Maybe because liberals are right

Interesting essay in the Post today called "Why are liberals so condescending."  Especially interesting was that this was written by a political science professor at UVA.  He seems to be a political science professor, though, he is oddly divorced from reality and political science research.  He may very well have a legitimate point, but he sure doesn't make it with stuff like: 

It is now an article of faith among many liberals that Republicans
win elections because they tap into white prejudice against blacks and

Race doubtless played a significant role in the shift of Deep South
whites to the Republican Party during and after the 1960s. But the
liberal narrative has gone essentially unchanged since then — recall
former president Carter's recent assertion that opposition to Obama reflects racism — even though survey research has shown a dramatic decline in prejudiced attitudes

As I said, he might want to check out some political science research that shows that, certainly in part, "Republicans
win elections because they tap into white prejudice against blacks and
immigrants."  While there has fortunately been a very real decline in prejudice, it has almost assuredly been less among Republicans and he is talking about overt prejudice in ways that a person would actually give a prejudiced answer to a stranger asking a survey question.  Due to social desirability, that has gone way down, but that does not mean prejudice itself has (and, in fact, alternative measuring schemes, still find much evidence for prejudice). 

I'm not going to deconstruct the whole essay, but needless to say, the rest is just as sloppy and misleading.  Also, the fact that this fellow with not only his conservative ideology, but non-impressive skills of argumentation is a tenured professor at University of Virginia would seem to suggest that there is not actually discrimination against conservatives in academia.  Or, maybe I'm just a smug liberal. 

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

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