Academia: Left vs. Conservative Leaning?
As Patriots and a reader of many blogs and articles there is no doubt that the question of academia being controlled by the left can be said to be unanimous. This topic on examination will surely elicit more controversy. While assumptions often drive our belief I believe the assumptions are often based on those academics that rise to have a powerful voice in driving public policy in government, policy that is antithetical to liberty, self reliance individual choice of values, lifestyles and then there is the sticky the notion of collectivism held exclusively by the liberal.
Studies abound on this topic. I find that a majority can be condensed down to reflect the left controlling by-and-large the humanities, anthropology the social engineering. Political Science is a separate study that is often rooted in the leanings of the higher-ed colleges and universities bending more one way or the other driven mostly by the faculty or a visiting professor leanings. More and more the study of Political Science a beast of monumental importance is driven by ideologues of all stripes including the foreign.
Taken from an article in U.S. Daily Review, dated November, 10, 2012 they suggested that: Rounding out the top 10 liberal colleges and universities, based on data from their alumni, are Oberlin, Macalester, Grinnell, Bard, Swarthmore, Haverford, Bryn Mawr, Wesleyan, and Smith. In addition to the Air Force Academy, the schools with the most conservative alumni are Brigham Young, Auburn, U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Military Academy, Texas A & M, University of Mississippi, Georgia Institute of Technology, Baylor, and the University of Alabama. Decide for yourself. I personally hold the view that most undergraduate institutions lean liberal.
When I think of Georgetown University my first hit is that it just might be conservative in nature after all it was established in 1789 and is the nation’s oldest Catholic and Jesuit university. On closer observation it is a mixed bag.
Most of us would say the University of California at Berkeley was liberal yet historically its board has been dominated by more conservative leaning members. The higher research is neutered for the most, the Law school is more conservative for example but when you look at the humanities and other social engineering studies then you see ‘liberal’ , left-wing dominance.
So what makes a higher ed more conservative or liberal? I believe strongly that it lies squarely on the institution hiring of faculty. To prove my theory lets look at the little Liberal Arts, Hillsdale College. I think it would be safe to say its board, faculty and classes are steeped in conservative principles. Perhaps others could argue too much so.
If one takes a close look at science, math, engineering, medical research etc. they tend not to lend themselves to a political leaning. Science may often lend itself by its research conclusions to be controversial in its findings or mathematicians theories may come under scrutiny by other mathematicians to disprove. In the basic these studies do not lend themselves easily to ideologues of the right or left in politics.
(I am a strong believer that trade schools should be brought back in a big way. Teaching one a trade need not be rooted in political ideology. It does not need to teach one to be a trade unionist. To eventually become a member (or not) is an individual choice.)
So for the sake of discussion let’s agree to talk more of the humanities, the social engineering and the political science study.
My Own Experience
Since I am writing this I will take the liberty to write first hand about my own experience. I attended a first rate women’s Liberal Arts College, private and expensive compared to a land-grant college. I was accepted at age 40 and received full scholarship although I turned down the option of housing.
For me at age 40 I wanted to take courses in everything while at the same time being practical in choosing a degree that would ensure a profitable career. My degree was a BA in Computer Science.
The college faculty in the humanities, anthropology and the like were by-and-large a liberal bunch. In fact a conservative would most likely find themselves at the end of a discrimination stick, best to be a closeted conservative for survival. The board was by-and-large made up of conservatives. They were successful, well connected and rich.
I took many humanity courses supplementing my must take programming and heavy mathematics courses.
Here is the thing while the courses being taught by the liberal dominated faculty in the humanities did nothing to alter my fundamental self as a moderate conservative (actually I think of myself as Libertarian subject at times depending on the issue to be more conservative). Its complicated.
