Saturday, February 21, 2004


Easily Distracted doesn't know how to spell "supersede" but nonetheless seems to think he knows all about anti-conservative bias at Swarthmore and universities and colleges generally. I don't suppose we should be surprised that it is mostly pretty ivory-tower stuff, however -- about how he perceives his colleagues and how things should be rather than how they are. Facts (such as what conservative students constantly report) are very thin on the ground. For instance, he says in point 10 of his post of 16th that being a registered Democrat doesn't tell you everything about a Professor's views or actions -- which is obviously true -- but he then seems to move on to the conclusion that it tells you almost nothing about a Professor's views and actions -- which is highly questionable to say the least. And add in the fact that almost all of the Professor's colleagues will be Democrats too and the whole claim about the irrelevance of party affiliation becomes absurd. Pervasive Leftism is not reflected in what is taught? Only Pollyanna would believe it.

He is right about some things, though: "In most of the humanities there's a default assumption that everyone around the table more or less broadly can be classed as a liberal, and a certain stunned incredulity when someone departs from that assumption". That in fact is how I got my first and only full time university teaching job. It was in a Sociology Department and it never occurred to anyone to make any enquiries of anyone about my politics. They just assumed I was a fellow Leftist and appointed me with immediate tenure. When I resigned 12 years later and sought teaching jobs at other universities, however, my politics had become widely known (my 1974 book ensured that) and I not once even got interviewed -- even though I had by then what would normally be considered the enormously attractive record of over 200 articles published in the academic journals. Fortunately, I didn't need the money by then but I would have liked to have done some more teaching.


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