The Hallowed Halls


Miguel has touched on University of Texas at Austin Professor Frederick Steiner’s elevation to anti-gun folk hero, for his decision to leave his position because of the passing of campus carry.

The people over at Everytown are now doubling down on this.  They are celebrating that campus carry will lead to a “brain drain,” calling for more professors to leave Texas.  The comments over at the Everytown Facebook account, as well as on the Rawstory article, fall into two camps (sometimes both):

  1. I’d never send my kid to a school in Texas/state with campus carry.
  2. “‘Brain drain?’ People in Texas don’t have brains, yuk yuk yuk (insert Bush joke).”

I don’t know Dr. Steiner.  I’ve never met him.  I can tell you from his interviews, I don’t like him.  In my long academic career, I have met many professors who just didn’t like students.  They loved research, writing, fundraising (which comes with taking a cut of any grant money brought in), and the prestige of holding  recognized chair in a field.  They just didn’t like having to show up in a classroom and interact with students.  I hated professors like that and swore that I’d never become one.  From the way Steiner just casually insults the (what would be mostly graduate level, since you have to be 21 to get a CCW permit) students of Texas – assuming that they are irresponsible and dangerous, I believe that he is one of those types of professors.  He “like[s] fund-raising, obviously,” students, not so much.

But I digress.

The “brain drain” that the anti-gun establishment is hoping for, I don’t think is going to happen.  The causal assumption here is that antis are smart and gun people are stupid.  My favorite professor as an undergraduate was in the Mechanical Engineering department.  He taught Materials for Mechanical Engineers, and is the man who got me interested in Materials Engineering, and Design for Manufacturing.  He was also the faculty sponsor for the college gun club – yes, we had a school funded gun club.  During DfM, he would bring in samples (the way good profs do) of parts manufactured in different ways.  Guess what he brought in as an example of forging?  If you guessed an AR-15 upper receiver blank, you are right.

My graduate adviser is/was also a gun guy, and has been a consultant for the firearms industry for years.  He actually got me working on my very first firearms related failure analysis while I was a student.  We actually got the school to change its policy on firearms on campus (before the state legalized campus carry) in order to bring guns in to do materials testing on them in the lab.

When I started working, one of my colleagues turned out to be the former chief metallurgist of one of the largest firearms and ammunition manufactures in America, and one of the smartest men in the world on brass metallurgy.  He is now semi-retired as a consultant and is a adjunct professor at am engineering college in Indiana.

There are a lot of gun guys in Academia.  We’re pretty quiet and don’t like to rock the political boat.  Engineering and hard science is a lot more conservative than you think.  Sure, maybe some professor that teaches “sexism in pre-colonial cave paintings” may flee for the Blue states, but I have total disregard for their un-serious field of study anyway and don’t consider that a loss for the university.

There isn’t going to be a “brain drain” in campus carry states.  At most it will be a culling of the heard of useless academics.


For all those anti-gun snobs who look down on Texas and other Red states south of the Mason-Dixon, let me remind you that Texas has consistently been in the to 5 states for economic growth for the last 10 years.  It was No. 2 last year, beat only by the North Dakota oil boom.  Manufacturing and technical industry is booming in the south.  Detroit is hemorrhaging jobs.  Alabama is now home to manufacturing for Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, Navistar, Mercedes-Benz, and Airbus.  Huntsville may be “Rocket City USA” by history, but it’s fast becoming “Motown 2.0.”


I am reminded of stories from history about poor, racist whites, no matter how poor and illiterate they were, no matter the conditions of barefoot squalor they lived in; comforted themselves in the knowledge that they were white and therefore “better” than their black neighbors who might actually work harder and make more money.  Today, Blue state liberals, no matter how bad the economy is in their states, no matter how in debt they are, no matter how high their unemployment may be; they take solace in the fact that they are not southerners.  It is the same attitude, filled with the same smug bigotry and hatred, and it is just as ugly.


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  1. As a native Southerner, I absolutely agree with your points about attitudes and perceptions of the region. You have to know that the changing economic statuses of the South vs. Blue areas has to burn up liberals. Heck, we’re even making off with a good part of the movie industry.

    After the obliteration of the textile industries in the region starting in the ’80s, manufacturing has been revamping the South’s economic ecosystem for the last couple of decades. To add to your list, there’s Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia in West Point, GA, Volkswagen in Chattanooga, TN, and Toyota in KY, TX, and MS (but not in AL). You might also recall the politico-union hubbub when Boeing opened facilities in SC.

    If you get a chance, the Zentrum (museum) and factory tour at BMW US Manufacturing Company are both great. The non-union plant is pristine and it’s very interesting to see the internal logistics and human factors designed into the production line (many of the machines’ heights/configurations change based on the worker’s physical characteristics when they log into a station).

    BMW US Manufacturing Company is not in Alabama — it’s in Greer, SC. Additionally, BMW is not associated with Audi and Audi does not have manufacturing in the US.

  2. There are a lot of gun guys in Academia. […] Engineering and hard science is a lot more conservative than you think.

    ^^ This ^^

    The good Professor Steiner may be a learned architect, but on practical issues like guns he’s in the minority of his field. Academic areas like Philosophy, Psychology, Sociology, Humanities, Womens’ Studies, etc. (collectively, “liberal arts”), are populated by leftists who thrive on theory and wishful thinking over fact, but routinely present them as equivalent.

    STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields are based in fact. 100% verifiable, provable fact. Ambiguous “studies” aren’t cited; they aren’t needed. If you have a hypothesis, you can often test it yourself. By being based in reality, STEM majors and professors have a firmer grasp on facts, and thus tend to be more conservative than other fields where “facts” tend to be more fluid and ephemeral.

    As for myself, I am educated in IT and work in that field. Our “business” as a whole is represented by a rabidly-left union, but the individual tech folks are mostly conservative. In IT, like in STEM, we work in reality. What we do may seem like sorcery to some end users, but the back-end systems that drive everything have some serious science and engineering know-how behind them.

    We’ve got a LOT of gun guys (and gals) in IT, too, with more hunters and carry permits per capita than I’ve ever seen outside of a gun shop/show.

    It’s almost like accepting reality for what it is instead of what you wish it to be defines (or changes) a person’s perspective. Or something.

  3. Fwiw UConn had while i was there from 06-12 and still possibly has 2 university funded gun clubs. One rifle pistol club which was more informal plinking and one skeet and trap team I was more active on. Funding dropped off for skeet and trap but the school paid for a safe and a few pallets of ammo at one point, I can’t comment on the involvement of the school financially in the rifle and pistol club past I believe buying a safe. Skeet and trap as an official UConn club completed with a few schools in informal matches, most notably West point and Yale twice a year and uvm.

    I wouldn’t discount the liberal arts entirely and right away either, I had a philosophy professor with 2 published progun philosophical justifications for carry and a sociology professor that was SUPER pro gun. I never really got into it with anyone else but they are there and I’m sure generally quite about their interests because of the general trend in the humanities/social sciences/liberal arts or what ever you want to call them.

Feel free to express your opinions. Trolling, overly cussing and Internet Commandos will not be tolerated .

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