Universities Should Be as Concerned with Political as with Racial Diversity

Fisher v. University of Texas turns on whether Texas’s preferential treatment of certain minority groups is necessary to achieve “diversity.” Diversity in the academic world is now one of its central organizing principles, although diversity remains an instrumental good, not a good in itself. Racial and ethnic diversity, it is said, helps students learn about different points of view and prepares them to live and lead in a multiracial and multicultural society. This new orthodoxy creates a relentless focus on race and ethnicity in admissions, and at times even more so in faculty hiring.

A few days before Fisher was argued but not in connection with the case, Ezra Klein of Vox amassed data suggesting that the greatest cleavages society were not between racial and ethnic groups, but between members of different political parties. A high percentage of members of both parties, for instance, expressed horror at thought of a daughter or son marrying outside the faith. Large majorities of both parties would be likely to hire a member of their party over that of another.   As Ilya Somin has noted, such partisanship has troubling implications for democracy. Partisans will be more likely to dismiss opposing views reflexively, making beneficial decision making far less likely.

Thus,  assuming we accept diversity as essential in higher education, it would seem that we need at least as much political diversity as diversity with respect to race and ethnicity. Students would learn about different political and ideological viewpoints if exposed to those espoused by Republican as well as Democrats, by conservatives as well as liberals. Indeed, political diversity provides a more direct way of gaining access to different viewpoints than relying on race and ethnicity, which are at best proxies for viewpoints. Society as whole would benefit because citizens would learn not to reflexively dismiss viewpoints. .

Yet higher education has largely shown no interest in political or ideological diversity. 96 percent of campaign contributors at the faculty of the Ivy League donated to Obama in the last cycle. My own study of elite law school professors showed a striking imbalance in donations and a recent analysis of the views of law professors showed that they approximated on average that of a liberal democratic and were more ideologically one sided than any other sector of the legal profession.

I am not arguing here that diversity should in fact be the reigning ideal of higher education. Other organizing principles, like a single focus on merit, have their own claims. But if indeed diversity is as important as all our university presidents, including my own, endlessly repeat, political and ideological diversity is at least as important as diversity measured by race and ethnicity.

Because of their ideological imbalance, universities are in danger of themselves becoming partisan institutions. Universities can demonstrate their neutrality by applying their diversity principles to provide for political diversity as to racial and ethnic diversity.

John O. McGinnis

John O. McGinnis is the George C. Dix Professor in Constitutional Law at Northwestern University. His book Accelerating Democracy was published by Princeton University Press in 2012. McGinnis is also the coauthor with Mike Rappaport of Originalism and the Good Constitution published by Harvard University Press in 2013 . He is a graduate of Harvard College, Balliol College, Oxford, and Harvard Law School. He has published in leading law reviews, including the Harvard, Chicago, and Stanford Law Reviews and the Yale Law Journal, and in journals of opinion, including National Affairs and National Review.

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Comments

  1. Mark Pulliam says

    Universities and law schools favor every kind of diversity except the only one that matters–different viewpoints.

  2. Joseph Knippenberg says

    One of the ideas that should be up for grabs is the reductionism that is typically inherent in higher ed approaches to “diversity,” as if race, class, and gender are proxies for (that is, determinants of) what you think.

  3. says

    I’m in heated agreement with everything said here, but there is one difficulty: there aren’t enough qualified conservative academics around to bring significant viewpoint diversity to campuses. Put it this way: if the top 200 universities set out to add a conservative to each of their humanities and social science departments (and law schools), they’d run out after about 50 in most disciplines (less for sociology and English; a bit more perhaps for political science), and in some cases they’d be poaching conservatives from other, often lower-ranked- colleges, which would lead to little net increase in conservative presence overall. It is a difficult problem. Whenever a conservative undergraduate asks my advice about whether to go to graduate school, I hesitate, because the obstacles are so severe. Not sure what the remedies might be. I have a few ideas, but no world-beaters for this.

