Wednesday 20th September 2017

Home » Frontpage » Currently Reading:

Filtering Out Conservative Professors

August 9, 2017 Frontpage No Comments

By JAMES K. FITZPATRICK

Everyone has seen the polls indicating that well over 80 percent of college professors identify themselves as liberal Democrats, or further to the left. The explanation for the lopsided results has been debated on the right since at least the 1950s, when William F. Buckley wrote God and Man at Yale. Buckley charged Yale’s faculty with promoting a collectivist and secular bias in their classes, and called upon Yale’s alumni to exert their authority to correct the situation.
Things did not change at Yale. If anything the liberal bias became more pronounced with the passing of time. But the book launched Buckley’s career as a political commentator, so something good came of it.
The explanation for the preponderance of liberal professors given by the academic establishment is that there is a “self-selection” process taking place; that bright conservatives tend to go into business and the law, while liberal intellectuals are drawn to teaching careers, especially in the liberal arts and social sciences.
There is probably something to that. But it does not explain the phenomenon completely. It defies logic to maintain that an 80 percent majority of liberal professors came about because so few bright and talented conservatives want to teach in our universities. Something else is at work. But what?
The people in charge of hiring at our universities will swear up and down that they do not ask candidates for their political views during interviews. Roger Bowen, a prominent member of the American Association of University Professors, was quoted years ago on this question. He told the interviewer, “I’ve been a department chair, I’ve been a college president. I’ve conducted more searches than I can begin to describe, and I can tell you I have never asked a candidate what his or her party identification is, and I don’t know of a search committee in the country that would do that.”
David French, writing in the July 5 online edition of National Review, agrees with Bowen. French has experience with this matter. He is the president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education and has represented professors who feel their rights have been violated because of their conservative views.
French insists, “In all my years representing conservative professors, I’ve never seen questions regarding party identification.”
But French maintains there are other ways to winnow conservatives from a field of applicants. He writes, “Often academic departments define academic positions in such a way that effectively excludes the conservative point of view” without saying so specifically.
French offers an example: “a current job posting at Harvard’s divinity school. It’s for a tenure-track professor of ‘religion, violence, and peace-building.’ There’s nothing inherently conservative or liberal about the topic.” But French calls our attention to a “gem of a sentence hidden within the job description.” It reads: “It is understood that applicants will employ forms of analysis that address race, gender, sexuality, and/or other intersecting forms of social power, such as womanist, feminist, and/or queer approaches.”
”Ahh yes,” writes French. “‘Intersectionality’ rears its radical head,” making clear the teaching position is one that has been “redefined and refocused” by the hiring committee “to such an extent that it essentially excludes conservative inquiry. Thus, they can honestly say they’ve never discussed politics in hiring decisions because the discipline itself has narrowed so much that it closes itself to conservatives.”
French also points to one school’s description of its courses in anthropology as a “discipline that is focused on questioning religious and cultural myth, particularly myth that celebrates national, cultural or racial superiorities.” Also to sociology as the study of “the origins of inequality as a source of alienation.”
The result? Left-wing academics do not have to specifically and purposefully exclude conservatives. French: “Leftist academics are often the proverbial fish who don’t know they’re wet. They’ve created and inhabit a world that by its very terms and definitions is inhospitable to conservative thought. If you frame scholarship primarily in leftist terms and limit inquiries to more left-leaning areas of interest, it should shock exactly no one that mainly leftists apply.”
On another topic: the Oxford comma. It is a topic that has intrigued me for many years without my being aware that it had a name, or that there is any controversy surrounding it.
According to Wikipedia, the Oxford comma is “a comma placed immediately before the coordinating conjunction (usually and or or) in a series of three or more terms. For example, a list of three countries might be punctuated either as ‘France, Italy, and Spain’ (with the serial Oxford comma in place), or as ‘France, Italy and Spain’ (without the serial comma).”
I have never been able to figure out why some writers use what I now know is the Oxford comma, and others do not, but have never taken the time to explore the question. A recent legal case in Maine drew me to probe the matter.
It turns out that opinions vary. Some style guides recommend the comma; others do not. It is called the Oxford comma because it is the house style of the Oxford University Press. The Associated Press Stylebook, on the other hand, advises against its use.
I have always felt that there should be no criticism attached to its use; that it should be the writer’s judgment call — in most cases. One would not write, for example, “I had oatmeal, coffee and ham, and eggs for breakfast.”
The Maine court case illustrated that there are times when the comma is necessary. The wire services reported on a labor dispute between drivers and their employer in the state. The drivers insisted they deserved overtime pay for delivering dairy products; the employer disagreed, pointing to a state law that spelled out work activities that did not require overtime pay.
The law states that overtime pay is not required for the “canning, processing, preserving, freezing, drying, marketing, storing, packing for shipment or distribution of agricultural produce, meat and fish products and perishable goods.”
Here’s the court’s decision, according to the website howstuffworks.com: “Without an Oxford comma before the word ‘or,’ it could be interpreted to mean that, because the drivers weren’t packing items intended either for shipment or distribution, then they could be paid overtime. But with the comma? Then the sentence would have contained separate activities: ‘packing for shipment’ would have been its own distinct activity. With packing and distribution listed as two separate tasks that didn’t warrant overtime, the dairy drivers’ case would have been lost.”
But, “because of the lack of a comma, it wasn’t lost. When labor laws are unclear, the justice system is designed to benefit the laborers, said the judge, who ruled in favor of the dairy drivers. ‘For want of a comma, we have this case,’ the judge wrote in his statement.”
Voila! Teachers and homeschooling paretns now have something to point to when their students ask for a practical application of what they learn when studying grammar and syntax.

