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The Denial of Cancel Culture

On August 3rd, Remi Adekoya, Tom Simpson and I released a 120-page Policy Exchange report on Academic Freedom in the UK. The report received bipartisan support. On the Left, Ruth Smeeth, an ex-Labour member of Parliament, wrote the foreword and Ruth Kelly, another former Labour MP, backed the report. Lord Sumption, a former Supreme Court judge, and Trevor Phillips, an ex-Equalities czar, rounded out the list of those writing endorsements.

A range of broadsheets from across the political spectrum, from the Telegraph and Times to the Guardian, had good things to say about it, noting the significant level of political bias in academia in which left- and right-wing academics discriminate against each other at relatively similar rates.

The glaring outlier to the positive coverage was the academic activist Left, who laid down a barrage of fire on Twitter in an attempt to divert attention from the unmistakeable story jumping out of the data. New evidence I have collected since replicates precisely the same pattern. Before addressing the critics, however, let’s revisit the findings.

The report

The report was based on a survey of 820 current and retired academics and found as follows:

No-platforming and attempts to “cancel” academics through dismissal campaigns are rising but rare. Their threat to academic freedom comes largely from their chilling effects on academics who might consider challenging orthodoxy. As a result, the few conservative or gender-critical scholars writing on race, gender, and sexuality tend to stay well away from progressive red lines to avoid challenging sacred progressive values.

Political discrimination is a much bigger problem for academic freedom than no-platforming. One in three academics in the survey said they would discriminate against someone who supported the Leave side in the 2016 EU Referendum when hiring for a position, rising to nearly four in 10 among active social sciences and humanities (SSH) scholars. Just 38 percent of academics would feel comfortable sitting next to a gender-critical scholar at lunch.

Having said this, these findings also reveal considerable tolerance: Two in three academics, including a majority of leftists, would not politically discriminate against a Leaver.

Academics don’t discriminate more than other educated professionals, and the Right discriminates as much as the Left, but the fact the Left outnumbers the Right 6:1 (9:1 among current SSH staff) means that conservatives and Leavers experience a far higher discriminatory effect than the left-liberal majority. On a four-person hiring panel, a Leaver faces an 80 percent chance of discrimination.

There is also social pressure. Just half of academics would feel comfortable sitting next to a Leaver, though there is also intra-progressive friction: Only half of centrist Labour, Lib Dem, and Green academics are comfortable sitting next to a supporter of the leftist ex-Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn (by contrast 95 percent of “very left” Labour academics feel comfortable doing so).

Conservative, Leave-supporting, and gender-critical feminist scholars are highly aware of this climate of political discrimination. For instance, a third of conservative academics, rising to a half among conservative SSH academics currently in post, say they self-censor out of concern for their careers. Among leftist academics, the most commonly-stated reason for self-censoring was fear of running afoul of orthodoxy on trans issues.

One in two right-leaning academics say there is a hostile climate for their beliefs in their department (the share is less than half as large among the far Left). Only 18 percent of Leave-supporting academics say a Leaver would be comfortable expressing their Brexit views to colleagues, and most of their Remain colleagues concur: Just three in 10 SSH Remain academics say a Leaver would be comfortable expressing their views to colleagues.

The result of these chilling effects is that conservative and gender-critical researchers conceal their views and write papers which, by staying within the bounds set by progressives, allow them to get published, win grants and be hired. As a US study of the content of legal scholarship showed, registered Republican academics act prudently by concealing their beliefs, researching uncontroversial topics or sticking to technocratic opinions, while progressive scholars openly espouse their beliefs in their work. Cass Sunstein adds that non-career motivations, such as enjoying a cordial relationship with colleagues and a pleasant workplace, also reinforce conformity in organisations. The result, in the social sciences and humanities, is that difficult questions don’t get asked and orthodoxy goes unchallenged, damaging the scientific enterprise.

