December 21, 2004

The Herd of Independent Minds

This was too good for me to pass up:

Last spring, I was surprised by a call from a reporter at the Harvard Crimson asking me to comment on my contribution to the Bush-Cheney re-election campaign. His inquiry was prompted by the disparity he'd discovered in donations by Harvard faculty of about $150,000 for Kerry to about $8,000 for Bush. (The figures have since changed but not the percentages.) I could have filled the whole issue of his paper with reasons for supporting Bush over Kerry, but as we both knew, the real story was the "herd of independent minds"--the image is Harold Rosenberg's--charging through the American academy.

The Federal Election Commission could not have foreseen that when it required employment information on political donations of over $200, it would expose scandalous uniformity in a university community that advertises its diversity. The Sacramento Bee reported that the University of California system gave more to the Kerry campaign than any other single employee group, and that Harvard was second, with only 15,000 employees to UC's 160,000. A blogger computed the percentages of Kerry contributions over Bush: Cornell 93%, Dartmouth 97%, Yale 93%, Brown 89%.

Posted by David Boxenhorn at December 21, 2004 11:53 AM
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It also exposes a scandalous lack of dictionaries. Since when is the ~5% the "herd" and the ~95% not? Sounds like they should be more concerned about the "lone wolves" in the midst of their sheep...

Posted by: jlb at December 21, 2004 05:39 PM Permalink

Just one more leak in the dam (or should we say dike?). The influence of academics in American life continues its sorry decline towards zero.

Posted by: Trip at December 21, 2004 05:55 PM Permalink

Clearly the 95% is the herd. American academia has become a cud-chewing clump of mindless herbivores following each other toward the precipice.

A person needs to be very careful where he sends his children for education these days. The bovine academics think nothing of stepping all over independent minds.

Posted by: Conrad at December 22, 2004 10:12 PM Permalink

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