Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Affirmative Academia

There has been a lot of murmurings lately about how academia is too liberal and how conservative professors aren't being hired and are often being actively discouraged from taking positions. Apparently David Horowitz recently studied the ideological leanings of 500 faculty members at law and journalism schools "to find liberal bias".

His methods? How many were registered Republicans vs registered Democrats.
They found many more registered Democrats than Republicans. At Columbia’s journalism school it was fifteen to one; at Stanford’s law school, twenty-eight to one; at Berkeley’s journalism school, ten to zero. He seemed to have moved beyond the realm of mere supposition and anecdote.

Before getting to the larger issues involved, it’s worth noting that Horowitz did not actually build a lay-down-the-cards case for the existence of bias at professional schools. He has not studied — yet — what they teach, which is the real issue. [CJR.org]
He does not study what students or faculty believe, and whether the much-feared liberal indoctrination is really happening. He does not study what is actually taught in class and whether that is "biased". He does not study the qualifications of available professors or whether there are simply not enough qualified conservative academics to rate positions at such highly-rated institutions. He does not, in fact, study anything meaningful -- his only goal, it seemed, was to find anecdotal evidence of bias.

As a result, there is a clamor for a change -- Fix this! Pass legislation to demand fair treatment of conservative viewes! Get more conservative professors in place, ensure that conservative voices match liberal ones , make sure that students get a "fair and balanced" view of things. All of this I am hearing from conservative voices.

But...but, I thought conservatives were against affirmative action.

No, wait. They're only against it when it benefits women and minorities. When it comes to benefiting conservatives, and legacy admissions to Ivy League schools, they're foursquare in favor of it. Hypocrites.
(And, as a side note, I am opposed to affirmative action of any form.)

1 comment:

The Tiger said...

Did you come across the liberal counter-argument that says that maybe it is education that makes you liberal? The exposure to free thoughts and ideas?

I don't necessarily buy it, but I love stuff that can light pompous commentators matches in just a few sentences. It's efficient apoplexy!