While we have shown in a previous report that there is little evidence of academics influencing the political views of their students, and while discrimination by lecturers against conservative students is not a serious problem, the prevailing leftward slant of academia makes it less likely that academics will challenge the ideological conformity that currently exists among students in SSH disciplines.

Most academics, including left academics, do not support campaigns to cancel dissenting academics. We tested five hypothetical scenarios involving controversial research touching on questions of empire, family, diversity, and immigration, and found that only about one in 10 academics backed any given dismissal campaign. Overall, most left-wing academics don’t support cancelling controversial scholars. Intolerant leftists really are a minority on campus.

Universities are not in a position to solve the problem on their own. Whereas threats to liberalism typically emerge from the state, there are different scenarios in which the state needs to step in to protect individual liberty—from mobs, illiberal pressure groups, or corrupt institutions. The radical intersectional Left is partly based inside universities, among activist faculty and students. They can call on added support online to coordinate Twitter mobbings, open letters, formal complaints to universities, and protests agitating for academics to be fired or no-platformed. Inside the university, the leftward skew of opinion means that few are willing to speak up against progressive activists.

This allows radicals to leverage the progressive moral code, wielding influence far beyond their numbers. Since chilling effects fall on a minority of less than 10 percent of scholars, most staff and students don’t see a problem. Like anti-black discrimination on southern US campuses in the early 1960s, the pressure is felt by a minority, and the university cannot, or will not, defend them. In these cases, we argued in our paper, the government must intervene to compel universities to protect the liberty of persecuted individuals.

The response

While the full spectrum of media, from the Spectator to the Guardian, acknowledged the importance of our findings, academic Left activists entered denial mode. In fact, no sooner had the ink dried on our report than they moved in to discredit it by changing the conversation from discussing results to zeroing in on methodological minutiae.

In doing so, they faced a difficult problem. We had consciously replicated the questions and methodology of three previous studies (Inbar and Lammers 2012; Honeycutt and Freberg 2017; Peters et al 2020). These used samples consisting mainly of, respectively, American psychologists, American STEM scholars, and European philosophers.

Our methods and findings mirrored those of previous studies, showing that left-wing and right-wing academics discriminate against each other in roughly equal measure, but that the Left greatly outnumbers the Right among the professoriate. Around one in three Leave-supporting academics in Britain face discrimination and about half of conservative scholars said they experienced a hostile climate for their beliefs, replicating results from existing studies.

One question previous scholars raised was whether the number of academics who would discriminate was greater than the share who would openly admit it. To get at this, we used a technique known as a list experiment which found that in Britain, the share who would discriminate (32 percent) was three times larger than the proportion willing to admit it (10 percent). But even for unconcealed questions, we found—in line with previous work—a significant number of academics willing to discriminate against Leavers and the Right.

Unable to contest our core findings, opponents scrambled to create a smokescreen. One activist professor of statistics interpreted a passage in the report to suggest that we claimed our sample was more representative than a political opinion poll, calling this a “howler” and hoping this would discredit the findings. However, we simply drew attention to the fact that our sample was a similarly valid exercise to an opinion poll, something evident from our three-to-four percent margin of error, similar to a standard poll. Furthermore, in the context of our core results, the entire discussion was a distraction.

Another attack concentrated on our sample size of 820, claiming the number of conservatives included in the sample was too small to be statistically significant. Emboldened by these “expert” assertions, activist scholars who lacked statistical expertise jumped on the bandwagon, convincing each other and friendly journalists that the study was flawed, having been “debunked” by their “expert” comrades. What emerged was a self-referential castle built on empirical sand. Indeed, the claim that our sample is too small is flat out nonsense.

