Is academia biased against conservatives, or just unreasonable conservatives?

Mercurial

Moderator
Joined
Jun 4, 2009
Messages
87,459
Affirmative action for conservative academics? | In Due Course

In the above article, Joseph Heath raises an interesting point about the supposed left-wing bias of academia (American academia in particular, but his points can be generalised beyond that context to an extent).

In brief, he distinguishes between two different types of right wing, or conservative, viewpoints: those that contain a commitment to rationality, reason, evidence-based argumentation, etc., and those that do not. So, he writes:

My own view is that the “left-wing echo chamber” problem is real, particularly in the United States, although to a lesser degree in Canada, and that something should be done about it, but that the affirmative action model is a bad way of approaching things. The core problem, I think, is conservative anti-rationalism (often billed as “common sense” conservatism), which long predates Donald Trump. Rational conservative ideologies, such as libertarianism, are not underrepresented in the academy – on the contrary, they are probably over-represented, relative to their actual support in the population. What is underrepresented in the academy, for obvious reasons, is the version of conservatism that scorns expertise in all forms and takes political positions that are only sustainable if one discounts both empirical evidence and rational argument
In addition to a view like libertarianism, we might also consider right wing economic theories, which are also not underrepresented in academia, in contrast to, for example, conservative ideas about same-sex marriage, religion, race, or climate change which hardly any academics support.

Does this distinction help to explain the situation in America's universities (And to a lesser extent our own)? Is the under-representation of some conservative ideas really just the underrepresentation of ideas that are fundamentally unreasonable? Are some conservative viewpoints in political and economic theory well-represented precisely because their advocates maintain a commitment to reason that other conservatives lack?
 


Dame_Enda

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 14, 2011
Messages
55,070
I think its very biased in the US for a couple of reasons (coincidentally I was reading an article on this type of problem in Michigan this afternoon).

- In the US, elected politicians have a role in some university appointments. Because most universities are in Blue States of long standing like California and New York, that tilts them to the Left. Janet Napolitano, Obama's DHS Secretary, is President of University of California and announced a sanctuary-campus plan before California became a sanctuary-state recently.

- US universities have put a strong emphasis on "diversity" - but only ethnic and LGBT diversity. Class-diversity does not interest them. 10% of University of Michigan's students come from the richest 1%. On the other hand they have quadrupled their share of ethnic minorities - and that group disproportionately votes Democrat. That too tilts US universities to the Left.

- The appointment in 2010 of Weather Underground 70s radical Bill Ayers to University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Education was in my opinion an all time low.

wikipedia said:
.....On September 23, 2010 William Ayers was unanimously denied emeritus status by the University of Illinois, after a speech by the university's board chair Christopher G. Kennedy (son of assassinated U.S. Senator Robert Kennedy), containing the quote "I intend to vote against conferring the honorific title of our university to a man whose body of work includes a book dedicated in part to the man who murdered my father, Robert F. Kennedy."[50] He added, "There is nothing more antithetical to the hopes for a university that is lively and yet civil...than to permanently seal off debate with one's opponents by killing them".[51] Kennedy referred to a 1974 book Prairie Fire: The Politics of Revolutionary Anti-Imperialism, written by Ayers and other Weather Underground members, which includes a dedication to a list of over 200 revolutionary figures, musicians and others, including Sirhan Sirhan, who is currently serving a life sentence for Robert Kennedy's assassination in 1968.[52] Ayers said he has never dedicated any book, including Prairie Fire, the book in question, to assassins.[53]....
Of course you can point to rare exceptions like Liberty University which only serve to prove the rule.

Of course its a certain strain of leftwing thought - multiculturalism. But I hesitate to call it "liberal" because of its censorious attitude to free speech marked by "Safe Spaces". The bar for the hecklers veto has been lowered from being offended by someone's speech, to merely being uncomfortable. But its a far cry from the Left's original raison-d'etre of building worker's republics and improving working conditions for low income groups.
 
Last edited:

Old Mr Grouser

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 29, 2009
Messages
6,341
I think its very biased in the US for a couple of reasons (coincidentally I was reading an article on this type of problem in Michigan this afternoon).


