Thursday, October 30, 2003


We hear a lot about how Leftist the university and college scene is these days. What needs to be stressed, however, is that it is the waffly subjects in the Humanities and Social Sciences that are overwhelmingly Leftist. In my time as a student in the '60s, Leftism was of course famously rampant but even then the students in Engineering courses were very different. Australia had at that time a very conservaive political party called the DLP and all the DLP supporters on campus were engineering students. Even I did not join the DLP though I of course had friends there. I was therefore pleased to get recently the following email from a present-day student of engineering at one of our Australian universities:

"As a PhD student in engineering, it's interesting to note the discussions of my colleagues. It seems that we have opposite tendencies to our counterparts in the social sciences. In the past couple of days, some of their insights have been that if a company can't stay in business by selling it's products, it should look to alternatives and that unions calling strikes to protest against a (perceived) lack of jobs is just plain weird.

As an undergraduate, I recall that the engineering faculty stayed open for business during a strike by academics. The head of school told the staff they could strike if they wanted, but they're not paid to strike, hence no pay if they did. The student union tried bribing engineering students with free beer if we voted - no one did."

Engineeers are practical people and practical is one thing the Left is not. Academic economists are allowed to be conservative too and Stephen Karlson clearly is. His post on the difference between “sex” and “gender” is one I heartily echo. His summary of the central controversy in moral philosophy as “circumstances alter cases” show his limits, however.


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