A shocking recent study has discovered that only 13% of Stanford professors are Republicans. The authors compare this to the 51% of 2004 voters who selected a Republican for President and argue this is “evidence of discrimination” and that “academic Republicans are being eradicated by academic Democrats”.

Scary as this is, my preliminary research has discovered some even more shocking facts. I have found that only 1% of Stanford professors believe in telepathy (defined as “communication between minds without using the traditional five senses”), compared with 36% of the general population. And less than half a percent believe “people on this earth are sometimes possessed by the devil”, compared with 49% of those outside the ivory tower. And while 25% of Americans believe in astrology (“the position of the stars and planets can affect people’s lives”), I could only find one Stanford professor who would agree. (All numbers are from mainstream polls, as reported by Sokal.)

This dreadful lack of intellectual diversity is a serious threat to our nation’s youth, who are quietly being propagandized by anti-astrology radicals instead of educated with different points of view. Were I to discover that there were no blacks on the Stanford faculty, the Politically Correct community would be all up in arms. But they have no problem squeezing out prospective faculty members whose views they disagree with.

Sure, some might say, but the color of a person’s skin is irrelevant to their duties as a professor while beliefs are at the core of the job. And to these critics, one can only say: you “knowledge” elitists have ignored the devastating critique of factual knowledge put together by the postmodernists! Objective reality is unknowable; our beliefs about it are merely “local truths”, cultural whims we could change at a moment’s notice. The only fair way to decide what gets taught is by what is believed!

But these far-left academics just ignore these devastating critiques. They continue to pretend their job is to investigate “reality” and believe things based on “evidence”, when everyone can see that these are merely absurd justifications for them to maintain their positions power and status over society. And, as has widely been conceded, their advanced “search committees” and “hiring requirements” are just ways to prevent nonconformists from challenging their orthodoxies.

The party of McCarthy must save academic freedom. Wealthy businessmen must pool their resources to fight elitism. Racists and sexists must tout the values of diversity. Conservatives must embrace postmodernism. Hard work? No doubt. But they are bravely willing to sacrifice all credibility to protect our nation’s youth. We should salute their courage.

More: I reply to conservative David Horowitz on Intellectual Diversity
Followup: The Republican Playbook: A Response to My Critics

posted February 26, 2005 02:18 PM (Politics) (67 comments) #


Stanford: Meeting Dr. Zimbardo
Stanford: Anxiety
Stanford: Second-Grade Level
Phillip Zimbardo on Time Perspective
Stanford: Go, Team, Go!
Intellectual Diversity at Stanford
Stanford: Shocking
Stanford: Sanity
David Horowitz on Academic Freedom
Stanford: Reach Out and Hug Someone
Stanford: Allergic Reactions


I’ve been following you for several years and I think this is the first essay into Swiftian satire I’ve seen.

Congratulations, maybe you have a sense of humo(u)r after all?


posted by William Loughborough at February 26, 2005 04:35 PM #

..stumbled across a writing by Rabbi Tilsen (http://www.beki.org/terror.html) which included a quote from Einstein that seemed deliciously relevant:

“In the case of a Christian clergyman, the tragic-comical is found in this: that the Christian religion demands love from the faithful, even love for the enemy. This demand, because it is indeed superhuman, he is unable to fulfill. Thus intolerance and hatred ring through the oily words of the clergyman. The love, which on the Christian side is the basis for the conciliatory attempt towards Judaism is the same as the love of a child for a cake. That means that it contains the hope that the object of the love will be eaten up…” (Robert N. Goldman, Einstein’s God, (Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson) 1997, p. 51).

superhuman is a good word choice… didn’t Swift go insane?

posted by Pete Diemert at February 26, 2005 08:18 PM #

It’s thinking like your’s that kept humanity in the dark ages for so long. I gather that if you had your way Stanford should have Professors teaching that things fall to the ground because they have a desire to be there instead of the fact that Earth has mass and therefore it’s own gravity. Should we go back to believing that the Earth is the center of the galaxy too? Societies, like their technologies will allways advance towards progress leaving the vestiges of what was once quaint but ultimatly useless behind. I would hope that an outstanding university such as Stanford would be too busy in it’s research to try to manipulate the political landscape of the future. Besides, by sheer nature of educating their students in pure science and truth, Stanford by default will be creating more Democrats for the future and there is nothing that can stop that but hate and disinformation.

