Are Professors Too Liberal?



Are college professors too liberal? Do we need more conservative professors? Has a lack of political diversity turned campuses into centers of liberal indoctrination?

These are legitimate questions, but I think the answers are “no,” “no,” and “no.” Censorship and indoctrination are indeed serious problems on campus, but I don’t think the solution is to have fewer liberal professors or more conservatives. On the contrary, the problem is that professors are not liberal enough.

Yes, you read that right: College professors should be more liberal, not less. But notice I didn’t say there should be more liberals. One can be liberal in the sense relevant to liberal education without being comprehensively liberal in some political sense. Professors should be liberal in the academic sense, regardless of their political views.

Colleges and universities have been devoted since the 19th century to liberal education, which assumes and promotes the intellectual autonomy of human minds, including respect for rational collaboration, disciplinary methodologies, and rigorous research. This entails taking the results of research seriously, even when these conflict with traditional beliefs, values, and practices.

It is not surprising that liberal education, which is rooted in liberal principles of individual liberty and rational autonomy, disproportionately attracts and produces liberals. Liberals and conservatives differ in ways that make liberal education more attractive to liberals than to conservatives. And involvement in education, even if it doesn’t turn people into liberals, often makes them more liberal in the academic sense.

Over the past two centuries, for example, liberals have generally accepted scientific conclusions on matters such as the age of the earth, the evolution of species, the reality of global warming, and the role of human activity in climate change. Conservatives, in contrast, have a long history of resisting scientific consensus on conclusions threatening to religious tradition or corporate profits.

What, then, is the problem? One concern is that lack of intellectual diversity will hinder research and education. But the sort of intellectual diversity relevant to academic work is diversity with respect to ongoing theoretical controversies, and there is no reason to think this is lacking. Biologists, for example, hold and teach a variety of views about the process of evolution; there is no need for concern about their political or religious beliefs.

Even with respect to political diversity the professoriate includes liberals, socialists, Marxists, moderates, pragmatists, libertarians, and (yes) conservatives, with many faculty claiming more than one of these categories, adding categories of their own, or rejecting any system of political categories. Those concerned about diversity of political views on campus need not worry. There is plenty of it.

Perhaps the problem is that the range of diversity on campus is skewed to the left compared to the range among the public at large. Conservatives are underrepresented and far-left viewpoints overrepresented. But there is no reason a political ideology should be represented in the professoriate in proportion to its current popularity. Universities should hire on the basis of academic merit alone and let the political chips fall where they may.

Rather than focus on the political views of professors, we should keep our focus on campus censorship and indoctrination, which are antithetical to liberal education. Professors should teach what they are hired to teach and should recognize their students’ rational autonomy by providing evidence and arguments, not just conclusions, and by encouraging students to think for themselves, seek new evidence, and reach their own conclusions.

As for the particular concern about liberal indoctrination, there’s nothing liberal about censorship or indoctrination. It may be possible to indoctrinate someone in particular liberal ideas and restrict exposure to alternative ideas but it is illiberal to do that. To reduce indoctrination we need more liberalism, not less.

But that doesn’t mean more liberals. Professors should be hired on the basis of their teaching and research without regard to their political views or activities. We needn’t worry about the representation of various political ideologies in the professoriate. Our focus should be on reminding all professors, regardless of their political views, that liberal education requires them to respect the intellectual freedom of all their colleagues and all their students.

David Moshman

Three Reasons Joe Biden Should Definitely Run for President

Image Credit: AP


The trial balloon went up on Sunday morning, when New York Times columnist and noted Clinton family antagonist Maureen Dowd reported that Vice President Joe Biden is “talking to friends, family and donors about jumping in” the 2016 presidential race.

