Chart of the day

Probably posted this one (or something like it) before, but, unfortunately, certainly points just really need to be repeated until conservatives get them through their skulls (not that liberals are probably much more enlightened on this one).  Anyway, was listening to Dianne Rehm this morning when a caller suggested we just needed to cut off the foreign aid to solve our budget problems.  Hello?!!  It’s <1% of the budget.  I’m just really tired of the ignorance on this issue.  At least I can count on 150 NCSU students a year knowing better.  Here’s the chart I always like to show them from the CBPP:

Friday book post (Agassi edition)

A few months ago I really enjoyed Andre Agassi’s interview on 60 minutes about his new autobiography.  The headline-grabber was his admitting to using crystal meth, but what I found most compelling was just how honest he seemed to be about his life in a way you rarely see from a professional athlete.   Thus, I sought out Open and just finished reading it.  Really, really good.  I used to be a pretty big tennis fan in the earlier part of Agassi’s career, so it was especially enjoyable reading about so many players and events I actually remembered.  But, even without the memories, I found this a generally fascinating book, in large part to see just how hugely important pschology is in the sport of tennis.  Agassi was a man of tremendous talent and physical gifts throughout his amazingly uneven tennis career, but what drove both his successes and failures was so much dependent upon his quite variable mental state.  It was certainly also fun reading about his failed superstar marriage to Brooke Shields.  If you are a tennis fan at all, it should be hard not to like this book, and I think it might actually be quite enjoyable for many a non tennis fan.

Liberalism in academia

Much talked about story in the Times earlier this week about the extreme liberalization in academia.  Some tidbits:

A sea of hands appeared, and Dr. Haidt estimated that liberals made up 80 percent of the 1,000 psychologists in the ballroom. When he asked for centrists and libertarians, he spotted fewer than three dozen hands. And then, when he asked for conservatives, he counted a grand total of three.

“This is a statistically impossible lack of diversity,” Dr. Haidt concluded, noting polls showing that 40 percent of Americans are conservative and 20 percent are liberal. Inhis speech and in an interview, Dr. Haidt argued that social psychologists are a “tribal-moral community” united by “sacred values” that hinder research and damage their credibility — and blind them to the hostile climate they’ve created for non-liberals.

There’s a number of examples of close-minded liberalism that I don’t find the least bit convincing.  E.g.,

“I consider myself very middle-of-the-road politically: a social liberal but fiscal conservative. Nonetheless, I avoid the topic of politics around work,” one student wrote. “Given what I’ve read of the literature, I am certain any research I conducted in political psychology would provide contrary findings and, therefore, go unpublished. Although I think I could make a substantial contribution to the knowledge base, and would be excited to do so, I will not.”

I publish in political psychology.  This is just bullshit.  Somebody just needs to do better research.  Are there plenty of liberals in academia who go way overboard?  Sure.  But that’s not the explanation for the lack of conservatives.

I really don’t think it’s that complicated.  Largely a case of selection bias.  People with conservative values are less interested in jobs that allow autonomy, and intellectual freedom in exchange for less compensation.  Furthermore, even if they were, they know are less likely to want to enter an environment where they know they will be a distinct minority.  Certainly, within Political Science, I’ve never even seen a hint that one’s political ideology should affect hiring and promotion decisions.  Might we assume all other PS profs are liberals, and perhaps even make not the kindest comments about those who are not?  Sure?  But any type of actual discrimination?  None that I’ve ever seen.  Not that I wouldn’t put it past English departments :-).  But seriously, what kind of a conservative would want to be part of a college English faculty?

Happy Birthday to me

I’m 39 today.  Just thought you should know.  Doesn’t really feel any different than 38.  We’ll have to see what I think about 40 in a year.  What really makes me feel old?  The fact that my big sister turned 47 yesterday (I ruined her 8th birthday party with a magician when my mom had to leave to go to the hospital).

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