Masked Marxism? The effects of political affiliation of professors on campus

September 10, 2003

By Jasyn Jones at The Daily Utah Chronicle

It cannot be disputed that the vast majority of college professors are adherents of left-wing politics. Yet, since this is the kind of self evident statement so commonly disputed by left-wingers, let us investigate further.

The recent “Almanac Issue” of The Chronicle of Higher Education revealed that 47.6 percent of professors describe themselves as “far left” or “liberal.” Only 17.7 percent self identify as “conservative” and 0.3 percent as “far right.” In a country which is 15 percent liberal, 45 percent moderate and 40 percent conservative, the disparity is shocking.

A recent report (see released by the Center for the Study of Popular Culture surveyed the faculty at 32 elite colleges and universities, including Amherst, Cal-Berkeley and some Ivy League schools. At these universities, the “ratio of Democrats to Republicans…was more than 10-to 1.” At some universities, it was an astonishing 30-to-1. For the country as a whole, the Democrat/Republican split is very nearly 50/50.

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education released a study (available at confirming that more than 90 percent of college campuses have speech codes intended to ban and punish politically incorrect (which is to say, conservative) speech. (Fortunately, the University of Utah isn’t one of them.)

It is obvious that college campuses are dominated by left wing ideologies. Having established the case, let us proceed to the particulars.

At one time, universities were supposed to be centers of learning, of debate, of the rigorous search for truth. Sometime during the 1960s, that mission changed. Instead of championing truth, college professors began championing “social justice” (a code word for Marxism). American college campuses became little more than “progressive” preserves: one-party states where the official left-wing line dominated classroom discussions, symposiums, academic journals and the curriculum. Voices of dissent were frequently silenced, marginalized or suppressed through social pressure, like the withholding of tenure or the lowering of grades.

The spectrum of opinions represented by an average group of tenured academics runs the gamut from Gephardt to Nader to Lenin and leftward. I’m sure that, to those accustomed to these intellectually incestuous enclaves, that seems like a vibrant array of diverse opinions. It only seems that way.

Beyond the walls of cloistered campuses, there is a whole spectrum of thought, of scholarship, or reasoning and evidence which disputes and refutes socialist beliefs and claims. Out in the real world, people have the freedom to discuss, to debate, to decide for themselves. Here, however, such debate is stifled.

For a long time, professors have exploited the goodwill and ascribed expertise their position afforded them. People respected what professors said, simply because they trusted that college professors were dedicated to truth, not partisan politics. As time goes by and college professors veer further and further from the mainstream of America’s politics, their reputation is eroding fast.

Most universities exist at the sufferance of the public. As publicly funded institutions, they are vulnerable to disruptions in the flow of tax monies. Up until now, universities have avoided close scrutiny because of their reputation as impartial centers of learning (a reputation that is currently unwarranted).

There is a real need for advanced scholarship, for places where a classical liberal arts education can be had. If the leftward tilt of the professorate causes lasting harm to the institutions they have commandeered (as it very well might) all of society will feel the negative effects.

If diversity is so important to professors, why is the faculty so undiverse? If tolerance is so important, why can they not tolerate and accept conservatives on campus? If open-mindedness is such a virtue, why are they so close-minded about alternatives to their left-wing orthodoxy? The hypocrisy of campus liberals on this issue is manifest and rank.

It is time for liberals to live up to their claims, for tolerance, open-mindedness and diversity, and allow such ideals to return to the campus. It is time to tear down this Ivory Curtain and let the light of truth into the dank cellars of moldy Marxist thought.

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