Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Why the Left dominates universities

Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach.

At Jane Galt, one of Megan's commenters had this priceless comment in response to this: "The facts raise an interesting question, however, and one that should trouble right-wing critics of the current situation: why is liberal dominance of academia a problem given that it represents a market outcome? That is, if liberal academics are so bad, why does the market support so many of them?"

Matt writes in the comments:
Assuming it as given that a certain percentage of the general population is going to be leftist cretins no matter what (it's not provable at this point in history, but the evidence certainly seems to lean that way), an economically efficient system will tend to channel them to the occupations in which they can do the least damage, even if simply because all the competent people are (and indeed should be) out in the real world doing the work.

If you're a better businessman or engineer or whatever than you are a teacher, then it doesn't matter a whit how much better a teacher you would be than the folks who are actually doing the and society are still economically better off if you farm out the job of teaching and focus your efforts on the work you're best at. The folks who are left to utterly nonproductive work (such as is represented by professorships in most academic disciplines) will be the dregs of the competency barrel, simply by process of elimination.

All things considered, universities are not a bad place for such least, putting them there is more just than locking them in prisons, and more humane than committing them to asylums for the incurably insane. Occasionally pretending that we think their opinions matter even keeps most of them from getting angry enough to take up politics (as distinct from ideology), and the fewer lunatics we have trying to take over the country, the better off we all are.

It is worth noting that, in academic departments which are _not_ well described as "utterly nonproductive work", the leftist bias is far, far less powerful.

The useful question is not "why are universities dominated by leftists", but rather "why is the known-to-be-dominated-by-leftists university system still trusted with _monopoly_ power to grant credentials for entry into fields of productive endeavour?". This is the only respect in which these folks have any actual power, and I think it's high time we took it away from them.

Even if one assumes the questionable proposition that universities operate as a true market, this is a delightful response.


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