Glenn Reynolds: "Old line: Left-leaning faculty are a right-wing myth. New line: Faculty Are Liberal — Who Cares?"
The link reports on a forthcoming paper that finds students' political orientations don't change "much" in college. The Inside Higher Ed writer than adds that we shouldn't care if university faculty are disproportinately liberal because they apparently aren't affecting students' views.
Reynolds and his readers point out a few flaws in the "who cares" argument. (And their discussion includes this lovely observation: "If the beliefs and attitudes of faculty don't matter, even if they're pretty much a monoculture, then the argument for 'diversity' in general would seem to evaporate.") Dan Klein of George Mason, quoted in the linked article, points out another.
Here's my small contribution. Imagine a parallel Earth on which more than half of American university professors were evangelical Christians. The evangelical biologists don't teach evolution; they teach intelligent design. The evangelical English department focuses on the Bible. Evangelical historians teach that history is pretty much the working out of God's design. Evangelical economists focus on The Wealth of Nations. Etc.
But suppose a study finds that on this paralled Earth college students are no more likely to be evangelical Christians when they graduate than when they entered. Do you think Inside Higher Ed would claim that the Christian orientation of the faculty "didn't matter"?
Take some time to think about it. I'll wait.