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Sapere aude - dare to be wise
Thursday, February 12, 2004
Posted 12:09 AM by Joshua Claybourn
Duke Univ. Dept. Chair: Conservatives too stupid to hire
The Duke University Conservative Union, a student group, took out an ad in Monday's Duke Chronicle, the campus paper, claiming that the university lacks intellectual diversity because politically conservative professors are practically not to be found.
In the advertisement, formatted as an open letter to President Nan Keohane, DCU alleged that a number of humanities departments "have become increasingly politicized over the past few decades" and, furthermore, that this politicization has had "a significant impact on the daily workings of their faculty members."

The advertisement listed the break-down of faculty members' political affiliations--Democrats, Republicans and unaffiliated--for each of eight humanities departments, based on a cross-reference of Duke's departmental faculty lists with North Carolina voter registration records. According to DCU, 142 of the faculty members and deans included in the survey are registered Democrats, 28 are unaffiliated and 8 are registered Republicans.
In response, the chairman of the philosophy department, Robert Brandon, said that conservatives are too dumb to be professors at Duke.
"We try to hire the best, smartest people available," Brandon said of his philosophy hires. "If, as John Stuart Mill said, stupid people are generally conservative, then there are lots of conservatives we will never hire.

"Mill's analysis may go some way towards explaining the power of the Republican party in our society and the relative scarcity of Republicans in academia. Players in the NBA tend to be taller than average. There is a good reason for this. Members of academia tend to be a bit smarter than average. There is a good reason for this too."
Interesting proposition.

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