    • John O. McGinnisJohn O. McGinnis says

      Steve—I agree with you that the dearth of conservatives is a current problem, but part of the problem comes from ideological discrimination. Why bother to make a career in institutions that will be hostile to you? If there were a push for political diversity, there would be supply response, as economists would say, and more conservatives would invest in becoming academics. Moreover, the relatively few conservatives in academia today would be able to move up the academic hierarchy immediately and become more influential. All the best, John

      • Steve Hayward says

        Yes, quite possibly that is right. I have some ideas along those lines, and may be able to help push them along in a bit. Stay tuned.

      • nobody.really says

        Moreover, the relatively few conservatives in academia today would be able to move up the academic hierarchy immediately and become more influential.

        Even by the standards of economists, that’s some pretty raw self-interest talking!

    • gabe says

      Steve:

      (Love your work at Powerline, BTW)

      A question:

      Are not most students taught by graduate assistants and the number of classes actually taught by “top-tier” academics somewhat rare? This was my experience many years ago and is evidenced today by the recent push by some grad-asst’s to unionize.

      If this is still the case, is it not counterproductive to dissuade young conservative scholars to leave the academy?

      Just thinking out loud here. Would not the influx of such young conservatives provide, at a minimum, some counterpoint to the overwhelmingly leftist proselytizing that one finds on most campuses.

      Of course, it may be better to get conservatives into High School teaching positions on the theory that it is better to get ’em BEFORE they are completely infected.

      • djf says

        Gabe,

        Steve can speak for himself, but I think the answer to your idea is that (1) being an out-of-the-closet “conservative” (of any variety) can keep you out of graduate school in the first place, and (2) even for the few conservative kids who can sneak into graduate school, their job prospects once they get their degree are not good, and it is not really ethical to encourage them to slog through graduate school (running up debt and living in relative poverty) when, for the large majority of them, there is no future in academia.

        Dan

    • nobody.really says

      Whenever a conservative undergraduate asks my advice about whether to go to graduate school, I hesitate, because the obstacles are so severe.

      Have them read this.

      I didn’t say it would help. I said you should have them read it.

  4. nobody.really says

    I largely share McGinnis’s perspective here; it’s ironic that universities — institutions dedicated to ideas — would emphasize achieving diversity in so many variables other than ideas.

    And yet:

    1. Policies opposing disparate outcomes based on race, gender, or other demographic variables are based on the idea that the kinds of merit we care about should not correlate with these variables. Can we really make the same claims about a person’s ideas? For example, in the interest of diversity, should we insist that schools go out and recruit people opposing democracy, or advocating racism, slavery, cannibalism, and the divine right of kings? And if not, on what basis should we identify the kinds of ideologies that should be pursued?

    (I’m reminded of discussions during the same-sex marriage debate: Sure, racists are bigots – but my brand of discrimination is better because it’s conventional…!)

    2. Should we seek policies promoting greater ideological diversity in other segments of society? America’s richest families overwhelmingly favor Republicans; what policies should we adopt to remedy this? (Then again, I expect the racial disparity is even larger than the ideological ones, so if we’re worried about reducing segregation we might start there….)

    • gabe says

      Oh but no!!!!!

      america’s richest families overwhelmingly vote Democrat as do all of the richest Counties in the US.

      That of course does not lessen the force of your argument except for the implied assertion that rich = segregated communities (true) = republican segregationists (manifestly UNtrue).

      An example of narrative induced disregard of factual data?????

    • Independent says

      No, we already have people throughout the universities that actively advocate for: socialism; communism; affirmative action; that rights belong to identity groups rather than individuals; restriction of human rights such as free speech, due process, and self defense based on political affiliation; and the moral relativism that excuses slavery, cannibalism, and monarchies when they are being practiced by other cultures.

      What we need is to insist that schools recruit people who believe in universal standards of good and evil, and the civil rights of all individuals. Only then will we have a counterpoint to the corrosive leftist ideas that you mentioned.

  5. nobody.really says

    For future reference, would it be accurate for me to say that McGinnis advocates Affirmative Action for conservatives?

