From Naomi Schaefer Riley
in the New York Post:
For the second time in three months, the Chronicle of Higher Education has allowed a violation of academic orthodoxy — and professors are calling for the head of another Chronicle contributor.
The higher-ups seem to have decided it’s not worth the trouble and are shutting down two of its blogs entirely next week. If you can’t take the heat, close the kitchen?
Last month, Peter Wood, the head of the National Association of Scholars, published a post on the Chronicle’s Innovations blog in which he suggested that Jerry Sandusky’s serial child molestations weren’t the only thing Penn State had tried to cover up in recent years.
Wood pointed at the university’s investigation into the conduct of Prof. Michael Mann, who played a major role in the “Climategate” memos.
The probe, he said, hardly rigorous; it was conducted by a university vice president – who, as others have noted, had clear incentive to go easy, since Mann brought a lot of research money to the university.
In short, Wood argued, “Penn State has a history of treading softly with its star players.”
The comments section lit up with accusations that Wood had libeled Mann. A blogger called “Profmandia” launched an online campaign demanding that the Chronicle retract the post and apologize.
What might lead Profmandia — whose day job is in the physical sciences department at Suffolk Community College — to believe the Chronicle would respond to his demands?
Well, he had history on his side. In May, the Chronicle gave in to demands that I be reprimanded for daring to criticize the dissertations of some graduate students in black studies at Northwestern University.
For the record, I believe there’s ample ground for serious research in the black experience in America – but I questioned the rigor of the politicized dissertation topics highlighted in a Chronicle news article.
An online petition signed by more than 6,000 academics accused me of “personally attacking” the students. After a week, the Chronicle fired me.
Just as I did not engage in ad hominem attacks by looking askance at a list of topics, Wood hasn’t libeled Mann by suggesting that the university’s investigation was a weak one.
But the Chronicle editors are probably fed up with all of this controversy. Yes: In modern academia, too much debate is a problem.
That is, if you doubt that climate change is man-made (as Wood acknowledges he does) or that institutional racism is the cause of most problems in the black community, you are barred from commenting on the academy.
Perhaps the only idea that competes with these two for their sacredness at universities today is the notion that gender is a social construct and its corollary that children of gay parents have the same (if not better) outcomes than children of heterosexual parents.
Mark Regnerus, a professor at the University of Texas, Austin, recently challenged this idea with an article in Social Science Research, in which he suggested that children of gay parents tend to have lower levels of economic success and more problems with mental health.
Some scholars have reasonably disagreed with Regnerus’ methodology, but interest groups and the guardians of sociology’s orthodoxy have demanded his head. As a result, UT has launched an investigation into accusations of scientific misconduct.
Though the article was peer-reviewed and published by a respected academic journal, one columnist wrote that Regnerus’ study was “designed so as to be guaranteed to make gay people look bad, through means plainly fraudulent and defamatory.”
Reasonable people may disagree about Regnerus’ conclusions, Wood’s views of climate science or my opinions on black studies, but on these topics, there is no room for discussion in the Ivory Tower.
And the enforcers of this orthodoxy are shameless. A study out next month in Perspectives on Psychological Science finds: “In decisions ranging from paper reviews to hiring, many social and personality psychologists admit that they would discriminate against openly conservative colleagues. The more liberal respondents are, the more willing they are to discriminate.”
At least they’re honest.
Academics, essentially, have become the High Priests in a new religion of political correctness. And like all groups who are rigidly attached to an orthodoxy, and have power, they use that power to stiffle dissent.
Labels: Academia, Academics, Leftist free Speech intolerance, Liberal Bias, Liberal Intolerance, Political Correctness, Politically Correct Intolerance