notions that are floating around. And to have someone to blame. "

Is there any evidence of that?

The liberal/conservative ratio may be hiding important information. The amount of people that does not self-identify as lib/con is unmentioned. If in a group of 30 there's is 1 conservative, 5 liberals and 24 who don't care, there's the 5 to 1 ratio but the main story is different. Intelligent people tend to avoid partisan positions. It would be good to know the don't care to liberals ratio.

You are right, and that is straight up:

"According to the General Social Survey from 2014, of those who have a graduate degree of some sort, 30% identify as liberal or extremely liberal and 17% are conservative or extremely conservative. This is a liberal: conservative ratio of 1.8 – a far cry from 5 among college professors."

100 - 30 - 17 = 53?

"Intelligent people tend to avoid partisan positions"

Citation needed.

I agree with your point, though. The link to the previous work in the linked post gives a bit of information on the entire cohort, with a bit under 30% considering themselves moderate. However, we aren't given the breakdown by region.

There are opposing theories in this review. One researcher finds more intelligent people are moderate but other finds the top of intelligence distribution is partisan. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/unique-everybody-else/201305/intelligence-and-politics-have-complex-relationship

I think it depends on the job. If you're successful due to sports/arts you can be very partisan and no bad outcomes. If you're in a more social environment like having people under your command, you can't be a partisan. In my last job I got rid of a partisan guy, he was causing conflicts out of nothing in the job.

Given that New England has a reputation for witch hunts, it might be best to try to fit in.

Even so, I think it does say a lot about how we view conservatism these days. In my 25 years as a libertarian, I've noticed fewer and fewer libertarians sympathizing at all with conservatism as it went from holding Goldwater and Reagan as icons to the folksy nationalist Palin and Trump.

"Given that New England has a reputation for witch hunts, it might be best to try to fit in."

I suspect this is part of it. Not so much a drop in the number of conservatives and moderates, just a reluctance on the part of those people to open up about and risk hate and retribution.

I'm a moderate conservative. I lean a little libertarian. I sure as hell shut up about it at the office. When my boss goes into some rant about how Trump is the anti-Christ I just nod and laugh. Sometimes I'll make eye contact with a fellow traveler who knows what's going on.

Somehow over the past decade or so, mainstream political and economic thought became the kind of thing people could go to HR and file a complaint about. It's smart to stay in the closet.

Would you lie about your political beliefs on an anonymous survey?

I think people do all the time. Isn't that a pretty well established phenomena on gun issues surveys?

Apparently it happened to a large degree in the Brexit surveying, in a very similar political situation.

I'd note that these surveys are in general not sufficiently de-identified for people to be comfortable that their anonymity will be preserved.

Imagine you are a professor answering these questions and wondering whether the paper will say "Only one conservative professor in the Brandeis History department!" Everyone will know it's you and you'll face career consequences and other discrimination.

It's much, much more skewed than these numbers indicate.

University professors are so deep in their own bubble that there are even some who support open borders and carbon taxes -- yet call themselves "libertarian," if you can believe that. The loonier ones even believe that if a mature, productive nation declares independence from the EU, it is a global disaster!

One-third of professors call themselves conservative? At most, one third of those actually are.

The difficulty with the figures you're citing is that they conflate vocational faculties with arts and academic faculties. The severe problem is in the arts and sciences, fine and performing arts faculties, the communications faculties, as well as a selection of more intently vocational faculties (teacher training, social work, library administration, and clinical psychology). The problem is at its worst in the administration (the provost, the dean of students, and their respective camarillas). In some disciplines, the problem can be borne in the classroom, but emerges when the faculty in question serve on committees (something true of a science faculties - see Allan Bloom's comments on natural scientists at Cornell). The source of the problem in the administration is simple: the trustees are almost all advocates of stupidity, suborned or negligent. Responsible trustees can fix a great many problems by shutting down problem faculties and problem departments. State legislatiors can repair many problems by restructuring iinstitutional administration and institutional missions. Over 70% of all students attend state institutions, but it's generally crickets from the politicians about this.

