|This cartoon comes from PolitiFake.org|
Bernie Fans Attack a Hillary-Shirt-Wearing Attendee to the DNC Convention
This video proves two things:
- Going undercover carries inherent risks (not all of which are related to being found out by the subjects being investigated)
- Some Bernie fans feel so disenfranchised by the establishment Democrats that they willingly define a classic “intolerant liberal” for Hillary-supporting liberals
Although James O’Keefe made his investigatory chops by exposing and lampooning liberal sacred cows, this incident (first reported on the Gateway Pundit) involves essentially just involves someone wearing a “Hillary” shirt in the middle of Bernie supporters.
My first question after viewing this was “Now will Hillary be called out for the obsene attacks by her staff on Sanders?
Forget Free Speech at the University of Houston
Obviously, the University of Houston feels that it has seceded from the USA and can violate its student’s free speech rights (as evidenced when the Daily Caller reported on 1 August 2016 that a UH student was suspended for tweeting “All Lives Matter.”) Additionally, the Daily Caller notes:
“A student government leader at the University of Houston was suspended for 50 days and ordered to attend a diversity seminar after she criticized the Black Lives Matter movement online.
Shortly after the July 7 shooting in Dallas that killed five officers, Rohini Sethi went on Facebook and opined ‘Forget #BlackLivesMatter; more like AllLivesMatter.’ The statement was later deleted, but only after numerous UH students denounced it as incredibly offensive or even hateful.
Instead of going through that arduous process, the student senate approved a measure giving SGA president Shane Smith exceptional one-time powers to punish Sethi as he saw fit. In response, Smith released a letter Friday outlining a set of five punishments for Sethi. The punishments include:
- A 50-day suspension from SGA starting August 1. This suspension will be unpaid (she currently receives a stipend of about $700 a month).
- A requirement to attend a three-day diversity workshop in mid-August.
- A requirement to attend three ‘UH cultural events’ each month from September through March, excluding December.
- An order to write a ‘letter of reflection’ about how her harmful actions have impacted SGA and the UH student body
- An order to put on a public presentation Sept. 28 detailing ‘the knowledge she has gained about cultural issues facing our society.’
If Sethi refuses or fails any of the requirements, she will be kicked out of SGA entirely.”
Since I got my Master of Science from part of the UH system, this is not surprising. However, it is saddening and makes me wonder how much I want to continue any support for such a system.
The New York Times and Liberal Intolerance
In a 7 May 2016 editorial piece in the New York Times. Nicholas Kristof put forward a missive on liberal intolerance:
“We progressives believe in diversity, and we want women, blacks, Latinos, gays and Muslims at the table — er, so long as they aren’ t conservatives.
Universities are the bedrock of progressive values, but the one kind of diversity that universities disregard is ideological and religious. Were fine with people who don’t look like us, as long as they think like us.
O.K., that’s a little harsh. But consider George Yancey, a sociologist who is black and evangelical.
‘Outside of academia I faced more problems as a black,’ he told me. ‘But inside academia I face more problems as a Christian, and it is not even close.’
Ive been thinking about this because on Facebook recently I wondered aloud whether universities stigmatize conservatives and undermine intellectual diversity. The scornful reaction from my fellow liberals proved the point.
‘Much of the conservative worldview consists of ideas that are known empirically to be false,’ said Carmi.
‘The truth has a liberal slant,’ wrote Michelle.
‘Why stop there?’ asked Steven. ‘How about we make faculties more diverse by hiring idiots?’
To me, the conversation illuminated primarily liberal arrogance — the implication that conservatives don’t have anything significant to add to the discussion. My Facebook followers have incredible compassion for war victims in South Sudan, for kids who have been trafficked, even for abused chickens, but no obvious empathy for conservative scholars facing discrimination.