posted by Tracy Eckels at February 27, 2005 04:58 AM #

Oh come on this is ridiculous. Who cares if these professors don’t believe in telepathy, demons or life after death. In my country at least, religion and beliefs are generally kept seperate from professional learning such as universities. Rather than seeing this as a lack of intellectual diversity, you can see the correllation between intellect and the supernatural. As intellect increases (Well I am assuming these professors are intelligent, otherwise this whole argument is null), perhaps faith in abnormal phenomenom decreases. I’m no professor myself, but I know that as I child I blindly believed in many supernatural powers, then as my intellect increased through growth I started to question these forces, which eventually lead to my disbelief in probably all supernatural occurances.

posted by Chris Saunders at February 27, 2005 05:19 AM #

Spot on. Every Republican who has used the “Liberal College Professors” argument needs to see this.

posted by Nick at February 27, 2005 05:44 AM #

In a related survey of the comments that immediately precede this one, around half indicate a complete inability to detect satire even when it’s explicitly named, and even when they’ve spent enough time thinking about it to formulate a cogent reply.

Clearly, this implies that Aaron’s writing is significantly over the heads of his audience, and as such swift action is indicated to address this problem before the disparity becomes intolerable.

posted by Frank at February 27, 2005 06:01 AM #

It’s like I keep saying: Reality has a liberal bias.

posted by Pope Guilty at February 27, 2005 06:43 AM #

Why waste your money on Stanford if what you are seeking is a Dr. of Divinity, D.D., available for $35 from the ULC?

posted by Rev. Ryan at February 27, 2005 08:23 AM #

All that’s happening here is that a number of metaphysical beliefs are being conflated with political beliefs to create a false impression that there is a link where none actually exists.

Exactly the same tactics used in this post could be used to argue that an absence of blacks or women in academia correlates with an absence of astrologers.

There is no substance to this satire, only an appeal to left-wing prejudice.

posted by Evil Pundit at February 27, 2005 08:52 AM #

While that at first that seems to be a clever retorty, Evil Pundit, there is one small fact you’re forgetting. Blacks and women tend to get the short end of the stick in America. Republicans tend to give it to them. So, African Americans are working their way up from slavery to academia, women are working their way up from untold ages of inequality to academia… Are the conservitives just too busy doing their taxes?

posted by Lucky&Pozzo at February 27, 2005 10:37 AM #

I agree completely with you. It’s really a shame that all these professors believe things so far out of sync with the mainstream population. But maybe they’re just following the historical precedent of other academics. Remember back when the masses still believed the earth was flat and the sun revolved around us? And then the really evil professors got possessed by demons and all started believing the opposite… generations later, all the masses got brainwashed by them to think its true. I say we banish all professors from this world and live like happy Amish. (Or at least force them to hire me as a professor so I can teach generations of children that the world is indeed flat. I mean…wouldn’t people on the other side fall off!! sigh….)

posted by at February 27, 2005 11:08 AM #

Satire at its finest

posted by at February 27, 2005 12:33 PM #

What can one say about satire that bolsters the arguments of those it seeks to criticize?

That Republican beliefs are dismissed as similar to belief in telepathy or demonic possession supports the very contention Republicans are making: that liberal academia demonstrates a closed-minded orthodoxy that dismisses as invalid perspectives with which it does not agree. Not exactly a strong position from which to investigate reality or believe things based on evidence.

The commenter above is right: every Republican who uses the term “liberal college professors” argument does need to see this.

posted by David Gaw, Cuz We Said So at February 27, 2005 12:52 PM #

Right, David. It’s certainly a fatal flaw for one to hold that things that you disagree with are “wrong”. I mean, go down that road and you might start making value judgements. You might even discover a sense of morals, and what would become of the world if we all did that? No, we all have to realize that everything is a mush of perspectives and relativism, and that nothing is any better or worse than anything else!

Just in case somebody’s been confused by people who take this stance completely honestly: no, I certainly don’t.

posted by Andrew at February 27, 2005 01:06 PM #

Absolutely ridiculous.

