Quote Of The Day

“Question to think about: If right-wingers are underrepresented in universities relative to the population and discriminated against by the left-wing majority, as Larry suggests, should there be affirmative action for right-leaning academics? It seems that, on principle, those on the left (who favor affirmative action to promote diversity and correct past injustice) should endorse such a university policy, and those on the right (who more often oppose affirmative action) would be against.” —Greg Mankiw, professor of economics at Harvard University

26 Responses to “Quote Of The Day”

  • Oh brother. (rolling eyes)

    The purpose of affirmative action is not just to remedy a disbalance, but to remedy a disbalance caused by decades of discrimination. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t recall there ever having been one drinking fountain for Liberal professors, and another for Conservatives. Indeed, if the Conservative line is to be believed, then any imbalance today is due to market forces, and therefore perfectly acceptable.

  • I agree – if that is the purpose of affirmative action.

    But many who argue for affirmative action, especially those who support affirmative action for Mexican-Americans, knowing that they are on shaky ground with other rationales, argue for affirmative action based on diversity. This post, and the the two previous ones, were meant to show the logical extent of such a (weak) justification.

  • You’ll get no argument from me on that. In my opinion, Affirmative Action should apply almost entirely to blacks. Certainly, there has been some amount of historic discrimination against Hispanics, as there has been towards Chinese, Catholics, Jews, Italians, etc., but none of these ever reached the level of that against black Americans.

  • I’ll submit that Vietnamese and Cambodians have suffered far worse in recent generations than African-Americans. Yet when they reach our shores, they receive little affirmative action, and still achieve more as a class than most any other American cultural group.

    And I’ll also submit that one reason they succeed is that when a client sees their diploma, they know that individual has achieved it on his own, without the aid (or taint) of affirmative action.

  • TL,

    First, any harsh treatment that Southeast Asians have received in the last couple of generations has certainly not been the result of institutionalized racism on the part of the United States. Therefore, I don’t see why the U.S. should feel obligated to restitute by offering Affirmative Action programs.

    Second, I don’t know what your definition of “success” is, but by most indicators I can think of, Vietnames and Cambodians are not nearly as successful as certain other groups in the U.S. – East Indians, for example.

    Third, to claim that the lack of affirmative action is the secret to the alleged “success” of Vietnamese and Cambodians is a huge stretch. Counter-examples are abundant and obvious both of groups not afforded AA who are not particularly successful, and of demographical groups that receive AA and are also generally successful. I won’t bother to cite them.

  • A white man told there is no longer racism and that he has a black friend.

  • Have you ever noticed how few brown and black faces used to work at Disneyland. Look at the ride operators and stores sales staff at Disneyland, I could not find enough highy trained and educated browm and black faces to push the “Start” button on the rides. And the cash registers have cash and are also very difficult to operate. But I do have lots of brown faces pushing brooms and mops after closing.

    Only since the opening of California Adventures have I found a few brown and black faces qualified to push the “Start” button on some rides.

  • Actually, I just read a study yesterday from a sociologist at Harvard and another sociologist at George Mason who found that the majority of professors in American higher education consider themselves moderates. So there really isn’t a left wing majority in the academy.

    That being said, I think that we should welcome academics who are to the right of center. I don’t know if you would want to consider such an “affirmative action program.” How do we need to correct for institutional bias with these conservative scholars? I don’t think that they have historically been discriminated against or targeted.

    The lower ratio of conservatives in higher ed might just be a function of the market, as former Harvard President Summers suggests. “He said that if you are a smart individual, and you like the market, profits, and ‘striving for profits,’ you have ‘a wide range of choices in life,’ of which an academic career is but one. If you are a smart person who doesn’t like the world of markets and profits, ‘you have a much narrow range of choices,’ he said, and academic careers might be more desireable.”


  • Yes, I read that study as well, but you should be careful what you define as ‘moderate’. Being moderate in a very left of center environment tells us very little of their views compared to the American people as a whole – I bet they would still be considered well on the left side of the political spectrum, see more here.

    As far as Larry Summers, he also said this,

    At the same time, he added, the extent of the imbalance and some informal research he has conducted “give me pause” and has him wondering about the possibility of bias against right-leaning thinkers. He examined the scholars being asked to give Tanner Lectures (a top lecture series at leading universities) and the political leanings of economists and political figures among honorary degree recipients at a top university (which he declined to name). Liberals receive more such honors by far, he said.

    It’s not that there are no conservative professors, he said, but their share is so small as to raise questions that deserve more attention. Summers wondered if the situation isn’t like it was in the early days of baseball’s racial integration, when people trying to say equality had arrived could point to the relatively equal performance of black and white stars. “But it appeared that there were not any African-American.250 hitters,” Summers said. “The only [black] players who played were stars.”

    Although, like Summers, I would be strongly against any type of affirmative action for political leanings. Though its a good example of the (il)logical ends of those who advocate for affirmative action on diversity grounds. 🙂

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