Saturday, April 09, 2005


Friday Blog Blogging, Saturday Edition: Why Scientists and Engineers are Smarter than Republicans

Not that it was ever in any doubt...
Why Oh Why Can't We Have a Better Press Corps? (National Review Edition)

It is a fact that the non-economics writers of National Review are plumbing the depths of the Luskin scale. Consider Jonah Goldberg, who writes:
Jonah Goldberg: Krugman also notes that engineers and other faculty in the hard sciences are also disproportionately liberal. It’s not just in the humanities. Good point.

What he — Mr. Prize-Winning Economist — neglects to mention or consider is that engineers in the private sector make good money. Ditto many scientists. Indeed, I don’t have the data to back this up handy, but it would hardly surprise me to find out that the most liberal members of the science faculty are probably the least likely to be able to find work elsewhere. I’m sure there’s a market for private-sector biodiversity experts, but something tells me it’s smaller than the market for electrical engineers...
Does Goldberg - Mr. National Review Pontificator - not remember when he writes paragraph 2 that in paragraph 1 he admitted that it's not just the ecologists but the engineers who are "disproportionately liberal"? Surely it's a minimum requirement for sentience that you have enough brain cells to maintain at least a simulacrum of consistency from one paragraph to the next.

Perhaps Goldberg could go ask some scientists and engineers why they aren't Republicans. Do a little legwork. I know that when I ask scientists and engineers why they aren't Republicans, I get back five answers:
1. From libertarians, because the Republicans are really hostile to individual freedom: they want to control people's lives and boss people around.

2. From biologists, because Republican politicians say they don't believe in evolution.

3. From chemists and physicists, because Republican politicians pretend to believe that CO2 molecules created by human action have a different radiation-absorption spectrum than other CO2 molecules.

4. From all corners, because Republican politicians are the tools of lobbyists and do not respect the evidence about anything.

5. From all corners, because Republican politicians don't understand how important investment in education is for the future of America--they have no idea where our current wealth and health really comes from.
I think these are five very good reasons.
Number 5, if it really reflects what these scientists and engineers are thinking, would be a very positive thing. I'm not an engineer, but I once worked for a company that built commercial communications satellites. A lot of the engineers were fairly conservative, mostly on the idea that, "I achieved my success without a government handout," neatly ignoring the fact that their education (that taught them to be engineers) was almost certainly subsidized one way or another with government money and that our customer was a consortium of international governments.

I doubt most engineers, at least, are liberals or Democrats. And I'm not too sure about the scientists, either. It's certain a lot of doctors are Republicans. Maybe the current morons in power in Washington are so moronic that they are turning off a lot of scientifically and technologically trained people who would ordinarily prefer to vote for Republicans. If so, then that gives the Republicans even more of an incentive to try to destroy our science and engineering education.

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