Friday, November 11, 2011

Realty Attacks Another Conservative Myth – Liberal Bias in the College Classroom

Conservative Ideas Do Not Fail Because of Prejudice; They Fail Because They are Wrong

In the Washington Post, Barry Ritholtz writes about how the large Wall Street Financial institutions are trying to re-write history and claim that their actions were not a major cause of The Great Recession.  Mr. Ritholtz talks about the use of the Big Lie.

Wall Street has its own version: Its Big Lie is that banks and investment houses are merely victims of the crash. You see, the entire boom and bust was caused by misguided government policies.

It was not irresponsible lending or derivative or excess leverage or misguided compensation packages, but rather long-standing housing policies that were at fault.

Indeed, the arguments these folks make fail to withstand even casual scrutiny. But that has not stopped people who should know better from repeating them.

The same can be said with much of the writings by Conservatives who are “true believers”.  In their world their ideas are so right, so unassailably correct that they cannot conceive why those ideas are not universally accepted.  To them it must be some conspiracy, so that rant against the main stream media, ignoring the built-bias that facts, logic, data and history have towards liberalism.  Any accurate reporting that does not serve as a cheerleader for Conservatives serves as evidence of this bias.

A “bias myth” that Conservatives pedal is that academia uses its influence over young people to put down Conservatives and promote a liberal agenda.  In fact, here is an example where students actually walked out of a class because of perceived bias on the part of the instructor.

Greg Mankiw had noticed for some years that the students taking his economics class at Harvard University seemed overly concerned about preparing for their careers. This week, things appeared to change.

On Wednesday, about 70 students walked out of Economics 10, the introductory class Professor Mankiw teaches, to protest at what they called a bias towards a destructive brand of free-market economics.

Yes, students left the class because they felt it was prejudiced in favor of Conservatives.  The instructor,

Prof Mankiw, who served as chairman of George W. Bush’s council of economic advisers and is an adviser to Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential contender, acknowledged that his résumé probably contributed to the decision to target his class, which at 700 students has the highest enrolment of any undergraduate course.

Here is what the students were objecting to

“We found a course that espouses a specific – and limited – view of economics that we believe perpetuates problematic and inefficient systems of economic inequality in our society today,” they said in an open letter to him. “There is no justification for presenting Adam Smith’s economic theories as more fundamental or basic than, for example, Keynesian theory.”

This class is a required one at Harvard for various programs, and was previously taught by Martin Feldstein, another Conservative and an economic advisor to Ronald Reagan.

So should we all expect a retraction by Conservatives over their charges of bias in academia since it turns out that even Harvard, that so-called bastion of liberal thought has professor in economics biased toward Conservative principles?  Well no, that would be against Conservative principles.

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