Lackademia paper stirs up interest across major national papers

The ASI's latest paper, Lackademia: Why do academics lean left?, has been causing a stir in the media this week garnering print coverage across the Financial Times, Sunday Times, Daily Telegraph, The Times, City AM, City AM, Daily Mail and Express.

The Daily Telegraph reported:

Eight in ten university lecturers are “Left-wing”, a survey has found as it warns of the dangers of “group think” in British institutions. A report by the Adam Smith Institute said that the number of British academics are liberal or Left-wing has been steadily on the rise since the 1960s.

Charles Moore wrote in The Daily Telegraph:

It is a cliché to speak of "political correctness gone mad". But it is much more serious when it goes institutional. This week, a report ("Lackademia" by Noah Carl) from the libertarian Adam Smith Institute argued that British universities are largely staffed by the Left.

And further articles appeared on The Daily Telegraph online.

City AM reported: 

An estimated three-quarters of academics are left-liberals, according to the Adam Smith Institute, which said the figure reveals the dangers of groupthink in the UK's universities.

By contract, just 12 per cent of British academics consider themselves conservatives, generating a substantial disparity with the wider public.

The Times reported:

A report issued by the Adam Smith Institute presents a grim snapshot of this political bias in higher education. It should sound a warning that young minds are being blinkered rather than challenged. Those with right-wing and conservative views make up only 11 per cent of academics, according to the survey, even though 50 per cent of the general public vote for parties on the right of the political spectrum. Voting behaviour is a crude measure of political belief but the report has hit on a truth: the signs of skewed scholarship have been apparent for some time.

The Times also reported:

The analysis, published by the Adam Smith Institute, a free-market think tank, sought to look at the political opinions of British university academics over the past five decades and charted a threefold decline in support for the Conservatives in the period.

Although the underlying data is sketchy and not directly comparable, higher education experts said that the broad trend appeared to be correct and urged a wider debate on the issue.

The Times third article read:

Academia has come to be seen as a haven for those with strong left-wing attitudes. The Adam Smith Institute refers approvingly to the suggestion that the attitudes are what they are because academics are highly qualified, but lowly paid. They are naturally drawn to minimising status differences and distinguishing themselves from the bourgeoisie. There is even some evidence from the United States that right-wing views are discriminated against in hiring, funding and promoting academics.

Michael Gove wrote in The Times:

The most useful role in any society is not doctor or judge, merchant or monarch. It is the dissident. The person prepared to place themselves outside the consensus and articulate the case against the conventional wisdom is the true hero of history. Because it is only when authority is challenged that progress is secured.

The Daily Mail reported:

Proper debate at universities is in danger of being stifled because three-quarters of academics are now left-wing liberals, a report has warned. The Adam Smith Institute said there has been an increasing ‘skew’ towards the left in higher education since the 1960s, which has resulted in a ‘homogenous’ academic community. The free market think-tank said only 12 per cent of lecturers and researchers are conservatives, prompting fears those with certain views may be being discriminated agains

Tom Utley wrote for the Daily Mail and Mail Online:

Why should hard-working taxpayers go on financing an academic elite that poisons their impressionable minds with political correctness and fills them with idiotic, identical views that could ruin our nation? One last question. Which great philosopher has added more to the sum of human happiness? Adam Smith, the 18th-century prophet of free trade, whose ideas are still spreading prosperity today? Or Karl Marx, the advocate of an ideal egalitarian society, in whose name tens of millions have been condemned to poverty and violent death?

The Daily Express reported:

Cardiff Metropolitan University, formerly South Glamorgan Institute of Higher Education, has advised that language should be "gender-neutral" and students should avoid using heir "cultural background" to make their choice of words. It says that the terms "forefathers", "mankind" and "sportsmanship" should be not be used, as part of efforts to "embrace cultural diversity" through language.

Ben Southwood appeared on BBC Radio 4's Today Programme to discuss the topic:

Sam Dumitriu appeared on BBC Radio Scotland to discuss the paper, whilst the author Noah Carl appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live.