Shall we also hire some witch doctors and alchemists? I’m sure someone somewhere believes in them! You had better rethink this one, brother. If you want to account for (academically) the possibility that metaphysical phenomenon might be true, why not petition a metaphysics course at Stanford? Descriminating against someone because they adhere to the scientific method, in my mind anyway, sounds a bit unreasonable…

posted by unit at February 27, 2005 01:10 PM #

Kid, I hope what you wrote was supposed to be satire. If not, quit school now and join the Amish. You do not belong in a university if you have a closed mind. Unless you are willing to face the fact that you may be wrong, and that there is a REASON smart people do not believe in crap like astrology, you have no business participating in higher education.

posted by El Chingon at February 27, 2005 01:43 PM #

Why are all of you doing this? You’re just giving aid and comfort to the enemies of the Free World such as Osama bin Laden!

posted by bi at February 27, 2005 02:04 PM #

Astrologers, Republicans, Christians, and other loons are under represented in the academy. No problem, this is perfectly natural. The expectation of proportionate representation is ridiculous.

Besides, Republicans are too stoopid to teach at the university level.

Women/blacks/gays/lesbians/latinos are under represented in the hard sciences, and in corporate boardrooms. Quick, sue someone. This is statistical proof of systematic discrimination by the white patriarchy.

Heads I win, tails you lose.

posted by edpi at February 27, 2005 02:10 PM #

All that’s happening here is that a number of metaphysical beliefs are being conflated with political beliefs to create a false impression that there is a link where none actually exists.

Nope. My question is why conservatives think there ought to be more conservatives in academa. The response is that there are more conservatives in the general population. So my argument is that universities are supposed to have more rational beliefs than the general populaton. I think the reason there are more liberals in academia is because intelligent people can pretty quickly see that conservative beliefs are based on illogic, falsehoods, and lies.

Therefore suggesting we have more conservatives in academia is like suggesting we have more liars in academia, which is like suggesting we have more believers-in-astrology in academia. It’s absurd.

posted by Aaron Swartz at February 27, 2005 02:12 PM #

That Republican beliefs are dismissed as similar to belief in telepathy or demonic possession supports the very contention Republicans are making: that liberal academia demonstrates a closed-minded orthodoxy that dismisses as invalid perspectives with which it does not agree. Not exactly a strong position from which to investigate reality or believe things based on evidence.

What makes you think I dismissed conservatives without evidence? I’ve done an enormous amount of research into conservative beliefs and arguments. My conclusion is that they’re not based on the evidence. If you have contrary evidence, I’d love to see it. In fact, I’d even settle for polls showing that half of Americans really have different moral values which lead them to vote conservative. But until you do so, it appears to me that what happened is that half the population was deceived, which is no basis for arguing that half the university should be deceived too.

posted by Aaron Swartz at February 27, 2005 02:17 PM #

“So my argument is that universities are supposed to have more rational beliefs than the general populaton. I think the reason there are more liberals in academia is because intelligent people can pretty quickly see that conservative beliefs are based on illogic, falsehoods, and lies.”

Right, just like there are so few women in the sciences because men are more rational thinking.

Give it up, Aaron.

posted by Brian Carnell at February 27, 2005 02:23 PM #

Whoever said satire is dead must have been inspired by their readership.

posted by at February 27, 2005 02:36 PM #

Brian and edpi seem to be unable to distinguish between women and Republicans as classes. I’ll give you a hint: one group is born that way.

I’m still waiting to hear someone give an explanation other than postmodernism for why Republicans should be equally represented.

posted by Aaron Swartz at February 27, 2005 02:41 PM #

Unit, El Chingon: It’s satire arguing that the disparity of the Republican:Democrat ratio is no more evidence of bias than the Scientific:Unscientific ratio. Because it is only a satire and not a purely straightforward argument, it’s difficult to argue rationally against, as (being a piece of irony) it contains no outright specific assertions. The author seems to be arguing that the skew in both areas may be because professors are more educated, and thus more likely to hold certain views. (Those who are fully aware of the extent of the Bush administration’s blunders [the invention of crises while ignoring actual issues for concern, etc.] are less likely to be Republican.) He might also be arguing that while a person’s race or gender is irrelevant to his or her ability to function as a professor, one’s level of knowledge is not. So if the equation of Republican with unscientific is accepted, then the skew makes perfect sense. Again, satire is necessarily vague and tongue-in-cheek, so that equation should not be taken entirely seriously.

