February 10, 2011

"But yeah, smart administrators understand that intellectual diversity on the faculty is a good thing, for purely self-interested reasons alone."

"Back in the 1990s when I was writing a lot of second amendment stuff, somebody tried to get my dean to fire me, saying that I was fomenting domestic terrorism. But my dean told me that he was glad to have me writing that stuff, because when alumni or legislators talked about ivory-tower liberal faculties, he could just send 'em a copy of my 'Critical Guide To The Second Amendment.'"

Heh. Yeah. Think about it. Let's say you have a state law school the legislators and alums imagine must be about 95% left-wing. Get one conservative lawprof out there in the public eye — maybe with a blog that's supposedly right-wing — and that vague mental percentage might readjust to 80% or so. That's value! Treasure your house conservative, oh lefty law school!

61 comments:

Kirby Olson said...

Coming out of the closet as a conservative or even a centrist in academia is a very difficult decision because the hostility against difference is so intense. It's stupid to do it before you have tenure. After that, it still means a lot of angry people, and upset people, but ultimately, I've found, most people will accept you for who you are. But you have to watch what you say all the time. The main thing is that campuses really need this intellectual diversity if they want to remain on the good side of the legislatures, and on the good side of students and parents. It does mean they have to let the students out of the headlock, but the good part of that is that embarrassments like the Duke 88 are somewhat less likely to occur.

Triangle Man said...

Ironic that most of the "abolish tenure" rhetoric comes from conservatives.

Bob_R said...

I think the way to go after discriminatory hiring in academia is the political appointment process. Being in an academic department that discriminates against conservatives and Republicans should be treated like being in a member of a country club that discriminates against blacks and Jews. Block their appointments to all sub cabinet, cabinet, judicial posts and see how long the discrimination lasts.

traditionalguy said...

OK, where do they hide that 5% erzatz conservative faculty? We demand that they be exposed.

Phil 3:14 said...

House conservative.

Quayle said...

Conservatives at universities should get Hostile Fire and Imminent Danger Pay.

Phil 3:14 said...

And if the administration is smart they'll get a Christian conservative, two birds with one stone.

Scott M said...

Treasure your house conservative, oh lefty law school!

Just make sure you poke holes in the top of the jar or he'll die.

SteveR said...

Why shouldn't Academia do what corporations and the military have been doing for years. Fill a few key slots with the right people and its a great deal. And you don't even have to reward those with good qualifications and experience, you only have to make a little job look important.

Freeman Hunt said...

It's like in movies.

edutcher said...

The guy who wanted him fired now works for Big Sis at DHS.

Kirby Olson said...

You can find conservatives of any kind if you look hard enough. Justice Thomas, Governor Palin, this is the kind of person that we need to pack academia with. It's fun because it scrambles all the simple smoke signals the fake Native American lefties like Ward Churchill wanted to send. You CAN have ideological and gender and racial difference all in the same package. This is why Palin drives the leftists so completely out of their minds, and also why they hate Condi Rice and Clarence Thomas: nothing about these folks adds up in their tiny minds built on such simplistic dichotomies. Throw in a few gay conservatives like J. Edgar Hoover, and you have yourself some real diversity.

Maguro said...

All very well and good, but how many smart administrators are there out there?

1jpb said...

I think that "in-house conservative" or "token conservative" would have been more precise.

I have no idea what a "house conservative" is. It sounds sorta like "house slave," but that makes no sense in the context of a university professor--unless things are much worse than I've witnessed.

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)

I have no idea what a "house conservative" is. It sounds sorta like "house slave," but that makes no sense in the context of a university professor--unless things are much worse than I've witnessed.


Yes, Yhwh Be Praised, no one would EVER use such a term against a member of the SCOTUS or SecState, I’m sure…much less a college prof.

Econophile said...

Ironic that most of the "abolish tenure" rhetoric comes from conservatives.

I don't see the irony there.

The tenure process doesn't provide the type of incentive structure to encourage or reward the iconoclast--political or academic. For the 5+ years prior to going up to tenure, the assistant professor is completely enfettered.

Having political views your tenure committee is likely to be hostile towards should be irrelevant, one can't afford to take many chances.

Scott M said...

I don't see the irony there.

Ditto. I was confused with that statement as well. I'll admit I'm no expert on academia, but it has always seemed that the aggregate bad of having untouchable positions outweighs the aggregate good.

garage mahal said...

It's takes a village.

t-man said...

For years the same claim was made regarding media companies and newspapers, "a smart executive would recognized that diversity of viewpoints is a good thing...."
It didn't work for the media and it won't work for academia. The people in charge of both have worked hard to get into the position to control the agenda. That is their self-interest.

royce.dunbar said...

It's a plus if your House Conservative can tap dance.

Scott M said...

It's a plus if your House Conservative can tap dance.

And he's from Etheopia...125th Street to be exact.