So, here is the elephant in the room:

Funding of higher education programs by the right wing:

"The Koch brothers are slightly less subtle, funding organizations like the Mercatus Center, which unabashedly support a plutocratic agenda. Mayer writes that George Pearson, an early Koch advisor, believed gifts to universities “didn’t guarantee enough ideological control.” He suggested that donors maintain control over hires. As of 2015, Mayer reports that the Kochs subsidized programs in 207 colleges and universities and were set to expand into 18 more. In some cases, such as West Virginia University and Florida State University, their foundations exert influence over hires. At Florida State, one student reported that the new introductory economics course included lessons that “sweatshop labor wasn’t bad,” and “climate change wasn’t caused by humans and isn’t a big issue.” A libertarian donor gave grants to 63 colleges to fund programs that were “required to teach his favorite philosopher, the celebrator of self-interest Ayn Rand.” In North Carolina, Art Pope funded think-tanks that pushed to cut public university budgets at the same time as he gave grants to support programs in “Western civilization and free-market economics.”

Even more disturbingly, the Koch brothers have recently been pushing their ideology into high schools. The curriculum teaches that,

“Franklin Roosevelt didn’t alleviate the Depression, minimum wage laws and public assistance hurt the poor, lower pay for women was not discriminator, and the government, rather than business caused the 2008 recession.”

Christina Wilkie and Joy Resmovits of Huffington Post report that the program, Young Entrepreneurs, which Charles and Elizabeth Koch founded in 1991, has expanded dramatically, with $1.45 million in assets in 2012. In 2012-2013, it was taught in 29 Kansas and Missouri schools, with plans to expand into 42."

From Salon: http://www.salon.com/2016/02/08/the_secrets_behind_the_koch_brothers_inside_the_remarkable_new_book_that_details_their_dirtiest_deeds/

Funding of higher education programs by the right wing:

Can you offer something other than dopey talking points? I

The data is clear in the article. Avert your eyes if you do not want to see it.

I'm not averting my eyes. Your assumption is that there is something sinister about the Koch brothers participating in political and cultural life. I know you fancy that's reasonable, because you're not. No serious empirical study of academic output would conclude it's a libertarian propaganda mill and Koch is dwarfed by institutional endowments, the sorosphere, government grants, things like the Ford and MacArthur Foundations.

Yeah, elected government control of universities and the Ford and McArthur foundation...evil , evil, evil.

I'll give you a more plausible funding explanation: the decline in defense money for R&D since the collapse of communism. It took time to work those people out of the system. They inflated the on-campus conservative count.

It certainly funded a lot of work for STEM students.

Social science too, though to a lesser extent.

The most anachronistic thing about Tom Clancy's novels is that Jack Ryan was a history professor. That's just not plausible today.

2000 would have been the year that the profs hired in 65 to teach the boomers born in 45 would have retired. So the old guard, born before the war, would have turned over by 2000.

Defense R&D spending really fell off a cliff in the nineties. Professors hired in 1980 are roughly 65 today.

I the engineering schools, perhaps. Engineering schools are a pretty small sliver of the faculty most places.

"Franklin Roosevelt didn't alleviate the depression, minimum wage laws and public assistance hurt the poor, lower pay for women was not discriminator, and the government, rather than business causes the 2008 recession."

If forced to make a stupid binary decision I would identify as liberal. Of the above I would only quibble with an across the board claim that public assistance hurt the poor and say that government and business worked together to cause the 2008 recession.

Agreed. They are all not only defendable positions, but likely correct.

So how is massive right wing funding of higher education consistent with massive over representation of left wing professors?

"Young Entrepreneurs, which Charles and Elizabeth Koch founded in 1991, has expanded dramatically, with $1.45 million in assets in 2012."

Lulz. That and a 6 percent commission will just about get you a row house in Alexandria.

he gave grants to support programs in “Western civilization and free-market economics.”

The horror.

Young Entrepreneurs, which Charles and Elizabeth Koch founded in 1991, has expanded dramatically,



The source of the problem in New England is in part that New England hosts a large mass of private colleges and private universities which do little apart from arts and sciences.

Not to be an ass about it, but how is a decline from 2-to-1 to 3-to-1 a 50% decline? Falling from 33% to 25% is a 24.2% decline. (It'd be fun to attribute this to conservative ignorance but I fear that innumeracy knows no tribe ...)

2 to 1 means that 33.3 out of 100 are Cons. 3 to 1 means 25/100 are. 25/33.3 = 75% which means its a 25% drop (exactly, if you use the 1/3 and 1/4 numbers). Where on Earth did you get 24.2%?? Oh, I see you rounded round values and then inflated the accuracy of your result to 3 figures. The very definition of innumeracy. I will also point out here that if the total population grew by 33.3% between those two dates then the number of conservatives was unchanged (true, their relative proportion diminished).

