The Center for the Study of Partisanship and Ideology is a relatively new organization, and by all appearances an eminently credible one. Staffed by first-rate scholars, CSPI’s mission is to “fund and support research on systems of knowledge production and communication, and how they relate to social and political outcomes.” A noble purpose, methinks, providing insight into public policy formulation. I was once part of that process and agree with Mark Twain: “People who love sausage and respect the law should never watch either one being made.”
CSPI Research Fellow Professor Eric Kaufmann recently posted an intriguing report, “Diverse and Divided: A Political Demography of American Elite Students.” As the elite have outsize influence, it makes sense to scrutinize their callow up-and-comers.
The impetus for CSPI’s report was a survey by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) that sampled 57,000 undergraduates from 159 of America’s “top universities” via multiple campus expression surveys. Talk about a Herculean task! What’s more, Dr Kaufmann took it upon himself to slice and dice that data six ways to Sunday. My hat’s off for even attempting such a feat.
Dr Kaufmann, conversant with religious and political demography, was ideal for undertaking this project. His books Rise and Fall of Anglo-America (2004), Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth? (2010) – he believes so – and Whiteshift (2018), about the state of White America, are ample evidence he knows whereof he speaks.
This stuff interests me to no end. Even as a wee lad, I would pore over population statistics, as people were – and still are – fascinating to me. My almost all-knowing mother would say, “You know, son, people are funny.” Yep. Living in a biracial society around folks who had traveled a bit, we knew variety was the spice of life. Amazingly, back then there were no jack-booted diversity officers, “equity” mandates and speech police, much less chattering-class ostracism of those who expressed themselves freely and forthrightly about human differences. But I digress.
Dr Kaufmann’s analysis included a neglected facet of diversity among “elite” students: viewpoint diversity. While ethnic, racial, sexual, and other real or contrived aspects of “diversity” are celebrated ad infinitum, that forbidden fruit of demography, viewpoint diversity, is not. PC diversity doesn’t brook dissent. But Dr Kaufmann addresses it head-on, adducing some interesting results. (If you’re not inclined to immerse yourself in the minutiae of the report, the eleven-bullet-point opening summary magically distills matters down to their essence.)
Some of the more interesting findings confirm what many of us have long suspected, such as “Elite students are thus two-thirds more Democratic and twice as liberal as the American population.” At least. While corporate media bloviates about big-money Republicans and conservatives, in my experience the more well-heeled someone is, the better the chance they are a good liberal. Liberal privilege? If you live in an area not infested with crime nor overrun with “undocumented” folk, and public policy doesn’t interfere with making ends meet, you can afford to be a utopian.
Ivy League schools average 10-15 percent conservative and 60-75 percent liberal. Across 150 leading schools, there are nearly 2.5 liberals for every conservative.
How’s that for balance? Don’t know how many of those folks have student loans, but the Biden administration’s student loan forgiveness pays off an important segment of the Democratic Party’s base. If you’re not a higher ed alum and paying taxes, suck it up. Your privilege is not on the horizon.
Another interesting revelation:
Minority and female students are far more liberal on campus than in the general population, whereas straight white Christian men are somewhat more conservative on campus than in the general population. Current trends portend a politics in which elite women, minorities, gays, and the nonreligious are more left-leaning while elite whites, males, and Christians remain relatively conservative.
Elite Whites conservative? “Relatively,” maybe. Perhaps in higher ed woke-world they are more conservative. Many of these over-educated wet-behind-the-ears types don’t even realize just how rabidly self-righteous and radically anti-family their college “community” may be. However, PC’s pesky pariahs, those straight White Christian men, do tend to be more on the socially conservative side.
Some findings were surprising:
Self-identified Jews make up only 3% of elite students and just 7% of Ivy League students, suggesting a considerable decline since the early 2000s.
Thought that percentage would be higher.
This one was a tad unsettling:
A quarter of students are LGBT, and there are roughly equal shares of Christian and nonreligious students. LGBT, Nonreligious, and Christians are set to become more important political groups among America’s future leaders.
Why does yours truly consider this unsettling? Bigot? Homophobe? Hold on a minute. In higher ed woke-world, while it may be fashionable to declare oneself sexually ambiguous and LGBT status is “cool,” 25 percent seems high.
The unsettling part: We’re on the cusp of a population implosion that is on track to destroy the Global North’s once sound retirement plans and old-age pensions. But for immigration, the West would already have shrinking populations. All the same, towns and villages throughout Europe and America are being deserted. This is happening in spades in Japan and other East Asian countries with the world’s lowest fertility.
Nonreligious and LGBT folks have among the lowest fertility rates of any demographic. Thus a possible 25 percent LGBT and widely prevailing Nonreligious component among our educated elites do not bode well for the West’s prospects of replacing itself. It’s that simple.
So the report begs the question: Will our future leadership class be self-culling? Less family-oriented? Even more PC, insular and estranged from the general population? Are we headed for a socially unsustainable situation?
Let’s just say kudos to Dr Kaufmann for yet another solid contribution to demographic scholarship.
And hooray for the age-old two-parent nuclear family! If you are so fortunate as to be part of one, you are profoundly blessed. Be eternally grateful.