Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Cultural Roots of Obama’s Electorate. From the National Review.

By Stanley Kurtz


Just before the election, Jay Nordlinger reported that the proportion of Princeton University faculty or staff donating to the presidential candidates was 155 to 2. Only a visiting engineering lecturer and a janitor gave to Romney. It’s an almost entertainingly extreme example of academic bias, but when you think about it, also a deadly-serious explanation for Obama’s victory. The college educated professionals at the heart of Obama’s coalition are products of an academic culture that not only leans far-left, but is dedicated to producing precisely the national political outcome that Obama represents. Obama himself was both a product and a member of the elite leftist university faculty.

In contrast to Reagan’s appointees Bill Bennett and Lynne Cheney, the Bush administration avoided public battles with the academy. Republicans nowadays tend to write off academia as silly and irrelevant. Meanwhile, our colleges and universities have been quietly churning out left-leaning voters for some time. Not all graduates go along, of course, but many do.


A LITTLE MORE.

19 comments:

  1. "Smart people disagree with us! As more people get an education, then they start to disagree with us too! It can only mean one thing.... [breathless pause] It's... a conspiracy!"

    Classic.

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  2. Yup... After all reality and statistics are all a vast conspiracy against the right.

    ::headdesk::

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  3. Keep laughing. States are running out of money, including states run by Republicans. Blue states aren't doing so well either. Keep up your smugness when fighting with the unions over the last few scraps of funding.

    Good luck.

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    1. Smugly making fun of people we think are stupid is more or less what this blog is all about, no?

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    2. I think it's more venting about the way some dumb people throw sand in our life's gears.

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    3. No, it's about creating two lists: one for all the doomed sods who will populate my Siberian gulag system, and another of all the people I will crush with a tank.

      Everybody at the "National Review" (even the defenseless, sheeplike student interns) will be "tanked."

      Now you know.

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  4. There's certainly nothing about (my discipline) that would only attract liberals to study it so it's not self-selecting at the undergraduate level, quite the opposite in fact. But I've heard many times "Why are so many (people in my discipline) liberals?" To which I answer, "Maybe as you learn about (my discipline) your realize that the right-wing doesn't know what it's talking about and the left usually does."

    For the record, I know many conservatives in my discipline. And they tend to think the current leadership of the Right is this country has gone start-raving bonkers. So, of course, they're "not really conservatives!" (eye roll)

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  5. I can still remember when esteem for academic education was considered a right-wing value. I feel old.

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  6. Based on a certain amount of personal familiarity with the institution and its alumni (especially the alumni), I'm having trouble envisioning Princeton as a hotbed of extreme liberalism. Either the Princeton professoriate has changed radically in the last few decades, they're doing a very bad job of brainwashing their students (because that's what education is about, right?), or (and I'm voting for this one) this pattern says more about how centrist/establishment plenty of Obama supporters actually are, and how far right the Republican party has moved. Mind you, I'm not knocking centrists, or even the establishment. I'm probably pretty centrist/establishment myself in many ways (give or take a certain amount of radicalism induced by underemployment, and sympathy/empathy for those who live much closer to the edge). I even have a few Republican friends, most of whom are feeling pretty estranged from their party these days. While I'm unlikely to change my own voting pattern, I'd very much like to see a revitalized left wing of the Republican party -- one that could, among other things, appeal to professors at Princeton and elsewhere. Our national conversation would be stronger for such a change.

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    1. As someone currently familiar with the institution I will quote a professor I know there...

      "You could quote Marx at the top of your lungs on the green in front of Nassau Hall and seem like an arch conservative."

      It is not at all uncommon to have the undergrads write senior thesis based on leftist political theory. And than go off to work for Wall Street. I have no idea what that says about the place.... but that does not foster the tea party crowd.

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    2. I should say her point was "everyone seems more conservative when standing on the princeton campus" no matter what their actual position.