Three days later, that balloon is looking more like a hydrogen-powered blimp. To start, a senior aide to Biden’s late son, Beau, has joined the push as an adviser to the Draft Biden Super PAC, a group dedicated to luring the vice president into the primary. His name is Josh Alcorn, and he has a talent for corralling campaign cash. If Biden were to join the fray at this late hour, stocking a feasible war chest would be his most immediate priority. Between April 12, when she entered the race, and June 30, Hillary Clinton raised $45 million. She began running ads in Iowa and New Hampshire on Tuesday, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The darkest clouds, however, are not on the horizon. They are here, right now. The vice president is a grandfather many times over, and with Beau’s passing in May he has kept his public schedule relatively sparse. On Tuesday, for instance, Biden will take one meeting with a visiting dignitary, according to his White House schedule. A day before and over the past weekend, he was in Wilmington, Delaware, absent from any political events.

Still, the speculation continues apace. Because Biden could silence it with a word, there is real reason to believe he is seriously weighing his options. At 72 years old, this is it — there is no next turn. In her column, Dowd relates a deeply personal anecdote that suggests there could be more in play than a simple electoral calculation.

Toward the end of Beau’s life, Down writes, he “was losing his nouns, and the right side of his face was partially paralyzed. But he had a mission: He tried to make his father promise to run, arguing that the White House should not revert to the Clintons and that the country would be better off with Biden values.”

The narrative here, especially for a political press thirsty for more drama in the Democratic primary, is irresistible. But how would a Biden run really go? Here are three reasons the vice president might as well take a shot:

Even with the people likely to vote for her, Hillary Clinton is not very popular.

According to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released Monday, only 37% of voters enjoy a positive view of Clinton, even as 59% say they plan to vote for her in a Biden-free primary.

Source: Uri Schanker/Getty Images

Though the vice president is hardly a newcomer to the national stage — he has run for president twice, in 1988 and 2008, and served in the Senate for 36 years before being sworn in alongside President Barack Obama in 2009 — he is not quite the cultural icon that Clinton is. That means more room to maneuver politically and something closer to a “fresh start” with voters who don’t pay close attention to the daily grind.

Even then, Biden has a reliable base of national support. In their round-up of major national polling, RealClearPolitics finds the vice president with nearly 14% backing among Democrats, despite his absence from the campaign trail. According to a recent Quinnipiac poll surveying all voters, Biden has a 49% approval rating to Clinton’s 40%. Fifty-one percent disapprove of Clinton; only 39% have a negative view of the vice president.

For liberals who might currently favor Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) but worry about his ability to take on a Republican in the general election, Biden provides a tested alternative to Clinton — not exactly a “progressive alternative” in the mold of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), but someone who has twice been elected to within that proverbial heartbeat of the presidency.

He has an advantage with liberals on foreign policy.

Republicans are on the record with their reviews of Clinton’s time running the State Department. Hint: they don’t think she did a great job. Donald Trump, for instance, told NBC News, “there has never been a secretary of state so bad as Hillary. The world blew up around us. We lost everything!” Hysterical flourishes aside, Trump, the Republican primary frontrunner for a reason, touches a nerve here.

Clinton was the top U.S. diplomat during a time of historic unrest and fracture in the Middle East and Afghanistan. Even putting the ruthlessly demagogued Benghazi tragedy aside, Clinton’s support for the U.S. intervention in Libya, which successfully deposed dictator Moammar Gadhafi but created a riotous, violent power vacuum currently being filled by a number of extremist groups, could become a liability in a primary contest.

Source: SAUL LOEB/Getty Images

Then there is the U.S. troop “surge” in Afghanistan, the foreign policy point on which Clinton and Biden diverged most famously. Upon arriving in office in 2009, Biden immediately registered his opposition to any plan that would deliver more troops into the cauldron. But Clinton and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates successfully lobbied Obama and, in 2009, he announced that 33,000 more Americans were headed to Afghanistan. Two years later, they were withdrawn on schedule but amid worsening Taliban violence and a series of deadly attacks on U.S. soldiers by Afghan trainees.

