Saturday, December 04, 2004

# Posted 11:25 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

A WEIRD DAY FOR OXBLOG: First, we decided to praise Henry Kissinger. Now we're going to say some nice things about George Will. It's as if OxBlog decided to betray everything it ever stood.

Anyhow, Will does have a good column up about the unmitigated liberalism of the American professoriate. In his column, Will reports on some interesting findings
about professors registered with the two major parties or with liberal or conservative minor parties:

Cornell: 166 liberals, 6 conservatives.
Stanford: 151 liberals, 17 conservatives.
Colorado: 116 liberals, 5 conservatives.
UCLA: 141 liberals, 9 conservatives.

The nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics reports that in 2004, of the top five institutions in terms of employee per capita contributions to presidential candidates, the third, fourth and fifth were Time Warner, Goldman Sachs and Microsoft. The top two were the University of California system and Harvard, both of which gave about 19 times more money to John Kerry than to George W. Bush.
In the second half of his column, Will goes a bit too far when he argues that the death of intellectual diversity on America's campuses is the product of liberal professors' overt antagonism toward anything conservative.

Will's argument draws heavily on a recent article by Mark Bauerlein in the Chronicle of Higher Education. Even though I have no reason to dispute any of the anecdotes that Bauerlein recounts, I think that he ignores the degree to which the conservatives' departure from the ivory tower is an elective response to the unpleasantness of being in such a rigid intellectual environment.

I think that Bauerlein should also pay more attention to an important phenomenon that provides evidence to support his main argument, namely conservatives' voluntary suppression of their own dissent in what they perceive to be a hostile environment.

For example, I once had a colleague to whom I suggested publishing an article in the Weekly Standard. He immediately responded that doing so was unthinkable because it would severely damage his prospects for professional advancement.

At first, I was somewhat dismayed by his decision not to speak out as a matter of principle. Yet because I have no interest in becoming a tenured professor and no family to support, I put nothing on the line when I publish in the Standard.

More importantly, my colleague's patient discipline will ensure that there is one more moderate voice that may play some role in restoring a sense of balance to America's campuses. As the leftists of the last generation might have said, it is wiser to embark on a "long march through the institutions" instead of simply turning one's back on them.
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