September 10, 2008

Do lawprofs give so much money to Democrats and almost none to Republicans because we're so cosmopolitan and well-educated?

Brian Leiter thinks so.

Stephen Bainbridge calls bullshit on that.

57 comments:

Revenant said...

You give more money to Democrats because you're almost all Democrats.

Where's the mystery?

Will Conway said...

I second revenant's comment. Makes logical sense to me.

Seven Machos said...

It is bullshit. Law professors, like other kinds of professors, mostly live in a vacuum of unreality, actually doing very little. Their world view comes down to: I don't understand why everyone can't function the way we do here in Berkeley, Madison, Cambridge, Hyde Park, etc.

That's not to say that law professors don't perform a vital social function. They do. That's also not a slam on you, Althouse. You are out there, in the arena, at least relatively.

But please, don't allow your peers to collectively call themselves cosmopolitan and well-educated. It's quite the reverse: their lives are merely overly easy, and their view of the world is narrow and highly parochial.

Ann Althouse said...

You can slam me, seven. I am not "out there" in that I am very well shielded from market forces... other than the marketplace of ideas.

dr kill said...

Like I said before, it's what you people do. Why the sudden mystery? It must be only law professors who are stunned by this news.

http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2008/09/law-prof-presid.html

You Progressives are truly pathetic.

OldGrouchy said...

What rev, wc, and 7m all said.

Also, could any Law Prof find her/his way out of a wet paper sack, with a crow bar and an explicit map?

dr kill said...

And, they say y'all are cheap motherfuckers as well. Hahahaha.

Michael said...

Maybe they're just nicer people, feel responsible for their fellow citizens...and know this:

NYT - Larry M. Bartels, a professor of politics at Princeton

The Census Bureau has tracked the economic fortunes of affluent, middle-class and poor American families for six decades. According to my analysis, these tabulations reveal a wide partisan disparity in income growth.

The real incomes of middle-class families grew more than twice as fast under Democratic presidents as they did under Republican presidents.

Even more remarkable, the real incomes of working-poor families (at the 20th percentile of the income distribution) grew six times as fast when Democrats held the White House.

Only the incomes of affluent families were relatively impervious to partisan politics, growing robustly under Democrats and Republicans alike.

The cumulative effect of these partisan differences is enormous.

If the pattern of income growth under postwar Republican presidents had matched the pattern under Democrats, incomes would be more equal now than they were in 1950 — a far cry from the contemporary reality of what some observers are calling a New Gilded Age.

Michael said...

Seven says: "Law professors, like other kinds of professors, mostly live in a vacuum of unreality, actually doing very little."

Where in the world do you come up with this insanity??

And where the hell did you go to college and how many professors do you know?

rhhardin said...

I am even more educated and don't give money to any party.

dr kill said...

Hahahha, Oh Michael, it's called tenure, and it is unreal. Check it out and report back, it's important that you understand this concept.

HELLO? Those that can, do. Those that can't, teach. Got it?

vbspurs said...

Since elite law faculty are typically both more educated and more cosmopolitan than the average voter, these results are hardly surprising given the current condition of the Republican Party.

OMG.

And then people evince utter surprise when people think of people as arrogant and elitist.

Cheers,
Victoria

vbspurs said...

People who need people. Sorry about that, peeps.

Bruce Hayden said...

I do agree with both revenant and seven. However, this tme at least at the presidential level, we have a retired naval captain and a hockey mom running against two former part time law professors.

vbspurs said...

naval captain and a hockey mom

Sportscaster? Her actual job. :)

Shane said...

Wait that's a false "debunking." Leiter says "educated people lean Democrat" and Bainbridge counters with "Republicans have more education." Both statements could be true (and I believe both statements to be true). How to reconcile the two statements is an exercise left to the reader.

gregq said...

Rasmussen recently reported:
While 82% of voters who support McCain believe the justices should rule on what is in the Constitution, just 29% of Barack Obama’s supporters agree. Just 11% of McCain supporters say judges should rule based on the judge’s sense of fairness, while nearly half (49%) of Obama supporters agree.

Wonder where most of those "law professors" come down on this issue?

bleeper said...

