The things professors say

The academic hothouse breeds a lamentable number of fragile intellects among the faculty.  The noxious combination of arrogance (as presumed superior minds) and an environment sheltered from the harsh reality of markets results a vast class of professors adamantly insisting on laughably naïve, ignorant, and foolish ideas.  Take, for example, Professor Lisa Wade, a sociologist on the faculty of Occidental College, our president’s first college.

Writing on the Pundit Press, Aurelius highlights Dr. Wade’s childlike presumption:

According to Lisa Wade, a professor at Occidental College in Los Angeles, if you have an understandings of Economics, you are likely a bad person.

That was her finding in an article she published this week, titled “ARE ECONOMICS MAJORS ANTI-SOCIAL?” The first word in the piece was simply, “Yep.”

Dr. Wade writes that if you have taken classes on Economics, you “are less likely to share, less generous to the needy, and more likely to cheat, lie, and steal.”

The good professor’s article cites a study done at the University of Washington:

Students at their institution — University of Washington — were asked at registration each semester if they’d like to donate to WashPIRG (a left-leaning public interest group) and ATN (a non-partisan group that lobbies to reduce tuition rates).  Bauman and Elaina crunched the data along with students’ chosen majors and classes. They found that econ majors were less likely to donate to either cause (the selection hypothesis) and that non-econ majors who had taken econ classes were less likely to donate than non-majors who hadn’t (the indoctrination hypothesis).

ATN (Affordable Tuition Now) is an inactive nonprofit group that does not appear in IRS records.  It may be “non-partisan,” but if it simply demands lower tuition without campaigning for corresponding expense cuts (for instance, eliminating excessive administrative offices), economics majors, who learn the necessity of trade-offs, would naturally resist donating to it.  For this, they are branded “anti-social.”  Resistance to WashPIRG, an admitted leftist group, is also branded with the same label.  No conservative group is even considered.  In the Ivory Tower, they are not a factor at all.

Colleges have been able to raise tuition at three times the rate of inflation for about half a century, thanks to massive subsidies and credit financed by the federal government, and their gatekeeper role as certifiers of intelligence for prospective employers.  Intelligence tests have been forbidden as a means of screening applicants, so employers have had to rely on the certification provided by a college degree.  This has enabled prestigious colleges to act as the gatekeepers to high-paying careers, and thereby to extract crippling levels of tuition from parents desperate to launch their children on high-paying and prestigious careers.  Occidental College, for example, currently charges $47,522 a year for tuition.  Add in room and board, textbooks, travel, and incidentals, and a parent must cough up a quarter-million bucks or so to certify a child with an Oxy diploma.

While parents have to make trade-offs to come up with such a princely sum, the ivory tower has simply boosted tuition whenever more money is needed.  Only a professor could take the position that believing that tradeoffs are necessary (as econ majors learn) is “anti-social.”

Hat tip: Clarice Feldman