Skip to comments.Why professors are liberal: They're intelligent
Posted on 12/03/2004 12:55:13 PM PST by Ramonan
In his column, "Campuses remain Democratic havens," George Will certainly tries hard to explain why faculty members at our prominent universities are overwhelmingly liberal. But as is often the case with Will, he fails to mention the obvious. These people are liberal because they are intelligent, thoughtful and well-educated. They know something of labor and social history and realize that for most people a return to conditions of the early 20th century would not be in their interest. Finally, they are unpersuaded by slogans like "compassionate conservative" and "ownership society," which are primarily a cover for the transfer of society's wealth into the pockets of the rich.
THOMAS ALDEN Borrego Springs
Demonstrating once again that you can be articulate, educated, powerful and connected yet still have no clue to what is actually going on, Will bemoans the lack of "conservative" thought on college campuses. The first thing that comes to my mind is thank God. If most professors' ideological rudders represented those of the current Republican Party, institutions of higher learning would be teaching creationism as the explanation of man's existence on Earth, ignoring more than a century of anthropological discoveries because they conflicted with biblical teachings. Government studies would renounce labor unions as pseudocommunist fronts, since businesses always do what is best for workers. Law schools would concern themselves primarily with property law, since only owners of property have rights.
CLIFF HANNA San Diego
(Excerpt) Read more at signonsandiego.com ...
I represent that remark. I could say, those who can't teach, post.
"The mistake these people make is to state that this professors are intelligent. They're not. If they were intelligent they would be out in the world applying they're knowledge and making a lot of money. The old saying holds true. Those that can... Do. Those that can't... Teach. So the whole idea that professors are intelligent is fiction."
So you equate someone's intelligence directly to the size of their wallet? Ridiculous. I guess all those poor Jesuit Priests teaching out there are stupid. Yah that makes sense.
Huh? TRANSFER? How so? They make it sound like rich people get rich by STEALING.
Don't mistake being an intellectual from being intelligent.
Usually it is insecure types who insist on unions and tenure to maintain their esteemed status in society. Truly competent people don't go around insisting people call them "Doctor" -- or "Reverend."
In Hawaii, teachers usually give their students extra credit for writing letters to the editor telling the public that teachers should get more pay and are deserving of the "most intelligent" designation. The newspapers eat them up like candy -- so impressed are they with their insight and innocence.
Everybody should be so naive.
Alas! Professors are the products of their education.
"Oh, no! San Diego!" ping.
Dec 2nd 2004
From The Economist print edition
If you loathe political debate, join the faculty of an American university
TOM WOLFE'S new novel about a young student, I am Charlotte Simmons, is a depressing read for any parent. Four years at an Ivy League university costs as much as a house in parts of the heartlandabout $120,000 for tuition alone. But what do you get for your money? A ticket to Animal House.
In Mr Wolfe's fictional university the pleasures of the body take absolute precedence over the life of the mind. Students hook up (ie, sleep around) with indiscriminate zeal. Brainless jocks rule the roost, while impoverished nerds are reduced to ghost-writing their essays for them. The university administration is utterly indifferent to anything except the dogmas of political correctness (men and women are forced to share the same bathrooms in the name of gender equality). The Bacchanalia takes place to the soundtrack of hate-fuelled gangsta rap.
Mr Wolfe clearly exaggerates for effect (that's kinda, like, what satirists do, as one of his students might have explained). But on one subject he is guilty of understatement: diversity. He fires off a few predictable arrows at diversoidsstudents who are chosen on the basis of their race or gender. But he fails to expose the full absurdity of the diversity industry...
[Click link above to read the full article]
Usage Note: Transpire has been used since the mid-18th century in the sense leak out, become publicly known, as in Despite efforts to hush the matter up, it soon transpired that the colonels had met with the rebel leaders. This usage has long been standard. The more common use of transpire to mean occur or happen has had a more troubled history. Though it dates at least to the beginning of the 19th century, language critics have condemned it for more than 100 years as both pretentious and unetymological. There is some sign that resistance to this sense of transpire is abating, however. In a 1969 survey the usage was acceptable to only 38 percent of the Usage Panel; nearly 20 years later, 58 percent accepted it in the sentence All of these events transpired after last week's announcement. Still, many Panelists who accepted the usage also remarked that it was pretentious or pompous.
Intelligent - Ha! Yes, the engineering professors at MIT and Carnegie Mellon are smart, many lib art profs are over-educated sophists who could afford (through trust funds or AA) to get their PHD.
Otherwise, I can't label anyone who paid a total of $500,000 (after interest on loans) to make 50g a year intelligent.
"One of the biggest errors in conventional wisdom is to think academics are particularly intelligent. "
I went to Stanford, went to school with brilliant people, I'm pretty brilliant my self. While university edumacation certainly helps AS PART OF ONES LIFE SCHOOLING, it has to be tested by the school of hard knocks. So many brilliant ideas I've had which would not stand up in the real world, or were brilliant but irrelevant.
