Carol Platt Liebau: Simple Theories for Simple Minds

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Simple Theories for Simple Minds

Paul Krugman becomes ever more intelligible. This week, he posits the theory that "today's Republican Party - increasingly dominated by people who believe truth should be determined by revelation, not research - doesn't respect science, or scholarship in general." And that, he believes, explains the dearth of conservative professors on the nation's college campuses.

His one example? Evolution. But last time I checked, no one had "proved" that evolution was "true." Rather, many (not all) scientists believe that it is the most plausible theory to explain the development of life on earth. But it's just Krugman's totalitarian liberalism that refuses to recognize the importance of concepts like intelligent design -- or even to concede that such an inquiry is legitimate.

How ironic, in the wake of the Lawrence Summers controversy, that Krugman should claim that it's Republicans who don't respect "scholarship in general." As I recall, it was the leftists who threw a fit and refused to engage in any reasoned debate on the women-in-the-maths-and-sciences issue. And when he points out that even engineering faculty (i.e. not in the more subjective humanities) tilts left, that could be true: Many conservatives would rather work for a think tank (the shadow universities created by conservatives when it was clear that liberal totalitarians like Krugman had shut them out of the universities) or a corporation than hang around with a bunch of wackos like Princeton's Pete Singer or U of Colorado's Ward Churchill.

If Krugman is so convinced that there's no discrimination against conservative (or even non-leftist) ideas to worry about on college campuses these days, I suggest that he check out the plight of Assistant Professor Michael Doran at Princeton (where, sadly, Krugman also teaches). Doran, a protege of respected Middle Eastern Studies Professor Bernard Lewis, was denied tenure last year because his views are insufficiently radical for the taste of some of his tenured Princeton colleagues.

Yes, Paul Krugman, I'm sure the problem is just Republicans' disrespect for scholarship. Right. What a perfectly simple theory, fit to please a simple liberal totalitarian mind.


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