Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Liberal Bias

It turns out that college professors are now a substantial source of political donations. Why not? They make decent salaries -- well, halfway decent anyway -- and they're traditionally civically engaged.

But I can almost hear the howls from the starboard precincts from here, because it turns out that about 75% of their dough is going to Democrats. Barack Obama seems to be the individual favorite at the moment. There you go, we told you the academy is a nest of hippie commie irrational Bush hating freaks. There's your proof, they discriminate against conservatives when they hire professors.

How about explanation B? People who are trained in critical thinking, and who are highly knowledgable, generally end up being liberal. It's not the university that has a liberal bias, it's reality. Most college professors don't even work in fields that have anything obviously to do with politics. They are mathematicians, physicists, chemists, biologists, engineers. Sure there are sociologists, historians, literature and art professors, and political scientists in there as well but it turns out that the preponderance of liberalism among academics is just as great outside of social studies and the humanities as it is within them.

Now, I say some of those fields don't have much to do with politics but unfortunately, that isn't true these days. Biology and physics are political after all, because Republicans and conservatives reject biological and cosmological science. Hell, Karl Rove even has his own personal mathematics. Let me be clear about this. People can differ in their values, in their goals for society, and in their tolerance for risk and need for certainty. These are the sources of legitimate differences of opinion. However, the major political divisions in our society right now are over questions of reality -- questions that have right and wrong answers.

And the Republicans are wrong. Completely wrong. About everything.

Update: After I posted the above, I came across this:

By ALAN FRAM, Associated Press Writer Wed Aug 22, 3:01 PM ET

WASHINGTON - Liberals read more books than conservatives. The head of the book publishing industry's trade group says she knows why — and there's little flattering about conservative readers in her explanation.

"The Karl Roves of the world have built a generation that just wants a couple slogans: 'No, don't raise my taxes, no new taxes,'" Pat Schroeder, president of the American Association of Publishers, said in a recent interview. "It's pretty hard to write a book saying, 'No new taxes, no new taxes, no new taxes' on every page."

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