  6. libertarian jerry says

    It took the Progressives(socialists) over 80 years to capture Academia. Cultural Marxism,or the tactic of changing the culture to make collectivism more acceptable in order to achieve a socialist society,was the spearhead used by the Left to obtain control of what is taught in Academia. Especially among the “soft sciences.” This is what was called the “long march through the institutions.” In today’s world to reverse that trend is an almost impossible task.

    However,something has occurred over the last 20 years or so to change the balance of ideas now pontificated by the Left. That something is what is often called the “Gutenberg Press” of the 21st Century or,in other words,the Internet. The Internet reaches more people,every day,then all the college and university “soft science” departments combined by thousands fold. More and more people on all levels of society,not just a few captured people who attend college,are exposed to libertarian,free market,anti-state and freedom oriented sites that have grown tremendously over the last few years. At the stroke of a keypad in the privacy of your own home people of all stripes can garner up ideas that the Academic Left have tried to misrepresent,hide or obliterate. The upshot is that Americans don’t have to go to a university,or for that matter,watch the Mainstream Media or read the New York Times to get a well rounded perspective on the political and economic events of the day. Is it any wonder why the Left wants to either destroy or take control of Internet content? The Left doesn’t like competition in the world of ideas. In essence,who cares about the diversity of political thought in the universities when we have the Internet. The universities will wither away and become nothing but an anachronism of a failed philosophy.

  7. gabe says

    Jerry (and all of our other fine commenters):

    You may be on to something here.

    Often when I am ticked off at both the MSM and its critics, I think “Well, why not do something about it. Let’s buy out some major paper, media outlet (and unlike Rupert Murdoch’s empire caught in the need for ratings) and produce a clearly consistent conservative alternative.

    Well, why not organize an online (I think Kevin Hardwick referred to it as a Massively Online????). Judging by the intellectual horsepower and academic experience and credentials of the contributors to this site, it may be possible. Yes, there are many “conservative” courses available online – but there is no clear coordinated effort to a) enroll students, b) formalize a course of study, etc and to provide accreditation for the various courses of study.
    How difficult would this be? and given the elimination of such things as the “core curriculum” (apparently known only to those of us attending college in the 60′-70’s) it may not be necessary to maintain (and pay for) all the “silly” *STUDIES* departments.

    Just thinking out loud here. Can some coordination be made between the various organizations that currently offer some online instruction, could Claremont and Heritage, etc get together and provide instructors / instruction. Surely, some of our conservative cohorts can fund this.

    any thoughts?

  8. Jean Valmont says

    One of the problems that I have seen is not just the small number of conservatives but also that conservatives often isolate themselves in areas of study that are not particularly marketable these days. In my own field of political science, many conservative students focus on political philosophy, especially the work of conservative political theorists. This is natural for students with conservative views, but it places constraints on their admission to graduate school and, eventually, and the breadth of positions available to them in the job market. (The political philosophy job market is extremely tight.)

    We really need conservative scholars to engage subjects that are often left to those on the ideological left–e.g., race and ethnicity, income inequality, poverty, environmental politics and policy, etc.As it is we conservatives are leaving these important fields of study to insular ideological enclaves of scholars who paint a one-sided view of these important areas of inquiry. The research programs in these areas are tainted by the echo chamber created when only one set of views is represented in a scholarly community.

    • nobody.really says

      And education! Don’t forget that one.

      But is it true that conservative students don’t do research in these areas? Or could it be that conservative students DO conduct research in these areas — and as a result, abandon their conservative views?

      Is it a coincidence that the least doctrinaire Republicans running for President are governors — people who have not had the privilege of simply criticizing, but have had to actually wrestle with real-world problems?

      • gabe says

        Gimme a break, I mean, really!

        “and as a result, abandon their conservative views?”

        Clearly, this “abandonment” must be due to the clarity and the intellectual rigor of these “disciplines.”

        What in the world have you been sniffing that you usher forth with such a fantasy?

        Then again, is it any coincidence that those suffering from ( and advancing) microaggressions are those studying these disciplines? Da ya think there is a connection?

        Microaggressions affect only micro-people.

        Get thee into a social science course of study.

        • nobody.really says

          Gimme a break, I mean, really!

