Most people think that professors are more liberal, and some much more liberal, than ordinary folk. As Neil Gross shows in his eye-opening Why...

Most people think that professors are more liberal, and some much more liberal, than ordinary folk. As Neil Gross shows in his eye-opening Why are Professors Liberal and Why do Conservatives Care? (Harvard UP, 2013), “most people” are right: academia is much more left-leaning than any other major profession in the U.S . But why is this so? As Gross points out, there are a lot of “folk” explanations out there, but none of them holds much water. Gross looks the data (a lot of which he collected himself) and searches for a more compelling explanation. It’s surprising: the fact that most college students think professors are liberal (which is true) makes those among them who are conservative think they will not be welcomed in the profession (which, as it turns out, may not be true). By analogy, men don’t generally become nurses because they think of nursing as a “female” profession. Just so, conservatives don’t become professors because they think of academia as a “liberal” profession. But does it matter that academia is liberal? Listen in and find out.

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