- US universities have put a strong emphasis on "diversity" - but only ethnic and LGBT diversity. Class-diversity does not interest them. 10% of University of Michigan's students come from the richest 1%. On the other hand they have quadrupled their share of ethnic minorities - a
nd that group disproportionately votes Democrat. That too tilts US universities to the Left.

But its a far cry from the Left's original raison-d'etre of building worker's republics and improving working conditions for low income groups.
I don't want this to be yet another anti-semitic thread but the proportion of left-wing Jews in US academia does seem incredible.
 

razorblade

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 30, 2016
Messages
8,090
It does seem to be the case that anyone who doesn't concur with the lefty liberal view of things gets shut out and are prevented from speaking at universes.
 

Mercurial

Moderator
Joined
Jun 4, 2009
Messages
87,459
It does seem to be the case that anyone who doesn't concur with the lefty liberal view of things gets shut out and are prevented from speaking at universes.
Then how do you account for the fact that right-wing libertarians and right-wing economists are well-represented (perhaps even over-represented) in American academia?
 

Sotired

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 12, 2013
Messages
4,396
Then how do you account for the fact that right-wing libertarians and right-wing economists are well-represented (perhaps even over-represented) in American academia?
Given the many examples we've seen covered in threads here, they're probably 'learning' to adjust to the new 'free speech' mob-rules, and given your quite telling use of the term 'over-represented', it's likely that that imbalance as you see it, will be addressed by the 'proper authorities' in due course.

"Orthodoxy means not thinking--not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness."
 

GDPR

1
Joined
Jul 5, 2008
Messages
217,782
There are Traditionalist minded academics still but they keep their heads down generally because they don't have independent means and have kids to educate and feed. While I like Mercurial his type can be incredibly bullying and busybodying. At University I belonged to a secret discussion group that read people like Carl Schmitt, Arthur Moeller van den Bruck, Edgar Julius Jung and Julius Evola which was led by a Professor. If the "PC Police" had found out about devil knows what would have happened. I think Capitalists are trying to destroy the Humanities in Academia because learning for it's own isn't "practical" and the trendy PC wafflers are their useful idiots in doing so.
 

silverharp

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 21, 2015
Messages
16,682
ben shapiro on the attitudes on campuses

[video=youtube;qZn1B2dkluQ]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZn1B2dkluQ[/video]
 

gerhard dengler

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 3, 2011
Messages
46,739
Academia appears to be more about telling students and teaching staff what to think
rather than telling students and teaching staff how to think
 

SideysGhost

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 30, 2009
Messages
17,360
Is there such a thing as a reasonable conservative though?

Libertarianism is nuts. You'd have to be a full-on narcissist and sociopath to take it even remotely seriously.

Likewise with right-wing/neo-liberal economics, almost all of it is complete nonsense. All the shouting about "free markets" relies entirely on a misunderstood flawed reading of the early chapters of a standard 1st year textbook, good old Begg Fischer Dornbusch or the likes.

Perfect competition doesn't exist in the real world. It's a pedagogical tool to get students thinking about economic issues. Most of the rest of any economics degree is about learning all the very very many ways in which that early model is complete nonsense. But neo-liberal voodoonomics gets that far, sees something it likes, and then proceeds to completely discount all the rest of the body of economic theory and drive off into the desert of fanatical dogma instead.

So while both might try to dress themselves up as positions based on empirical research, data and rationality that's just lipstick on a pig. Both are fundamentally unreasonable irrational religious dogmas, not actually based in reason and rationality.

The rest of the usual right-wing dog-whistles on race, women, gays, guns, god, muslims blah blah blah are all just tiny-minded fear-based bigotry.

Conservatism simply isn't based on reason, but on emotion, and primarily negative emotions at that.
 

silverharp

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 21, 2015
Messages
16,682
Is there such a thing as a reasonable conservative though?

Libertarianism is nuts. You'd have to be a full-on narcissist and sociopath to take it even remotely seriously.

