Best of the Blogs

I got a bit behind in my reading, so here are some highlights from my catching-up:

  • Dan Drezner says that academic faculty are liberal and gives a compelling example from the humanities. Nevertheless, this argument is tiresome. While I’m not in a position to say one way or the other with regard to the humanities, I’m perfectly willing to believe that such departments are mostly liberal. Even so, this does not render them useless or even bad.

    Liberal or not, read Steinbeck, Bellamy, Wright, and London. They all give compelling looks at the world as it was as viewed through a particular lens. Read Orwell, Solzhenitsyn, and Rand too (each is an important thinker whose works are common subjects in undergraduate curricula). Balance your Rawls with Nozick.

    In my experience, professors are interested in, actually excited by, students who demonstrate an ability to engage in synthetic and critical–not leftist–thinking. And we’d do anything to see more competent writing, from any perspective. I have never seen anything that would prevent a smart conservative student from succeeding at the undergraduate level, which is the source of most criticism (“liberals are poisoning the minds of our youth!“).

    There may be a surfeit of liberal influence at the graduate level in the humanities, but that is likely offset by the center-Right views in most economics departments and business schools. I’m unsure about the typical composition of a political science department, but even assuming they are disproportionately liberal, the University of Chicago is also disproportionately (to the number of faculty and students, not necessarily to the structure of their arguments) influential and conservative. (Note that Matt Y. says that Harvard’s philosophy department is liberal. But also see Crooked Timber. Speaking of Matt, he also has a Plame piece up at TAP).

  • Charles Kuffner updates us on Texas redistricting events–they are in conference and the House and Senate are working from markedly different maps, meaning there will be delays, which is a good thing.
  • Dave Neiwert explains why the Freepers may have to rethink Bush’s anti-tort positions.
  • The non-evil Roger Ailes reports on more Conservatives who may not be so anti-tort (at least, not anti-tort until their ridiculous case crumbles into dust).
  • Jesse has the relevant law that senior (or top) administration officials apparently broke in the Plame outing.
  • Marshall is also at the epicenter of Plame information, and this post is particularly amusing.
  • TBogg has a roundup on why people are Republicans (ok, all the answers are from Democrats, but that doesn’t make them untrue). Chujoe may be onto something with this explanation: “I had sex once, but it wasn’t all that great–why should anybody else enjoy themselves.”