RE:Where is the Moral Outrage
I became more interested in bias in academia when I re-entered “the academy” to pursue an MA in History (at Providence College). Thankfully, I have not personally felt any real “quashing of dissent.” Although I have heard a few pithy political asides in the course of unrelated lectures, my experience at Providence College has been thoroughly enjoyable, a function, I believe, of the professionalism of the faculty and the more traditional, and Catholic, approach the school takes towards education. Thus, my “investigations” have, thankfully, not been first person.
I recently posted at the Ocean State Blogger about the efforts of David Horowitz (no stranger to Brown University) and Students for Academic Freedom to rectify the intellectual bias in our colleges and universities. John Fund of the Wall Street Journal has written on the topic recently, as has Law Professor Stephen Bainbridge and the Economist. These come after the release of a few scholarly studies on academic bias, especially a report by Daniel Klein and Charlotta Stern of the National Association of Scholars entitled “How Politically Diverse Are the Social Sciences and Humanities?: Survey Evidence from Six Fields” (PDF).
While many, such as Horowitz and SFAF, are pushing for an Academic Bill of Rights to impose on schools, Bainbridge finds this impractical. Instead of an overt bias against conservatives, Bainbridge sees the problem as that of the lack of a conservative networking apparatus within academia. In essence, because colleges and universities are dominated by a liberal “old boys network” that filters out conservatives, none of the decision makers within the liberal echo chamber of the academy actually know any conservatives. This is bolstered by the insightful, and to my mind essential, article that delves into the culture of liberal academia entitled “Liberal Groupthink is Anti-Intellectual,” by Mark Bauerlein. (I have already posted some extensive commentary here, just scroll down a bit).
In addition to Horowitz, the Students for Academic Freedom and the work being done by the National Association of Scholars, there are other examples of people standing up against bias. For instance, students at Columbia have decided to fight against anti-Israeli polemics. Also, the new underground newspaper on Ivy League campuses are being published by conservatives, even at Brown. So in answer to Don’s question, there is moral outrage, but it is only just beginning to get a toehold at the base of the Ivory Tower.
ADDENDUM: In my post above, I forgot to mention the website AcademicBias.com and their short film Brainwashing 101, which can be purchased on DVD or downloaded (or streamed) via the aforementioned website. I have not seen the movie yet, but have downloaded it and will do so when I get a chance and will get back with a review.