Says University of Virginia social psychologist Jonathan Haidt, quoted in this John Tierney piece in the NYT, which gets pretty good if you read past the first half. The first half invites mockery for being so head-slappingly obvious. Glenn Reynolds already wrote just about exactly the post I was about to write. I might have gone even shorter, though. "Duh" is shorter than "Indeed." So, yeah, conservatives are so radically underrepresented in academia that it can't be mere chance.
But let's skip into the middle of the piece and think about the mechanisms of exclusion, these "sacred values" that displace scientific thinking. Haidt notes the example of Daniel Patrick Moynihan, back in 1965, who "warned about the rise of unmarried parenthood and welfare dependency among blacks" and "was shunned by many of his colleagues at Harvard as racist."
Similarly, Larry Summers, then president of Harvard, was ostracized in 2005 for wondering publicly whether the preponderance of male professors in some top math and science departments might be due partly to the larger variance in I.Q. scores among men (meaning there are more men at the very high and very low ends). “This was not a permissible hypothesis,” Dr. Haidt said. “It blamed the victims rather than the powerful. The outrage ultimately led to his resignation. We psychologists should have been outraged by the outrage. We should have defended his right to think freely.”According to Tierney, Haidt's audience of social psychologists "seemed refreshingly receptive to his argument."
A few even endorsed his call for a new affirmative-action goal: a membership that’s 10 percent conservative by 2020.Affirmative action? Why not just stop giving affirmative action to liberals? I think that would get you way above the 10% quota... if you could do it. Ironically, talking "affirmative action" is inherently off-putting to conservatives. It's more of those sacred values from the tribal-moral community that ward off outsiders.
Here's Haidt on Bloggingheads, back in 2008, talking about the social psychology of conservatives and liberals. And here's Haidt's "Your Morals" website project about morality and political ideology.