They give more because they are anti-American Marxists and are eager to destroy this once-great country, which can become again what it once was before Michelle was proud of it and Barry started smoking again.

And, they are so smart they can parse that sentence. They smot!

Roger J. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Roger J. said...

atest breaking news: the american public neither knows nor cares what law professors, and their spawn, lawyers, think.. If you are operating under any such illusions, think again. do you not understand that lawyers are viewed only slightly lower on the evolutionary scale than pond scum? If not, you need to see your therapists

Harwood said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
J said...

Actually, I think Leiter is correct, and Bainbridge's comments don't really refute his point. Rather, they make a different point, just as 7M and several other commenters do; that Leiter's implicit point - cosmopolitan, well-educated people ("well educated" in this context meaning holding a postgraduate degree of some sort) are smarter than people who aren't - is nonsense. Unless you're doing some sort of practical research or teaching a vocational/technical subject, being a professor requires familiarity with information, not application of knowledge, which is a much more accurate measure of intelligence. That's not to say many professors aren't brilliant; just that that credential doesn't establish it.

"I am very well shielded from market forces... other than the marketplace of ideas"

I'd disagree that, as a university professor, you aren't shielded from the marketplace of ideas. The fact that you venture out from behind that shield doesn't mean it isn't there.

Revenant said...

Wait that's a false "debunking." Leiter says "educated people lean Democrat" and Bainbridge counters with "Republicans have more education." Both statements could be true

High school graduates, people with some college, and college graduates lean Republican. High school dropouts and people with graduate degrees lean Democrat. The total population of "people with at least a high school degree" leans Republican, as does the total population of "people with college degrees". The only way Leiter's statement holds true is if you consider anyone with less than a Master's degree to be "uneducated".

bleeper said...

Their concept of the "marketplace of ideas" is lockstep socialism. Agree or leave. Capitalism? What is that? A more bigoted workplace would be hard to find - anti-white, anti-success, anti-everything except their little corner of the world.

See the Duke rape hoax scandal for more information on the hatred the ivory tower houses.

Ann Althouse said...

Personally, I don't give any politician money (not anymore).

Trooper York said...

It is because law professors have lost their way.

The unemployable schooling the unscrupulous in the corrupt practices of their ignoble profession.

It's sad really.

Trooper York said...

Present company excepted.

Ann Althouse said...

Sorry, Harwood, you responded to a banned commenter whom I always delete.

Palladian said...

I have several degrees to my name, I consider myself "cosmopolitan", which I think means you've eaten in a Vietnamese restaurant, and I've never belonged to any political party. Really intelligent people don't like to hitch their intellectual horses to the square-wheeled cart of political parties.

I think a lot of professors are Democrats because both groups think that someone else should support them so they have time to express themselves. Let's face it, academia is like a politburo. You're given a cushy job for as long as you are able to serve the interests of the "party". Your main occupations are indoctrinating young people for the party and playing political games in order to save your ass when it's time to cull the herd.

Trooper York said...

Every professor I ever had in college was a complete and utter fool. Without exception. Well one exception. There was this one old accounting professor who was a holocaust survivor who would mutter Yiddish curses under his breath at the stupid answers his students gave to simple questions. That guy knew the score. The rest of them couldn’t pour piss out of a boot. And the all of them had more degrees than Andrew Sullivan’s extra long rectal thermometer.

Buford Gooch said...

Trooper,

My dad used the expression you just did, but extended it: "Couldn't pour piss out of a boot with the instructions printed on the heel"

veni vidi vici said...

My law professors, with rare exception, struck me as dullard-types that could hardly be called "cosmopolitan". What a laugh!

There were two or three very Republican profs who no doubt gave some money to someone at some level, and a somewhat larger (but still not huge) group of vocally Democrat-partisan profs that likely did the same.

No one was really concealing anything, in my (limited, anecdotal) experience, though.

But again, "cosmopolitan"?!!! LOL!

Chip Ahoy said...

Because their mums told them to. And their mums were the ones who put them through school. It's all very narrowly insular and not at all broad and cosmopolitan as imagined .

