Alright, folks, I’ve received quite a few reactions to my post from July 4th. It seems that all you have to do is mention politics in academia and everyone gets into a tizzy. If only Dutch history were so popular.
At any rate, someone has taken me up on the bet, that within the next ten years no Ivy League history department will hire a tenure-track faculty member who identifies as a conservative. Since I offered 5 to 1 odds, I will put down $100 against the $20 of Jeffrey Miron, Senior Lecturer and Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Economics at Harvard University.
Now, for a moment, I feel less confident in my predication, only because this econ guy from Harvard (Hahvad) probably knows a lot more about statistics and probability than I do. But to my advantage, economists must be more optimist than historians about the job market. Without hyperbole, I get the impression from economist friends that the job market for economists has about one newly minted doctorate for every academic econ job opening. History, however, probably has something like at least 3 or 4 new doctorates for every job opening, with much higher rates, say 7 or 8 to 1 for American history. Conservative historians are more likely to be Americanists, I suppose, than they are to be Sinologists, Sovietologists, or whatever.
Since this is a bet that could potentially take ten years to play out, I told Jeff that to remember it, I would have to post a reminder to my refrigerator door. I was kidding. Then, I went ahead and posted it anyway.
Perhaps there will need to be some incentive for a newly hired conservative historian hiding in the Ivies to announce his or her self. I will leave that part of the equation up to Jeff.