Why wouldn’t we all be liberal?

An article I came across the other day is one related to a common trope out there about universities being bastions for liberal indoctrination of students because of how liberal all the professors are.  In this article Fox News correspondent Jesse Watters (A contributor to the O’Reilly Factor) went to the campus of Cornell to try and talk to students about how much they were indoctrinated after they found out that 96% of the faculty at Cornell have donated to the Democratic Party for this upcoming election.  Mr. Watters was then asked to leave campus by the public relations person on campus and of course this led to the obvious conclusion by Bill and Jesse that Cornell wants to hide their nefarious activities of brainwashing students into their liberal agenda.

One thing that has always bothered me is that by being educated about something this implies that I’m being indoctrinated or brainwashed into a certain set of beliefs, rather than using my own mind to reach conclusions based on those things that I’ve learned.  While it is true that if I am only taught a certain set of facts or incorrect facts then I may reach the wrong conclusion, but what I want to focus on is the real reason why a well-educated person is likely to support liberal principles.

So there is much of this story that is ridiculous so we are going to have to ignore a few things to try and take it seriously:

  • Ignore the fact that both Jesse Watters and Bill O’Reilly graduated from liberal arts colleges for their undergrad and that Bill O’Reilly graduated from Harvard. Places with a lot of liberal faculty.  And I know in the past there were more Republican faculty, but in the past the Republicans are not quite like the ones we have today.  But somehow Jesse and Bill escaped these liberal indoctrination factories themselves. Lord knows how.
  • Ignore the fact that many of those Democratic supporters likely teach subjects like math or chemistry which can hardly be considered political subjects.
  • Ignore the fact that most academic degrees really don’t have a political bend to them at all. If you are concerned about diversity of viewpoints then at best you want to have that in subjects like economics, or political science.  And this could very well be the case at Cornell.
  • Ignore the fact that most indoctrination is done when the child is young and is done by parents and four years of college is unlikely to change their mind if they have been indoctrinated well into a particular philosophy
  • Let’s ignore the fact that FOX news has no problems indoctrinating their viewership with only one particular viewpoint and merely calls that viewpoint fair and balanced, when it is in fact not.

So let’s first try to understand what liberal means.  The philosophy of liberalism as defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as:

A political philosophy based on belief in progress, the essential goodness of the human race, and the autonomy of the individual and standing for the protection of political and civil liberties; specifically :  such a philosophy that considers government as a crucial instrument for amelioration of social inequities (as those involving race, gender, or class)

With this philosophy, individual autonomy is valued and this is not unlike an important tenet that Republicans often talk about which is personal responsibility (which I recently wrote about).  Liberalism also holds that government is a crucial instrument for amelioration of social inequity.  I would argue that many Republicans are not against equality, they simply believe that we already have it, and that the only reason certain minorities, classes, genders, etc, aren’t doing well is through their own lack of personal responsibility.  And is equality counter to capitalistic principles?  Not necessarily.  Provided equality refers to equal opportunity, then everyone has an equal opportunity to compete in the market place.  So we can perhaps argue about the specifics about where inequality lies or whether we have it or we don’t, but it would seem that equality its is a goal of most people regardless of party affiliation.

Although many evangelicals would disagree, believing in the essential goodness of the human race is something that at least many more moderate Republicans could get on board with.  Believing in the goodness of the human race is a matter of expectations.  I expect people to be generally good and by holding that expectation people generally are good, or at the very least my own well-being is enhanced by focusing on the good and life (and if more people had improved feelings of well-being it would certainly be a better place).  Ask anybody who wants to give you advice on how to reach your goals and they will say things like “Believe in yourself, believe you can do it, aim high” etc.  So we clearly agree that expectations make a big difference in our achievements.  Thus we should both see no harm in believing in goodness if we want the world to be a better place.  So with the exception of the government role in bringing about equality, what specifically about being liberal are Republicans actually objecting to?  Are any of these qualities specifically bad principles to live by?

Now Bill O’Reilly got his Ph.D. so he must at least know that the professors, like him, had to do a dissertation; a dissertation in which they had to have some sort of hypothesis, and present evidence to support that hypothesis.  But one also has to review prior research that does not support one’s assertion, present it, and critique why you feel such evidence might not be relevant to your specific study.   So why is it bad for professors to hold a philosophy that stresses the importance of researching answers to the questions you have, thinking critically about evidence that is contrary to one’s own beliefs or assertions, and exposing one’s self to ideas that are different from your own?

So how could such people not support the Democratic Party when most of the Republican platform is simply counter to reality through a detailed analysis of evidence.

  • Anthropogenic climate change is real
  • Banning abortions doesn’t reduce abortions
  • Tuitions costs are very high and many of our young people start out with massive debt
  • Money is corrupting the political process
  • There is racial and gender inequality still
  • Less people die by terrorism than by guns yet people fear the former more than the latter
  • The war on drugs is a failure
  • We have a higher percentage of our people incarcerated than any other nation
  • We have huge educational inequality
  • We live in a pluralistic society and one religion cannot dominate, and the first amendment prohibits it from entering government
  • We have growing income inequality and a shrinking middle class
  • Revenue from big business represents a much smaller portion of the total federal revenue than it did during our most prosperous times as a nation
  • We spend more on our military budget than the next 8 nations combined.

So I’m not sure what Jesse Watters and Bill O’Reilly expect out of highly educated people who are trained to do careful analysis of both sides of an issue.  I am much more surprised when I meet a professor who isn’t a Democrat today.  And if faculty used to be a much better mix of Republicans and Democrats in the past, then maybe it’s also worth asking the question, if the shift towards the democratic party by faculty isn’t the product of indoctrination, but rather a reaction to a party that has simply become grounded in beliefs and rhetoric over scientific and historical evidence.  If a large portion of very educated people seem to think a different way than I do, then to deride and quickly dismiss such a group would only be to my folly.  Maybe I should instead listen and at least carefully consider what they have to say and why they think as they do.

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26 thoughts on “Why wouldn’t we all be liberal?

    1. Indeed, that was an amazing article. I have noticed this phenomenon but this articulated it so well. I never thought specifically about the difference between ignorance and misinformation which definitely the problem. I have been ignorant about many things and sometimes I have not tried to inform myself, but most times I have. If the information is all misinformation I will move from ignorant to wrong, but feel like I know something about a subject I don’t. What always annoys me about people who argue against climate change, is not their ignorance, but their lack of humility. They get to talk to an actual person with a Ph.D. in atmospheric science they feel they know as much (or apparently more than idea) and think that I am the one who is misinformed.

      And why do Germans have all the great words that we don’t have in English to define these things? lol

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  1. I’ll be honest. I do not understand the way Americans use the term ‘liberal’. But being a history grad I tend to live in the past when liberal views, politics, and people were clearly defined and well-understood. These days it seems to range from anyone who’s halfway Communist, anti-vaccination, or ‘just doesn’t agree with my point of view’. Seems to have very little to do with political thought.

    But I think it’s very much US terminology these days, in a derogatory way, which probably explains why I don’t understand it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I completely agree and it aggravates me to no end, because in Canada it was not like this growing up, but got that way more thanks to the Harper government who I guess wanted to be more like their neighbor. It was a big shock to me that if, based on the evidence, say that human induced-climate change is real this makes me a liberal. I thought I was just making the most reasonable conclusion one could make based on the evidence. It boggles my mind why thinking that way is political or a negative in any way.

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  2. ryan59479

    “If a large portion of very educated people seem to think a different way than I do, then to deride and quickly dismiss such a group would only be to my folly.”

    Yes! Exactly! Thank you for summing that up so nicely.

    It makes me laugh when Republican politicians say, “Well I’m not a scientist…” when it comes to climate change. Yet in the very next breath, they tell you not to trust the scientists! Those “ivory tower” and “elitist” jerks! It boggles the mind.

    I think you and I already agree on this, but the issue really seems to be a lack of critical thinking. If people really knew how to evaluate both sides of an argument using logic and evidence, none of the issues you mentioned would even enter the political arena.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lol, u knew I would have to comment!! I’ll try to do my best.

    My husband is a university professor and has his PhD, maybe it was the department that he received his degree in, but almost every professor was a socialist. Many of them were from other countries as well. These professors did use their classes to push their opinions. Whether it was choosing books they had to read, random times to bash the US, or grade his papers heavier when they didn’t support the professors’ socialist viewpoints. I watched it happen to my husband. My sister in law took feminist studies classes. Being a conservative woman was very difficult. For some odd reason if a woman is prolife , we are labeled as anti-feminist. We have heard of similar stories from conservative friends and even from my husband’s students. Granted these examples are not every subject, but it is prominent in our higher education system.

    1. Climate change used to be called global warming. It’s now called climate change and if u listen to conservative side, we agree there is climate change. In fact, we believe the climate changes a lot. Now is it man made? Do we need to heavily tax the energy industry to fix climate change? If the US stopped using any fossil fuels and stopped driving, would the world cool down? How will raising my utility bills and my gasoline price cool the earth? Fossil fuels have helped us warm our homes, drive us to work, fly us around the world, farm our food. We have better lives now than we did 100 years ago. We want our air and water to be clean, but I don’t see how taxing the energy industry more is doing to fix a global warming.

    2. I don’t want to ban abortions just to lower them, u have to understand, we think abortion is killing an unborn baby in a barbaric way. So just as I think beating a dog is barbaric and shouldn’t be allowed, I feel abortion is barbaric and shouldn’t be allowed. We are an advanced society with the desire to protect the vulnerable. Isn’t an unborn baby vulnerable? Can’t women and men use various forms of birth control to prevent pregnancy?
    3. I agree University tuition along with their books are very expensive. I do not know how to fix this. Do we want our professors to take a pay cut to lower tuition? Do we want professors to work for free so students can go to college for free? Do we need to raise people’s taxes to pay for free college?
    4. I agree. That’s not a Republican issue, that’s both parties. Dems and Repubs get shit loads of money from lobbyists. Have u wondered why Trump is doing so well in the Republican field, we are tired of our politicians being bought.
    5. I agree with you here too, but it’s getting better. We need to make sure that we don’t try to help one group so much that we demonize the other group. I’m very pro woman, but I do not think I’m any better or more important than a man. I don’t want a job because I’m a woman, I want it because I’m the best for the job. Black lives matter is a crap group. All lives matter. We don’t have tear down whites just to promote blacks. We need to promote all people. AND This needs to come from within a community too. We go up in arms when a white person kills a black person, but black on black crime, we ignore! Where is the outrage??!!
    6. I disagree. Maybe because I’m in the south, guns do not bother me. Most everyone I know, owns a gun. The gun isn’t the issue, it’s the person that does the mass shooting or goes into their rivals neighborhood and shoots a child. U said banning abortions won’t lower abortion, how will banning guns lower gun violence? If a person wants to mass murder or shoot their gang rival, do u really think they are doing to say, crap… Guns are illegal, now I can’t murder!!?? We have a porous border, if humans can be smuggled across it, why can’t guns?
    7. I agree. This is where my libertarian side kicks in. Drugs will come across the border and if people want them, they will get them. Granted, making them legal I think will increase drug use. But we allow drinking, so idk why we don’t allow moderate drug use. I feel this is a religious opinion on why we ban drugs. Or the tobacco lobby might buy off our politicians.
    8. This is because of the above issue. Fixing the drug issue will help the incarceration issue.
    9. Our education system needs work. I think both Democrats and Republicans believe this. It’s sad the two sides can’t work together
    10. Most Christians like voting for a Christian. I really do not know how u can change that. I would never ban a person from being in office based solely on their religion.
    11. Taxing the rich never helps the middle class. Maybe u can explain how taxing the rich more helps me out at all.
    12. Businesses and the wealthy hate giving so much money to taxes. So yes, they will find ways to avoid them. I want all that money that leaves the US to avoid taxes to come back. If that means lowering their taxes and simplifying our tax code, I’m for it.
    13. I’m for a strong military. We have foreign leaders that would love to destroy us. I feel a strong offense is a strong defense. We also benefit a lot from other areas in the military. I live in a military town and if they all left, it would severely hurt our community. They employ so many civilians. I do not want to police the world, but if we are needed, I want our soldiers to have the best of the best. They are willing to die for our country, that’s the least we can do.

    Ok.. I hope I did an ok job giving u the other side’s POV. Remember, I’m on my phone, so please execuse typos lol

    One more point… Not all Republicans will agree with what I’ve said. I am more libertarian in some areas and more Republican in others. And yes, at times I can’t stand the Republican party, but I really really can’t stand the Democrat party !!!

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    1. Thank you for sharing your perspective. You used the word socialist, but if you are saying all professors were socialist, meaning in that they think that government should control the entire means of production then this is not true. I don’t know of any professor who thinks socialism as Karl Marx described it, or how Lenin perverted it into communism is a better form of government. Now in terms of a blend of capitalism and socialist policies, which we already have in the U.S. then yes many professors are for more regulation, but that doesn’t mean they are for pure socialism and want to do away with capitalism.

      In regards to your other points, the reason why I chose those one’s is that the science is absolutely clear on those issues and therefore it is not debatable in my opinion. And while you may say that you accept climate change as a Republican, the Republican Party Platform does not accept climate change science. If you want to debate about the best way to deal with climate change then that’s fine. But there is no doubt that humans are responsible for an increased rate in global average warming. This is my area of expertise.

      In regards to gun control, enforcing better background checks will reduce some homicides, not all. We have to stop looking for all or nothing solutions. It’s certainly not going to fixed with any one thing, but given that a majority of the people are for better background checks the government also should be representing the will of the people in this matter and it doesn’t because the Republican party stands against any attempt to pass legislation regulating guns.

      What good is our military spending if we spend so much money that we end up falling apart internally, which is what we are doing. There is a lot less to fear from other nations than you think, you have simply been drinking the KoolAid the government has been selling you. More people die from guns every year than from terrorists and yet the amount of freedoms they expect us to give up because of fear of terrorism is disproportionate to the real dangers we face as a nation. And we could put all our resources into a strong defense and still spend a lot less money on the military if we didn’t go out and attack so much. The cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have simply been enormous and it is not clear that we are any safer today than we were right after 9/11.

      But again my point of this post was to not just give my opinions but point out that professors who hold higher degrees spend a lot of time being skeptical and looking at evidence from both sides before concluding one way or another. This is one of the skill sets you learn doing research. Do you think any criminal justice professor who supports stricter gun control hasn’t done extensive research, reviewing articles on both sides of the issue? Don’t you think the feminist women studies teacher hasn’t read enormous amounts of articles looking at various points of views on gender issues? The assumption of indoctrination isn’t a good one. In my field I can safely say that evidence for human-induced climate change is overwhelming and undisputable. This is not a liberal viewpoint, but simply the most reasonable conclusion based on the evidence. And this is the case for all the points I brought up in this article. It doesn’t stop people from having different opinions, but I simply cannot support any political party or politician that does not use an evidence based model, as academics do in their field, for making decisions about policy. I cannot support any politician who isn’t addressing the corruption of our political system by money as an important political issue. The evidence that it is corrupting our system and has been for some time is also clearly backed up by evidence.

      All of us have biases. It is human to do so, but people who have Ph.D.’s are trained to use the scientific method as the best way of eliminating those biases and it takes a long time to train our minds around those biases. Having walked the road myself and seen how important it is to use proper research methods, learn how to discriminate between good sources and bad sources of information, and to remember that what ever I find has to be backed up by other studies as well is what leads me to clearly conclude that making decisions on policy should be evidence – based. If that means I must be labeled as liberal, then I see no better way to be.

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      1. Please don’t think I’m ignoring, I’m about to head out of the country Tuesday and should be gone for a month, so I’ve been running everywhere to get ready.

        I’ll be brief

        You’re wrong about climate change. Republicans agree it’s happening. We know there are several factors, some we can’t change. It’s not all man made. Our main objective is the government taxing our energy. How is that going to fix the issue, that’s just giving more money to our politicians.

        Gun control, we already have laws in place, back ground checks and other things. U think that making guns illegal will stop the violence. Violent people will find guns illegally.

        Isis just blew up a plane, ya I’m overreacting about terrorism. It’s out there and silly for us to think otherwise. Our world has a history of war. Therefor it’s wise to be prepared.

        Being a prolife woman, trust me, most feminist will hate us out on that issue alone. It has nothing to do with they have studied issues more and are more educated…. Even when we agree on every other female issue, if you’re not for abortion, you’re not a real woman and u do not support women’s issues.

        I believe your assumption that those with a PhD have studied and have trained themselves to not be biased. You’re wrong. I can show u PhDs that are right leaning and they see everything that way. Just as I can show u PhDs that are left leaning and see everything that way. My husband is a professor at a university. His University has a lot of retired military that earned their PhDs, so there are a few more conservative professors there than his Alma Mater. So these are highly educated people and they still disagree on politics. My theory, non religious people do value higher education more than religious people do. Non religious people are usually liberal. I think it’s in our nature to want people to see things our way, hence my replies to you. I don’t expect u to change but just to see why I think this way and respect it. I’m sure professors do the same. They feel their world view is the best (because they have their phd) and they want their students to see the truth (as they see it)

        OK.. G2G. Take care

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        1. There is no doubt that solar sunspot cycles play a role. During high sunspot activity the earth gets more sunlight and during low sunspot activity the earth gets cooler. This trend it not what human-induced climate change is about. Because as soon as that low sunspot cycle is over it will be followed by a high sunspot cycle again and the Earth will then warm up. If we have made no changes to our greenhouse emission that this will totally cancel out the cooling that occurred during the low sunspot part of the cycle. The physics of how carbon dioxide heats the atmosphere doesn’t change. Also I find it interesting that this is just a model result. Models for climate change are often criticized by denialists as being incorrect, and yet if a model supports their point of view they seem to be all for it. It also remains to be seen whether this is a robust finding. This is only from one group of scientists working together. Where as human-induced climate change involves work from 1000’s and 1000’s of scientists across numerous academic fields.

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          1. Well you’re incorrect as saying denying climate change, we can see climates changes. It was global warming that was the issue. I have read many articles about how the climate gets warm then cold ( I just didn’t have them on me to show u) all conservatives that I know agree, it was the global warming.

            So why do we need to tax our energy to keep the earth from warming when in a few years it will be cooling on its own because of the cycles. I’m assuming the model has taken into account our current Temps. I think we should try to keep our water and air clean, but that should be because we want to do what’s right not because we were told the earth was only warming up.

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            1. No it’s not just climate change it’s human-induce climate. The reason we started calling it climate change is because it was confusing for some people, because just because the average temperature of the Earth continues to rise, doesn’t mean some places won’t get colder. In fact research about thermohaline (a density driven deep ocean circulation) shuts down during periods of increased average global warming causing northern Europe to have increased glacial coverage. So I am absolute not wrong. The well established theory is that human activities are increasing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere causing the climate to change at an accelerate rate and causing the average temperature to rise.

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            2. But we are in a warming cycle. So I’m assuming when we are in a cooling cycle we will have the earth’s average temperature drop during that period.

              I really do not know this answer, so we have hundreds of thousands of years temperatures to know that the earth is getting warmer despite the cooling (mild ice age) that we will have and have had?

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            3. It’s not a natural warming cycle, this is the whole point. When we run models at a steady state of carbon dioxide from levels in the 1800 we find that the average temperature of the Earth does not warming. There are no known climate cycles that can explain the rate of warming we are seeing over a 150 year period. A volcanic eruption could also lower the global average temperature by blocking a lot of sunlight, but that only last a couple of years. A sunspot cycle by lower the global average temperature briefly as well, but when you look the trend over long periods of time and look at why the trend is that way, the only answer is human activities by releasing greenhouse gases. Yes in 100,000 years there may be another ice age anyway, naturally, but what we are doing now has the ability to literally sink entire cities like Miami and New York, while causing increased drought and famine to people living on subsistence farming. So whether a natural cycle some day wiped them out anyway, what is happening now is not a natural cycle and our activities stand to kill millions. It is no longer moral to ignore the evidence. You can continue to ignore it if you want and believe what you want to believe, but humans are impacting the climate. Whether NYC submerges in 2050 due to our activities or 2100 due to our activities makes no difference. I suspect if it was 97% of oncologists telling you, you had cancer you wouldn’t ignore it…but because energy companies, who are fueling the rhetoric on the other side of the debate, you are willing to ignore what a lot of intelligent scientists are saying. Sorry, it just doesn’t make sense to me.

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            4. Here’s my issue.. Humans are here and we will have an impact on our climate. There have been cities that no longer exist* that happens. If NYC is in danger of flooding in less than 40 years, shouldn’t we start to relocate everyone? Seems crazy to rely on countries, like China, to clean up to save cities like NYC and Miami.

              You have given me more to look into, like I don’t anyway have enough already I bought 2 Stephen Hawking books… But I’m going to read more on global warming. If u want to send me articles, that would be great. Thank you.

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            5. Sally, I talked to some of my colleagues in terms of what would be the best way to get introduced to the topic and since it is a complex problem they recommended the following book. Unfortunately understanding climate change is beyond just reading a few articles. http://www.amazon.com/Rough-Guide-Climate-Change/dp/1848365799/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1446822458&sr=8-1&keywords=rough+guide+climate+change

              Also in the link that started this conversation, I tried to treat the information more seriously, but you should also be aware that the article most likely completely fabricated. Not only is not a reliable site, but when an article talks about a study, but doesn’t link to the actual published article or what university the study was done. It is most likely a fake.

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            6. That’s why I did want you to know I didn’t look deeper into the credibility of the article. Sadly, I’m running out of time before I’m gone, but I did want to know your thoughts.
              I’ll read the book you suggested. I’m reading The Grand Design right now and wow, I love it. Very easy to understand. I’m becoming a huge Hawking fan.

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            7. Also the implication in this article is that the person being interviewed is the scientist Valentina Zharkov a Russian Scientist who works at Northumbria university. Why would she give an interview in Russian on a British site if she spoke English? Which she clearly does. I went to search for her at Northumbria university and she looks nothing like the woman being interviewed. https://www.northumbria.ac.uk/about-us/our-staff/z/professor-valentina-zharkova/

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  4. An article I came across the other day is one related to a common trope out there about universities being bastions for liberal indoctrination of students because of how liberal all the professors are.

    As I read your opening sentence Swarn, I felt my blood-pressure begin to rise and simmer. Then the next sentence, “…Fox News…” and as hard as I tried NOT to stop, I stopped. I growled. I took one long deep breath, and asked myself “Self, do you really want to read all of this (some parts from a Conservative’s POV) and the very thoughtful, insightful, lengthy comments below?:/

    I too loathe the derogatory label “Liberal” in our American society and media. It becomes an abusive stereotyping, which is inherently risky to civil social progress. Yet, human brains are hardwired to sort, compartmentalize, and judge as quickly as personally possible for some perceived time DEADline! LOL

    Instead of asking your blog-title question, I think I might ask “Why wouldn’t we all just be Earthlings, for starters?” After all, on the genetic level every single one of us 7.4 billion on the planet have less than a 0.1% difference! HAH! 😉

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    1. And that was really my point, the word liberal has become so negative in this country and so I wanted to A) break it down and show how the definition of liberal includes very humanistic qualities that we all share. And B) to point out that deriding people who not only are highly educated, but also understand how to do balanced and thorough research on subject material should be the source of inspiration to become more like them, rather than less like them. Are there biased and heavily opinionated professor, sure…there are such people in every walk of life, but when 96% of a faculty are voting democratic and all of these people are highly educated, we should be asking ourselves not the political question, but rather how to they learn and ingest information that would make them vote Democratic over Republican. And I believe that such traits are ones that we as humans should all aspire to.

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  5. When I woke up this morning I was having a dream about liberal governments and false promises…I need to stop reading your blog late at night.

    I’ve been thinking more about this post and your lament that reason doesn’t trump all else (my paraphrase of your post), but reason is not the determining factor in decision making for many (most?) people. The following is a short list of things that might be driving this.

    * economics: Not surprisingly, those with a vested interest in carbon producing industries are most strongly opposed to AGW and in particular, doing something about it. And more generally, many people are opposed to paying more for heating on the *chance* that it *might* make a difference, even if the long term costs of doing nothing are much much higher.

    * post-modernism: If your reason doesn’t match up with my experience, then it’s not relevant, empirical evidence be damned.

    * anti-elitism: I don’t really know what’s behind this, but there seems to be a growing trend to want stupid people in authority. Perhaps people think they won’t be taken advantage of by someone dumb, but will be by someone smart. I hear a lot of talk by people that are “thought leaders” but not as often by experts.

    * de-centralization of information: Thanks to the internet (and Al Gore!), anyone can “publish” pages and pages of “information” that can compete with established credible sources. Although Wikipedia is awesome, is it as credible as Encyclopedia Britannica? News sources especially are suffering, with fewer resources available for pesky things like fact checking. I think the lines are even becoming blurred with FOX News’ mantra of “We report, you decide.” They seem to me to be backing away from a traditional position of integrity and trustworthiness to one of putting the onus on the viewer to decide if that news story was made up or not.

    * idealism & non-negotiables: We all have things we are willing to compromise and things we are not willing to compromise. Both are considered virtues depending on the circumstances. Would I murder someone if it meant saving 1000 other people? Instead of murdering, what if I just let a person die? If I voted for someone who let one person die, is that the same as murder? Abortion, how to respond to terrorism, ISIS, Syria, the war on drugs all fall into this category where we see strong polarization. A wise man once said, “I would do anything for love, but I won’t do that.” So, do the ends justify the means? Do the means justify the ends?

    Assuming that your observation that highly educated people are liberal (which I don’t dispute), it raises an interesting question: If they’re so smart and can come to a consensus about various issues, why are they so bad at selling it to everyone else?

    The above was a bit more incoherent than I would like…you must be rubbing off. 😉

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    1. All great points, and I agree. I don’t thin all faculty are liberal, but the ones that are conservative tend to be more progressive or at least less belief based in their thinking.

      The question you ask is a good one and I wish I had a good answer. But a possible answer I can come up with comes directly from the issue of AGW. Although it’s gotten better scientists stepped forward as advocates simply because it is in the nature of scientist to not be 100% sure about everything. A scientist would want to say, “well this finding here comes with these possible sources of error”. In a way it’s that scientists are generally too honest. People want certainty. The biggest spokespeople for AGW tend to be celebrities and politicians and that just makes our position look weaker. But scientific findings evolve and adjust, and so few scientists are ever welling to speak at a volume rhetoric that implies certainty. Since we are certain now, more scientists have become more vocal, but the rhetoric from opposing interest groups remain. People with high levels of education tend to be more individualistic as well, and don’t organize well. The phrase “herding cats” comes to mind! 🙂 I think those are big things. But I still think that if we revered education more than those other issues wouldn’t be a problem. In other countries teachers and educators are a revered position in society…here in the U.S. you are freeloader sucking up taxes from hardworking Americans!

      Sweet dreams!

      Like

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