This claim, that more were killed in the Las Vegas shooting last week than by Islamic terrorists over the past decade, is flatly untrue, as I’ll show you in a minute.
In fact, it is Dowd who is factually challenged. As New America documents, Islamic terrorists have killed nearly 100 people in the U.S. since 9/11, most of those within the past decade:
The number of deaths at the Orlando Pulse nightclub massacre by self-avowed ISIS devotee Omar Mateen in June 2016 was 49.
Another 14 were killed by Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik at a San Bernardino office Christmas party in December 2015.
The fatalities from just those two Islamic terror attacks (63) within the past two years are more than the victims of last week’s massacre in Las Vegas (59).
There’s just no way to spin Dowd’s claim for it to remotely be true.
As I’ve noted repeatedly, the media cartel keeps getting basic facts wrong about Islamic terrorism in America. In August, CBS News host Norah O’Donnell was pushing vastly inflated terrorism stats to falsely claim that so-called “right wing” terrorism was more deadly than Islamic terrorism…
As I noted, the highly suspect terrorism database O’Donnell cited includes Neo-Nazis killing pedophiles in prison:
None of these cases actually involved terrorism charges. Neither did many others in the GAO dataset.
But there was something more peculiar about O’Donnell’s claim.
Even the inflated GAO dataset admitted that Islamic terrorists had killed more than so-called “right wing” domestic terrorists, as their own graphic showed:
So how did she conclude that “right wing” terrorism was deadlier than Islamic terrorism? Not by counting the actual number of fatalities — but by counting the number of “incidents.”
It seems Down now says he meant “casualties” not “deaths”, even though he said “deaths”.
If someone comes up with a casualty count that disproves that, maybe he’ll declare that he meant casualties on Sundays.
Bill Whittle, Scott Ott, and Steve Green discuss just how much of a problem we really have with mass shooters. Thing is, if we look at the incidence of someone deciding to kill lots of people as a defect, this defect occurs at well below the six sigma standard of quality control.
Students affiliated with the Black Lives Matter movement crashed an event at the College of William & Mary, rushed the stage, and prevented the invited guest—the American Civil Liberties Union’s Claire Gastañaga, a W & M alum—from speaking.
Ironically, Gastañaga had intended to speak on the subject, “Students and the First Amendment.”
And I’m all out of popcorn…
At the same time… what the heck is going on with the left?
I mean I expected them to walk back the crazy scare mongering of prison camps for minorities, women and gays after Trump was elected, because, well… that’s what happened when Reagan was elected, and when Bush was elected.
Instead, they seem to have gone crazier and to think the rounding up is just around the corner and that maybe it’s already happening (yes, I know Hillary is an old woman and listening to old people raving is silly, but she actually imagines that Trump is SOMEHOW having journalists killed and no one knows.) They virtue signal that they accept everyone, as opposed to the rest of us who… accept everyone. They take knees and fight really hard in the “resistance” against something that isn’t happening.
It sure as hell sounds like the three am terrors. Only, they can’t be having them, can they? I don’t believe for a moment that the left, the real convinced left, not the ones who go along to get along, are 50% of the nation. I think they were more than that, thirty years ago, or so, because there was still a working (for values of working) communist block that could be idealized, and because the idea is so attractive.
Maybe it’s something like this:
But if we step back and look squarely at it, the one group in America that most demands and expects privileged treatment is the far left. And it is time the rest of us called them on it.
Here is a brief checklist to aid in recognizing the signs of liberal privilege:
1. Assuming that you have the right to control what everyone else does, what they have, what they say, and how they think. The idea of living your own life and – here’s a thought – leaving others the hell alone to do the same never crosses your mind.
2. Assuming that you have the right never to hear any opinion that contradicts your own, and using intimidation and violence if necessary to protect your ideological bubble. And if someone actually does or says something you don’t like, you are entitled to a hug or a puppy.
3. Assuming that feeling offended on your part constitutes a political crisis on the nation’s part. Others might have to grow up and accept the fact that the world will not bow to their every whim, but not you.