The stakes involve not just fairness to conservatives or evangelical Christians, not just whether progressives will be true to their own values, not just the benefits that come from diversity (and diversity of thought is arguably among the most important kinds), but also the quality of education itself. When perspectives are unrepresented in discussions, when some kinds of thinkers arent at the table, classrooms become echo chambers rather than sounding boards — and we all lose.
Four studies found that the proportion of professors in the humanities who are Republicans ranges between 6 and 11 percent, and in the social sciences between 7 and 9 percent.
Conservatives can be spotted in the sciences and in economics, but they are virtually an endangered species in fields like anthropology, sociology, history and literature. One study found that only 2 percent of English professors are Republicans (although a large share are independents).
In contrast, some 18 percent of social scientists say they are Marxist. So its easier to find a Marxist in some disciplines than a Republican.
The scarcity of conservatives seems driven in part by discrimination. One peer-reviewed study found that one-third of social psychologists admitted that if choosing between two equally qualified job candidates, they would be inclined to discriminate against the more conservative candidate.
‘Of course there are biases against evangelicals on campuses,’ notes Jonathan L. Walton, the Plummer Professor of Christian Morals at Harvard. Walton, a black evangelical, adds that the condescension toward evangelicals echoes the patronizing attitude toward racial minorities: ‘The same arguments I hear people make about evangelicals sound so familiar to the ways people often describe folk of color, i.e. politically unsophisticated, lacking education, angry, bitter, emotional, poor.’
A study published in The American Journal of Political Science underscored how powerful political bias can be. In an experiment, Democrats and Republicans were asked to choose a scholarship winner from among (fictitious) finalists, with the experiment tweaked so that applicants sometimes included the president of the Democratic or Republican club, while varying the credentials and race of each. Four-fifths of Democrats and Republicans alike chose a student of their own party to win a scholarship, and discrimination against people of the other party was much greater than discrimination based on race.
It’s also liberal poppycock that there aren’t smart conservatives or evangelicals. Richard Posner is a more-or-less conservative who is the most cited legal scholar of all time. With her experience and intellect, Condoleezza Rice would enhance any political science department. Francis Collins is an evangelical Christian and famed geneticist who has led the Human Genome Project and the National Institutes of Health. And if you’re saying that conservatives may be tolerable, but evangelical Christians aren’t — well, are you really saying you would have discriminated against the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.?
Jonathan Haidt, a centrist social psychologist at New York University, cites data suggesting that the share of conservatives in academia has plunged, and he has started a website, Heterodox Academy, to champion ideological diversity on campuses.
‘Universities are unlike other institutions in that they absolutely require that people challenge each other so that the truth can emerge from limited, biased, flawed individuals,’ he says. ‘If they lose intellectual diversity, or if they develop norms of ‘safety’ that trump challenge, they die. And this is what has been happening since the 1990s.’ “
The New York Times and Liberal Blind Spot
In a 29 May 2016 follow-up to the original editorial piece. Nicholas Kristof suggested the existence of blind spots in the liberal view (focusing on three areas — as highlighted below):
“Classic liberalism exalted tolerance, reflected in a line often (and probably wrongly) attributed to Voltaire: ‘I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.’
On university campuses, that is sometimes updated to: ‘I disapprove of what you say, so shut up.’
As I see it, we are hypocritical: We welcome people who don’t look like us, as long as they think like us.
It’s rare for a column to inspire widespread agreement, but that one led to a consensus: Almost every liberal agreed that I was dead wrong.
‘You don’t diversify with idiots,’ asserted the reader comment on The Times’s website that was most recommended by readers (1,099 of them). Another: Conservatives ‘are narrow-minded and are sure they have the right answers.’
Finally, this one recommended by readers: ‘I am grossly disappointed in you for this essay, Mr. Kristof. You have spent so much time in troubled places seemingly calling out misogyny and bigotry. And yet here you are, scolding and shaming progressives for not mindlessly accepting patriarchy, misogyny, complementarianism, and hateful, hateful bigotry against the LGBTQ community into the academy.’
