Debra J. Saunders

Cardiff knows conservative professors "who are afraid to share their point of view," lest their colleagues turn on them. "You've got this situation where universities are professing to support intellectual freedom, academic freedom, when in reality there's a chilling effect on actual political discussion."

Many professors see their universe as expansive and novel. Yet, Cardiff noted, "If you're only getting one point of view, you're living in an echo chamber." The worst of it is, the most ideologically pure professors have so isolated themselves that, according to Cardiff, "a lot of these folks don't realize there are other opinions out there."

I run into this all the time when I hear from readers who think that I am biased -- I am, I am supposed to be, I write for the opinion page -- while they are neutral. (They're not, they're biased, too.)

I've also run into my share of journalists who believe that journalists tend to be liberal because liberals are smarter. It simply doesn't occur to them that editors tend to not hire reporters who don't fit into the well-worn liberal mold.

The Critical Review articles bared two disturbing trends: First, left-leaning academics are more orthodox than right-leaning academics. Klein, and Charlotta Stern of the Institute for Social Research in Stockholm, who conducted the social-scientist survey, polled academics about their views on where government intervention works best. They found "almost no diversity of opinion among the Democratic professors." Republicans -- no surprise -- demonstrated more ideological diversity. GOP scholars also are more likely to work outside the university -- and that's no accident.

Second, as Klein succinctly put it, "It's going to become more lopsided in the future." Cardiff and Klein looked at the younger ranks in academia -- tenure-track and associate profs -- and found the ratio of Ds to Rs to be even greater.

So the future could see state universities morph into today's UC Berkeley, where Cardiff and Klein found 445 Dems to 45 Repubs. Group-think will further marginalize any free thinkers.

If you think outside the box, you work outside the institution. That's where academia is heading.


Debra J. Saunders


 
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