          Gabe, after all these years, surely you can refer to me by my first name?

          Clearly, this “abandonment” must be due to the clarity and the intellectual rigor of these “disciplines.”

          What in the world have you been sniffing that you usher forth with such a fantasy?

          I offer it as a hypothesis. I observe that governors, who must wrestle with practical problems, seem less doctrinaire than politicians who are free from such responsibilities. I’ll add that polls show that the public embraces plenty of conservative/libertarian ideas in the abstract (“Small government! Less government spending!”), but when asked about specific polices they abandon those abstract preferences (“Don’t cut this!” “Don’t cut that!”)

          Then again, is it any coincidence that those suffering from ( and advancing) microaggressions are those studying these disciplines? Da ya think there is a connection?

          Microaggressions affect only micro-people.

          Perhaps — if that’s the way you want to refer to black people.

          Black Americans suffer hypertension at rates that far exceed the rates of most Americans — and of most Africans. So how do you explain it?

          Maybe you’d get thee to any science course of study?

          • gabe says

            C’mon, nobody!

            Who (but you) introduced race into the discussion?

            And that is precisely my earlier point. You have some hidden (not completely hidden) narrative that seeps through. Here is an example once again. You introduce race as a battering ram against valid arguments. why? (For the record, my “micro” comment was more widely directed than you suppose).

            You also infer (wrongly) that the “studies” comment had to do with racial / ethnic studies – nope! – again, it was far broader than that and included sociology, psychology, etc.etc.

            Anyway, you disappoint me. clearly, you are more intelligent and capable in advancing an argument than this. Try harder – you can do better than inserting your narrative interpretation into other’s comments.

            Can it be said that “You need my (wrongly perceived) bias ON THAT WALL! You want it on that wall.

            anyway, take care
            gabe

  9. nobody.really says

    Then again, is it any coincidence that those suffering from ( and advancing) microaggressions are those studying these disciplines? Da ya think there is a connection?

    Microaggressions affect only micro-people.

    Perhaps — if that’s the way you want to refer to black people.

    Black Americans suffer hypertension at rates that far exceed the rates of most Americans — and of most Africans. So how do you explain it?

    Who (but you) introduced race into the discussion?

    Well, you did – though I suspect you didn’t mean it.

    I surmise that microagressions affect humans generally. We generally feel stress in response to slights. Thus, when you say that “Microaggressions affect only micro-people,” I surmise you regard all human beings as micro-people. And in my world, all human beings includes black human beings.

    In particular, targets of popular discrimination can be expected to experience more slights, and thus more stress as a result (independent of other sources of stress). Scientists examine the effects of discrimination on biological mechanisms involved in physical health through the collection of biomarker data. See, for example, here and here and here and here.

    Of course, microagressions need not be the sole hypothesis to explain the increased incidence of stress-related disease in black Americans (and especially male black Americans). Genetic factors might play a role. But it becomes difficult to explain this in terms of genetics when people who would seem to have similar genetic backgrounds but living in different circumstances do not exhibit the same health outcomes.

    So I repeat: How do you explain the increased incidence of stress-related disease among black Americans other than as a result of microagressions?

    Gabe, I don’t think you speak out of malice or indifference. But I do think you speak out of ignorance. Don’t we all? But when we know little about the problems besetting someone, it becomes easier to dismiss their complaints as mere special pleading and whining. When we come to appreciate how the constraints that govern their lives differ from the constraints that govern ours, these sweeping generalizations become much harder.
    Perhaps some grad students might feel the same way you do. And then they read a scholarly study or two. Maybe do their own research. And gradually, the broad generalizations that seem so plausible from a distance don’t seem so plausible when subject to closer examination.

    In fairness, it is not entirely clear to me that greater education would tend to make students more liberal rather than more conservative. But I suspect it may make them less libertarian. That’s simply the flip side of saying that libertarianism may attract adherents based on its powerful, elegant conceptual model – and as realities limit the application of that model, adherents may become disillusioned. This is certainly also true of liberals and conservatives – but I suspect less so. Because their models are less elegant, I suspect these philosophies attract fewer adherents on this basis, and thus have less to lose when then inevitably make compromises.

