Wednesday, August 01, 2007

A failed study of academic ideology

A study published late last year by sociologists John F. Zipp and Rudy Fenwick under the heading "Is the Academy a Liberal Hegemony? The Political Orientations and Educational Values of Professors" has got a fair bit of attention. It is a rather desperate attempt to deny the obvious -- that American university and college teachers are overwhelmingly Leftist.

They concede that party identification runs 7 to 1 in favour of Democrats among professors but argue that this does not adequately reflect ideology. Conservatives would certainly agree with that -- seeing professors as much more extreme Leftists than most Democrat voters are. That is the WRONG conclusion, however, according to the zippy one. He and his friend in fact argue that a lot of those academic Democrats are really centrists!

The study has been thoroughly shot down on a number of grounds by others (e.g. here and here) but I thought I should have a look at it nonetheless. I spent 20 years or so trying to measure people's political attitudes as precisely as possible and have over 100 academic journal articles in print reporting on the results of that. So the research concerned really is in my line of country. I thought I might be able to see defects that others have missed.

And I sure did! The attitude surveys from which they derived their data had only a 50% response rate! For many purposes that may not matter. That is actually a fairly good response rate compared to attitude surveys and opinion polls in general. But there is ONE occasion where a low response rate does matter a great deal. And that is the sort of occasion we have in the present case: Where one's sample includes a large number of political extremists. I tried for many years to get Communists and Nazis to complete my attitude surveys. I used every trick in the book to persuade them to do the task -- including getting recommendations of the task from their own authorities. But the comrades just would NOT do the task. They obviously felt -- probably rightly --that the results could be used to "get at" them in some way. And, as we all know, academe is now the only place where Marxism still has a strong following. I taught in a Sociology Department at a major university myself for many years so I can vouch for the popularity of Marx in such places. And what is true of Marxists as far as paranoia is concerned is probably also true of the fruitier versions of Leftism that also infest academe.

So Zipp and friend based their research on data from which the real Leftists were self-excluded! No wonder they found that the Leftists they did have were rather moderate! Rather hilarious, really.


An American liberal's view of American liberalism

The sad truth is that if the FBI really is following anyone on the American left, it is engaging in a huge waste of time and personnel. No matter what it claims for a self-image, in reality it's the saddest collection of cowering, ineffectual ninnies ever assembled under one banner on God's green earth. And its ugly little secret is that it really doesn't mind being in the position it's in - politically irrelevant and permanently relegated to the sidelines, tucked into its cozy little cottage industry of polysyllabic, ivory tower criticism. When you get right down to it, the American left is basically just a noisy Upper West side cocktail party for the college-graduate class. And we all know it. The question is, when will we finally admit it?

Here's the real problem with American liberalism: there is no such thing, not really. What we call American liberalism is really a kind of genetic mutant, a Frankenstein's monster of incongruous parts - a fat, affluent, overeducated New York/Washington head crudely screwed onto the withering corpse of the vanishing middle-American manufacturing class. These days the Roosevelt stratum of rich East Coasters are still liberals, but the industrial middle class that the New Deal helped create is almost all gone. In 1965, manufacturing jobs still made up 53 percent of the US economy; that number was down to nine percent in 2004, and no one has stepped up to talk to the 30 million working poor who struggle to get by on low-wage, part-time jobs.

Thus, the people who are the public voice of American liberalism rarely have any real connection to the ordinary working people whose interests they putatively champion. They tend instead to be well-off, college-educated yuppies from California or the East Coast, and hard as they try to worry about food stamps or veterans' rights or securing federal assistance for heating oil bills, they invariably gravitate instead to things that actually matter to them - like the slick Al Gore documentary on global warming, or the "All Things Considered" interview on NPR with the British author of Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook. They haven't yet come up with something to replace the synergy of patrician and middle-class interests that the New Deal represented.

More here



For those who don't know much history, Israel is above being compared with Czechoslovakia before WWII. Thanks in part to the appeasement policy of British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, Czechoslovakia was eventually overrun by Hitler

Some polls are not fit to print: "Janet Elder of the "All The News" paper has a laugh-out-loud story about what happens when the Times doesn't like a poll result - they bury it: "The war in Iraq is the single most important continuing news issue right now. Public opinion about the war is a critical part of that story. That's why when a finding about the war in a New York Times poll could not be easily explained, the paper went back and did another poll on the very same subject. It turns out the poll had gotten it right. Support for the initial invasion of Iraq, as measured by a question The New York Times/CBS News Poll has asked since December 2003, increased modestly compared with two months ago."

This is incomprehensible to the Left: "In a time of war, when Americans have soured on the grinding conflict in Iraq, and the rosters of the dead lengthen daily, young men and women continue to join the military. Although the Army missed its recruiting goals in May and June, all four services exceeded their goals last year. More than 80,000 recruits joined the Army, 36,000 the Navy and 30,000 the Air Force. An additional 32,000 joined the Marine Corps. In June, 4,113 Marine recruits signed up, exceeding the monthly goal of 3,742."

British airport screening adds inconvenience but no security: "Britain's airport screening policies inconvenience passengers without boosting security according to the head of the International Air Transport Association (IATA). "Harmonised security measures across borders are more important than ever," IATA General Director Giovanni Bisignani said in a ciritical statement on first half civil aviation statistics. He said "governments must focus much more on further harmonisation to ensure that effective security is also convenient for passengers." "A particular focus will be the UK, where unique screening policies inconvenience passengers with no improvement in security. "The only beneficiary is the airport operator - BAA - that continues to deliver embarrassingly low service levels by failing to invest in appropriate equipment and staff to meet demand. This must stop."


List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here or here or here


"Why should the German be interested in the liberation of the Jew, if the Jew is not interested in the liberation of the German?... We recognize in Judaism, therefore, a general anti-social element of the present time... In the final analysis, the emancipation of the Jews is the emancipation of mankind from Judaism.... Indeed, in North America, the practical domination of Judaism over the Christian world has achieved as its unambiguous and normal expression that the preaching of the Gospel itself and the Christian ministry have become articles of trade... Money is the jealous god of Israel, in face of which no other god may exist". Who said that? Hitler? No. It was Karl Marx. See also here and here and here.

The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialistisch) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party".


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