Here’s the Economist getting into the act on the ‘US universities are leftist strongholds by a factor of 9 to 1’ issue, and like a lot of journalism that discusses the subject, leaving some important aspects out. At least I think so.
Evidence of the atypical uniformity of American universities grows by the week. The Centre for Responsive Politics notes that this year two universities—the University of California and Harvard—occupied first and second place in the list of donations to the Kerry campaign by employee groups, ahead of Time Warner, Goldman Sachs, Microsoft et al. Employees at both universities gave 19 times as much to John Kerry as to George Bush.
Yes but there might be reasons for that other than political allegiance. Surely. Come on, Econ – think. Think hard. What is it about people who work at universities that might make them prefer Kerry to Bush even if Bush were a Democrat and Kerry were a Republican? Can you really not think of anything? Because I can.
Which one, for example, has a well-known habit of ridiculing universities themselves? Which one chuckles fondly about the bad grades he got at Yale? Which one got into not one not two but three elite schools despite lousy grades, simply because of his family name? Which one had educational chances that other people would give an arm for, handed to him, and then squandered them? Which one got job after job after job despite a conspicuous lack of ‘value added’ because, again, of who his daddy is and nothing else? Which one, when asked how he can make decisions without knowing the facts, answers ‘My instinct’? Which one systematically makes a virtue of his own ignorance and lack of curiosity? Which one makes a virtue of making snap decisions and then refusing to think about them further? Which one ran on a campaign that seemed to delight in calling its opponent an elitist merely (to all appearances) because he’s knowledgeable and articulate?
Isn’t it blindingly obvious? Don’t academics (and journalists, public intellectuals, private intellectuals, nerds, bookworms, wonks, scientists, artists, teachers) have every reason to despise Bush and think he is destructive, even if they are Republicans? Not to mention people who are not sure they much want to live with a Christian-right agenda, despite not being either Democrats or liberals. The Economist article doesn’t breathe a word, not a syllable of all that. And it should. That’s a very important part of the subject.
And then there’s this:
Meanwhile, a new national survey of more than 1,000 academics by Daniel Klein, of Santa Clara University, shows that Democrats outnumber Republicans by at least seven to one in the humanities and social sciences.
Okay, but then why don’t you tell us what the numbers are in the business schools, science and engineering, medical school? If B-schools are mostly Republican, why is there never any hand-wringing about that? Maybe they’re not. Maybe they’re packed to the rafters with liberals too. But then why doesn’t someone say so?