colleges

The Partisan Split on Higher Ed

A Troubling Trend

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

A new Pew survey reveals that the partisan split that became visible a couple of years ago in public perceptions of American higher education has continued. In the long term, this cannot be good for American colleges and universities.

A lot of American institutions have taken it on the chin in recent years as Americans have become less trusting of any of them. Some of those declines reflect a general eroding of public confidence, but some institutions tend to see a specifically partisan split with supporters of one political party continuing to like that institution as supporters of the other party express dislike. This is not terribly surprising for political institutions like the presidency, which tend to be seen through a partisan lens depending on who currently occupies the White House (though notably this stark partisanship about the presidency is itself a relatively recent development).

Colleges and universities are fairly distinctive in being non-political institutions that are nonetheless seen in increasingly partisan terms. There is an extensive conservative infrastructure now dedicated to publicizing the foibles of academia. Of course, the reality is that college professors and administrators lean heavily to the political left, though this has been true for decades. Republicans now perceive universities as politicized, partisan institutions.

Republicans continue to send their own kids to college. They continue to recognize the personal economic value of a college degree. But if Republicans continue to believe that on the whole universities are damaging American society, they are unlikely to try to defend them against misguided political interventions from the political left and are more likely to propose misguided political interventions of their own. There is probably a limit as to what universities themselves can do to improve the situation, but they would be wise to take a serious look in the mirror and consider how they could win back the confidence of conservative Americans.

Details here.

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  1. “Colleges and universities are fairly distinctive in being non-political institutions that are nonetheless seen in increasingly partisan terms.”

    I think it would be more accurate to say that colleges and universities are formerly non-political institutions which are increasingly choosing to become partisan players in our politics.

    Since they are playing for the Democratic party team, of course Democrats are not turned off by this, and Republicans are.

    1. Colleges have never been “nonpolitical”. They might have been “non partisan” in the past but they are complete partisans now.

  2. “how they could win back the confidence of conservative Americans”

    Gee, let me think. They could stop beating up professors (Stanger) and shouting down speakers (Mac Donald). They could stop punishing professors (Wax, Christakis) for their political beliefs. They could allow open inquiry and free speech (Zwier, Sheck). But they won’t do any of those things, and the Conspirators will continue to defend them.

    1. Or our strongest schools could begin to teach nonsense, impose old-timey speech and conduct codes, suppress science to promote superstition, engage in rigorous censorship, seek accreditation from sketchy sources, ban academic freedom, engage in viewpoint discrimination in everything from admissions to all hiring (including janitors and basketball coaches), arrange a third-tier (or worse) ranking, and collect loyalty oaths.

      In other words, they could begin to emulate the schools already operated and favored by conservatives.

      1. I think my plan is better.

        1. Please keep us posted on how your plan is working at Wheaton, Franciscan, Grove City, Hillsdale, and Ouachita Baptist — and on how your efforts to persuade strong institutions to take your advice are working.

          Good luck.

      2. Ze thinks they are already doing all of those things. Don’t ze think so?

      3. Even some of the really left leaning professors are starting to get it. But the level of politicization and partisanship is out of control.

        The result of your “good guys” isn’t really that different from what you suggest the “bad guys” in your worldview would do.

        Permitted speech has become very conservative. As in not liberal, taking the meaning of that word to be permissive.

        As for teaching nonsense, go look where intersectional politics is taking opinions on science and math. Cliffs notes version: As long as you can gin up a disadvantaged class for you to be a member of, your feelings should count just as much as the scientific method or formal math. That the conclusions of both, no matter how factually demonstrable as true and functioning are racist because they didn’t stop to ask some illiterate demographic that hasn’t made the effort to participate in either to date.

        They already censor many, many viewpoints. Not just extreme ones, just simply unpopular ones. Go take a look at what fire has been doing, and you will find a lot more problems originating form the left side of the political spectrum.

        Then you have admissions. Where intersectional politics has been pushing to reduce white admissions, but also to reduce asian admissions because they are too successful compared to their aggrieved victim class(es).

        Lots of the REALLY far gone leftist colleges already have third-tier or worse rankings. They weren’t very good schools with very large enrollments and seemingly placated every compliant to keep people paying too much for too little happy.

        As for loyalty oaths, well they were a thing in higher ed into the 60s at least, and effectively still are if you look at the codes of conduct enforced on people. when the code of conduct or the institution’s interpretation of harassment or hostile workplace rules means there’s a whole bunch of stuff you can’t say or do in public or private because you are employed…. well that seems effectively the same.

        Maybe you are being double super sarcastic in a ha-ha -only-serious manner, but what you have described is exactly what we have got. Which, without involving any right leaning people, you have professors who wrote books on slavery, who are teaching class on slavery, who does both form very much a modern position that doesn’t seem like it should be ruffling any feathers, is getting heat because they teach a class about slavery while being white.

  3. “Of course, the reality is that college professors and administrators lean heavily to the political left, though this has been true for decades.”

    This isn’t a binary thing. The faculty have “leaned” left for decades, in the last decade they’ve become enormously more biased. In some disciplines you won’t find even one non-left wing faculty member in entire universities.

    It appears a tipping point was reached some time in the 90’s.

    1. You seem surprised that old-timey intolerance, pining for good old days (that never existed), science-disdaining religion, generally backward thinking, and similar fundamental elements of conservative thought are not popular on strong, modern, reasoning campuses.

      There are plenty of right-wing campuses that flatter conservative thought. The problem for conservatives is that those schools suck.

      1. The only intolerant ones here are the leftists running the universities. Try looking in the mirror when you say things like “clingers”, “backward”, and “those schools suck”.

        The thing about progressives is that they never see that they’re the ones guilty of what they project on everyone else.

        1. What is inappropriate, let alone wrong, about observing that a shambling collection of third-tier, fourth-tier, and unranked institutions sucks?

          You may choose to wallow in political correctness. I believe a lousy (or deplorable, if you prefer) school can and should be called a lousy (or deplorable) school. Accuracy is a virtue in this context.

  4. How often do people consider the possibility that the reason that so many academics (and other “experts”) think that many conservative ideas are bad… is because they are bad?

    1. Alternatively, their excellent salaries are heavily dependent on government (and now, government-guaranteed loans). As with any government program, each little discipline is justified with glowing self-reports of importance.

      They know the hand which feeds them, and behave accordingly: omniprovident government good.

      Which party is that?

      1. From Contact…

        Drumlin: “Since the people are footing the bill, I see no reason research should not directly benefit The People.”

        Scientist: “Not unlike my L-band globular clusters.”

      2. “Excellent salary” does not really describe graduate school or pre-tenure positions. It also only works as an explanation if competing “expert” institutions (industry, lobbying firms, think tanks, etc.) paid terribly.

        1. That is true – teaching and research assistants and ‘adjunct’ professors get screwed.
          However, tenured professors and administrators make out like bandits. In most states, the best paid government employee in the state is a school administrator.

          Plus, they have excellent benefits and job security everyone else can only dream of.

          1. The best paid government employee in virtually every state, almost without exception, is the Big State U head football coach. Number two is the men’s basketball coach. The highest paid federal employee is the head football coach at either Annapolis or West Point, with the other being number two.

        2. For the level of responsibility and effort, “excellent salary” is not unreasonable for even graduate school or pre-tenure positions. I say that because I see lots of people applying for those positions even at current salary rates despite a notable lack of guns to heads during the application process.

          1. It’s almost as though in our free society some people take jobs they like over being pure economic optimization machines…

      3. I think it more likely that layabouts with an intellect have found they can invent bogus degrees and classes, and get paid for it.

        They are smart enough to know there is only one such employer on the scale necessary to employ them all.

    2. Give me an example of a bad conservative idea

      1. Okay, since I was a history and political science major, I will go with the idea that the current Democratic Party is essentially the same as the Democrats of the past in an effort to claim that they are still, “the real racists.”

        1. I was thinking along the lines of actual policy Rather than the “ you’re a racist/ no you’re more of a racist ” feud which is absurd and meaningless

          1. Well it’s meaningful in that racial views inevitably impact policy.

            But okay, I’ll go with “climate change doesn’t exist” or “governments should cut spending during a recession.”

            1. Yes, exactly! Political matters, where only the Democrats are correct!

              1. Neither of those is a “political matter.”

                Both are areas where the overwhelming majority of knowledgeable people agree.

                (Cue: “Experts are wrong. The wisdom of the common man is superior, even on technical questions.”)

                1. Both are areas where the overwhelming majority of knowledgeable people agree.

                  Or at least if this is repeated enough times, and if bona fide and respected experts who disagree are demonized with sufficient severity, it might be possible to forbid the expression of a contrary viewpoint.

                  1. Sorry, swood. It’s true.

                    We don’t need creationists in biology departments, “contrary viewpoint” or not.

                    If there are climate scientists – real ones, not TV weathermen – who have well-supported arguments that climate change isn’t happening I’m sure they would in fact be welcome to express their views.

                    As for dealing with recessions, academic economists are not in fact overwhelmingly “left-wing,” yet you will find few macroeconomists who think cutting spending in a recession is anything other than a terrible idea.

                    1. If there are climate scientists – real ones, not TV weathermen – who have well-supported arguments that climate change isn’t happening I’m sure they would in fact be welcome to express their views.

                      Go onto YouTube (or Google them) and look at some of the talks by Judith Curry or Richard Lindzen or Steven Koonin or William Happer or Freeman Dyson or Roger Pielke, Jr. or Fred Singer or Roy Spencer. Do you think that the response has been to welcome them to express their views? No, it’s been that they are in the pocket of the evil-doer oil companies and that their views should not be reported by reputable publications.

                      As for the 97% have you ever actually looked into that number? They included in the 97% scientists who agreed that climate is changing and that human activity has been a factor, but this is trivially true and even the skeptical scientists agree with it. Then this number is reported as 97% of scientists believing that climate change represents an existential threat to humanity – an entirely different proposition. It’s utterly bogus.

                    2. 1. “We don’t need creationists in biology departments, “contrary viewpoint” or not.”
                      Tell, me, how does this viewpoint differ from the Lysenkoism mandated by the Soviet Union? Besides an argument that “creationists are just wrong, and it’s not science”, because that was the same argument used against geneticists by the USSR.

