In yesterday's New York Times the Arthur C. Brooks argues that there is systemic bias against conservatives in academia. This is my response.
It must be coming around to election time again, as this old canard (complete with a 1975 study) makes the rounds again.
of all, it should be no surprise to find more left-leaning people in a
public service industry, just as it is no surprise to find that the
boardrooms of banks and corporations are staffed almost entirely by
people from the right wing.
should also be no surprise to see people from the left in occupations
with a focus on reason and intellect, as generally the more educated a
person is, the more left wing they tend to become.
it should be no surprise to see people in academia adopting aa more
liberal stance because, as they say, "reality leans left." The right is
known for its support for creationism, climate change denialism,
anti-vaxxing, an apocalyptic would view, and a host of
it's not even clear that the data brought forward by the right actually
supports the contention that there is a right wing bias in academic.
The cases are carefully selected, picking from research in sociology
rather than, say, schools of business or medicine. And they compare
apples and oranges; the same data set might *not* lead to the same
conclusion when studying poverty and skin rashes, as these are very
sort of reasoning is reflective of differences in the way the left and
the right regard science, just as we saw here in Canada under ten years
of conservative rule. On the right, science follows policy. It follows
politics. It is manageed to show support for conclusions (and for
industries) that have already won political support. But on the left,
policy is derived from science. The political positions supported are
those, typically, which are supported by evidence and research in the
the idea that diversity is a virtue in society is a left-wing idea, not
typically supported by conservatives. The great movements that created
and shaped a more inclusive society - from feminism to anti-racism to
aboriginal rights to GLBTQ-friendly policy - are left-wing movements.
is typical of the right that it would view diversity not as a policy
end in itself, but a piece of 'science' that can be taken out of context
and used to prop up and rationalize the unsubstantiated conclusion that
academia is out to get them. Why would they reason the left would work
this way? Because that's what they, the right, would do in a similar
have no objection to the existence of academics and professionals who
can articulate and advance the right-wing argument. I personally do not
believe such arguments can be sustained. But I don't think that
'diversity' means that we should promote conservatives to positions of
academic responsibility simply on the ground that they are conservative.
That's not how diversity works. And if the right were concerned with
*understanding* diversity, rather than using it to promote their own
self-interests, they would understand this.