On the face of it, 820 may seem like a modest number given the 215,000 academics in the UK. But if you think about it, so is a typical opinion poll of 1,000 for a Britain of 67 million. Funny how none of our adversaries pointed out the “howler” of trying to pretend that a small number in a survey can’t accurately represent a much larger population. They also zeroed in on the relatively small number of conservative academics in the sample, suggesting that their high level of reported hostility and self-censorship arose by chance. By focusing only on conservative academics who reported hostility, they could trumpet a small number of respondents and claim this was too limited to draw inferences. But this, too, is a “howler” because the quantities we compared consisted of the ratio of conservatives reporting hostility versus no hostility with the same ratio among leftists and centrists, a much larger number. Together these utilise most of our 820 respondents making the results statistically significant, with large effect sizes. The equivalent mistake would be to assert, on the basis of a small number of Lib Dem Leavers in an opinion poll, that you can’t claim Lib Dems are less likely than Conservative voters to have voted for Brexit.

Since 40 percent of our sample were retired, with younger and minority staff under-represented, activist scholars argued our survey could not be representative. However, the reality is that younger staff in the survey leaned, if anything, more towards political discrimination than older staff. Including retired academics—whose average age is 70 and who often play a role in their departments after retirement—acted as a conservative brake on our findings. Moreover, controlling for age, there was no difference in the views of current and retired academics. The insinuation that the retired academics in our sample were not true professors and lecturers can’t account for the magical coincidence that they somehow managed to provide the same highly unusual answers as practicing scholars. Perhaps they think YouGov used professional impersonators?

Samples of academics can’t be sourced the usual way because few profs will show up in a random draw from the population. Previous studies have therefore focused on academic associations or mailing lists, achieving a response rate of no more than 26 percent. Their sample size has ranged from 618 to 794 academics. Ours is not only larger but of superior quality because we drew on YouGov’s Profiles panel, the largest of its kind in the world. With over 500,000 people answering surveys, there happen to be more than 1,000 current or former academics on the panel. Nothing comparable is possible in America, for instance. Since these respondents are paid, and don’t choose to answer surveys because of their interest in a subject, they are sampled rather than self-selected. We got 61–76 per cent of the academics on Profiles, making our study less vulnerable than previous research to the charge of being influenced by people with a motivation to take the survey. This gives us a strong claim to representativeness, which is further bolstered by the fact our results line up with those from previous studies.

None of the above prevented our detractors—many of whom have no grounding in statistics—from attacking myself, and our work, as “shoddy.” If you can’t contest the findings, you have to play it like an anti-vaxxer and manipulate impressions or engage in ad hominems. The use of red herrings to create a diversion doesn’t appear to have influenced the wider conversation, but academic activists bought into their own propaganda that our sample was too small or flawed, our methods too “shoddy,” to prove that political discrimination and chilling effects are widespread in British academia. If you repeat a comforting fairy tale often enough it can sound like the truth.

New studies

It’s always possible that our results could be in the five percent tail of unrepresentative studies that arise by chance. Perhaps academics aren’t to the left of the population and don’t politically discriminate. Maybe there is no hostile climate for conservatives. The problem is that study after study is telling us otherwise. In fact, there isn’t a single survey going in the other direction. This is bad news for our critics. Since our report was released, I have undertaken a further set of studies, one of UK-based professionals outside academia, another of North American academics. The results, along with those of previous studies, are presented in Table 1.

The Table shows the three prior studies, followed by ours (with separate columns for all academics and current social science/humanities academics), and the two new surveys I’ve fielded. The final column contrasts the academic surveys with a sample of degree-holding non-academics in full-time jobs.

The share of academics who lean left is between 71 and 83 percent across the first six columns, with just 4–16 percent conservative. The share of faculty who openly admit they would discriminate against a right-leaning grant application ranges between 18 and 35 percent, depending in part on variations in the number of response categories. Our UK data are well within this range. In all studies, a majority or near-majority of right-leaning academics experience a hostile climate for their beliefs in their workplace. To claim otherwise, without evidence, is pure fantasy.

Let’s take a closer look at my recent survey of North American social science and humanities (SSH) academics which replicated the Policy Exchange/YouGov questions. As an opt-in survey, it has less of a claim to representativeness, but its findings comport with those of other studies. The concealed method shows that 42 percent of this sample of North American SSH academics would discriminate against a Trump supporter for a job, slightly above the 37 percent of active UK SSH academics that our Policy Exchange study revealed would discriminate against a Leaver for a job. Nineteen percent of the North American sample openly admit they would discriminate against a right-leaning grant application, not far off the 24 per cent of active UK SSH academics that said they would do so.

