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Fox News: Being Liberal is Un-American

02.20.10

Before you listen to the fair and balanced reporting over at Fox News about this topic, check out the actual article for the raw facts.  According to a new report by The Intercollegiate Studies Institute, those with higher eduction degrees tend to have more liberal opinions on controversial social issues:

The institute found that people who had attained at least a bachelor’s degree were more likely than Americans whose formal education ended with a high-school diploma to take a liberal stance on certain controversial social issues. For example, 39 percent of people whose highest level of education was a bachelor’s degree supported same-sex marriage, compared with 25 percent with a high-school diploma. The trend continued with advanced degrees: About 46 percent of people with master’s degrees supported same-sex marriage, as did 43 percent of people with Ph.D.’s.

(I couldn’t figure out how to embed the video so click the following link to watch it and then continue.)

From watching the interview, it’s fair to say that Tucker Carlson at Fox News interprets this data as such:

1) College professors push their liberal agenda on impressionable youth

2) Going to college makes people liberal on specific social issues – gay marriage, abortion, and capitalism

3) College doesn’t raise graduates’ level of civic knowledge

4) This makes going to college potentially more harmful than not going at all

5) Going to college is mainly about learning civics

6) College makes people promote no school prayer and less American work ethic

7) People becoming liberal is a problem that needs to be fixed

8) Colleges need to be more diverse with their professors – allowing more moderates and conservatives to teach the liberal arts

Here are my rebuttals:

1) How do these data at all prove that all professors are liberal and that have any sort of agenda of pushing propaganda on their students?  In fact, the data doesn’t say anything about how the students are becoming more liberal – I’m sure Tucker knows (being a college graduate and all himself) that there’s more to college than just going to class.

2) Tucker takes an extreme liberty by throwing “capitalism, the larger question of capitalism” into the list of socially liberal beliefs that are held by college graduates.  He’s insinuating that liberal college graduates are likely to question capitalism, the American way of life, and – most likely – communism.  He’s playing into the base who already think that Obama is a socialist.  The study doesn’t say that at all.  And, perhaps the reason that educated people support gay marriage is explicitly because they know more about American history – the civil rights movement, women’s suffrage – and the freedoms guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution than someone with only a high school diploma.  Not because they’re being fed some liberal propaganda.  They’re educated on worldly matters, which has made them more tolerant of other people’s beliefs.  This is a good thing.

3) It is troubling that more people don’t know basic civics, but they certainly don’t learn less by going to college.  Tucker makes it sound like going to college makes you dumber with regards to basic knowledge of the Constitution.  Given the fact that many liberals are against school prayer and in favor of same-sex marriage, I’d say they have a much better understanding of the freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment than most Republicans.

4) Really? You’re going to say that going to college might be a bad investment?  That it will do more harm than good?  That could be one of the most irresponsible things to say.  There are tons of data showing that people with a college degree make way more money – and are actually keeping their jobs during this recession at a much higher rate – than those with only high school diplomas.  And this is coming from Tucker Carlson, who went to college, and know enjoys a high-paying, high-profile job (not that one needs to be a college graduate to work in conservative media – see, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck).

5) Not that this says anything good about college, but since when was attending higher education ever about learning civics?  Sure, there are prerequisites in the humanities, languages, and math that all universities have but students still get to choose which courses they want to take to satisfy those requirements.  But not everyone is interested in politics or government at 18 years old when they go to undergrad.  I certainly wasn’t.  And I wasn’t going to take a political science course when I didn’t have to; I already had enough required courses to fit in to finish my major in four years.  Either way, I do think that there should be more required studying about these civics basics… in high school.  Students should learn basics like, how to file your taxes, what FICA means on your paycheck, how to vote in elections, as well as the way our government works and what the Constitution says.

6) According to the report, college grads are more likely to disagree with this following statement: “With hard work and perseverance anyone can succeed in America.”  This is not how it’s phrased in the Fox News interview, which implies that liberals don’t have a strong, American work ethic.  It’s more that college grads are more disillusioned with the “American Dream,” or at least: they’re not ignorant of the fact that lots of people work hard, but not a lot of people are well off.  Just ask any number of the millions currently jobless right now.  Also, the stance on public prayer isn’t that college grads think that it shouldn’t ever take place.  The actual wording in the report is that they disagree that public school teachers should be able to lead prayer in school.  This is vastly different.  Having the freedom to express your beliefs is one thing.  Having the public school align itself directly with one religion is quite another.

7) Fair and balanced, indeed.  If you’re not conservative, there’s something wrong with you, apparently.  Thanks, Tucker.  I didn’t realize that the words “American” and “conservative” were synonyms now.  Talk about someone needing to brush up on his civics.

8)  Really? The whole nature of the liberal arts are that people who study them have a liberal mindset – one that is open to new and conflicting ideas.  Can you imagine a fundamentalist Christian learning about sound arguments for and against the existence of God in Philosophy 101?  This actually brings up an interesting question about this survey.  I would like to know more about the demographics of these college graduates and what their majors were.  It won’t be all too surprising if most of them end up being liberal arts majors.  If most of them are business majors or engineers, I’d be intrigued and surprised.

One thing in the report that wasn’t mentioned in the interview is that college graduates are more likely to not believe that the Bible is the word of God.  Not at all surprising.

You can form your own opinion.

Tucker Carlson and the Fox News anchor, Clayton Morris, make this out to look like there’s some vast collusion amongst all of the universities in America to indoctrinate impressionable young adults as liberals.  It’s a theoconservative’s wet-dream of a conspiracy theory.  The partisanship has gotten out of control.  The nature of being socially conservative is staying rigid, having traditional, old views on the world, being closed-minded.  In essence, not being open to the new or different.  I can’t imagine that mindset would cause many to rush out to some new city, to take new classes with a diverse group of new people with various, different faiths and cultures.

There’s another article about college that maybe Tucker and Fox News can investigate while we’re on the topic: College Dropouts Record Higher Divorce Rate.   I wonder how they’d spin that one.  People go to college, can’t handle being indoctrinated by liberals, so they drop out, become depressed, and get divorced.  I can see the headline now: “Liberalism Breaks Up Happy Families.”

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One comment

  1. Conservatives are just pissed that education typically leads people away from their causes.



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