Kudos on the well-written and engaging January cover story. It’s exactly the sort of topic that could only have been covered at an editorially independent alumni magazine, and as such a reminder of how important it is PAW maintained that status.
While well and good that Princeton counts Professor Robert George among its faculty, the piece sorely lacked context around the political leanings of Princeton’s faculty writ large. Though there is (appropriately) no way to get a precise breakdown of the conservative/liberal makeup of Princeton’s faculty, researchers looking at voter registration estimate that the ratio of registered Democrats to Republicans among Princeton faculty is on the order of 30 or 40:1 (see Econ Journal Watch and the National Association of Scholars blog). While these numbers should be taken with a grain of salt, they are based on sample sizes of more than 100 and paint a picture of a vastly unbalanced faculty, out of line even with the approximately 10:1 Democrats-to-Republicans ratio among students captured in the latest Prince election poll data.
Greater diversity of viewpoints among faculty meaningfully benefits students, as Professor Keith Whittington has compellingly argued in a paper for the journal Social Philosophy and Policy. Truth-seeking — the heart of a University’s mission — is enabled through exposure to far-ranging views and an environment of healthy debate. It’s those professors with views furthest outside Princeton’s mainstream, and who are most committed to truth-seeking — Professor George and Professor Peter Singer — whose writing and talks I still find myself keeping up with. Through increasing diversity in viewpoints, political or otherwise, among its faculty, Princeton can encourage students to pursue truth and better prepare them for encountering the diverse array of views across countries and cultures beyond campus as well.