As an engineer, I always do a theoretical paper drawing, then at least a physical mockup before trusting peoples lives with it. My current hobby/invention is building a ramjet engine that works witout forward velocity, pretty cool and I've had the theory down for years. But making the damn thing work in the real world has taken many hours in the garage and talking with non-academic people worldwide, not from something the university provided.
So, my opinion is that academic brilliance merely allows one to make collosal rather than mundane blunders. Until you get out of the ivory tower, you're just smokin crack if you think your ideas are worth spit.
Besides, most of the professors on campus are in expendable basketweaving courses like women's studies, it isn't the engineers who are raving socialists.
I saw this!
I attended my high school's 40th class reunion in October,
and out of all the guys who went into teaching, ONLY ONE
is a liberal. The others are still jocks; football coaches at universities and state colleges in CA.
The guy who was our star athlete, (QB and baseball) is in
the running for a coaching job in Alabama. Not "at" Alabama, but a school "in" Alabama. He's from ALA originally.
The one lib, is a high school English teacher. He's the one exception and that surprised me since I have known him since kindergarten.
I can't speak for the women classmates. I didn't have the
time or the inclination to talk to them...lol.
Drop one of these self satisfied, pompous jackass, academic elites on a desert island, along with one of us upon whom they sneer, and see which has survival skills and common sense enough to provide for the survival of both.
True for many of them, no doubt. But in the right hands a PhD is the key to the universe.
Okay, the Muslim girl sniffed when I said that and walked out of class never to be seen again, but I'm just a student, what do my opinions matter? I'm not even considered a sentient being by the academics since I lack my PhD.
I'm going to take that with a few grains of salt....
I am an accounting/business ed teacher at a high school and I vote REPUBLICAN. I was a financial accountant for 20 years and have now started teaching at the high school.
So please stop lumping us teachers as stupid and liberal.
As every undergraduate knows, there is a hierarchy of majors based on degree of difficulty, and the morons usually end up in education, social work and the humanities because there is no math and the grading is easy. It usually doesn't take much for the professors in these areas to convince the students they are smart -- the students are the bottom of the barrel, just as the professors were when they were students.
If you are smart enough to be a professor in the humanities, you are also usually just smart enough to know that you'd never succeed in a world based on self-reliance. Hence, you become a liberal and go about the business of manufacturing liberals in order to propagate your existence. Fortunately, the job market has figured all of this out, and most students are on to the game as very few choose liberal arts majors nowadays.
yeah, I always thought san diego was a solidly conservative and military town, but I heard it has gotten a bit wacky recently.
Does this mean you were flirting again? :^)
In truth, that's what I did.
But all in fun.
Liberal professors only seem intelligent because they're compared to other liberal professors.
Why professors are liberal: They're intelligentPerhaps, but it seems that they're insufficiently intelligent to be conservative.
I give you Wesley Clark. Rhodes Scholar, 4 Star General... and my favorite Wes quote.
"This country was founded on the principles of progressive taxation".
Then too, there is the strange case of Al Gore, former Vice President, and a complete moron in any field of endeavor, who upon encountering the busts of Jefferson, Adams, and Franklin at Mount Vernon, remarked, "Who are these guys?"
I know. I just like to kid you about that now!
and don't ever stop!
Let's see, I think I'm starting to learn the rules:
1) I can make fun of you for flirting; 2) DC2k can make fun of me for having a crush on exotic newsbabe Rudi Bakhtiar; 3) we can all make fun of WKB for his...ummm..."spelling problem" and for having issues with his 'ping dinger;' and 4) you can make jokes about WD's bloodthirsty, Bambi-killing ways.
I think that just about covers all the bases doesn't it?
of course, under socialism the intelligent elites run things -- any intelligent person would see its self evident and rationally satisfying superiority as an economic system... fortunately, there is always france where the intelligent elites, graduates of the best ecoles, run things.
perhaps all these intelligent professors would be happier in france, peut etre?
as for me, i'd rather have a bit of wisdom than a lot of intelligence...
I think you've got it covered,
brilliant guy that you truly are!
Are you sure they are intelligent? They remind me of Lemmings. And to think, when I was young and not mentally mature I was a liberal. I'll probably be a liberal when I am old and senile, too just like most of them.
My personal theory as to why professors are overwhelmingly liberal, is that they are able to stay in their academic world and live in their theories (fantasies). Because they spend their time in this domain, they are never really challenged by such minor details as reality.
Can someone post the "Aw, not this $hit again!" pic of the fifties guy?
HAHAhahahaaa... that was pretty darn good....
125 degrees in July? Sounds like Borrego.
If you like coyotes, roadrunners, tumbleweeds, cactus, sand, and dehydration, Borrego Springs is your place.
Most of us are acutely aware of our limitations. Many college professors, however, are proof that there is a difference between intelligence and wisdom.
And they don't realize it.
That was exactly my reaction!!