Ralph L said...

Glenn Reynolds doesn't rate a tag around here?

Irene said...

Using the phrase "intellectual diversity" is itself an act of courage in the academic arena.

I once uttered "intellectual diversity" in a debate with a leftie (I use that term endearingly, of course).

The "discussion" ended with a link to an explanation that the phrase is code for a neoconservative plot.

Original Mike said...

This is why I don't fill in my Blogger profile. I don't think I'm chicken. I just don't need the hassle.

Scott M said...

Ditto. Well, that and the rugrats.

Econophile said...

The "discussion" ended with a link to an explanation that the phrase is code for a neoconservative plot.

An argument with a leftist is not over until you have received from them a link to some other leftist's opinions 45 minutes later. Happens every time.

Scott M said...

If "intellectual diversity" and "personal responsibility" have been deemed as code words of right-wing oppression, just what the hell words or phrases do they use when they are trying to talk about intellectual diversity or personal responsibility?

Irene said...

@Scott M, "Social Justice."

holdfast said...

"Just make sure you poke holes in the top of the jar or he'll die."

Scott M wins the internets.

PaulV said...

I had a friend who teaches religion and was interviewed at college outside Chicago who was asked if she was a deconstructionist. She is not. I asked her if she wanted to the most liberal prof at a school in NC or most conservative prof there. She went to Chicago because they had baseball and she could see her Cards.

Crimso said...

"I just don't need the hassle."

I don't really want the hassle, but being tenured allowed me to be open about who I am. I once strongly encouraged a commenter at PW to contact my Dept. Chair to complain about my global warming skepticism. He didn't, which was a shame. He would not have gotten a response he would have liked (and I do view having discussions regarding science on blogs as part of the community service aspect of my job). As for concerns of a more personal safety nature, I like my chances with a Remington Model 11.

Pogo said...

You can't have intellectual diversity about issues that are already decided.

Just like science departments refuse to hire biologists who believe God created the world (≠creationism), English, Political Science, Social Science, Law and other left-liberal dominated departments cannot hire people whose ideas are clearly wrong, evil, and/or insane.

Christopher said...

What I found interesting (and edutcher said it more pithily) is that Reynolds' writing "a lot of second amendment stuff" - in other words, investigating, pondering and writing about the Bill of Rights - was somehow the same as "fomenting domestic terrorism" to the brain-dead lefty (but I repeat myself) trying to get him fired.

Dollars to donuts, that same jackwagon considered "snipers wanted" over a picture of George Bush to be the highest form of patriotism, though.

Joseph said...

The original article has this. "I don’t want to be the token conservative, and I don’t want to be the one who speaks at meetings while everyone else rolls their eyes and exchanges meaningful glances."

I stopped going to faculty meeting because of this (I'm a Libertarian often mistaken for a Conservative).

No one complaigned, not even the Dean. After three years of silence, though, he did skip a pay raise for just this as his excuse.

Bait and switch.

He really does want me to retire.

lyssalovelyredhead said...

I graduated from UT Law in 2009 (had Reynolds for 2 classes- he was great, and makes an inordinant amount of Ghostbusters references). The more I read on academia, the more and more happy I am that I chose that law school.

BTW, I know Althouse is trying to be snarky about the "token conservative", but, at UT Law, Reynolds really isn't it. I really couldn't tell the political persuasians of at least half of my professors without talking to them outside of class. The faculty, in general, was even-handed and just didn't make a big deal about it (even during the 2008 election).

As is typical in academia, liberals were generally more outspoken, but, as a big-mouthed sort of conservative, I pretty much always found my contributions welcomed, from both professors and other students (who often thanked me after class), when they went against the liberal doctrine.

Tennessee's a conservative state, and I suspect that the student population was quite a bit more conservative than is typical as well. McCain supporters were not unusual in the slightest. For that and many other reasons, I really think UT is a fantastic law school, for people who actually want to learn how to practice law.

- Lyssa

PaulV said...

If only 95% were merely left wing.
Many are far far left wing.

lyssalovelyredhead said...

Oh, and to add to my comment above, I went to another school in the UT system for undergrad between 1998 and 2002, in a more conservative town even, and hated the politicalization. Of course, it was a turbulant time- Clinton impeachment, 2000 election, 9/11, and the ramp up to the wars. While there were other reasons (lost interest in the subject I'd been studying (psych), got married), the constant leftism drum-beating was definitely one reason why I took so long between undergrad and grad school. UT Law was so much better than I anticipated.

Trooper York said...

Original Mike said...
This is why I don't fill in my Blogger profile. I don't think I'm chicken. I just don't need the hassle


I just want to say that I respect that choice. Especially if you have young kids and stuff. I am pretty exposed because I am easy to find in the real world. But I don't worry too much about it because like Crismo I am always ready to dance.

I don't use my real name because I have the same name as someone that everyone hates and I just wanted people to get to know me before they started hating me.

