Monday, February 27, 2012

What Makes Lefties?

A recurring message sure seemed like a flat-out lie, but the toxic-professor one strikes me now as a delusion.

The idea is simple enough, that U.S. universities intentionally churn out lefties. This long-term recurring theme has advocates among winger entertainers — the Limbaugh/Coulter/O'Reilly sorts, as well as columnists and bloggers, and pols.

It is safe, even expected for them to make unsupported and unsupportable assertions that some massive, possibly coordinated conspiracy of pinkos poisons college students' minds and hearts. And yet, saying something many times and at increasing volume does not make you right. It makes you loud and repetitive only.

It terms of evidence, what nearly everyone can likely agree is that the college educated tend to be more left-leaning than others. How they get that way can be the simple and understandable or attributed without basis to nefarious and complex plotting.

As examples, the winger position is so common, but for the moment, stick with just very recent Rick Santorum variations on this:
  • Speaking to fellow no-facts guy Glenn Beck, "I understand why Barack Obama wants to send every kid to college, because of their indoctrination mills, absolutely," he said. "The indoctrination that is going on at the university level is a harm to our country."
  • To 1,000 conservative activists in Michigan, "You talk to most kids who go to college who are conservatives, and you are singled out, you are ridiculed, you are — I can tell you personally.?.?. I went through a process where I was docked for my conservative views. This is sort of a regular routine. You know the statistic .?.?. that 62 percent of kids who enter college with some sort of faith commitment leave without it. This is not a neutral setting."
Some seemingly paranoid pols and pundits try to apply a little reason veneer. In general though, such bald, baseless assertions are in groups of the like-minded who do not challenge them. When any of us relies on it's-only-common-sense, it's-obvious, don't-reinvent-the-wheel claims, alas, it shows only that we have nothing. It's more like a geometry theorem where we advance unsupported statements and build on them.

Libertarians and pure Randists can go nuts when they hear or read wild assertions. They expect folk to start with a solid foundation to build anything.

Let's get real on this, wingers.The baseless, paranoid chant that left-wing professors create left-wing students in some great conspiracy has simpler, testable truth behind it. Go with Occam's razor, look for the simplest explanation that fit the known facts. That brings us to the more you know, the more likely you are to be liberal and compassionate.

Sure, there are some arch conservatives who are well educated, but the vast majority of those with a wide and deep background in history and economics are left-leaning. That comes from what they know of how humans have treated each other over time.

How about, the more you know, the more likely you are to question? If you see the worst of autocrats — monarchs and robber barons alike — you are not likely to idealize the wealthy, to speak in B.S. like "job creators," or to see only the positive aspects of capitalism. You know that unions were not some devious plot by foreign commies, rather reasonable reactions to abuses of poorly regulated cartels and company owners. You look beyond the repeated lies and say, "Wait a minute. What about..."

Knowledge breeds liberalism, sure enough, but not as any conspiracy. Do you want your reality straight for sugared with fantasy?.


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