Clinton is not without her successes. She backed Obama’s successful 2011 raid on Osama Bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan while Biden, according to Situation Room scuttlebutt, counseled the president to take more cautious steps. But in a Democratic Party wary of Clinton’s hawkish streak, the raid’s value is diminished.

On the question of the Iraq War and the vote that did so much to sink Clinton in 2008, Biden cannot pursue the same path as Obama, whose opposition to the invasion set the tone for his campaign. But in the aftermath, Biden has shown a more nuanced understanding of the regional dynamics. His 2006 op-ed in the New York Times,largely ridiculed at the time, called for Iraq to be split among the Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds in the form of three “autonomous regions.”

Fast forward nearly a decade and the Iraqis have, in effect, done that themselves. Civil war has cleaved the country into three parts: a de facto Kurdish state in the north; a Sunni Islamic State group-held western region; and the withering Shiite stronghold in Baghdad.

If he can win the Democratic primary, Biden matches up well with Republicans.

A recent poll from Quinnipiac shows Biden performing almost identically to Clinton when pitted against the GOP presidential frontrunners. In a potential matchup with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Biden prevails, 43% to 42%. Clinton loses that contest by a point, 42% to 41%. Voters were similarly divided when asked to choose between the Democrats and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

Source: T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images

While those numbers are all well within the poll’s margin of error, the message is clear: Biden is already primed to be a formidable candidate in the general election, and that’s without the benefit of having made a single campaign stop, speech or commercial spot. Clinton, on the other hand, has been a declared candidate for more than three months and an undeclared contender for much longer than that.

Hurdles ahead: The Joe-mentum is gathering, no doubt, but the vice president would not enter this race without considerable political baggage. A sympathetic figure today, in the aftermath of his son’s untimely death, he would inevitably be subject to the same brand of often merciless scrutiny now being directed at the vast field of even semi-legitimate White House hopefuls.

On Monday morning, Politico published a long piece about the young then-Senator Biden’s decision to effectively bail on his pro-busing colleagues when the issue roiled the upper chamber in the mid-1970s. Whether Biden was being pragmatic — many Northerners, including his constituents in Delaware, were vehemently opposed to enforced integration programs — or simply unwilling to take on a righteous fight is hard to say.

Whether he’ll be asked about it is not.

Gregory Krieg

America’s Liberal Surge Continues As Pro-Choice Americans Now Outnumber Pro-Lifers

obama and congressional liberals kill corporate tax cuts
atribution: None


America’s move to the left on social issues continues as a new Gallup poll has found that for the first time in seven years more Americans identify themselves as pro-choice than pro-life.

A new Gallup poll found that:

Half of Americans consider themselves “pro-choice” on abortion, surpassing the 44% who identify as “pro-life.” This is the first time since 2008 that the pro-choice position has had a statistically significant lead in Americans’ abortion views.


For most of the past five years, Americans have been fairly evenly divided in their association with the two abortion labels. The only exception between 2010 and 2014 was in May 2012, when the pro-life position led by 50% to 41%.

Prior to 2009, the pro-choice side almost always predominated, including in the mid-1990s by a substantial margin. While support for the pro-choice position has yet to return to the 53% to 56% level seen at the time, the trend has been moving in that direction since the 2012 reading.

The Koch fueled Republican takeover of state level offices has led to a surge in anti-choice legislation, but Republicans are out step with the direction of a majority of the country. At the federal level, when Congressional Republicans pass bills that take away the right to choose, they are appealing to a shrinking constituency of supporters.

Socially, the United States is moving to the left. Majorities in the country support immigration reform, same-sex marriage, a woman’s right to choose, and accept climate change as reality. On all of these issues, Republicans are in the minority.

The social movement to the left was also found in last week’sGallup poll that revealed that social liberals outnumber social conservatives. This hasn’t translated to success for Democrats in midterm elections because many millennials who share similar beliefs as Democrats don’t vote.

A recent poll by Toluna Quicksurveys found that Millennials support Democrats by a margin of 41%-21%, and 91% plan on voting in the 2016 election. The problem for Democrats is that 30% also said that they vote in presidential elections, but not in state and local elections.

