Why Are Professors Liberal and Why Do Conservatives Care?

Why Are Professors Liberal and Why Do Conservatives Care?

eBook - 2013
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Harvard University Press

Some observers see American academia as a bastion of leftist groupthink that indoctrinates students and silences conservative voices. Others see a protected enclave that naturally produces free-thinking, progressive intellectuals. Both views are self-serving, says Neil Gross, but neither is correct. Why Are Professors Liberal and Why Do Conservatives Care? explains how academic liberalism became a self-reproducing phenomenon, and why Americans on both the left and right should take notice.

Academia employs a higher percentage of liberals than nearly any other profession. But the usual explanations-hiring bias against conservatives, correlations of liberal ideology with high intelligence-do not hold up to scrutiny. Drawing on a range of original research, statistics, and interviews, Gross argues that "political typing" plays an overlooked role in shaping academic liberalism. For historical reasons, the professoriate developed a reputation for liberal politics early in the twentieth century. As this perception spread, it exerted a self-selecting influence on bright young liberals, while deterring equally promising conservatives. Most professors' political views were formed well before they stepped behind the lectern for the first time.

Why Are Professors Liberal and Why Do Conservatives Care? shows how studying the political sympathies of professors and their critics can shed light not only on academic life but also on American politics, where the modern conservative movement was built in no small part around opposition to the "liberal elite" in higher education. This divide between academic liberals and nonacademic conservatives makes accord on issues as diverse as climate change, immigration, and foreign policy more difficult.


Neil Gross shows that the U.S. academy’s liberal reputation has exerted a self-selecting influence on young liberals, while deterring promising conservatives. His study sheds new light on both academic life and American politics, where the conservative movement was built in part around opposition to the “liberal elite” in higher education.

Publisher: Cambridge, Massachusetts : Harvard University Press, 2013
ISBN: 9780674074484
0674074483
Characteristics: 1 online resource (393 pages) : illustrations

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StarGladiator
May 12, 2013

Ugh! What claptrap! Were not Thorstein Veblen, Ward Churchill and countless other academics (Michael Parenti immediately comes to mind) either fired for their views, or refused tenure for their "liberal" views? Ever heard of the Bretton Woods Committee? The lobbyist group for the international super-rich? Check out their membership roster of American academics, those who receive top billing at PBS (Neil Ferguson and his insipid "History of Money", having established his "bona fides" with a two-volume puff piece on the Rothschild family), and all the other "popular" academics like the recently in the news Harvard "economist" Rogoff, who has major problems with simple Excel functions, which dramatically skews his economic "data"!

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