Monday, December 13, 2004

 

Why Academia Shuns Republicans - A Skewed Liberal View

This liberal times article, er - I mean L.A. Times article tries to defend the choke hold the liberals have on college professorships. As with most liberal writers, the elitist attitude oozes from nearly every sentence of his work.

Am I the only person who fails to understand why conservatives see this finding as vindication? After all, these studies show that some of the best-educated, most-informed people in the country overwhelmingly reject the GOP. Why is this seen as an indictment of academia, rather than as an indictment of the Republican Party?


In other words: "How stupid are all these people that they can't see that my college professor friends and I are so much smarter than those dumb old republicans?" This is right out of the liberal elite playbook - insult the people you are trying to bring over to your side so that they will feel so dumb and you will feel so superior and they will do whatever you say. Only problem is that they alienate everybody with this angle - so smart and yet so elite.

In another paragraph, not only does the elitist claim to know the inner motivations of a majority of the electorate he also infers by contradiction that conservatives are against living "the life of the mind." In other words, conservatives are too dense, and too preoccupied with money to appreciate deep thought.

The main causes of the partisan disparity on campus have little to do with anything so nefarious as discrimination. First, Republicans don't particularly want to be professors. To go into academia — a highly competitive field that does not offer great riches — you have to believe that living the life of the mind is more valuable than making a Wall Street salary. On most issues that offer a choice between having more money in your pocket and having something else — a cleaner environment, universal health insurance, etc. — conservatives tend to prefer the money and liberals tend to prefer the something else. It's not so surprising that the same thinking would extend to career choices.


Here is the truth. I have spent approximately eleven years in higher education. I have an undergrad degree, post-baccalaureate classwork, a master's degree and an M.D. I have been a student and a teacher throughout my years. I have met and gotten to know professors in the arts, social and basic sciences. Overwhelmingly, these academics were liberal democrats. They speak openly in lectures, labs and libraries about their politics. Dissenting views are routinely shouted into oblivion by their herds. They truly feel superior to nearly everyone on the planet. They believe that their existence of seeking knowledge and teaching while taking home very little salary makes them some sort of intellectual martyr. The truth is that universities are all small socialist societies. Their existence is predicated on money from the government. Even the "private" colleges could not survive without the government funded student loans. Grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Science Foundation, and the National Institutes of Health drive research and help pay for salaries. The rest comes directly from the good 'ole taxpayer. Professors take sabbaticals of months at a time to expand their minds. They are put on "tenure tracks" which amount to teaching the classes nobody want to teach and having to produce a certain amount of research and publications or face firing. None of the research or publications are possible unless those pre-professors bring in grant money to the institution. Grant money is routinely put into the university general fund and is redistributed - part to the bringer of the money and part to others who could not talk some government group into giving them money. Sounds liberal/democrat/socialist to me.

It is doubtful that the average university faculty will change in time. The model of the university - funded by the government, existing in a communal setting - is the dream of every liberal. But as long as the hope for great achievement looms past the diplomas, the George Bushs of the world will continue to be elected by the people who know that while education is important, it is certainly no replacement for ambition and hard work.



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