Thanks to David French for taking the time to think through a phenomenon that has taken off beyond any reasonable discussion. Self-selection versus discrimination — parsing this distinction could go on forever. I like the commenter on IHE who said,
So, if I understand this, self selection is AOK when it results in a predominance of liberals on campus, but it is not OK when it results in a shortfall of women in science?
But don’t expect any intellectual intercourse over this question. We are talking past one another, particularly because liberals who want to preserve their tattered image of tolerance cling to face-saving concepts such as self-selection.
Yes, conservatives self-select away from academia. When they are undergraduates, their professors do not esteem them and thus do not encourage them to move to higher academic levels. It’s pretty easy for them to look around and see that introducing their ideas into university discourse will be difficult and unpleasant. Any conservative who seeks positive career outcomes is likely to hesitate about entering academia.
The reason this matters is that higher education needs a variety of viewpoints, especially conservative and libertarian ones.