Professorial Politics

Andrew Sullivan —  Apr 23 2013 @ 9:47am

Chris Mooney unpacks the research of sociologist Neil Gross, who found evidence that the academy indeed leans left, with 50% of professors describing themselves as “left or liberal,” and 8-9% as “far left” or “radical”:

[A]cademia is indeed more liberal than America, just as other professions, such as the clergy and the military, are dens of conservatism. But where conservatives get it wrong, Gross says, is in their simplistic assertions that academia’s leftward lean is a result of bias or discrimination. Rather, he argues, academia is liberal because… it has been attacked for being liberal. Gross’s analysis concludes that the ivory tower’s well-known political reputation has encouraged a kind of self-selection effect, where conservatives gravitate away from it, and liberals towards it.

That would mean it’s precisely backwards to claim that universities discriminate against conservatives in favor of the godless and liberal. Rather, people who are godless and liberal tend to flock to universities—and stay there.