Politics associated with academic subjects?

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Descartes
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16 Jan 2010, 7:53 pm

I heard that teachers who teach Social Sciences tend to be conservative whereas teachers who teach English tend to be liberal. Is this, for the most part, true? What do you think?



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16 Jan 2010, 7:58 pm

Do some research on the school.


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16 Jan 2010, 7:59 pm

Usually, stupid people tend to be conservative, and smart people tend to be liberal. Then, it's all about distribution of stupid and smart people by subject.



zer0netgain
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16 Jan 2010, 11:11 pm

Goren wrote:
Usually, stupid people tend to be conservative, and smart people tend to be liberal. Then, it's all about distribution of stupid and smart people by subject.


You have it backwards. :P



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16 Jan 2010, 11:26 pm

All of my humanity and literature instructors were liberal. What are the odds?


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17 Jan 2010, 12:43 am

zer0netgain wrote:
Goren wrote:
Usually, stupid people tend to be conservative, and smart people tend to be liberal. Then, it's all about distribution of stupid and smart people by subject.


You have it backwards. :P

Educated people tend to be overwhelmingly liberal- even among economists, who have the reputation of being quite conservative, a strong majority are liberals.

To answer the OP: teachers in the social sciences will tend to be less liberal than those in subjects like English.


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techstepgenr8tion
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17 Jan 2010, 12:45 am

I always heard economics teachers would tend to be more conservative where poli sci were a bit in the other direction. As for 'liberal' arts, I didn't think there'd be much non-redundancy there.


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17 Jan 2010, 2:29 am

techstepgenr8tion wrote:
I always heard economics teachers would tend to be more conservative where poli sci were a bit in the other direction. As for 'liberal' arts, I didn't think there'd be much non-redundancy there.

Well, economics professors ARE more conservative, they're still liberals though. Most of them think that some regulations are good, and tend to not be social conservatives.



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17 Jan 2010, 1:59 pm

At the university level, most of the liberal arts and the physical sciences tend towards liberalism to some degree whereas business, engineering, and theology/divinity tend towards conservatism.



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18 Jan 2010, 2:22 am

There's an in-depth reason why people are conservative. Conservative usually means people who are afraid of change and prefer to stick to tradition. People are afraid of change only because they can't see the distant consequences of any changes applied, can't understand how the current society can be modified in a positive way, and thus prefer to cling to some old rules that 'sort of work'. Also, they are against changes because they lack intellectual capabilities to learn some new rules and relationships. In other words, stupid. There are no two ways to look at this, really.



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18 Jan 2010, 3:19 am

Goren wrote:
There's an in-depth reason why people are conservative. Conservative usually means people who are afraid of change and prefer to stick to tradition. People are afraid of change only because they can't see the distant consequences of any changes applied, can't understand how the current society can be modified in a positive way, and thus prefer to cling to some old rules that 'sort of work'. Also, they are against changes because they lack intellectual capabilities to learn some new rules and relationships. In other words, stupid. There are no two ways to look at this, really.


No, I'd say there are two distinctly different outlooks on the world. Liberals and conservatives are currently odds on many things but the most salient two - economics and culture. On economics, many liberals have a belief in creating an egalitarian society by legal means and that egalitarianism through economics typically means more power through unions, higher regulation on profits, and quite often when it it comes to things like health care a government agency to take in tax dollars and redistribute to all is the idea. Conservatives on that one believe that while the idea is well intended, more government bureaucracy means much more cost and much less efficiency, believe that governmental enforcement of egalitarianism may in fact make us more equal but that the aggregate loss of wealth is so much that even the poorest today are far better off as they are than where they would be under an economic system that would cripple the abilities of entrepreneurs to do what they do best (ie. seek reward for well thought-out risks) and in the present that would, while increasing equality, really shrivel the size of the pie for all (which is why they believe in charity - keep the pie big, keep government involvement only where needed) and in the long run, with less financial incentive to achieve great things and innovations - the pie would not only shrivel more but we'd progressively lose the technological and innovative competition with the rest of the world more and more with every passing year.

On the issue of social values - I think both sides have it right and wrong depending on which components. Liberals tend to have a blend of values between social libertarianism and social collectivism (decrease individuality), the more sensible prefer the former - the elites the later. The trouble they run into is that many favor a decision making that takes us off of an organized social base (ie. tradition) without offering a working alternative. There have also been a lot of very bold experiments with society at large by liberals which have created some pretty big messes that we're still cleaning up today (The Great Society being a shining example). Conservatives partly tend to believe that there is wisdom in what was created thousands of years ago and still seems to work today (as much as people seem to snicker at that one with marriage per say - its destruction is been the result of a changing culture more than any real collapse of its own merits), they also tend to see the law of unintended consequences in a lot of issues where we're exploring bold new areas in how to see humanity, how to raise children, how adults are supposed to behave and what responsibilities they have to society - etc. etc.. Many more moderate conservatives know that the changes are inevitable but they're warning is simply not to throw everything that works out with what no longer does simply for the sake of arbitrarily ejecting things for their emotional ties to whatever.

