This is a true story from 60 years ago that bears indirectly on the question of the connection between analytic philosophy and conservative politics. In 1961 I left my instructorship at Harvard (long story, told before on this blog, if I am not mistaken) to take up an assistant professorship at the University of Chicago. There I met a well-known anthropologist named Sol Tax. Sol had a grant from the Wenner Gren Foundation to study the political leanings of academics and departments across the curriculum, and he recruited me to tabulate the results and write up a draft of the report. The results were pretty much what one might have expected. The humanists were more left-wing than the social scientists, the social scientists were more left-wing than the natural scientists, and everybody was more left-wing than the engineers. Within these groupings, the literary critics were the most left-wing, the anthropologists were further left than the political scientists and the political scientists were further left than the economists, the theoretical physicists were more left-wing than the experimental physicists and the experimental physicists were more left-wing than the chemists.
The next decade saw a good deal of turmoil in the Academy as opposition to the Vietnam war and other governmental policies brought about splits in the professional associations. There were reports in the newspapers about fights in the MLA, the APSA, and the American Economic Association.
The American Philosophical Association had its own version of these fights but the lines were not drawn in ways that one might have expected. The hardassed no-nonsense logicians and analytic philosophers were not further to the right. In fact, the political splits did not line up along any methodological or sub disciplinary lines that anyone could see. Some of the analytic philosophers were quite left-wing, others not so much. Quine was, so far as I could make out, not very progressive politically but Hilary Putnam, if my memory is correct, spent some time living in a commune and at least for a while identified himself as a Maoist.
Herbert Marcuse got this wrong because he made the mistake of transferring his experience with European intellectuals to the American scene. Unfamiliar with the peculiarities of intellectual work in America, he tended to confuse analytic philosophers with behavioral social scientists.
It never seemed to me that the emphasis on analytic philosophy and formal logic was any sort of flight to political safety in the philosophical profession.
By the way, apropos TJ’s correction of my last post, I think my memory played tricks with me when I wrote it and what was written on the side of the moving van was actually “metaphora.” I hope I am right that my memory was fallacious. It would make it a much nicer story.