Interestingly, when academia tries to rebut claims of bias, they wind up buttressing them. “My research shows that only about 9 percent of professors are political radicals on the far left, on the basis of their opinions about a wide range of social and political matters, and their self-descriptions (for example, whether they describe themselves as radicals),” Neil Gross writes in The Chronicle Review. “More common in the professoriate—a left-leaning occupation, to be sure—are progressives, who account for roughly a third of the faculty (and whose redistributionism is more limited in scope), and academics in the center left, who make up an additional 14 percent of professors.”
Gross is a professor of sociology at the University of British Columbia and a visiting scholar at New York University. “Radical professors in the post-1960s period overestimated how much tolerance there would be for them, and how far the idea of academic freedom could be stretched,” he admits. “Also, some academic radicals, privileging politics over scholarship, have waged unproductive battles against the scientific aspirations of their colleagues.”
“At the same time, academic radicals in the social sciences and humanities have given us novel and important ways of thinking about society and culture.” Indeed, some are even criticizing Obama Administration policies, although without naming them as such.
“What happens to a people who condone deadly hellfire from the sky, triggered 10,000 miles away, and then never know it has fallen?,” David O’Hara and John Kaag ask in that same issue of The Chronicle Review. “To a people unable to imagine that anyone could regard a cloud of incoming arrows as a pleasant shade to fight in?”
“Or to a people for whom the expediency of drones and the avoidance of risk are sufficient to dismiss any ethical concerns they might engender?” O’Hara is an associate professor of sociology at Augustana College in South Dakota. Kaag is an assistant professor of philosophy at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell.
Malcolm A. Kline is the Executive Director of Accuracy in Academia.
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