Ya know how I said below that the problem with the liberal academia debate is that it's a fake debate? Well, it's a still a fake debate. Paul at the Agora responded to what Ezra had, correctly, said ("At the places the most intelligent and informed people work, even more of them turn out to be liberal. And so we scratch our heads and wonder about bias? Why?"). Now, granted Ezra doesn't offer any evidence for this claim (it's not even really a claim, just a suggestion of a claim), but he's probably just theorizing, and it's not an unreasonable thing to say. So if you're going to argue against it, you should probably, like, address it or something. Paul says about Ezra's statement:
Klein's argument rests upon the premise that there is some ideal vantage point from which observers can claim a hold on Truth--and that university professors just happen to be in this happy position.[...]
Let's start with just that much, because this is what I'm talking about when I "fake debate." There is no such premise. You don't need "an ideal vantage point from which observers can claim a hold on Truth" to be well-informed or poorly informed. If you think that evolution isn't true because it's a "theory" and "theories" are things that haven't been proved, that shows that you are poorly informed. It shows that you don't understand how science works, and you don't understand what "theory" means in that context. Paul continues:
I think my readers are sophisticated enough to understand why the "vantage point" argument is simply untenable. Professors are not separate from the world, they are bound up in it, and have their own beliefs and interests separate from their intellectual work that influence how they see the political world.
No one said professors are separate from the world. Indeed, if you pay attention to Ezra's basic point, you'll find that professors are necessarily, perhaps definitionally, not living in a seperate world, because they are "intelligent and informed." Now, if you want to argue that they're not intelligent and informed, go ahead. Let's see it.
In particular, professors as a class tend to lack managerial experience and perform according to expectations and norms that are radically different from the outside world. Posner is only the most distinguished commenter to point out that academia is full of social misfits. More to the point, professors are rewarded less for results and more for arcane matters. A gas station manager may not know Kant, but he does know how to meet payroll; a professor will probably be in the reverse position.
"expectations and norms that are radically different from the outside world," eh? What happened to professors being bound up in the world, huh? How could you juxtapose two contradictory sentences?
Now we're off the deep end. One person said that academia is full of social misfits, and that is supposed to mean something to us? "Professors tend to lack managerial experience?" Really? How do you know? What about those academic scientists who have to run labs with graduate students, undergraduates, participants in studies, who have to make paltry grants go along? Those academics lack managerial experience, they don't know how to meet payroll? Maybe we should have gas station owners come and teach them something.
But there's something in that paragraph you might have missed that you should read again:
More to the point, professors are rewarded less for results and more for arcane matters.
Wow. I'm speechless. Anyone who has even the vaguest clue what an academic's life is like knows this is untrue. So common, in fact, is the demand for results that there's a pithy statement associated with it ("publish or perish"). Professors are rewarded for doing good research, in short, for results, and are not rewarded for "arcane matters." What the fuck is an "arcane matter" anyway?
Which skill should be more highly valued by society? So Klein's assertion that professors are liberals because they're smarter is wrong and unfair.
Oh, right, right, that makes sense, because everyone knows that "smarter" means "more highly valued by society." I guess that means George W. Bush must be the fucking smartest person on the face of the planet.
This is a fake debate. Conservatives, please, let's have a real one. Show us some evidence for something. Please don't tell me you've all gone the way of Powerline.