    • gabe says

      Come off it!

      I will not accept your rather quaint notion that you KNOW (and I do not) what was meant by my comments.
      It appears that your narrative is one in which you have appointed yourself “defender” of the weak. Good for you.

      I, on the other hand, believe AND expect that people will behave somewhat differently, i.e., from a position of inner strength rather than weakness caused by all these “micro-aggressions.” To those who would reply that “Well, some people due to X,Y, or Z cannot be strong” I would counter, Get over it! If you do not make the effort, you will always be weak and subject to the ill effects of microaggressions.” Is this what the left desires? – some would so assert – They need that weakness on the wall, so as to be seen by others (and themselves) as “protectors.”

      goodness gracious, nobody – are you really prepared to go there? -to go into a world where every simple utterance is liable to be censored because it may be a “microaggression.” And what does this do to one’s personal liberty – what does this do to the “marketplace of ideas? Look at the silliness on campus – newly created gender pronouns (zr, er, ???) in order to avoid microaggressions.
      I have a suggestion – why not simply reduce the language to a series of grunts and squeals – my 10 month old grandson does this. While it seems to work well for him (he is adorable – oops that may be a microaggression against “unattractive” or unadorable people), I suspect that quite soon thereafter , even the grunts would be suspect.

      For the record, I am neither ignorant nor unconcerned about the alleged “aggressions”, micro or otherwise against (not just) blacks, I simply do not believe that it is within their purview to parade their “pain” (imagined or otherwise) as a battering ram against any who would hold a different opinion.

      As I have said before:

      Blacks do not have a monopoly on suffering;
      NOR
      Do whites have a monopoly on racism.

      I expect fair and rational discourse and engagement. Intentionally limiting the field of discourse and the associated vocabulary to avoid the “un-identifiable” slights of one participant is clearly not the way to resolve issues or to raise a) the level of discussion or b) the players involved to a higher standard.

      What ever happened to mens rea? I suppose that given the AdminStates discarding of intent for many “crimes”, it could only leapfrog into everyday life – and it is now being used by the left to silence anyone who is not fully on board.

      Buddy, I ain’t on that wagon!!!

      take care, I mean that!
      gabe

      • nobody.really says

        I have a suggestion – why not simply reduce the language to a series of grunts and squeals – my 10 month old grandson does this. While it seems to work well for him (he is adorable – oops that may be a microaggression against “unattractive” or unadorable people), I suspect that quite soon thereafter , even the grunts would be suspect.

        1. I grew increasingly frustrated with my mother’s increasing broad hints that it was time for me to produce some grandchildren. These hints took the form of my mother constantly drawing my attention to any baby in the vicinity, and gushing about how cute the child was. So as the entire family gathered at a restaurant, she launched into yet another reverie about the baby seated at the table to our right. “YES, ALL BABIES ARE CUTE; I GET IT,” I responded. “ENOUGH ALREADY.”

        The table fell silent at my outburst, and remained so even as a new party seated themselves at the table to our left. My mother then quietly broke the silence to say, “I’m sorry, and I won’t bring the subject up again. But you have misunderstood me. I never meant to suggest such a thing. In fact, I think we’d all agree that that’s obviously false, if you … take … my … meaning.” And as she spoke, she subtly gestured with her head toward the party now seated to our left, and their infant.

        It was the coldest thing I’d ever heard my mom say. The table erupted with laughter, startling everyone in the place.

        2. Gabe, I’m sorry to provoke you. I don’t mean to put you on the defensive. Again, I don’t think you’ve spoken out of malice or indifference. And I concur that blacks do not have a monopoly on suffering or virtue. In particular, I share the view that blacks have no immunity to racism.

        That said, I sense that you had I have sincere difference of opinion on many matters. I don’t take offense that you differ from me; I find the differences fascinating. So I’m going to elaborate on them for a bit. (And for anyone who can keep reading until the end, there’s even some policy modeling there.)