"Somehow I suspect that conservatives professors would be quite happy to live and work in New England should they be offered jobs in that part of the country."

Perhaps they are, except not at universities. I suspect what is new is a right-wing pseudo-intellectual complex that provides right wing inclined intellectuals gigs at right wing think tanks, pundits on right wing media outlets, authors, speakers etc. This career path is easier to get into than academia and offers the chance for much higher pay (but there's a lot of inequality....watch Fox for a bit and you'll see plenty of wannabe right wing pundits more or less auditioning for the role only a few will score).

As a result, the universities become more liberal because for those done with their 4 year degrees right wing media is tempting as a career path. By the time many of those conservatives who try it fail, they will be too far removed from academia to easily venture back in. New England based colleges show the most dramatic impact because this is where conservatives intellectuals would have been building their careers if they weren't whoring out their minds to B level media.

>right wing media outlets

An oxymoron if there ever was one.

On my TV I have Fox News plus one or two wannabe Fox News. You have multiple radio shows (which provide frequent opportunities for guests to plug books). You have multiple web outlets associated. Add to that think tanks. More under the radar you have the shadow groups spawned by Citizens United that collect donations and can then spend them on conservative campaigns that will employ 'consultants' and 'advisors'....again employment for the conservative pseudo-intellectual complex.

The horror! There exists opinion other than what I believe!

They actually have money!

I was in a workplace not too long ago, CBC radio was playing. They were blathering on about what someone did with their privates. On and on and on. Someone changed the channel and there was a cheer.

This is the same network who played a show on necrophilia while embers from a forest fire were falling on downtown of one of the major cities in BC.

I'm all for intellectualism and all, but this isn't it. Please some intellectualism. Please.

Ok Not really following you. Conservative media exists as does a market for conservative pseudointellectuals. The consequence of this is someone who leans right, upon finishing undergrad school, is confronted with a choice of continuing in academia or trying to whoring their brains out to right wing media. Whoring offers better and faster pay, esp. in the Northeast which is connected to many media outlets. Conservatives like their bubble chamber so those who supply the soap will be rewarded.

If young conservatives are steered away from rigorous academia as a career then you're going to find after a years they will be missing from the ranks of elite professors. The problem isn't so much discrimination in the school's hiring IMO as it is the feeder stream being diverted by the market.

Before the rise of the conservative bubble chamber, you would more often find conservatives who would establish themselves as academics and then become notable conservatives because of the stances they took in their studies (Kissinger, Friedman, Sowell, Murray etc.).

1. Given time and diligent effort, you may learn to describe people's acts and interests non-tendentiously.

2. There are over 500,000 positions in arts and sciences faculties. There are a few dozen on air personalities at Fox News.

This isn't that difficult.

2. There are over 500,000 positions in arts and sciences faculties. There are a few dozen on air personalities at Fox News.


There's only about 1.54M professors in the entire US. The study here is only seeing the divergence in New England colleges and universities. I'd be surprised if New England alone (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont) amounts to 1/3 of the entire professor population in the US. Even so your population starts getting smaller if you take out those whose areas are hard sciences, math, etc. and limit yourself to areas where you can get more overlap between your academics and political views (humanities, social sciences).

You are right, Fox only is able to provide stardom to a handful of conservatives. But then Hollywood attracts plenty of aspiring actors even though only a few make a living and even fewer will make a good living at it. The conservative pseudo-intellectual has a lot of career options even if he or she fails to land a gig hosting a Fox News show. Conservative media has many more outlets than Fox News and beyond media you have lobbying, 'consulting', and so on.

The reality is that, as demonstrated in social psych, tools like Boonton believe discrimination against conservatives is a virtue and act accordingly.

The sum total of fellows at the top dozen or so conservative and libertarian foundations might fill the faculty of two private colleges.

Strange as it may seem to you, Boonton, people you are at odds with publish papers and comment on the radio. I can turn on PBS and discover the same thing any night of the week. It's just that Limbaugh isn't getting any public money (or Ford Foundation money either).

This is totally invented

You confuse cause with effect. It is because conservatives find it difficult to land jobs in academia where hostility to conservative ideas is pervasive (ask the token high profile conservative--not libertarian--at Harvard who managed to get tenure 50 years ago) that they end up seeking jobs in think tanks, etc.

