Nearly Four In Five College Departments Don’t Employ A Single Republican

college universityTo set foot on an American college campus, as anyone who’s spent a picosecond thereabout lately can tell you, is to step through a left-wing looking glass. But a jaw-dropping new study from the National Association of Scholars (NAS) reveals just how deep the rabbit hole goes: among tenure-track college professors at the nation’s top-ranked liberal arts schools, registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans by more than 10 to 1.

Rather than culling data from some voluntary survey, the report uncovers the political leanings of 8,688 elite academics by cross-referencing publicly available voter registration information with faculty lists from 51 colleges. At these schools, “78.2 percent of departments do not employ a single Republican.” And that’s just the topline.

The numbers below the fold, broken down by college and field of study, are even more alarming. Over at Wellesley College, perhaps best known for fostering pantsuited diplomats and disdain for the late Barbara Bush, there are 136 Democrat professors for every Republican. More than a third of the colleges assessed have ratios of at least 20-to-1.

At the low end of the spectrum are schools like the Naval Academy, where still more than twice as many Ds as Rs appear at the front of the lecture hall. Lopsided leanings are also evident in key disciplines, such as environmental studies (25-to-1), the humanities (32-to-1), and sociology (44-to-1).

Even If You’re Liberal, This Is Bad News

Look, it’s news to no one (except maybe the frequently confused Matt Yglesias) that the Left smothers conservative thought in academe. But at this magnitude, the consequences go far beyond who gets to wear tweed jackets with elbow patches. Each year, America’s universities ingest millions of bright but ideologically inchoate young people fumbling towards adulthood. Failing to expose them to an extensive menu of different ideas is a sure recipe for parochialism and intellectual indolence.

Even those who would welcome a unanimously liberal generation of Americans must recognize that a mind untested is as useful as a pencil unsharpened: it may be the tool you need, but good luck filling out your Scantron. The most valuable test of one’s worldview is to be confronted by an earnest exponent of a different or even contradictory one.

Moreover, consider the impact of straitjacketed thinking on academic inquiry. Despite being lavished with billions by American taxpayers, the social sciences are engulfed in a vexing replication crisis. Hundreds of findings once considered axiomatic have been impossible to reproduce, casting doubt on entire corpuses of published work in some disciplines.

Is this really all that gobsmacking, however, given the tool we use to appraise its validity? Peer review aims to ensure that academic evidence can be trusted by subjecting it to the rigorous scrutiny of reviewers with expertise comparable to the author. Yet as activists and politicians grasp ever more desperately at studies to lend scientific heft to their policy wish lists, academic research has become increasingly politicized. A panel drawn from a cohort of homogeneous thinkers cannot be expected to fairly assess evidence that has a political impact.

Look no further than the Implicit Association Test (IAT), a tool social psychologists developed that purports to measure unconscious prejudice. After being cited in more than 3,000 peer-reviewed papers by “psychologists [desiring] to help solve social problems,” and eagerly circulated by fellow travelers in the media, it was revealed that the test returns wildly unreliable results and has no impact on discriminatory behavior.

Despite failing to meet basic scientific standards, the IAT has been taken by more than 17 million people worldwide, featured in multimillion-dollar federal grants, and made the centerpiece of countless corporate diversity workshops. These academic blunders carry a price we will continue to pay until we recognize the limitations of peer review in an echo chamber.

This Means the ‘Consensus’ Is Tilted

The same applies to the notion of “scientific consensus,” commonly aired today in discussions about climate change. In 2014, noted demagogue John Oliver excoriated the media for daring to present viewers both sides of a political question by holding a “statistically representative” mock debate. To illustrate the percentage of scientists who agree on climate change, he trotted out 97 extras in white coats to shout down three climate skeptics.

To this profusion of unintentional irony, the NAS study adds another nugget: the 25-to-1 partisan ratio among environmental studies faculty means that out of professors who declare for a party, 96.2 percent are Democrats. By no means does this invalidate the conclusions of climate scientists. But policymakers should be aware that the oft-cited “consensus” is not necessarily a meeting of purely objective minds.