          2. I’ll go with “Tax cuts pay for themselves.”

            1. Well, they do. But then spending never goes down either, so I’m not really disagreeing in practice.

              1. No. They don’t. The supply-side argument has nothing to do with spending.

                The fundamental claim is that they stimulate growth so much that revenues actually increase. Hasn’t happened. Ask Sam Brownback.

                Yes, you can oversimplify matters enough to claim that there is some tax rate which maximizes revenue, and that going higher reduces it, but it has yet to be identified, and exists mostly as a point on a paper napkin.

                1. Maximising government revenues is not the lodestar of policy.

                  Even if tax cuts do reduce government revenue that does not mean they are reducing economic welfare.

                  And, while I’m passing, tax cuts – insofar as they generate additional growth – do have an effect on the spending side of the government’s budget, by reducing welfare spending.

                  1. This is not the argument conservatives use – the accounting the used by the GOP in congress insists that that lower taxes raise receipts despite decades of data saying otherwise.

                    And, while I’m passing, tax cuts – insofar as they generate additional growth – do have an effect on the spending side of the government’s budget, by reducing welfare spending.
                    Insofar doing a lot of work there.

                    1. Always nice when someone who isn’t GOP or a conservative can definitively say what the GOP’s argument is for them…. It’s so much easier to knock down the argument when you can put it up for your opponents in the first place.

                    2. Weird tactic to use here.
                      I spoke about the budget data used by the GOP in congress. Or is that not conservative enough for you?

                      Here’s Trump’s budget chief promoting supply-side wishful thinking: https://www.wsj.com/articles/introducing-maganomics-1499899298

                    3. Insofar doing a lot of work there.

                      Sure. But let’s not get too one eyed about our insofars.

                      Whether tax cuts boost growth is an empirical question just like the question of whether and when tax rate cuts, and in which taxes, reduce government revenue.

                      But insofar as you pay attention to serious economists, there is as little doubt that tax cuts usually increase economic growth as there is that that growth is usually insufficent, at least in the short term, to leave government revenues unreduced.

                    4. Many — but by no means all— economists believe there’s a relationship between cuts and growth. In a 2012 survey of top economists, the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business found that 35 percent thought cutting taxes would boost economic growth. A roughly equal share, 35 percent, were uncertain. Only 8 percent disagreed or strongly disagreed.

                      https://www.npr.org/sections/itsallpolitics/2015/10/30/452905475/fact-check-do-tax-cuts-grow-the-economy

                    5. Well, if we’re using logic and history.

                      The maximum tax rate in 1945 was 94% of income.
                      Today, the maximum tax rate is 37%

                      The tax revenue in 1945 was 461 Billion dollars (Constant 2012 US$) Tax revenue in 2017 is 3 Trillion dollars (Constant 2012 US$).

                      Tax rates dropped by more than 50%….and tax revenue increased. Even when adjusted for inflation. Hmm…. Even if you adjust it for inflation AND population….tax revenue increased when tax rates dropped. I suppose if you just use % of GDP for federal revenue you see a slight drop of maybe 2-3%. But if GDP expands greatly….like it did…when tax rates dropped…as predicted…Well…

                      But that’s just history and facts. I I’m sure there’s some odd theory to contradict facts and history.

                    6. No way you’re that dumb.

                    7. I know… Facts. They’re dumb and inconvenient. They cause you to think and actually use coherent arguments, rather than platitudes. They may even cause you to change your mind….Well, let’s not go crazy here.

                    8. “pirates cause global warming” and Ice Cream sales cause a spike in violent crime.

                      But we’re looking at a very specific, rational hypothesis, that a drop in tax rates causes in increase in GDP, with resulting gains in tax revenue that exceed that of the original tax rates. And we’re backing this up with historical data that shows tax rates dropping and tax revenue rising, as GDP rose. A hypothesis which has a firm backing from a number of economists

                      And if you have no coherent argument against this other than “correlation isn’t necessarily causation” then you have no real argument at all.

        2. Does it hurt being that ignorant LTG?
          Or just normal for a Progressive Ignorati?

          First you fail to address a Conservative policy instead you whine using the current propaganda.

          -Past Progressive Dems supported masked/hooded KKK as do current Progressive Dems use masked/hooded Antifa.
          -Past Progressive Dems denying citizens their 2A Rights as do current Progressive Dems.
          -Past Progressive Dems used Progressive methods of propaganda from Bernays & Lippman as do current Progressive Dems.
          -Past Progressive Dems embraced the form of Marxist ideology called Progressivism as do current Progressive Dems.
          -Past Progressive Dems pushed racism as do current Progressive Dems.
          -Progressive Dems used the power of plantation owners to control POC/poor as current Progressive Dems use the power of gov’t run Progressive Plantations to control POC/poor.

      2. Supply-side economics.

        1. Supply-side economics.

          The term “supply-side economics” is used in two different but related ways. Some use the term to refer to the fact that production (supply) underlies consumption and living standards. In the long run, our income levels reflect our ability to produce goods and services that people value. Higher income levels and living standards cannot be achieved without expansion in output. Virtually all economists accept this proposition and therefore are “supply siders.”

          “Supply-side economics” is also used to describe how changes in marginal tax rates influence economic activity. Supply-side economists believe that high marginal tax rates strongly discourage income, output, and the efficiency of resource use. https://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/SupplySideEconomics.html

          Who could believe such craziness?

          1. Neither of the two paragraphs you quote is actually describing what was unique to supply-side economics. The author is using the term “supply side economics” in an overly broad manner, to refer to virtually any factor that is related to supply.

            Supply-side economics was a much more specific set of ideas. First of all, it was specifically focused on taxes, and second, unlike the bland passage in the second paragraph you quote, it was a macroeconomic proposition.

            A simple, one-sentence summation of supply-side economics would be that it asserts that you can, by means of tax cuts, bring about an increase in the long-term real GDP growth rate, via a shift in Aggregate Supply. Note that it is not simply claiming that you can give the economy an immediate boost with tax cuts–which of course you can, via a Keynesian demand stimulus–but that you can raise the rate of growth in the long term.

            And that specific idea, the core of supply-side economics, is empirically wrong. Supply side tax cuts in the 1980s did not raise the long term growth rate in comparison with preceding decades.

            1. Neither of the two paragraphs you quote is actually describing what was unique to supply-side economics.

              Going beyond the first two paragraphs do you fundamentally disagree with the definition of supply side economics given by the reference I supplied?

              1. I do disagree. The first definition is a truism, taught in Econ 101. It has nothing to do with those who specifically call themselves “supply-siders.” You might as well claim that supply-side economics believes the Earth is a globe.

                The second is vague and incomplete to the point of incoherence.

                Supply-side economists believe that high marginal tax rates strongly discourage income, output, and the efficiency of resource use.

                If you want to claim that very high taxes may discourage some types of economic activity you are again not saying much. But those who actually call themselves “supply-siders” are closer to MarkW201’s definition, and a fair number believe in self-financing tax cuts.

                1. Luckily, we have economists who actually look at the effect of tax rates on GDP growth. https://www.nber.org/papers/w13264

                  Wouldn’t you know. An increase of the tax rate by 1% drops GDP by 2% to 3%. Hmm..

                2. I do disagree.

                  Let me make sure I understand your position. Are you saying that the description of supply-side economics given in that article taken as a whole (and not limited to the first two paragraphs) is fundamentally flawed and incorrect?

                  1. Look in the thread at people discussing supply side stuff – no one is using that definition, everyone is talking about tax policy.

                    1. Be that as it may, are you saying that the description of supply-side economics given in that article taken as a whole (including its discussion of tax policy) is fundamentally flawed and incorrect?

        2. Supply side economics works every single time it’s ever been tried. Without exception. In each case, government revenues went up, and the economy was stimulated in a positive way.

          You have to ignore ALL of history in order to believe that supply-side economics is a bad idea.

          1. Nice data you brought there.

            1. Sarcastr0, you know I can line up links to support that all day. That won’t change your mind, however.

              1. Nope. Looks like economic tribalism in favor of a theory that’s been disfavored even in the GOP since 1980, and was brought up recently largely as a shiny object to distract the rubes.
                Look at this forum, with the GOP defenders working hard to redefine it on this thread. Doesn’t that tell you something?

                How’d Kansas’ giant flying leap into that arena turn out, BTW?

      3. Anything Josh Hawley proposes.

        1. Anything any politician says about Section 230.

          1. Including the politicians who proposed and enacted it?

    3. If we were just talking about “many” ideas being bad, that’d be a bit understandable. You’d have people who vote for democrats, but would at least understand alternate views or how people could come out on the other side of social issues.

      The problem is that much of academia is perceived as viewing (and likely does view) all conservative ideas as bad. Worse yet, they come to view people with conservative views as bad people who cannot be trusted and must be stopped. Thus, a student merely wearing a MAGA hat to class is seen as a personal attack on the professor, making his “blood boil” and prompting him to write an ABA Journal article on the event (as just one example).

      If academia is upset it’s being perceived as partisan, seems the first step would be to stop being so partisan.

      1. “Worse yet, they come to view people with conservative views as bad people who cannot be trusted and must be stopped.”

        I sense that this is precipitated, at least among young people, by the bigotry. Among educated young people in modern communities, old-timey intolerance tends not to be an issue — unless someone makes it an issue, at which point not only is the intolerance derided but, also, everything the bigot says or believes is dismissed, intensely.

        The problem, for conservatives, is that modern young people have had gay classmates, Muslim friends, Jewish co-workers, black roommates, Asian teachers, Iranian teammates, etc. These young people just aren’t open to the insularity, backwardness, and cruelty exhibited by many conservatives and by the Republican Party. (They also have studied, at school, the successive waves of bigotry that America has encountered and overcome over the decades.) They view old-school intolerance as an attack on their friends and a sign of ugly character.

        They also do not attend church and do not believe superstition trumps reason, science, or history – – which, again, makes them unreceptive to much of the current conservative platform.

        1. I have to commend you, Art. I’ve never seen anyone so baleful, hateful and spiteful as you are to normal Americans, and still be able to say it without raising the volume up to 11.

          1. I do not believe bigotry is normal in modern America.

            I blame progress.