4. Having exquisite sensitivity to the moral speck in society’s eye while ignoring the beam in your own. It is your privilege to establish the standards by which others must live and to critique them at will, but any criticism of you is evidence of hatred.
5. Consistency is for other people. You are free to deny the existence of absolutes while imposing absolute standards that others must follow. As long as your heroes condemn fossil fuels and support gun control, they are free to fly in private jets and live in mega-mansions protected by armed guards. You are free to say the vilest things about conservative blacks or women, but any criticism of liberal blacks or women is evidence of racism or sexism.
6. You must be judged only by your rhetoric and not by your results. If your social policy weakens black families, the resulting social ills are the result of racism on society’s part and not any arrogance, presumption, or failing on your part. As long as you claim to value education, you are free to support an educational system that cranks out students who cannot read or do basic math, and who are ignorant of even the most essential points of American and world history.
7. And finally, liberal privilege means never having to say “not guilty.” Laws that apply to everyone else do not apply to you. Laws protecting public and private property may be suspended in order to allow leftists room to ventilate their feelings. Laws protecting classified information or forbidding the abuse of governmental positions to harass opponents do not apply to you or your allies.
The left constantly introduces new words and phrases into our political discourse. Perhaps the phrase that has been missing is, “Your liberal privilege is showing.”
This would be a good time to introduce it.
In an anticipated speech yesterday, delivered at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia School of Law, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced that the U.S. Department of Education is moving to end the reckless Title IX enforcement regime adopted by the Obama administration. The speech reflected a welcome regard for statute after years of executive-branch adventurism and, more important, a much-needed push to begin correcting for the kangaroo-court insanity that Obama-administration ideologues unleashed on college campuses.
DeVos appropriately framed her remarks by hailing twin imperatives: the need to protect all students on college campuses from sexual harassment or assault, and the need to ensure that those accused of such acts are treated fairly. Especially for someone who has had her share of stumbles in public remarks, DeVos delivered a well-crafted speech with aplomb. The balance and tenor of her remarks was just right.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos makes remarks during a major policy address on Title IX enforcement, which in college covers sexual harassment, rape and assault, at George Mason University, in Arlington, Virginia, U.S., September 7, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Theiler
She opened by flatly declaring, “Let me be clear at the outset: Acts of sexual misconduct are reprehensible, disgusting, and unacceptable. They are acts of cowardice and personal weakness. . . . One rape is one too many. One assault is one too many. One aggressive act of harassment is one too many. . . . Survivors aren’t well-served when they are re-traumatized with appeal after appeal because the failed system failed the accused.”
But DeVos also proceeded to do something that her Obama-era counterparts never did, which is to carefully affirm that we do not protect or support victims by railroading the accused through sham processes. As DeVos put it, “One person denied due process is too many. . . . Every survivor of sexual misconduct must be taken seriously. Every student accused of sexual misconduct must know that guilt is not predetermined. . . . Due process either protects everyone, or it protects no one. The notion that a school must diminish due-process rights to better serve the ‘victim’ only creates more victims.”
DeVos addressed the worrisome way in which Title IX enforcement has grown into a tool for policing speech. She highlighted the need to be “more precise in the definition of sexual misconduct” and observed:
Schools have been compelled by Washington to enforce ambiguous and incredibly broad definitions of assault and harassment. Too many cases involve students and faculty who have faced investigation and punishment simply for speaking their minds or teaching their classes. . . . But if everything is harassment, then nothing is. Punishing speech protected by the First Amendment trivializes actual harassment.
Bizarrely, DeVos’s sensible stance represents a sea change from current policy. In April 2011, responding to hyperbolic claims of a “campus rape epidemic” fueled by junk science, the Obama Department of Education issued a “Dear Colleague” letter that dramatically altered Title IX enforcement on college campuses. The letter greatly expanded federal reach into how colleges should adjudicate sexual-harassment investigations if they wanted to steer clear of a potential federal investigation.