You are confused as to what this article is about. The ratio of liberal to conservative faculty is higher in New England colleges than the rest of the nation. If this was about general discrimination in academia, then there's no particular reason for NE to be different from the rest of the nation.

My thesis reconciles the observation by arguing that conservative thinkers are drawn into the right wing media complex from mostly the north eastern US. Having decided to not embark on a career in scholarship after undergraduate studies, the generation is forever lost to academia since it is unusual for someone to go to grad school years after they already finished undergrad studies.

Perhaps the right wing media complex does only hold positions for one or two small colleges. That ignores the fact that they do offer more support positions (someone has to open the mail at the Cato and Heritgage Institutes, cold call people for donations etc.).

Second it isn't just about numbers. We aren't talking about racial or gender representation but idea representation. An academic speciality often only has room for a few major ideas. Here while you may have a lot of professors, only a handful of star professors are steering the field, likewise are conservative intellectual "stars" going into academia? If they aren't then what happens to those with mildly conservative inclinations who hit grad school? There's no major research or projects to cultivate those inclinations so they never develop academically.

This kinda almost makes sense if we're talking about sociology or economics, but it makes zero sense when we're talking about French literature or medevial history or design or creative writing. None of those fields have an obvious reason why they could not absorb people who, say, oppose gun control and legal abortion.

Can we arrange a redistribution from ancient history and related departments? It seems a bit cruel to sack some of the last conservatives in academia, but it's also damn annoying putting up with their racist steppe-tribes-conquered-everybody crap. Maybe they'd do less harm, in some leftie-dominated PhD farm nobody reads anyway out in Rhode Island.

Can "polarization" be seen as simply a natural outcome of iterated bucket sorting?

Keep asking people not what they think on specific issues, but what bucket they are in, and this is the natural outcome. No one cares what Prof 4,312 actually thinks on specific issues, only what bucket he jumps to.

And then his membership in the bucket shapes the next round of argument. Do Americans want socialism? Prof 4,312 is in the liberal bag, so HE must think so.

Fifty years ago my father-in-law finished his chemistry PhD and took a post-doc position. His father, a carpenter, said to him, "Son, don't you think it's time you got out of school and started working." Twenty years ago I was finishing up my engineering PhD. One spring morning as the sky was dawning, I arrived on campus knowing I would be in my office all day, one day of work closer to being done with my dissertation. As I arrived I found the grounds festooned in pink ribbons and balloons and chalk drawings. It increased my resolve to make the day productive and put universities behind me.

Democrats financially back academia more than R, and promise even more to come. Isn't Bernie Sander's promise of free tuition really just a promise of prosperity to academics?

>just a promise of prosperity to academics?

No... it's so much more!

It's a promise of prosperity to academics who will always vote Democrat, and who will train their (now-larger) horde of younglings to always vote Democrat, and who will be ever-more dependent on the State and their increasingly bizarre demands (pronoun enforcement, or no more money for you!) for their own livelihood.

The fact that taxes will necessarily skyrocket to bankroll all this? That's just icing on the cake, baby.

I can't tell if you are over reacting or mocking me. Either way, the financial relationship exists and explains at least some of the tilt.

Not mocking, nor overreacting.

Its a promise of prosperity to Administrative positions. The money all gets funneled to Assistant Executive Dean For LGBT+ Latinx students.

Does it matter that my cal I professor is a liberal?

I don't think it does.

If almost everyone in a position of power and respectability at an institution has certain ideas, this could impact what the students come to believe is right and/or acceptable.

In math and sciences? No. It probably doesn't matter. The subject rarely comes up.

In every other discipline? Yes, I imagine it matters a lot more. The subject would come up more often. But more importantly, it affects perspectives on reality, which bleeds into everything.

New England is a very liberal area. It stands to reason the people most likely to live there would be very liberal. It would be interesting to see the lib-conservative ratio of New England at large. I suspect it is also much higher than the general population, for the same reason the suburbs of the south are likely to have a higher con-lib ratio than general America.

>New England is a very liberal area.

No. Boston is a liberal area, and New Yorkers who commute from SW Connecticut or retire in Vermont make those areas liberal.

Coastal cities are insanely expensive, economically segregated, and therefore liberal. Don't confuse that with "New England." It's a bigger place than the NYT would have you believe.

Massachusetts votes about 60-40 D-R in presidential elections. That's lopsided, but 2 in 5 people are republicans. You would never know that in the typical office. To come out would be anathema.

Lots of them don't work at offices.

