An Academic Monopoly: Liberal Vs Conservative

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 But hang on, some of us don’t even remember that there was a battle on, but there must have been because the land I live in I live now only has a few of my countrymen. I arrive at work and I am surrounded by foreigners, and people who do things differently from me.  In the privacy of home, there need not necessarily be harmony but both can be opposed to one another, in fact the house can be divided, yet though divided, it shall not fall.

            What is going to fall or not fall, a nation, a house?  No not at all, I used the above as a metaphor of conservatives and Liberals, or Republicans and Democrats.  Surveys find that it bodes badly for Republicans in America when it comes to certain occupations.  According to David Brooks a survey of Popular Culture showed that roughly 90 percent of professors in the arts and sciences that are registered with political parties, were registered as Democrats (Brooks 2003).  Why is this? What is it about arts and sciences that causes some or rather most to lean towards the liberal side of politics?  This reflected the results at the top universities in the country.  Another somewhat disturbing suggestion Brooks makes is that is that these surveys showed that there were virtually no evangelical Christians among these academics.

            These results say much about the state of things in Academia in USA and perhaps the world as well, but I believe it says more about the researchers than it does about academics in general. While I believe that liberal Academics abound throughout the world, as can be seen by the number of liberal agendas that are implemented in tertiary institutions, I cannot believe it is as high as 90 percent.  Perhaps the reason that the survey found such a high rate is that the universities surveyed Harvard, Stanford, Yale, Princeton, Caltech, MIT, Duke, Dartmouth, Cornell, Colombia, Chicago (Brooks, 2003), are some of the most renowned liberal universities in the country.  It seems that the truism that you can make a survey say anything you want is quite true, judging from this obviously Cross-sectional study.  I am sure that if the study was longitudinal and took into account some of the conservative institutions in the Southern States, maybe the results would have been more even. 

            By putting all those considerations aside, these results seem to prolong a misconception among many liberals that conservative voters are not thinking, creative intellectuals.  This could not be further from the truth.  Firstly Christian universities are full of conservative thinkers, not only among their faculties but also in the student bodies.  Some intellectuals may utter a ‘pshaw’ at this but remember that these institutions undertake the same intellectual rigor that the ivy-league schools have gone through.  The governing body would not accredit a Christian university if it didn’t meet all of the academic standards that are expected of a tertiary institution.  When I was studying for my first degree, a BA in English & History, according to this survey I didn’t exist.  I as well as most of the student body and faculty was an evangelical, a conservative voter, and a Christian theist.  Of course my Alma Mater could not make itself a strictly Christian college legally so they had to admit students of other religious persuasions as well.  Ironically though, non-Christian students also benefited from the atmosphere of peace and learning that was created at the Christian Tertiary Institution.  It is amazing how much actual learning can happen when you don’t have militant unionists shouting at you and wasting your dues on very loud second-rate bands blasting your ear drums when alkl you want to do is read that week’s texts.  Oh yes, and accosting you at every turn on the campus. 

             In view of all this rhetoric I have just written in defense of conservatives, one might think I was born with a silver-spoon in the mouth, most of whom have never done a hard days work in their lives.  Once again nothing could be further from the truth.  My family emigrated from Italy after WWII and settled in Australia where my father worked as an itinerant farm laborer.  We children helped out working on the same farms during the weekends and holidays and we managed to get by.  Of course dad voted for the Labor Party (liberal social views) and when of age the rest of us just followed suit, as we were supposed to.  However, on a trip to Europe in the 80s, as you do, I saw the result of successive Socialist Governments on the once economically strong England, and my view of this type of Government took a sharp nose-dive.

            I have come to accept the view that a bottom up style of Government, while it sounds good initially, does not deliver the necessary reforms in the long term.  Giving higher pay across the board simply by legislation will ensure that companies will have to outlay more finances to workers for the same productivity and thus these expenses will exert upward pressure on prices, and therefore the real value of the workers’ new wages is diminished as a result.  If on the other hand the change is effected from the upper echelons of the business world in a spirit of mutual benefit to all involved, the higher wages will be naturally tied to increased productivity and so will be fully sustained.  Only a Top-Down Government can deliver changes at the upper echelons of society and these changes ideally will trickle down to encompass all facets of society so that by the time John Citizen is enjoying the benefits of higher pay, then the infrastructure will already be in place to support that higher pay.

            I find it hard to believe though that liberals are hypocrites who don’t practice what they preach.  However, I am reminded of what I saw in Brisbane, Australia on the day that the US marines went into Granada.  Thousands of passionate liberals were busy pasting protest posters up all over downtown calling the faithful to rallies on the weekend to demand that the US withdraw from the sovereign Caribbean nation.  Who was the reactionary fundamental here then, considering that those who protest against everything that conservatives do, just for the sake of protesting, jumped the gun (Pun not intended).  In this case though, it was a ‘pie in the face’ for the protestors because by the time the weekend rolled around the US had indeed already gone their way with a job well done. 

            One wonders if folks of the liberal persuasion were somewhat disappointed that they would have nothing left to rail about to legions of faithful pot-smoking followers who had no jobs to go to and would turn up on Saturday.  Why is it that liberals who preach tolerance seem to perpetuate a ‘chip on the shoulder’ attitude towards anyone who has a conservative take on life.  As Brooks says these very liberals are the ones who promote diversity, yet when it comes to hiring someone from a different philosophical standpoint the shields come up and they remain alone in their cocoon of liberality, undisturbed, writing their smug treatises on the values of a planned diverse society.  One that they say is the only way forward for the rest of the world to go, perhaps, but not when it comes to the elite intelligentsia who should be free to function largely in homogeneous enclaves on their own, thank you very much. 

Brooks, David., in Donald McQuade & Robert Antwan., (2006), The Writers Presence. 5th Ed. Bedford/St  Martins: Boston

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