There is a singular element which sets apart those who live under the umbrella of tenur and academia. For the most part they have to have a terminal degree and to get that degree they have to be somewhat tenacious in their academic pursuits. Tenacity is the order to get there. It simply takes,usually, 4 years for a bachelors degree,2-3 years for a Masters, and 3-4 years for the terminal degree, PhD,Eed,M.D.,D.D.S.,ThD.,D.O.,DVM, and so on. Some of these people go out into the real world and open buinesses, go to work for buisiness, start medical or dental practices, and other real world work. Some stay at the universities and teach. This does not require extraordinary intelligence. I am in the medical field, and a lot of the doctors I know are actually dumbasses. The idea that university types are the intelligent types falls on its face. The people writing these letters are usually pimple-faced youths who have no point of reference. They neither seek nor do they have any idea what intelligence is. Sure, some folks seem to be smart on their face, and they are, but many teachers are merely immersed in a specific subject that the student simply knows nothing about. Put that same teacher in a hall full of people in his same field, and he ceases to be "intelligent". I could come before a group of freshmen at any college or medical college and wax eloquent about the autoimmune disorders of systemic lupus erythematosis, or Sjogrens disease. I could snow them with 5 syllable words and they would think I am smart. When in fact I don't know jacksh*t about those subjects beyond what a general practitioner knows. On the other hand I could go to a general practice seminar and hear a speaker on choledochlithiasis and its surgical and nonsurgical remedies and I would think he is not smart. That is because I have spent 25 years studying general surgical disease and their treatment. Everything has a point of reference. Take me out of my element and I am just like everyone else trying to get thru this beautiful world without hurting anyone.
"Why the pseudo intelligent left who've infested the soft sciences and liberal arts think they're so smart"
I got a MA in math and most of the department was pretty quiet when it came to politics. They didn't wear their politics on their sleeves that is. However, everywhere else at the university, it was pretty obvious what the politics were.
All but two people in my Algebra class voted for Bush in our mock election. Of course we are in a conservative area. One though was a gothic type who makes a point of disagreeing and the other was a perfectionist who'd yell at anyone who didn't understand something (not me thankfully) and talk all class time and get mad when people disrupted class when she didn't understand somethiung.
If most professors' ideological rudders represented those of the current Republican Party, institutions of higher learning would be teaching creationism as the explanation of man's existence on Earth, ignoring more than a century of anthropological discoveries because they conflicted with biblical teachings. Government studies would renounce labor unions as pseudocommunist fronts, since businesses always do what is best for workers. Law schools would concern themselves primarily with property law, since only owners of property have rights.
News alert: the conservatives have more new ideas than the liberals. We are not backward into the stone age. Open your mind and do some reading: like Thomas Sowell and others.
College is a time when young people find themselves exposed to different cultures and citizens, confirming that not everyone comes from similar backgrounds with similar beliefs. That diversity is the reality, not just a good idea.
Then why not have some conservative professors to challenge young liberal-indoctrinated minds?
It is also a time to reach further than your grasp, to seek new information and challenge long-held truths. In science, if existing theories are found to be in error, they are refined or new ones take their place. So it is with education. When processes from the past prove faulty in the present, they too are discarded, exchanged for new models that represent recent findings. Perhaps this is Will's strongest objection: that his ideas have outlived their relevance.
I guess I was far too busy teaching to read this until now. I am appalled by this man's perspective. But I guess that's true of most FR readers. Fascinating remarks by many who responded to your post.
A person with a PhD can write his own ticket. He can take a position with gov't and leave it at that, or he can build palaces of thought and get them published. So many take a PhD and then do nothing with it. For a person with a PhD, when he speaks, he must be heard. Somebody else can say exactly the same thing and may be ignored. Probably will be ignored.
I'm more intelligent and also experienced
Doctors and lawyers have more commen cents.....
Those who can, do. Those who can't teach. Those who have done, also teach.
I think we should add that last part. I am an economics/accounting major and I have noticed most of them are Republican (with the few kooky econ profs with their own wild theories, mostly taxing everything to solve govt problems). Not only are they Republican, most of them have many years of business experience, and a few even have their own practices, and teaches for fun and/or extra side income.
Way I heard it was a paraphrase of something I think Ronald Reagan said - It's not that liberals are stupid, it's just that they know so much that's not true.
Complete bilge. You don't think Literary studies or Philosophy requires analytical skills or for that matter that knowing how to write is important and a very valuable skill? You have to prove your arguments with citations from the text or your argument holds no water with a good Proffesor. With my experience it's the hard-science majors who tend to be non-transient and know one narrow field and little else...including how to express themselves. And hiring for Lioberal Arts majors is actualy up especially since the Tech bubble burst.
You are correct that they make up letters. My Ex's first job was part of a 14 person staff for the Copley press that did nothing but write letters to the editor. They were off the official payroll. Copley Press owns the SD Union. This was back in the 70s and I don't believe the practice has changed. They would be given marching orders how to slant the letter depending on the editorial department leanings (make the writer look stupid if was against the paper's position or be brilliant if it supported the position). They were paid by the letter submitted. When a newspaper wants controversy, they will create it. Therefore, look on any letter-to-the-editor with skepticism whether it is really from John-Q-public or the papers editors.