The Atlantic smiles approvingly and congratulates that dreadful conspiratorial society formerly comprised nearly exclusively of elite white males for going all PC diversity.
The class of 2010 included more ethnic minorities than Caucasians; 2011’s delegation included two gay students, plus one bisexual and one transgender. Last year, women and men were equally split, according to Yalies familiar with the members.
“We try to come up with a group that is representative of the diverse social elements Yale offers,” says a Bonesman from recent years. ...
The organization’s seismic shift also affects the way new members are selected. Bonesmen now actively seek out diverse candidates, in some cases to atone for their predecessors’ role in shunning them.
“Some of us wanted to undo certain attitudes of the past,” says E., a woman selected in the 2000s. “We wanted to actively negate them.”
Actually, the truth of that matter is that Bones was always eminently politically correct, in whatever sense of correctness dominated the politics of the day. One of the surest ways to get tapped for Bones for many years was to be the loudest leftist agitator on campus. The last time Bones tapped an actual known conservative was probably in 1956, when one chairman of the Party of the Right was selected for membership.
The core philosophy of Skull & Bones would be in complete accord with that of Lampedusa’s Don Fabrizio, Prince of Salina, in The Leopard:
“If we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change.”
Daniel Greenfield, in another brilliant piece, explains that Diversity is not just a moral preference for the left.
The left’s utopias are not only economically unsustainable (what else is new) but also politically and demographically unsustainable. The economics can’t be fixed, but the politics and demographics can. As with all of the left’s solutions, they involve finding ways of making things much, much worse. And their answer to the demographic and political problem is immigration. Bring in young people from elsewhere who will have lots of kids and vote the straight slanted ticket. Preferably the kind who won’t get along with the locals and will be taught to constantly complain about racism, even though back where they’re from, racism was as accepted as daylight drug deals and beheadings.
Bring them in, run their kids through the same system, add a few holidays to the calendar, enjoy the new ethnic foods and hopefully teach their kids to stop having so many kids if they want to retire at 55 and fill their house with knickknacks from their vacations in Greece and Brazil. And then fill the new gap with more immigrants. It’s a plan that makes as much economic sense as the European Union and is twice as sustainable. After all lots of people in the world want free health care and a passport from a country that won’t collapse into a murderous civil war when the price of bread goes through the minaret.
And if the assimilation program doesn’t work, well then you only have to bring in half as many immigrants next time around, because all those countries you brought those immigrants from are now in your own country. Saves on jet fuel and coast guards. Not to mention language lessons, though it usually turns out that you need them anyway because your excellent schools no longer seem to be doing such a good job of teaching your own language and what used to be your language is now an argot composed of the languages of your immigrants and bits of your own language processed into the fake street slang of rap stars. And before you know it, you’re using it too.
It’s a dead end. It’s Rome with the barbarians sorting through the loot. It’s China when the wall fell. It’s Byzantium when the Bedouin raiders poured through and began the centuries long process of tearing apart Middle Eastern Christianity, that Islam wrapped up. It’s the long fall of civilization into night with a bloody pension and a hell of a retirement plan lost somewhere in the middle of a pile of broken marble columns.
But it keeps the left alive. Without diversity, the left is a bunch of corpulent unions protecting their pensions while the young people look at brochures of London and Los Angeles and finish their fourth degree. Without it, the left eventually dries up, blows away in the wind and dies after running a few protests against austerity and then has to implement it anyway.
Diversity isn’t a moral principle. It’s oxygen for a dead movement. It’s the only way that the left can stay alive long enough to fulfill the accidental mission of every parasite by killing its host. It’s the numbers game and as long as the left can cobble together these coalitions built on the backs of immigrants and tied together with community associations and piles of free stuff, then it can go on squatting on a society, dipping its proboscis in the sweet nectar of wealth and power, and then when the nectar runs out, switching to sipping its blood.
Samwise Gamgee attends an engineering department lecture at Boeing and finds the boasting louder about the levels of political correctness they’ve achieved than about their technical accomplishments.
I ventured over to the school of engineering today to hear a lecture from Boeing’s Chief Technological Officer. Being in a “social science,” I was looking forward to some good old fashioned capitalist talk. You know, men who wear ties and not track pants, free bottled water, profits, markets, calculus, etc?
The talk was impressive in a sense. The CTO highlighted Boeing’s technological successes by showing us videos of the materials testing they had to endure to satisfy the FAA. They basically would bend the wings of a 787 about 25 feet from the tip on each side, making the plane virtually U shaped. They would land 787’s all around the world, in freezing cold, in 35-50 mph crosswinds, loaded down with a million pounds of steel. The tests were impressive enough to earn a spontaneous round of applause from the audience of mostly engineers and faculty. Plus, you have to admit, humans went from not being able to fly in 1903 to a jet engine by the 1930’s. That’s an extraordinary rate of growth!
But then came the truly impressive portion of the talk; environmental progressivism and diversity! According to the CTO, the “most important”... let me say that again … the MOST IMPORTANT objective technologically for Boeing is environmentally progressive operations. Large portions of research dollars are devoted to bio fuels that are never to be made using drinkable water or food sources. At this point, students began to look around and some rolled their eyes. Some fat bearded grad student laughed… I won’t say who. Words like “footprint,” “carbon reduction” and “community” were used.
Finally, the whole talk was capped off by something that looked like a University of Iowa brochure that had been shoddily photo shopped. A video was shown that included a virtual ethnic tapestry of diversity; people from all races laughing, pointing at diagrams and whatnot. I looked around the room and wondered if all the nerdy Asian and white guys jived with the whole “diversity” portion of the technological presentation.
Why is it that every company feels the need to pay lip service to climate change and diversity? I wanted to ask the fella, “did someone from the government make you say these things?” Was he jumping through hoops to keep various tax incentives or to keep the FAA and other regulatory agencies happy?
Civility and a non-hostile atmosphere are crucial, we have recently been advised by various representatives of the left, for young feminists to be able to participate equally in academic programs at major universities like Yale.
Does that mean that young conservatives are also entitled to civility? A couple of recent incidents of expression of hostility by left-wing faculty members raised the issue of equal civility toward conservatives, according to Jay Schalin of the Pope Center for Higher Education Policy.
[A] campus-wide email recruiting campaign by the University of Iowa College Republicans called “Conservative Coming Out Week” so enraged one professor that she responded with a mass email of her own saying “F—- You Republicans.”
The other incident occurred at Davidson College, a small, prestigious private school outside of Charlotte, North Carolina. This time it was a professor’s abusive letter to the editor of the student newspaper attacking a conservative student columnist. While it did not receive anywhere near the national attention that the Iowa episode did—possibly because no profanity was involved—it perhaps caused more of a stir on its own campus than did the Iowa episode.
The roots of this phenomenon most likely lie in the political imbalance on many campuses, which results in an atmosphere allowing left-wing professors to avoid criticism of even their most extreme views. Dissenting opinions, particularly by students fearful of lowered grades and ostracism, were once uncommon on campuses. But today there is a growing—and increasingly vocal—conservative student presence.
For the two professors involved, it appears that having their sacred political cows gored by swaggeringly aggressive conservatives on the hallowed ground of the Ivory Tower was too much to bear, and they erupted with a torrent of angry words.
The Iowa case readily illustrates these dynamics. Ellen Lewin, a women’s studies and anthropology professor who specializes in gender issues, claimed that the main reason for her fury was the College Republican’s expropriation of the term “coming out.” The Republicans’ wordplay was an obvious attempt to draw a parallel between the tendency of campus conservatives to hide their opinions from professors and fellow students and the tendency of many gays to remain in the “closet,” in both cases for fear of facing discrimination and hostility. ...
At Davidson, German professor Scott Denham’s fuse burnt more slowly than did Lewin’s, but he exploded much the same. For four years, senior Bobby DesPain was a political columnist for the student newspaper, The Davidsonian. His opinions were unabashedly conservative and often unpopular on the highly liberal campus. On March 31, his column claiming that President Obama lacked leadership appeared; it was the final straw for Denham, who fired off a letter that began by asking, “Is Bobby DesPain leaving soon? We, your loyal readers, sure hope so. He gives the intellectual climate here a bad reputation.”
He continued, “This last belch of his tops most of the others I’ve read over the years on the stench-o-meter of silliness. “ He concluded the largely ad hominem assault with “We’d hate for Davidson to attract more of this sort of illogical thinker, regardless of politics.” ...
The Davidson administration has declined to make any statement regarding the situation. At Iowa, university president Sally Mason issued a bland general statement about diversity and respect that avoided any specific mention of the incident.
Nor has either professor has received any sort of punishment—at least publicly. Both issued apologies that were notable for their absence of contrition. At Iowa, Lewin’s blamed “fresh outrages committed by Republicans in the government” for her profane missive.
Denham continued to attack even in his apology, blaming his “frustration and anger in public at what I find are poorly argued ideas on your part. Engaging those in detail wasn’t on my agenda, since I don’t think there is much to engage.” ...
Davidson philosophy professor Sean McKeever asked in a letter to The Davidsonian whether Denham’s “contempt” for DesPain “can be consistent with our chosen vocation as educators or with the College’s mission to develop humane instincts.”
Indeed, by reacting to students’ differing opinions with such unprofessional and acrimonious emotional outbursts, one must wonder about the offending professors’ fitness for their jobs and what kind of judgment they will use in campus business such as grading and serving on search, tenure, and promotion committees.
For instance, Denham is the committee chair for the Graduate Fellowships Committee. Since, according to the committee’s website, the committee “seeks to identify early in their Davidson careers students who are likely candidates for graduate fellowships and scholarships,” can he be expected to recruit conservative students for such honors? It would appear to be unlikely.
Given that conservative beliefs on campus seem to be on the ascendance, and given that some of America’s most extreme intellectuals have long found a sanctuary in the Ivory Tower (and have grown comfortable with winning one-sided debates), we can probably expect to see more incidents like those at Iowa and Davidson.
Megan McArdle contemplates yesterday’s New York Times academic bias against conservatives article. She does not pretend to have a solution, but thinks it would be nice if liberals actually recognized their own biases.
[L]iberals, who are usually quick to assume that underrepresentation represents some form of discrimination—structural or personal—suddenly become, as Haidt notes, fierce critics of the notion that numerical representation means anything. Moreover, they start generating explanations for the disparity that sound suspiciously like some old reactionary explaining that blacks don’t really want to go into management because they’re much happier without all the responsibility. Conservatives are too stupid to become academics; they aren’t open new ideas; they’re too aggressive and hierarchical; they don’t care about ideas, just money. In other words, it’s not our fault that they’re not worthy.
Besides, liberals suddenly argue, we shouldn’t look for every sub-population to mirror the composition of the population at large; just as Greeks gravitated towards diners in 1980s New York, and the small market business was dominated by Koreans, liberals are attracted to academia, and conservatives to, well, some other profession. ...
I don’t actually know many conservatives who want quotas for conservatives, either—I’m sure they’re out there, but even David Horowitz didn’t go that far. Most of the people I talk to think, like James Joyner, that this may be a problem without a solution. It is just my impression, but I think what conservatives want most of all is simply recognition that they are being shut out. It is a double indignity to be discriminated against, and then be told unctuously that your group’s underrepresentation is proof that almost none of you are as good as “us”. Haidt notes that his correspondence with conservative students (anonymously) “reminded him of closeted gay students in the 1980s”:
He quoted—anonymously—from their e-mails describing how they hid their feelings when colleagues made political small talk and jokes predicated on the assumption that everyone was a liberal. “I consider myself very middle-of-the-road politically: a social liberal but fiscal conservative. Nonetheless, I avoid the topic of politics around work,” one student wrote. “Given what I’ve read of the literature, I am certain any research I conducted in political psychology would provide contrary findings and, therefore, go unpublished. Although I think I could make a substantial contribution to the knowledge base, and would be excited to do so, I will not.”
Beyond that, mostly they would like academics to be conscious of the bias, and try to counter it where possible. As the quote above suggests, this isn’t just for the benefit of conservatives, either. Just as excluding blacks and women from academia by tacit agreement allowed for a certain amount of wrong-headed groupthink, so does excluding people with different political views. No, I’m not saying you have to hire a Young Earth Creationist to be a biology professor, but I don’t see why it should matter in a professor of Mathematics or Sociology.
Trying to be more conscious of one’s own bias, and even to attempt to work against it, should not be such a hard task for people as brilliant, open-minded, and committed to equality and social justice as I keep hearing that liberal academics are. So it doesn’t really seem like so much to ask.
The New York Times has an amusing item about the professional bias investigators of the modern academic world finding themselves confronted with powerful evidence of a very large beam in their own collective eye.
Discrimination is always high on the agenda at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology’s conference, where psychologists discuss their research on racial prejudice, homophobia, sexism, stereotype threat and unconscious bias against minorities. But the most talked-about speech at this year’s meeting, which ended Jan. 30, involved a new “outgroup.”
It was identified by Jonathan Haidt, a social psychologist at the University of Virginia who studies the intuitive foundations of morality and ideology. He polled his audience at the San Antonio Convention Center, starting by asking how many considered themselves politically liberal. A sea of hands appeared, and Dr. Haidt estimated that liberals made up 80 percent of the 1,000 psychologists in the ballroom. When he asked for centrists and libertarians, he spotted fewer than three dozen hands. And then, when he asked for conservatives, he counted a grand total of three.
“This is a statistically impossible lack of diversity,” Dr. Haidt concluded, noting polls showing that 40 percent of Americans are conservative and 20 percent are liberal. In his speech and in an interview, Dr. Haidt argued that social psychologists are a “tribal-moral community” united by “sacred values” that hinder research and damage their credibility — and blind them to the hostile climate they’ve created for non-liberals.
“Anywhere in the world that social psychologists see women or minorities underrepresented by a factor of two or three, our minds jump to discrimination as the explanation,” said Dr. Haidt, who called himself a longtime liberal turned centrist. “But when we find out that conservatives are underrepresented among us by a factor of more than 100, suddenly everyone finds it quite easy to generate alternate explanations.”
The social sciences are build around left-wing assumptions and perspectives, so it isn’t all that surprising to me that Sociology and Anthro departments are overwhelmingly populated by left-wing democrats, but lack of political diversity in American colleges and universities notoriously extends far beyond the social sciences. English and History departments are scarcely more diverse in their political representation.
Steven Hayward, at Power-Line, describes the well-known phenomenon of conservative fear and isolation on the modern university faculty.
I have a good friend—I won’t name out him here though—who is a tenured faculty member in a premier humanities department at a leading east coast university, and he’s . . . a conservative! How did he slip by the PC police? Simple: he kept his head down in graduate school and as a junior faculty member, practicing self-censorship and publishing boring journal articles that said little or nothing. When he finally got tenure review, he told his closest friend on the faculty, sotto voce, that “Actually I’m a Republican.” His faculty friend, similarly sotto voce, said, “Really? I’m a Republican, too!”
That’s the scandalous state of things in American universities today. Here and there—Hillsdale College, George Mason Law School, Ashland University come to mind—the administration is able to hire first rate conservative scholars at below market rates because they are actively discriminated against at probably 90 percent of American colleges and universities. Other universities will tolerate a token conservative, but having a second conservative in a department is beyond the pale.
A few weeks ago, I posted a link referred to in private email correspondence by a younger person from Yale, now teaching English at a major university. As is the custom, I mentioned his name as my source for the post in a final “hat tip.” A few hours later, I received an email from that university professor, thanking me for the courtesy, but asking me to remove his name from this blog for fear that the association with Never Yet Melted might possibly out his unacceptable personal political views and jeopardize his candidacy for tenure. Conservative faculty members all over America today live in real, and well-founded, fear of being victimized by discrimination on the basis of their political views.
Peter Wood, in the Chronicle of Higher Education, describes how a new kind of totalitarian stupidity is taking over America’s colleges. But the good news is it’s displacing the older equivalent stupidity: racial cant. In other words: Ebola isn’t all bad; it’s killing off the Plague bacillus.
The pursuit of diversity on campuses remains a highly visible priority, but it is being subtly demoted by enthusiasm for sustainability. As an ideology, diversity is running out of steam, while sustainability is on fire. This month hundreds of colleges will mark the eighth annual Campus Sustainability Day, with activities to include a Webcast offering “social-change strategies and tools” to help campuses lower carbon emissions. ...
Diversity and sustainability are the two most characteristic ideas of the modern academy. Diversity asks us to focus on group identity and personal affiliation, and it puts race at the center of the discussion. Sustainability asks us to focus on humanity’s use of natural resources, and it puts climate at the center of discussion. Outwardly, diversity and sustainability belong to separate narratives. They deal with different topics and might, in principle, have no more friction between them than typically exists between English departments and physics labs. Or between polar bears and tropical fish. But in fact, diversity and sustainability have a complicated, decades-old rivalry.
They vie, in effect, for the same conceptual space and the same passions. Both are about repairing the world; both invite exuberant commitment; both are moralistic; and most of all, both are encompassing ideas that crowd out other encompassing ideas. They also compete for the same financial resources.
Diversity and sustainability are also both second-wave movements. Diversity is second-wave affirmative action; sustainability is second-wave environmentalism. ...
One index of the rise of sustainability at the expense of diversity is the size of the institutional memberships of their professional groups. The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education now lists as members 800 colleges and universities in the United States. The National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education, by contrast, has about 150 member institutions.
Diversity is a story of a once-fresh ideology that swept through higher education in a spirit of triumph but that quickly seems to be losing its status as the sexiest ideology on campus. Diversiphiles would like to keep the adrenaline flowing, but it is hard. Freshmen now arrive on campus already having sucked on multicultural milkshakes from kindergarten to senior prom. Diversity for them is just the same ol’ same ol’. ...
I view this changing of the ideological guard with wariness. Diversity was pretty bad; sustainability may be even worse. Both movements subtract from the better purposes of higher education. Diversity authorizes double standards in admissions and hiring, breeds a campus culture of hypocrisy, mismatches students to educational opportunities, fosters ethnic resentments, elevates group identity over individual achievement, and trivializes the curriculum. Of course, those punishments were something that had to be accepted in the spirit of atoning for the original sin of racism.
But for its part, sustainability has the logic of a stampede. We all must run in the same direction for fear of some rumored and largely invisible threat. The real threat is the stampede itself. Sustainability numbers among its advocates some scrupulous scientists and quite a few sober facilities managers who simply want to trim utility bills. But in the main, sustainability is the triumph of hypothesis over evidence. Its scientific grounding is mostly a matter of models and extrapolations and appeals to authority. Evoking imminent and planet-destroying catastrophe, sustainatopians call for radical changes in economic arrangements and social patterns. Higher education is summoned to set aside whatever it is doing to help make this revolution in production, distribution, and consumption a reality. ...
The diversity movement has always been rife with contradictions. Seeking to promote racial equality, it evolved into a system that perpetuates inequalities. But whatever else it is, the diversity movement thirsts to be part of mainstream America. Its ultimate goal is to make diversity a principle of the same standing as freedom and equality in our national life. The sustainability movement, by contrast, has no such affection for the larger culture or loyalty to the American experiment. It dismisses the comforts of American life, including our political freedom, as unworthy extravagance. Sustainability summons us to a supposedly higher good. Personal security, national prosperity, and individual freedom may just have to go as we press on to our low-impact, carbon-free new order. In this sense, it goes beyond promising to redeem us from social iniquity to redeeming us from human nature itself.
Many campus adherents to sustainability may eventually tire of its puritanical preachiness and its unfulfilled prophecies, but for the moment, sustainability has cachet. Diversity, meanwhile, has aged into a static bureaucracy, and diversicrats increasingly spend their energy polishing the spoons. ...
In the end, I suspect that a quarter-century or so of hugging identity politics close and trying to feel perpetual shame about the nation’s racial past just proved too dreary. Sustainability may be based on a grimmer view of life in general, but it offers relief from that ever-expanding story of group oppression that had eventually become all that diversity had to offer. In an odd way, sustainability is liberating.
One can see in the case of Julea Ward versus Eastern Michigan University the way in which progressive academic institutions, professional organizations, and judges can all collaborate in defining educational requirements, professional standards, and the law in a such a fashion as to outlaw non-progressive opinion in the academic world as well as denying access to practice of professions to non-progressives.
A federal judge [on wednesday] dismissed a lawsuit brought against Eastern Michigan University by a master’s student who said she was removed from the school’s counseling program because of her strong religious views against homosexuality.
As part of her course work, Ward had refused to counsel homosexual clients, saying she believed homosexuality was morally wrong.
The university removed Ward from the counseling program after determining her actions violated university policy and the American Counseling Association (ACA) code of ethics.
Julea Ward sued the university in 2009, alleging violation of her First Amendment and religious rights.
On Monday, U.S. District Judge George Caram Steeh ruled in favor of the university and granted it summary judgment.
“The university had a rational basis for adopting the ACA Code of Ethics into its counseling program, not the least of which was the desire to offer an accredited program,” Steeh said in a 48-page opinion.
“Furthermore, the university had a rational basis for requiring its students to counsel clients without imposing their personal values.
“In the case of Ms. Ward, the university determined that she would never change her behavior and would consistently refuse to counsel clients on matters with which she was personally opposed due to her religious beliefs—including homosexual relationships.”
The judge said Ward’s “refusal to attempt learning to counsel all clients within their own value systems is a failure to complete an academic requirement of the program.”
Counselors are aware of their own values, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors and avoid imposing values that are inconsistent with counseling goals. Counselors respect the diversity of clients, trainees, and research participants.
A similar case is underway involving a student in the counseling program at Augusta State University in Georgia.