Jonathan Haidt decided, for some reason, to point out the obvious to a group of American academics recently, that they are overwhelmingly modern materialist statists (liberals).
He polled his audience at the San Antonio Convention Center, starting by asking how many considered themselves politically liberal. A sea of hands appeared, and Dr. Haidt estimated that liberals made up 80 percent of the 1,000 psychologists in the ballroom. When he asked for centrists and libertarians, he spotted fewer than three dozen hands. And then, when he asked for conservatives, he counted a grand total of three.
“This is a statistically impossible lack of diversity,” Dr. Haidt concluded, noting polls showing that 40 percent of Americans are conservative and 20 percent are liberal. In his speech and in an interview, Dr. Haidt argued that social psychologists are a “tribal-moral community” united by “sacred values” that hinder research and damage their credibility — and blind them to the hostile climate they’ve created for non-liberals.
Why anyone would bother pointing that out, I don’t know. It’s not a bias against conservatives, anyway; it’s a bias against rationality, which they don’t believe in. Our brains, remember, are shaped for fitness, not for truth. Indeed, these are the very people who channel Barney Rubble and Fred Flintstone for insights into human psychology, and anyone who doubts the validity of such “research” should just shut up and pay their taxes, right?
Well, his talk had attracted John Tierney’s attention at the New York Times (February 7, 2007), who drew exactly the right conclusion (for modern statists and Darwinists):
“If a group circles around sacred values, they will evolve into a tribal-moral community,” he said. “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.” It’s easy for social scientists to observe this process in other communities, like the fundamentalist Christians who embrace “intelligent design” while rejecting Darwinism.
[ … ]
For a tribal-moral community, the social psychologists in Dr. Haidt’s audience seemed refreshingly receptive to his argument. Some said he overstated how liberal the field is, but many agreed it should welcome more ideological diversity. A few even endorsed his call for a new affirmative-action goal: a membership that’s 10 percent conservative by 2020. The society’s executive committee didn’t endorse Dr. Haidt’s numerical goal, but it did vote to put a statement on the group’s home page welcoming psychologists with “diverse perspectives.” It also made a change on the “Diversity Initiatives” page — a two-letter correction of what it called a grammatical glitch, although others might see it as more of a Freudian slip.
I have friends here in Canada who make bets on when the Times will finally, mercifully shut down.
Meanwhile, Megan McArdle weighs in at Atlantic Monthly, driving home the shame:
It is just my impression, but I think what conservatives want most of all is simply recognition that they are being shut out. It is a double indignity to be discriminated against, and then be told unctuously that your group’s underrepresentation is proof that almost none of you are as good as “us”. Haidt notes that his correspondence with conservative students (anonymously) “reminded him of closeted gay students in the 1980s”:
He quoted — anonymously — from their e-mails describing how they hid their feelings when colleagues made political small talk and jokes predicated on the assumption that everyone was a liberal. “I consider myself very middle-of-the-road politically: a social liberal but fiscal conservative. Nonetheless, I avoid the topic of politics around work,” one student wrote. “Given what I’ve read of the literature, I am certain any research I conducted in political psychology would provide contrary findings and, therefore, go unpublished. Although I think I could make a substantial contribution to the knowledge base, and would be excited to do so, I will not.”
Beyond that, mostly they would like academics to be conscious of the bias, and try to counter it where possible. As the quote above suggests, this isn’t just for the benefit of conservatives, either.
All together now, class, spell W-I-M-P.
Someone else writes
I have a good friend–I won’t name out him here though–who is a tenured faculty member in a premier humanities department at a leading east coast university, and he’s . . . a conservative! How did he slip by the PC police? Simple: he kept his head down in graduate school and as a junior faculty member, practicing self-censorship and publishing boring journal articles that said little or nothing. When he finally got tenure review, he told his closest friend on the faculty, sotto voce, that “Actually I’m a Republican.” His faculty friend, similarly sotto voce, said, “Really? I’m a Republican, too!”
That’s the scandalous state of things in American universities today. Here and there–Hillsdale College, George Mason Law School, Ashland University come to mind–the administration is able to hire first rate conservative scholars at below market rates because they are actively discriminated against at probably 90 percent of American colleges and universities. Other universities will tolerate a token conservative, but having a second conservative in a department is beyond the pale.
All together now, class, spell the plural, W-I-M-P-S.
Oh, heck, let me be honest, not snarky: Nothing stops the Yanks from freeing themselves from this garbage unless my British mentor is right, and I hope he isn’t: Americans are happy to be serfs, but they don’t like being portrayed in the media as hillbillies.
So whenever the zeroes they all gladly pay taxes for threaten to do just that, they promptly cave.
If I die tonight, I want this on the record: If I couldn’t be a Canuck and managed to bear the unbearable sorrow, I’d be a true Yankee hillbilly and proud of it. Do you think we Canucks have so far stood off the Sharia lawfare crowd, with all their money and threats, by worrying much what smarmy (and sometimes vicious) tax burdens think?