"I'm not really that worried about a left-wing bias at universities. It's fair to say it exists, but then about 50% of educated people vote Republican, so just how effective can it be?" True but the fact is that the majority of American voters continue to fall into the category of middle to older age citizens (example of my recent quote concerning the ages of political insight) who tend to learn to think for themselves instead of the bias from their early academic years. The problem with left-wing bias is that the parents who pay large tuitions for their offspring's education see them being formatted into mind-numbed robots instead of critical thinkers. It seems to me that the last presidential election was very enlightening referencing the founding fathers of this country who wisely placed the electoral college into the US constitution. "I think that overt bashing of the right is really not that effective anyhow. More dangerous is to limit subtly the parameters of discussion as to exclude certain ideas. " A good example is your use of the words "to exclude CERTAIN ideas" which appears you mean those ideas with that built-in bias of the educator. "If you oppose the Bush administration and present the only alternative as support of the Democrats you do quite a disservice to your position. I'll admit that I hate Bush and love to bring out ideas that undermine him, but promoting Dean or Clarke would be a fairly silly way of doing it." What exactly do you mean that it is a disservice in opposing the Bush administration which appears to me to be equivalent to supporting the Democratic Party? Your statement is a very subtle distinction that could be misinterpreted by your students. Do you support Hillary as an alternative to the 9 Democrat wanabes? It seems that President Bush just sits back and laughs while the nine tear each other apart. I do not think that this fact is obvious to most potential university student voters already biased by their institutional overt discrimination. "Does Bush undermine traditional views held by the right about individual liberty, isolationism and hemispheric influence, fiscal responsibility, checks and balances within a democratic republic, and the role of executive power in the US, and if so, how? " A great question.... What do traditional views have to do with what a US president must do to conform to a preconceived party's platform? Did a Democratic Harry Truman undermine his left socialist Party by making an executive decision to drop the A bombs? Did Democratic President Jack Kennedy undermine his Party's left traditional role by suggesting that lowering taxes helps the economy and job production? I believe that each US president must be judged in history by his actions and not his Party's wishes? Do you think that the Democratic Party is the same one that existed prior to FDR? "This is a question that will pull students away from partisan positions and question the bases of ideological positions and adopt perhaps a more eclectic analysis. How does the way the media work, and how press conferences rather than a diverse parliament setting a media agenda, affect how Americans view him?" I suggest that that it depends on the media slant of the questions posed to the President and how his responses are presented in the main stream media. The hard ball vs. soft ball treatment of Mr/Mrs. Clinton and now posed to Mr. Bush by the media is a prime example. "This is a question that will get students thinking about why certain issues make the press and others don't, and how we compare to other questions. Setting up a Bush vs. Clinton comparison is not a good way to change minds because mind is already made up on this and there is little I can do to change them." I think that your statement is a bit naive. Even though students are young adults, their minds are very malleable due to the fact that they are prepared to absorb large amounts of material admixed with any subtle or overt political biases. As you have stated your dislike of Bush and his administration being used as a learning tool as well as all the required didactic course material being presented to them as fact. "Trying to indoctrinate students with a particular ideology is even more useless." Sorry but can't agree with that statement in the slightest as outlined in above paragraph. "As for criticizing certain figures, there is a place for this but if that's all you do personal dislikes will show through and cause students to question your motives." That gives students the credit to critically question their educators which could cost them grade points. Even if they could discriminate the course material from the bias presented to them would they understand the harm their critical thinking might make with their futures. "I like to poke fun at all world leaders, but there's little point in flogging a dead horse as in the case of Bush. Most intelligent and articulate students already deride him, and those who identify with him will just feel insulted." Thanks for making my point. Why do you think that most intelligent and articulate students would want to suffer from poor grades if they are able to critically think from outside of the institutional box? "Better is to ask how his presidential approach affects world opinion and what effects this could have on us. Why is it that what sounds statesmanlike to us often sounds like bullying to others, and is there a better approach?" Maybe because Mr. Bush is much more intelligent and insightful than you and the left give him credit. It might be that world opinion does not like America because the only remaining super power remains the center of world economics and makes self-serving policy which creates envy and animosity to other people and nations. Would you suggest that America be more loved by returning to a third world status? "Another useful approach is to get kids to learn as much as they can about how other societies live. Students are usually naturally curious about other cultures but often know little about them." Very true as that is the single occupation of university educators. Not teaching that a Syrian dictatorship is a wonderful example of how a country should treat its own and other nations. "When they find out that other people often do things much differently from us yet still enjoy high standards of life it opens up possibilities that we never thought of." High standards of life is a subjective perception while the reality is that millions of those 'high standard of life country' citizens wait in line to enter this flawed country as citizens or obtain health care here that they pay rather than get it for FREE in their own countries. "When students learn that some countries have fully funded and widely available abortion on demand yet have much lower abortion rates than us; when they learn that other countries have much lower drinking ages and alcohol permitted in public but fewer alcohol-related deaths; when they learn how much less energy other western societies use; when they compare social spending to poverty and crime rates; when they learn that it's not common in free countries to swear oaths of allegiance and have flags in every school classroom, yet still have a thriving democracy - to use but a few examples - they start to see possibilities for our social and political structures that they never imagined before." As I said, perceptions of these wonderful foreign country benefits are very different than the reality of those democratic or third world countries where things may not be exactly as they are presented to American students. America is not perfect by any means but in my humble opinion life is better right here than anywhere else on this planet. Just take a look at the waiting list of people from those wonderful countries trying to become US citizens. "Anyhow, I'm babbling. But I think you get the idea. I don't mind being subversive so long as it's not bound to any particular ideology. Better, I think, to challenge the views and assumptions of all conventional ideologies and then let students develop their own political outlooks. I suppose that if there's a key to one's approach it's to be analytical rather than evangelical." If only your statement were valid when you just admitted your own biases against the Bush administration and in favor of the utopian societies of democratic/socialist countries. This bias is being taught in American universities this very day. There are some Profs and TAs who are pretty evangelical, but I doubt in most cases they are changing the ways many people think by doing so. Often I think they are just encouraging people to build up barriers around their own prejudices." As you say: "Sometimes I know I fall into this trap myself." And I must admit that I also find myself evangelizing from my perspective. I do not agree with everything Bush does but must say that he is a refreshing change from those previous presidents who put their fingers in the air in order to make US policy. For this alone I give him credit. "One last note - I really despise those who think there's such thing as objectivity in academic debate. These people are just deluding themselves and others. Everyone is biased and prejudiced about even the most mundane things." True but there is no imperative to confuse and alter the bias of ohers." "Oh, and one final, final note. Why is it, I wonder, that so many political scientists, philosophers, cultural critics, historians, socialogists, anthropologists, Spanish / Russian / German / Arabic / etc. studies profs, and even lit critics, are generally left-leaning? Does being left-leaning attract one to such a field? Does studying such a field make one left-leaning? I think it's a bit of both." I think that being in the majority does not mean that these diverse people are correct in their assumptions. For example, there are only 12 or so million Jews in the world, does that make them a proxy which controls the world? A majority opinion indeed.