        2. Except that “bigotry” is based not on actual bigoted statements, but on assumptions the person makes based on a person holding a particular set of views. So, for example, if you people should show IDs to vote, the assumption is that it can only be because of racial bigotry. Or, if you oppose abortion, the assumption is that it is because of religious bigotry. Or, if you oppose expanded welfare benefits, the assumption is that it is based on bigotry toward minorities.

          The real irony of course is that the assumptions themselves are based on stereotypes or biases. To them, all moral views are fine, except those derived from religion (and Christianity specifically). Opposition to IDs or welfare are considered bigoted because the opponent assumes minorities are going to be poor or without IDs.

          Sure, when everyone around you says that different opinions must come from bigotry, I suppose it’s reasonable to expect them to reject it. But it’s a really a failure of the mind to consider opposing views and the rationale for those positions.

          In theory, academia is supposed to fix that type of closed mindedness. In reality, academia is reinforcing it.

    4. I had a west coast college professor tell me that I should consider that colleges are left win because the smart people are left wing.

      So no, this is crap. Academics think conservative ideas are bad, but for bogus reasons, ranging from elite tribalism, to a dislike for ideas that don’t come with a complex ideology that puts control in the hands of the “wise” bureaucrats.

      1. “I had a west coast college professor tell me that I should consider that colleges are left win because the smart people are left wing.”

        Using this logic, blacks didn’t go to elite schools in the 1950’s because they weren’t smart enough to qualify.

        No other explanation is possible.

        And there are still professors who think Marxism is a good idea or a useful tool for analysis. And they call OTHER dumb…

  5. If a conservative politician is voting for funding a public university, he is funding ideological opposition to his constituents’ positions with taxpayer dollars. This is why, for example, conservatives in Hungary have de-funded and banned Women’s Studies departments.

    Because American tax dollars as currently given to colleges and universities are fungible, there is no way to ensure that the university is using the dollars to produce competent engineers, accountants, or nurses instead of “(fill-in-the-blank)-studies”.

    What I don’t know, though, is which direction goes the causality. Most people graduate college and don’t become leftists, but PC culture has certainly migrated from the universities as something universally mocked (PCU the movie came out in 1994) to become mainstream since 2013 or so in the “Great Awokening” currently under way.

    1. The legislature in Missouri sanctioned its university over its leftist behavior a couple of years back, expect more of that.

      I see no 1A objection to banning certain “studies” programs” as ineffectual and faux academic.

      1. Hypothetical: Assume the conclusions of one of your maligned “studies” programs are broadly correct. Would that require you as a rational and moral actor to change your day to day behavior in any way? Or political behavior? Anything at all?

        1. I think the whole point is the “studies” programs are worthless so he’s challenging your hypothesis

          1. I understand he thinks their worthless. I would like to know if it’s more because he has specific disputes over methodologies or conclusions or because he’s worried that the answers will force him (or others) to act differently. When you want to ban a field of study, it sounds more like you’re worried about the answer. (Isn’t this what all the “race and IQ people” complaint about?) What if the field of women’s studies is that society treats women worse in a lot of aspects? Wouldn’t that mean someone might want to do something about it?

            1. Last I checked, you can’t get an “ought” from an “is.”

              1. Well sure. I suppose no one has to do anything when presented with a certain set of facts or circumstances. But rational moral actors will generally feel compelled to act in some way (even if it is limited to something as simple as voting) when presented with a sufficient injustice.

                1. These programs are rarely based on true facts, more on a specific ideology that selectively finds “facts” to reinforce the ideology but especially to propagate it. There is no real reason to provide specific isolated programs for these studies except prorogation of theses ideas. A truly open academic environment would encourage investigation of these viewpoints as well as others. An endowed Professor of Women’s Studies in the larger Sociology Department or a Professorship of Black History in the History Department would allow dissemination to a wider audience and open scholarly debate on critical issues and ideas.

            2. “methodologies”

              LOL

              They don’t use any science, its just feelings. They are political inventions, no rigor at all.

              1. Yup. See Pluckrose, et al. (Sokal Squared)

            3. The various “XXXX-studies” fields generally use little, if not any, scientific methodology, and are already limited due to the fact that they are soft sciences. That’s why they are able to be hoaxed so easily, and repeatedly. Economics, or even sociology of all God forsaken fields, doesn’t get suckered like they do, or put out such worth of mocking dreck one finds at New Real Peer Review.

              I understand your hypothetical, but it presupposes an objective answer, which there isn’t to compare it with. It’s like trying to prove a negative.

              Anyway, even if all the conclusions coming from the women’s studies departments WERE true (a laughable hypothetical as they are regularly disproved by Economics, see wage gap myth) then it still doesn’t change that fact that a conservative legislator who votes to fund a college is using his constituents’ taxpayer funds to support his ideological opposition, which they are presumably against because they sent a conservative to office.

              Imagine if Nancy Pelosi voted to give $ to the NRA for education and outreach. Same thing.

              1. Yes, these “studies” programs are less scientific than already only quasi-scientific departments like sociology.

                They were created to satisfy political demands from political activists and declined from there.

        2. Hypothetical: Assume Santa Clause does exist. Would that require you as a rational and moral actor to change your day to day behavior?

          1. An old trope. As men wiser than me have said, that it is better to act as if God exists, even if you believe he doesn’t.

            As for specifically Santa Clause, that’s a dumb hypothetical. As a child it’s best to act act as if he exists, but a child is not a rational and moral actor. As a adult, it doesn’t matter if Santa Clause exists or not, as he gives you no presents as an adult. So a rational adult doesn’t behave one way or another, unless the intention is to control the behavior of non-rational actors like children to make them *think* he exists.

            1. Believing in Santa Claus is relatively harmless.

              Believing in a climate change crisis which requires spending trillions of dollars and transforming market economies to dictatorships and impoverishing the entire world population — not quite as harmless. Especially when those who insist this crisis must be solved in 12 years 18 months reject clean, efficient, stable, reliable, proven nuclear power in favor of expensive, unreliable, unsteady, dirty solar and wind power.

              1. Agreed on both points.

          2. Well, let’s see. I would have to question my current beliefs about God and religion and probably accept that some sort of version of Christianity is correct since Santa is a major figure in a Christa holiday. I would have to accept that magic is real. I would have to instill in children that notion that they should behave for the purposes of receiving presents. More darkly, I would have to attempt to convert people because if Santa’s existence implies the existence of Christianity I would need to prevent people from damnation.

            As for other earthly concerns, I would undoubtedly have to advocate for Elfish welfare depending on their working arrangement. I would have to advocate and support forcing Santa to take a less unjust stance to present distribution, and to see if there is a way to adapt his magical powers to addressing more immediate concerns: such as disease, poverty, and hunger.

            In effect, I would have to change a great deal about how I behave if Santa was real. That’s why it’s far easier to believe he doesn’t exist.

            1. And your reasons for believing that we only have 12 years 18 months to prevent the climate change crisis with the Green New Deal and bankrupting the entire planet? That doesn’t require magic? New Monetary Theory? Dictatorship for all? Impoverishing the world?

            2. “I would have to advocate and support forcing Santa to take a less unjust stance to present distribution”

              He gives to the nice, and not to the naughty. This is, definitionally, just.

              1. No I mean like Christian vs. Non-christian children. Also what’s his basis for nice vs naughty?

                1. Nice vs naughty is a tautological truth.

                  If you believe in Santa then you know that he only delivers presents to nice people, so you can use the presence of presents to determine niceness for the same reason that you’ll have to proselytize: because a super power has demonstrated their existence.

        3. You probably can’t ban it, but maybe could tie the economic benefit to the funding it gets.

          1. The departments would have to pay the general fund then.

  6. Progressives “own” the overwhelming majority of the media and schools, but for the fact they are obviously “wrong” on most issues the game would be over.

    1. God it must suck to be youse guys.

      1. I know, right? Us deplorables are hanging by our fingernails here, being demographically replaced by our betters from below the Rio Grande or Africa, clinging to our Bible and guns, lashing out ineffectually by voting in an orange skinned cad from NY who conspired with Russia, left behind in rural backwaters, the only places of higher education available to us being someplace like Hillsdale.

        Am I missing anything?

        1. Yeah havevnot seen that happening for some reason.
          What is it? Oh wait Africa and Central America have such a great culture that if we just get past our racism they’ll succeed far more than you privileged white folks.
          You’ll see

        2. The mouth breathing giving us halitosis?

        3. Weird how white oppression came up of it’s own accord as you were trying to satirize the left.

          Almost as though it’s a core part of your identity nowadays.

    2. “Am I so out of touch..?”

      “No, it’s the people who study and report on the things I have strongly held but cursorily informed opinions about that are wrong.”

  7. I agree with the preceding comments. I will add this observation: There isn’t anything sacred about colleges and universities. Free inquiry (which most of them no longer support) can go on without them. Advances in theoretical and applied science can go on without them, as long as there are free markets that support the development and application of scientific knowledge. In fact, colleges and universities have (on the whole) become so inimical to free markets that Americans would be better off with far fewer colleges and universities. Sending kids to college has become conspicuous consumption. The practical value of colleges and universities is realized through courses that could be replicated by for-profit institutions. The rest — including the bloated, mostly leftist administrative apparatus — is waste.

    1. Indeed, we should note that during the period (say 1660 to 1871) when Oxford and Cambridge were closed to non-Anglicans, they became intellectual backwaters, and the real intellectual action occurred in dissenting academies, Scottish universities, and sundry other places.

    2. This sounds great and all, but the reality is that colleges now serve as an initial hurdle to get hired for jobs, get promotions, or even hold certain positions.

      Want to be a lawyer? Well, you can go to all the for-profit schooling you want, but it isn’t going to matter. Want to work as a chemist? Good luck finding a for-profit school–unless you’re aware of a for-profit school that maintains a multi-million dollar chem lab.

    3. as long as there are free markets that support the development and application of scientific knowledge.

      Some applications, yes. But the notion that the market is going to support the development of scientific knowledge in general is nonsense.

      Private investors fund activities from which they can capture the gains. Lots of basic research doesn’t generate immediate gains, and those it does generate are often diffuse, not amenable to capture by private business.