The 2011 guidance, issued without the required notice-and-comment rulemaking process, informed schools receiving federal funds that they should use the “preponderance of evidence” standard — the lowest possible standard of proof in our judiciary system — in all investigations of sexual offenses, ranging from unwelcome sexually charged speech to rape. The preponderance of evidence standard means that if the campus administrator thinks there is a 50.1 percent chance that accusation is true, the accused is to be found guilty. The letter also imposed a form of double jeopardy by requiring that schools allow accusers to appeal not-guilty rulings. It further “strongly discouraged” institutions from allowing accusers to be cross-examined. Campuses that failed to abide by any of these “suggestions” would be vulnerable to federal civil-rights investigations.
Subsequent Obama-era Title IX guidance imposed further federal strictures on higher-education institutions, including telling them to adopt a remarkably expansive (and unconstitutional) definition of sexual harassment. A self-proclaimed “blueprint” for Title IX compliance issued in 2013, for example, reaffirmed OCR’s expectation that schools treat any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, including speech, as sexual harassment, despite the Supreme Court holding otherwise. It also made clear that conduct which a “reasonable person” would not consider “objectively offensive” could still be deemed to constitute harassment.
The consequences of all this were as unfortunate as they were predictable. K. C. Johnson, co-author of The Campus Rape Frenzy, has noted that a district-court decision against Appalachian State University last month marked the 60th time that courts have ruled against colleges and universities in campus due-process cases since the 2011 “Dear Colleague” letter. This September, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) released a study of campus due process in which it reported that of 53 of the nation’s leading colleges and universities, 85 percent maintain policies that grossly violate due-process protections and nearly three-quarters don’t even presume the accused innocent until proven guilty. In one striking instance, Northwestern University professor Laura Kipnis found herself subject to two Title IX investigations in 2015 following an essay she had written for The Chronicle of Higher Education about campus sexual politics and paranoia. Other instances of accused students and faculty being railroaded by university kangaroo courts can be found in nearly any major news outlet.
DeVos’s speech marks a promising turn. While the education press reported that DeVos was, for now, leaving the 2011 Obama guidance intact, a senior Department of Education official told us that this is misleading. Rather, the official says the department has already filed paperwork with the Office of Management and Budget to rescind the guidance and adopt new interim guidance in its place.
The interim guidance will stipulate fair-treatment standards for both parties involved in these investigations. This means no more star chambers: All the evidence available to one party is to be available to the other, and institutions will be required to notify the accused of any charges levied against them. The interim guidance will also take Washington’s thumb off the scale in terms of evidentiary standards, cross-examination, and the like, allowing campuses to reinstate due-process protections without fearing they will trigger a federal civil-rights investigation. DeVos also announced that she will launch a “transparent notice-and-comment process,” in accord with federal law, to develop guidelines that can more responsibly and effectively promote safe campuses, provide justice to victims, and safeguard the rights of the accused.
Secretary DeVos’s fine speech and pledge to act are worth commending — especially given the caterwauling and vitriol with which she knew she’d be greeted by the Title IX lobby, campus ideologues, and old Obama hands. If she’s able and willing to follow through, DeVos’s articulate and measured challenge to campus kangaroo courts will prove to be a heartening win for common sense.
Some years ago, near the end of the “Satanic Ritual Abuse” scare, it occurred to me to wonder how much of the trauma experienced by kids was due to their having been sexually abused, and how much by the constant drumbeat of expectation that they had been traumatized. (Not talking about cases where physical damage occurrs — more like the Kliban cartoon, “Uncle Sid’s Birthday Peek” (good luck finding that one.)
Someone acts in a creepy way, or maybe a very creepy way, and the target is told this is the worst thing that could ever happen to her. She gets the message that unless she recognizes how traumatized she is, maybe there’s something wrong with her. (Some of the interviews of children at the Mc Martin Preschool went awry in this very way.) So she confesses trauma. She rehearses it in interview after interview, conversation after conversation. Eventually, she believes it. An event has progressed from “boy that really creeped me out” to “he ruined my life!”
I don’t know if that ever happens, or how often it might happen. But in the middle of the hysteria, it was probably not safe even to ask the question.
