Monopolies are generally thought of as "bad." Most of the time, they don't serve the public interest and they are incredibly inefficient. And yet, there is one monopoly in America that affects every college student -- the liberal monopoly on professorships.
Recently, the Center for the Study of Popular Culture conducted a survey on professors' political views at universities nationwide, including Penn. The results were astounding. Among those Ivy League professors surveyed, 64 percent considered themselves either liberal or somewhat liberal. A mere 6 percent considered themselves conservative or somewhat conservative.
In addition to this, 84 percent voted for Al Gore in 2000, with George W. pulling in just ahead of Ralph Nader (9 percent for Dubya, 6 percent for Nader). At Penn, of those affiliated with a particular political party who were surveyed, 60 were registered Democrats and only five registered as Republicans.
When asked who their favorite president of the past 40 years was, 13 percent of Ivy League professors said Jimmy Carter (ranking him as fourth). The Republican who ranked the highest was Ronald Reagan, coming in at a whopping 4 percent.
Let's make a quick comparison for a minute. Jimmy Carter is widely considered (unless, I guess, you are talking to an Ivy League professor) to be the worst president in history. He lost Iran to fundamentalist Islam. When said fundamentalists took Americans hostages, he made a half-hearted attempt to rescue them, which failed and cost further American lives. Under his administration, the strongest move he made against the imminent Communist threat was to pull out of the 1980 Moscow Olympics (I know if I was a Russian, I would have been scared!).
The economy was so bad under Carter's administration that they had to come up with a new name for it -- stagflation, a combination of stagnation and inflation. Oh yeah, and he was attacked by a bunny rabbit (that's not a typo, you read that correctly).
This is pitted against Ronald Reagan's record of ending the Cold War and laying the groundwork for the economic boom of the '90s. (To those of you who believe that the Cold War was brought to an end by the Democrats' policies as well, I can assure you that withdrawing from the Olympics was no contribution to bringing down the worldwide Communist superstructure).
As these statistics make clear, professors at Penn and throughout the Ivy League are overwhelmingly liberal. This monopoly on higher education is an extreme impediment to our education.
For years now, the faculty and administrators of colleges and universities have been lecturing America on the values of diversity. And yet, this survey shows how paper-thin the University's attachment to real diversity is. Part of the reason Penn is constantly harping on the diversity of its faculty is because diverse professors present students with different views and different experiences.
You know what would help the University diversify the views and experiences of professors? Hiring professors with different opinions.
Oh, but I forgot. Opinions don't matter when you are teaching. That is, according to Political Science Professor Avery Goldstein, who was paraphrased in the DP saying, "... a professor's political preferences should have no effect on the subject matter taught in a class."
But in higher education, much of what we learn is theory, which is why professors disagree. I think I get it: a professor's skin color has an effect on what he teaches, so diversity of skin color is good. But political views don't, so diversity of that kind has no value. Funny, I always thought that a person's views were shaped by his opinions. Silly me.
And in case you think that such a monopoly on teaching is innocuous, a book written by the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, entitled Where Did Social Studies Go Wrong?, details how exclusively liberal education in elementary, middle and high school can have a detrimental effect on a student's ability to learn. The book explains that the liberal teachers' ideology "... is deeply suspicious of America's institutions, values and role in the world, while uncritically celebrating the institutions and values of most other societies."
And the practical effects of this liberal ideology? To take a modern example, the liberal stranglehold on teaching allows teachers to "harp on American insensitivity toward Islam while muting concerns about the murderous intolerance of Islamic radicals toward America."
Of course, this is not to say that liberals are purposely taking control over education, or that they are calculatingly indoctrinating America's students. A conservative monopoly could be just as damaging (some of the possible side effects might include young people actually wanting to defend their country from attack).
But since no one is there to challenge the liberal monopoly (or, if they have tenure, fire them), there is no impediment to indoctrinating students. Furthermore, the fact that only liberal professors are hired breeds a confidence in professors that their view is correct. After all, virtually everyone in the Ivy League thinks the exact same thing.
The University needs to stop paying lip service to diversity and actually try to promote it in thought among our professors. If they do not, then we will all know that the quality of our education just isn't a priority.