+ + +

Readers are invited to submit comments and questions about this and other educational issues. The e-mail address for First Teachers is fitzpatrijames@sbcglobal.net, and the mailing address is P.O. Box 15, Wallingford, CT 06492.

Share Button

2017 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Popular priest disinvited from Catholic University’s seminary after protests over his LGBT book

The Rev. James Martin, a popular priest who published a book earlier this year encouraging a bridge between the LGBT community and the Catholic Church, has been disinvited from giving an address at Catholic University’s seminary. Martin, who was planning…Continue Reading

Latin Mass fans celebrate 10-year anniversary _ without pope

Fans of the old Latin Mass descended on Rome on Thursday for their annual pilgrimage, facing indifference to their cause, if not outright resistance, from none other than Pope Francis. Ten years after Pope Benedict XVI passed a law allowing greater use of…Continue Reading

Pro-gay Vatican adviser gets Catholic group suspended from Twitter

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 12, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – A faithful Catholic lay apostolate was suspended by Twitter last week after Vatican adviser Father James Martin complained about a tweet that teasingly stated the pro-gay Jesuit had been bested in a theological…Continue Reading

Durbin, Feinstein and Catholic judges

Washington is currently embroiled in one of its “gotcha” controversies, which often arise when minor missteps are blown into major crimes. It’s a game both parties and a variety of activists play whenever they see political advantage in it. The…Continue Reading

Pope issues new directives on revision, translation of liturgical texts

Vatican City, Sep 9, 2017 / 08:00 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The Holy See has released a new “motu proprio” from Pope Francis outlining a shift in the responsibility of local bishops and the Apostolic See for the revision and approval…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke ‘treasured’ work with deceased dubia Cardinal to oppose ‘gravely harmful confusion’

ROME, September 6, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Raymond Burke paid tribute today to fellow dubia signer Cardinal Carlo Caffarra on his passing after a long illness. In a statement to LifeSiteNews, Burke said he was “deeply saddened” by the 79-year-old’s…Continue Reading

Some Personal Reflections on the Late Cardinal Caffarra

As Steve Skojec reported this morning, our beloved Cardinal Carlo Caffarra died today, in Italy. Our hearts are broken over this news since he was such a lovable and charitable and truthful man for us. Just to know that he was out…Continue Reading

Remarks by President Trump at Signing of Day of Prayer Proclamation

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you very much.  Americans have always come to the aid of their fellow countrymen.  Friend helping friend, neighbor helping neighbor, stranger helping stranger — we’ve seen it perhaps more so than at any time, so vividly at…Continue Reading

