Most people who have been exposed to higher education can reasonably assume the majority of college students identify themselves as liberals. Driving around the George Mason University parking lots you can see an influx of “Obama for President” and cheeky liberal slogans on bumper stickers.

Even though most Americans identify themselves as conservative and the latest Gallup poll finds conservatives outnumbering liberals 42-20 percent, this trend is reversed on college campuses. But why?

Perhaps professors are to blame.

According to a study done by Mason’s Center for Media and Public Affairs, 72 percent of American university and college professors claim to be liberals while only 15 percent are conservative. Additionally, 50 percent affiliate themselves with the Democratic Party with only 11 percent claiming to be Republicans.

Students attend college to prepare for the real world; it is reasonable to assume that the purveyors of such knowledge directly influence their politics.

Why liberalism dominates the faculty of colleges and universities is a different debate entirely. It may have something to do with many professors spending their lives in academia, outside of business and competition.

Liberalism is based in fanciful idealism.

It would be great if everyone was guaranteed money and benefits with little or no work, or if there was world peace and a military was unneeded. It would also be great if health care was free and top-notch, resulting in the prevailing societal sentiment of “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need!”

Attempting to create such a society doesn’t have such a great track record (see Russia, China and North Korea). However, to a college student in a classroom or at a College Democrats meeting, this idealism can be mistaken for reality.

Without any experience in the real world, idealistic ideology runs amok.

A lot of college students don’t work, support a family, file tax returns or vote. Being absent from the rigors of competition and the burden of keeping up in life, idealism manifested by liberalism can creep into one’s ideology in one’s youthful years.

This idealism can make you believe that the world is run on emotion as opposed to reason

As Winston Churchill once said, “If you’re not a liberal when you’re 20, you have no heart. If you’re not a conservative when you’re 40, you have no head.”

Maybe the root of liberalism in college students is found in the material they study in philosophy and political science. Karl Marx, Jeremy Bentham, Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn and Friedrich Nietzsche, liberal minded theorists, are commonplace in syllabi across Mason. Each author has his own unspectacular, albeit very different, point of view on the world and has contributed to the modern liberal philosophy.

Perhaps if professors more frequently insisted on students reading conservative ideals from authors like Russell Kirk, Edmund Burke, Milton Friedman, John Stuart Mill and John Locke, this campus would have an entirely different philosophical makeup.

Whatever is behind this prevalence of liberalism in college students, there needs to be a concerted effort to stop this growing trend.

As students get older and head out into the real world, they find that their idealist beliefs don’t exactly work when put into practice. It might seem like a great idea to have universal health care but would you feel that way if it meant the majority of your paycheck goes to pay for it?

Cap-and-trade may seem like a great policy but would you feel that way if that meant the company you work for couldn’t compete and would go under, resulting in your unemployment? Affirmative action might seem fair but would you feel that way if you lost out on a job you were qualified for based on your skin color?

Does it make sense for the federal government to spend tax dollars at unprecedented amounts when you know your children will have to foot the bill, dramatically reducing their chances of being successful?

Liberal college students often live in a bubble, shielded from the difficult rigors of maintaining a home, job and family.

To those at Mason who would rather use their hearts than their heads concerning political beliefs, maybe you would benefit from putting things in perspective with your head, not your heart.