Most Americans are pro-choice, but a sizable number of these individuals aren’t voting in the elections that determine the policy direction of many states on social issues. If pro-choice Americans don’t vote, their states elect governors and legislators that carry out an anti-choice agenda.

What this dynamic means for 2016 is that the Republican presidential candidates will be trying to win an anti-choice primary in order to run in a general election when the majority of voters are likely to be pro-choice.

The U.S. has shifted left on social issues, but for that shift to reflected in policy, voters must vote in non-presidential year elections.

Republicans can’t stop it. America is becoming a liberal nation.

Jason Easley

America’s next great president: Why Obama’s departure paves the way for the next FDR

America’s next great president: Why Obama’s departure paves the way for the next FDR
Russ Feingold, Sherrod Brown, Elizabeth Warren (Credit: Reuters/Larry Downing/AP/Tony Dejak/Joshua Roberts)

I like the ideas set forth in this piece…


Why can’t Barack Obama be more like Lyndon Johnson? The fiftieth anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, commemorated by living presidents at the LBJ School of Public Affairs in Austin, Texas, last week, has renewed interest in comparisons between the two presidents. Critics of Obama complain that he might have been a more effective president had he been less aloof and more willing to bewitch, bully and bribe members of Congress as Johnson did. Defenders of Obama compare the Affordable Care Act to Johnson’s Medicare and Medicaid, and point out that Obama after 2010 had to face a divided Congress, unlike Johnson, with his Democratic supermajorities.

The discussion is superficial, reflecting a focus on personalities and short-term electoral considerations. It’s worth viewing the differences between Johnson and Obama in a broader historical context.

In the 1930s, as a young member of Congress from Texas, Lyndon Johnson became a favorite protégé of President Franklin Roosevelt. On becoming president after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Johnson saw his task in domestic politics as completing the New Deal (even as, in foreign policy, he sought, with disastrous results in Vietnam, to carry out the liberal Cold War containment policy inherited from Harry Truman). From the perspective of 2014, we can view Roosevelt’s New Deal and Johnson’s Great Society as a single era of reform, interrupted by the “conservative coalition” of right-wing Southern Democrats and northern Republicans that dominated Congress in the 1950s. From civil rights to universal health care, most of the programs that Johnson managed to get enacted in the 1960s had been proposed in the 1930s or 1940s, if not earlier. For the sake of simplicity, I will refer to the New Deal-Great Society combination as “the New Deal.”

The New Deal was the American version of the social reforms that transformed other advanced industrial democracies in the twentieth century. All of the other English-speaking countries as well as the democracies of Western Europe at some point adopted worker-protective legislation, social safety nets and — following World War II and the horrors of Nazi racism — the outlawing of white supremacy. In this wave of twentieth-century reform, the U.S. was mostly a laggard, not a leader. In the late nineteenth century, Imperial Germany pioneered workers’ compensation and Social Security, and before World War I Britain adopted many reforms that were delayed in the U.S. until the 1930s.

Continue reading below the fold…

Joe ‘The Plumber’ Wurzelbacher wants you and ‘deranged Mexicans’ to admit wanting ‘a white Republican president again’


Who dragged this guy out of the sewer?

The Raw Story

In an article posted on his website, the man known as “Joe the Plumber” during the last presidential election cycle published an unattributed article whose author assured readers that wanting a “white Republican president” doesn’t “make you a racist, it just makes you an American.”

The article, written by Kevin Jackson, contends that “[i]n the pre-black president era, criticizing the president was simply the American thing to do. An exercise of one’s First Amendment right. Criticism had nothing to do with color, because there had never been a black president.”

The problem, according to Jackson, isn’t the legacy of American slavery or race-relations, but the fact that the motivations of those who criticize the president are questioned: “Mexicans disagreed with most white Republican presidents over America’s immigration policy. Many deranged Mexicans believe we should open the country up to them, some saying that much of America belongs to Mexico anyway. They are not called racists.”

