University faculty members are leaning even further left, survey says

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  • Counter Intelligence Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 2, 2012 10:14 a.m.

    @Twin Lights

    "But the strident tones of the party recently has turned folks off"
    That is the irony.

    What I deem "crazy" is:
    Feminists who demand choice, but insist Catholics have none
    Feminists who are selectively offended by the word "slut", but tolerate far worse abuse when it is convenient
    Activists who race-bait to maintain victim status
    Activists who advocate racial preferencing
    Those who compare gay marriage to interracial marriage - because they can't tell the difference between skin color and genitals
    I think Birtherism is silly, but it was started by Clinton and fueled by Obama's multiple claims, so blaming right-wingers is disingenuous
    Science consists of questioning, therefore those who question global warming lies and hysteria are NOT the ones declaring "war on science"

    My experience is apparently the exact opposite of yours
    I used to vote more democratic, but left-wing extremism pushed me into the arms of Republicans

    I could respond to your questions

    But in the end; you think European social democracies are "moderate", I think they are broken and dysfunctional and I don't know why I should care what a person who thinks broken socialism is "moderate", thinks about me

  • A Scientist Provo, UT
    Nov. 2, 2012 9:35 a.m.

    "Ah, yes. The trite and hackneyed "inevitable superiority of liberalism" syllogism."

    Thou hast said.

    But I didn't.

    Clearly, some people don't have the faintest idea what a syllogism even is!

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    Nov. 1, 2012 5:03 a.m.

    Re: "Search committees undoubtedly strive to hire the person best qualified for the job. If that is more often a liberal . . . . [c]onservatives . . . quit whining . . . ."

    Ah, yes. The trite and hackneyed "inevitable superiority of liberalism" syllogism.

    It panders so neatly to innate academic insecurities that it has become Big Education's sacramental mantra, trotted out and desperately chanted to drown out any invitation to actually think for one's self.

    So sad.

  • A Scientist Provo, UT
    Oct. 30, 2012 11:31 p.m.

    There is still no conclusive evidence that professors in higher education are actually more or less liberal (socially? Fiscally?) than any other profession.

    But even if they are, there is no evidence that such liberalism translates into increased liberalism among students. Has anybody actually looked at that question? Are students assumed to be mindless sponges who lap up whatever political opinions their professors may (or may not) hold? Do Conservative conspiracy theorists really think so little of adult students?

    And how, exactly, do students know whether or not any given professors are liberal or conservative? Similarly, how do search committees and hiring administrators know if applicants are liberal or conservative? Laws prevent asking such things directly. So, even if someone asks a hypothetical question: "given equally qualified candidates for an academic post, they would hire a liberal over a conservative" -- that has no correlate in practical reality. Search committees undoubtedly strive to hire the person best qualified for the job. If that is more often a liberal (however that would be guessed at), then all the worse for the credentials of Conservatives. Step up, Conservatives, and quit whining and crying "sour grapes" in Higher Education!

  • Jack Aurora, CO
    Oct. 29, 2012 10:24 p.m.

    I find the widely repeated statement that Ronald Reagan would be labeled a liberal by today's Tea Party to be quite disconnected with Reagan's philosophy. Today's Tea Party wants the country to get back to the vision Reagan espoused, conservatism. Reagan sought consensus to get things done, he didn't demonize, divide or demagogue his political opposition. He sought to return this country to prosperity and for everyone who could share the burden. He returned this country to its rightful place of leadership in the world, he didn't apologize for having been a beacon for the world and making a difference. No, Reagan would not be labeled a liberal by today's conservatives since we have such a distinct example of liberal thought as described in the article. When you compare Reagan and today's liberals, the difference would be quite apparent.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Oct. 29, 2012 10:22 p.m.

    To "LDS Liberal" only you could reject research when professors self report how liberal they lean. As they pointed out, professors are lean more to the left than they used to.

    My favorite part was how they described how the liberals will intentionally discriminate against conservatives either through jobs or publication of research. All this time I thought that liberals were open minded. Apparently that is just something they say and is not something they do. We wouldn't want the pure liberal doctrine challenged.

    I don't think you understand what the term left wing means. Left wing, in US political terms, indicates a belief in big government. Jesus, Moses, US Revolution, and Mormons were concerned with freedom and allowing individuals to act according to their own conscience.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Oct. 29, 2012 8:35 p.m.

