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comment by thenewgreen
thenewgreen  ·  2112 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Neil Gross, “Why are Professors Liberal and Why do Conservatives Care?”

cliffelam and hootsbox, my apologies as I'm fairly certain I've scoffed in the past at the notion of academia being overtly liberal. It appears that it is.

It seems that the major finding is not that academia is left-leaning but rather that it has always been thus.

The 3 "folk theories" of why academia is more liberal:

1. Conservatives are more "closed minded" than liberals and are not open to new ideas and therefore will not fit well in to higher ed. 2. Higher education is not a career you go in to for the money, therefore it doesn't attract conservative minds. 3. Liberals are just smarter

Findings 1. Personality is hard to decipher but liberals are more likely to go to grad school in part, because they are more interested in studying abstraction. 2. Moderates are the most interested in making money 3. When looking at cognitive ability -no difference

I'd imagine that if you go to business school your perception of whether academia is liberal or conservative will be quite different than someone getting their MFA. It's an interesting discussion to have, but it's not a "problem" to be solved in my opinion, but perhaps that's because I lean left.

pseydtonne  ·  2112 days ago  ·  link  ·  

There is also a major historical reason being neglected.

Until 1974, being in college got you a student deferment from the draft. There were a lot of colleges that needed the income from students in the 1960s, so they started to inflate grades. This prevented students from dropping out and getting drafted.

The side-effect was that students stayed in college longer and went to graduate school to avoid the draft. The same students that were protesting the war by not going to it became the PhD'd faculty that were already inclined against the "war sponsored by Coca-Cola".

flagamuffin  ·  2112 days ago  ·  link  ·  

This seems dead on, but do you have any sources that directly suggest this?

cliffelam  ·  2112 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Most people (ok, most liberals) would not trust any organization that was solely controlled by white men - they'd never feel it was reflective of "the wider community" and would also feel that it would likely be closed to whatever viewpoints they would view white men as likely to have.

But we know that many universities donate money almost 100% to Donk's. And that outside of the business school or the economics department you can go years without meeting a conservative. But that's ok, somehow.

FWIW, I think the Findings <1> above is probably not true, just that it is swamped by <2> and the distaste that anyone moderately conservative feels at the idea of graduate school. I have a very close friend who is a classic European liberal and was considered nearly right wing when they were in graduate school. I invite you to imagine how someone like me would fare.


mpoe  ·  2112 days ago  ·  link  ·  

And don't forget the part about it not mattering much that academia is liberal because, as it turns out, nobody listens to professors. (Actually, that's my conclusion after reading the book.)