Or and it's not Barack Obama. Or Bill O'Reilly.

Trooper York said...

I do think it is unwise to be know as a Green Bay Packers fan as they are going to start to get real old soon and people are just gonna wanna bop them in the snoot. Just sayn'

Pogo said...

They should make the conservative staff wear something that would signify their beliefs to, uh, visitors, so everyone would know that your university is all for diversity and that you really do hire jews, uh, neocons, uh, conservatives.

Pogo said...

"people are just gonna wanna bop them in the snoot"

I will assume that is a bad thing.
Or is it fun?
Hard to tell.
Does it involve a lubricant or some type of restraint?
Would I need to resign from Congress if i posted a cellphone photo of it to a woman I met on Craigslist?

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)

They should make the conservative staff wear something that would signify their beliefs to, uh, visitors, so everyone would know that your university is all for diversity and that you really do hire jews, uh, neocons, uh, conservatives.


How about a Swastika armband?

Pogo said...

That's assumed already.
National Socialist = Conservative
Everybody knows that.

I meant something that's like the anti-rainbow.

Scott M said...

How about a Swastika armband?

Probably a Liberty Bell, suggested by one of their trustee house conservatives. The jokes on them, though, as they have no clue what power that sort of symbol can have.

lyssalovelyredhead said...

They should make the conservative staff wear something that would signify their beliefs to, uh, visitors, so everyone would know that your university is all for diversity and that you really do hire jews, uh, neocons, uh, conservatives.

An American flag lapel pin might work.

Phil 3:14 said...

Intellectual diversity is to one token Conservative

as

Bipartisan support is to one Republican vote

R.L. Hunter said...

An American flag lapel pin might work.

How about a scarlet R?

R.L. Hunter said...

I don't use my real name because I have the same name as someone that everyone hates

Your name is Hillary?

Trooper York said...

No my name is not Hillary.

But we do have the same size breasts if that counts.

Alex said...

The level of hatred on a typical university campus for conservatives is equivalent of what blacks experience before the civil rights era.

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)

The level of hatred on a typical university campus for conservatives is equivalent of what blacks experience before the civil rights era.


I’m not convinced you’re a “Moby”, but statements like that make me wonder….Come on, dood/doodette, people DIED in the South during that era for supporting Civil Rights, bombs were placed, shots fired….as intolerant as the left is, it’s NOWHERE near that bad….So please Moby on somewhere else for a while.

Crimso said...

"How about a scarlet R?"

Which is an interesting observation, since I'm often accused of being a Republican (yes, accused). I've never given a Republican money (except for via the public campaign financing, which I'll never contribute to again because of the lies of Barack Obama), though I tend to vote for Republicans because I find their stances more closely aligned with mine. I did vote for a Democrat in the last election, but that was at the local level, and he was clearly the most qualified for the job. There are parts of the Republican ideology that I can't ever see myself embracing. My wife claims I'm a Republican when introducing me to people she knows to be politically-active Republicans, but then quickly adds that I'm really more of a libertarian. Which is about as accurate as once could be, I suppose. Instead of R, D, libertarian, communist, etc., I prefer to consider myself a thinker.

T.W.: "undivist" weird.

27183 said...

Jeez, Ann, thanks for that link to Glenn. That was definitely the most homo-erotic gay fiction clothed as liberal oppression of conservatives I've ever read.

I'm so sorry his story stopped just before all the kissing started, but regardless, I went through several kleenex, if you know what I mean.

Scott M said...

Instead of R, D, libertarian, communist, etc., I prefer to consider myself a thinker

"That's going to cause some confusion. Mind if we call you Bruce to keep it clear?"

Triangle Man said...

Just like science departments refuse to hire biologists who believe God created the world (≠creationism)

@Pogo

There are plenty of people in science departments who believe that God created the world. However, Departments won't hire people who will teach that in their biology classes.

Richard Dolan said...

Glenn R mentions the "self-interested reasons" of appealing to conservative alumni and legislators. I'm not sure those were Elena Kagan's self-interested reason at HLS, but it seemed to work out OK for her too. Not only did she recruit a few conservatives, but one of them was an evangelical to boot.

The Dancing Page said...

The dean said the exact same thing to my father in the late 1960's. Different dean, different decade, but same school...Plus ca change...

Trooper York said...

There is only one dean who ever said something that was true!

jimspice said...

Yeah, law schools are just PACKED with liberals. Just like the business schools. Law and business, with their selfless, humanitarian proclivities are a MAGNET for those lefties.

JAL said...

@Triangle Man -

You missed the recent flap at the University of Kentucky about the astronomer. (Think I've got my where and who right.)

Google it. Look around over at Instapundit ....

The University came off looking like idiots. So much for building bridges so lay people understand science better.

Hugh Dudgeon said...

Trooper, I thought you were going here