The Clue is ‘Critical Thinking’ and a Mix of Conservative and Liberal Faculty
The basic problem I see with colleges and universities (undergraduate study) is that these institutions for the most part have allowed a disparity in hiring faculty favoring the liberal over the conservative professors in the humanities. social engineering etc. and moving at a fast pace in that direction in political science study. We must demand both the conservative and liberal voice to emerge, no dominance of either. Why? We should not be afraid of the exploring of students in these undergrad endeavors to both sides of the spectrum. Critical thinking is essential and to learn critical thinking one must, I believe, read and study areas that are antithetical to the core beliefs of our upbringing. If a student was reared in either a fundamentally conservative or liberal family exploring other ideology is, in my humble opinion, the optimal obligation of an institution to forge its curriculum to offer both. To accomplish the optimal curriculum then it would follow that the institutions obligation would be a diverse faculty of conservative and liberal leaning professors. It matters not in a math class that a professor voted republican, democrat or was a blooming Green Party advocate or even a communist sympathizer in after hours. Math was math.
I do not think at the undergrad level that we must get the ‘hair on our neck’ up worrying about this or the other course content we need only to focus on ensuring that the faculty members come from both sides of the political spectrum. Let critical thinking thrive. We must not fear that the college age student can not be the master of their own conclusions. The only fear is when an institution fails to offer both points of view if they do not then what they are delving out is indoctrination of one viewpoint.
While I strongly believe that we need not be in a blister regarding the content of courses in the humanities, political science, anthropology, ethnic studies and the like but rather focus on the equality, for lack of a better term, of the faculty. This is the critical in critical thinking. The young student with an inquiring mind will take it all in mull it over and come to their own conclusion. In this way indoctrination will be stamped out.
If one performs a Google search you will find lots of information regarding this subject. However there is no argument in my view that the undergraduate study is dominated by the liberal and left wing. Again this must change to support ‘critical thinking’ and not indoctrination that supports the liberal and left wing agenda.
Another note is that speakers at commencement are by and large for the undergrad dominated by liberal biased speakers. This must change as well.
Links you may find of interest
I get angry when we conservatives have allowed the use of the term/word progressive to be hijacked by the left-wing. The word as defined by Merriam-Webster is not a word to fear. Are not the Republicans [conservatives] forward thinkers? We are allowing the left to drive the conversation and thus we become thinkers of the Dark Ages. They have successfully usurped the word and used it effectively against us. Progressive when used as a Nown equates to left-wing. Do we need a new moniker that would diminish the power of Progressives? Perhaps we conservatives could simply use Republican-Progressives. Could we reclaim ‘Forward Thinker’s’ the Conservative Way?
As of 2009 1 in 20 or 5% of members of Congress had no college degree. 1 member of Congress was a drop-out from high school. Of this group 27 House member did not have a degree compared to 1 in the Senate. Race seemed not to be the outstanding driver. For example Steve King of Iowa is among the non college graduates.
Women’s undergraduate colleges produce many notable women leaders such as Madeleine Albright and Hillary Clinton. For a closer look
at notable women from Liberal Arts Colleges see List of alumnae of women’s colleges in the United States at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_alumnae_of_women%27s_colleges_in_the_United_States
For comparison lets include Hillsdale College for notable women in business and government. I found none although I admit my research was not extensive.
Further exploration Oral Roberts University produced Michelle Bachmann. While Oberlin College can proudly lay claim to Michelle Malkin. In the case of Malkin having attended a more liberal (left leaning) college it aids in my argument that critical thinking is key and her roots are probably a key as well.
My point is the following Liberal Arts Colleges can lay the foundation for producing leaders. My argument above concluded that a mix of faculty, conservative and liberal, can drive voices of different leanings. This again is, I believe, the key to bringing the conservative voice to government. Since colleges and universities thought to be of excellence one can easily make an argument in undergraduate studies (excluding the technical, math, engineering) that left (liberal thinking) dominates and a fair mix of conservative vs liberal faculty is key for critical thinking. It is also fair to make the assumption that given fairness in the faculty that the conservative voice could emerge in
I know, guilty, of focusing a bit on women leaders. It was deliberate. I leave it to you to decide for yourself if more women in government
and business is crucial. My opinion is a
‘yes it is’.
I am including the following profile of:
I personally found the demographic data fascinating.