      And of course some social science research is policy-oriented, which means it’s not of much value to private business at all.

      Yeah, yeah, go ahead and sneer. I know what you think.

      1. “But the notion that the market is going to support the development of scientific knowledge in general is nonsense.”

        Well, sure. The market is only going to support the development of potentially useful scientific knowledge. But what’s the problem with treating the accumulation of useless knowledge as exactly what it is: A luxury good?

        1. It’s not that the markets only neglect useless research.

          Markets don’t have the time horizon to make basic research investments, especially given the hazy metrics for potential utility at that point.
          In basic research, dead ends are useful because they lay the arena for future applied research. Industry doesn’t play that game.

          That’s why basic research even in areas like condensed matter physics or quantum computing is still a government endevour.

          1. This is incorrect. Industry “does” play that game.

            1. Industry does applied research.

    4. I agree, but the only way to accomplish that is to make sure employers don’t require college degrees in order to have jobs.

      Remove that requirement, and colleges WILL start disappearing.

      1. State action to change the market in order to strangle demand for an institution you don’t like?

        1. You’re reading WAY more into what I typed than what was actually there. I didn’t say anything about state action at all, nor was I even hinting it.

          If I were an employer, I’d purposely look at those without college degrees, who were good, or had experience, in what my business does. I’d look at things like military service, community service and reputation, and those would come BEFORE I considered a college degree.

          I work in the real world. I’ve seen the company I work for pass up on good candidates because of a human resources rule about degrees, and hire complete idiots who couldn’t even turn on a computer.

          1. make sure employers don’t require

            I can think of only one way to make sure employers don’t do something. You didn’t really bring up any alternatives so I still don’t know what you’re talking about.

            Credentialism sucks, I agree with that part.

        2. Your comment would apply equally to any state action to break up a monopoly or market cartel.

          Would you make the same retort to anyone who proposed government action against Amazon?

  8. The trend these days is to denigrate higher education and lionize trade schools. My guess is the student debt crisis is a primary driver of this, but other factors like the rise of anti-intellectualism play into it, too.

    Trade schools have long received short shrift — in my youth, alternatives to high school were usually considered refuges for the “bad kids” — and should be funded and promoted similarly to other forms of education. The wide swing of the pendulum that has us questioning whether higher ed has any value whatsoever is dangerous in at least two ways. The move away from education, even education for its own sake, will make us a dumber and weaker society. And adding tens or hundreds of thousands of new tradesmen every year will result in far far too many tradesmen for the available work.

    The trades are an alternative to higher education, not a replacement. They deserve respect, but like higher ed, are not for everybody.

    1. The only quibble I have, is that of the label of anti-intellectualism. I would more appropriately label the slow burn of rebellion against higher education going on as anti-credentialism or being against self-styled “experts.”

      1. After someone has earned an expert’s credential, what thought process justifies, “self-styled?”

        From discussions which attend originalism threads, I know that many on the political right reflexively debunk graduate degrees in history. Only two explanations readily account for that: anti-intellectualism, or ideology taking reflexive offense against non-ideological thought. Neither is a likely characteristic of a thoughtful person.

        There is almost zero chance of anyone successfully faking “self-styled” history expertise. Likewise for political science, philosophy, foreign relations, English or American literature, art history, any foreign literature, economics, or even (gasp) American studies.

        There are other fields which mix cranks with genuine experts, sociology being one of those. In such cases, a thoughtful person would look for the experts, and avoid the cranks, not write off the entire field. Anyone stupid enough to write off W.E.B. Du Bois because he was a sociologist would be stupid indeed.

        Note that I have covered a fair swath of liberal arts, without mentioning any sciences, which right-wingers appear to tolerate better. Prejudice against liberal arts more accurately pinpoints right wing anti-intellectualism, while highlighting one of its worst features. Few of the problems which beset this nation now will yield to STEM expertise. Most will demand thoughtful, reasoned insight of the kind liberal arts education can develop. Understanding that makes singling out liberal arts for intolerant criticism seem particularly perverse.

        1. What do you mean “faking”? Lots of people (e.g., Garry Wills) write history books who don’t have degrees in history. Are they “faking”? When Christopher Hitchens or Richard Dawkins write about religion, are they “faking”? I really don’t know what you mean.

          1. FWIW Gary Wills has a PhD in classics which crosses over into “history” a great deal (several of my history courses were cross-listed with the classics department).

            But more to the point, I would say that “faking” means producing something that isn’t done using the most common methods.

            For instance, if you’re producing a work of history and don’t do any archival research or at the very least extensive review of every relevant published primary source you might be faking it. Or if you only look at translations rather than learning the language of the source. Not reading and understanding the work of historians of the subject you’re working on is also a warning sign of fakery. What has been written previously will help the author put what they’re looking at into context. Naomi Wolf ran into big trouble recently when she did not engage with what was written on English legal history and as a result, completely misunderstood the documents that were supposed to support her thesis.
            Reading and understanding other historians does not mean agreeing with, by the way. Academic historians often make their name disagreeing with each other. But they also endeavor to understand and learn from each other. It also allows them not to rehash what is widely accepted and to focus their ideas and critiques.

            In essence, faking occurs when you don’t do what historians are trained to do. You don’t necessarily need the full six years of grad school to do these things, but you do need a commitment to do the things in the manner they do them for your specific project to avoid faking it.

          2. Good point about the polymath Garry Wills. But do you really suppose there are “lots of people,” like him? Wills, of course, was trained as a classicist, a discipline which shares points in common with the practice of history.

            As for “faking,” maybe you ought to take that up with mad_kalak. I thought that was a fair descriptor within the scope of his objection to “self-styled,” expertise—expertise which is self-styled presumably being a recognizably inferior grade (and thus “fake”) compared to expertise which is genuine.

            With regard to Hitchens and Dawkins, their cases are too complicated for me. If either of them has ever been taken as a professional writer on religion, I am not aware of it. I thought their subject matter had more to do with the methods and uses of reason, with religion critiqued as an example of bad reason. But I don’t know their work well, and would welcome correction.

            What I really mean is that many academic fields, including fields among the liberal arts, have genuine expertise to offer. Right wingers who insist otherwise risk being taken for fools.

            1. Most professional philosophers heaped scorn on Hitchens and Dawkins.

            2. People take writing classes all of the time. They also study history without being required to read Howard Zinn.

              If you can do those two things, you can write a book about history without the “benefit” of a credential from a university.

              1. …do you think every history course includes a dollop of Zinn?

                1. MANY high schools use Zinn’s textbook. I’m not sure this point addresses my points.

                  1. Many.
                    Well then.

                    Your Equating educational credentials with reading Zinn has multiple levels of issues. Reading != indoctrination; no proof Zinn is that common a requirement beyond ipse dixit; your later conflation of a HS diploma with a history degree.

                    What if I said the same thing about English degrees and reading Ayn Rand?

        2. Most will demand thoughtful, reasoned insight of the kind liberal arts education can develop. Understanding that makes singling out liberal arts for intolerant criticism seem particularly perverse.

          But your defense of liberal arts in the abstract is beside the point since the charge is that liberal arts at many universities is not non-ideological, but rather has a leftist slant. Your point is apparently to deny this and to claim that such a charge can only come from some right-wing person lacking in thoughtfulness.

          1. Doubtless, swood1000, less-capable leftist practitioners of liberal arts permit prejudices to bias their work products—as do less-capable practitioners of just about everything. But how would that support a generalization that all do it? How would it justify asserting that the best—who do not do it—should be thwarted? How would it make academic sense to take that generalization as a premise toward “balancing” less-competent left-wing bias with an addition of less-competent right-wing bias?

            Is it the charge that the practice of liberal arts by people presumed to be leftists dooms their work product to leftist bias? If so, that charge is indeed less than thoughtful.

            For example, it would be difficult to find liberal arts practitioners more leftist than were the historians E.P. Thompson and Eric Hobsbawm—both avowed communists. Naturally, their work attracted critiques on ideological grounds. Indeed, some attacks on Hobsbawm’s prolonged indulgence of Soviet communism were virulent—no doubt modern conservatives would also judge them well-justified. But it is sensible to note that Hobsbawm’s politics and his professional work were largely separate matters. Even many among conservative historians held Hobsbawm’s professionalism in high regard. This, from Hobsbawm’s Wikipedia article, is an example:

            In 2008, the historian Tony Judt summed up Hobsbawm’s career thus: “Eric J. Hobsbawm was a brilliant historian in the great English tradition of narrative history. On everything he touched he wrote much better, had usually read much more, and had a broader and subtler understanding than his more fashionable emulators. If he had not been a lifelong Communist he would be remembered simply as one of the great historians of the 20th century”.

            If you don’t mind letting communists try to influence you with facts, you could do worse than read Thompson’s, The Making of the English Working Class, or Hobsbawm’s celebrated trilogy— The Age of Revolution: Europe: 1789–1848; The Age of Capital: 1848–1875; The Age of Empire: 1875–1914.

            At a minimum, the time you gave to those books would serve to help you critique any susceptibility you might have to let your own ideology prejudice what you think and say.

            Also, there are of course brilliant conservatives in the academic liberal arts tradition, although many of them seem unknown to modern movement conservatives. One in particular might be a useful balance to consider against the communists. Try reading Michael Oakeshott’s, Rationalism in Politics and Other Essays.

            1. Doubtless, swood1000, less-capable leftist practitioners of liberal arts permit prejudices to bias their work products—as do less-capable practitioners of just about everything. But how would that support a generalization that all do it?

              Nobody says that all do it. The claim is that too many do it. The claim is that it is common on campuses today that those wishing to voice a point of view out of favor with the progressive left are subjected to political attack and abuse from both faculty and students, and are often denied a venue in which to speak. Do you deny this?

              How would it justify asserting that the best—who do not do it—should be thwarted? How would it make academic sense to take that generalization as a premise toward “balancing” less-competent left-wing bias with an addition of less-competent right-wing bias?

              Who has suggested that those who do not permit prejudices to bias their work product, or who do not support attempts to silence the opposition, should be thwarted? Nor is the author of this article suggesting that the solution to irresponsible leftist academic activity is to introduce the same kind of activity from the right.

