When it is pointed out that the media and academy are skewed to one type of idealogical persuasion, everyone shrugs. But as Mark Bauerlein of the Chronicle of Higher Education points out, the research shows liberal bias is of exactly the same kind, uses the same methods, and holds the same assumptions as the research that has shown racial and gender bias:

Along with the empirical research, the contributors also raise numerous points about the general ideological climate and commitment on campus. One of them throws the question of proof back upon people who say, “Show us the proof that conservatives are being discriminated against?”

As we know, one of the primary positions in discussions of discrimination today is “disparate outcomes.” The argument says that if a body such as a police force, an entering freshman class, country club members, etc. has a disproportionately low representation of any identity group, then discrimination is at work. It may not operate on the surface, and it may not happen through the actions of any particular individual, but the fact that, say, only 3 percent of the group is African American reveals bias.

What about the disparate-outcomes argument in ideological cases, then? If a college faculty has only an eight-percent conservatives make-up, doesn’t that call for an investigation, a committee, a task force? It certainly happens when other identity groups are under-represented.

Another defense says, “Well, sure, most profs lean to the left, but that doesn’t mean they bring their politics into the classroom.”

But this claim runs against thinking in the humanities that has dominated for 50 years. It says that political and ideological commitments run deep, that they are often unconscious, that the assumption that we are able to suspend them is an Enlightenment myth, that “the political” is everywhere, that buried ideological premises shape so many things we take for granted that we don’t realize their workings.


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(Via: Gene Veith )

Articles by Joe Carter

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