Courtesy of Andrew Sullivan, I suffered through this article on the imbalance of political viewpoints in academia today. And I had to suffer through this:
“We try to hire the best, smartest people available,” Brandon said of his philosophy hires. “If, as John Stuart Mill said, stupid people are generally conservative, then there are lots of conservatives we will never hire.
“Mill’s analysis may go some way towards explaining the power of the Republican party in our society and the relative scarcity of Republicans in academia. Players in the NBA tend to be taller than average. There is a good reason for this. Members of academia tend to be a bit smarter than average. There is a good reason for this too.”
Burness also noted that the humanities may be particularly oriented toward Democratic minds. “If you were to look at most business schools, you might find more people that were Republican than Democratic,” he said. “If you look at the humanities in general, there’s a great deal of creativity that goes on. In a sense it’s innovation, and a perfectly logical criticism of the current society, in one form or another, that plays itself out in some of these disciplines. It doesn’t surprise me that you might find people in humanities are more liberal than conservative.” [Emphasis mine, and I wanted to embolden the whole thing because each word made me madder.]
Although my collegiate preparations should have cultured me to craft a proper response to this assertion, perhaps something as simple as a quip to deflate the head of the pompos squad here, dancing up and down and chanting his ignorance, instead my baser, city-bred id bursts forth with a hearty, and sincere:
I am sorry, gentle reader, if you were reading this blog with your children; you should probably browse from work where it’s safe.
This Robert focking Brandon is the chair of the philosophy department, so that should indicate how focking out of touch he is from real life. No, I forget, friends, not many of you managed to slough through a degree’s worth of philosophy, so you don’t understand. Within the humanities, philosophy and literature especially, it’s not just that the academics are isolated from real life, but they’re further isolated from dealing with real issues. Academics working in chemistry and sciences and whatnot are researching real things; philosophy professors research other academics. Let Brandon chortle about his probable misrepresentation of Mill (sue me, I haven’t read much utilitarian schmaltz). Mill’s been dead a long time, and his views of stupid people are irrelevant except to offer Brandon a cloak in which to hide his own fockedness.
But another academic at Duke suffers infinite monkey moment, wherein even a random collection of letters and syllables coalesces into a rational thought:
Burness added that the course imbalance Kitchens described was also not surprising. He argued that, because gender and race are lively forms of scholarly inquiry today, it is natural that a number of courses should treat these subjects.
To put it succinctly, Those who can, do, and those who cannot get TAs to teach their courses so they can write Marxist feminist inquiries into how television altered and enforced the hegemony of bourgeois taste in the post World War II period as filtered through relevant ads in House Beautiful and seminary Marxist/feminist tracts of the past.
Unfortunately, unlike other useful dreams of snakes eating their tails, this one doesn’t yield a loud enough Eureka! moment. Of course, academics tend to procreate; the ideas and viewpoints emphasized in college as worthy of study will be studied, and the next wave of untenured journeymen humanities professors will write and research the same crap as their mentors.
Meanwhile, conservative students with a broad and almost classical education will go out into the real world and make something of themselves.
In the midst of all my succeeding, though, sometimes I still get pissed.