Being “called a racist” is, for Jackson, the worst possible fate a critic can face. And yet, later in the article, he claims that “most Liberal blacks are racists. Nobody wants to discuss it,” he writes, “because racism by black Liberals has been sanctioned by the Left, even encouraged.”

“I long for the days of a white president,” Jackson writes, “because under white presidents, at least black people had pride. Liberals have stolen pride from blacks, and they have no intention of giving it back.”

[Image via Youtube screencap]

Intelligence Study Links Low I.Q. To Prejudice, Racism, Conservatism

As I’ve said before in a similar article, this study is not a conclusive statement that all of the above have low I.Q.s…

The Huffington Post

Are racists dumb? Do conservatives tend to be less intelligent than liberals? A provocative new study from Brock University in Ontario suggests the answer to both questions may be a qualified yes.

The study, published in Psychological Science, showed that people who score low on I.Q. tests in childhood are more likely to develop prejudiced beliefs and socially conservative politics in adulthood.

I.Q., or intelligence quotient, is a score determined by standardized tests, but whether the tests truly reveal intelligence remains a topic of hot debate among psychologists.

Dr. Gordon Hodson, a professor of psychology at the university and the study’s lead author, said the finding represented evidence of a vicious cycle: People of low intelligence gravitate toward socially conservative ideologies, which stress resistance to change and, in turn, prejudice, he told LiveScience.

Why might less intelligent people be drawn to conservative ideologies? Because such ideologies feature “structure and order” that make it easier to comprehend a complicated world, Dodson said. “Unfortunately, many of these features can also contribute to prejudice,” he added.

Dr. Brian Nosek, a University of Virginia psychologist, echoed those sentiments.

“Reality is complicated and messy,” he told The Huffington Post in an email. “Ideologies get rid of the messiness and impose a simpler solution. So, it may not be surprising that people with less cognitive capacity will be attracted to simplifying ideologies.”

But Nosek said less intelligent types might be attracted to liberal “simplifying ideologies” as well as conservative ones.

In any case, the study has taken the Internet by storm, with some outspoken liberals saying that it validates their suspicions about conservatives and conservatives arguing that the research has been misinterpreted.

What do you think? Do conservatives tend to be less intelligent? Or is this just political opinion masquerading as science?

Good News, Liberals: ‘Crazy’ Michele Bachmann Is Back

Michele Bachmann

Hey, we’re just “sorting out the crazies”…

The Huffington Post

The Atlantic:

Remember when Michele Bachmann was the crazy right-wing congresswoman liberals loved to hate? The one who could be counted on to make inflammatory, nutty-sounding accusations on a regular basis, like when she said the media should investigate and expose the “anti-American views” of congressional liberals?

Read the whole story at The Atlantic


‘You Know You’re a Liberal If…’ 33 Litmus Tests for Liberals

Addicting Info

  1. You can discern the geographic distance between Kenya and Hawaii.
  2. Bernie Sanders is one of your favorite senators.
  1. You’re seriously considering dropping Verizon and switching to Credo Mobile.
  1. You get much of your news from Rachel Maddow, Bill Maher and/or Jon Stewart.
  1. You’re in favor of tax increases to support the common good even if you have to pay more yourself.

This, of course, is an ironic look at how Republicans see Liberals.