        3. As an initial matter, the First Amendment defends our right to speak, so you needn’t worry about any formal sanctions. You needn’t worry about mens rea because you needn’t worry about any criminal prosecutions. I hope this puts your mind at ease.

        4. But the mere fact that the First Amendment defends our right to say things does not mean that speech has no consequence. The First Amendment defends my right to scream NIGGER, or deny the Holocaust, or act like a boor in trying to attract a woman’s attention. I trust you’d acknowledge that many people would find this this kind of speech painful to endure.

        This poses an interesting dynamic for libertarians/economists: We like to imagine that we enjoy bubbles of autonomy, and we forbid anyone from intruding upon our autonomy except with our consent (e.g., by contract). But we also know that, in myriad ways, this idea provides an incomplete model of our experience. In particular, we know that we have the power to hurt others with our words, and they have the power to hurt us. We’re trapped in a position of mutual vulnerability.

        5. What happens in such an environment? Often, even when we do not impose formal legal sanctions on people who hurt others, we have informal social sanctions. That is, we develop social norms that teach people not to behave in certain ways, and we enforce those norms by ostracizing people who do.

        6. Yes, when people “parade their pain,” I often experience uncomfortable feelings of sympathy, even guilt. I would prefer that people not do this gratuitously. Indeed, Saturday Night Live’s “Debbie Downer” sketches illustrate how social norms discourage people from needlessly dwelling on negative emotions: The character who engages in this behavior becomes the object of the audience’s derision.

        (That said, sometimes the content of the message warrants the pain it will cause the audience. Every civil rights movement entails some amount of “parading of pain.” MLK Jr’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” was a masterpiece of it.)

        7. However, all of this is somewhat beside the point of microaggressions, which generally refers to messages we send inadvertently that provoke people. The lesson of microagressions is as follows:

        A. Certain behaviors can foreseeably provoke people’s autonomic nervous system.

        B. A constant stream of triggers makes people uncomfortable. It depletes their energy, making them less capable of exercising will and resisting automatic behaviors. (Studies show that stressed people are more likely to choose unhealthy foods or over-spend their budget, even when they know better at a conscious level.) And it has adverse health consequences.

        C. No, you can’t simply ignore it, outgrow it, or rise above it. Yes, some people prove more vulnerable to triggers than others. Yes, some disciplines (meditation/visualization, physical exercise) can reduce the harmful consequences. Yes, drugs help. But no practice short of sensory deprivation has been show to eliminate the stress reflex completely.

        D. Most of all, these harms are mostly avoidable because the triggers are mostly inadverant. If we can become more aware of how our incidental behavior triggers stress in others, we can modify our behavior accordingly.

        And how do we remind people to modify their unintentional behavior? Generally with informal social sanctions: A frown. A disapproving word.

        E. Ok, a minority of people intentionally engage in microagressions. Think of Mean Girls or Dangerous Liaisons: “The marquis never opens his mouth without first carefully calculating the maximum damage he can do…..” More concretely, the Pick Up Artist movement studies how providing women with a stream of subtle negative feedback (“negging”) can keep them in a diminished psychological state, making them more willing to demonstrate their worth – in particular, by having sex.

        These people are jerks. But their speech is just as protected as anyone else’s. So the remedy is the same: informal sanctions such as disapproval and ostracizing.

        8. On remedies: Admittedly, no one likes to be on the receiving end of these sanctions; we all want to be liked. And no one likes to change their own customary way of behaving; it makes us self-conscious. My in-laws don’t like constantly having to catch themselves when they start talking about “colored people” again. But, like it or not, the discomfort they feel in having to alter their speech pattern is less than the discomfort they feel when they slip back into talking about “colored people.”

        When people upbraid me for a thoughtless remark, it stings. And it causes me to second-guess myself, which isn’t fun, either. But I try to take comfort in the idea that the disapproval is not simply imposing a cost, but rather re-allocating an externalized cost to the cost-causer.

        Of course, most people who have grown accustomed to externalizing their costs will fail to see the beauty in remedying this unfair dynamic. But … (cue music)….

