Saturday, April 02, 2005

The Old "Liberals Overrun the College" Problem

Mr. Thomas, in his March 30 Townhall column (generously provided to me as op-ed page filler by my local rag, the Press Democrat) takes up the tired matter of alleged liberal bias on college faculties. He claims (and his claim may be true, but townhallians seem not to have mastered the art of the hyperlink) a study conducted by Smith College, George Mason University, and the University of Toronto show that 72% of professors surveyed at 183 American Universities labeled themselves as liberal, while only 15% consider themselves conservative. Similar imbalances show up among those who are registered Democrats vs Republicans. Thomas wants us to believe that he believes this means that our children (to the extent that our offspring who are overwhelmingly legally adults can properly be called children) are having their thought processes stained and their morals undermined by this great godless horde of educators. He of course pulls Ward Churchill out of the closet as an example of the kind of educators liberals are (you have to admire the legs this Churchill story has. The wingnuts will be using him forever to prop up this liberal-bias-on-campus meme. If he ever does lose his job at the University of Colorado, I suspect he could make a good living lecturing to wingnuts), and wishes us to believe he is typical. Thomas even suggests, probably tongue in ample cheek, that colleges practice affirmative action to find and attract more conservative faculty members to give their faculties ideological balance.

The implication is that there are throngs of potential conservative faculty members out there, just waiting for somebody to give them a chance. What's interesting to me is that Thomas, and everybody else, didn't write a column about those people. Where is the column about all the unemployed conservative college teachers, living on food stamps and working as barristas because they can't get an interview at Liberals Only U? The implication of all these no-conservatives-need-apply columns is that students are being force fed liberal instructors, but that there are alternative profs out there. So who are they? Where are they? There must be literally thousands of them out there? Why don't we get to read their stories? Who will tell their story? Are you listening, Cal? How about you, Michelle? Anybody at the corner want to put down that donut and wander out into the world to crack this one? Their's is a terrible fate. If you won't tell their story, who will?
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