              I don’t know how you come to the conclusion that I believe that anyone should be silenced or should not be listened to because of his or her beliefs. I am saying exactly the opposite. Why would I object to letting communists try to influence me with facts? But do you deny that there is a problem on campuses today when it comes to allowing those with a conservative or libertarian message to try to influence others with facts? Speakers such as Ben Shapiro and Heather MacDonald come to mind.

              1. Do you deny this?

                Swood, if Oakeshott were alive today, and still offering his withering, unanswerable critique of communism, I deny that he could not find a senior tenured position, with a special endowment, at any university he cared to choose—and in either of two fields, history or philosophy.

                You ought to read that Oakeshott book I recommended. If you did, I suggest it would give you new insight into what conservative thinking ought to mean. It might also give you a clearer picture why movement conservatism might be shunned, and for what reasons. If you try it, I should warn you that Oakeshott’s writing style is an acquired taste. Some people find they have to stick with it for a bit before they learn to like it.

                The aforementioned Tony Judt was a conservative historian with an honored place at New York University. He died too young. He too could still be teaching anywhere.

                To me, the academic problem seems mostly to be that movement conservatism has nearly zero academic relevance. It doesn’t mean, and it cannot explain. It can only endlessly repeat axiomatic ideological premises, to which it demands allegiance. Or, on vacation, movement conservatism goes out hunting for reactive opportunities. It knows what it is against, and everything ends there, except for the complaining about the short shrift it gets in academia.

                Movement conservatism may have a reasonable chance of being taught in future history departments, for its consequences. I doubt anyone will ever convince academics that it is a substantive conservative philosophy, worth teaching for its methods and values. Unless movement conservatism changes substantially, and becomes more thoughtful, it simply has too few methods and values to create a curriculum. The closest academic analogue I can think of would be the anarchist movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. That is still taught as a matter of history, but not much for its content.

                1. “But do you deny that there is a problem on campuses today when it comes to allowing those with a conservative or libertarian message to try to influence others with facts? Speakers such as Ben Shapiro and Heather MacDonald come to mind.”

            2. Reading alternative views with which you may disagree only sharpens your understanding. Here is a useful observation by Charles Darwin: “False facts are highly injurious to the progress of science, for they often endure long; but false views, if supported by some evidence, do little harm, for everyone takes a salutary pleasure in proving their falseness.”

              1. Alas, false views supported mainly by axiomatic assertions just waste everyone’s time. To save that, such assertions can be dismissed with Hitchen’s Razor: “What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence.”

                That’s the pickle movement conservatism finds itself in vis a vis academia. With nothing empirical to talk about, movement conservatism confuses itself trying to turn quick dismissal into empirical evidence that it suffers discrimination. It’s a circular argument which baffles everyone except movement conservatives, whom it fools.

        3. My disagreement with you is a matter of degree. Pun intended. First, a bachelor’s degree, or an advanced degree, gives no one an expert status in any field, as just about anything learned at that level can be learned through on the job through experience or just reading a lot of books. Even lawyering. Not to mention that law school does not actually train one to be a lawyer. People who come out of school with an MA or an MS are still, to put it in Gen Z speak, are Newbs, and are only “expert” in that we have a wide range of specialization of labor. They are easily surpassed by those with deep knowledge of the field but no degree.

          To your specific point about history, expert status is certainly conferred on those w/o an advanced degree, the most famous examples being David McCullough and Jane Jacobs. Expert knowledge in a field happens all the time if one devotes themselves to the subject, look at computer programming, where results matter more than degrees.

          My problem with “experts” mostly comes about when they think their specialized knowledge in one field grants them wide berth to speak to policy in another. Medical doctors are perhaps the best (infamous?) example of this phenomena.

          1. I’d say lawyers are the best example of an expert who believes they are competent to speak with authority in any field.

            1. I stand corrected.

              1. Although I guess it depends on whether lawyers are actually experts in anything in the first place.

                1. Good lawyers are like good plumbers. They are experts in using unearthed arcana rather than tubes and water pressure towards a client’s desired result.

          2. To your specific point about history, expert status is certainly conferred on those w/o an advanced degree, the most famous examples being David McCullough and Jane Jacobs.

            Jane Jacobs the urbanist? Is there someone else by that name, who wrote history?

            As for McCullough, no. Just no. McCullough is an excellent example of an esteemed popularizer of history. I have bought several of his books, and liked them. I am reading his latest now. He is very good at what he does. What he does is greatly and justly praised. Here and there, he has added a bit of new historical insight. His book on the Panama Canal is said to have done that.

            But McCulloch practices the activity of being a writer, not the activity of being a historian. For that, McCulloch has been properly celebrated. Probably more celebrated than any American historian, ever. To bystanders, that makes the case confusing. Because McCulloch writes about history, it is easy to take away the impression that McCulloch is celebrated for his contributions to history.

            That is a mistaken impression. McCulloch is too present-minded to be accounted a proper historian of all he surveyed. About the vast range of topics, places, and eras with which he deals, nobody could read enough historical sources in a lifetime to become historically proficient in all of it. Given that, it is not really a critique of his great body of work to point out that it isn’t really history. It is something different, and praiseworthy on its own terms. It is literature, written in a historical context, and so gracefully and proficiently done that any good reader can enjoy it, and profit by exposure to some facts of history in the process.

            But for actual history you will still have to turn to a historian— someone who has so thoroughly pickled himself in the historical record of a particular place and time that he has become immune to present-minded interpretation. A historian trained that way stands out as if he were an actual denizen of the past, projected forward by a time machine. Such a person is readily distinguished as someone completely ignorant of everything which occurred during the interval between his departure from the past, and his arrival in the present. Encountering someone like that should always feel at least a bit strange—and perhaps more strange in proportion to the magnitude of removal in time and place. Encountering McCulloch never feels anything but easy and familiar.

            Strangeness is what McCulloch does not achieve. In that, he is in nearly universal company. With very rare, self-taught exceptions, only professional historians achieve sufficient reading of source materials, and mental discipline, to honor accurately the strangeness of the past. Typically, a historian becomes a specialist in only one place and one era—such as the American Civil War, or the French Revolution. A few of the greatest historians master more, but none has ever encompassed anything like McCulloch’s repertoire.

            Unlike a historian, McCulloch sacrifices depth of historical insight, and takes his payoff in breadth instead. Nothing wrong with that. But the easy familiarity McCulloch imparts to his narratives is the reader’s tip-off that they are not history. They are grand literature about the past, and rightly enjoyed on that account.

            1. Jane Jacob’s work encompassed far more than urbanism.

              You’ve fallen into the commonplace assumption that only the credentialed can name themselves experts, spending another 6 paragraphs trying to exclude McCulloch. Further, but framing McCulloch as just a populizer of history rather than an expert on history, you’ve forgotten that they are many experts in fields who write to popularize a topic. Doing so does not lessen expert status. A Brief History of Time, written by an expert, was popular non-fiction.

              1. Historical experts are the people who discover history. McCulloch is not really one of those. His role is in no way comparable to that of Hawking, who both discovered and explained. Likewise, in the case of history, not comparable to any of the great historians—in America exampled by Miller, Woodward, and Morgan, for instances—who also both discovered and explained.

                I do not want you to suppose I dismiss McCulloch. His work has been skilled, worthy, helpful, important, and extravagantly honored. But your insistence that he is a historical expert would leave anyone at a loss about what to say to justly credit those historians who did more, to truly delve into the past to understand the past as did the people who lived then.

          3. I always heard it said, an Intellectual is an expert who opines on fields other than their field of expertise.

        4. There seem to be quite a few graduate programs whose only purpose is to churn out the next generation of graduate school professors.

          How many people earn a living outside academia, or think tanks, or other political positions, using their gender study or butt hurt degrees?

          1. Such data was posted on another thread on a similar topic by a regular commentator. If I recall, it wasn’t that high.

        5. As someone who’s hired scores of PhDs, the problem is that a high credential does NOT indicate an expert – it indicates a not-complete-idiot who was willing to invest time.

          My best data scientists (before that title got eroded over the past few years) either had no degrees at all but were at the cutting edge of massively parallel computing development (I have 3 in mind), or had a PhD in a different field (Physics and biology).

          I even got to the point where I had to tell my recruiter that I was only interested in PhDs or people with no degrees at all, because a BS or MS without extensive experience in practice just meant someone I’d have to train from scratch. That’s starting to not be the case anymore, but even then the degree doesn’t guarantee much, especially with the degradation in teaching the scientific method over the past few decades (note: based on knowledge of applicants by age). Too many people now think that science doesn’t require falsifiability, and just write a model that predicts something they never bother to verify.

    2. “but other factors like the rise of anti-intellectualism play into it, too.”

      In some ways, what is going on on campus is probably what should be characterized as “anti-intellectualism”. As being opposed to intellect.

      1. Just as being racist against whites is acceptable and not really racist, or hating and denigrating males is not really sexist (genderist?), or shouting down speakers you don’t like is increasing freedom, or eliminating market choices in deodorants is pro-consumer, or ….

    3. “The trend these days is to denigrate higher education and lionize trade schools.”

      Not among successful, reasoning, informed people.

      1. Keep patting yourself on the back, Art. But it’s just you reassuring yourself. The smartest people in the country are the ones who can calculate an angle to cut a board when building a house, or estimate how much wire to run throughout said house, etc.

        Lawyers, for the most part, are book smart. Ask them to do any of the above, and they’re as lost as you are when it comes to judging people.

        1. If our smartest people are cutting boards and measuring wire at homesites rather than, for example, working on disease cures, arranging monetary policy, or handling complex commercial transactions, we likely are doing it wrong.

        2. The smartest people in the country are the ones who can calculate an angle to cut a board when building a house, or estimate how much wire to run throughout said house, etc.

          Callahan, you are mistaken to suggest that establishes a useful hierarchy. You would better stop shorter, at equality.

          For years, I made my living doing stuff like that, except in heavy steel fabrication. I found among my co-workers some ex-farmers, among them a few who amazed me with insights and efficient methods they made up on the spot, to create large one-off fabrications. Try as I did, I could not match that ability. But they found me helpful, because I had a few fundamental skills developed to an unusual degree, and more so, because I could read and understand more-complicated blueprints, which defeated them.

