UC Berkeley Is Liberal LOL

From the rhetoric, you’d think the People’s Republic of Berkeley was a sickle short of Communism.

In reality however the university itself is fairly standard, probably no more radical than any other in the US. I sat in on a political economy class today (full of PE majors who are in general quite leftist) and the professor took a poll. 39% (!) said the banksters deserved a bailout. A stunning 82% would have bailed them out (though granted, not doing so is more of a libertarian – or far left – position than anything else). However, only 12% said that the banksters should have been given bonuses. The feeling against banker bonuses however is so near universal that I don’t think this is much out of the ordinary. (On this point, I have to disagree – the banksters DO deserve their bonuses. If politicians are going to bail you out, with no popular opposition to boot, it is not only justifiable but a moral obligation to take any bonuses you are offered and give the finger to those suckers!).

Also, in response to another question about the nature of the “state of nature”, 7% said man is inherently good and cooperative; 47% the former, but that society corrupts him; and 47% said he was selfish and competitive. Berkeley students are therefore surprisingly realistic. Even a cursory reading of non-politicized anthropology will reveal that – with a few exceptions – primitive societies are extremely violent, competitive, and hierarchical.

And those respondents were for the most part social science people. Engineers and techies at Cal are considerably further to the right. More general freshman opinion polls show that Berkeley students aren’t all that much more radical than the average American population (e.g. opinion on the death penalty is split 50/50). Actually just considering that Berkeley is associated with the likes of John Yoo (the pro-torture lawyer) or Arthur Jensen (the HBD’er) should prove it is no seething, uniformly liberal hotbed. A year ago, the College Republicans organized a “Diversity Bake Sale” in which discounts were given to Hispanics, blacks, and women to protest affirmative action; a liberal attempt to get the university to ban it failed.

The impression I think arises from Cal’s close association with the City of Berkeley which actually is full of politically far left citizens.

Anatoly Karlin is a transhumanist interested in psychometrics, life extension, UBI, crypto/network states, X risks, and ushering in the Biosingularity.


Inventor of Idiot’s Limbo, the Katechon Hypothesis, and Elite Human Capital.


Apart from writing booksreviewstravel writing, and sundry blogging, I Tweet at @powerfultakes and run a Substack newsletter.


  1. I have a question Anatoly, I apologize in advance if it’s too much off-topic.

    On the subject of political economy, I remember you brought up that wikileaks cable about Li Keqiang. It said that when Li was the party chief in Liaonning, he used only three measures to assess economic growth: electricity consumption, rail cargo volume and bank lending.
    “All other figures, especially GDP statistics, are ‘for reference only,’ he said smiling”

    I don’t remember where exactly you made the quote, on social networks perhaps, but if memory serves you were somewhat approving (not sure since I can’t find your post anymore). I mean, you are studying political economy at UC Berkeley which I know is certainly a selective and elite cursus in the western hemisphere, so where exactly do you stand regarding Li’s distrust of western economics? I ask because I sense growing criticism of economic theory in general. Some voices in France go as far as to compare economists to modern-day oracles, close to the prince, or economics as the scholasticism of the Anglo-saxon civilization.

    I mean I can understand Li, economics’ record as a predictive science is dismal…

    • It is not dismal. Problem is that it is captured to “predict” what the prince wants to hear not to tell the truth. And if the capture is deep enough than propagandist start to belief their own propaganda which end in tears.

  2. AK said:
    Actually just considering that Berkeley is associated with the likes of John Yoo (the pro-torture lawyer) or Arthur Jensen (the HBD’er) should prove it is no seething, uniformly liberal hotbed.

    Morton Hunt’s account of the reception of Jensen’s 1969 Harvard Educational Review article in The New Know-Nothings is informative:

    The most directly harrowing of Jensen’s experiences were the protest actions of various student groups, especially Students for a Democratic Society. The Berkeley campus police kept track of planned activities of the student groups and, when they could, warned Jensen in advance of demonstrations to be held at his classes. Sometimes he had to conduct graduate seminars secretly in other parts of the building, but at other times, when he could not, his classes were filled with hecklers whose shouting prevented him from being heard. Handbills distributed on campus demanded that the administration fire him, students marched in the courtyard under his office window chanting, “Fire Jensen!”, a sound truck circled the campus blasting “Fight racism! Fire Jensen!”, and pamphlets were distributed bearing his picture and headlined, “HITLER IS ALIVE AND WELL AND SPREADING RACIST PROPAGANDA AT BERKELEY! Come and help fight in the struggle against racism at Jensen’s class!”

    Apparently the faculty was more tolerant of Jensen though. What I find interesting and what seems to go unmentioned is that this is all happening at the tail-end of the so-called Berkley Free Speech Movement, which groups like Students for a Democratic Society were heavy participants in. Did nobody see a contradiction here?

  3. You are comparing economic left right with moral left right issues. Universities are known to be on social issues very left. Economically they don’t have that name. Probably because their students come from the Haves.

  4. ironrailsironweights says

    My guess is that the faculty members at Berkeley, especially in the liberal arts, are much farther left than the students.