    "The,"too liberal for Ronald Reagan", argument is a canard."

    Hardly.. Reagan certainly raised taxes on more than one occasion. (some say 11 times, but lets just go with a handful.)

    Now, in todays GOP, raising taxes once will get you banned.
    Reagan raised the debt ceiling 18 times.
    Reagan negotiated with Gorbachev. Would the T-party stand for that today?
    Reagan granted amnesty to millions of illegals. Imagine the outcry today.

    No, Reagan would not be welcome in today's GOP. All it takes is one transgression to get booted.
    Reagan's list is long.

    And, for the record, I think Reagan was a pretty good president.(as was Clinton)

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Oct. 29, 2012 7:37 p.m.

    Counter Intelligence,

    Agreed. Anti-abortion or traditional family Democrats have not flourished in that party.

    Also agreed that conservatives have not changed regarding abortion or affirmative action. But the "no tax ever under any circumstances" concept, no compromise ever, the war against science, the Birtherism nonsense, etc. are all new.

    Plenty of folks in both parties are no fans of Al Sharption.

    How the party has changed vs. the time of Reagan is no canard. I was a Reagan supporter. Many supposed "RINOs" were. But the strident tones of the party recently has turned folks off.

    Thurmond was welcomed into the Republican Party. So I still don’t understand your point (if he was so extreme, the Republicans should have said "no thanks").

    Byrd stayed in the party as it moved more leftward. But he did soften his views and his parliamentary expertise was invaluable to the Democrats. Not sure why (at least in later years) he should have been censored.

    The Democratic Party in the south was VERY conservative prior to the 1960s and would not have censored either of them.

  • Tolstoy salt lake, UT
    Oct. 29, 2012 7:24 p.m.

    200 word limit versus no answer.

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    Oct. 29, 2012 7:20 p.m.

    @Hank Pym

    Orwell, in "1984' and "Animal Farm" was writing a warning about Socialism gone to the extreme and Communism.

    procuradorfiscal is right.

    @LDS Liberal

    You make a basic mistake of trying to infer modern connotations of left-wing and right-wing, and modern connotations of liberal and conservative on the past.

    So none of your comparisons are valid in the least.

    @others of the far left, like ulterabob

    There is NO right wing in Europe. And there has not been in a long long time.

    In Europe you are either:

    1. Far Left A: communism (extreme marxism) Far Left B: nazism (extreme socialism)

    most violent protestors come from one of these two groups. They are siblings and fought for control of europe for over a century.

    (It was these groups that Orwell wrote his books about)

    2. Strong Socialist

    or 3. Moderate socialist

    The Moderate Socialist is often confused and compared to the right-wing in America.

    The far left seems to have no sense or proportion or proper prospective in describing the right or conservatism,

    and as we have seen from far left commentators here they just jump to hyperbole and derision, and extreme thought.

  • Henry Drummond San Jose, CA
    Oct. 29, 2012 6:51 p.m.

    Liberal professors are not a danger to society. Neither are conservative professors for that matter. Those who call for a political litmus test for college professors on the other threaten the basic tenet of education which to teach people to think for themselves, not to think according to the state approved way.

  • Darrel Eagle Mountain, UT
    Oct. 29, 2012 6:17 p.m.

    "Reality has a well known liberal bias"-Stephen Colbert

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    Oct. 29, 2012 6:05 p.m.

    In looking at the new data, there is notable variation by sector. Private research universities are the most left-leaning, with 16.2 percent of faculty members identifying as far left, and 0.1 percent as far right. (If one combines far left and liberal, however, private, four-year, non-religious colleges top private universities, 68.6 percent to 67.7 percent.) The largest conservative contingent can be found at religious, non-Roman Catholic four-year colleges, where 23.0 percent identify as conservative and another 0.6 percent say that they are far right.

    The study found some differences by gender, with women further to the left than men. Among women, 12.6 percent identified as far left and 54.9 percent as liberal. Among men, the figures were 12.2 percent and 47.2 percent, respectively.
    When it comes to the three tenure-track ranks, assistant professors were the most likely to be far left, but full professors were more likely than others to be liberal.

    (Inside Higher Ed 10/2012)

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    Oct. 29, 2012 5:51 p.m.

