Conservatives Charge That Universities Are Hotbeds of Liberalism. They’re Wrong.

September 25, 2017
Photo: Princeton University, Office of Communications

by David Walsh

Liberals dominate the faculties at most universities. But conservatives control the true centers of power.

The American academy is hopelessly biased against conservatives. Or so argues Arthur C. Brooks, president of the conservative American Enterprise Institute, in a recent New York Times column. Professors who don’t hold “mainstream [liberal] political views” are “treated as outsiders” — conservatives, Brooks notes, “constitute less than 10 percent of faculty in the social sciences and the humanities.”

The charge that the academy is riddled with liberals and radicals is not new. William F. Buckley, in his 1951 book “God and Man at Yale,” accused faculty at his alma mater of being hopelessly biased in favor of liberalism and secularism. He proclaimed that their true mission was not education, but to indoctrinate young men “to be atheistic socialists.”

That’s the perception. Here’s the reality: higher education actually skews conservative. While it is true that large numbers of professors — particularly in the arts and humanities — identify politically as liberal or radical, it is emphatically not the case that institutions of higher education themselves are radical or even necessarily especially liberal.

Read the article at The Washington Post's "Made by History" blog.