posted by Sundance at February 27, 2005 02:41 PM #

Perhaps you should read a thing or two about logical fallacies, specifically the false analogy, which you have just made by equating beliefs in the unscientific (like telepathy and astrology) with Republican beliefs. I’m guessing that, in your own sense of superiority, you probably believe in that analogy, but it’s a false one nonetheless. In fact, it’s just as false an analogy as the analogy the author makes when comparing the political makeup of the faculty to its sex ratios.

posted by Orac at February 27, 2005 03:15 PM #

Excellent work, comrade Swartz. I have added the names and identities of those incapable of understanding satire to the global database. Soon, all the pieces will fall into place.

posted by HP at February 27, 2005 03:47 PM #

Jeesh, you guys are gonna be at it all day, arn’t you. Oh well… I guess I’m no better.

To review:

The conservitives have yet to provide proof that there should be more conservitive professors. Here’s an idea. Maybe all of the conservitives decided that they could make more money at corperations as opposed to schools. Anyway, instead of comparing national average of votes, why don’t why doesn’t someone provide statistics of people who have the education and desire to be professors?

The last post by Sundance was (I thought) a calm and rational explination of what the idea was. The response by Orac said, “Is not!” Why is it a false analogy? Otherwise, your claim has no warrent.

The conservitives vs. women argument has been won by the liberals, in my opinion. Conservitives, nationally, are not being burned in the street, or otherwise discriminated against. If there is one place that they are less represented, and that place is a place of learning, perhaps there’s a reason? Can any of the conservitives provide one? (“We’re being discriminated against” is not an answer because it does not explain why universities happen to be the only places doing it.)

Here’s a couple of other ideas.

  1. Why is this such a big deal? Ok, so Stanford is a liberal school. There are conservitive universities. Go there.

  2. Why do conservitive schools not do well nationally? Why are the big schools, with good records, very predomanantly liberal?

Between these two questions, the conservitives have very little ground to stand on.

P.S. Maybe Orac would like to provide proof. http://www.intrepidsoftware.com/fallacy/falsean.php

posted by Lucky&Pozzo at February 27, 2005 03:56 PM #

Aaron, I think we are kindred spirits. I’m a Canadian, a fan of Sokal, and so liberal that by American standards I’m off the scale. I have tried to study what’s going on with your conservatives.

Nevertheless I have to disagree a little. As you note, academe has been a willing home for relativist conceptions of truth, ever-more fantastical vestiges of Marxism, and so on. It is hard to argue that Republicanism has been rejected due to intellectual rigor. In general, the arguments one hears against Bush and his cronies almost as laughable as the ones used to support him. Protest Warrior has made some hilarious videos about this. I know they aren’t exaggerating, because I’ve been to those protests, frequently.

It is true that it is almost impossible to find a supply-side economist at a university, but economics is prone to fashion as well.

I cannot find hard statistics right now, but it seems likely to me that Republican voters are just as educated as Democratic. This Free Republic poster lists some studies, without citations, unfortunately.

How then to explain an academic skew to liberalism? My guess: liberalism is more tolerant, more open to new ideas, and views life as an ongoing experiment. This is what university life is all about. Those who choose that life are probably going to be liberal.

I regret to say, I think both camps of American politics have a shaky grip on reality. I only favor American liberals over Republicans, because the latter are deluded in extremely dangerous ways.

posted by Neil K at February 27, 2005 04:28 PM #

Orac: I didn’t equate Republicanism and psudoscience, I compared them.

I’m still eager to hear a justification for why universities should have a more balanced ration of Democrats to Republicans. I hadn’t heard any so I came up with one — postmodernism — and showed why I thought it was silly. But if you have a better justification, I’d love to hear it.

posted by Aaron Swartz at February 27, 2005 04:28 PM #

Neil K: I think that I agree with you almost entirely. Academia is far from rigorous and correct-but-new beliefs are often discarded when they conflict with established prejudices. I’d love to support structural reforms that fixed these things. Conservatives, however, probably would not, since more truthful universities would be even farther to the left, not to the right.