Let’s face it: the academy’s ability to perform credible peer review and proclaim scientific consensus will be hindered until it reclaims ideological pluralism. But how? The study argues that, “[t]he solution to viewpoint homogeneity may lie in establishing new colleges from the ground up” because reforming hidebound institutions “seems a very tall order.” Yet a vast new expansion, in the context of bloated federal outlays and overextended state budgets, seems even more improbable.

There is no choice but to reform existing universities, although it will take a Herculean effort from within to expand the institutional Overton window. These days, you can hardly walk through a quad without turning up some provost or vice chancellor underfoot, vowing to promote diversity. It’s past time for these administrators to show some mettle and apply that principle not just to race, sex, and creed, but to ideas also.

That means ceasing the assault on academic freedom and putting the kibosh on the heckler’s veto. Those interested in a truly plural discourse on campus should also think twice before reaching for the typical administrative pro-diversity playbook. Mandatory training seminars and hiring quotas are poor solutions, whomever they favor. Instead, we should take matters into our own hands.

Here’s How to Start

First, students and professors with divergent views must be bold enough to publicly voice them. The chilling effect of overwhelming viewpoint discrimination drives right-leaning prospective young academics into tight-lipped diffidence, if not different callings altogether. The magnetism of compelling mentors—visible evidence that conservatives indeed belong—is an indispensable counterweight that must be strengthened.

Meanwhile, freethinkers should join (or promote and support) nonpartisan organizations that defend viewpoint diversity and freedom of speech on campus, like the Heterodox Academy and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. The surveys, tools, and research that groups like these produce are materiel for the vanguard.

Finally, right-leaning professors should strive to play a larger role in peer review, though not a tendentious one. These panels should not become venues for ideological combat, but a variety of perspectives is a needed check on cognitive biases, to which even pedigreed scholars are susceptible.

It goes without saying that all this may come at a substantial individual cost, denominated in professional opportunities and even personal relationships. But it must be paid. Otherwise, partisan faculties will continue to gather momentum like heavy stones tumbling down a hillside. The few conservatives in academia must be willing to stand athwart these boulders yelling Stop, no matter the risk of being flattened. The integrity of the academy depends on it.

From - The Federalist - by William Estes

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4 years ago

Now you know why our Country is so messed up! The Media, Hollywood and the wonderful liberal progressives who teach in the Colleges
have their agenda. The Media can’t tell the truth, Hollywood uses every chance they get to down our President and the College Professors
all teach their political beliefs instead of the subjects that they should be teaching the young people. I am glad that I am a Senior Citizen because this Country is going to hell in a handbag.

4 years ago

No secret here. When I went to college, I was there to get educated, not indoctrinated. Of course that was 1974. Things have changed and not for the better. Nowhere on a college campus today can a person with conservative values discuss or speak without being shouted down or worse. I won’t even initiate a political conversation with a neighbor with liberal leanings because I know how it will will turn out. Sad isn’t it? What is even sadder is no one knows the solution.

4 years ago

Love that phrase “peer review in an echo chamber”. Certainly not far removed from the self-feeding-circle of the news media.

Thomas Haj
4 years ago

I heard that Hillary was once a rock-solid republican. Then she went to college.

4 years ago

In my conservative state the educators are mostly liberal from grade school through college. Why! It is time for vouchers so parents have a choice of schools for their children so they have a chance to learn how freedom works. Watch the protests in colleges and you see just how stupid these kids are.

Wayne Peterkin
4 years ago

I should add that a separate issue has been the rapidly inflating cost of a college education. Rather that the proposed socialist solution of “free” college paid for by every taxpayer which Bernie Sander s and Hillary (along with other Democrats) have supported, I have advocated for calling a number of college presidents into a congressional committee hearing and forcing them to explain, under oath, why those costs have escalated so badly. Make them justify the cost. I ask this because I believe those costs have nothing at all to do with a better or more worthwhile education and instead are related to quickly rising salaries and a lot of new construction making the modern university a model of excess rather than an institution of serious learning. Not to mention academic degree programs that are totally useless in the real world yet may bankrupt the immature student majoring in them. In short, a lot of college today is a con game.

Thomas Haj
4 years ago
Reply to  Wayne Peterkin

I was told that every time the government raises the amount of college aid, the colleges respond by raising their tuition.