Likewise with right-wing/neo-liberal economics, almost all of it is complete nonsense. All the shouting about "free markets" relies entirely on a misunderstood flawed reading of the early chapters of a standard 1st year textbook, good old Begg Fischer Dornbusch or the likes.

Perfect competition doesn't exist in the real world. It's a pedagogical tool to get students thinking about economic issues. Most of the rest of any economics degree is about learning all the very very many ways in which that early model is complete nonsense. But neo-liberal voodoonomics gets that far, sees something it likes, and then proceeds to completely discount all the rest of the body of economic theory and drive off into the desert of fanatical dogma instead.

So while both might try to dress themselves up as positions based on empirical research, data and rationality that's just lipstick on a pig. Both are fundamentally unreasonable irrational religious dogmas, not actually based in reason and rationality.

The rest of the usual right-wing dog-whistles on race, women, gays, guns, god, muslims blah blah blah are all just tiny-minded fear-based bigotry.

Conservatism simply isn't based on reason, but on emotion, and primarily negative emotions at that.
sill prefer Chile to Venezuela
 

flavirostris

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 21, 2007
Messages
24,571
Is the pope a Catholic? Of course Academia has a leftist bent. You can't get tenure in academia without having the correct opinions.

There's an interview on youtube with a Swedish academic who lost his job for writing a book called 'A Critique of Multiculturalism from the Left'. He considers himself a leftist.

The next thing is he was being called in to an interview with the head of his department and being told he had no future there. A colleague even asked the question 'We don't know if he's a Nazi or not'.
 

Quebecoise

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 21, 2011
Messages
361
But surely the very purpose of academic endeavour makes it difficult to retain a conservative outlook. Nobody gets funding for a PhD by stating that 'my research will show that our ancestors were correct in what they thought.' Funding for academic research is usually based on trying to uncover something new or original about the world. It's 'progressive' for the sake of it. It will be the role of academics in our grandchildren's and great-grandchildren's generations to question the very values that we base our society on simply for the sake of doing so. And that questioning surely will never end as long as human societies exist.
 

Equinox

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 4, 2011
Messages
2,980
Is there such a thing as a reasonable conservative though?

Libertarianism is nuts. You'd have to be a full-on narcissist and sociopath to take it even remotely seriously.

Likewise with right-wing/neo-liberal economics, almost all of it is complete nonsense. All the shouting about "free markets" relies entirely on a misunderstood flawed reading of the early chapters of a standard 1st year textbook, good old Begg Fischer Dornbusch or the likes.

Perfect competition doesn't exist in the real world. It's a pedagogical tool to get students thinking about economic issues. Most of the rest of any economics degree is about learning all the very very many ways in which that early model is complete nonsense. But neo-liberal voodoonomics gets that far, sees something it likes, and then proceeds to completely discount all the rest of the body of economic theory and drive off into the desert of fanatical dogma instead.

So while both might try to dress themselves up as positions based on empirical research, data and rationality that's just lipstick on a pig. Both are fundamentally unreasonable irrational religious dogmas, not actually based in reason and rationality.

The rest of the usual right-wing dog-whistles on race, women, gays, guns, god, muslims blah blah blah are all just tiny-minded fear-based bigotry.

Conservatism simply isn't based on reason, but on emotion, and primarily negative emotions at that.
I'm sorry but you seems to be projecting onto conservatism the ACTUAL problems of the left.
It's the arts and humanities side of the campus , infested as it is with leftist dogma, thats full of dribbling, emotionally incontenent, irrational loons that rant endlessly about victimhood and negativity and have only a passing aquaintance with reality.

The marxists 'long march through the institutions' is almost complete, fortunately they will eat themselves precisely because their irrationality and hatered will force the rational to turn their backs to them.
Still it will take a long time to beat them back into the long grass and who knows what damage they will inflict before this current trend burns itself out
 
Last edited:

darkhorse

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 12, 2005
Messages
17,954
People working for the State, including academics, tend to favour State involvement and regulation of the economy.
Shock horror
 


New Threads

Most Replies

Top