The myth of the liberal professors
I diverge from my normal column-writing trends to supply my faithful readers with the latest and greatest news from the world of archaeology. On a recent trip to Greece, I happened upon a lost chapter of the Odyssey, in which our hero Ulysses lands on the Island of Academia. It is transcribed here verbatim:
Ulysses our hero, great traveler and renowned warrior, in a great storm had hopelessly embedded his sturdy ship full of faithful men in the Rocks of Academia. Climbing from the wreckage, he and his crew bravely slew one hundred Admissions Counselors and Financial Aid Wraiths to arrive on the fabled shores of the bountiful island. They were immediately greeted by the island's native inhabitants, the Liberos, who in appearance were not unlike the Forest Nymphs encountered earlier. The Liberos were a brave, though small people, who spoke in a language that was far to complex for the average traveler to understand. It just so happened, however, that when they spoke in unison, the effect was hypnotizing to freshmen wayfarers. Being wise and knowledgeable, Ulysses insisted that his men fill their ears with the warm wax produced by the Conservatos, an invisible species of insect that enjoyed injecting sticky wax in the paths of men. The Liberos, by contrast, inhabited the isle of Academia in large numbers and spent their days learning, teaching and feasting on the fruit of Room Temperature Pizza trees and, of course, Academia Nuts (which were later renamed for marketing purposes). The Liberos lived a wonderful, happy life on their island, but they were perpetually frustrated by its location. It was out of the way of major trade routes, so those who were interested in promoting their self interest and accumulating great wealth rarely discovered the island. It was surrounded by sharp jagged rocks, inhabited by Financial Aid Wraiths and Admissions Counselors, making it difficult for underprivileged sailors to ever find its golden sands. In addition to all of these, it was plagued by the stormy Winds of Controversy, which perpetually distorted the voices of the Liberos, but propelled the Conservatos in their flight. Ulysses, being ever-wise and ever-brave, decided not to wax his ears, but rather to learn the language of the Liberos. Upon this knowledge, he soon discovered many valuable lessons from the Liberos Professors. He learned that the Tax Cut implemented during the Trojan War was poorly planned, and that while the war had been supposedly started as a search for Horses of Mass Destruction, it was truly just a selfish battle of machismo, over beautiful Helen. He was soon to de-wax the ears of his companions, and they lived many long years inquiring and seeking knowledge in the land of Academia, feasting on decorative fruit and endless supplies of pasta. Oddly enough, there was not a fruit bearing Bush to be found on the island.
There you have it my friends, the lost tale in its entirety. It is important, when reflecting on myths such as these, to consider their purpose. Understanding that it is finals time, I have done most of the considering for you: 1) Myths serve to demonstrate fears 2) They serve to preserve culture and 3) They serve to explain phenomena. Ok, I should probably get serious for this part. The myth of the liberal professors that has been told and retold endlessly by my conservative counterparts is very different from this one. Understandably, my fellow students wish to have a fair and balanced (no pun intended) academic experience, and therefore require professors who consider their beliefs and philosophies to be valid. I agree wholeheartedly, and I would be completely offended if any professor disrespected his or her students because of their political beliefs (or for any other reason for that matter). Now that we have knocked out the issue of fear, we move on to the explanation of phenomena. Why is it that more professors seem to be liberal in personal philosophy? I'm not going to pretend that the personal philosophy of a professor has absolutely no effect on the professor's teaching style; Heisenberg would be very disappointed if I did. While I do not believe that all conservatives are selfish, or that all liberals are public-serving and uninspired by wealth, the general philosophies of development presented by each side would understandably lead to such a scenario. It is my completely biased and subjective opinion that on the whole, liberal thinkers are more prone to return to structures designed for social growth, while conservatives are more prone to pursue capitalist ends, and donate back to their universities. Both of these means are productive of a similar end, but the combination of the two can help explain this highly debated issue. I understand that this concept may be incendiary to those who choose to believe that the left-wing media conspiracy has been using College Professors as pawns for the past 30 years; I'll let the aforementioned myth speak for itself ... it's all Greek to me!