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Politically Impotent Professors

Written by Gary North on November 5, 2016

I read a recent article on university professors. Its findings will cheer you up.

MANY of the world’s most talented thinkers may be university professors, but sadly most of them are not shaping today’s public debates or influencing policies.

There is nothing sad about this. American campuses have been run by political liberals ever since 1950. Since 1965, they have moved from the can-do liberalism of the Kennedy-Johnson Democratic Party to the New Left liberalism of McGovern to the fearful controlled speech liberalism of today. What began at Berkeley in September 1964 — the Free Speech Movement — has become the controlled speech movement.

Indeed, scholars often frown upon publishing in the popular media. “Running an opinion editorial to share my views with the public? Sounds like activism to me,” a professor recently noted at a conference, hosted by the University of Oxford.

This has been true for 70 years. The drones of academia always resented any of their peers who had influence among the Great Unwashed: the public. The deep-set ency of drones against productive members of the community has been endemic for academia ever since the 12th century. The scholars caught writing in popular journals of intellectual opinion were always suspect. Academia has always wanted to be judged only by those who are tenured, i.e., screened and rewarded in terms of campus criteria.

So, this is nothing new. The good news is this: it’s getting worse, i.e., better from the public’s point of view.

The absence of professors from shaping public debates and policies seems to have exacerbated in recent years, particularly in social sciences.

In the 1930s and 1940s, 20 per cent of articles in the prestigious The American Political Science Review focused on policy recommendations. At the last count, the share was down to a meagre 0.3 per cent.

Notice what this means. Even in a journal devoted to politics, during Roosevelt’s New Deal, 70% of the articles ignored policy making. Today, it is well under 1%.

The self-imposed irrelevance of academia has become almost perfect. The hermetically sealed world of academia is content to talk to itself. It reminds me of bag ladies before cell phones. They walked along the street talking to no one visible.

(For the rest of my article, click the link)

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