As for both parties’ shaky grasp on reality, see the article I cited in my latest post.

posted by Aaron Swartz at February 27, 2005 04:36 PM #

Hey Aaron. Greetings from Stanford.

From my office in the shadow of the Hoover Tower I’ve been fighting one particular satanic telepathist for some time now. You can follow the debate here:


I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on this exchange.

best wishes,


posted by Graham Larkin at February 27, 2005 04:46 PM #

“How then to explain an academic skew to liberalism? My guess: liberalism is more tolerant, more open to new ideas, and views life as an ongoing experiment. This is what university life is all about. Those who choose that life are probably going to be liberal.”

Um. This might be how ‘liberals’ perceive themselves. But as anyone who both read the transcript of Larry Summer’s speech and has followed the ensuing controversy recognizes, the professorial elite is not actually open to alternative hypotheses that challenge their particular worldview.

Summers advanced several hypotheses for why women are not equally represented in math and sciences. he explicitly advanced them as hypotheses worthy of further study. One of these three hypotheses was that women’s skills in these areas diverged less from the mean than men. this is the comment that led to the outcry.

I only read the actual speech a few days ago, and I was honestly pretty shocked at the difference between the experimental, scientific-method oriented comments that he made as compared to how his comments were portrayed by the female professors who objected (specifically the one who walked out so that she would not “pass out”), and then how they were portrayed in the media.

I have no love for Karl Rove, Frank Luntz, or GWB. But the Summers incident neatly illustrates the lack of intellectual diversity in today’s elite universities. The scientific method is just as unwelcome there as it is amongst cultural conservatives.

Summers speech transcript:


Good article by Michael Lewis on the whole affair:


posted by Stephen Bronstein at February 27, 2005 05:03 PM #

I think the study is accurate because professors obtain a phD and are generally much more intelligent than the average person.

For example, 67% of the american population believes in bigfoot. Do you require professors to believe the same thing.

Maybe the populus is not bright.

posted by Matt Campbell at February 27, 2005 05:39 PM #

I’ve noticed that when we have an Academic Establishment vs. Brave Dissenters, there’s a simple rule of thumb to tell if the Academic Establishment is making sense. If the Establishment view is called “mainstream,” it probably makes sense. If it’s called a “consensus,” it probably doesn’t. For example, Googling ‘“global warming” mainstream’ yields 297,000 hits whereas ‘“global warming” consensus’ yields 348,000. I conclude that hysteria over “global warming” is probably unwarranted. On the other hand, Googling ‘darwin mainstream’ yields 235,000 hits and ‘darwin consensus’ yields 164,000. I conclude the Establishment is probably doing real thinking on Darwin’s theory instead of expressing a prejudice.

When we apply this to alleged paranormal phenomena, we see that ‘paranormal mainstream’ yields 89,600 whereas ‘paranormal consensus’ yields 19,800.

In any case, the claim by my fellow reactionary crackpots is that a liberal consensus is squeezing out legitimate parts of the mainstream.

posted by Joseph Hertzlinger at February 27, 2005 08:09 PM #

Damn straight. Our universities should be representative of the people!

Since a good portion of the US is Republican, we should have a representative number of Republicans teaching our children at the university level!

Also, since in 2003, only 27 percent of adults age 25 and over had a college degree, we should allow only a representative 27% of our college professors to have college degrees. Heaven forbid that only educated Ivory Tower pompous jerks with all their best-selling books and published research should teach our children their liberal ways of “thinking” and “analyzing.” What ever happened to “memorizing” and “regurgitating” like in the good old days?

posted by Ginny at February 27, 2005 08:14 PM #

This argument is based on a false premise: that liberal beliefs are somehow “more intelligent” than conservative beliefs. The premise is not proven, or even argued: it is merely assumed to be true without any justification at all.

Using exactly the same argument and a similar false premise, you could “prove” that women are underrepresented in politics and business because women are less capable than men.

Congratulations, you have reinvented mindless discrimination based on false premises!

posted by Evil Pundit at February 27, 2005 11:53 PM #

Evil Pundit, your rants have been discredited time and time again. Just get lost.

posted by bi at February 28, 2005 01:26 AM #

Did anyone get the reference to Sokal? Nice job!

posted by Mark at February 28, 2005 03:23 AM #

Stephen Bronstein: you have a point. I contradicted myself somewhat by depicting the academy as less interested in intellectual rigor, yet interested in ideas. I think that this contradiction does map well to what university life is like, at least in arts faculties.