For this reason though I can't accept that conservatives are stupid. Yes, the religious right is a bit dubious but many atheists (Jürgen Habermas et al) are also indicating that there is something about societal cohesion that we're really losing touch with that needs more inspection in the sense that religious society has certain things that we need going forward but that we haven't been able to decouple from religion as of yet. That's part of why I can find myself somewhat conservative on many societal and role issues but at the same time see illegality of marijuana as senseless or see a lot of areas where I think viewing cultural conservatism through a religious lens alone seems to make a good thing unattractive for rather fallacious and arbitrary reasons.


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18 Jan 2010, 3:34 am

Goren wrote:
There's an in-depth reason why people are conservative. Conservative usually means people who are afraid of change and prefer to stick to tradition. People are afraid of change only because they can't see the distant consequences of any changes applied, can't understand how the current society can be modified in a positive way, and thus prefer to cling to some old rules that 'sort of work'. Also, they are against changes because they lack intellectual capabilities to learn some new rules and relationships. In other words, stupid. There are no two ways to look at this, really.

Umm.... even if we granted that conservatives prefer tried and tested ways, it still does not follow that they are stupid. One can be intelligent and lack faith in our understanding of social realities, our ability to effectively change them in the desired manners, and instead believe more in the intelligence of pre-existing order and how embedded it is.

I dunno.... it is usually a mistake to consider any group of people stupid, I would think.



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18 Jan 2010, 5:26 am

techstepgenr8tion wrote:
No, I'd say there are two distinctly different outlooks on the world. Liberals and conservatives are currently odds on many things but the most salient two - economics and culture. On economics, many liberals have a belief in creating an egalitarian society by legal means and that egalitarianism through economics typically means more power through unions, higher regulation on profits, and quite often when it it comes to things like health care a government agency to take in tax dollars and redistribute to all is the idea. Conservatives on that one believe that while the idea is well intended, more government bureaucracy means much more cost and much less efficiency, believe that governmental enforcement of egalitarianism may in fact make us more equal but that the aggregate loss of wealth is so much that even the poorest today are far better off as they are than where they would be under an economic system that would cripple the abilities of entrepreneurs to do what they do best (ie. seek reward for well thought-out risks) and in the present that would, while increasing equality, really shrivel the size of the pie for all (which is why they believe in charity - keep the pie big, keep government involvement only where needed) and in the long run, with less financial incentive to achieve great things and innovations - the pie would not only shrivel more but we'd progressively lose the technological and innovative competition with the rest of the world more and more with every passing year.

You are not representing worldwide view on the subject. I had talked with Americans on such subjects before, apparently the system of definitions used in US is different from the rest of the world. In most of the world believers in "government-enforced egalitarianism", as you put it, are called socialists or social-democrats. Liberalism is, actually, a direct opposite to socialism (it's concept of "freedom" vs concept of "society", actually - what's more important). Liberalism is about having more personal freedom, freedom of entrepreneurship, freedom of beliefs etc, rather than egalitarianism. In fact, it could be, and it often happens, that more liberal society would be less egalitarian.

As for conservatism, the term itself means no particular political system. All it means is tendency to conserve the current/previous system whatever it might have been. Thus, in Russia conservatives are stalinists, in, say, Iran they are islamic fundamentalists, in Japan they are some sort of monarchist jingoists and so on. It just so happened, that in US you used to have a very liberal society from the very beginning - in some aspects, like economics, even more liberal than liberal. Hence the confusion of terms - you are just looking from a different side of the board.



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18 Jan 2010, 5:38 am

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
Umm.... even if we granted that conservatives prefer tried and tested ways, it still does not follow that they are stupid. One can be intelligent and lack faith in our understanding of social realities, our ability to effectively change them in the desired manners, and instead believe more in the intelligence of pre-existing order and how embedded it is.

Not everybody who prefers some old ways of doing something is stupid. But people who prefer it without even considering any new approaches - most definitely are. And it is the only way one can be consistently conservative. Conservatism is basically a synonym for stupidity.

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
I dunno.... it is usually a mistake to consider any group of people stupid, I would think.

Most usually it is not. Most people are stupid, anyway, be it in groups or not. Actually, you could just point to random person in a street and say "this person is stupid" - and there's a 95% chance that you will be right. Just don't go and do this.



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18 Jan 2010, 7:26 am

Goren wrote:
Usually, stupid people tend to be conservative, and smart people tend to be liberal. Then, it's all about distribution of stupid and smart people by subject.


A very bigoted and false statement.


The Founding Fathers of the United States who constructed the Constitution were among the most brilliant people of their time. Almost all had a dread and loathing of Democracy and Equality. They wanted the brightest and the best to govern. Which is why our President is not chosen by the People, but by a group of electors. In those days only property owners could vote. By any reckoning these folks were conservatives.

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18 Jan 2010, 8:21 am

ruveyn wrote:
Goren wrote:
Usually, stupid people tend to be conservative, and smart people tend to be liberal. Then, it's all about distribution of stupid and smart people by subject.


A very bigoted and false statement.


The Founding Fathers of the United States who constructed the Constitution were among the most brilliant people of their time. Almost all had a dread and loathing of Democracy and Equality. They wanted the brightest and the best to govern. Which is why our President is not chosen by the People, but by a group of electors. In those days only property owners could vote. By any reckoning these folks were conservatives.

ruveyn


And considering the the property owners still determine elections by their huge donations to the campaigns, you can see all those brilliant people in congress and the White House who are very well paid to win.