    Sylvia Hurtado, professor of education at UCLA and director of the Higher Education Research Institute, said that she didn't know what to make of the surge to the left by faculty members. She said that she suspects age may be a factor, as the full-time professoriate is aging, but said that this is just a theory. Hurtado said that these figures always attract a lot of attention, but she thinks that the emphasis may be misplaced because of a series of studies showing no evidence that left-leaning faculty members are somehow shifting the views of their students or enforcing any kind of political requirement.
    Neil Gross, a professor of sociology at the University of British Columbia, has written extensively on faculty political issues. He is the co-author of the 2007 report that found that while professors may lean left, they do so less than is imagined and less uniformly across institution type than is imagined, and that many are in the political middle.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Oct. 29, 2012 4:47 p.m.

    Liberal thought ceases to be liberal when it becomes dogmatic. The essence of the liberal mindset is to think indoctrinately which is what academic pursuit ideally requires. The best example of anti-intellectual hubris that I can think of was George W. Bush who used to boast of his disdain for intellectuals.

  • Counter Intelligence Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 29, 2012 4:26 p.m.

    @Twin Lights

    The,"too liberal for Ronald Reagan", argument is a canard. Anti-abortion or traditional family Democrats have not exactly flourished in a shrill left-wing tent. Perhaps Democrats should question the race-baiting of their leaders, such as Al Sharption; who clearly are not in the MLK/LBJ tent of a color blind society.

    Conservatives have not changed regarding abortion or opposing racism (even fashionable racism aka affirmative action) so how can it be even implied that they are now the extremists?

    Those who lie to promote the idea of man-made global warming hysteria personify the "denial of science" label. I simply reject your argument that questioning is crazier than lying (questioning is actually the scientific thing to do)

    I mention Byrd and Thurmond because they were classic examples of extremists that the Democrats did NOT cast aside when they probably should have.

    @LDS liberal
    I agree with you that a truly liberal person should question the Status Quo. Even the status quo promoted by Revolutionaries (history is full of examples of revolutions that ended worse than they started). Ironically "Conservatives" are the real radicals who question oppressive political correctness.

    200 word limit vs. priorities

  • Tolstoy salt lake, UT
    Oct. 29, 2012 3:47 p.m.

    nice selective reading as usual CI, how do you explain away that 67% of germans would vote for Obama as well? How do explain away the way the fact that judges once nominated by conservative republicans are now viewed as liberal?

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Oct. 29, 2012 3:06 p.m.

    Counter Intelligence,

    Let us leave for another day whether "leftist dogma" is classically liberal or not.

    Yes, I mean Birthers. I know how it began but it has been taken up by conservatives. Also Deniers. The denial of science is not our friend. I will refrain from comparing the Tea Partiers and Occupiers or Fox vs. MSNBC. Lots of flaws on both sides.

    I am not sure what your point is about Robert Byrd (he died a Democrat) or Strom Thurmond (who left the Democrats in 1964 due to Civil Rights). Both are dead. How do you censor a dead man? I don’t know enough about Maxine Waters to comment.

    The point is that some of the folks tossed out of the Republican party (or at least their positions) had been leaders and now they are considered too liberal. They weren't too liberal for Ronald Reagan. Reagan's big tent has been folded up and shipped off somewhere.

    My point about abortion and affirmative action is not about societal acceptance. Rather that they have been key issues for liberals for a long time and there has been no change.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Oct. 29, 2012 3:00 p.m.

    If, as this paper states, we live “in a country where twice as many people self-identify as conservative”, how do we figure the polls showing such an even split in the voting? Could it be that the nomenclature of Republican and Democrat have nothing to do with being liberal or conservative?

    Could it be that the pool of businessmen from which we draw our political leaders have different definitions for liberal and conservative. The entrepreneur who wishes to grow and increase his power might be more liberal than the entrepreneur who has reached a comfortable level and doesn’t want anybody fooling with his status.

    Could it be that those who seek to control people and their thoughts with their ready made theories of life and death fear education as a threat.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Oct. 29, 2012 2:26 p.m.

    Tiananmen Square --
    Left-wing Liberal intellectual students.
    Questioned the Corrputed Establishment.

    Moses --
    Left-wing Liberal Leader,
    Questioned the Corrputed Establishment.

    Jesus of Nazareth --
    Left-Wing Liberal,
    Questioned the Corrputed Extablishment.

    Christpher Columbus --
    Left-Wing Liberal,
    Questioned the Corrputed Establishment.