          By contrast, I have academically inclined friends—exemplified by one nuclear family which features 4 economics PhDs, one each among two parents and two children—who are puzzled when I talk about the steel fabricators. These economists seem convinced the future lies in training the children of craftspeople to transcend the physical, and rise into a middle-class of knowledge workers. I suppose they think that way because the principle of comparative advantage requires that labor be fungible. Or something.

          It would be a notable achievement, and I think a help to the nation, to convince the economists that the ex-farmers deserve consideration as equals. But not just as equals in principle, but because they demonstrate they can invent and practice useful activities which the intellectuals could not learn, let alone practice.

          I suggest that would be enough. Trying to go farther, and convince the economists to accept roles as inferiors seems unwise.

  9. “[I]f Republicans continue to believe that on the whole universities are damaging American society, they are unlikely to try to defend them against misguided political interventions from the political left and are more likely to propose misguided political interventions of their own.”
    How about we just defund them? Eliminate all public funding of higher education. Who’s onboard?

    1. Yes, because what we really need is a way for the upper-middle-class to further insulate themselves (or, more precisely, their children) from competition from the poor.

    2. This idea deserves a spot in the VC Hall of Great Stupidities.

    3. “How about we just defund them? Eliminate all public funding of higher education.”

      You’ll also have to have a program of increasing whining because the leftist Chinese are kicking our butts in science and technology.

      Ever since WWII, the US has been maintaining its technological lead because other countries keep sending their best here to be educated, and we pick off the best to work in American technology companies. Give them no reason to come here, and they’ll stay home and drive their own countries economies instead of ours.
      Our only meaningful exports will be Hollywood movies and soybeans, and the Chinese are already looking for alternatives to both.

    4. Ed – judging the reaction to your proposal, you must have thought you were commenting on a libertarian blog. I’m sorry to inform you that there ain’t many of those in the comment streams at Reason anymore…

  10. Certainly the bar has been lowered for academia in general. When college professors are arrested for attacking rally attendants with bicycle locks because “politics” and students attacking professors who aren’t sufficiently far enough left it says something. It says something else when universities don’t require a modicum of diplomacy from their students, coddle those with extreme views, and even promote divisiveness within their own halls even extending to their own faculty based on political agendas and who has a right to “safe spaces” or other simple dignities. For all their talk of fairness and inclusiveness they fall far short of their words and march swiftly in the opposite direction.

  11. I came to see the Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland’s take on the Right’s anti-education fetish, but guess I’m too early. I’ll come back later….

    1. It’s the same sh*t. Expect something about how the Ivy League is awesome and liberal and Oral Roberts U. or Liberty U. is a 4th tier dump for stupid people. Never mind that someplace like Evergreen U.is a liberal dump.

      1. Carry on, clinger. And do try to keep a sense of humor.

        Also : Is the Anti-Higher Education Party really what you want to belong to? Given any thought how that appears? Can you find even a thimbleful of meaning in all the Right’s cottage industry of snowflake whining re pretentious undergrads & professorial longhairs ?!?

        Look, we all know today’s conservatism is about nurturing Vicitimhood and Grievance, but I gotta say : This university shtick just seems so damn pathetic.

        1. grb, I dare say, you’re in danger of coming off as erratic and stupid as our other progressive twerp regular, the (un)esteemed Rev.

    2. There is plenty, and he’s up to his usual standards. Read and laugh…

  12. but they would be wise to take a serious look in the mirror and consider how they could win back the confidence of conservative Americans.

    The credo among the progressive elite in good standing today seems to be that conservatives are fundamentally motivated by racism and other base, self-serving and indefensible forms of hatred and prejudice. Why would they want to win back the confidence of such people, as opposed to elimination of such attitudes through demonization? To even express such a wish is to open one’s progressive bona fides up to question, and in any event even if funds are withdrawn from the university, academic tenure assures that it will be some time before any of them is at risk individually. Since new faculty are hired by existing faculty what reason is there to suppose that there will be any change in the near future?

  13. What would a conservative version of a liberal arts university education look like?

    1. Homeschoolin’ so’s he can larn him to read the Bible, Sunday school to make sure he larns him how the Bible fits in with Baptist teaching, plus Biola so he larns him that the Bible tells him to vote Republican.

      All other fancy book larnin’ is of the devil.

      1. And whippin’. Lots of whippin’ to beat the sinnin’ out of him.

        (I say “him” because all the wimmen need to larn is ironin’ their husbands’ shirts, plus cookin’)

    2. Probably the old standbys — literature, history, art.

      Just drop all that social justice dreck and butt-hurt studies.

      1. Or perhaps even more to the point — get rid of the student loan scam, get rid of federal interference in college (Title IX etc).

        Stop stealing taxes to fund professors and students and especially the over-paid parasite admins who earn their living making up nonsense about racist genderist rubes who pay those taxes.

      2. Yes, because literature, art, and history have never concerned themselves with social justice issues.

        1. They are at least real, studying real facts, and employing real people in the private sector.

        2. Like teaching the views of Henry Timrod or John Calhoun or Ezra Pound? Any teacher who tried that would be banned from the classroom.

          1. Which is why no one has ever heard of those people these days.

            (To be fair, I’d never heard of Timrod)

      3. Wouldn’t butt-hurt studies just cause more pain? Well maybe with appropriate lube and gradual stretching exercises over time – I could see it being at least a four year degree since I’ve got to think going from zero to goatse.cx isn’t for beginners.

    3. What would a conservative version of a liberal arts university education look like?

      How about an education without any slant, liberal or conservative? This would be one, for example, in which if someone suggests that we talk about the effect of inner city culture on inner city poverty, and what changes might be possible and helpful, such a proposal is not met with shrieks of racism and demands that such a talk be forbidden on campus.

      1. Or at least that such a response does not come from the faculty and is not acceded to by the administration.

      2. Would it also be one where a history professor talks about how slavery sucked without being accused of leftist anti-American bias?

        1. History is not a morality play, and there is no need to bring moral judgments into it. The people in the past are beyond our power to punish or reward, and sitting in moral judgment of them is just an excuse to adopt an air of unearned moral superiority.

          1. No wonder conservative schools suck.

          2. All human life has morality woven through it. History is not about dull recitation of dates and events, it is about lives.

            So I’ve got bad news for you. A course that somehow teaches about Genghis Khan without engaging the moral implications of his acts would be either boring or sociopathic.

        2. Would it also be one where a history professor talks about how slavery sucked without being accused of leftist anti-American bias?

          Yes, if you can find such a case, as opposed to a history professor announcing in class as an historical fact that the United States was founded in ignominy and is today racist to its core.

        3. Would it also be one where a history professor talks about how slavery sucked without being accused of leftist anti-American bias

          Ah, another white prog who thinks he’s the first person to discover that slavery sucks …

    4. Classics to the level where you can read Plato and Virgil in the original, math through multi-variable integration and differential equations, English Chaucer to Eliot, economics through CAPM, four semesters Western history Plato to Nato, enough other courses to bring you to 120 semester-hours.

    5. I don’t think conservatives are asking for a conservative version of a liberal-arts education (and to the extent they are, they can usually find them in certain sectarian schools – Bethel University and Northwestern University here in the Twin Cities being examples I can think of).

      What they are asking for is a non-partisan education. And for that, it would be one that encourages debate and engagement, not activisim.

      For example, in law school, I had an international-law professor who at the start of class volunteered that he leaned right, but found himself disagreeing with current republicans. He ran a very non-partisan class that did a good job of presenting competing arguments. Conversely, I signed up for a local government class taught by an activist professor who, as part of the class, required students basically petition local governments to expand affordable housing (e.g., make proposals to city councils, advocate for more affordable housing or viewer zoning restrictions at meetings, etc.). It had little to do with how government operated and lots to do with advocating a particular outcome the professor wanted. I immediately dropped the class because I was there to learn about and discuss a problem, not take a specific partisan view on the issue.

      1. “What they are asking for is a non-partisan education. And for that, it would be one that encourages debate and engagement, not activisim.”

        They may be ASKING for that, but they don’t like it when they actually get it.

        1. Care to point to an example of that, James? Your comment assumes that’s what’s going on.

          David’s examples are spot-on. That second teachers WAS being biased, and there is no arguing against that.

    6. Not a conservative, but I’d guess mine would be close:

      Mandatory courses for everyone:
      Math: multi variable calculus, discrete math, differential equations, topology
      Physics: mechanics, E&M, nuclear, fluid dynamics
      Astronomy: astronavigation (combination of mechanics, gravity, and differential equations)
      Linguistics
      Computer programming (any modern language and assembly or similar)
      Any classical language and a course in it’s literature (ex: Ancient Greek and Aristophanes)
      Any modern foreign language that’s not a derivative of the classical language, including conversational levels
      Economic theory
      Accounting (GAAP and ledger balancing)
      Oration (can be substituted with Opera or a similar performing art, but not musical instruments)
      Literature survey
      Marketing (based in Robert Cialdinis)
      Mind Utilization (based on Samuel Renshaw or similar)
      Scientific Method (based on Feynman)
      Civil engineering (bridges, cars, exact curriculum to change with technology)

      That’s probably a good start.

  14. West Point, Annapolis, Hillsdale College.

  15. The simplest proof that most of academia today is wildly misguided is their near universal support for socialism, an idea that empirical evidence shows produces human misery and leads to tyranny. That someone might support socialsim in, say, 1920, might be forgiven. That they do so 100 years later, after the experience of a century, betrays a complete lack of intellectual foundation.

    1. “The simplest proof that most of academia today is wildly misguided is their near universal support for socialism…”

      Yup. Academics and free markets hate each other.

    2. their near universal support for socialism,

      Care to back that up?

    3. Where “socialism” is defined as “the government provides (any) services to the public”, yeah, lots of suggestions for socialized (X) or socialized (Y). Where “socialism” is defined as Marx and Engels, um, have to laugh in your face at that one.

      1. James – thats a straw man, and you know it. No one is saying any government service is socialism. Which is an incorrect assumption to begin with.

        Things that are not socialism:
        Police, fire, public works, local governments, state governments, etc.

