We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

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Samizdata quote of the day

Political uniformity is certainly in vogue. A remarkable 96 percent of presidential campaign donations from the nation’s Ivy League faculty and staff in 2012 went to Obama, a margin more reminiscent of Soviet Russia than a properly functioning pluralistic academy.

Joel Kotkin

27 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Fraser Orr

    Isn’t that kind of like saying “95% of children voted for Santa Claus”?

    He who pays the piper calls the tune, and all those para-government employees in college must surely recognize that “Big Government” favors “Big Education”.

  • Mr Ed

    Echoing Fraser, if 96% of dogs voted for more sausages, would that be a surprise, or reminiscent of Soviet Russia?

  • Sausage was a great rarity in the Soviet Union, and when it did occur, it was likely to contain dog… ergo I conclude your scenario that dogs voting for sausage is reminiscent of the Soviet Union is unsupportable, and if Soviet dogs voted for it, that would indeed be a surprise. I sentence you to read ‘The Fountainhead’ as punishment.

  • Tedd


    There may be a flaw in your implied premise that “dogs” don’t eat their own kind, at least with respect to this metaphor.

  • Vinegar Joe

    Meanwhile, back in the classroom:

    “It’s absolutely possible that the Republicans will take over the Senate as well as the House. And we will live in a very, very, very different kind of country if that happens. I mean, colleges will start closing up if they, if these people have their way.” – Professor Brent Terry, Eastern Connecticut State University


  • Julie near Chicago

    OMG, thank the Great Frog I’m not a Republican — just a lowly libertarian-conservative-libertarian. I’d sure hate to be responsible for closing down all the country’s colleges!

  • Julie near Chicago

    But first, I’d see that Prof Brent Terry was put to latrine duty in some particularly nasty and pestilential sewer of a place.

    (Unless, of course, he was being sarcastic. In which case I might promote him to the position of President of the Connecticut University system.)

  • Nick (Blame the French!) Gray

    Does anyone know the voting intentions of other colleges? Maybe Harvard or Vassar balance things out? And do British colleges have similar biases?
    As for Soviet sausages, they would only have dog on lucky days, I suspect. The rest of the time it would have been rats. and I don’t think The Fountainhead is a bad book, so how would it be punishment to read it? Try ‘Das Kapital’- that’s punishment!

  • Rich Rostrom

    Nick (Blame the French!) Gray @ April 23, 2014 at 2:12 am: Does anyone know the voting intentions of other colleges?

    It so happens that I recently surveyed the record of campaign donations from employees of Notre Dame and the University of Nebraska. (This information is online at the Federal Election Commission fec.gov.)

    The FEC covers all donations reported since 2000 or so; reporting was initially fragmentary, and got better until complete since 2010. Some donors’ names were listed multiple times with slight variations, creating extra entries, i.e. John T Smith, John T. Smith, Mr John Smith.

    My survey does not count additional donations from one donor to the same target, nor amounts.

    At Notre Dame, there were 228 donations to Democratic candidates or funds, and 33 to Republicans.There were 52 donations to Obama, and 11 to McCain and Romney; 42 to Democrat groups and 4 to Republicans.

    For Nebraska, I did a quicker scan. There were 94 donations to Obama, 10 to Hilary Clinton, 20 to John Kerry, 73 to Democrat groups. There were 18 to Romney, 10 to McCain, only 1 to Bush (don’t understand that), 28 to Republican groups. Of the 57 Republican donations, 4 were from Tom Osborne, the athletic director and former football coach, who was a Republican U.S. Representative for six years.

    Notre Dame and Nebraska are considered “middle of the road” institutions.

    So, obviously, the “middle” of the American academic road is halfway onto the left shoulder.

  • Mr Ed

    Perry, a dog had fewer restrictions on movement than many a peasant in the Soviet Union under their internal passport system, which severely limited peasants’ mobility, but it was reformed in 1969. Surely the Soviet dogs simply voted for more sausages as that was the Plan. The outcome was irrelevant, any dog protesting about a sausage shortage would be swiftly eliminated, or sent to the Chinese frontier.

    Anyway, cannibalism under socialism is not uncommon, and reading the Fountainhead is a breach of the Common Law, as repugnant to reason, Dr Bonham be my witness.

    I am on record somewhere deploring Rand for a rant against the altruism of clocks on buildings, and which point I put the book down, I think it was Atlas Shrugged but I may be wrong on the source.

    I do recall at University in the English Midlands in the mid 1980s, a Council ward with around 1,000 resident undergraduates returned Conservative councillors, so the agitprop was widely given at most lip service.