    American Revolution --
    Left-wing Liberal Colonists,
    Questioned the Corrputed Establishment.

    Mormonism --
    Left-wing Liberal Religionist,
    Questioned the Corrputed Establishment.

    4th post,
    Enough said.
    Hope you get my point.

    Progressives, Intellectuals and Revolutionaries tend to ALWAYS question the Status Quo [hence the term, Liberal, i.e., Liberating]...
    Conservative tend to never question it, and fight tooth and nail to maintain it [hence, the term Conserve-ative].

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Oct. 29, 2012 2:06 p.m.

    Let's see,
    Who has declared and out-right WAR against education?

    Gutting funding for Public Schools?
    Cutting Federal Student Loan Programs?
    Stripping away Teachers' Constitutional right to assemble?
    Denies irreputible evidence of Global Warming, but fully embraces 6,000 year old Earth Creationism?

    The GOP is becoming as radical, world is flat, anti-education as the far-right Taliban.

    Dr. Henry Eyring would be ashamed.

  • Counter Intelligence Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 29, 2012 2:02 p.m.

    @Twin Lights

    Thank you for civility and highlighting that liberal philosophy is not inherently synonymous with Democratic politics. I believe everyone should be liberal in the Webster sense of the word: My argument is that much leftist dogma is remarkably illiberal.

    Your complaint of conservatives revolves around anecdotal evidence of the "crazies", yet you do not define them.

    Do you mean Birthers? (Started by Clinton and fueled by Obama reporting different birth places)
    Deniers? (As opposed to Climate Liars; who made up facts to promote climate change hysteria)
    Tea Partiers? (Compared to the violent and incoherent Occupy movement)
    Hannity? (Compared to Lawrence O'Donnell)

    Also Blue Dog Democrats ARE being purged by the party and perhaps the crazies (Maxine Waters - Robert Byrd - Strom Thurmond) should be censored too if Democrats want to appear more palatable. Are you arguing that Republicans should NOT condemned dumb statements within their party?

    Unfettered abortion and affirmative action have never been fully accepted: as evidenced by ongoing court actions and widespread disagreement.


    "you are just a middle of the road moderate, right?". I am not the one using the French, who just elected a Socialist president, as the baseline for my definition

  • bandersen Saint George, UT
    Oct. 29, 2012 1:36 p.m.

    The contempt and patronization of the "common", "less educated", person here is so thick as to make me laugh. The "liberal" educator wonders why "the people" listen to rable rousers like Glen Beck and Rush Limbaugh. They actually aren't constrained by salaries, position, and authority that is found within a university setting. Ask a liberal professor what he/she stands for and their response is that everything is relative. Question everything(without knowing anything!). Sounds good, but if you don't have any bearings to begin with, finding people on talk radio, or better yet, your next door neighbor, will give one more knowledge and wisdom than an amoral university professor who can't tell you if there are any universal truths, excluding of course Global warming, big bang theory, etc. Wow, what a grand expanse of knowledge! No wonder "the people" look elsewhere.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    Oct. 29, 2012 1:28 p.m.

    Re: "I wonder what Orwell would say about repressed rightwing [sic] theocratic dogma?"

    Well, he made it perfectly clear what he thinks of leftist academics' rigid orthodoxy, and the political condition to which it leads -- "All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others;" or "One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship."

    The writer didn't clarify what "repressed rightwing theocratic dogma" he refers to, but it should probably be noted that if it's repressing base, libertine impulses for the good of society and the family, calling it "rightwing theocratic dogma" concedes that the vast, vast majority of human civilization and society is "rightwing."

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Oct. 29, 2012 12:48 p.m.

    "Ronald Reagan would have, based on his record of finding accommodation, finding some degree of common ground, similar to my dad, they would have had a hard time if you define the Republican Party - and I don't - as having an orthodoxy that doesn't allow for disagreement,"

    - Jeb Bush

  • Mister J SLC, UT
    Oct. 29, 2012 12:39 p.m.

    in regards 2 LDS Liberal...

    Bite your tongue Sir (or Madam), there is no way Pretty Boy Sean or Professor Beck is capable of that degree of cunning or Social Engineering. Dick Cheney & The Koch Brothers on the other hand....

  • Roland Kayser Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Oct. 29, 2012 12:36 p.m.