Under this theory, hormones and other neurotransmitters go mad and can cause temporary brain damage; memories of an assault are stored perfectly somewhere in the brain but are “fragmented” at first, so it might take victims time to piece together the true story of what happened. College Title IX coordinators—the folks responsible for adjudicating claims of campus sexual misconduct—are told that “the absence of verbal or physical resistance, the inability to recall crucial parts of an alleged assault, a changing story—none of these factors should raise questions or doubt about a claim,” explains Yoffe. “Indeed, all of these behaviors can be considered evidence that an assault occurred.”
But science offers little evidence to support these claims. In fact, they fly in the face of almost all recent research on memory and trauma. (See Yoffe’s piece for plenty of backup on this front.) Rather, the “neurobiology of trauma” movement seems to have become popular because it plays so nicely into progressive ideology.
We have been here before.
In the 1980s, the idea that childhood sexual abuse caused later psychological troubles, substance abuse problems, and repressed memories grew quite popular. The medical mechanism through which this occurred was supposedly trauma, or more specifically, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Activists alleged that child sexual abuse victims experienced PTSD in the same way soldiers did.
The trauma theory arose in response to questions about why many victims didn’t recall or report abuse until later. Trauma, PTSD, and repressed memories provided an explanation that avoided any emphasis on victims’ actions or behavior. To suggest that they waited out of shame, because they didn’t understand the meaning of the abuse until later, or for any other reason involving the remotest bit of agency on the victims’ parts was seen as too close to victim blaming. Any questioning of quack psychologists who “uncovered” repressed memories was viewed as saying most accusers were making their stories up.
PTSD also provided a semi-plausible biological mechanism for how childhood sexual abuse could directly cause mood disorders, drug abuse, excessive drinking, relationship and sexual problems, eating disorders, personality disorders, and other issues later in life—problems that were proclaimed to arise in almost every case.
Yet “the theory of PTSD did not readily adapt to the experience of sexual abuse as described by victims,” writes Clancy, who began focusing on the issue as part of her doctoral research at Harvard in the 1990s.
At the start, Clancy expected her interviews with survivors of childhood sexual abuse to confirm conventional wisdom: that this type of abuse was always traumatizing to children as it occurred, that this trauma could cause them to block it out or detach from it until years later, and that the result was always lifelong psychological, sexual, and relationship problems. But what she found was more complicated. Most of those she talked to—as patients and as part of her research project—knew their abusers, were not physically harmed by them, and recalled feeling more confusion than fear at the time.
In other words, they had not experienced the abuse as particularly traumatic when it occurred. The negative psychological effects of the abuse came later, in adolescence or early adulthood, when a victim could fully conceptualize and understand what had happened. That didn’t fit the PTSD model.
To be clear, she does not suggest that sexual molestation isn’t traumatizing—just that it traumatizes victims in a different way than was commonly understood. But when she began putting this out there, it was not taken well by her peers in the psychology community or by feminist activists. Clancy was accused of victim blaming and of being a “friend of pedophiles.” At the very least, critics asked, why did it matter? If the new trauma paradigm had mobilized mass attention and opened Uncle Sam’s pocketbook for research studies, child abuse hotlines, training programs, and awareness campaigns, then why quibble over the psychological particulars?
The answer, to Clancy, is simple: “To truly help victims, our theories need to be based on the empirical knowledge—and not on assumptions, politics, and lies.”
As she interviewed more and more survivors of childhood sex abuse, Clancy realized that misinformation about trauma was further victimizing them and causing even more psychological harm. For most—those who had not “fought back” against the abuse or reported it until later, those who hadn’t developed crippling psychological problems in the aftermath, etc.—the conventional wisdom on trauma only compounded feelings of insecurity, shame, and self-loathing. If they weren’t terrified in the moment and traumatized forever after, they took that as a sign of their own complicity, deviance, or flaws.
“The reason the truth matters—the reason advocacy is best based in truth—is that our lies about sexual abuse are not helping victims,” writes Clancy.
