February 8, 2011

"If a group circles around sacred values, they will evolve into a tribal-moral community."

"They’ll embrace science whenever it supports their sacred values, but they’ll ditch it or distort it as soon as it threatens a sacred value."

Says University of Virginia social psychologist Jonathan Haidt, quoted in this John Tierney piece in the NYT, which gets pretty good if you read past the first half. The first half invites mockery for being so head-slappingly obvious. Glenn Reynolds already wrote just about exactly the post I was about to write. I might have gone even shorter, though. "Duh" is shorter than "Indeed." So, yeah, conservatives are so radically underrepresented in academia that it can't be mere chance.

But let's skip into the middle of the piece and think about the mechanisms of exclusion, these "sacred values" that displace scientific thinking. Haidt notes the example of Daniel Patrick Moynihan, back in 1965, who "warned about the rise of unmarried parenthood and welfare dependency among blacks" and "was shunned by many of his colleagues at Harvard as racist."
Similarly, Larry Summers, then president of Harvard, was ostracized in 2005 for wondering publicly whether the preponderance of male professors in some top math and science departments might be due partly to the larger variance in I.Q. scores among men (meaning there are more men at the very high and very low ends). “This was not a permissible hypothesis,” Dr. Haidt said. “It blamed the victims rather than the powerful. The outrage ultimately led to his resignation. We psychologists should have been outraged by the outrage. We should have defended his right to think freely.”
According to Tierney, Haidt's audience of social psychologists "seemed refreshingly receptive to his argument."
A few even endorsed his call for a new affirmative-action goal: a membership that’s 10 percent conservative by 2020. 
Affirmative action? Why not just stop giving affirmative action to liberals? I think that would get you way above the 10% quota... if you could do it. Ironically, talking "affirmative action" is inherently off-putting to conservatives. It's more of those sacred values from the tribal-moral community that ward off outsiders.

***

Here's Haidt on Bloggingheads, back in 2008, talking about the social psychology of conservatives and liberals. And here's Haidt's "Your Morals" website project about morality and political ideology.

104 comments:

PaulV said...

I think that both academic incest and dislike of subject matter are both factors. Like sex, it is hard to fake religious beliefs of liberals.

SteveR said...

Not sure I care much about what a "social psychologist" thinks about anything in their role as a "social psychologist".

shoutingthomas said...

The academic world is not the only place where liberal orthodoxy is enforced with a vengeance.

The world of the arts is even worse.

Far left views are assumed. Grants are handed out based on political patronage. Museum and art gallery exhibits are reserved for the faithful.

If you don't subscribe to the views of the far left, you'll have a hell of a time being seen or heard.

Gordon Freece said...

If they are so terrified of dissent that they hire only their friends, let them. The field is a joke. It's basket weaving. If any hard quantitative work were being done, or even could be done in that field, people with brains would take an interest, and it wouldn't be dominated by lefties. Who cares what shape their little mudpies are? It's like complaining that Barbie's Dreamhouse is only available in pink.

Well, it's our concern if they're doing it with our money. And at state institutions, they are.

But still, I'd much rather have these worthless parasites engaging in ad-hoc informal ideological enforcement than have the state get involved in formal ideological enforcement. The latter is a vastly greater evil.

If they voluntarily "police" themselves, they'll just hire a few tame fake conservatives who generate pseudo-conservative-sounding justifications for left-wing ideas. Like the recent NPR magazine-size interview stunt. Naturally, if "policing themselves" is what turns them on, they can do as they like with their own field of "study", but I wouldn't waste any breath encouraging it.

There's no remedy that isn't far worse than the disease. Name and shame these tax-eating creeps and move on. Nothing more you can do about it.

MadisonMan said...

I was wondering if you would link to this today.

It's not clear to me what Social Psychologists do. But I particularly liked this paragraph:

“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.”



As they say, Sunshine is the best disinfectant.

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)


All I can say is that you KKKonservatives do it too! Check out any Media Matters/HuffPo/Kos daily blog and you will see overwhelming evidence of the LACK of diversity at KKKonservative Rallies or organizations! Just how many blind, lesbian, Mulatto Touch-Typists does Caribou Barbie have on her staff? Does the RNC have a Drum Circle or a Giant Papier Mache Puppet group? No, so I say, “Hypocrites!” I say, “Healthcare Professional Heal Thyself, thru the use of Complementary and Alternative Medicines, Crystals or the use of Mega-Technic Modern Medicine, all of which should be provided thru a National Health Service!”

Duncan said...

Dr. Haidt -- who started studying Liberals vs Conservatives -- recently added Libertarians and determined that we are the most masculine (or autistic):

"Understanding Libertarian Morality: The Psychological Roots of an Individualist Ideology"

Results. Figure 10 shows that libertarians score the lowest of any group on empathizing, and the highest on systemizing. In fact, libertarians are the only group that scored higher on systemizing than on empathizing.

Interpretation. Research by Baron-Cohen (2004) has shown that relatively high systemizing and low empathizing scores are characteristic of the male brain, with very extreme scores indicating autism. We might say that liberals have the most “feminine” cognitive style, and libertarians have the most “masculine.”

PatCA said...

I agree with the article wholeheartedly, and I do think that lots of people within the system would welcome an opening up. Few are so far left that they don't see the absurdity of fighting yesterday's already won battles and calling it research.

My main objection to federal grants that support higher ed is that these grants have to be based on something, and so they are all based on correcting this alleged inequality due to gender and race. It doesn't exist any more! Give it up! But that's where the money is, as Willie Sutton said. The federal money is thus funding this death spiral of academia.

Econophile said...

"Why not just stop giving affirmative action to liberals?"

Yes, that's what people *should* be asking.

I've been in Madison since my spouse started as faculty at UW a couple years ago, and I'd like to thank you and your bloggong, Ann, for reminding me that there are at least a few reasoned minds in academia.

We've been amazed at the ubiquity of the mindless political commentary. I suppose it's been more boring than frustrating.

I was leery from the beginning, to be fair, but it's much worse than I had expected: It's all entirely facile and unimaginative. (A related lesson being that many academics are simply not that bright.) It's been a real disappointment...

Hagar said...

Did Larry Summers wonder about "variance in I.Q. scores" (SAT?), or different kinds of intelligence?

James said...

I bet Tierney endures some shunning at the Times.

roesch-voltaire said...

I like some of professor Haidt's work and have my students sample his tests to see what conclusions they reach. While many find his disgust examples fairly accurate, they also question his divisions of what is considered liberal or conservative, as a number of other critics have also claimed. I do not know if how one vote always affects one's research, although given the number of secular humanist who have made major contributions to science vs both Christian and Muslim fundamentalist who have not,there does seem to be some connection.

edutcher said...

As Gordon notes, it boils down to the fact the Lefties are afraid of conflicting views, so they build little fortresses where they're safe from them. They have found they can't win against the Conservatives on a level playing field, so they do everything they can to banish any competition.

They forget Clasuewitz - Fortresses are the tombs of armies.

bagoh20 said...

The modern ploy is simply making up the science to fit. Consensus and all that.

Paul Zrimsek said...

"If he must dabble in science, keep him on economics and sociology; don't let him get away from that invaluable 'real life'. But the best of all is to let him read no science but to give him a grand general idea that he knows it all and that everything he happens to have picked up in casual talk and reading is 'the results of modern investigation'." --C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

MadisonMan said...

I could not watch the bloggingheads you linked to. The guy from Yale's voice was real nails on the chalkboard to me. The only way it could've been worse would have been if he had a Minnysoda accent, eh?

knox said...

There's some weird photoshopping going on in those illustrations.

Hagar said...

More specifically, I think Summers was speculating about the distribution of intelligence levels of the kind that is needed in a particular field being different between the genders.

Fen said...

Shared values.

slarrow said...

"The first half invites mockery for being so head-slappingly obvious."

Oh, cut Tierney some slack. After all, he is writing for the audience of the New York Times.

J said...

With a pic of Krauthammer featured prominently, not to say your love of the Scalia-led SC gang, you have no business speaking of morality, values, or religion, AA.

Judaism's not a religion anyway. It's a racket (granted, so are many in the Christendom racket. btw CS Lewis was not quite a Tory)

Scott M said...

Judaism's not a religion anyway. It's a racket (granted, so are many in the Christendom racket. btw CS Lewis was not quite a Tory)

Ah...the tolerance of the left is indeed a paragon to the rest of us.

kcom said...

"Ah...the tolerance of the left is indeed a paragon to the rest of us."

Actually, some earlier posts of J's might lead one to wonder if he's a skinhead.

Scott M said...

Actually, some earlier posts of J's might lead one to wonder if he's a skinhead.

Oh...

Ah...the tolerance of the left's skinheads are indeed a paragon to the rest of us.

There...fixed.

shoutingthomas said...

With a pic of Krauthammer featured prominently, not to say your love of the Scalia-led SC gang, you have no business speaking of morality, values, or religion, AA.

How many more posts today, J, before you triumphantly declare victory and get the hell out of here?

J said...

Except Im not a "leftist" as you think Scottstein--not even a registered
democrat, pendejo. As with most teabaggers your little pundit-shaped mind is just incapable of Reason. Sort of the SarahPalinitus virus.

J said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Henry said...

I seriously wonder if we'd be better off in no one became a social psychologist. What if we equalled out liberal and conservative social psychologists at zero? Would the culture be any less vibrant or productive?

Joe said...

The Crypto Jew)

Except Im not a "leftist" as you think Scottstein--not even a registered
democrat, pendejo. As with most teabaggers your little pundit-shaped mind is just incapable of Reason. Sort of the SarahPalinitus virus.

I’d say it’s safe to say that J has made the “ignore” list with Ankur…What’s the point of talking with them? In J’s case it’s obvious there can be no meeting of minds, as he denies his opponents any “mind” at all. I guess he’s the “Insult Troll” who hopes to generate a fire storm of comment and vitriol in order to make him/herself feel more “real.”

Ankur said...

I think what is interesting is how conservatives can totally identify when they are being discriminated against in soft, subtle, hard to pin down ways - and this discrimination is worth noticing, and eliminating.

And yet, they have difficulty imagining that similar discriminations occur in other groups as well, like women, and sometimes in other races.

Discrimination in ANY form is wrong. But how would you guys like if it someone made a marketplace of ideas based arguments about discrimination towards conservatives?

The other day, in the discussion about different Ph.D rates in different advanced studies groups, I made a comment about how my past female classmates in physics who are now professors encounter discrimination - subtle forms of it, where they have to work harder to prove themselves.

Immediately, I was told that I shouldn't take their complaints of discrimination at face value and I was told - "How can ANYONE keep them back if they are good at what they do?"

Well, I ask you the same question regarding conservatives in academia.

The fact is, discrimination can and does occur. And if you can see the subtle elusive ways in which conservatives are discriminated against, you should be able to see analogous ways in which women in hard sciences are also discriminated against.

Henry said...

Actually, some earlier posts of J's might lead one to wonder if he's a skinhead.

I think "bigot" is good enough.

Paddy O said...

You have a picture of Krauthammer? I don't see it, let alone see it prominently. Is it an ad?

Personally, I think this study, and its seeming acceptance, is a great sign. A little sun coming through the clouds.

Because while many, especially those borderline autistic libertarians, might not appreciate social psychology, it does have a voice and influence; especially in terms of leadership and organizational development--especially in education.

The academic standards of much (if not all) of the humanities, and thus their reputations, are hurt by obvious political and social bias posing as rigorous research.

Burgeoning self-awareness is not a bad thing.

Scott M said...

I guess he’s the “Insult Troll” who hopes to generate a fire storm of comment and vitriol in order to make him/herself feel more “real."

Just a out-of-date hatebot, then. Probably pre-XP. That makes perfect sense. Bad programming too.

Ankur said...

And yes, I DO think there should be some form of affirmative action wherein more conservatives are hired in some academic departments at universities. It will be better for academia and it will be better for their disciplines.

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)

The other day, in the discussion about different Ph.D rates in different advanced studies groups, I made a comment about how my past female classmates in physics who are now professors encounter discrimination - subtle forms of it, where they have to work harder to prove themselves.

Immediately, I was told that I shouldn't take their complaints of discrimination at face value and I was told - "How can ANYONE keep them back if they are good at what they do?"

Well, I ask you the same question regarding conservatives in academia.

And up you “Pop”, Ankur…well again, for me it’s the hypocrisy…I don’t care if there are 1 or 100 or 1,000 Conservatives at the Conclave, the point was that IF this were anything other than a group of Liberals, Liberals THEMSELVES would point to the disparate numbers as “proof” of Discrimination, of the Invidious kind. As it is a Liberal Group, they produce lots of “reasons” why, in their case, this is not so.

My Alma Mater had the Sociology Dept. produce a “study” that “demonstrated” that womyn earned only 80% of a man’s salary on campus…”Ah-HAH! Institutional Sexism” The school IMMEDIATELY appointed a task force to study this “problem” and to produce “remedies.” Then the Economics Dept. looked at the same data and concluded, that WITHIN a Department, men and womyn, of equal time and publication, MADE EQUAL AMOUNTS OF MONEY. The disparate impact was that womyn were in lower paying fields, Sociology, Political Science, the men, in the study, were in higher paying fields, Engineering and Medicine and the like….Of course the task force and its recommendations never went away…

Ankur said...

Yes, of COURSE there is hypocrisy. There is no doubt about that.

And there is discrimination against conservatives in certain academic disciplines..there is no doubt about that either.

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)

And yes, I DO think there should be some form of affirmative action wherein more conservatives are hired in some academic departments at universities. It will be better for academia and it will be better for their disciplines.


It’s a HORRID idea. It puts Conservatives into the Blame Game/Identity Politics Game, like anyone else…an anathema to Conservative ideals…it’s merely Ankur’s way of silencing the critics, as it were, now CONSERVATIVES have skin in the “Snout Count Game” and now it can’t be ended, because it’s critics have been co-opted! Then Conservatives will hear the same cr@p, S/he’s only here becaue s/he’s an ’Affirmative Action hire’, s/he’s a REPUBLICAN.” And then we can argue about Libertarian/Social Conservatism, just like African-Americans squabble over “Light-skinned/dark-skinned African-Americans”…NO Thanks.

J said...

12:13: wrong again, Scottie the neo con. I said something quite definite, and verifiable. Go back reread it slowly, maybe yll get it.

Actually post XP. But that's neither here nor there. Like your little business major mind, infected with GlennBeckococcus. Fox--its not just a network, it's a disease.

Ankur said...

Well, fine. Don't call it affirmative action. Call it whatever the heck you want.

But I still think it is a good idea for more conservative ideas to be represented in fields like sociology, anthropology, psychology and the like.

Paddy O said...

"they have difficulty imagining that similar discriminations occur in other groups as well, like women, and sometimes in other races."

Ankur, I don't think conservatives as a whole would say discrimination never occurs. And would certainly never argue that discrimination has never occurred in the groups that you list.

The discussion now (as opposed to 30 years ago) involves the methods which should be mandated by the government and acknowledgment of the many, many advances which have been made. For instance, while there is, no doubt, sexism in academic to some extent, the amount of women vs. men in graduation rates and college attendance suggests that sweeping measures to get more women in college is not only not helpful, it's actually promoting the now majority class.

With racism, we have gone from institutional, government mandated segregation to now immense opportunities available in education for those who seek it. Being a minority opens up a significant amount of more scholarships and such.

So, while there may still be racism and bias, there are different issues now to be addressed. It seems to me that many liberals are still in the mindset of the 1960s, while a lot of conservatives are equally against racism and such, but are more focused on the specific issues of this day and age, and want to address the specific problems that hinder taking advantage of the opportunities available.

Many conservatives, the ones I align myself with, seek particular answers to particular problems, while the seeming liberal trend is to seek general answers to general problems. The goal of general response was great when there was widespread opposition to all women and all minorities. But that's not the case now. There are not institutional barriers. Just the opposite even, as most job postings (especially in academia) assert they are especially seeking well qualified women and minority applicants.

Conservatives, I think, would like the apparent barriers dropped, so that their work can be judged by the merits. That there is an entrenched barrier, even if not official, is pretty much the whole point of Haidt's research.

J said...

Miss Joe, with your usual sentimental stupid blather.

You're not just incapable of reasoned debate, you're as tasteless as like a Seinfeld marathon.

ricpic said...

If males predominate in the ranks of math professors who exactly are the victims? Of course there are no victims. The point being that as long as the language of liberals is used to define an issue, any issue -- they win.

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)

And there is discrimination against conservatives in certain academic disciplines..there is no doubt about that either.


And Affirmative Action ain’t the solution…it wasn’t for Blacks, Asian, Pacific Islanders, Hispanics/Latinos, or Womyn…The answer is, for Conservatives interested in the area(s) to be “Twice as good as their Liberal Competitors” or not worry about the composition of the Sociology Department, and simply not attend or fund it.

Scott M said...

It’s a HORRID idea. It puts Conservatives into the Blame Game/Identity Politics Game, like anyone else…an anathema to Conservative ideals

Agreed to wholeheartedly (despite Joe's completely lack of knowledge about all things zobielike and emp-ish). Were it not for the ineffectual way the right tried to combat the tribal trend in higher education, we might have already seen them hoisted on their own whatsits. I believe we're watching that in the here and now writ global.

Ankur said...

Paddy, you remember the discussion from the other day.

As soon as I brought up the example of my old classmates who are now academicians in physics and math - I was told I shouldn't take their experiences of discrimination at face value, and that it must be confirmation bias.

So yes, I do think there are conservatives in this very blog who want to deny that there is discrimination against women in certain fields of academia.

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)

But I still think it is a good idea for more conservative ideas to be represented in fields like sociology, anthropology, psychology and the like.


Well then HIRE, them….or don’t…..just be prepared to suffer the consequences, social isolation and then de-funding….some in the Liberal Arts are lamenting the fact that by isolating itself and becoming ever more incestuous and outrĂ© that the Liberal Arts have little support in the wider community and so are facing cut-backs.

Scott M said...

I do think there are conservatives in this very blog who want to deny that there is discrimination against women in certain fields of academia.

That would be as ridiculous as denying there is discrimination against men.

Ankur said...

Good - so we agree in essence, if not in our approaches towards fixing it. That is a good start.

Now, how could one go about encouraging more conservative people in social psychology?

Similarly, how could one go about encouraging more liberal people in business school?

The comment that Haidt makes about students in social studies afraid of expressing their opinions despite wanting to contribute - well, I had a similar experience in B-school, where I couldn't really express my thoughts regarding environmental practises of business and such, simply because everyone else just assumed that all that was basically nonsense.

J said...

Uh oh time for another re run of neo-con paranoia re Affirmative Action.

There appear to be some non WASPs, and femmes in Collegeville! Some from.....the wrong side of the tracks.

Ruins the frathouse par-tay ,

The Crack Emcee said...

Ahem. What “sacred values” are we talking about here? (Interesting choice of words there, huh?)

May I suggest "NewAge"?

Paddy O said...

Paddy, you remember the discussion from the other day.

Indeed, I do, and I even added some comments that confirmed what you said. A friend of mine, a woman professor in engineering/materials science, with a PhD in physics has expressed frustration with it too.

The difference nowadays, however, is that while she encounters it, she was also given tenure not too long ago, has been published in some of the top journals, and has been honored in other ways. Indeed, on the other side, she has noted that she can't keep up with all the invitations she gets for panels and other projects, because such always want to have a woman as part. So, she gets opportunities some men don't.

Meaning there's a back and forth. She encounters sexism, but her work and her quality research means that, ultimately, she can reach her goals and achievements.

And honestly, given the immense amount of competition, rivalry, and such in every academic field, I do think some (though not all) apparent bias is really something that every burgeoning academic experiences.

And every academic, especially at the top of the fields, has to work their ass off to get any semblance of notice or approval. The question is if this work will be inherently dismissed because of the skin tone or gender of the researcher.

The next question is then what should be done. Does addressing particular problems with institutional solutions solve the issue at hand?

Conservatives suggest it doesn't, liberals may not think it does, but at least it's doing something.

Ankur said...

Well, if doing nothing to encourage conservative voices in academia is fine with conservatives....then why do so many of them whine about "liberal academia" all the time?

If someone is complaining about something, and yet doesn't want to do something about that - that just doesn't add up in my mind.

All I am saying is: If you have issues with the amount of conservative people/ideas in academia - what would you like to do to fix it? Or would you just rather let things be as they are, so you can have a convenient whipping post whenever you choose to lash out?

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)




It simply amazes me how a Conservative can be so right about so many things and so utterly wrong about the Zombie Menace and EMP….

As to Ankur, it’s a “Mugs Game” to deny INDIVIDUAL cases of ANYTHING…e.g., “No Whites/Blacks/Men/Womyn are racist/sexist” Because some always will be, what we can’t do is base Public Policy on the fact somewhere SomeONE is being discriminatory…sorry, Public Policy must be in the aggregate, otherwise “gub’mint” will have the writ to be in your back pocket forever and on anything….

J said...

Having the young-Einstein-to be complete a semester of some Latinate language, along with his Vectors-for-Drone Technology...not a bad idea. Many a nerd can input physics or astronomical data into some massive server, but doesn't know ser from estar. Si se puede

Scott M said...

"doing nothing" is a far cry from "affirmative action". There seems to be plenty of room between those two things for incentivizing behavior toward a career field.

Ankur said...

Oh, stop being a crybaby for once, Joe. Your shtick is getting old.

Try and answer the direct question I have posed.

If lack of conservatives in academia is a problem, suggest actionable ways of fixing it.

Or don't if you prefer to keep whining ad infinitum just so you have something to whine about.

Ankur said...

And we have more hemming and hawing - this time from Scott.

As I said before, don't call it affirmative action. Don't even DO any affirmative action. But please, come up with ideas.

We can talk all day long about the space between doing nothing and affirmative action. But talking about that space doesn't help any in trying to fill it.

Sofa King said...

But I still think it is a good idea for more conservative ideas to be represented in fields like sociology, anthropology, psychology and the like.

Agreed, but I'm mystified why you think this requires affirmative actions. Are liberal professors really *incapable* of fairly teaching conservative ideas? If so, they are terrible professors and we have a more fundamental problem with academia that will not be solved by hiring different terrible professors.

And for the record, I was *not* denying that discrimination against women can or does take place in academia, I was questioning the value of your vague anecdote as evidence of such, just as I question the evidence in this case. After all, do we know how many conservative attempted to become social science professors? Do we know why they are not interested? Can we confirm that a far lower percentage of conservative candidates are granted PhDs, or are hired or tenured at *disproportionately* low rates? Might it not simply be the case that social psychology is liberal *by doctrine,* so that few conservatives are interested in it? And *if* this concerns them, perhaps the solution is to examine their doctrine and moderate themselves, rather than try harder to sell a liberal doctrine to conservatives?

After all, the shortage of conservatives in academia is not limited to this field. Perhaps there is something specific about academia that conservatives dislike. (Its archaic, rigid institutionalization and tendency to top-down centralism might be a good starting point.)

Scott M said...

Fine. Figure out a way to prevent the professional persecution of conservatives on university departments and let things work themselves out. Right now there is far too much incentive, or rather, no disincentive, to discriminate based on opinions alone. I'm not an academic, but this behavior, and the resulting angst, was obvious amongst the profs in my poly sci dept.

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)

If lack of conservatives in academia is a problem, suggest actionable ways of fixing it.


It’s NOT a problem…I just say IGNORE the Sociology Departments and its pronouncements….Further, IF you are a Conservative adopt the Black model in the 1950’s and 1960’s…be Twice as good as your competitor….IF the Sociology Dept. wants relevance, it’ll pay attention to the desires of its audience or go the way of Phrenology…

shoutingthomas said...

If lack of conservatives in academia is a problem, suggest actionable ways of fixing it.

The answer is simple.

The liberal arts in academia must cease using viewpoint discrimination as a hiring mechanism.

Academia is violating the law. Apply the law.

Quotas and "affirmative action" are not the answer.

Perhaps lawsuits are. The problem with lawsuits is that they antagonize the very people you're trying to convince to hire you.

Liberal academia is demanding that candidates for jobs agree with its liberal viewpoint. That's what's causing this imbalance. Liberals are violating the law. The problem is that anybody who points this out before they have a job, is cutting his own throat.

Scott M said...

And we have more hemming and hawing

I neither hem (unless it's Rabbit Songs) nor haw. I will occasionally herrumph, but only when Hedley says the Gov demands it.

Trooper York said...

I would like to hear what
MadisonMan,Phd has to say about this very important subject.

Ankur said...

Sofa King: "Agreed, but I'm mystified why you think this requires affirmative actions"

I don't necessary think affirmative action is the way. I was only using that phrase loosely without stopping to consider that it has many connotations beyond that. So, yeah, lets take that phrase away from the discussion, please. I take my use of that phrase back.

MadisonMan said...

I commented at 10:10 (WINS -- as in Green Bay WINS the Super Bowl!) already.

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)




There are SOME judicial remedies for the worst Progressive ideas, FIRE files suit against idiotic Speech Codes all the time, and is in the process of trying to hold INDIVIDUAL ADMINISTRATORS responsible for violations of the First Amendment, perpetrated on their watches, AFTER they have been informed they are violating the 1st. The fellow who filed, suit, IIRC, because a university wouldn’t hire him BECAUSE of his Fundamentalist Beliefs, is another…Having suits brought on departments of Social Work that demand that their students adhere to a belief in “Social Justice” or expel those that do not meet the beliefs of the department are good ideas. Mostly, cutting money and letting the Social Sciences die of inattention and lack of funding is the best, PLUS pointing out a la Alinsky the hypocrisy of the Sociology Department, plus a lack of money might just force Sociologists to re-examine their belief structures….

J said...

Liberal academia is demanding that candidates for jobs agree with its liberal viewpoint.


Just whiny sentimental crap, like all of your posts, Tommy. Substantiate for one.

Besides, the usual leftist academic's typically a marxist (or maoist in some areas), not just a "liberal". Though he's typically outnumbered by the crypto-nazis on campus--e.g. WASP and/or jewish frat boys.

Hitler/Stalin dialectic, Tommy.

Ankur said...

well, shoutingthomas came up with the first actionable idea I've heard today: lawsuits.

May not be the most elegant way, but it works.

J said...

Your comments, Joe. That's not writing.

That s fairly mediocre Kazoo playing.

Lincolntf said...

"May not be the most elegant way, but it works."

The only reason lawsuits may be necessary is that integrity in Academia is conspicuously absent.

Myself, I think criminal prosecutions of those who defraud tuition-payers by promising education and delivering backward partisan propaganda would be a better next step.

Paddy O said...

"If lack of conservatives in academia is a problem, suggest actionable ways of fixing it."

Ankur, I think you're running into exactly the problem that makes the divide between liberal and conservative (at least the conservative around here).

You see a problem and promote affirmative action. And by this I didn't read Affirmative Action, which all too often is boiled down to quotas, I read it as "actions designed to promote a positive goal". Which seems to be how Sofa King and others are responding to it.

That's the liberal approach, if there is a problem then steps must be designed to surpass the problem.

The conservative mindset, so well illustrated in the recent comments, doesn't see it like that. Rather than affirmative actions, conservatives say "take down the barriers." So, conservatives want to remove the negative and preventing barriers, so as to allow free action to take place. They don't want steps to reach out to the goal, they want only the apparent walls to be removed.

In other words, Liberals ask "What should we do?" While Conservatives ask "What is in the way?" Liberals want to take affirmative steps to promote. Conservatives want to remove obstructing barriers to allow free action.

So, Haidt's study suggests there are indeed walls. What are these walls? It is not institutional problem, per se, but a mindset issue with hiring committees and department insularity.

Conservatives, then, don't want paternalistic nurturing. They want to awaken the broader academic fields to its biases and for those fields to no longer show those biases. In a way, this isn't calling for new policies at all, but is really just holding academic fields to their own supposed standards.

Because the political leaning is not simply a social distortion, it does, especially in the humanities, radically affect the scholarship of the various fields.

Paddy O said...

There are SOME judicial remedies for the worst Progressive ideas, FIRE files suit against idiotic Speech Codes all the time, and is in the process of trying to hold INDIVIDUAL ADMINISTRATORS responsible for violations of the First Amendment, perpetrated on their watches, AFTER they have been informed they are violating the 1st.

This totally goes back to what Althouse was talking about the other day. That there has been a radical shift in what is Progressive and what is Conservative. In the 70s, the youth were all fired up against the conservative administrators for not allowing free speech. But now, it is the liberal administrators who FIRE has to litigate against. It Liberal academic who is now all about a university police state and restricting speech.

So, by all means litigate where there are clear violations of the law. Not as much for the sake of the conservatives, but for those sad ol' Progressives who have become that which they, in their youth, despised.

Sofa King said...

well, shoutingthomas came up with the first actionable idea I've heard today: lawsuits.

Actually, I did, obliquely: reform the institution of Academia. The whole "University" concept needs to be questioned. Frankly, it is a relic of the early industrial revolution and should be embarrassed to have changed almost not at all even while everything else in society has.

Scott M said...

Not as much for the sake of the conservatives, but for those sad ol' Progressives who have become that which they, in their youth, despised.

Well, it's far easier to blow up trains than to make them run on time. When you're already suffering from severe prosperity guilt syndrome and self-centeredness, once you hold the reins of power and things aren't going like you thought they would, the only option you know of is to brat up and act like the immature baby you are. Or, you pass restrictive speech codes. Same/same.

Alex said...

Fuck sue the shinola out of the academia. Sue them into the fucking ground.

Hoosier Daddy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ankur said...

"In the 70s, the youth were all fired up against the conservative administrators for not allowing free speech"

So, is it fair to assume that all the free speech advocates on this site were liberals back in the 70s?

Ankur said...

Also, paddy - I think it is very easy to talk about "removing barriers", but unconsciously held barriers aren't easy to remove without SOME sort of proactive action.

For example, I do believe that school desegregation has been instrumental in minimizing racism in this country..especially among the generation that grew up in desegregated schools.

On the other hand, discrimination against gay people has gone down a lot as well, and THAT has happened organically, without too much policy intervention.

One could argue that that is a better model to follow. But the argument against THAT is that gayness as an attribute isn't as evident as skin color, and thus the discrimination was never AS in your face, enabling secretly gay people of previous generations to achieve the same amount of prosperity that all other americans did - and that prosperity was then leveraged to "market" gay acceptance in larger society organically, without governmental policies.

Anyway, I don't want to get into oppression olympics here, because there is always someone who is worse/better off.

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)

"In the 70s, the youth were all fired up against the conservative administrators for not allowing free speech"

So, is it fair to assume that all the free speech advocates on this site were liberals back in the 70s?



In the Administration of Colleges, many of them are…within the Departments they are lineal heirs of the 1960’s New Left Radicals.

MadisonMan said...

If you point this out to Academicians -- the obvious imbalance in their ranks -- and ask why they're throwing away/ignoring half the viewpoints across the politician spectrum, I wonder what they say.

I say it depends on the field. For a science field, I'd say an answer of What do politics have to do with the facts of geology is a perfectly valid reply. Are there fewer Conservatives vs. Liberals in "Hard" Science fields? I think there are fewer conservatives, but I don't know because in my field we don't spend a lot of time talking politics.

It can be hard to be hired if you run counter to accepted paradigms, however, because a hiring committee will wonder how you can get funding and how you can publish if you hold out-of-the-mainstream views. Whether those worries are surmountable and therefore can be ignored by the hiring committee probably cannot be generalized.

Ankur said...

" because a hiring committee will wonder how you can get funding and how you can publish if you hold out-of-the-mainstream views." - and THIS is the inherent problem in academida, this concern about funding.

The moment you worry about funding, your ability to open your mind disappears. But given the technologies and constrains we work within today, the "lone brilliant inventor working in his lab self funded" is also unrealistic.

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)

say it depends on the field. For a science field, I'd say an answer of What do politics have to do with the facts of geology is a perfectly valid reply. Are there fewer Conservatives vs. Liberals in "Hard" Science fields? I think there are fewer conservatives, but I don't know because in my field we don't spend a lot of time talking politics.


In the case of Geology, Physics and the like being politically Liberal is just a part of thezeitgeist…. Read The Cuckoo’s Egg for an eye-opening politics of Berkeley’s Computer Science Department. It was just ASSUMED that the KGB was better than the CIA…but it is also much less relevant to tenure, because as Madman says it’s about accepting your Science’s Paradigms or exploring their anomalies. In the Liberal Arts, the Politics ARE the Paradigm….

Paddy O said...

unconsciously held barriers aren't easy to remove without SOME sort of proactive action.

I agree with this. But I'm, admittedly, not as libertarian as others around here.

The key for me is apply proactive responses when and only when we know exactly what the actual problem is.

Rather than carpet-bombing social restitution answers, I prefer more surgical strikes.

And your point about desegregation of schools and anti-gay balance is a good one. Not only because they show the different types of responses, but also the difference in the eras.

What's interesting about the desegregation issue now, and going back to Althouse's observation of the switch of political roles, is how so many liberals are against school vouchers and school choices. Having made an institutional policy for addressing institutional racism, the entrenched positions can't accept individual choices about particular education failings, resulting in, oftentimes, resegregated schools that are separate but not equal to higher achieving schools.

Paddy O said...

In the case of Geology, Physics and the like being politically Liberal is just a part of thezeitgeist….

I wonder if there is also different kinds of liberals for different kinds of reasons in different departments.

A liberal in, say, sociology, I'll bet, is different than a liberal in biology. The sociologist wants proactive, progressive solutions to broad social problems.

The biologist doesn't like the perceived influence apparently Fundamentalist Christians have on the Republicans.

Though, both are united in their interest in possible Federal funding for their research.

Ankur said...

Paddy, I think you hit upon a crucial issue there.

I was a liberal in physics, now I am a liberal in business. And my reasons for being liberal are almost exactly because I don't like the influence of any kind of theology in policy. If there was a liberal to libertarian spectrum, I would lean slightly libertarian - in that I prefer less intrusion rather than more intrusion. At the same time, I don't believe letting things continue unchanged is good policy either. So, yes, I like surgical strikes rather than hammer (& sickle) blows.

Sofa King said...

For example, I do believe that school desegregation has been instrumental in minimizing racism in this country..especially among the generation that grew up in desegregated schools.

May I ask why you believe that? Is there any evidence that shows a causal effect of that nature? More importantly, is there any evidence that it has had a positive effect on the education of children? Should we blithely accept the premise that the function of schools is less to education children than to cure society's ills?

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)

More importantly, is there any evidence that it has had a positive effect on the education of children? Should we blithely accept the premise that the function of schools is less to education children than to cure society's ills?


The two, Desegregation and Education, are NOT Mutually Exclusive and Yes, Desegregation has or was intended to lead to a better education, for BLACK CHILDREN. “Separate, but Equal” really meant Separate and SUB-STANDARD. To the extent that Desegregation led to better schools and Education for Blacks, this is a Win-Win….

That Inner City Schools are awful H3ll-Holes is NOT the result of Desegregation, but of other Liberal nostrums and the power of Teachers Unions.

madAsHell said...

I wanna be Provost for Diversity and Climate Change at a large, state supported University.

WooHoOOOH!! Gravy train!!

kcom said...

Crack Emcee: May I suggest "NewAge"?

Indeed, we might fault you if you didn't.

Revenant said...

If the problem is "sacred values" displacing "scientific thinking", why are conservatives more common in hard sciences and engineering than they are in soft sciences?

You would expect physics to have fewer conservatives than psychologists; instead, the reverse is true.

Sofa King said...

“Separate, but Equal” really meant Separate and SUB-STANDARD.

This was not clearly demonstrated in the judicial proceedings. In Brown, the school district presented evidence that they allocated equal amounts per-pupil, had roughly identical facilities, staff qualifications, and so on. The court disregarded all of this, ruling that "separate" was per se unequal, basically because white people wouldn't perceive it as equal. Notice that this "unequal stigma" argument has *NOTHING WHATSOEVER* to do with whether or not our children is *learning.* There was no evidence that the education was *actually* substandard anywhere but in the minds of bigots!

Sofa King said...

I should add, so that is why I think it is absolutely fair to question whether Brown actually did improve education for black children, or if it only made people believe it did. Because that was the focus of the court's decision: belief.

