Author: Clay Routledge

Our Fast Food Social Media Diet

If you want to become a miserable partisan who spends more time being angry at people you have never met than enjoying the company of friends, neighbors, and loved ones, then Twitter is the place for you. Social media platforms can be useful. I have made a number of personal and professional contacts on Twitter. And, if calibrated correctly, it offers valuable exposure to a wide range of ideas. But Twitter is also, as the cool kids say, a dumpster fire. It is too frequently an arena in which professional adults throw emotional and bigoted tantrums that most parents would not tolerate from very young children. And Twitter is certainly not the only platform for this kind of behavior. The more I learn about Facebook as a company, the more I dislike it. I deactivated my account. Intoxicated by feelings of moral righteousness, we yell past one another while our tech overlords busy themselves with hacking the human brain and annihilating any trace of cognitive freedom. It isn’t hard to get people to agree that …

Social Justice in the Shadows

My 42 years of life can be divided roughly into two periods. The first began with my birth in West Africa to Christian missionary parents. Though my family was forced to leave Africa when my siblings and I became deathly ill with malaria, our missionary-style life continued in Missouri’s Ozark region. My father pastored small churches and ended his career in ministry as a hospital chaplain, retiring only when the neurodegenerative disease that ultimately took his life rendered him unable to perform his duties. In addition to providing spiritual guidance and comfort to congregants, hospital patients and grieving families, my father conducted a separate business as the owner of rental houses. This not only helped my dad support our large family, it also provided him a way to informally share the teachings of Christ through his day-to-day actions. He would allow renters to pay what they could, when they could, even if they fell months behind on their payments. He would drive renters who didn’t have their own transportation to doctor’s appointments, court dates and …

The Academy Needs to Confront the Danger Within

For its own sake if nothing else. Pew Research Center recently released survey data showing that 58% Republicans and Republican-leaning Americans believe US colleges and universities have a negative impact on our nation, a number that has been steadily increasing over the last several years. Only 19% of Democrats and Democrat-leaning Americans hold such a negative view. Many social commentators and academics have been quick to blame conservative media for this changing view among Republicans by arguing that right-leaning outlets have unfairly portrayed colleges as places of radical left activism and hostility toward conservatives. What exactly have Republicans learned from conservative media? They have learned that there is a vanishingly small number of conservative and centrist professors, especially in the social sciences and humanities. They have learned that certain academic fields are becoming increasingly activist-oriented, pushing an ideological agenda that ignores empirical data. They have learned that when the social justice agenda and truth collide, the social justice agenda typically wins. They have learned that professors who offer divergent perspectives are often ostracized and silenced, …

Why Social Scientists Should Not Participate in the March for Science

Many social scientists are excited about and poised to participate in the upcoming March for Science, which is being described by the organizers as a “celebration of our passion for science and a call to support and safeguard the scientific community.” I realize that this will be a controversial position, but I believe the best way social scientists can contribute to the March for Science is to quietly sit this one out. I am very much pro-science and share some of the concerns people have about cultural and political threats to science. That being said, in my opinion, the social sciences are currently too compromised to help the cause. Even those who have the best intentions risk doing more harm than good. Why? For one, there is very little political and ideological diversity in the social sciences. It is true that many academic fields lean left, but this especially the case within the social sciences. Check out Heterodox Academy for details. In many social science departments it is easier to find a Marxist than a …