On campuses today, we may be making things worse for young people by embracing “science” because it feels right rather than because it reflects the empirical evidence. As before, this comes in reaction to a real problem—a historical disbelief in rape victims’ stories and a tendency to treat any minor memory inconsistencies as proof they are lying—but it has veered into a damaging overcorrection.
“This information sends the message to young people that they are biologically programmed to become helpless during unwanted sexual encounters and to suffer mental impairment afterward,” writes Yoffe. “And it may inadvertently encourage them to view consensual late-night, alcohol-fueled encounters that might produce disjointed memories and some regret as something more sinister.”
In today’s climate, this can lead to some major miscarriages of justice for those wrongly accused. But it’s also no boon for preventing sexual victimizaiton or for encouraging sexual safety and fulfillment among young people more broadly.
In survey after survey, students speak of incidents where they never communicated a desire to cease sexual activity because at that moment they felt “frozen,” even though the perpetrator was not (by their own accounts) violent, threatening, or otherwise acting in a manner that should inspire terror. Read about recent campus sexual assault investigations and you’ll find all sorts of cases where the sexual activity started consensually—often under the influence of alcohol—and then one partner had enough but didn’t say or do anything to indicate that. The other party, who cannot read minds, then continued…and later was accused of rape.
An attorney who defends students accused of Title IX violations told Yoffe: “I don’t think I’ve seen a complaint in the past year that didn’t use the word frozen somewhere.”
Of course people should take responsibility for ensuring a sexual partner’s consent. But in the absense of this affirmative consent—i.e., in the vast majority of sexual encounters today, on campus or off—it helps for people to speak up when they don’t want sexual activity to go on, to be forceful about it, and to physically attempt to leave if necessary. Obviously this isn’t realistic in every situation: Attacks involving strangers, violence, threats, etc., do not lend themselves to polite conventions and conversation. (And no victim should be disbelieved or blamed simply because he or she didn’t respond in some idealized way.) But the vast majority of campus sexual assaults that get reported do not involve violence or threats, do occur between people who know each other, and seem to involve some degree of genuine confusion over consent.
Rather than wade into what sorts of cultural messages and factors could contribute to all this, activists have invented a biological explanation and started teaching it through college pamphlets and websites, Title IX training modules, and more.
We are constructing a new trauma myth.
To challenge it is to be accused of victim-blaming, of putting the onus “on women not to get raped instead of on men not to rape,” of being a “rape apologist.”
To not challenge it is to deprive a lot of young people of skills necessary to avoid being assaulted.
Freezing up should be understood as something that’s understandable in the face of an unwanted sexual advance. It should not be our presumed default. Yet we’re teaching a generation of people new to sex that if they feel any hesitation about someone’s advances, it’s perfectly natural to say nothing and, because it’s the other person’s job to ask for affirmative consent, later report them for rape. Who is this helping?
A correspondent came up with the following statement.
Gosh, but Lyndon Johnson was a Democrat. How could that possibly be? According to that new ad campaign by Dennis Prager, a major conservative broadcaster and blogger, only the Republicans have ever sponsored or promoted Civil Rights legislation. He even paid an African American woman to say so in the commercials, so it must be true, right?
Seriously, there’s a really weird disinformation campaign going on right now. The basis for Prager’s comments is that in the 19th century, the Democrats were the bad guys in terms of civil rights for African Americans, so they must still be. Somehow, ignoring the entire 20th century in political analysis seems odd, but that’s what he’s doing. He skips over the whole period of time, including the part after July 2nd, 1964, when many Southern Democrats migrated to the Republican Party and to the new American Independent party, because they were the parties that now opposed civil rights legislation. He ignores the entire period of history in which the Democrats became the more liberal of the two parties around the time of the Depression, and remained that way after FDR solidified his position.