  • thoughtful ape

    The lack of ideological diversity in these institutions is not a problem. If it was, my intellectual betters in the Ivy League would have told me so. What is crucially important, on the other hand is diversity of skin color. The moral and intellectual giants that bestride the cultural landscape like colossi have decreed it thus. I must humbly conceed the point. Mine is not to question why. I simply don’t have enough cognitive horse power under the hood to justify challenging their august judgement.

  • Paul Marks

    Yes – it should be remembered that these colleges are not really private, they are dependent on “student loans” and other such taxpayer backed stuff.

    There are a handful of real private universities in the United States (such as Hillsdale and Grove City College) – in such places there are academics who oppose Mr Obama.

  • PeterT

    I think there is reason to believe that even if institutions of higher education were wholly private, they would still lean to the left, at least as a practical matter. Academics do tend to believe in the power of the expert. This is for good reason in some fields such as engineering, but less so in economics, psychology and so on. But I would guess that on average there would still be a tendency to support ‘lets fix it’ government policy.

  • Lee Moore

    Robert Nozick had a go at answering this one a while back :


    If I may presume to precis :

    1. Academics did well in school where academic achievement was praised
    2. By an authority figure (teacher)
    3. And the academic successes were top dogs
    4. Though scorned by the jocks who did better with the girls
    5. After school, horror of horrors, the academics did not get the most money, girls, power or prestige
    6. Because capitalist society rewards usefulness to your fellow man, as measured by market value
    7. And which often appears to have no rhyme nor reason because of the mysteries of what skills happen to be in short supply
    8. Moreover markets place no value on the opinion of your peers as to whether your ideas are good or clever, only on what you achieve in deliverables for your fellow man
    9. Ergo there is something seriously wrong with capitalist society
    10. And particularly so if you are a wordsmith whose reputation depends on the opinion of your intellectual peers, rather than a numbersmith whose reputation depends on whether your bridge falls down

  • Rational Plan

    No the problem is that the public face of the Republican Party is riven with people who are anti science.

    Let us not talk of Global Warming, but let us look at the anti evolutionists,the God created the Earth in 7 days crowd, to of course the delightful fruit loops who say women’s bodies reject pregnancies of genuine rape. Then you get into those who say gay people are gay by choice etc etc and it goes on and on. I imagine it would be hard to remain a committed conservative in the US and be involved with anything that has to do with the scientific principle.

    The Gipper would be ridden out of town as a RINO these days.

  • Lee Moore

    Not convinced that Rational Plan’s hypothesis holds water. If academics dislike the Republicans on the basis that the Republicans are anti-science, you need to explain why they like the Democrats. For whom

    1. denial that a human fetus is a live human being
    2. the claim that IQ is bunkum
    3. the claim that the science of anthropogenic global warming is as settled as gravity
    4. the claim that evolution explains a lot of animal behaviour, but not human behaviour
    5. the claim that men and women are equal in abilities
    6. the claim that environment trumps genes in human development (except when it comes to gayness)

    are all pretty much in the mainstream.

    We won’t go on to lefty views on economics because that would be cruel.

  • Paul Marks

    Rational Plan – I rather doubt you actually admired Ronald Reagan (if I am mistaken – then I apologise).

    As for “fundamentalist” Christians – actually the writers of the original essays on the “fundamentals” of Christianity (in opposition to the “Social Gospel”) were SUPPORTERS of theory of evolution (in fact several of the writers were professional scientists).

    It was only when a POLITICAL agenda purportedly justified by Darwinism became obvious (the Progressive agenda of government EUGENICS) that many conservative Christians became hostile to Darwinism – due to their opposition to the horrors of eugenics (see J. Goldberg’s “Liberal Fascism”) – I would say they were throwing out the baby with the bath water, blaming a scientific theory (Darwinism) for the misuse (abuse) of that theory by the Progressives.

    However, the history is most likely not what you were taught at school and university (or by Hollywood) – for example the “Monkey Trial” in Tennessee was actually a TOURIST SCAM (see Jack Cashill “Hoodwinked”) with Southerners pretending to be stupid and ignorant – in order to rake in the Dollars of their “superiors” who came to sneer at them (the people in the town, including the teacher, were in on the thing – from the start).

  • Paul Marks

    On the hated of the “intellectual” for the merchant or manufacturer – it is indeed nothing new.

    Plato (and even Aristotle)was an example of it – it was endemic in “intellectual” circles in Greece (although perhaps not among Ionian Greeks before the Persian conquest) and Rome.