O wait. I must remember to continuously stroke the egos of my Liberal friends. Here. It's because they're so much smarter and because their understanding of the world is so much more thorough. And compassionate. That too. And socially involved. And power. It's about supporting the right kind of power. Good power. All of that socially responsible stuff, it's a form of tithing to Liberals.

Don't know so much about professors, but the Liberals I know involved in law, come to think of it, they're all Liberal, drink heavily. Even the women. Drink me right under the table. I'm loathe to admit that but I am in the habit of watching my drinking lest I feel compelled by emotional but otherwise vapid speeches to go off writing checks to a political party.

Sissy Willis said...

Like other Democrats, lawprofs "just don't get it," as Jonathan Haidt explains in "What makes people vote Republican" in the latest "Edge":

" ...the second rule of moral psychology is that morality is not just about how we treat each other (as most liberals think); it is also about binding groups together, supporting essential institutions, and living in a sanctified and noble way. When Republicans say that Democrats 'just don't get it,' this is the 'it' to which they refer."

Crimso said...

What about areas of study other than law? Is it not possible that if you focus on, say, women's studies, that the average professor would view Democrats as rabid fascist wingnuts? Or that a reverse image of that seen with law professors would obtain when studying engineering professors? I think the belief that professors are largely Democrats is way too simplistic. Other than that, I think most (if not all) of the observations I've read here WRT professors are not too far off base.

Crimso said...

And exactly who are all of these professors that are paid enough to have money to donate to politicans (of all people). For the fields in which there is an actual market for Ph.D.'s outside of academia, the nonacademics make a LOT more than their colleagues in academia. Wonder who they donate to.

Trooper York said...

They should do away with law professors and go back to having apprentices like they do in the plumbers union. Only a working lawyer should teach a newbie how to chase an ambulance. It would be so much more efficient.

Pastafarian said...

I had good professors and bad; but I didn't study law, so I don't have much of an opinion on law professors.

But I think that gregq made a very good point at 6:15: How can professors of law almost universally support a party that believes that the constitution is essentially meaningless, to be interpreted not according to the meaning of its words, but according to what the reader wants it to mean, in the interest of his idea of fairness?

It's a little like Exxon executives supporting the Green Party. Why are these people law professors? It seems to me as though support of this sort of "fairness" interpretation implies contempt for the law.

Seven Machos said...

I've had some great professors and one life-changing professor. It's a great gig. It's absolutely vital that we have good people to pass along information, foster and hone create critical thinking skills, and all that.

The problem is that the people who pass along the information and foster the skills aren't the best at using the information or the skills.

Chet said...

"" The problem, the former Clinton aide said, is that “they don’t have any attack dogs.”

"" “To address Palin, you need a prominent tough woman,” said another former aide. “I can’t think of any others who really work and who could really zing her with a smile on her face and look really good doing it.” ""


" a high ranking Obama staff member indicated to a Clinton counterpart that they would like Mrs. Clinton to take a more aggressive tack, and that the answer was no."


http://www.observer.com/2008/politics/team-clinton-says-obama-intimidated-palin-factor

Crimso said...

"The problem is that the people who pass along the information and foster the skills aren't the best at using the information or the skills."

That very much depends on the field in question. In my experience in my area, there is virtually no difference in the ability to apply the knowledge when comparing industry to academia. Yes, industry pays much better. But those who choose academia do so not because they have to, but for other reasons (and it's not always things like tenure, lifestyle, etc.; in most cases it's more about being able to do research on what you want, not what the company tells you to).

Seven Machos said...

Without question, Crimso.

I paint in broad strokes. It's a gift.

OldGrouchy said...

The second president under the constitution was a gifted lawyer, who had an abusive personality, and who was critically involved with writing the Declaration of Independence and also was our first VP! Lincoln was a good/gifted lawyer too.

What's interesting to me is that those two got their shingle the old fashioned way, reading for the law.

IMHO, law schools seem to muster out a predominance of mediocre persons; exceptions granted and especially those professors who teach law, not opinion or ideology.

blake said...

What's more concerning, I think, is what the Democrats give back to lawyers.

vbspurs said...

Personally, I don't give any politician money (not anymore).

