I have often been challenged by conservative students as to why my examples are so "liberal". To begin with I consider myself a moderate, swinging the spectrum depending on the issue. For example, I am pro-life but willing to give the woman the final choice (It is not ours to judge, but the Lord's, and we believe in a compassionate Lord). I am pro-health care and providing for the least of our brothers, which includes our responiblity as a people, meaning a government, to do so ("We the people" and "government of the people" have deeper meaning than elections). I tend to be pro-defense but was against our invasion of Iraq. In other words I am as complex and changing as the next guy. We all change over time, particurally if we read, reason, think and are open to change (part of the definition of liberal).
To begin with liberal ideas and concepts have been aligned with education from the beginning of the profession. When a mind is educated, it changes, and change, by nature, is liberal.
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My own feelings are that any profession that does not pay large dividends and allow for forty hour work weeks attracts those who believe in it, not those seeking the funds most conservatives seem to be motivated by. Members of the media enter the media out of avocation and passion. Teachers teach because they believe in what they do and in their responsibility to the next generation. Or at least they should. Both are liberal beliefs or motivations. An interests in being an agent of change, or service, are by nature liberal philosophies.
There are also studies that how the higher a persons education level, particurally a liberal arts education, the more likely they are to be liberal in their beliefs and attitudes. The reason for this is that someone who reads, balances all views, and reasons it through find themselves more open to opposing viewpoints, more willing to explore new ideas and more open to change.
If your goal is spending time with family, collecting toys, living in large home, becoming a part of the statu quo, you are less likely to take the time to study, immerse yourself in and question the universe around you. You become, by nature, resistant to social change, or conservative.
So it is that this summary form the Chronicle of Higher Education, based on two studies and a New York Times article, caught my eye...
From on the Chronicle of Higher Eduction and the New York Times:
Faculties Are Liberal Because Conservatives Don't Seek Academic Careers, Study Finds
Rather than ask why most professors are liberals, the study finds a more fruitful line of inquiry is to ask why liberals seek to become academics, and conservatives do not.
The new research -- "Why Are Professors Liberal?," by Neil Gross, of the University of British Columbia, and Ethan Fosse, a doctoral student at Harvard, both sociologists -- says that faculty positions are "typecast" just like any other jobs that are also overwhelmingly held by one gender, such as nursing (women), or one political outlook, such as law enforcement (conservative).
"Occupational reputations affect people's career aspirations," said Mr. Gross.
The research, which echoes similar findings in a paper published two years ago by Matthew and Kellie Woessner, found that intentional discrimination against conservatives in hiring was an insignificant factor in the pattern; rather, conservatives were simply choosing not to enter the field.