As for the Summers controversy — well, I’ve heard a lot on both sides. I don’t think that is a useful example to generalize from.

Few people are going to be cooly dispassionate when their perceive a threat to themselves (and even if you don’t see one in that document, some of them do). If that’s your test for being open to debate, I don’t think anyone will pass it.

posted by Neil K at February 28, 2005 04:08 AM #

Maybe you need to have an ‘irony’ tag?

Or a coloured background?

posted by Robert Brook at February 28, 2005 04:39 AM #

That’s one for The Onion! Now you might do a piece on why they don’t cover chupacabras in the vet school…


“…after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a parliament or a communist dictatorship … That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.”

-Hermann Wilhelm Göring, Reichsmarschall of Nazi Germany, Quoted at the time of the Nuremburg trials

posted by EBiC at February 28, 2005 01:35 PM #

Joseph Hertzlinger—

Gravity + mainstream: 257,000 hits

Gravity + consensus: 324,000 hits

Either the Academic Establishment is suppressing Brave Dissenters on the theory of gravity, or your methodology is slightly unsound.

(Hint: It’s b, and the fact that just about every reputable scientist working in the area thinks that there is real global warming caused by humans is evidence that there is real global warming caused by humans.)

posted by Matt Weiner at February 28, 2005 03:45 PM #

And may I add:

Evolution + mainstream: 1,270,000 hits

Evoluation + consensus: 1,870,000 hits

I mean, I don’t agree with Aaron’s main thesis. I suspect that the fact that there are more Democrats than Republicans in academe is largely a self-selection process—to enter academia, you’ve got to place a low value on money and power, and people who place a low value on money and power are likely to be politically left, I think.

But it’s pathetic to argue that whenever there’s a consensus among academics, it’s because an evil Academic Establishment is crushing dissent. Sometimes it’s because there are some basic facts that every well-informed person on a topic acknowledges.

posted by Matt Weiner at February 28, 2005 03:51 PM #

Does the 13% include the 300-foot high citadel of conservative hackdom located smack in the middle of campus?

posted by Kuas at February 28, 2005 04:24 PM #

I don’t think so, Mickey. They aren’t Stanford professors.

posted by Aaron Swartz at February 28, 2005 04:49 PM #

Aaron, have you read Graham Larkin’s post on the ‘reasearch’ such as this stuff posted in the Palo Alto paper? Apparently, straight outta Luntz-Land..

posted by smørgasbord at February 28, 2005 06:48 PM #

BTW, Larkin’s posts are great in pointing out the idiocy of the “red-team” / “blue-team” reductivism and bring us back to the beginning - the interesting parallels and spill-overs between the sickening cult of competitive sports and areas of political and economic life in the US.

posted by smørgasbord at February 28, 2005 07:00 PM #

… reading Larkin’s and then Stanley Fish’s account in the ‘Chronicle’, I am amazed how closely Horowitz’s thought police resembles the old ways in the communist bloc: In the coming, perpetual one-party police state that the US of A is turning into, at least if Rove, Luntz and Horowitz can help it at all, you’ll need to be able appoint some quota of ‘ideologically adjusted’ faculty members to keep the campuses in check…

posted by smørgasbord at February 28, 2005 08:19 PM #

That’s funny, I found that zero professors beelieved the world is flat. I can’t believe it! What happened to diversity in academia?!?

posted by tom at February 28, 2005 10:02 PM #

When wingnuts take a pause to catch their breath from whining so much about anti-conservative bias in academia, I hope they’ll consider the profound anti-liberal bias in America’s corporations. I would wager that the percentage of senior corporate executives who are Democrats, is less than 10%.