Don't see why you don't. It would burnish your Democratic credentials even more.

Richard said...

Consider how differently you viewed the world as a student compared with how you viewed it after you left school.

Now think about if you had never left.

Therein lies the answer to your question as to why lawprofs give mostly to Dems.

Chet said...

"I want her laying in bed next to me."

"This is a seminal moment"


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JPtUNNyc9G4

somefeller said...

I have several degrees to my name, I consider myself "cosmopolitan", which I think means you've eaten in a Vietnamese restaurant

If you live in a place like Houston, which has a huge Vietnamese community, even that doesn't mean you are cosmopolitan. Unless you are one of the rubes living in the outer burbs who think an Olive Garden is exotica, in which case, too bad for you.

All this having been said, a lot of conservative propaganda is geared towards demonizing terrible elitists (defined as those who eat arugula and send their kids to elite univerisities) who aren't tied to mainstream (mediocre) American culture. Why is it a surprise or something to be denied when liberals point out, yes, the further you go up the intellectual food chain, the more you vote Democratic, or to be more accurate, the more you support socially liberal policies and reject Evangelical conservative ideology? Isn't that the whole point, or rather, the whole internal contradiction, regarding social conservative class warfare rhetoric?

somefeller said...

Oh, and by the way, Palladian, I am not calling you a rube. Far from it, I just used your comment as a jumping-off point. I am just pointing out the whole vulgar spectacle of calculated populism that is coming from the Right these days.

somefeller said...

Ha! Just looking back at this I see I misspelled "universities". I guess that undermines my point. Not epic fail, but still a fail.

All that having been said, it still is an issue worth noting to me that it seems as though going to an elite college (particularly if you are a minority) is somehow not an "authentic American" background, while being a school-hopping mediocrity like Sarah Palin is "All-American", in political discussions.

Then again, that may be just because the discussions follow the expectations of the general public. In the words of Yoda, sad that is.

dmfoiemjsof said...

Eh - why take Leiter's bait on this? He doesn't deserve the blog traffic.

bearbee said...

Have never given money to any political party.
Have never declared, and feel revulsion at the thought of declaring, for any party.

Seems a matter of degree. Professors in their insular world are removed from the urban middle class, they in turn from rural poor, and so on.

re: Census Bureau, shouldn't that analysis more importantly have considered which party controlled Congress?

It seems to me simplistic if analysis did not consider historical relevance of national and internatonal events, e.g., global/regional conflicts, '70's oil embargo, trade and tax policies, the so-called cold war peace dividend, inflation, recession, key legislation, and the lag effects.

J said...

"Unless you are one of the rubes living in the outer burbs who think an Olive Garden is exotica"

It's true that one mark of cosmopolitan-ness is dogged insistence that crappy mom-n-pop restaurants that got a 72 on their last health inspection are better than a randomly selected chain restaurant.

"elitists (defined as those who eat arugula and send their kids to elite univerisities) who aren't tied to mainstream (mediocre) American culture"

Interesting remark, SF. I'd define elitist as one who has contempt for mainstream American culture, and would argue that's what conservatives mean when they use that word.

"the whole internal contradiction, regarding social conservative class warfare rhetoric?"

When the right uses the term "elitist", they're describing a mindset, not an economic class. I can see why we talk past each other when we clash over the subject.

Revenant said...

An elitist is someone who considers himself superior to "the masses". It has nothing to do with being rich. You can be dirt poor and be an elitist, as anyone who's ever hung out with grad students can testify.

blake said...

It's true that one mark of cosmopolitan-ness is dogged insistence that crappy mom-n-pop restaurants that got a 72 on their last health inspection are better than a randomly selected chain restaurant.

Hey, cool! I'm cosmopolitan!

Hipster Doofus said...

Does this mean its time for ideological Affirmative Action, whereby higher learning institutes must hire a certain number of conservatives?

GeorgeH said...

Lawprofs, like all lawyers have a vested interest in the legal system being as opaque and complex as possible. That's what creates the billable hours.

Naturally they are going to support the party that espouses big government, just like Energy Company execs favor offshore drilling and thus support republicans.