You might have to defend your man Trump if you "came out" as someone who chose to be a Republican.

40 percent of the voting population? I think you have a caricature of what it means to be a Trump supporter in your mind.

Besides, people will tell you the truth in private often enough that it's clear what's going on. A substantial fraction of the people who deny supporting Trump are lying to you.

"You might have to defend your man Trump if you “came out” as someone who chose to be a Republican."

You don't see anything problematic with that? People identifying with one of the two dominant political parties have to defend and justify themselves to those supporting the other Party which happens to be dominant in that region? Might "coming out" lead to professional repercussions for them? What a hellish, partisan world.

Classism turd by feminist lawyer Millian: Trump supporters are beneath office work.

Trump supporters are beneath everything.

However, self-identified Republicans should not have to defend themselves, or Trump, or his supporters. There are plenty of Republicans who opposed Trump in the primaries.

This assumes that conservative identification has remained a robust signal of political diversity over time. Also, the premise that we should be concerned that learned conservatives are disappearing (for the reason that it might generate epistemic closure among liberal-minded professors of our next generation's leaders, or some similar blind-spot concern) begs the question of how valuable it is to have conservative representation, as conservativism currently exists in America.

"...begs the question of how valuable it is to have conservative representation, as conservativism currently exists in America."

It appears you are out of touch. A question such as this makes me suspect you live in an ideological fish bowl.

According to Gallup:
Conservatives: 36%
Moderates: 35%
Liberals: 24%


You might just want to get out more. It's a big country with a lot of diverse people, places and ideas.

JW, These are self identification answers, going more to identity than actual political views or voting behavior. That's why people self identify as moderates. Ask how they vote.

Even better, ask them how they'd like to vote, the choices they'd like to have.

Ask them if they believe white people are innately evil and capitalists should be shot, see how many agree with antifa John L.

It bothers me that an economist, someone who claims to be able to use data to make useful observations, jumped to the "Damn Commie College Professors" conclusion so quickly without considering how self-identification reflects the larger environment. Or, as pointed out in the comments, how the canned response of his ideological tribe cannot plausibly explain such a dramatic swing in data. Pathetic!

How does "the larger environment" cause a particular shift in New England?

By "the larger environment" I meant (and should have said) that things like GOP economic policies, Bush's foreign wars or Trump's idiocy can cause a professor of 30 years to change the answer he gives to a pollster in 2015 from what he answered in 2000. He or she is may hold the same views, teach the same material in the same way and yet show up as a shift to “Damn Commie College Professors”.

Why would this happen in New England and not everywhere else? Perhaps the changes that those professors are reacting to are regional and not apparent to the rest of the country. The point is that a change in political identification without any supporting data that these reflect a new generation of college staff is not enough to ask, "Do conservative professors face discrimination? " That is simply cherry-picking, something that an economist should never do if he wants to be taken seriously as something other than a conservative hack.

I rarely visit thus blog for just that reason. I try to check in to get a sense of what the conservative side is thinking. I needn't have bothered today.

" Perhaps the changes that those professors are reacting to are regional and not apparent to the rest of the country"

...such as? I think its perfectly valid for Tyler and the original answer to ask the question of why NE is skewing the way it is as much as it is.

Perhaps imaginary reasons I can't even think of?

"Obviously there's some plausible explanation I could come up with if I tried, that is different from the obvious one that immediately comes to mind, but I don't have time for that right now. But I'm sure there is one so you should probably dismiss this entire subject!"

What does voting have to do with the topic at hand? (Universities Without Ideological Diversity) Furthermore, roughly 50% of the country is voting one way and 50% is voting the other. So frankly, I don't know what you even mean.

The answer strikes me as simple game theory. The politically active are by their nature more ideological than the general population. They want to win, but not to give up too much of their ideology, and so the optimum solution is to shoot for 51% acceptance in each and every vote. Maybe you could design a platform that would appeal to 70% of the population, but that would be very boring and not nearly radical enough for an ideologue. And you could design a platform that puts you at 30%, but that's kind of a pointless gesture. So 51% it is.

It is interesting that the "also rans" in American politics, those parties who do go for ideological purity, come in at single digits. That might say something about how diverse we actually are, what a constellation of pure parties would really look like.

Yes, simple game theory. People who don't believe in absolute right and wrong choose not to hire those who politically disagree with them. End of story.

