Sunday, December 09, 2007

Robert Maranto: A Conservative's Experience in Academia

This seems pretty much right to me, with the possible exception of the prescription at the end.

I'm (a) in a philosophy department at (b) a non-first-rate university, so I don't really encounter a lot of political bias. Philosophy departments tend to be less fruity/lefty than the rest of the humanities and the social sciences--though they do tend to be made up of mostly liberals. As you move into the weaker reaches of the humanities and social sciences, and as you move up the academic prestige ladder, things seem to get leftier and leftier.

Liberals either don't believe this or don't want to believe it, but it is true. I don't know what the solution is, nor even whether it's a problem that we should attempt to solve. Or, for that matter, whether it's even a problem: one line on all this is just that liberal views are more rational than conservative ones, ergo as people become more well-read and thoughtful about their subject, they tend to move left. Me, I'm somewhat skeptical about that latter line.

One thing to remember here is that much of the bias that does exist in academia is not liberal bias, but well-left-of-liberal lefty bias. Extreme lefties have no more use for you and your thin-gruel liberalism than do extreme righties. So keep that in mind.


Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

"At many of the colleges I've taught at or consulted for, a perusal of the speakers list and the required readings in the campus bookstore convinced me that a student could probably go through four years without ever encountering a right-of-center view portrayed in a positive light."

That's why when your flock complains I'm speaking Martian, I have no doubt that's what it seems like to them.

4:52 PM  
Blogger Tracie said...

While I agree with this article, I think my main question is "Why"?

Is it because:
1) more lefty people are attracted to academics while righty people are attracted to other/more lucrative fields?
2) is there an innate bias in a lefty academic world fostering more lefty than righty academics, therefore self-perpetuating itself?

This second option seemed to be alluded to in the article, though I don't know if I completely buy it.

And of course there's the third option which Winston pointed out, that liberals were more rational than conservatives. However, this seems more name-calling than anything.

I honestly think it's a combination of 1 and 2.

And in response, to the "flock" comment, I think we all feel like you're speaking Martian because of the weird, convoluted, vacuous responses scattered throughout the comments section of this blog, not the fact that you have conservative values. I would think you'd know that the large majority of this blog's readers are well-educated and not unfamiliar with conservatism. It's your particular manner of presenting this viewpoint that it so confusing, not the viewpoint itself.

1:18 AM  
Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

I've only had this trouble where there's a majority of lefties.

If someone is interested in seeking truth, they'd ask me what I mean instead of being hostile.

What Maranto's describing is not just ignorance of foreign ideas, but hostility to them, and my own experience bears that out.

5:04 PM  
Blogger Tracie said...

While you say that people here are hostile instead of just asking you what you mean, my experience with your postings does not support this. There are numerous instances of people here either refining your muddled arguments or asking you for clarification, only to be met with hostility or arrogance.

Honestly, I don't think this is going to do much good, as I know this has been addressed before many times. The general progression of threads in which you post was laid out fairly accurately by Mystic:

1) Adopt radical position, insist others are just blind to the truth.
2) Have your position shown to be totally incorrect.
3) Insist your opposition is just too ignorant to see the big picture, regardless of the fact that no outside information can possibly help your argument. Continue to assert, however that, if they only knew the mysterious "what Tom knows", they'd TOTALLY agree with you, but for now, you just can't help them out of their intellectual hole.
4) Receive insults because of your arrogant, fallacious behavior.
5) Act like you have the moral high ground.
6) Waste EVERYONE'S time.

I think everyone here likes to hear differing opinions; no good philosopher wants to believe what he does without good reason. Differing opinions help us see the inaccuracies in our beliefs that we otherwise might not. I think you've run into so many problems here not because you're a conservative, but because you act like a jerk to people who want to discuss these conservative values with you. When you refuse to clarify or even generally "tighten up" your arguments, it seems like you yourself are less interested in "seeking truth" and more in pushing your conservative agenda. And unfortunately, there are a lot of people in power right now who do exactly the same thing.

Although this likely won't do any good whatsoever, I still feel the need to try and help correct this situation, because you're obviously well-read and have the potential to positively contribute to general discussions. I can't speak for everyone here, but as a frequent reader and infrequent commenter, that's pretty much my view on the matter.

7:20 PM  
Blogger lovable liberal said...

I'm very late to this party - hey, don't close the bar!

Here's something I just came across.

6:56 PM  

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