The second most dangerous country: the United States
Here’s one survey that will make you laugh – or cry. Depends on how seriously you think academicians should be taken (I, for one, didn’t cry when I read this study). It was conducted by Gary Tobin and Aryeh Weinberg of the Institute for Jewish & Community Research, and its aim was to check up on political beliefs and behavior among faculty at colleges and universities. We all know that faculty in most universities is more liberal than conservative and also has a higher percentage of radicals. Sometimes, this leads to ridiculous findings, like this one:
“Almost one third of faculty list America as the ‘greatest threat to global stability.’ About 29% name the United States, second only to North Korea (70%). The third choice was Iran, 27%. China was named by 19% of faculty, Iraq 13%, Israel 12%, Pakistan 8%, Syria 7%, and Russia 4%. Faculty see the United States as a greater threat to world stability than Russia by a ratio of 7-to-1. Nearly half of humanities faculty, 46%, see the United States as a threat to international stability, as do 34% of social science faculty.”
So is it funny or sad? You decide. But before you do, here are some more numbers for you to consider:
Faculty see the United States as a greater threat to world stability than Russia by a ratio of 7-to-1. Nearly half of humanities faculty, 46%, see the United States as a threat to international stability, as do 34% of social science faculty. Faculty attitudes toward America look very similar to the attitudes of Europeans. A recent poll for the Financial Times reported that 36% of Europeans identify the United States as the greatest threat to international stability.
About 12% of faculty see Israel as a great threat to international stability. Looked at another way, 41% of faculty see the United States and Israel combined as the greatest threats, compared to China and Russia combined, with 23%. For humanities faculty, 56% list the United States and Israel, compared to 20% who name China and Russia combined, or 41% who list China, Russia, and Iran combined.
Now, not all faculty members share the same views. Faculty who identify as atheists are most likely to list the United States as a threat, 47%, and those who identify as liberal, 45%. Faculty Democrats are more likely to name America than Republicans by a factor of almost 10-to-1, 38% to 4%. Similarly, about 20% of those who identify as atheists or no religion name Israel, as do 15% of liberals versus 5% of conservatives. About 65% of atheists name the United States and Israel combined and about 59% of liberals. Similarly 39% of those who voted for Kerry named the United States versus 4% who voted for Bush, a factor of 10-to-1. About 14% of those who voted for Kerry named Israel (53% for United States and Israel combined) versus 5% who voted for Bush (10% for United States and Israel combined).
Why it is not reassuring to have these differences of views? Because Only 16% of faculty identify as Republican and 17% as conservative or very conservative versus 46% who identify as Democrat and 48% as liberal or very liberal. This represents just under a 3-to-1 disparity in favor of Democrats and liberals. The social science and humanities faculty show little political diversity at all. Fully 54% of the social science and humanities faculty identify as Democratic and 60% as liberal, and only 11% as Republican and 12% as conservative, a 5-to- 1 ratio.
In the 2004 presidential elections, 25% of faculty voted voted for George W. Bush, while 72% voted for Senator John Kerry and 3% for other candidates, including Ralph Nader. Of social science faculty who voted, they were more than four times as likely to have chosen Kerry (81%) over Bush (18%) while humanities faculty were more than five times as likely (81% for Kerry, 15% for Bush).
And the saddest thing: When asked “How often, if at all, do you perceive that faculty at your institutions are reluctant to express their views because they might be contrary to the dominant or ‘popular’ position?” 25% said very/fairly often, and another 38% said occasionally, a total of 63%, in an institution where the answer should be zero, or as close to zero as possible.