78 percent of Trump-supporting SSH academics in North America said they experienced a hostile climate for their beliefs, higher than the still-substantial 50 percent for Leave-supporters we uncovered for the UK. Finally, just 15 percent of North American academics said a Trump supporter would be comfortable expressing this belief to a colleague while 88 percent felt a Biden supporter would. This 15–88 ratio compares to a somewhat more modest 30–86 ratio among UK SSH academics for an equivalent question about whether Leavers and Remainers would feel comfortable expressing their beliefs to colleagues. While anti-conservative discrimination and hostility appear somewhat higher in North America, the broad trends reinforce those we find for the UK.

All told, these studies tell a consistent story in which political discrimination strongly impacts conservatives, creating a hostile climate for their beliefs. Imagine denying results like these if five consecutive studies reported that one in three academics would discriminate against a black applicant, or that half of women reported a hostile climate against them in their department.

Table 1

Source: Inbar and Lammers 2012; Honeycutt and Freberg 2017; Peters et.al. 2020; Adekoya et.al. 2020; US/Canada academic opt-in survey 2020; Prolific Academic survey 2020.

We can also compare the results to the British non-academic graduate employees in the last column of Table 1, which I sampled using a separate questionnaire on the Prolific survey platform. Most work in private businesses, government, schools and hospitals. The share of non-academic professionals saying a Leaver would be comfortable expressing their views is considerably higher, at 54 percent, than among current academics (30 percent). The proportion of right-wingers in the non-academic study is only slightly larger than in academia due to the young and liberal tilt of Prolific respondents, but, tellingly, just 25 percent of right-leaning professionals reported a hostile climate for their beliefs at work, much lower than in academia, where about half of active right-wing SSH academics say they face hostility.

Nevertheless, these findings concern differences in structural effects, not individual prejudice. While a smaller share of UK non-academic professionals than academics said they would discriminate against a Leaver, this is mainly to do with the smaller share of leftists outside academia rather than academics being more politically prejudiced. As Figure 1 shows, when you compare identical categories of academics and non-academics, levels of discrimination against Leave are similar. For instance, while 58 percent of self-described activists in academia would discriminate against a Leaver for a job, 55 percent of activists outside academia would do so as well.

Figure 1

Source: Adekoya et.al. 2020, N=820; Prolific Academic 2020, N=458 (list only run on half sample).

This gets to our core point that political discrimination is more acceptable in society than other forms of bias. What is distinct about social science and humanities academia is not scholars’ propensity to discriminate, but rather the greater leftward skew and the fact academics’ views are more transparent in their work. This accounts for the anti-conservative and anti-gender critical discrimination that is having such an enormous impact on the academic freedom of these targeted groups.

To be sure, a serious problem of political discrimination also exists outside academia wherever one finds the same combination of ideological homogeneity and belief transparency. This is especially the case in the arts, culture and media sectors. A recent survey of arts employees revealed that eight in 10 acknowledged a chilling effect directed against Leavers and the Right. A recent US survey found that among those with postgraduate degrees, 60 percent of Republicans and almost half of Independents said they were “worried about losing your job or losing out on job opportunities if your political views became known” compared to 25 percent among Democrats. Even for regular degree holders, 40 percent of Republicans and Independents were worried. As in academia, political discrimination leads to widespread self-censorship, a form of John Stuart Mill’s “despotism of custom” that curtails expressive freedom and hampers performance.

Activist scholars want people to focus on their display of molehills at the edge of the terrain rather than the 800-pound gorilla of self-censorship in the middle of it. These activists dominate on social media but don’t actually represent the majority of faculty.