I will grant him that, back when the two parties actually talked to each other rather than simply ranting across the aisle, the Republicans of the 1940s did help nudge Truman into finishing the desegregation of the armed forces, by threatening to make it a political issue if he left it unfinished. Also, Eisenhower, in the 1950s, did a lot in support of the Supreme Court’s rulings on schools. But still…
Okay, so maybe Dennis Prager somehow slept through a lot of history classes, and this isn’t really being openly dishonest. That doesn’t explain the other folks jumping in with similar “War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength…” ad campaigns. In the state of Georgia, African Americans were sent a phony endorsement pitch, supposedly from Barack Obama, endorsing the Republican candidates…
I don’t know about the ad campaigns elsewhere, but I’m not aware of Dennis Prager ever saying that only Republicans ever supported civil rights legislation. I’m also not aware of any “ad campaigns” featuring an African American woman paid to say so.
I suspect he may have heard this spot, which isn’t an ad campaign for anything, but is in fact the finished product. Nowhere does it say that only Republicans supported civil rights legislation.
Maybe he’s referring to something else, but since he didn’t offer source or link, I’m not sure what to make of any of his history.
Once upon a time, every student of history – and that meant pretty much everyone with a high school education – knew this: The Democratic Party was the party of slavery and Jim Crow, and the Republican Party was the party of emancipation and racial integration.
Democrats were the Confederacy and Republicans were the Union. Jim Crow Democrats were dominant in the South and socially tolerant Republicans were dominant in the North.
But then, in the 1960s and 70s, everything supposedly flipped: suddenly the Republicans became the racists and the Democrats became the champions of civil rights.
Fabricated by left-leaning academic elites and journalists, the story went like this: Republicans couldn’t win a national election by appealing to the better nature of the country; they could only win by appealing to the worst. Attributed to Richard Nixon, the media’s all-purpose bad guy, this came to be known as “The Southern Strategy.”
It was very simple. Win elections by winning the South. And to win the South, appeal to racists. So, the Republicans, the party of Lincoln, were to now be labeled the party of rednecks.
But this story of the two parties switching identities is a myth. In fact, it’s three myths wrapped into one false narrative.
Let’s take a brief look at each myth in turn.
Myth Number One: In order to be competitive in the South, Republicans started to pander to white racists in the 1960s.
Fact: Republicans actually became competitive in the South as early as 1928, when Republican Herbert Hoover won over 47 percent of the South’s popular vote against Democrat Al Smith. In 1952, Republican President Dwight Eisenhower won the southern states of Tennessee, Florida and Virginia. And in 1956, he picked up Louisiana, Kentucky and West Virginia, too. And that was after he supported the Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education that desegregated public schools; and after he sent the 101st Airborne to Little Rock Central High School to enforce integration.
Myth Number Two: Southern Democrats, angry with the Civil Rights Act of 1964, switched parties.
Fact: Of the 21 Democratic senators who opposed the Civil Rights Act, just one became a Republican. The other 20 continued to be elected as Democrats, or were replaced by other Democrats. On average, those 20 seats didn’t go Republican for another two-and-a-half decades.
Myth Number Three: Since the implementation of the Southern Strategy, the Republicans have dominated the South.
Fact: Richard Nixon, the man who is often credited with creating the Southern Strategy, lost the Deep South in 1968. In contrast, Democrat Jimmy Carter nearly swept the region in 1976 – 12 years after the Civil Rights Act of 1964. And in 1992, over 28 years later, Democrat Bill Clinton won Georgia, Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia. The truth is, Republicans didn’t hold a majority of southern congressional seats until 1994, 30 years after the Civil Rights Act.
As Kevin Williamson of the National Review writes: “If southern rednecks ditched the Democrats because of a civil-rights law passed in 1964, it is strange that they waited until the late 1980s and early 1990s to do so. They say things move slower in the south — but not that slow.”
So, what really happened? Why does the South now vote overwhelmingly Republican? Because the South itself has changed. Its values have changed. The racism that once defined it, doesn’t anymore. Its values today are conservative ones: pro-life, pro-gun, and pro-small government.
And here’s the proof: Southern whites are far more likely to vote for a black conservative, like Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, than a white liberal.
In short, history has moved on. Like other regions of the country, the South votes values, not skin color. The myth of the Southern Strategy is just the Democrats’ excuse for losing the South, and yet another way to smear Republicans with the label “racist.”
Don’t buy it.