    As I always say I'm an Eisenhower Republican which, in today's political climate, makes me seem like a liberal. Definitions and positions change over time. Just one example: Most conservatives used to be isolationists, they wanted a small military that stayed in the U.S. unless we were directly attacked. That position doesn't sound conservative at all today, does it?

  • Hank Pym SLC, UT
    Oct. 29, 2012 12:29 p.m.

    Hutterite & LDS Lib have hit the nail on the head.

    @ procuradorfiscal

    Leftist groupthink? I see someone has read 1984 recently.

    I wonder what Orwell would say about repressed rightwing theocratic dogma?

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Oct. 29, 2012 12:19 p.m.

    Counter Intelligence,

    I understand your point, but the left has embraced abortion on demand and affirmative action for decades, so no changes there. Yes, the redefinition of marriage is newer. On the other hand (if talking about Democrats rather than the left - and there is a distinction) they have become more fiscally conservative (witness Clinton and other Blue Dogs).

    Also, I did not say the right has become more conservative. Rather it has become more enchanted with ideas once considered crazy. The left has their crazies as well. And both sides have become more strident. But I think from the point of view of the middle of the road voter, the changes on the right have been far starker.

    Switching to a discussion of parties rather than political philosophies (and again noting that these are not precisely the same) I think the recent RINO issue showcased the problem were philosophical purity became an issue. Remember that the conservative bona fides of the two most recent Republican candidates were doubted by some. This never would have been so a decade or so ago. And there was no movement to shove any "DINOs" out of the Democratic Party.

  • Tolstoy salt lake, UT
    Oct. 29, 2012 12:00 p.m.

    right and of course your view are not influenced buy your far right positioning in the stands right? you are just a middle of the road moderate, right? Curious about which way we have shifted? look at the current make up of the supreme court and how many of the judges that where appointed by what at the time where considered conservative republican presidents that are know viewed as the liberals on the court. My friends (some not so liberal) from around the world are horrified at the hard right puritanical turn our country has taken. think I am kidding or just have really liberal friends over seas? one example in the recent news 67% of Germans (not known to lean hard left) and 85% of the people from France recently polled say they would vote for Obama.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    Oct. 29, 2012 11:55 a.m.

    Re: "A good liberal professor will challenge everything - even accepted liberal thought."

    That must be why there are so few good liberal professors.

    A professor who challenges liberal thought is most often shunned as a "denier," an "anti-intellectual," or a "reactionary." Any of those labels could result in a denial of tenure, even dismissal. Much easier to "go along to get along."

    Since it would take courage to do so, very, very, very few academics are willing to challenge the rigid liberal orthodoxy that rules academe. Even if they don't partake of its mandatory sacraments, they're unlikely to openly challenge what passes for "thought" in the "vast apparatus of leftist groupthink."

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    Oct. 29, 2012 11:41 a.m.

    Re: ". . . conservative political leaders have been racing towards positions that can best be described as authoritarian, anti-intellectual and theocratic."

    Yeah -- as opposed to the sprint by leftist academics, trade-unionists, and other affiliated radicals toward a rigid, sacrosanct, Taliban-like orthodoxy on climate change; abortion; tax-and-spend politics; radical, anti-American positions on environmentalism and Western land-use; pro-terrorist defense policies; radical restructuring of ownership of capital and private property; internationalism and the surrender of national sovereignty; and, in general, all things leftist and socialist -- but at twice the velocity, and over a much longer period.

  • Counter Intelligence Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 29, 2012 11:35 a.m.

    "Ideas that were once unpalatable or just plain crazy are becoming mainstreamed as are their proponents (also once unpalatable or just plain crazy)."

    Actually; that is how many people view the left.

    Simply because the left has run full speed further left (embracing abortion on demand, redefining marriage, rationalizing affirmative action, etc) - does not mean the right has become more conservative. Indeed; the passive/aggressive propensity to blame others for the lefts own move towards radically altering society in the extreme, is precisely why many people end up on the right - default; lack of viable alternatives.

    From some seats in the ball park - everything appears to be in right field. Today's illiberal left seems to be playing a completely different game in another stadium.

  • no fit in SG St.George, Utah
    Oct. 29, 2012 11:25 a.m.

    Heaven forbid!
    Someone has an opinion different than the loudest, brightest crimson political party in the United States?
    As there seems to be less acceptance for free thinkers......
    Fire them all!

  • WHAT NOW? Saint George, UT
    Oct. 29, 2012 11:24 a.m.