posted by renato at March 1, 2005 01:11 AM #

Horowitz’ ideas of spying on professors, taping their conversations and intimidating them into political conformism while dousing academia and science with the dead hand of epistemological relativism are nothing but lazily recycled anti-intellectual witchhunts - preemptive strikes against academic freedom that are anything but new in the US. Which makes them of course no less outrageous. In the sixties, it was the attack against South-East Asian Studies. In the eighties, there was the attack against Latin American Studies. And today the same tactics are being used against - you guessed it - Middle East Studies. For example, Joseph Massad and others at Columbia. The fact that the current state managers are funded by coporate America doesn’t make them corporatists. If they were (corporatists), one could at least expect them to behave ‘rationally’ (as in ‘free-market-rational’). But they’re not: they are a bunch a raving ideologues that are hell-bent on turning the clocks back not just to McCarthy, but to the nineteen-twenties (dismantling Social Security). ‘Unfortunately’, the public is opposed (sort of).

posted by smørgasbord at March 1, 2005 08:45 AM #

This brings up a nice point, and I’ll be sure to make it myself should I get into a debate with a Right-winger who has a persecution complex where he thinks us liberals are taking over the world through our insideous control of the University System. Is it really the liberal’s fault if institutions of learning like Stanford don’t embrace stupid ideas like the one’s Republicans are shoving down our thoats these days? One more point. They say in the rest of the world that a definition of an American is someone with no grasp of sarcasm. Just reading some comments from people who miss your point, and are offended that you would campaign to see that Stanford hire more teachers of ESP, astrology, and demonic possession, profoundly demonstrates this definition of American. These comments probably came from Americans. The Republicans are winning this coup de’tat because of a previous success in making Americans STUPID. Let’s not wait till every professor at Stanford is a member of the Heritage Foundation for me to say I told you so.

posted by Davol at March 1, 2005 03:32 PM #

interesting arguement. from what i gather, professors are too smart to be conservative, or to stupid to be greedy. posters on here like sarcasm(bonus) but not if its directed at thier people. this is supposed to be the format that takes over where journalism left off? hunter s was probably more of a blogger than a peter jennings, but that doesnt make either of them right. you guys are having the same science/false science debate we had in high school. its time to figure out why my generation of 20 somethings hates your debate. hint: its probably got something to do with its irrelevance in the grand scheme of happiness. since your not argueing about a solution to global warming, you havent gotten anywhere. my generation knows global warming exists and finds it silly to argue it. why has it been in the 40’s most of this winter in madison wisconsin? because we built a giant dome over the city? there is no giant dome, only our looming reality. republicans are known for spreading propaghanda, i dont know many that justify thier beliefs without it. professors arent supposed to teach propaghanda. that would limit what teaching a republican could do, except maybe a class on networking with the big boys.

posted by bryan j at March 2, 2005 11:46 AM #

bryan j: so why hasn’t Your Generation stepped in with some constructive debate? It’s the same reason: because both generations find that they can’t really affect the grand scheme of things. I think ultimately a solution to global warming will be found by Good Ol’ Science, not by public debate.

posted by bi at March 2, 2005 12:50 PM #

bi, science is definitely coming up with solutions to global warming. In fact, we already know the solutions. The problem is, we lack the political and public will to implement any of these ideas.

Public discussion is definitely necessary. People have to get over their addictions to their big cars and SUVs. But most people are selfish and greedy. The only way we are going to deal with global warming, is a global attitude change.

We have the technology. We have the science. But the politicians in power continue to get their funds from the oil industry. So they will tell the public “hippies want to take your cars away and destroy your lifestyle!!” and continue to deny the existence of global warming.

In reality, with modern technology, we can still live our luxurious lives, without needlessly and inefficiently consuming too many resources, or creating too much pollution.

No significant change in society comes from scientists alone. There have been many excellent scientific ideas that have fallen by the wayside, because they have not been “marketed” to the public in a way to affect the public’s consciousness and lifestyle - so they remain in academia.

Think of mobile phones and the internet. If the average person did not understand the benefits, or the lifestyle changes that they bring, then they would not have been adopted by the mainstream as they have.

We need similar marketing for the environment - that environmentalism is about efficiency and clean, sustainable living - not living in a cave with bare feet. It’s about our survival and our futures, not being a hippy.

posted by person at March 2, 2005 03:11 PM #

Hmmm… It looks like a generalization based on Usenet (that the consensus/mainstream ratio is a guide to how much sense the Establishment is making) does not apply to the Web.

In any case, there is a difference between a conclusion based on multiple lines of data that have to be explained away and a conclusion based on one time series.

If global warming should turn out to be a problem (it might), the cure is quite simple: more nuclear reactors.