I choose three issues associated with the Liberal/Conservative divide: Climate Change, Abortion, and government regulation (and I ignore other obvious ones such as religious freedom, transfer payments, and the gordian knot which I'll characterize as the sex/gender/family issue).
There are LOTS of Conservative arguments against policies (economic and governmental ) which are neither stupid nor ignorant. Additionally, there's a lot that is wrong with the models which are used to justify various CC policies. The range of CC uncertainty still includes 0°C warming, and continues to decline on the upper end. So the science is also less than robust (but there sure is a lot of it). If Liberals would bother to listen, they'd know this. So much for the idea that Liberals are more "open minded". What a joke.
The abortion issue also can be framed in a variety of ways, from simply a women's choice issue, to a women's health issue, to a human rights issue, to a moral issue. It is difficult to dispute that after 5-8 weeks post-conception, a human fetus is a "human being". Attributing or providing "human rights" to it is not unreasonable. Preempting any such rights in favor of the mother's rights is clearly arbitrary without any generally recognized moral foundation. Neither side in this debate, it seems to me, has unique claim to the moral high ground.
Government regulation is both required and inefficient. Liberals seem to believe more is better, when that is obviously not the case and Conservatives believe less is better when that is not the case, universally. How much government regulation would fail the test: First, do no harm. Most, since there are always winners and losers when it comes to government regulation. Are the contributions by deep pocket special interests a healthy sign of a capitalist economy or an unhealthy result of a regulatory system out of control?
There are many sides to most issues, it is ridiculous to believe that one (dare I say knee jerk?) philosophy (sophistry?) is getting it all right. The desertion of the Conservative cause by academia has more to do with the current Republican Platform and less to do with Conservative thinking than anything else, imho.

The "climate dashboard" at https://www.climate.gov/ does not actually include 0 as a prediction.

This doesn't explain why its occurring among professors (there are lots of smart people in the private sector) and why it is skewing so far in NE relative to other locations.

Maybe self-respecting conservatives don't want six-figure jobs as state workers. Even at a private university all the real money comes in grants funded by wealth-redistribution.

"Radicalised" toward liberalism by the Palin/Gingrich/Trump pivot toward conservatism as the stupid party.

Millian is an AA hire who went to Ivy law school on AA. Don't expect a 1% brain from a 10%er.

Two possible interpretations: (a) you don't have useful definitions of "conservative" and "liberal" or (b) more education/ability to reason forces individuals to the intellectual positions you have defined as "liberal."

Why the change? Only in New England?

"Somehow I suspect that conservatives professors would be quite happy to live and work in New England should they be offered jobs in that part of the country." I completely agree with Alex Tabarrok's post,
except for a nuance with that last sentence.

I am a tenured professor at a Massachusetts private university, and I am extremely unhappy to live and work in Massachusetts (well, perhaps in New England in general, but I am not sure, my year at Yale felt distinctly better).
I am not sure if I am a conservative, but I would be considered so by my colleagues if they knew what I think. For instance, I am against affirmative-action admission and hiring on the ground that it is racist. That should make me more liberal than my liberal colleagues, but apparently that makes me a conservative. So be it.

As an ultra-liberal or conservative or whatever makes me different from the bulk of my colleagues, I find life and work at my university and in Massachusetts in general very unpleasant. Actually I just announced this morning
to my head of department that I was stepping down from all my administrative responsibilities, and that they should begin to try to find a replacement for me because I will leave as soon as I find a decent university outside of Massachusetts (and if possible of New England) ready to hire me.

So based on one-data point, I would say that conservative professors would not want to live and work in New England (even if and when offered jobs).

There is an entire spectrum of political and cultural opinion that is essentially verboten in academia and corporate environments. It is no secret that some opinions are okay, and others are career limiting. No one who cares about his career would willingly identify as conservative. That's what the data are showing - not what people actually think, but what they're willing to admit to their colleagues.

This is an important observation, Observer. It is certainly true that people in academia are much less liberal that they openly proclaim, as you get to know when you speak privately to them over a good bottle of wine.
To be sure this could have influenced the outcome of the study Alex is showing us, more info on the methodology (how interviews were conducted, in particular) would be needed though.

Aside from "whites are superior and my proof probably maybe might not fail AP stats", what else is difficult for academics to talk about?

In law school, I tried to be careful when expressing my opinions, out of fear that moving too far from the pervasive liberal orthodoxy could impact my career prospects. Cowardly, but realist. Having to keep that up for the entirety of a PhD program and in subsequent untenured positions would be quite difficult.