    All University faculty members should be approved initially and receive final accreditation from Glenn Beck University...

    That should end the leaning left even further problem.

    Thank you.

  • red state pride Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Oct. 29, 2012 10:37 a.m.

    What's the opposite of diversity? University. Especially when it comes to diversity of opinion.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Oct. 29, 2012 9:32 a.m.

    University faculty members are right where they always have been.

    It's that millions of AM raido listeners [mainly NON-college educated folks] are being re-educated and dumbed down by the NON-College educated talk-show hosts that's causing all the moving.

  • Tekakaromatagi Dammam, Saudi Arabia
    Oct. 29, 2012 9:29 a.m.

    Well, we can apply to the Chiang Kai-Shek rule, or the Somoza rule, or the Ferdinand Marcos rule: if someone says they are the US's friend and they are for democracy doesn't mean that they are.

    If some professor will not hire someone because they perceive that they have, what the professor views, a conservative viewpoint, the professor is not a liberal. The professor is a dogmatic, blindly following after some politically correct dogma like John Birchers in the Cold War.

    I knew professors in college who I thought were liberal, who prided themselves in being liberal open-minded, but every so often some right-wing scary dogma statement would come out of their mouth and I would want to ask, "Hello? Where did that come from? Is there someone else in there?"

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Oct. 29, 2012 9:21 a.m.

    I must echo the posts thus far. As blue pointed out the more, "authoritarian, anti-intellectual and theocratic" you become, the further left higher education will appear. A frightful time.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Oct. 29, 2012 9:05 a.m.

    As the right has shifted even further toward the abyss, educated people tend to be able to think for themselves and not follow the herd of lemmings in that direction.

    After all, isn't a "liberal" just someone who refuses to allow anyone to fool them?

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Oct. 29, 2012 8:29 a.m.

    There may be some truth to this. My professors had often had jobs (from menial to influential) in the real world before getting their PHDs and becoming professors (I think fewer do today). Also, many were of the WWII generation and had been to war. These may have made for a better balance. But academia has always been a bit more liberal for the reasons noted by UtahBlueDevil.

    Beyond any real movement to the left (versus prior generations) I, like Blue and JoeBlow, wonder how much of this is how folks respond relative to the surrounding political environment. With the end of the Cold War we have seen a steady drift of conservatism. Ideas that were once unpalatable or just plain crazy are becoming mainstreamed as are their proponents (also once unpalatable or just plain crazy).

    So, if you are what was once considered moderately liberal, you are now very liberal. If you are what was once called moderately conservative, maybe you are now a liberal. It would be interesting to see a poll of how the professors stand on major ideas rather than via self-descriptive terms. It might demonstrate less drift leftward than we imagine.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Oct. 29, 2012 6:01 a.m.

    Its a kind of funny question to ask educators if they are liberal.... and it doesn't necessarily have to do with politics, but often is linked. The mindset in higher education is that the goal of education is to broaden and expand what is known, to challenge conventional wisdom, and seek out new things. If we didn't have those of this mindset, a lot of research wouldn't happen. You have to be one who asks "why" a lot to be a good researcher.

    Conservatives on the other hand is tended to be one who follows what is traditional, maintaining what is known. Typically they send their efforts protecting and defending what is known. And there is a good place for these people in education as well.

    A good liberal professor will challenge everything - even accepted liberal thought. They will challenge darwinism. They will challenge creationism. They will challenge relativism, and they will challenge tradition. But little of it has anything to do with government and social order - such as supporting socialism or communism. In my experience, that isn't the kind of "liberalism" they are referring to.

    But is my experience, you milage may vary.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Oct. 29, 2012 5:51 a.m.

    It is just possible that the measuring stick is being moved.

    What passed for Moderate Republican (REAGAN) is now considered LEFT by today's conservative definition.

  • Blue Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 29, 2012 4:48 a.m.

    This editorial ignores the reality that contemporary conservative political leaders have been racing towards positions that can best be described as authoritarian, anti-intellectual and theocratic.

    Recall the GOP presidential candidates' frequent derisive comments about institutions of higher education earlier this year, and their universal rejection of global warming science, ignorance of basic human reproduction, and willingness to let public school science classes teach creationism.

    If university faculty are indeed drifting to the left in their political views, you should consider the rapid rightward trend of today's GOP as reason for this change.