I’m Carol Swain, professor of political science and law at Vanderbilt University, for Prager University.
Perhaps the most problematic aspect of Green’s post is that, despite what he believes, most conservatives do not complain about liberal bias on American campuses because they are full of people who believe that evolution is true or that the US lost a war against Vietnam. They complain about liberal bias on American campuses because they are full of people who think conservatives are just cretins who are incapable of forming their beliefs in a rational way and have no problem saying so on a regular basis. In short, they complain about liberal bias on American campuses because they are full of ignorant fools like Green, who know next to nothing about what conservatives actually believe. Green’s lazy rant is a perfect illustration of why it’s hard to be a conservative on campus. Of course, he didn’t do it on purpose, but that doesn’t make his post any less valuable.
Conservatives also complain because right-wing intellectuals are regularly prevented from speaking on American campuses by unhinged, illiberal left-wing thugs, who sometimes don’t hesitate to resort to violence. They point out that large segments of academia have become hotbeds of activism posing as scholarly enterprises. In other words, far from complaining because universities are places where people are devoted to the rational search for the truth, they complain because universities increasingly are not. I should add that conservatives are right about that and that one doesn’t need to be a conservative to worry about that. I know plenty of liberals who find the politicization of universities extremely concerning. You have to live in a parallel universe to deny that it’s a problem.
If Green actually listened to what conservatives say when they complain about liberal bias on campuses, he would know that, but it’s clear that he has no idea what conservatives really think and that he is only familiar with a caricature. When I say that, people often retort that it’s because I’m a European conservative, who isn’t even religious and isn’t really familiar with American conservatism. If that’s what you’re inclined to say, I’m going to stop you right there. I’m far more familiar with American conservatism than any American liberal I know. I read American conservative publications every day, know many American conservatives personally and have read countless books about American conservatism. (I also listen to Democracy Now and read plenty of left-wing sources.) I even watch Fox News on a regular basis, so I’m quite familiar with the kind of things American conservatives say when they complain about liberal bias on campuses, which is clearly more than I can say about Green and people who take his post seriously.
This bias is a real problem that should concern everyone and deserves better than Green’s idiotic post. I’m one of a handful of openly right-wing people in academia, so I’m in a particularly good position to talk about it. In my experience, people who aren’t conservative have no idea what kind of things those who are have to deal with in academia on a daily basis, which is part of the problem. Universities worry a lot about micro-aggressions, implicit bias, etc. against women and minorities. But there is nothing “micro” or “implicit” about the hostility conservatives have to face on campus. Nobody goes around campuses saying that women and black people are stupid, but not a day goes by on campus without people saying that about conservatives. In my field, conservatives are so afraid to speak up that some of them have created secret groups, where they can say what they think without fear of reprisal. Just think for a second about how toxic the environment must be in order for things to have come to that.
And don’t tell me that conservatives just need to grow a pair and speak up more often. I actually agree that conservatives in academia should speak up more often, but most people who say that have no idea how difficult it is, because they never had to face the kind of hostility that conservatives in academia have to deal with. Everyone is a war hero until they actually go to war. Moreover, conservatives aren’t the only ones who are afraid to say what they think in academia, the problem is far more widespread than that. One of the advantages of being so outspoken is that everyone tells me what they really think, because they know I don’t give a shit and don’t have to worry that I’m going to repeat it. You have no idea how many people have reached out to me privately to thank me for saying things nobody else will. Most of them are conservatives, but many are liberals, who have views that are at odds with the zeitgeist and don’t feel comfortable expressing them. Often, they don’t even agree with what I’m saying, but they’re just glad that someone is saying it so they can have another viewpoint. Which brings me to why the liberal bias on campuses is bad even for people who aren’t conservative.
The problem with political bias, no matter who it’s directed against, is that it makes people who share the dominant view stupid and uninformed. Most of the things liberal academics think are obvious really aren’t obvious at all, but they don’t know that, because they rarely get to hear the other side. And they rarely get to hear the other side not because conservatives have nothing to say against their arguments, but more often than not because they are just afraid to say what they think. As a result, intelligent conservatives in academia are typically in a much better epistemic position than similarly intelligent liberals, because they are familiar with the best arguments for the views they disagree with, whereas liberals are robbed of this opportunity by the fact that conservatives don’t feel comfortable speaking freely.