I doubt turnover in higher education has been high enough to precipitate such a dramatic shift in ideology. Could it say something more about the "conservative" and "liberal" political parties that is leading otherwise conservative faculty to identify more towards the middle and middling faculty to identify more as liberals?

Doesn't explain the NE shift.

Ah yes, the old diversity vs merit argument strikes yet again. Liberals dominate the universities because being an academic requires a high IQ, a strong work ethic, and huge amounts of self-discipline, all of which conservatives on the whole generally lack. The average New Englander is also smarter than the average non-New Englander. They invented MIT and Harvard because they didn't spend all day getting obese at the Memphis Rib Roast. If conservatives want a plum university job, they need to put down their guns and bibles, stop their complaining really and pick up the Feynman Lectures on Physics. We don't need ideological diversity, we need logical thinking.

Wow, high IQ? That's racist and misogynist. Penance, NOW!

Well, it's racist if you say "blacks have low IQ and that's why they're poor and commit crimes".

The notion that high IQ is important for getting into MIT or Harvard doesn't strike me as particularly related to racism. Unless you've got an axe to grind for some reason or another. Did your place at Harvard go missing when it got reserved for one of the kids who did his AP calculus studies in between dime bag deals so he had a few buck to get some flash stuff for first term in uni?

"Liberals dominate the universities because being an academic requires a high IQ, a strong work ethic, and huge amounts of self-discipline"

Pretty sure they're there due to a lack of those attributes.

"the old diversity vs merit argument strikes yet again. ... being an academic requires a high IQ, a strong work ethic, and huge amounts of self-discipline ... they didn’t spend all day getting obese at the Memphis Rib Roast. ...We don’t need diversity, we need logical thinking."

Hmm, I've seen this exact type of argument before, but the target was a different group that time.

Not unrelated to conversation above, there are probably a few people who need to pour a stiff drink, sit down, and realize that they were bamboozled on the climate change conspiracy thing.

The world is warming, in part because carbon, and they were swept along in a sing and dance to ignore that simple fact.

Part of the problem is that most people want to go much further than that, such as selling dramatic increases in taxes, based on suspect science like the theory of increased severe weather events

Wait? You don't think this changes everything, that we need a command economy administered by LGBTQIA minority women???? YOU DENIER!!!!!!!!

The command economy thing is almost definitely a completely retarded idea from the inside out, especially considering that we have a little help from history now to make things more obvious.

Black lesbian for president? Maybe there's a comeback plan for the Republicans if they manage to find a way to rid themselves of the man whose views shift with the wind, unless you're considering racism.

The people who say "but conservatives don't read and don't like books" forget all the Catholic universities out there filled with conservative professors and students. Large parts of the philosophical tradition (Aristotle, phenomenology, German idealism, medieval philosophy) is studied almost exclusively at Catholic unis. Actually, that's a good example of how ideological purges work. People like Brian Leiter, using his Philosophical Gourmet report, established the norms, and nobody who failed to conform to the mainstream style weren't going to last very long. Of course the irony is that the PC crowd is now going after Leiter, which is fabulous.

I have seen it claimed that the entire conservative intelligentsia of the past was dependent on Catholic philosophers.

Could it be super devious conservative profs defining "liberal" in ways so they can play the victim?

Like, just how "left wing" are these "liberals" (assuming that we're not talking about classical liberalism at all here)?

Sorry, how could that possibly happen? Conservative profs don't get to define the meaning of the term liberal for other profs answering this survey

I couldn't find the precise survey question.

But wouldn't it be relevant if "liberal" doesn't mean the same as it did 20 years ago? Also, as I've mentioned many times, the open hostility of a relatively large share of Republicans towards professors and higher education in general might explain it too. For example, if you express something very negative about ALL Canadians, I might start to define myself somewhat more as "anti-Cliff" instead of "anti-spliff".

How about the relatively recent creation of entire college departments whose raison d'etre is spawning liberal ideology, such as Women's Studies, Ethnic Studies, Peace and Conflict Studies, and other worthless degrees?

Then, with a preponderance of seats on university Senates and committees, further advance their agendas.

New England is the home of Puritanism, which is also the root of Progressivism. Not surprising at all, really.

How many has Barkley Rosser personallt discriminated against? The left doesnt believe in deontological principles so discrimination can be good.

I'll wager Barkley's provost, dean, and department head keep an eye on him. Just about any institutional employer has an EAP program nowadays.

