Wednesday, April 06, 2005

More on Liberals in Academia

I'm trying to shift the flood of posts on the issue of liberal predominance in academia to see what causes they offer:

Daniel Starr
says liberals are open to new ideas and want to believe they're contributing to the public good, conservatives aren't open and value money earned through enterprise.

agrees with the money angle, and emphasizes self-selection--a hostile climate of opinion in academia. (Krugman raised self-selection in the sense liberals see business as hostile, but focused on anti-scientism. )

Drezner contrasts David Brooks and Krugman, offers an example of bias against a conservative blogger professorial candidate, but is defensive on the rest (his commenters pick him up). But plaudits and kudos to commenter Mark Buehner, who first guaranteed that a large majority of Republicans believed in evolution, then had the grace and guts (qualities scarce in bloggerland) to come back with this:

"I should really do my research before making guarantees. If these polls are right, I may start to despair entirely:

51% of dems and independents and 66% of republicans believe humans were created by god in their present form? Can this be right?"

Steve at SecureLiberty. org
offers no explanation for liberal hard scientists, but attacks marxism, feminism, and PC while denying religion influences his beliefs.

Todd Zywicki
at in my opinion misreads Krugman as saying "that the reason that there aren't more conservative scientists is because they are skeptical of evolution". He makes a reference to the Summers dispute, and asserts " most of those who are consistent evolutionary analysts tend to be libertarians and conservatives (often Hayek-influenced)." Reference is to his paper discussing group selection in evolution and tying it to Hayek's thought.

It's true that evolutionists have often been conservative. Think William Graham Sumner and other social Darwinists. The late, great Stephen Jay Gould and his opponents in NYReview of Books were on the other end. Whatever the beliefs of individual scientists, the issue seems to be the climate of opinion.

Russell Roberts at Cafe Hayek
attacks Krugman's argument (including the implication that the 1960's/70's saw a lot of Republicans/conservatives in academia, which relates to my earlier post). He cites Hayek's explanation for the predominance of liberals--intelligent people overvalue intelligence and rational design, therefore reforms, therefore socialism. Interesting point, but I have to ask whether intelligent conservatives, such as libertarians, don't also overvalue intelligence? Sorry--that was snide.

BK (Before Krugman) Stephen Benjamin wrote a piece on Network effects, saying that in law the mentor/disciple relationship (mentors push their disciples for places) is a key. Later, here
he offered criticism of Jonathan Chait's LATimes piece, which triggered comments which he discusses.

I want to go back over my earlier post and incorporate some of the points from above. Unfortunately spring in Reston has arrived, so garden duty calls.

No comments: