Sunday, December 26, 2004

Education: the liberal bias (and more David Horowitz antics)

This article from AP gives a nice summary of some of the major events in the recent past concerning disgruntled conservatives speaking out against liberal bias in American universities. The latter portion of the article focuses on the activities of David Horowitz, whose disgusting, racist tactics are a discredit to legitimate conservative points in academia, which truly are undervalued in the academic marketplace. However, incidents involving students who are merely angry that their world views are being challenged and that they will be required to actually learn something about an alternate point of view are illegitimate.

I'm pleased that at least the article correctly sites the recent study that shows that humanities and social science professors are decidedly leftist, as Bill O'Reilly and Co. love siting the study in manipulative ways. However, I'm hard-pressed to think that the liberal bias in, say, Economics or Political Science departments could be as pronounced as in Sociology or Geography departments. And philosophy departments have more than their share of conservatives. Not saying the liberal bias doesn't exist; it clearly does. But I think it's also unfair to imply that the leftist intelligentsia blatantly disregards the objective methods that have developed in their fields for their personal politics on a grand scale. All social science fields require objective methods in order for their work to have any real relevance. Of course, I don't believe for a second that there aren't flaws, and politically motivated ones at that, all throughout academia.


Anonymous said...

i took exactly one sociology class, which lasted for about 2 weeks before i got fed up and dropped it. i've read hegel and marx in my philosophy class without it bothering me one bit - actually it was fascinating and had a lot of useful ideas - but that one sociology class was like reading the satanic bible on halloween in a dungeon full of undead reason-sucking vampires. the amount of crap spewed in those two weeks was unbelievable and very bad for my emotional health. i have no idea if other sociology classes are like that, but i had no desire to find out. as far as i'm concerned, the "sociological perspective" is that of one's head up his own ass.

with respect,

Garrett said...

I could easily see that, given my experiences in my one sociology course. The dude was a nut, but for every five nutty things he said, there was at least one absolutely brilliant thing, and it was all a matter of fixing your filter at the right frequency. Weber, Durkheim, Marx, etc., are all very pick-and-choose about what's nuts and what's not. But I think there's some (lots of) very good applied sociology going on in this world that is both very objective and very not asinine.