Remarks from his students are here


Making beliefs a criterion of hiring isn't automatically inappropriate "discrimination".

One's beliefs may be relevant to the job. A history department would most likely not hire someone who believed in the crackpot "New Chronology" theory that much of ancient history occurred in the Middle Ages--and rightly so.

Also, if you hold fringe beliefs that are widely offensive, this is likely to affect your hiring in most fields, as your employer will not want someone representing them to hold those views, and it will have an impact on your ability to work with others. While academia ought to accept a wider range of viewpoints in the name of free academic enquiry, this still holds true at some point. For example, few would object to a university refusing to hire a member of the KKK.

The problem is not that beliefs are relevant to academic hiring. The problem is that there is such a gap between academia and the American population as a whole that a mainstream viewpoint is viewed as beyond the pale by much of academia.

The leader of BAMN in Sacramento who advocated political violence on camera is a middle school teacher.

She won't be touched and we all know why.

What does "liberal" mean when a US college professor says it? Does it mean they don't hate black people ot that they want to nationalize everything?

We should be concerned that finance, multinationals, 2.0 startups, big law, etc., are extracting all the conservatives out of the ranks of potential professors, not ... wherever most people on this board seem more inclined to go with it.

Has anyone studied the ideological bias of finance or big law recently?

First, the discrimination is happening in hiring practices. My sister has experienced it. The empirical evidence is pretty straight forward no matter how much people in academia do not want to admit it. To the ear, it sounds like a Southerner saying that the Civil war was able economic policies and not about slavery.

As far as conservatives in finance, there are not as many as people would like to make out, which makes sense. Is it better to have influence over convoluted rules that can be manipulated by people in power for profit or is it better to have perfect competition? Goldman Sachs, GE, Yahoo, Google, Xerox etc. are basically democratic organization. If you doubt it, how much did GE pay in taxes?

Second, the discrimination is happening is the work environment. One has to be extremely careful about what one says depending on one’s view. My experience of what happened after 9/11 is that it became socially acceptable to openly critcize the president, and one’s views were judged based on how enthusiastic one’s criticism was. Now, everything is quiet, which is nice.

Third, the discrimination is happening in the grading of work assignments. Another example, my wife took a class on business ethics by a professor who did not believe in any moral benefit of capitalism. For the final paper, he provided typical leftist topics. My wife had gotten A’s on all of her other papers, and she wrote about the economic impacts of Walmart, specially how Walmart improved the standard of living for the rural population by providing more goods for lower prices, similar to the old Sears & Roebuck catalog of 19th century. The teacher gave her a B- with the comment that he was very disappointed in her.

It is definitely a Thoron Veblen social class phenomenon. Personally, I feel that too much of the academic experience is based on conspicuous consumption, which I think it part of the issue as well as the attitude. One can hear in the responses in these comments where it is for the lower classes, i.e. conservatives, to try to make money, in finance, engineering, etc. It is for the higher classes to study subjects that are difficult, but provide little in practical, economic benefit, such as archeology, marine biology, sociology, wine tasting (Cornell), etc. It is about how the faculty are running the organizations for their own benefit. I have seen the same attitude in cash cow organization, such as Kodak. For the consumer, it will be important to be diligent in the not spending too much and finding other avenues to improve their human capital.

This trend seems to follow the administrative bloat in academia over the past couple of decades.

Blacks have poor night vision. That's why they can't be Navy Seals.

Or is it that they can't swim?

I encourage all supposedly tolerant lefties who believe that conservatives are "too dumb" to be academics to think a bit if they really want to join the "blacks can't be navy divers because they can't swim" side of history.

For all of these statistics, just imagine a stereotypical southern sheriff with arrest records like these. Would you think institutional bias or would you agree that its some inherent difference.

I'd also encourage you to use this same logic on Lois Lerner's IRS. You should be very, very frightened that your side indeed is morphing into the baddies.

These things seem awfully tribal to me; isn't it true in groups that the A players only want to work with A players? I suspect this is at work; conservatives are perceived as less intelligent and out-of-touch with reality. I, for the record, think the opposite is more of the case. College professors seemed like a role to me than something you're good at.

Be honest: 'diversity' makes free speech impossible

Diversity means everyone MUST think alike about 'diversity'. Diversity just means White Genocide.

Freedom now from this enforced, coercive, parasitic, anti-white, genocidal diversity. Its a crime, not a 'policy option'

Comments for this post are closed