Thursday, March 31, 2005

How to explain those leftist leanings on campus?

Can it really be true that there is an overabundance of leftist and liberal thought in academia these days? And what on earth could possibly explain that? Perhaps, oh, I don't know ... maybe, just maybe, liberals are simply smarter than conservatives? Could that possibly be it? Let's look at the empirical evidence, shall we?

In this corner, we have PZMyers and, in the other corner, there's his constant irritation, Paul @ Wizbang. I think it's safe to say that there's only one example of faculty-level thinking here, and it's not over at Wizbang.

Moving on, on the one hand we have Middle East authority and respected academic Juan Cole while, facing off against him, his nemesis, NRO's own Doughty Pantload. Can you guess which one is the professor and which one's Gilligan?

And, naturally, modesty forbids me from mentioning my own previous lifetime as a faculty member at a Canadian university while, yipping annoyingly at my ankles, we have ... oh, never mind.

: And over at Pharyngula, PZMyers weighs in. I'm not sure I agree with him completely, I'll ponder this at 35,000 feet and address it later.


Clupbert said...

How funny is that. Liberals are simply smarter than conservatives. I mean that's crazy because I have a genius IQ and I'm conservative. Matter of fact, lot's of people do. What went wrong with us? I had a japanese studies professor who put it best. He said so many professors are not only leftist, but radically left, because they are out of touch with reality. They never left the emotional and psychological state that is college. Getting a doctorate degree doesn't mean you're smart either. Here's what it means:

1. You have a big ego- You want a captive and impressionable audience to spout your stupid opinions to all day. It makes you feel intelligent and good about yourself. This is a common liberal trend, i.e. your post here.
2. You don't want a real job- There is no real good marker of job performance other than student feedback. Once you get tenure, your gold, and despite the ramblings that they're underpaid, professors on average make more than 70 grand a year. Liberals don't like standards and any sort of insecurity when it comes to their jobs.
3. You want to think of yourself as being an intellectual- this is pretty self explanatory. There is nothing glamorous or intellectual about working hard, being responsible for yourself, and having small government. There is something glamorous in talking about conspiracies about brainwashing of the middle class and neocon world domination and all of the crackpot ideas espoused by left wing intelligentsia.

I have one last comment for you. Examining one side of the spectrum is stupid. If most professors are leftists, so are most high school dropouts. Matter of fact John Kerry's biggest edge as far as educational background voters were high school dropouts at 58 to 40 percent. You know what Bush's was? 4 year degree holders at 55-45 percent. I think your assessment that political leanings have some sort of correlation to intelligence is a common one among lefties. I see a lot of my fellow students who are not so bright become lefties just to latch on this identity. I hope you feel good about yourself, and nothing adds to the great debate like "we're right because we're smarter".

CC said...

Oh ... and did I mention that smarter people have more of a sense of humour?

Clupbert said...

I agree, check out my blog.

Clupbert said...

Don't try to make the claim that your claims are "all in good fun" either. I have met so many people at school or seen comments on BBC's have your say about this. Could you please admit that liberals think they're smarter simply because they're liberal?

Lindsay Stewart said...

oh dearie me, for the record i don't believe that intelligence is directly associated with one's political, social or ideological leanings. i have met more than a few brilliant conservatives and plenty of liberals who were as dumb as toast. that being said, the argument could be made that critical thought is a trait more common to the liberal mind set. hence the "liberal arts" education, wherein the student is encouraged to examine course materials, attend lectures, form and defend opinions. those would be the acts of argument and consideration used in the refinement of ideas. from my own experience, conservative scholars (yes, they do exist) are somewhat more inclined to cling tenaciously to their opinions and are much less willing to be moved by compelling arguments to the contrary. often, the point of the higher learning process is not so much to convince as it is to give the student the tools with which to refine their own ideas.

