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October 26, 2004

Strongholds of the Left: Political Donations by University Employees

Ruth Wisse, one of my neighbors during my year visiting Harvard, wrote in yesterday's Wall Street Journal,

The Federal Election Commission could not have foreseen that when it required employment information on political donations of over $200, it would expose scandalous uniformity in a university community that advertises its diversity. The Sacramento Bee reported that the University of California system gave more to the Kerry campaign than any other single employee group, and that Harvard was second, with only 15,000 employees to UC's 160,000. Campus bloggers computed the percentages of Kerry contributions over Bush: Cornell 93%, Dartmouth 97%, Yale 93%, Brown 89%.

What is the relevance of this? --That our universities are strongholds of the Left, and of the Democratic Party. That is fine-- other organizations are equally strongholds of the Right and the Republican Party. But students should realize that their professors, as a group, are leftwing, and letters saying that 123 law professors or 234 economics professors oppose Bush should fail to impress anyone.

The Left has come to dominate universities, the judiciary, the media, the "mainline" religious denominations, schoolteachers. This is what one might expect, and is in line with what Schumpeter predicted in Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy. His gloomy prediction there was that capitalism would collapse because businessmen were not articulate and political enough to defend themselves against intellectuals. It is interesting that that prediction has not come true. We do have heavy government regulation, but the private sector has defended itself fairly well, has even rolled back some regulation, and has largely defeated the idea of government ownership. Instead, it is on social issues that the Left has triumphed-- abortion, homosexuality, gambling, pornography, secularism, the role of women, affirmative action. I suppose that is because of the Left's strength in the key sectors I named above, combined with the lack of strong individual interests being affected by attitudinal changes. Note that the Left has not been so successful with gun control, which though it arguably has diffuse general benefits would also impose disliked restrictions on individuals. The benefits of pornography control are similarly diffuse, and the restrictions individualized, and so we legalized it once the universities, judiciary, media, ministers, and schoolteachers changed their attitude.

Posted by erasmuse at October 26, 2004 10:00 AM

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