As for spying on professors… If information wants to be free, doesn’t that include information on what the professors are teaching?

posted by Joseph Hertzlinger at March 2, 2005 10:32 PM #

But in this case, it’s not “information wants to be free”, it’s “information wants to be 0wnz0r3d by us Republicans — and us only — so that we can use it to blackmail people.” If these Republicans are really for freedom of information, why do they advocate spying? Why don’t they ask journalists of all persuasions to sit in for each university course? And why is it limited to university professors? Shouldn’t we be allowed to spy on Bush’s conversations too?

posted by bi at March 3, 2005 12:47 AM #

Updates in the march to fame: Brad DeLong calls my post “definitive”.

posted by Aaron Swartz at March 3, 2005 11:00 AM #

There is a terrible flaw in Aaron’s reasoning which, being a charitable soul, I will at least point out:

Aaron writes: “intelligent people can pretty quickly see that conservative beliefs are based on illogic, falsehoods, and lies”

Which doesn’t explain the huge number of Republican professors at Stanford. I am here to point out two possible explanations:

“1) It is possible that Republican identity does not require membership in a monolithic ideology; that perhaps fiscal conservatives or some other Republican sub-type are more rigorously grounded in fact. The Republican Stanford professors might proportionately represent honest Republicans.”

“2) It is possible that Republicans have been specifically excluded from that portion of the Establishment which is wholly devoted to illogic, falsehood, and lies; i.e. that portion that publishes or reads avidly texts like that Social Text which Sokal so aptly skewered.”

posted by David S Zink at March 3, 2005 11:47 AM #

David—As I said, I don’t entirely agree with Aaron’s conclusion. However, your explanation #2 doesn’t square with the ~5:1 ratio of Democrats to Republicans in math and hard science (pace global warming skeptics).

Your explanation #1, if it’s going to do all the work, entails that honest Republicans are a very small proportion of all Republicans. I’m going to leave that one alone… :-)

posted by Matt Weiner at March 3, 2005 12:14 PM #

Joseph H:

If you want to find out what the professors are teaching might I suggest the place to start are all those books and articles they are required to churn out under the harsh regime known as “publish or perish.”

posted by Barry Freed at March 3, 2005 03:07 PM #

You know, it’s ocurred to me that I have no idea what the political leanings of my professors were. However, I do know that one of the CS profs smoked pot.

The reality is that people tend to become leftist when they become educated about the world, and they later become less left oriented when they realize that their government is corrupt.

For example, what happened to the social security surplus we’ve been funding for the last few decades and why isn’t it factored into the national debt?

posted by Rich at March 4, 2005 08:37 AM #

Rich (are you rich?), I don’t know how you ‘knew’ about this “reality” about stereotypical “people”, but what I know is that some leftists also don’t like government very much (clue: anarchists, Marxists, social libertarians), and the fact that the current government is corrupt only serves to make them more leftist.

posted by bi at March 4, 2005 09:15 AM #

I really hope that this is a work of sarcastic satire. No sane person could actually think that a lack of Stanford professors who believe in the devil is a problematic issue. Please just tell me you were kidding. Please.

posted by Tyler Nelson at March 4, 2005 01:13 PM #

Davol, you should read Barabbas by Lagerkvist.

Intelligent people get taken in by con-men too. Maybe not as often as stupid people, but it definitely happens. Some of the people who believe the right’s arguments are not stupid. They’ve just been conned. Our job is to show them that.

I understand you want to help, but statements like yours play right into the anti-progressive movement’s hands. They will be used by the right as evidence that progressives hate America and Americans. Real progressives do not.

posted by gripdamage at March 6, 2005 10:53 AM #

Maybe people who complain about the lack of diversity (i.e. lack of conservatives) in academia, should also complain about the lack of diversity (i.e. lack of liberals) in the military and in the corporate world.

posted by Jason at March 6, 2005 01:18 PM #

gripdamage: the Rightists who are just “taken in by con-men” are often not supportive of Bush, or at least have some reservations about him. People who believe this Evil Leftist Academic Establishment sh!t are obviously too far down the path of stupidity. As someone else has put it, they weren’t reasoned into their positions, so they won’t be reasoned out of their positions either.

posted by bi at March 6, 2005 11:54 PM #

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