In our Policy Exchange paper, we called for a new Academic Freedom Bill in England that would create a post of Director of Academic Freedom on the Office for Students, the English universities regulator. By providing the Director with ombudsman powers to hear complaints from those whose freedom has been violated and fine universities that do not obey the law, this would provide a counterweight to the powerful activist network inside universities that discriminates against conservatives and gender-critical feminists, curtailing their freedom.

If our experience is any guide, government action will be resisted by this network, who will recycle the well-worn myth that critics are blowing a few rare no-platformings out of proportion; academic freedom is safe; and the whole discussion is a right-wing plot. After all, this is how the world looks from the perspective of people who don’t know any Leave-supporting or gender-critical academics. If you are swimming with the current, how can you understand how it feels to swim against it? Academic activists claim to speak on behalf of their profession but in fact only represent a vocal minority.

Let’s hope the British government has the vision and political will to see beyond these self-appointed representatives to the fair-minded majority of scholars who would welcome better protection for academic freedom and viewpoint diversity on campus.

 

Eric Kaufmann is professor of politics at Birkbeck College, University of London, and author of Whiteshift: Immigration, Populism and the Future of White Majorities (Penguin/Abrams, 2019). Follow him on Twitter @epkaufm.

Comments

  1. The Left will deny cancel culture because The Narrative says It Is Good. Still, gravity exists no matter your perception of it. Universities can teach The Narrative, but if they don’t teach skills, what use is a university? Economies need doctors, architects, engineers etc. “Triggers easily” is not a viable skill, especially if every second idiot possesses it. The more woke-ologists universities produce, the less we need.

  2. While I agree wholeheartedly that nothing and no one is beyond criticism, and a society would be wise to allow room for dissent and deviation, my major problem with those who oppose Trump or Brexit, is that there was a vote for both, and the Left refused to accept the result.

  3. It’s interesting to read about these issues in the UK but it is so much worse here in the US. If one wants a good job in business or academia, one dare not challenge the woke narrative. The narrative that the supine media has put forth is that racist cops are killing unarmed blacks in record numbers. Facts are troubling for the left. The Washington post published FBI statistics for 2019 that showed 9 unarmed blacks were killed by police and 32 whites! So logic would tell all SJWs that the police are racist against whites Over 3 times more whites killed by police even though blacks commit more violent crimes based on their percentage of the population. Who knew that the police hate white people?
    Yes facts are troubling things! And here in the US one dare not criticize anything concerning the BLM movement, even though they are chock full of marxists , anti-semites and Louis Farrakhan acolytes. What a mess!

  4. The Left Woke denies that Cancel Culture exists because it is their weapon of choice in winning the culture wars. If Cancel Culture is exposed, they lose their primary weapon in destroying their adversaries.

  5. Before I disagree, I will first agree the Right can be wrong. I grew up during the 80s. I remember the moral majority BS. I am not a fan of the COINTELPRO program that once existed. But while there was some pissiness towards Obama, I don’t remember people holding effigies of his head, staging plays of his assassination, stories about urinating prostitutes, impeachment attempts based on thin air etc. The Democrats tried to depose Trump from the moment he won, and set no moral barrier to that end.

  6. Incestigation is my new favorite word

  7. That’s totally fair comment too. I think that some people mistake the majority of commentators on this site as hard right. We’re nothing of the sort. We just want to be able to pursue our own happiness, rather than have someone else’s Utopia forced on us.

  8. No, I still hear it today, that Trump was never a legitimate president, because of the Russian conspiracy. The people could not have been so stupid or insane as to elect Trump, it was simply impossible without collusion. Two years, three years of investigations and impeachment was not like normal political opposition. In the UK, the Shadow Government are called the Loyal Opposition. But much this has had a purposeful air of Denial.

  9. The whole schism that is tearing western societies apart is based upon social stratification and the fact that the governing are incapable of understanding the governed. Many will be familiar with Jonathan Haidt and the The Righteous Mind, but few have thought through the political implications of the division between conservatives and left-leaning liberals and how it will affect political representation.