        Things that ARE socialism:
        Heavy government regulation in any industry, Medicare for all, loose welfare standards, etc.

        Hope that helps.

        1. No one is saying any government service is socialism.

          Brett’s called it fascism.

          I do like your tellingly nebulous socialism examples versus your concrete ‘these are cool’ examples.

          1. I think he’s getting at the principle of rivalry and excludability.

            Any good that’s non-excludable means that if one person makes it then everyone else can free ride off it. An anti-asteroid defense laser is a good example: if I don’t want to die from the next planet killer asteroid I have to build it, but once built you get all of the benefits without any marginal cost.

            A rivalrous good is one where more of it adds benefit, so non-rivalrous means that more isn’t better. In other words, if I’m using it, you can’t. A fire department fits this, as if I’m using it, you can’t.

            Police and fire departments are close (but not perfect) to being non-rivalrous, though in extreme cases they can only do so much. They can be made non-excludable (and I’d hope they are, but we have policing problems everywhere), so these are often cited as non-socialist example of government action, as is military defense, though again at extremes that starts to break down – I’m sure Hawaii was unhappy that in 1941 there were any naval vessels elsewhere.

            Medical care, however, is excludable. By definition anything you eat only helps you. It’s also rivalrous – medical car consumes items beyond the time of the provider, which can’t be given to someone else.

            These are pretty common ways to determining what should be done by a polity and what shouldn’t, and I assume that’s what he’s getting at.

            1. That’s a fine distinction, though it sweeps up the New Deal as socialism, making America socialist.

              It runs afoul of the usual criticism of libertarianism as thinking Victorian England was a paradise of voluntary charity and low regulation, when in reality it was kind of a social horrorshow for anyone who wasn’t rich.

              1. It runs afoul of the usual criticism of libertarianism as thinking Victorian England was a paradise of voluntary charity and low regulation, when in reality it was kind of a social horrorshow for anyone who wasn’t rich.

                Actually, the entire history of the human race was a social horror show for everyone, including the rich, prior to the 20th century in terms of life expectancy, rate of poverty, medical care, material comforts, etc. As Hobbes put it, the life of man was solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. What brought us out of it was the wealth generated by free market capitalism. But free market capitalism did not cause the lives of so many in Victorian England to still be nasty, brutish, and short. That had been the human condition for 50,000 years.

        2. I have understood “socialism” to refer to government ownership and control of the means of production. Police and fire — apart from volunteer firefighters — are thus by definition a form of “socialism”.

          “Heavy” government regulation is a nicely ambiguous case, since it leaves open the exact nature of the “heavy” regulation that would tip the scales to “socialism,” and instead can be used tactically by Conservatives to disparage any regulation as “socialism.” In my field, medicine, the introduction of regulations on, say, snake oil sale in the late 19th and early 20th century was a form of heavy regulation that saved lives and promoted the development of truly effective medications. I suspect that most people would accept that kind of “socialism” without much complaint.

          “Medicare for all” is a payment system, unlike the British NHS in which physicians and other providers are government employees, so any “socialism” label is worn awkwardly at best.

  16. Many on the left are doing this. Left-wing academics recently perpetrated the Sokal Squared hoax, where they succeed in getting several academic journals to publish fake papers drawing ridiculous conclusions using SJ jargon. They even got the feminist journal Affilia to publish “Our Struggle Is My Struggle: Solidarity Feminism as an Intersectional Reply to Neoliberal and Choice Feminism”, which was a chapter from “Mein Kampf” re-written as feminist pastiche.

    1. And they were disciplined for doing so. The academy does not look kindly on such criticism.

  17. There is probably a limit as to what universities themselves can do to improve the situation, but they would be wise to take a serious look in the mirror and consider how they could win back the confidence of conservative Americans.

    If not the universities, who do you think has the ability to improve the relationship between universities and conservatives?

    Even assuming the fault lies strictly with some nebulous group of “conservatives,” there is no way of correcting the thoughts of a significant portion of the country.

    The reality is that left-wing elements in universities have been allowed to run rampant within the institutions and created (at least) the impression that conservatives (previously conservative ideas, but now it looks like the bigotry has expanded to anyone who ever even entertained a conservative thought) are not to be tolerated at universities.

    1. David French is too genteel to say “conservatives, stop your unbecoming whinging, say what you think, and live with other people’s speech about it.”

      But I’m not.

      Ken White (Popehat)

      1. The ironic thing is that we conservatives are doing just that, because we have no other choice. So pithiness aside, I’m not sure that quote has any effect.

        1. You’ve stopped whinging? Doesn’t look like it!

  18. Conservatives claim to have identified an important market failure generated by the point that our strongest schools are uniformly operated by in the liberal-libertarian mainstream — if only there were strong schools that were conservative-controlled, strong schools that flattered right-wing positions and hired conservative faculties. Such a strong, conservative school would, if conservatives are correct, attract more students than could be enrolled and generate enormous revenue from myriad sources.

    Yet right-wingers do not create strong conservative-controlled schools. Instead, the hundreds of conservative-controlled campuses are typically third- and fourth-tier, if not unranked, slack-jaw factories with sketchy accreditation and shambling students.

    Why are conservative schools so bad? Schools that lean conservative tend to teach nonsense. They are shackled by censorship. They suppress science and warp history to flatter superstition. They mock academic freedom. They enforce speech and conduct codes, collecting signed loyalty oaths. Most important, conservative-operated schools teach nonsense, with predictable effect on the student body, prospective employers, student achievement, and institutional reputation.

    Conservatives have attempted to create strong right-wing schools for decades, with nothing more to show for it than the Franciscans, Biolas, Wheatons, Libertys, Hillsdales, Ouachita Baptists, and Ave Marias — and the Oral Roberts-Bob Jones twins.

    Evidence indicates that conservatives are incapable of developing or operating strong colleges and universities. Others, however, have developed and operate many strong educational institutions. Just not conservatives.

    The market has spoken, vividly and repeatedly, but conservatives don’t like the result, so they ignore the evidence and its natural conclusions. They also continue to whine about how the strong schools refuse to emulate the weak by pushing conservative positions and hiring more conservative faculty members.

    Carry on, clingers. So far as a Liberty, Ozarks, or Ouachita Baptist education could carry anyone in modern America, I suppose.

    1. Damn, did you read the comment thread before you showed up? Your shtick was predicted and you responded right on cue too. You’re as regular as a old man with a bag full of prunes, and produce the same product.

      1. Conservatives will continue to operate and attend the right-leaning schools I mentioned — Wheaton to Regent, Dallas to Ave Maria — and dozens or hundreds like them.

        Liberals, moderates, and libertarians will continue to operate and attend the Berkeleys and Brandeises, Haverfords and Harvards, Princetons and Pittsburghs, Williamses and Wellesleys, Michigans and Minnesotas.

        The results will be predictable. And deserved.

        Clingers, as is always true, hardest hit — as can be noticed from the whimpering, complaining, and silly bluster.

        1. LOL, I didn’t go to Ave Maria.

          1. The issue isn’t which particular school one attended.

            The issue is which side of the important divide one is on.

            That divide is education vs. ignorance.
            Tolerance vs. bigotry.
            Reason vs. superstition.
            Modernity vs. backwardness.
            Science vs. dogma.
            Inclusivity vs. insularity.
            Strong liberal-libertarian and public schools vs. backwater religious schools and homeschooling.
            Modern, successful, improving communities vs. emptying, can’t-keep-up rural and southern stretches.
            Progress and optimism vs. pining for good old days that never existed and muttering about ‘all of this damnable progress.’

            1. Remind us of your “tolerance” in these threads?

        2. You love to cherry pick marginal schools, then compare them to old universities with significant endowments, name recognition, and alumni networks.

          Let’s see… Ave Maria – founded in 1998. Harvard – founded in 1636 and a $40 billion endowment. Yep, it was the marketplace of ideas holding Ave Maria back.

          Funny how schools like Notre Dame, DePaul, and BYU never make your list. Even University of Chicago, which was known for conservative thinkers, manages to evade your mentions.

          1. You figure a list of top 5 right-wing schools could hang with a list of top 5 liberal-libertarian schools?

            Top 10 vs. top 10?

            Top 20 vs. top 20?

            Top 50 vs. top 50?

            Top 100 vs. top 100?

            To test this, I would welcome your top 10 or top 20 conservative schools.

            I would also be willing to spot you five strong liberal-libertarian schools that we could disregard, although that still would not make this a sporting proposition. There are plenty of longstanding conservative-run schools . . . the problem for conservatives is those schools nearly uniformly suck. Mostly because they are conservative-run schools.

            1. Here are five liberal-libertarian schools I am prepared to spot conservatives (they would not be considered in a comparison): Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Williams, Reed.

              1. You just found out how the clingers were responsible for establishing Princeton?

                Sorry, you put Princeton on your list, and it stays.

                1. Maybe you can enlighten us on when Princeton stopped being fundamentalist and retrograde, and when it started being truly excellent.

                  1. The clingers propose to claim Princeton as a right-wing school?

                    Because Princeton tolerates Robert George, offsetting the entirety of the remainder of the campus?

                    1. Try to keep up, before preaching about how others can’t keep up.

            2. You’re missing the point. The argument from conservatives is that academia has become partisan. But they did so after being considered great schools. You suggest they became great because they are liberal (which is why the Wellesley/Clinton and Princeton retorts by Eddy refute your argument).

              In order to have a fair comparison, you’d need to form two universities today, one conservative and one liberal. You’d then see how those institutions performed. But, of course, nobody would form a liberal institution because they’ve already got a couple thousand of those to compete with. The conservative institution? Far fewer.

        3. Wellesley, you say?

          Here’s what one of St. Hillary Clinton’s biographers says about Wellesley at the time Hillary was there:

          “In 1965, when Rodham arrived, Wellesley students followed a strict code of conduct. They had to wear skirts to dinner. They had to obey a curfew (be in their dorm rooms by a certain hour). Young men weren’t allowed to visit them in their rooms except on Sunday afternoons.” (JoAnn Bren Guernsey, Hillary Rodham Clinton: Secretary of State, Lerner Publishing Group, 2010, 18-19).