Mixed in here are legitimate issues. I don’t think that a university should hire a nincompoop who disputes evolution, or a racist who preaches inequality. But as I see it, the bigger problem is not that conservatives are infiltrating social science departments to spread hatred, but rather that liberals have turned departments into enclaves of ideological homogeneity.
Sure, there are dumb or dogmatic conservatives, just as there are dumb and dogmatic liberals. So let’s avoid those who are dumb and dogmatic, without using politics or faith as a shorthand for mental acuity.
On campuses at this point, illiberalism is led by liberals. The knee-jerk impulse to protest campus speakers from the right has grown so much that even Democrats like Madeleine Albright, the first female secretary of state, have been targeted.
Obviously, the challenges faced by conservatives are not the same as those faced by blacks, reflecting centuries of discrimination that continues today. I’ve often written about unconscious bias and about how many ‘whites just don’t get it.’ But liberals claim to be champions of inclusiveness — so why, in the academic turf that we control, aren’t we ourselves more inclusive? If we are alert to bias in other domains, why don’t we tackle our own liberal blind spot?
First, stereotyping and discrimination are wrong, whether against gays or Muslims, or against conservatives or evangelicals. We shouldn’t define one as bigotry and the other as enlightenment.
When a survey finds that more than half of academics in some fields would discriminate against a job seeker who they learned was an evangelical, that feels to me like bigotry.
Second, there’s abundant evidence of the benefits of diversity. Bringing in members of minorities is not an act of charity but a way of strengthening an organization. Yet universities suffer a sickly sameness: Four studies have found that at most only about one professor in 10 in the humanities or social sciences is a Republican.
I’ve often denounced conservative fearmongering about Muslims and refugees, and the liberal hostility toward evangelicals seems rooted in a similar insularity. Surveys show that Americans have negative views of Muslims when they don’t know any; I suspect many liberals disdain evangelicals in part because they don’t have any evangelical friends.
Sure, achieving diversity is a frustrating process, but it enriches organizations and improves decision-making. So let’s aim for ideological as well as ethnic diversity.
Third, when scholars cluster on the left end of the spectrum, they marginalize themselves. We desperately need academics like sociologists and anthropologists influencing American public policy on issues like poverty, yet when they are in an outer-left orbit, their wisdom often goes untapped.
In contrast, economists remain influential. I wonder if that isn’t partly because there is a critical mass of Republican economists who battle the Democratic economists and thus tether the discipline to the American mainstream.
I’ve had scores of earnest conversations with scholars on these issues. Many make the point that there simply aren’t many conservative social scientists available to hire. That’s true. The self-selection is also understandable: If I were on the right, I’d be wary of pursuing an academic career (conservatives repeatedly described to me being belittled on campuses and suffering what in other contexts are called micro-aggressions).
To improve diversity, universities have tried to increase the numbers of minority scholars in the pipeline, in part by being more welcoming. Maybe a starting point to bolster ideological diversity would likewise be to signal that conservatives are not second-class citizens on campuses: We liberals should have the self-confidence to believe that our values can triumph in a fair contest in the marketplace of ideas.
There are no quick solutions to the ideological homogeneity on campuses, but shouldn’t we at least acknowledge that this is a shortcoming, rather than celebrate our sameness?
Can’t we be a bit more self-aware when we dismiss conservatives as so cocky and narrow-minded that they should be excluded from large swaths of higher education?
Cocky? Narrow-minded? I suggest that we look in the mirror.”
Recipients of Christ’s Love
Can Be Illiberal Sharers of God’s Blessings
Even though God told us to love our neighbor and to love our enemy, following the directives of the rabbis of Jesus’ time is often quite more to our tastes (since we would rather “love our neighbors and hate our enemies”).
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:43-48 NASB)
Of course, anyone who has appetites is subject to the desire to misuse those appetites. And let’s admit the desire to be right (or the misdirected desire to be in control) can tempt many to keep good news from those who have wronged us.
And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone. (Mark 16:15 NLT)