Thursday, September 1, 2011

Is it a conservative vs. liberal thing?

Last month, the NY Times published an article titled, "The Left Leaning Tower." Here was the lede:

Why are conservatives such a minority at so many graduate schools? Conservatives like to blame liberal bias. Liberals like other explanations.

One — the most tactful hypothesis — is that conservatives just aren’t interested in academic careers. Another — the most smug hypothesis — is that conservatives are just too close-minded and dimwitted.

All the usual suspects such as group-think, "departmental majoritarianism", "multi-culturalist vetoes" and outright bias are lent some degree of credence.

After chewing on these, however, we got to thinking about our own experience and our weighing of returning to grad school upon graduation from Seminary and ultimately deciding to stay in the work force.

What was our rationale?: Time to get on with it!

After 16 years of schooling, it was high time to leave the protective cocoon of formalized education. It was time to get a job, get an apartment, make some money and enjoy the fruits of our labor and education as a full-blown adult. Ironically enough, having the means of a mature, responsible adult also meant having the means to party, and brothers and sisters, it was definetely time to party. We proved the two concepts are far from being mutually exclusive of one another

Highly anecdotal and very personal, to be sure, but we had no desire, really, to go to grad school and we were anxious to get back out to the West Coast with an opportunity to get a good job that would afford us nice living arrangements, vehicular transportation and some walking around money. At last, freedom and independence for the first time in our life.

Obviously, this does not mean that going to grad school automatically makes you a liberal but does what we laid out above sound more like standard "conservative" or "liberal" rationalizing?

We know we've got some readers out there with advanced degrees, so we would love to hear what you all think, advanced degree or not.


Secular Apostate said...

I got my advanced degree because that was my goal from the time I was in high school. I'm not sorry I did, but I frequently find myself talking to younger people about why they want to go to college or grad school. I spent eight years of my adult, post high school life in school. That's a lot of annual income to make up if you can be a skilled tradesman like a machinist or specialty welder.

If I have any regret, it's that I didn't join the Navy after high school. My friends who did have had outstanding careers, and, if they chose college afterwards, were far better prepared to make wise collegiate decisions.

Harrison said...

Nice photo. All of the "perpetual students" I ever knew were Democrats supported by "loving" (and guilty) parents.

Ohioan@Heart said...

Both my wife and I did attend graduate school (my total 9 years of college, hers 10). Although she is a "D" and I'm an "R", we are both fiscally conservative and socially moderate. Bottom line, our reasoning for grad school wasn't about liberal or conservative, it was that to get to the place we each wanted as chemists the doctorate was really an entry credential.

Now, was there a liberal bias? I don't think there was, but then Chemistry is one of the basic sciences, and I suspect that may play a role.

K T Cat said...

I've got an advanced degree. I hated school. I liked going to work and getting paid.