The Nudnik File

Nudnik - n. U.S. colloq. Esp. in Jewish usage: a pestering, nagging, or irritating person

Wednesday, December 08, 2004


              Diversity, University Style
Universities always hail "intellectual diversity" as their raison d'etre, They pride themselves on being a place where ideas are freely expressed and where the freedom to question and learn is paramount. Yet, more and more, there is data coming out that universities are in fact the exact opposite - monolithic enforcers of a leftist ideology, with no room for dissent. Bruce Bartlett describes the bias on campus.
In certain departments, Republicans are literally nonexistent. There are no Republicans in either the anthropology or sociology departments at Stanford or UC-Berkeley. At Berkeley, the ratio of Democrats to Republicans is 11 to 1 in the economics department and 14 to 1 in the political science department. Stanford is a model of intellectual diversity by contrast, with a Democrat/Republican ratio of 7 to 3 in economics and 9 to 1 in political science.

In a larger study, Klein looked at voting patterns from a survey of academics throughout the country. He found that in anthropology, there are more than 30 votes cast for Democratic candidates for each 1 cast for a Republican. In sociology, the ratio is 28 to 1. Republicans do best among economists, who only vote Democratic by a 3 to 1 margin. In political science, the ratio is 6.7 to 1. On average, across all departments, Democrats get 15 votes for every 1 going to Republicans.
Moreover, the bias among the faculty is self-reinforcing due to the tenure system of US universities. It is incredibly difficult, if not outright impossible in some departments, for an academic with non-progressive credentials to get hired or to get tenure.
And the hiring process is unlike anything in a private business. In most cases, one needs a unanimous vote of the professors in one’s department to get tenure. This puts a high priority on intangibles like collegiality, which often translates into sharing the same politics and ideology.

Bias works in other ways as well. It is extraordinarily difficult to get an article in a top academic journal or get a book published by a university press unless it slavishly parrots the liberal line. That is because such things must be peer-reviewed by experts in the field before they can be published. This makes it very easy for anonymous reviewers to blackball those with a conservative point of view, effectively killing the careers of those who must publish or perish.
If the point of universities is to provide a "marketplace of ideas", they are failing miserably.
|| Nudnik 3:12 PM
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