For example, I’m strongly in favor of restrictionism about immigration, a view that most academics think is not only misguided but obviously false and morally repugnant. The problem is that I have read and thought a lot about immigration. Moreover, because almost everyone around me thinks restrictionism is wrong, I’m very familiar with their arguments. But they’re not familiar with mine, because they have almost never met anyone who disagreed with them on that issue and wasn’t afraid to say it. So when I have a debate about someone about that, it usually becomes really embarrassing very quickly, but not for me. In almost every case, I know exactly what they’re going to say. I know what studies they’re going to cite and, since I have actually read them (which is rarely the case of my interlocutors), I can explain why they don’t show what they think they show.
To be clear, although I think I’m right about immigration, I’m not saying that I’m obviously right. Precisely because I have read and thought a lot about it, I know this debate involves many complicated issues, both empirical and philosophical. My point is that, because of the liberal bias on campuses, most academics don’t know that. They think it’s obviously true that restrictionism about immigration is both intellectually and morally bankrupt, which is why they typically look like fools when they have a debate about this with someone who actually has a grasp of how complex the issue really is. Of course, I’m not saying that nobody on the pro-immigration side of that debate knows what they’re talking about, I know some who do. But I don’t know many of them and that’s really not surprising given the abuse people who defend a restrictionist position are subjected to.
Nobody benefits from this state of affairs. This isn’t just bad because it makes academics politically uninformed. There is plenty of evidence that it actually affects their scholarship and make it worse than it would otherwise be. There has been a healthy conversation about this in social psychology, a field that heavily leans left, where some researchers have demonstrated that the lack of diversity harmed the field. This was the impetus for the creation of Heterodox Academy, which seeks to remedy this problem in academia. Unless you have a completely unrealistic view of human cognition, you have to realize that any environment that leans so heavily toward one side of the political spectrum, far from being a place where belief is proportionate to evidence, will be epistemically suboptimal. Echo chambers aren’t exactly ideal environments to discover the truth about anything. If you don’t want to take seriously the liberal bias on campuses, that’s fine with me, but then don’t complain when people elect a vulgarian like Trump or when Republicans defund universities.
Finally, I want to reply to one point some people have made in defense of Green’s post, because it adds insult to injury. Both he and other people have claimed that his critics were misguided because he wasn’t talking about conservatives in general but only about a specific type of conservative. It’s true that, in his post, he occasionally qualifies his claims with vague expressions such as “a certain kind of conservative.” But he doesn’t always do that and, in any case, this is largely beside the point. You don’t write a post called “Why it is hard to be a campus conservative” if all you want to do is point out that people who form their beliefs in a totally irrational way, which is the case of only a small proportion of the people who complain that it’s hard to be a conservative on campus (at least it’s not larger than the proportion of people who deny it’s a problem and form their beliefs in the same irrational way), are bound to be uncomfortable in places such as universities, which are supposed to be dedicated to the rational search for the truth.
Are there conservatives who complain that it’s hard to be conservative on campus for bad reasons? Well of course there are, plenty of them even. But that their reasons are bad is obvious, so when you write a post which you claim is about why it’s hard to be conservative on campus and only address those reasons, you are in effect suggesting that conservatives don’t also have plenty of good reasons to complain that it’s hard to be a conservative on campus. If that’s not what you think, then why not address the interesting reasons people have to complain that it’s hard to be a conservative on campus, instead of writing a post on reasons nobody intelligent cares about? Even if it were true that most conservatives complain about the liberal bias on campuses for the reasons Green seems to think, which it isn’t, it would still not be why most conservative academics, who aren’t typical of conservatives in general anymore than liberal academics are typical of liberals in general, complain about it. This defense of Green’s post is a classic case of gaslighting. It will only work against imbeciles, but despite what Green seems to think, most conservatives aren’t imbeciles.