By Bryan Caplan
I’ve heard a lot of people complain about extreme left-wing bias in sociology, but I had no idea that sociologists themselves were complaining about it. A forthcoming paper by Dan Klein and Charlotta Stern provides the inside scoop. One highlight:
…Satoshi Kanazawa resigned from the ASA [American Sociological Association]… He explained his reasons as follows:
…I have also become progressively more uncomfortable with the politicization of the ASA: The Iraq war resolution, the gay marriage resolution, the Burawoy presidency. However, absolutely the last straw for me was the recent statement, passed unanimously by the ASA Council, on the Larry Summers affair… As an evolutionary psychologist, I cannot afford to be part of a political organization which willingly promotes and spreads such a lie. I have therefore decided to resign from the ASA.
What is particularly striking about this internal criticism is that Klein and Stern document that most of the critics have to be pretty left-wing themselves. They surveyed the policy views of 347 sociologists. On a 1-5 scale, with 1 being most statist:
[O]ver 98 percent of the sample has a score below 3.0, and not a single member has a score above 4.0. It appears that the number of classical liberals belonging to the ASA is approximately zero.
Klein and Stern obviously didn’t survey one of my best friends, a libertarian sociologist who will remain nameless until he gets tenure.
But they did say “approximately.”