I’ve expressed previously my skepticism about the “left-right” approach to thinking about politics and society. But I also think this approach creates its own reality. Those who categorize themselves as “left” or “right” often use that self-categorization as an easy way of deciding what they should think about difficult topics. This is especially true, I think, at the extremes, where self-identification with programmatic ideologies is strongest. So, these findings may represent a more serious problem than the mere fact that university professors differ from others in American society. While I would want more information on exactly how these self-descriptions predict opinions on specific issues, I strongly suspect that the classifications represent the intensification of political catechisms in institutions that should be devoted to free and open thought.