          So was Wellesley still great when it had those old-timey conduct codes? If it *was* great, then maybe old-timey conduct codes don’t reflect on the greatness of an institution. It if *wasn’t* great, then maybe Hillary went to an inferior institution. Or at least all her unenlightened predecessors, before Hillary’s generation, were ruined by all the conservatism.

          1. Let’s do Princeton…

            …was it great when it was established in the wake of the Great Awakening by pious Presbyterians who then taught a whole generation of Founding Fathers?

            Was it great under the Presidency of Woody Wilson? Of course, Wilson is unambiguously one of yours, but I don’t think you’ll want to acknowledge him, given his racism *as expressed in his academic work.*

        4. The results will be predictable. And deserved.

          But not actually earned. Otherwise why would Hollywood actors and other richies pay people to get their otherwise stupid children into these colleges in the first place? Answer: because they’re credentialing factories, NOT education factories. People see “Harvard”, and automatically think these kids are smarter. No, they’re richer, and more connected. That’s it.

          And if for once you could get off your arrogant high horse, maybe you’d see some truth to that.

          1. I think the education supposed meritocracy is borked in many ways, class among them, but saying it’s a purely credentialing factory is just sour grapes.

            1. I agree that credentialing factory is too strong. But there are a number of name-brand schools that likely aren’t any better at educating students, but are enormous draws because employers make that assumption. In reality, it just means that the schools’ admission departments have done a bunch of the resume pre-sorting for the employer.

            2. It’s not just credentialing, but that’s a third of it.

              Before I moved into healthcare, I did strategic planning for one of the larger university systems to determine how to get marginal students through. One of the insights we came up with was that all higher education serves one of three purposes: to prove a credential, to provide job training, or for personal fulfillment.

              Take a look at many job postings and you’ll see many require a BS or MS degree….. but they don’t care in what, or accept a very broad range. That’s because they’re using the degree as a filter to remove lower tier candidates from the applicant pool, making the assumption that in average they’ll cut out a lot of bad applicants and only lose a few potentially good ones. For these jobs, the piece of paper is what matters, not where you went or what you learned. This was especially common in management positions where someone worked their way up and hit a glass ceiling because they didn’t have a degree.

              Next is job training, primarily engineering, chemistry, and similar, where you need a specific foundational knowledge to be worth training for the details of the job itself.

              Finally is personal fulfillment: the degree is for fun, because you want it.

              The problem is that many young people think they’re getting job training, but actually doing personal fulfillment, so when all they can do is serve my coffee they have sour grapes because they spent a lot of time and money gaining knowledge that they thought other people would value, but that no one does. These are the people who are having such a tough time.

              The solution, of course, is to tie a schools funding to a percentage of their students income for a period of years. Do that and you’ll see computer science and petroleum engineering stop being impacted programs, and dance start to be limited to the very best.

              1. many young people think they’re getting job training, but actually doing personal fulfillment

                tie a schools funding to a percentage of their students income for a period of years. Do that and you’ll see computer science and petroleum engineering stop being impacted programs, and dance start to be limited to the very best.

                Your solution to what appears to be a communication problem is to specify a society incentivized to value only maximizing income?

    2. Such a strong, conservative school would, if conservatives are correct, attract more students than could be enrolled and generate enormous revenue from myriad sources.

      No, because what the conservatives are complaining about is the absence of a level playing field, not the absence of one tilted in their direction. They simply are looking for a system in which certain ideas are not forbidden.

      The fact that the leading universities today are leftist does not show that leftist ideology results in leading universities. These universities achieved their stature over hundreds of years and only recently have become captured by the leftists. In the first part of the 20th century it was quite different, so it is absurd to say that leftist ideology has produced the current stature. However, if the leftist ideology remains in control then we will be able to say 50 or 100 years from now that it was responsible for what happened to that stature.

      1. They simply are looking for a system in which certain ideas are not forbidden.

        I don’t think so. These are movement conservatives we are talking about. It is a mistake to attribute ideas to them. They have ideological premises, which they take as axioms. To the axioms, they demand allegiance. That doesn’t leave room for the give and take which makes the notion of “ideas” work academically.

        If you want to suggest that there has been an increasing number of faculty and students on the left who behave similarly, I will look at your evidence. You can probably find some. My objections apply alike to them.

        1. I can do that too!

          “I don’t think so. This is Stephen Lathrop we are talking about. It is a mistake to attribute ideas to him. He has ideological premises, which he takes as axioms. To the axioms, he demand allegiance. That doesn’t leave room for the give and take which makes the notion of “ideas” work academically.”

        2. These are movement conservatives we are talking about. It is a mistake to attribute ideas to them. They have ideological premises, which they take as axioms. To the axioms, they demand allegiance. That doesn’t leave room for the give and take which makes the notion of “ideas” work academically.

          This sounds like your justification for refusing to allow “movement conservatives” to speak on campus – that only “ideas” are accorded such treatment and the speech of movement conservatives does not contribute to the give and take of “ideas” but is antithetical to it. As such, this kind of “speech” is destructive, is closer to a form of barbarism, and doesn’t deserve the respect accorded to actual “speech.” Do I have this right? The asserted axioms to which these speakers demands allegiance cannot be disputed and rationally shown to be false? Just what is it that justifies opposing movement conservatives through vilification or speech restriction? Why is it necessary to go beyond rational argumentation?

          Are you saying that the message of movement conservatives cannot be effectively countered by superior logic and that their thought processes should be seen as a kind of virus that must be prevented, by force if necessary, from spreading on campus and gaining influence in society in a manner similar to the spread of antisemitism at the end of the Weimar Republic?

  19. The interesting part of this, is how often people who haven’t set foot on a campus in years, decades, or even ever are just so sure they know what is happening there.

    1. All I know is that the bitter clinger sky-fairy fundamentalists who founded Princeton (f/k/a College of New Jersey) and taught many Founders were not woke and enlightened enough to include classes like this in their curriculum:

      “COM 401 / GSS 401 / ENG 419

      “Seminar. Types of Ideology and Literary Form – Pornography, Gender and the Rise of the Novel in Europe

      “April Alliston, W 7:30 PM – 10:20 PM

      “Open to graduate and undergraduate students interested in understanding the origins of the modern novel, this seminar examines the profound historical, theoretical and formal connections between the development of pornography as a distinct category of representation and the development of the novel as a literary genre during the Enlightenment. We will also explore the continuing resonances of those connections today. Readings in current criticism, history and theory of the novel and pornography will accompany primary readings.”

      https://gss.princeton.edu/seminar-types-ideology-and-literary-form-pornography-gender-and-rise-novel-europe

  20. My libertarian side doesn’t like it, but a solution would be an affirmative action program for political views applied to anyone who uses government money to finance hiring employees.

    That would apply to universities, but also to organizations like NPR.

    Only when every job within an organization is filled by a politically diverse spectrum of employees can we be saved.

    Uhg. I hate it. But it is logical.

    1. So . . . someone who teaches creationism and believes evolution is a satanic hoax in the biology department?

      Someone who believes the moon is made of green cheese in the lunar geology classroom?

      Someone who contends storks deliver babies in obstetrics?

      White supremacists in . . . well, just about every department?

      Trickle-down and tariffs fans in the economics department?

      Someone who figures our planet is a few thousand years old in the history (and geology) department?

      Someone who believes in miracles at the medical school?

      Someone who believes a man could live in a fish on the marine biology faculty?

      Actually, I may have just populated a relatively common faculty for a conservative-controlled campus.

    2. “a solution would be an affirmative action program for political views applied to anyone who uses government money to finance hiring employees.”

      The fun part comes when its time to figure out what, exactly, counts as a “political view”. Do we have to hire a pro-pedophilia believer for our HeadStart program? If I want the job, do I have to join NAMBLA, or just say that I want to, in the interview stage?

      The NFL takes money (for military recruiting) from the government… do they have to find a job for Kaepernick?

      1. Agreed that political preferences would create more problems than they’d solve (and be illegal too).

        Now let’s consider other types of affirmative action.

        The poll being discussed in this thread found large majorities in favor of diversity, but against racial preferences in education (“affirmative action” is the euphemism but I prefer the more precise term).

        Indeed, racial preferences have logistical difficulties too.

        How does you confirm someone’s self-characterization as to race, especially if they claim to be mixed-race? The comb test, as in apartheid South Africa?

        Do you get credit for Asian-American students, or do they get the shaft like at Harvard?

        If sex means one’s self-proclaimed gender, then how does your preference system account for self-identified women with dangly bits and Adams apples?

        What do you do with someone of pure Castilian white ancestry – are they part of the Hispanic minority or the white majority?

  21. Colleges and universities are fairly distinctive in being non-political institutions that are nonetheless seen in increasingly partisan terms.

    I don’t think this is unique to colleges and univesities. Two other obvious candidates would be the police and the armed forces; both of which are generally seen as pretty good on the right and highly problematic on the left. (Though to give the police their due, they have been working pretty hard over the past decade or two to boost their negatives with middling and right folk as well as with lefties.

    These partisan squints have been apparent for decades.

    And I think a good part of the reason, partly for the purposes of rhetoric, but also in terms of actual opinion is that righties are defending the ideal of the police and the armed forces, while lefties are attacking (their view of) the reality.

    And thusly with schools and universities, with the roles reversed. Lefties are defending the ideal of schools and universities, and righties are attacking (their view of) the reality.

    So to some extent it’s a dialogue of the deaf.

    “How can you attack apple pie ?”
    “That’s a terrible apple pie ”
    “Apple pie is terrible ?”
    “Idiot”
    “So name calling is all you’ve got ?
    “No I’m saying that’s a terrible apple pie.”

    Rinse and repeat.

    1. You leave out the fact that many on the left and the right are disingenuous in their arguments in that they are not really defending either an ideal or an immediate reality but are simply using the issue to whip up political support among their base, thereby enabling the promotion of other issues important to them.

      The left attacks the police to win the political support of those who live in poor communities having greater negative contact with the police, irrespective of whether the police are doing their job properly. The right demonizes those who criticize the police in order to solidify their base support without actually being concerned about real police issues.

    2. Nicely put, and largely accurate.

  22. You leave out the fact that many on the left and the right are disingenuous in their arguments

    “Oh no I don’t” :

    …partly for the purposes of rhetoric…

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