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    3. "You could quote Marx at the top of your lungs on the green in front of Nassau Hall and seem like an arch conservative." I should say her point was "everyone seems more conservative when standing on the princeton campus" no matter what their actual position.

      It is not at all uncommon to have the undergrads write senior thesis based on leftist political theory. And than go off to work for Wall Street.

      Both of those descriptions resonate with me, and I don't know what to make of them, either. 'Tis a strange place. My niece very much wants to go there (and being a legacy will no doubt help -- another conservative quality of the place). I don't know whether to hope she gets in or not. Fortunately it's not up to me.

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  7. No Ben, I feel no smugness over threats to higher education or universities, whether those threats are fiscal or ideological (I'm particularly worried that the fiscal threats provide good cover for ideological threats). But what really gasts my flabber is the NR writer's automatic assumption that if more education associates with people believing X, then it must be some form of bias. The possibility that educated people might actually be better at forming a well reasoned opinion simply doesn't float in over this guy's transom.

    I've seen this argument before. Just to take examples from the STEM disciplines..

    No Creationists in the Biology department? Bias!
    No Young-Earth theorists in the GEology dept? Bias!
    Everyone in Physics accepts Big Bang cosmology? Bias!
    Climate Scientists believe the climate is changing? Bias again!

    But when a large group of well trained Biologists/Physicists/Geologists/Climatologists reach a consensus after carefully examining reams of empirical evidence, surely one must at least entertain the possibility that they have reached that consensus because it stands a good chance of being correct. Hell, there are probably no phlogiston theorists in the chemistry department. This is not bias against phlogiston theory, it is the well founded knowledge that the phlogiston theory fails to explain certain important phenomena as well as other theories.

    Granted, the issues may be less defined in fields like economics, sociology, history or polisci. But if you tell a good student something they hadn't expected to hear, the student will at least consider the possibility that they may have been wrong and that they might need to revise their stance on the issue. A snowflake will whine to the dean that you hate them and are out to get them and a big blue meanie and.....

    This article is exactly the same snowflakery writ large. It would be a lot funnier if the concluding call to 'address... the higher education issue' weren't so chilling.

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  8. "The phenomenon of extended singlehood is at the root of the new social liberalism as well, not to mention the demographic bust driving our entitlement crisis."

    I'm honestly baffled by the sentence above. I get that conservatives see single people as hedonistic by default, but what's the connection between extended singlehood and the "entitlement crisis?"



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    1. Because of how compound interest compounds, the older one gets before one starts saving for retirement, the more one becomes dependent on government assistance, such as Social Security. Hayek discussed this in "The Road to Serfdom." This problem with this is that how much one can save is moot if, as part of the 99% left after the extinction of the middle class, one can't save any money at all, ever.

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    2. I don't get that conservatives see single people as hedonistic by default, given that they see Ayn Rand as a visionary. Children and elderly and disabled people are all conspicuously missing from both "The Fountainhead" and "Atlas Shrugged". Her protagonists are all single.

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    3. Yes, but her protagonists are also all rich. And being rich taketh away sin, as any Puritan or Republican can tell you.

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  9. Hey, Ben, here in CA we passed Prop. 30 and not Prop. 32 or 38. I suggest you get something like them in your state.

    The Republicans seriously need a rethink, or continue to lose elections. Part of this means that they need to accept science as real.

    It would also help to be more inclusive. My parents were staunch Republicans all their lives, and yet they wouldn't pass the purity test of the current party. My Mom always supported gun control and thought of Bill Buckley as a "kook," and my Dad was---horrors!---a teacher. Even worse, since he taught Spanish, he was an enthusiastic supporter of bilingual education. But then, even Ron Reagan wouldn't be accepted in the current party.

    Since 1980, the rising tide has been lifting only a few boats. All too often, they've been the well-born, well-connected ones. It's ironic that with the more American jobs that supply siders export, the more need for college education there is for the remainder of us. I therefore suggest that Republicans rethink their economic ideas, too.

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