Thursday, July 03, 2008

Notice Something Missing?

In the Times today, there's a nice big article about how Leftist college professors are retiring. They're building it up as the "end of the culture war" or some such thing.

Er, no. See, what they aren't talking about is the other side of "scholarly studies": the archipelago of think-tanks and "institutes" and whatnot that are supposed to serve as a counterweight to the overwhelming liberalism of campuses. There are a lot of them, and they're very well funded.

Now, campuses were never that liberal. Some departments were, some weren't. But they were fairly liberal, and certainly liberal compared to their overwhelmingly conservative private-sector counterparts. If the liberals in academe are retiring, and their replacements are self-consciously (and uncritically, but nevermind) "moderate", but the conservatives are still right where they are...

...guess what that means for the American academic discourse.

It's funny. By and large, the tropes of conservatism are completely discredited. Reagan didn't win the Cold War. Armed interventionism doesn't work. Reflexive market-boosting and regulation-cutting can actually hurt markets, and certainly hurts public welfare. Social security is pretty safe right now, and UHC seems on the horizon.

Yet if you look at it in a broader sense, there are definitely rainclouds on the horizon. These "moderates" don't know what they're in for.

(They're also obsessed with "the data", apparently, which is hilarious in its own way. But that's another post entirely.)

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