as for you clupbert, i did indeed read your blog in full. i found no evidence of anything that would give me cause to accept your claim of genius. to the contrary, your tale of not being focused enough to perform a simple task at your mcdonalds job would indicate that you are a late blooming adolescent. your poor grammar and spelling do little to support your claimed brilliance. further, devoting an entire post to disparaging female celebrities whose breasts sag and whose noses displease you, gives me cause to believe that you are indeed a witless fool.

beyond being unable to frame a proper sentence your arguments are full of holes. true, a doctoral degree is not necessarily an indicator of superior intelligence but neither is it a simple matter of having a big ego. in most instances, the pursuit of a doctoral degree is more to do with an honest passion for one's field. that sort of single mindedness could be misconstrued as ego but one would have to be a pretty simple and reductive thinker to make that leap. all the same, ego is a component of all successful persons regardless of ideology or field of endeavour.

and what pray tell, clupbert, is a real job? perhaps it is one that involves stacking the paper cups as instructed. evidently you don't know a great deal about the workings of academia. tenure track positions are increasingly rare as many institutions are phasing them out in favour of contract positions where there is intense competition, rigorous peer review and very little in the way of security. considering that a professorship is the top of the academic food chain, 70 grand doesn't seem too grand a sum, especially when compared to the upper management salaries in the private sector. your claim that liberals don't like standards of any sort is nonsense. you make this broad, general, statement, with not a hint of evidence to support it. it is no more valid than claiming that conservatives are short and tend to smell sour. all we have here is an unfounded bias.

your third point is really precious. how terrible of intellectuals to think of themselves as intellectuals. you seem to be saying that once one becomes entrenched in the ivory towers of academia, all of the hard work is over and responsibility is cast aside. imagine for a moment how empty that claim is, issues of glamour aside. do you really believe that professors just sit around all day waiting for dull wits like yourself to validate their existence? faculty positions entail all of the bother of departmental business, course preparations, lectures and grading the work of an unwashed and ignorant student population. beyond that there is the requirement to perform their own research in their field and to publish. perhaps you've heard the phrase, publish or perish. even tenured profs are required to contribute to the sum of learning in their field.

as for glamour, well what of it? where it exists at all it is fleeting and ultimately unrewarding. i don't recall ever hearing of it being a feature of the life in academia. as for your notions of conspiracy, aren't you the one pointing your little nose picking finger and crying about the vast left wing conspiracy of academia? and really, you shouldn't be so concerned about the brain washing of the middle class so much as the decimation of the middle class by the acts of "small government".

to your last comment, indeed, examining one side of the spectrum is stupid. but making unsubstantiated claims is both dishonest and stupid. what is most amusing here is that you pop your own balloon by your own rhetorical failure: "if most professors are leftisits..." you bring the validity of you basic argument to question. are most professors in fact liberals (as opposed to leftists)? this argument has received much play in the blogs and main stream media. it is based on a study that used a very small sample of professors and in no way proves the claim. i believe a more thorough study would find that academics cover a pretty broad range of ideologies, just like people in the real world. as to your next claim, on what evidence do you assert that most high school drop outs are "leftists"? the greater likelihood is that most drop outs are forced into the blue collar, low income sector that seems to make up a goodly portion of the right wing, conservative christian voting block. of course i am just making a supposition. cite the findings that prove me wrong rather than just making ignornat claims.

further, where are the polls and studies that back up your claim that drop outs voted kerry and bush won the graduate vote? if these numbers have any basis in reality, wouldn't they put the lie to the notion that universities and colleges are hot beds of left/liberal brainwashing? if indeed you are the genius you claim, and a student pursuing higher learning, you should be able to cite the data that backs up your claims. otherwise, you are a fraud, a charlatan, a dung beetle. as for your final note, what great arrogance you display with your final hypocritical snark. your fellow students who "are not so bright"... who are you to determine whether people are bright? you can neither spell, nor parse, nor frame an argument that can't be shredded like so much tissue. but you are not done, no, you read the minds and motives of those you sneer at. they "become lefties to latch on this identity" presumably they wish to appear bright by association. well, give them credit my dear pudding, they'll never appear bright by being associated with the likes of you. great debate indeed.