Monday, November 22, 2004

Urban Myths

What does it take to deflate an urban myth? Are we all driving autos because various corporations successfully conspired to limit the transit option? George Hilton told us 30 years ago that, for the L.A. case, this was nonsense (see also Cliff Slater's more recent work). Yet, the myth was given new life in the 1987 animated fantasy "Who Shot Roger Rabbit?"

Beyond Hollywood, Prof Sharon Beder of the University of Wollongong (NSW, Australia), writing in "The Public Relations Assault on Transport Sustainability," also thinks it's all true.

It's getting to be an old story that in the world of ideological environmentalism, anything goes. And this reaches into the world of university research. The interesting question, then, is: What do the students take away from all of this?

In the U.S., various studies have shown that the ideological split among faculty is at least 90/10 towards the left. Yet, the country is now 50/50. Tom Sowell recently reported that the left picks up 5% of that from the left-leaning media. How much to add from the left-leaning professoriate? Perhaps nothing. This would be the result if the professoriate as a whole is "fair and balanced" (I wonder) -- or if undergrads are more bemused than impressed by their professors' political leanings (David Brooks' point).