Econophile said...

The biologist doesn't like the perceived influence apparently Fundamentalist Christians have on the Republicans.

Certainly the case--and you're correct in suggesting the biologist is mistaken in assuming the religious beliefs and political ideals coincide. There are about 6 fundamentalists out there, so this is just laziness on his part.

I'd also add that the biologist depends on a lot of Federal funding and as such might wrongly assume that anyone opposed this research money entitlement is "anti-science."

Ralph L said...

Althouse, you've misspelt Haidt's name in your tag.

There was no evidence that the education was *actually* substandard anywhere but in the minds of bigots!
Are you claiming that black schools were as academically rigorous as white ones nationally, or just in that district?

Sofa King said...

Are you claiming that black schools were as academically rigorous as white ones nationally, or just in that district?

The evidence in that case pertained to that district only, but I make no particular claim as to its veracity, except to point out the the Court deemed it absolutely irrelevant.

Perhaps you are working up to an argument that the district was lying, it was different in other places, etc., and the Court had to address that. But they didn't, you see, they didn't address that at all. The claimed it was IRRELEVANT.

Pogo said...

""Why not just stop giving affirmative action to liberals?"

My son is looking at a private University here in MN after hearing he wasn't diverse enough to attend UW Madison. He was accepted at 3 other schools, but Madison wants a better skin color or a transgendered student over the same old white boy crap outta Minnesota.

The favored groups?
"...ethnic or racial minorities, first-generation college students, individuals with a physical disability, and/or lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgendered students..."

I told him to get used to the government and state institutions telling him to go to hell, and that should affect where he chooses to live and work.

And that moving to some other nation must become a distinct possibility for him, much as I hate to say it.

Pogo said...

I also told him to start self-designating as 'black', much as we discovered at least one drop in his past, on his mother's side.

roesch-voltaire said...

It is amazing to me how sure everybody is about this issue. This last week I have been part of a group that has had to listen to five candidates, who are applying for jobs, present papers and then suffer through dinners etc. with department faculty who make the judgements. I have little idea whether they are conservative or liberal, but I have a good idea about their scholarly chops and how well they can explain their approaches to the material.

William said...

The tacit argument here is that the liberal overbalance in academia is bad for conservatives. I would argue just the opposite. It is very much in the self interest of liberal academics to recruit conservatives. The electorate is conservative, and they elect conservative legislators who just now are especially interested in cutting expenses. Their eyes will naturally fall upon universities and the menagerie of strange ideas that blossom there. Universities would do well to have a few intellectuals on staff who are well thought of by conservatives and who can present a reasonable case on behalf of the university.. Some general questions after reading the Tierney article and the comments sections in the Times: It is said that liberals self select for the humanities and social sciences. Why is that true now and not prior to the sixties? The evolution of taste is from sweet to sour and in politics from liberal to conservative. Why don't faculty members become more conservative as they age? The liberal view is that disbelief in evolution is evidence of stupidity. Why cannot the same be said for those who think that Marxism was the science of economics and/or history and that Freud was a scientist of the mind?

John Lynch said...

I'll just put this out there as another hypothesis:

Psychology is a science, does have insight into human behavior, and the liberal view of human nature is congruent with how humans actually behave. In short, the liberals are right.

If that's true, then the lack of intellectual diversity is perfectly OK. We don't have to make equal time for people who have been proven wrong. Physicists might be screaming liberals but no one cares because politics has little bearing on subatomic particles. We don't have affirmative action for Newtonian mechanics.

If we admit that social and political views are important in social sciences, then maybe they aren't sciences, or maybe science is just another field of human endeavor and we're kidding ourselves in pretending it's objective.

It seems to me that Haidt's critique is actually very postmodern and subjective, which is why he was as warmly received as he was. At least, that's what his audience is taking from it.

The Crack Emcee said...

Shouting Thomas,

The academic world is not the only place where liberal orthodoxy is enforced with a vengeance.

Emphasis on vengeance.

Revenant said...

I'll just put this out there as another hypothesis: Psychology is a science, does have insight into human behavior, and the liberal view of human nature is congruent with how humans actually behave.

That hypothesis is easily dismissed -- there is no scientific theory of human nature accepted by the majority of psychologists. Ergo it is impossible for a "liberal view of human nature" (whatever that means) to be both (a) correct and (b) accepted by most psychologists.

Scott M said...

Psychology is a science, does have insight into human behavior, and the liberal view of human nature is congruent with how humans actually behave. In short, the liberals are right.

Hysterical. Thanks for that, John. I always like to start the day with a good cup o' java and a morning show.

Paddy O said...

Psychology is a science, does have insight into human behavior

Maybe humans are, in reality, more complex than subatomic particles. Imagine if subatomic particles not only had to follow the laws of physics, but also were conscious, decision making bits of matter. That would flub up all kinds of experiments.

"Jim, the proton is a little on edge this morning because he's hungry and his team lost the game."

Psychology does have a lot of contributions, but also a lot of failings.

Not unlike medicine in general.

It is amazing to me how sure everybody is about this issue.

Well, that is sort of the point of Haidt's presentation. There's significant bias and trends which seem to demand some reflection and analysis. That everyone in the room probably has sought through similar meetings as you, with the result being a sharply tilted faculty population suggests there's some underlying issue they can't identify but which is present.