    As a general rule, anyone who is a left-leaning liberal will have grown up in a safe and secure environment, will generally come form a two parent background and have parents who are well-educated. These factors alone, generally tend to mean that they will be from at least a C1 background, and will mostly consist of A’s and B’s. As a consequence of the tendency of the affluent to self-segregate, they will likely be exposed to a very narrow range of viewpoints growing up.

    What makes matters worse, is the small number of people within the Cosmopolitan Liberal sphere who happen to be from racially diverse backgrounds will tend to either be exceptionally gifted autodidacts who might naturally gravitate towards a left-leaning liberal psychology, or come from socio-economic privilege themselves, with all its attendant benefits in terms of parental education.

    The irony is that the white working class and the vast majority of people from BAME backgrounds (or their ethnically diverse American counterparts), have far more in common with each other than they will with Cosmopolitan Liberals. As a general rule they will tend to be more religious, more tied to community, more comfortable with the familiar than excited by the exotic, more prone to self-segregation even when they possess the wealth to move, and above all, more socially conservative.

    And this shows in all the tests which will indicate in-group, which runs parallel to Haidt’s work on Moral Foundations:

    All of this ties in with the fact that they are far more likely to be psychologically conservatives- just like everyone else on Earth- with the 25% of people who happen to be fortunate in Western societies, or Western, Educated, Industrialised, Rich and the Developed- the true weirdos from a human perspective. It is Cosmopolitan Liberals who are the exceptions- a rare breed that can only exist in 25% to 30% of the population in Wealthier Liberal countries, whilst all attempts to educate people from poorer, less fortunate backgrounds out of their psychological conservatism, have failed miserably. Oh sure, you can educate them towards a narrow political interest, through self-interest, but you cannot make them happy in the world that the Cosmopolitan Liberals would create.

    And that is the problem with political representation, with the way that our societies are socially stratified. Because if you were to test any Parliament or Congress, you would find that 90% to 95% of its membership are psychological liberals. Even the conservatives are liberals in most political systems, with most in the American Conservative movement falling into the reformed liberal category in leadership, and political leaders within the British Conservatives openly calling themselves liberals.

    Social stratification is slowly becoming culturally ingrained. Whether one looks at cosmopolitan liberals in academia, media, tech, culture or business, the lucky 25% are rapidly beginning to outnumber the psychologically conservative. Even in finance, Democrat supporters outnumbered Republican supporters for the first time during the Clinton campaign, and this is worrying- considering that many in the Republican camp were likely to be cosmopolitan neoliberals. There are now some 38 colleges in the US where children from the top 1% outnumber those from the bottom 60%.

    A ruling elite which fundamentally misunderstands the bottom 60% of society and brand them as ignorant or racist for wanting a culturally homogeneous community, or even for expressing fears that migrants will compete for their jobs, is bound to misunderstand the less fortunate. They are incapable of Governing in such a way which makes the people they rule happy. They simply couldn’t understand why people might prefer menial and unpleasant jobs to Government hand-outs. They expressed dismay that the great unwashed cared little for the elevation of Mexican Peasant farmer, when it came at the expense of the American blue collar class.

    They didn’t understand Brexit or Trump, because they are incapable of understanding that the Utopian Multicultural society which they would create, is a Dystopia for everyone else. The UK for example is the most tolerant and inclusive society in Europe, but the average Brit from the bottom 60% of the economic spectrum is highly concerned about unchecked migration. And these concerns aren’t simply based upon economic consideration or the fact that they will increasingly face wage stagnation or labour displacement- many have also witnessed their town centres culturally displaced. For those with a natural inclination towards the familiar- to find it a comfort like a long-lost family member- the fact that most migrants themselves cling to the culturally familiar, with a natural tendency to self-segregate, can be a real cause of friction.

    And, of course, the fact that most academics lean to towards cultural cosmopolitanism means they are incapable of diagnosing the problem. They always believe that people can be educated out their preference for the familiar, not realising that this tendency cannot be trained out of the less fortunate by education or experience. If you are born into the bottom 60% you will always take comfort from culturally familiar, and be somewhat uncomfortable around different cultures. Gentrification is not the main reason why the Black Harlem resident resents the White hipster as an interloper- that fact that they will change the culture and tenor of their community is the real reason, tantamount to burning down a cherished family home.

