Monday, June 20, 2005

Crybaby Conservatives

I had to share this article from The Nation with you. It's long but well worth the time; The New PC: Crybaby Conservatives. This article asks important questions about the growing furor over the political orientation of college professors; More leftists undoubtedly inhabit institutions of higher education than they do the FBI or the Pentagon or local police and fire departments, about which conservatives seem little concerned, but who or what says every corner of society should reflect the composition of the nation at large? Nothing has shown that higher education discriminates against conservatives, who probably apply in smaller numbers than liberals. Conservatives who pursue higher degrees may prefer to slog away as junior partners in law offices rather than as assistant professors in English departments. Does an "overrepresentation" of Democratic anthropologists mean Republican anthropologists have been shunted aside? Does an "overrepresentation" of Jewish lawyers and doctors mean non-Jews have been excluded?


© 2004, 2005, 2006 by GrrlScientist

7 Peer Reviews:

Blogger Chronic_Roll said...

Great critique.

1:42 PM  
Blogger hermit_the_crab said...

"Nothing has shown that higher education discriminates against conservatives, who probably apply in smaller numbers than liberals."

This is interesting - one of my peers is currently writing a book about her experiences as a conservative studying at a very liberal university. I bet she'd have a pretty different take on that.

3:48 PM  
Blogger jamie said...

More leftists undoubtedly inhabit institutions of higher education than they do the FBI or the Pentagon or local police . . . .

Okay, I'm willing to compromise. Let's stock the Pentagon with lefties, and add some conservatives to academia. Fair trade, I think; besides, us students would still know where the library is at if we needed to do us some learnin and stuff.

9:59 PM  
Blogger Dr. Charles said...

reminds me somehow of the fact that almost every musician or actor who publicly campaigned for a presidential candidate was for kerry... i can't remember a single cultural celeb who came out for bush. i guess that needs to be artificially ironed out too (just kidding). these ultraconservatives want to retool NPR or cut its funding since they don't like the non-oreilly spin. makes me ill. howard stern had it right.

10:58 PM  
Blogger Tabor said...

Jamie, just be careful what you check out at that library...the librarian might be a conservative!

7:51 AM  
Blogger GrrlScientist said...

Speaking of libraries .. I have hesitated to really get into my summer reading list for two reasons; 1. laziness combined with a lack of time to haunt the local library branch to locate the subversive titles on my list and 2. I have a nagging fear in the back of my mind that my reading list will raise red flags with someone in the library administration and get me into some sort of trouble. Instead, I am following the "chicken method" (TM) of reading subversive literature; I am actually purchasing those subversive works that I wish to own anyway, and thereby easing my way into it. But I do need to either pursue my little summer reading project soon or give it up altogether.

Hermit the crab; it's good to see you posting here! To respond to your comment; certainly, everyone's experiences are different when it comes to higher education, but I am currently teaching at a fairly liberal school and my students are fairly conservative as a group. Almost all of them are business majors who are heading to law school, whose parents are lawyers and judges and big name business people. I have no idea how my fellow professors treat their students, but I treat my students the way my professors treated me; as people who are eager to learn. My students can come to their own private conclusions about the material presented, but they are responsible to learn certain concepts and to understand how those concepts were arrived at (contrary to what some people assert, we scientists don't just pull our conclusions from thin air, we test them again and again, and allow others, even students, to conduct such tests, too).

Jamie: one of the article's points was that hiring decisions in colleges and universities are not made based on political orientation, but rather, these are self-selecting groups of people who do work there. Why? University professors earn a crappy wage for their years of education, preparation and effort, and it appears that so-called "liberals" are more likely to accept poor wages in exchange for the "perks". One of the "perks" is a great deal of intellectual freedom and to a certain extent, one of the primary jobs of a university professor is to be a thinker/philosopher for their field and, to a certain extent, society at large.

In contrast, people who work at the CIA, FBI or the Pentagon -- who tend to be paid much more on average than a university professor -- are routinely screened before hiring for evidence of political and other affiliations, actions, writing, etc., that are not desirable for whatever reason. I am fairly certain, for example, that I would never be hired by any of these agencies in any capacity whatsoever and I am not, as some people like to proclaim, a "flaming liberal" (I am a realist/rationalist/humanist tempered with a large dose of cynicism and sprinkled with a few bright points of optimism).

Dr. Charles: I am very bothered by the House's threat to cut PBS/NPR's funding when in fact, NPR is one of the more balanced news sources available in this country today. My frustration is also very selfish; even though I do listen to quit a few other radio stations, I am an "NPR junkie", and since I do not own a TV and my CD player gave up the ghost almost one year ago, the loss of NPR would be a terrible blow for me.


8:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hah! I am not all that liberal compared to my friends, but compared to the students at the university where I am an adjunct, teaching natural resource policy to grad students, I am the Red Brigade. I made ONE - just ONE reference to the Bush administration last term. I was teaching the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. I gave them Molly Ivin's column explaining how William Pryor (a Bush nominee for the federal courts) actually argued that military bombing of nesting areas is good, because birders love rarities. And then I flashed on the screen a photo of my Birders Against Bush bumper sticker. I heard about it from the program director the very next day. Well good grief! How do you teach a class like this without talking about the people who are making the policy and the policies they are making (or trashing?). I am scared, scared, scared about the way things are going. The neocons want to eradicate every trace of everything they don't like. They want no dissent, no independent thought. They want to control every last thing, complete and total control. Now they are going after PBS. I do not recognize my country anymore.

5:08 PM  

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