Barbara J Struble
4 years ago

No more taxpayer funds for public universities. Public universities are anit-American, indoctrination – not thinking. There are private universities and one of the best is Hillsdale College in Michigan. Check it out. they even have free online courses (pay if you want credit). I have taken many. They were all great. Trade schools are another way to go. Now that companies are returning to our country, skilled trades / computer engineering are a better way to go.

Paul W
4 years ago

This should surprise absolutely nobody. K-12 is meant to start the indoctrination, then college finishes the brain-washing. In the late 60s, politics, news media, entertainment and education was flooded with those with Marxist ideology. It started slowly and cautiously, but has developed into an all out revolution. It’s all part of a deliberate, thought out strategy.

Wayne Peterkin
4 years ago

No surprise to me, just disgust. The scariest part of this is the indoctrination of kids into socialist principles, principles that have failed everywhere in the world and will always fail because they are contrary to human nature. Our kids are being indoctrinated with propaganda by the far left from elementary school right through college, and the intention is to undermine this nation to permit the evolution to socialism with elites dictating the future for what used to be a free America. This does not end well.

Robert Lindsey
4 years ago

They need to purge all schools of socialist and communist teachings and if they don’t cut all money off.

4 years ago
Reply to  Robert Lindsey

Ditto…I still don’t understand how or why professors embrace and push communism or socialism.

Robert Lindsey
4 years ago

Liberal socialists have taken over the colleges and where is our republicans setting back and doing nothing but sending the colleges more taxpayer money.

4 years ago

This is why some professors list No Party Affiliation, so they can get a job. College today is one big joke! Subsidized by us taxpayers in the form of Pell Grants and federal loans. Having gone to college in the early 1970s and then going back early 2000s, I saw firsthand how little education one receives today, and how supposed professors waste students time and force indoctrination. You are not allowed to think outside of the box, you cannot question anything – no discussions, and I’ve even had to correct some professors on their writing abilities! A two year degree is more than sufficient for most jobs today; better yet is a trade/technical certificate. It’s time to do away with tenure, hefty salaries that doesn’t bring better education, get ALL politics out of college classrooms and off campuses, do away with grants and loans, get rid of classes that have no bearing on basic education, and get rid of discriminatory clubs, awards, and classes. And to top it all off, if I say I’m a Christian, don’t knock my grade down! You (the professor) only proved to me that you are a flaming racist! And so is college.

4 years ago
Reply to  Danita

Danita, I agree with you. I went to two college commencements this May. One was highly politicized and the other, which I thought was going to pay homage to obama (lower case deliberate) because they were very leftist, was all about praising the graduates. Which is what it should be.

Thomas Haj
4 years ago
Reply to  Danita

I went to college in the early 70s. Things were already bad back then.

4 years ago

There needs to be the study done for our high schools and maybe in grade schools. Hitler started reeducation of children in preschool.

Willie Ryan
4 years ago

That is what is wrong with our colleges and our schools we need to stop teaching politics and get back to teaching reading writing and arithmetic we send them to school to learn not to be politicans

4 years ago

Note to parents who have kids applying to college: Two words, Trade School where your son or daughter will learn something useful to be able to earn a good living. However, there are certain career paths that require a college degree from an accredited institution, so here is some advice if your kid wants to pursue one of those professions. The kid lives at home (cheaper for you, Dad and Mom, than room and board) and signs up for the courses s/he will need to earn that particular degree, say, for example, mechanical engineering or pharmacy. The kid goes to school, attends class, studies, completes his or her course work, concentrating on the goal. Forget “campus life,” parties, etc. as they will only detract from achieving his or her goal and even put the kid in danger of such perils as drunken driving and date rape drugs. Just do your course work, young person, get good grades, and you may even be able to get your degree in, say three years, rather than four.

As for the indoctrination, ignore it. All you have to do is pass that idiot class you were required to take under the “distribution requirements” mandate by attending class, passing the midterm, and handing in a fairly decent term paper.

4 years ago
Reply to  Mary

Mary, excellent advice.

4 years ago

Indoctrinate rather than educate.

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