R.R Reno had an interesting essay yesterday at First Things about the political consequences of the ideological uniformity of faculties of higher education. That university faculties are overwhelmingly liberal is sometimes contested (always, in my experience, by liberals), but as Reno points out the evidence is unequivocal. The fact that the political views of faculty tilt so heavily in one direction makes it difficult for the ideal of the university as a forum for reasoned debate of important (political) questions to be realized: there is nobody to defend the other side. And since our political system depends, at least in theory, on such debate taking place, the contemporary university is, in Reno’s words, “a civic failure”.
It’s not good for America to have a major political party and important elite institutions dominated by people trained to ignore—or worse, sneer at—the conservative ways of thinking that motivate most Americans. The civic failure of higher education has contributed to this sad state of affairs, and, unfortunately, there are no signs that it will change.
Read the whole thing. I know there are a few graduate students who occasionally read this blog and I would be interested to hear what they think of Reno’s arguments.
More than once Reno remarks that faculties of science are exceptions to the kind of ideological homogeneity he is describing. I think that is true, although in my experience conservatives are still a significant minority. Of course, the political views of faculty do not matter nearly as much in science, so nobody much cares.