Liberal Acadamia?

If this is the case, why? If it is not, how would you prove it?

I think we’ve done some threads like this before, but I haven’t got the moxie to search for them now. As I recall, the general conclusion was that academics do tend to be more liberal than average, especially in humanities disciplines such as English, history, or political science. However, science and engineering departments, as well as administrators, are often much less liberal, and many faculty in, say, economics or law or business schools are strongly conservative. And some schools (e.g., Vanderbilt, Brigham Young) are considered to be more conservative than average across the board.

As for why that’s so, I really don’t know. It’s apparently been that way, at least at some major universities, for several decades at least, judging from this report on the Berkeley Free Speech protests in 1964, when the University administration closed off an area students had been using for civil rights activism:

So clearly, US campus liberalism is not a new phenomenon, though I don’t know how old it is.

Like the so-called “liberal media,” “liberal academia” is a bogeyman conjured up by the overzealous conservatives to be trotted out as an excuse to deflect criticisms from their latest schemes.

I think Ladd & Lipsett did a big study of U.S. faculty in the late 1960s which was published in 1972 (or thereabouts) and it’s probably a good baseline for the modern era. I’ll be damned if I can find my copy of the chapter. IIRC, faculty seemed fairly moderate to conservative then, although with some differences across fields which have already been described.

The more recent study of faculty was both limited and flawed. I think its conclusion overstates the liberal bias among faculty, although I think the general finding (that academe leans towards being liberal) is true in some disciplines. I haven’t seen anything that makes me believe this “bias” ultimately means much for what students learn, know and believe; for the quality of research; or for the scholarly advancement of human knowledge.

Well, since I am next to completly convinced that our corporate sponsored media is NOT liberal, I was wondering about the other charge as well. Now, there is quite a bit of the corporate world seeping into acadamia as well (esp with the military industrial complex), so I would suspect the natural result wherever corporate sponsorship had an influence.

Why do you believe this?

Because that’s their favorite tactic for deflecting cricism – to attack the source for being “liberal” (and, by implication, biased).

“Look, here’s a newspaper article documenting the 25 big lies Bush told about the Iraq war.”
“You can’t trust any of that, it’s from the liberal media.”

“Here’s a petition of 3,000 scientists who say Bush’s policies have hurt the environment and impeded American research for decades.”
“As if a bunch of liberal egghead academics would know anything.”

I do agree with you, but was just looking for something beyond circumstantial evidence. Studies and stuff. anyway, thanks for the reply. Even though disagreements are good to have, it’s real nice to find agreement, especially on something so significant.