    Modern theories of “exploitation” by rich landlords (the hated “rentier class”), merchants or manufacturers are just the latest excuse for the hatred the “intellectual” feels for people who are less learned (and perhaps less intelligent) than him – but carry more weight in normal society because they are richer.

    If a rich man makes sympathetic noises towards the intellectual elite then the intellectuals will tolerant them (see George Soros, Bill Gates or Warren Buffett), but if a rich man is open in his disagreement with the intellectual establishment their hatred for him will be extreme (indeed fanatical) – see the treatment of Charles and David Koch.

    As for the general attitude – see Ludwig Von Mises “The Anti Capitalist Mentality”.

  • Rich Rostrom

    Paul Marks @April 23, 2014 at 4:02 pm: if a rich man is open in his disagreement with the intellectual establishment their hatred for him will be extreme (indeed fanatical) – see the treatment of Charles and David Koch.

    The Kochs are not even dissidents, really. They give enormous sums to medical research, the Smithsonian, MoMA, Lincoln Center, Columbia University. They support same-sex marriage and legalization of drugs; they opposed the Iraq war.

    But these days, any dissent at all is intolerable, I guess.

  • Rich Rostrom

    Paul Marks @ April 23, 2014 at 3:55 pm: As for “fundamentalist” Christians – actually the writers of the original essays on the “fundamentals” of Christianity… were SUPPORTERS of theory of evolution…

    The Fundamentals does reject “young Earth creationism” and acknowledges the gradual development of life – but it explicitly rejects “Darwinism” and puts forward an early form of “intelligent design”. (Life could not have arisen, nor intelligence developed in man, without supernatural intervention.)

    See “Science And Christian Faith”, by James Orr (vol 4, chap 4).

    As for the Scopes Trial, it was indeed conceived as a publicity project with Scopes’ consent – but the extreme fundamentalist freakshow that showed up was spontaneous, and an embarrassment to the people of Dayton TN, few of whom had any strong opinions on the issue.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Yes, but, but, but — Rich — the Koch brothers founded Cato! Surely that already makes them evil!

    Besides, it gets worse. They do OIL. *gasp* *horror*

    Hm. I wonder if it’s possible that it’s not what you do, it’s who you suck up to. —-Excuse me. S/B “It’s up to whom you suck.” There, isn’t that better. :>)

  • Julie near Chicago

    Also, the K. Brothers fund The Heartland Institute, which –>> denies climate!

    And just look at this lead line:

    “$25,000 received from Koch foundations in 2011. [Total Koch foundation grants 1997-2011: $55,000]”

    Is that not a GINORMOUS sum???!!


    And — you won’t believe this — they think Climate Change is Good for Us! *more gasps*

    We know this us true (although it seems odd coming from people who, as Greenpeace explains above, “deny climate” — ??) because DailyKos tells us so:


    I mean, really!

  • Snorri Godhi


    It was only when a POLITICAL agenda purportedly justified by Darwinism became obvious (the Progressive agenda of government EUGENICS) that many conservative Christians became hostile to Darwinism

    I think it important to point out in which way Darwinism “justified” eugenics: the latter was in no way due to admiration for the wonders of Darwinian evolution; on the contrary, it was an attempt to improve on random mutation + natural selection, by replacing natural with artificial selection.
    In other words: there is no God, therefore we need the State.
    The same logic used for replacing the free market with central planning.

    I believe that the charlatan Richard Hofstadter is primarily to blame for attaching the label of “social Darwinism” to what is in fact a plot to abolish Darwinian evolution.

  • A Cowardly Citizen

    Darwinian evolution is a goner as a belief system. Its adherents reproduce as effectively as the Shakers did. Creationists on the other hand, have children.

    It doesn’t matter in elections yet. But if a majority of students graduating in biology in some university departments believe in creationism, how long before the teaching profession adapts to the new environment?

  • Creationists on the other hand, have children.

    Fortunately a belief in absurdities is not something passed on via genetics. The children of creationists can, and generally are, rescuable from the dark pit into which they are born 😉

  • Mr Ed

    And who pays for college?

  • Paul Marks

    Mr Ed – mostly the government (via government backed “student loans” and so on). Only a handful of universities (such as Hillsdale) turn down government backed student loans.

    The explosion of tuition costs is due to such government interventionism – as is the explosion in health care costs.

    Snorri – I did say “purportedly”, I agree with you that Darwinism in no way justifies Eugenics.

    Rich Rostrum – many thanks for the additional information (it is well received).


    I have my own reservations about the Charles and David Koch and Cato – although my reservations are that they do not have enough influence over it(not too much).