Bishop Schneider: The Pope who ‘seems to’ permit adultery bears a ‘grave responsibility’

POLAND, August 31, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia “seems to” go in the direction of a pastoral “discernment” that “allows the adulterers to continue in adultery,” says Bishop Athanasius Schneider. The consequences for many could be…Continue Reading

REPORT CARD: Faithful college praised for financial aid; Praying for Notre Dame; ‘Pride Prom’ at Marquette

With college affordability becoming an increasingly prominent (and problematic) issue, Thomas Aquinas College’s recognition by The Princeton Review’s national Financial Aid Honor Roll is especially refreshing. “We are pleased that, once again, The Princeton Review has featured Thomas Aquinas College in its annual guide,”…Continue Reading

JEFFERSON CITY’S CATHEDRAL SCHOOL RESISTS LGBT POLICY

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (ChurchMilitant.com) – The flagship school for the diocese of Jefferson City has updated its handbook with clear Catholic instruction to counter the LGBT agenda being foisted on schools. Just in time for the new school year, St. Joseph…Continue Reading

Australian priest rips confession proposal as government ‘intrusion’

An Australian priest has called the Royal Commission’s recent proposal to enforce law requiring that clergy face criminal charges if they do not disclose details of sexual abuse revealed in the confessional a breach of religious tolerance. Fr. Kelvin Lovegrove,…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Today . . .

Pro-Life Speaker Ben Shapiro Answers Pro-Abortion Student’s Question With an “Epic Takedown”

Popular conservative author and speaker Ben Shapiro continued to impress his audience Thursday at UC Berkeley when he rapidly refuted a young man’s abortion arguments. Shapiro’s speech at the liberal California university drew massive media attention because of the violent protests that have broken out on campus during past conservative speakers’ talks. The university and local police increased security, and several people were arrested Thursday. Inside the sold-out auditorium, Shapiro received a huge applause when…Continue Reading

Cardinal Sarah: Reverent liturgy is essential to fighting the culture of death

ROME, September 15, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – One of the chief antidotes to a world “marked by the blight of Godless terrorism, of an increasingly aggressive secularism” and an “advancing culture of death” is to restore primacy to God in the Catholic liturgy, Cardinal Robert Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, said Thursday. The cardinal was speaking to an international gathering of cardinals, priests, religious and laity at the Fifth Roman Colloquium on Summorum…Continue Reading

Pope to new bishops: ‘Discernment’ means avoiding ‘rigid’ answers to moral questions

ROME, September 14, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Pope Francis told a group of newly ordained bishops that “authentic discernment” cannot be reduced to repeating “rigid” moral formulas to persons whose situations “can’t be reduced to black and white.” Discernment, the pope said, “can’t be reduced to repeating formulas such as ‘high clouds send little rain’ to a concrete person, who’s often immersed in a reality that can’t be reduced to black and white.” He cautioned bishops…Continue Reading

Catholic leaders defend Trump after Pope challenges his pro-life views

September 12, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Pro-life Catholic leaders are defending President Trump against Pope Francis after the Pontiff questioned Trump’s pro-life views, despite the fact that Trump has racked up major pro-life accomplishments during his short time in office. “If Pope Francis is so concerned with the commitment of others to the defense of preborn children, he should consider his own words and actions, as well,” said Michael Hichborn, founder and president of the Lepanto…Continue Reading

Sex, sanity, and beliefs that ‘live loudly’ within us

“I do not know any country where, in general, less independence of mind and genuine freedom of discussion reign than in America.” — Tocqueville, “Democracy in America” Alexis de Tocqueville was the great French chronicler of the early United States.  Nearly 200 years ago, he spotted a basic tension in our national character.  It’s this:  Americans place a big stress on individual rights.  But we’re also big conformists.  The dynamic of self-assertion and fear of being…Continue Reading

Advertisement(2)

Who Were The Colombian Martyrs Beatified By Pope Francis?