        Only we few, we happy few, we band of policy-minded brothers can see the moral beauty
        of making worldly interest subordinate to sense of duty!
        Only we would give up willingly a personal ambition
        to rescue others thrillingly from their unfortunate position!

        Anyway, Good Kwanza, brother!

        • gabe says

          Nobody!!

          I rather liked and welcomed the comments.

          Do not fret – I do not take any of this personally. I actually respect both your intellect and writing style.

          Yes we do differ on a number of policy matters and if I may, I will try to reduce them to one simple comparison. I. like many fair minded (and not all are so) conservatives believe that it is better to expect people to act from strength rather than weakness – thus, I am somewhat less receptive to the whole issue of microaggressions. As you say, there are some rather hurtful words (and persons) – I avoid them as do most people. But it is not really a burden at all for most of us to avoid these words. I suspect you are not giving your associates sufficient credit (but I could be wrong).
          No what is troublesome is the effect of all these proclamations of “micro-hurts, etc” – it has quite often been used to simply silence opposing opinion. This to my mind is intolerable.

          As for real slights, I do not know of any person who has not experienced them. The secret is “How to respond (or not) to them.” Clearly the use of that disgusting racial pejorative calls for a different response than an imagined slight because “Darth Vader” is black (see Melissa ?Perry). This is evidence of derangement.

          Viewed from a different perspective, then one may say that I am responding to the “micro-aggression” of the unhinged left where Darth Vader is an aggression. (I am being only half sarcastic here). When one pronounces that commonly used words are now verboten / insulting, etc this may be construed as an attack upon common sense. ??Are we now to relegate commonly used pronouns (she, he, etc) to the dustbin of history? because some unfortunate soul is conflicted about who or what they are.?

          why would it not be better to educate those who feel offended that a0 no harm was intended and b) perhaps, you are being a little too sensitive. It has been said that Americans have the longest childhood. I do not see anything in this whole micro-aggression business that would lead me to conclude that such an assertion is wrong. On the contrary, we seem to be further extending it.

          That is the crux of my objection! No racial / ethnic animosity or alternatively, defensiveness.

          As for you – I do thoroughly enjoy our little exchanges. Although, I think your sense of humor is even more warped than mine (that is a good thing)

          Merry Christmas
          gabe

          • gabe says

            Nobody:

            Here is a humorous take on my objections:

            “Subject: Festive Season Greetings

            Festive Greetings

            Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, our best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress, non-addictive, gender neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasions and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all.

            In addition, please also accept our best wishes for a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2016, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make this country great (not to imply that this country is necessarily greater than any other country or area of choice), and without regard to the race, creed, colour, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual orientation of the wishers.

            This wish is limited to the customary and usual good tidings for a period of one year, or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first. ‘Holiday’ is not intended to, nor shall it be considered, limited to the usual Judeo-Christian celebrations or observances, or to such activities of any organized or ad hoc religious community, group, individual or belief (or lack thereof).

            Note: By accepting this greeting, you are accepting these terms. This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal, and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher at any time, for any reason or for no reason at all. This greeting is freely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. This greeting implies no promise by the wisher actually to implement any of the wishes for the wisher her/himself or others, or responsibility for the consequences which may arise from the implementation or non-implementation of it.

            This greeting is void where prohibited by law.”

            Enjoy the holidays (and sit in the family room and watch football instead of being verbally assaulted. It works for me).

  10. chris says

    I’d be content with just having Scientific Integrity Boards that scrutinize scholarship for fraud or bias and hands out punishments for those found guilty.

  11. Ludwig Richter says

    I think the problem is bigger than just leftist bias at universities. Our entire society is imposing and perpetuating McCarthyite codes of speech and behavior, except this time it is the majority that is being effectively silenced and cowered into submission, that is being convinced to hand over the reins of power to vocal power brokers operating on behalf of various resentful minority groups, along with their elite white sympathizers. All of this raises the question that was described in this article (quoting D.J. Taylor): “how far can we tolerate something that, if tolerated, will cease to tolerate us?” https://medium.com/@Zoobahtov/enslaved-by-history-parasite-privilege-and-the-silenced-majority-98eeea6b6151#.vxm3lyr15

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