Higher education and the Asian American vote

In an article today the San Jose Mercury News breathlessly reports the following:

Asian-Americans in California overwhelmingly oppose a ballot measure that would ban gay marriage in the state, according to a ground-breaking survey released today.

The poll found that 57 percent of Asian-Americans likely to vote in the Nov. 4 election oppose Proposition 8, which would reverse last spring’s California Supreme Court ruling that gave gays and lesbians the right to marry. Only 32 percent planned to vote for the measure. Eleven percent were undecided …

“The measure certainly has civil rights overtones to it,” said Karthick Ramakrishnan, an associate political science professor at the University of California-Riverside who is a member of the survey’s research team. Asian-Americans, he and other political scientists note, have historically been discriminated against and even, in the case of Japanese-Americans during World War II, thrown into internment camps. So Asian-Americans tend to be more sensitive than other Americans to laws that exclude certain groups, Ramakrishnan said.

Dr. Ramakrishnan has it all wrong. Blacks, for example, support Proposition 8 by 52% to 34% – and it’s pretty hard to argue that Asians have faced more discrimination than blacks over the last 150 years. So this has nothing to do with any historic sensitivity on the part of Asian Americans to civil rights issues. Rather, it has everything to do with the fact that Californians of Asian descent have attained a higher level of education than any other racial or ethnic group in the state.

Only 26% of Americans over the age of 25 hold bachelors’ degrees, compared to an astonishing 62 percent among Asian Americans in California. In this way, they are demographically similar to the Jews, of whom 55 percent hold bachelors’ degrees and whose political leanings are overwhelmingly liberal. Unfortunately, groups with a high aptitude for educational achievement are sitting ducks for indoctrination in political correctness and the social pathologies of our corrupt elite. There is absolutely nothing in Asian cultures – or the Asian experience in California – that disposes them to believe that same-sex “marriage” is anything but a freak show.

Furthermore it is a mistake to treat Asian Americans as politically monolithic. The Chinese and Japanese have been in California for many generations. As a group they tend to be conservative in their personalities, conduct, and social arrangements – but liberal or “moderate” in their voting patterns, due in large part to their success in education. The Vietnamese, by contrast, came to California only recently as fiercely conservative refugees from communism. At one time the Vietnamese in California were between 80% and 90% Republican as a voting block, paralleling the Cuban refugees of South Florida. As they began to make their way through California’s education system, their conservatism has predictably declined, though it still dominates. According to the same article:

Support for McCain is highest among Vietnamese likely voters, with 53 percent planning to vote for the Republican candidate. In contrast, a majority of Indians (62 percent) and Japanese Americans (53 percent) plan to vote for Obama. Chinese and Filipino likely voters favor Obama over McCain, but a large share remain undecided. Korean likely voters favor Obama (34 percent) only slightly over McCain (31 percent).

I think it safe to infer that Vietnamese Americans will most likely be voting for Proposition 8, since in California that tends to go hand-in-hand with the McCain-Palin vote (and beyond).

The subject of Asian American political trends is therefore a mask for a deeper problem: the seemingly inevitable correlation of higher education with political and social liberalism. This correlation exists across the board, without regard to race or ethnicity. As one of many possible examples, a recent study from UCLA has shown that college students, as a group, move progressively to the left on the subject of abortion with every year they attend college:

While 52 percent of college freshmen told UCLA researchers in the study that they support abortion, the same group of students asked two years later as juniors indicated they supported abortion by a 60 percent clip.

“People are moving out of the center to the left during college,” researcher Alexander Astin said. “If you find yourself in a peer group where on balance the attitudes lean left, you’ll tend to move in that direction.” …

Kristan Hawkins, the director of Students for Life of America, talked about that with LifeNews.com on Monday and she said she’s not surprised by the survey results because it reflects the trend her group has seen.

However, Hawkins believes professors play a role in moving students in the pro-abortion direction, too.

“We believe it is a combination of students and professors,” she said. “Many students enter college unversed in major social and moral issues and are subject to persuasion from both their professors and fellow peers.”

“The staff members of Students for Life of America, all being recent college graduates, have witnessed first-hand that peer groups have a strong influence over many in the student body of college campuses,” she explained.

“However, they have witnessed even more the professors having a stronger effect on the formation of ideologies with their college peers,” Hawkins told LifeNews.com.

The college experience’s tendency to turn pro-life students into abortion advocates is also seen in polls of high school students showing a majority are pro-life.

Clearly, until we reform our assumptions about education, America’s moral and cultural decline will continue apace. At present, the modern university taken as a whole is a positive threat to civilization. That is not to say that higher education isn’t necessary. On the contrary, it is absolutely essential for the formation of a virtuous, creative, and truly liberal (see Newman’s “Idea of a University”) elite – an elite capable of dynamic moral leadership in politics, the arts, and the academy. In many cases we can and should make use of the present system, selectively and cautiously preserving its most valuable components: we need not take it “as a whole”. But the fact remains that higher education is presently in the hands of the enemy, and the tide of degeneration does not seem to be reversible. Whatever we might save from it will eventually need to be transferred to new institutions, and the sooner we parents realize this, the better.


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