    There is only one solution which can keep both psychological conservatives and liberals happy. It is the points based system of Australia. Historically, Australia benefited from strong labour unions at the time that they instituted the forerunner of their modern system of immigration.This meant that the bottom 40% of the population, as well as highly skilled trade professionals, were essentially protected from the baleful effects of unchecked migration.

    But the true genius of this system, intentional or otherwise, was that it naturally drew upon market dominant migration rather than those who would compete with or economically displace the host population. It also meant the normal process of self-segregation amongst migrant communities was offset by the tendency of the wealthy or affluent to self-segregate along socio-economic lines, or within intellectual communities, regardless or culture or ethnicity. This is itself is a boon, because it diffuses the propensity towards friction between self-segregated communities with strong in-group.

    The other benefit of this type of migration is as an investment in the future. The children of highly skilled or highly knowledgeable migrant parents are far more likely to become high net contributors to the revenue base. Almost all of the more successful entrepreneurial class from the first generation children of migrants, come from these types of backgrounds. So, in effect, you are adding to the wealth of your children’s generation and likely to provide them with new enterprises to participate in.

    As a final note, one of the worrying tendencies one finds when looking for studies which research a particular phenomena, one finds a heavy bias towards cosmopolitan liberal dogmas. Many are worse than useless, given that their false premises haven’t even been exposed to the destruction testing which a conservative colleague would naturally point out. The same thing is true of media- with conventional liberal ideas on a particular subject often drowning out more heterodox or conservative viewpoints under a sea of white liberal noise.

    It’s nothing wrong with the liberal perspective. I’m sure if conservatives dominated the culture, the same sort of weak and ill-considered thinking would dominate the culture. The problem is, as several QC observers have noted, once any particular ideology or psychological predisposition begins to dominant the culture, it quickly becomes Authoritarian and proscriptive in the diversity of ideas it will tolerate. I’m sure the Moynihan report could never be written today, just as anyone wanting to research a study potentially showing that 80% of gender is based upon biology, would never get funding.

    This does a disservice to all of those who live in the bottom 60% of Western societies. It slanders them for psychologically leanings which are the products of environments. It doesn’t propose solutions to social mobility which are likely to work. Most crucially it ignores the wealth of research and knowledge which could achieve real improvements for economically marginalised ethnic minorities, instead of relying upon the selfsame dogmas of liberal policy which have resulted in abject failure for the past 50 years. If 60% of African Americans now reside in the American Middle Class, it is purely by accident as far as Liberal Policy is concerned.

    It is a complete wilful ignorance of the socially stabilising influences that psychological conservatives require, regardless of race, which lies at the root of cosmopolitan liberals plethora of public policy failures- if they simply understood that the people they governed were fundamentally different than them, on a psychological level, they might just be able to help them. As things stand, populism and a revolt against the cosmopolitan liberal worldview, will be a feature of our politics for the foreseeable future- and with education driving younger Left-leaning liberals towards greater intolerance of the less fortunate, we might find ourselves in a cultural cold war for decades to come.

  10. Geary, this analysis misses something, I think because you come originally from the liberal side.

    What is one’s legacy? What did one build in life?

    The liberal- the W.E.I.R.D.- project is Stoic. It’s about actualizing the self. It dies with you.

    The conservative project is the community. It’s about taking your child to the same pizza+arcade place you did. Carving your name and your fiance’s in the same tree your parents did.

    The issue conservatives have with liberals, is they’ve already eaten at that pizza place, they support tearing it down for koi fusion, and then that for Thai- and think they’re helping the community because everyone’s “already eaten at that pizza place.” A conservative cares about future members of the community who haven’t- to them, the community is a trust they hold for the future from the past, and it is fundamentally selfish to destroy it because you are done with it. Am I making sense?