  1. You recognize that marijuana is physically less harmful than either cigarettes or alcohol.
  1. You understand Citizens United is about 5 conservative justices who are united against citizens and who favor the corporate control of elections.
  1. You get that Ron Paul is no better than the Tea Party.
  1. You’ve pissed off a conservative in your life by railing against Fox News or Sarah Palin.
  1. You have an “Obama ‘08” or “Obama 2012” logo riding on your bumper.
  1. You are a fan of a dozen or more liberal pages on Facebook.
  1. At some point, you wore dreads or went barefoot in public – or you know a few people who fit this description.
  1. You read food labels.
  1. You have gay friends and you respect them.
  1. You probably graduated from college and your degree probably isn’t in marketing or business administration.
  1. You post to Facebook and Twitter in support of liberal causes. A conservative friend may have un-friended you because of your posts.
  1. You support the middle class.
  1. You don’t think NPR is biased.
  1. You think the Koch brothers are evil.
  1. You’ve been following the dogged and brave uprising in Wisconsin.
  1. You prefer to breathe non-cancer-causing air and drink non-toxic water.
  1. You value a good standard of living for the public over corporate profits.
  1. You believe people should be able to choose, in private, the family planning option that’s right for them.
  1. You use hash tags like #p2, #p21, #topprog, and #taxtherich on Twitter.
  1. You are serious about recycling.
  1. You actually care that the ice caps are melting, coral reefs are dying and bio-diversity is diminishing.
  1. You can find Iraq on a map while realizing that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11.
  1. You’ve been called a hippie, a bleeding heart or a tree hugger.
  1. You believe education and health care should be subsidized for the common good.
  1. GOP voter suppression is ticking you off enough to mobilize the vote within your circles.
  1. You’ve given to a homeless person – ever.
  1. You cringe when you hear Obama referred to as a “one-term president.”
  1. You have gotten into a heated online debate with a Republican troll and even though you didn’t change their mind it still felt good to defeat their logic.

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If Democrats Had The Cajones…

WriteChic Press  – h/t Meesheemey

If Democrats had [cajones]…

Before the 112th Congress convenes, the Senate of the 111th would pass the 400 bills sent to them by the industrious House…if Democrats had balls.

The Senate fucks were voted in to work, to legislate for their term, but you know those sissy baby ninnies will lay down and die. Because that’s what Democrats do.

Republicans would vote in their bills.  Republicans act on what they believe.

Sure.  They’re wrong and lean heavily towards the batshit crazy end of the intellectual spectrum:

  • There have been more jobs created under Obama in 2 years than during the entire Bush administration. (Graph)
  • Democrats consistently preside over job creation. (Graph)
  • Republicans consistently are responsible for record deficits. (Graph)
  • Tax cuts (especially for the rich) do not create jobs (Source)

Republican heads would explode if they were capable of comprehending this.

But Republicans have the courage of their convictions….

…except when it comes to actually fighting a war themselves (Think chickenhawks, the narcissists who believe they’re too smart to die, when they’re really just too cowardly.)

They’re loud and proud.

I found this comment on Huffington Post under the topic: Beck Borrows Lines From Obama 2008 Stump Speech During DC Rally.

Since it speaks to so many of the ideals of the modern “progressive”, I wanted to share it on this blog:

“Joe gets up in the morning and fills his coffeepot with water to prepare his coffee. The water is clean because some tree-hugging liberal fought for minimum water-quality standards. With his first swallow he takes his daily medication with is safe because some stupid commie liberal fought to ensure it’s safety.

All but $10 of his medications are a are paid for by his employer’s medical plan because some liberal union workers fought their employers for paid medical insurance – so Joe gets it too.

On the shampoo label the ingredients are all properly labeled because some crybaby liberal fought for his right to know what he was putting on his body.

Outside Joe breathes deeply of clean air because some wacko environmentalist fought against industrial pollution.

He walks the government provided sidewalk to the subway for his government subsidized ride to work.

Joe’s job provides him with excellent pay, medical benefits, paid holidays and vacation because some lazy liberal union members fought and died for these working standards.

If Joe is hurt on the job or becomes unemployed workman’s comp kicks in because some stupid liberal didn’t think he should lose his home because of an injury or temporary situation.

At noon Joe goes to the bank to pay bills where his deposit is insured by the FDIC because some godless liberal wanted to protect Joe’s money from unscrupulous bankers.

He visits his father who survives on social security supplied because some liberals worked for it.

Etc. ETc.”