By ELISE HARRIS ROME, Italy (CNA/EWTN News) — During his six-day visit to Colombia, Pope Francis beatified martyrs Bishop Jesus Emilio Jaramillo Monsalve and Fr. Pedro Maria Ramirez Ramos, who provide testimony as the country heals from decades of conflict. Bishop Jaramillo was killed by Colombian Marxist guerrilla forces in 1989, while Fr. Ramirez was…Continue Reading

20 State Attorneys General Lauded… For Opposing Pro-Abortion Judge Orrick’s Gag Order Against CMP

By DEXTER DUGGAN PHOENIX — “It is definitely very encouraging, and it’s great news” that 20 state attorneys general filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court to oppose the gag order against videos by pro-life investigators, an official with one of the law firms representing David Daleiden and the California-based Center for Medical…Continue Reading

Preparing To Enter Into The Awesome Mystery Of The Mass

By JAMES MONTI For every Catholic, there can be no more important event in one’s spiritual life than Holy Mass. For in the mystery of the Holy Eucharist we encounter our God in a more intimate manner than in any other sacrament, sacramental, or form of prayer. I recall hearing of a modern writer who…Continue Reading

Moral Judgments — Facts Or Opinions?

By ARTHUR HIPPLER (Editor’s Note: Dr. Hippler is chairman of the religion department and teaches religion in the Upper School at Providence Academy, Plymouth, Minn.) + + + Allan Bloom began his Closing of the American Mind with this memorable observation: “There is one thing a professor can be absolutely certain of: almost every student entering the…Continue Reading

The Complete Thinker

By DONALD DeMARCO “The Complete Thinker” is borrowed from the title of Dale Ahlquist’s 2012 book, the subtitle of which is The Marvelous Mind of G.K. Chesterton. “Thinking,” for Chesterton, “means connecting things.” Ahlquist regards G.K.’s thinking as “complete” in the sense that it deals with a wide variety of subjects and integrates them in…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Professor Josef Seifert… Amoris Laetitia’s “Immense Threat” To The Moral Teaching Of The Church

By MAIKE HICKSON (Editor’s Note: In light of Professor Josef Seifert’s recent essay examining some of the dangerous logical consequences of Amoris Laetitia — an essay for which he was dismissed from his teaching position by the archbishop of Granada — Dr. Maike Hickson of OnePeterFive.com reached out to the Austrian philosopher to ask him some additional questions about not…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… Can Division In Worship Bring Unity Of Faith?

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK Pope Francis has given authority through a new motu proprio, Magnum Principium, issued this month, to local bishops’ conferences to approve translations of the liturgy from Latin into local languages. By doing so he hopes to accomplish a couple of things. First, as we know by now Pope Francis places full trust and confidence in…Continue Reading

God The Sanctifier Of Men… Other Christs

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 3 In a previous article, I mentioned that sanctifying grace makes us brethren of Christ. It is, by the way, one more reason to have devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Christ and Mother of us, our common Mother. The reason is quite simple to understand: Christ is the Head of the…Continue Reading

The Effects And Fruits Of Anointing Of The Sick

By DON FIER The proper time for receiving the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick for a baptized Catholic “has certainly arrived when the believer begins to be in danger of death because of illness or old age” (Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCC], n. 1528). However, as we saw last week, the sacrament is not exclusively for those who…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. Please clarify 1 John 5:16-17. Does this refer to mortal sin? What is meant by not praying for one in deadly sin? Isn’t deadly sin a top priority for prayer? — P.S., Indiana. A. The passage in question reads: “If anyone sees his brother sinning, if the sin is not deadly, he should pray to God and he will…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Thomas Villanova

By CAROLE BRESLIN Our Lord drew amazing men and women from the population of Spain to protect that country from the ravages that swept through Germany and the Scandinavian countries in the Reformation era. Two events marked by Augustinian monks sparked these events. In Germany, an apostate Augustinian monk who fell from grace led hundreds of thousands into error —…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Simon De Rojas

By CAROLE BRESLIN The subject of this article lived in a time of great saints, great Spanish saints, so it is not surprising that he is little known. St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556) who wrote the Spiritual Exercises, St. Teresa of Avila (1515-1582) who reformed the Carmelites and wrote The Interior Castle, and St. John of the Cross who wrote…Continue Reading