    You may not need the community’s nursery anymore- but that creche is still needed by the unborn, don’t bulldoze it because you are bored.

    EDIT: The reverse, of course, is the liberal wants to improve the community by improving its array of experiences, because that’s what the liberal values- and can’t understand the conservation reflex of the conservative. So to the other, each seems selfish

  11. This is the essence of the problem. What the Left calls “diversity” is actually the eradication of the native.

    Leftists, even on QC, like to call it “white supremacy” or at least “white nationalism” when people whose culture and heritage is being deliberately eradicated from this world say “Stop!” They claim to be defending the poor, the weak, the oppressed. They are not. They are the destroyers.

    The belly dancing schools and Thai food above are only “minority” if consideration is restricted to Ireland. Globally speaking, they were far more prevalent than Irish culture before the invasion started! Leftism does not promote Irish culture in any of the many places where it does not exist. It wouldn’t think of doing so. It only seeks to promote certain cultures, and to eradicate certain cultures.

    “Diversity” is a lie. They don’t actually want it. They don’t value it. They value power, and they use whatever rhetoric that they think will win it for them.

  12. It’s one of the things that I find remarkable, as well, given the stereotype of conservatives that I grew up with, having been born in New York. I wasn’t like them, they were all holy rollers and self-righteous.

    Frankly, with a lot of them, I get along just fine. The ones who are so far into The Fringe that they are earlobe gazers are problems, but most of the rest I can have a good discussion with.

    I can’t have a good discussion with a progressive, I have this bad habit of disagreeing with them, and we all know how that goes. I have verified it personally on many occasions, and it is just as unpleasant every time. Liberals in denial can get close, but nothing is quite as self-righteous as a progressive. They make Billy Graham look like Fred Flintstone.

  13. I’m struck by the fact that anyone “doesn’t feel comfortable sitting next to” someone with a different opinion. Bloody hell! How old are these people? Is this the playground in middle school?

  14. You should go to the rural turfs. I’ve been in rural IL, WI, and MN in the last 2 weeks. I saw NO ONE BURNING others’ businesses. I saw no one vandalizing stores. I saw nothing but pleasant encounters.

    In rural areas, people treat each other with respect. They are not liberal assholes.

    Have you ever talked to a person in a small town? I really doubt it. You strike me as the kind of person who talks about “deplorables” and “what’s the matter with Kansas”. In other words, a completely uneducated and ignorant liberal type.

  15. The fetishization of quantitative analysis and the use of survey research data to “prove” things is a huge problem in academia. As an aside, I was in the survey research business, and also spent much of my career in analytics used in business, currently involved in AI. You could say the 25 years of practical experience has made me yawn at much of the “research” breathlessly presented to me by academics obsessed with ‘social justice’ and other NONSENSE.

    Take the report presented in this article. The groundbreaking finding is that it’s political discrimination against conservatives that is the problem, not “cancel culture” - it’s hard not to giggle. Cancel culture results from discrimination. It’s what I’ve come to refer to as a ‘distinction without difference’, yet I’m supposed to read this tedious article and come away impressed, lol.

    Marxism/PostModernism/Crit Theory has overtaken the humanities utterly, and is in the midst of destroying the hard sciences. If in 2020, I need some poorly formed study and analysis to prove this, I’m wasting my time.

    The author then goes on to clutch his pearls over the resistance from the Left and their rejection of what he considers to be his most careful reasoning. The Left has been doing this for 100 years - to be surprised by it is to admit you are an intellectual child who misses the big picture utterly.

    Put more simply? This is an unnecessary effort. If successful, it merely tells me the color of the water we are drowning in. It seems to presume good faith by Leftist academics, that they’d be influenced by data or sound reasoning. How can an academic in 2020 actually start from that assumption? The left overtly rejects REASON ITSELF as a way of resolving disagreement. They measure arguments based on their efficacy in gaining political and social power, not their validity. Arguing with them reasonably is a mistake in the first place.

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