Idealistic objections are not welcomed at the university


Lisa Keo, a law student at Abertay University in Dundee, Scotland, was asked to give her opinion while attending an online class. The question is, what is a woman?so BBC interview On May 18, Keogh said the university was investigating her discrimination because of her answer that women have female reproductive organs. Depending on the outcome, you may be subject to disciplinary action.

In modern universities, ideological objections are not welcomed.

so Research Published in March, Eric Kaufmann, a professor of political science at the University of London, quantified intolerance. Of course, the academy is overwhelmingly to the left. In some sectors, the range of idealism extends from moderately progressive to critical neo-Marxist racial theorists on the cliffs.

Kaufman surveyed thousands of scholars in North America and the United Kingdom and found that a significant proportion discriminate against conservatives in employment, promotion, grants and publishing. More than half of the relatively few right-handed scholars are aware of the hostile work environment and allow self-censorship in research and education. Especially in the social sciences and humanities, “political views are people’s work. “There is a biased political bias,” writes Kaufman. “The result is a discriminatory impact on conservatives and other intellectual minorities.”

I once imagined that the university was engaged in the quest for truth. Diversity of idealistic and philosophical perspectives is essential to that mission. Discovery is possible if it is safe to question legitimacy in an open research environment. Setting up views that conflict with each other gives rise to ideas and exposes errors.

In one of John Stuart Mill’s most respected passages: His reason may be good, and no one could have argued against it. But if he can’t argue with the other reason in the same way and doesn’t know much about what the reason is, he has no reason to prefer either opinion … and from him an adversary. Hearing opinions is not enough. Accompanied by their teachers, those presented as they state and as counter-arguments. He must be able to hear those stories from those who actually believe in them … he must know them in the most plausible and compelling way. “

In 2016, Jonathan Haidt, a professor of psychology and ethics at NYU Stern School of Business, said: Insisted In many universities, the quest for truth has been superseded by the quest for social justice. These two missions are incompatible, Height writes. “In Truth U, there is no such thing as a blasphemy. Bad ideas are rebutted rather than punished. However, SJU has many blasphemy and some ideas, theories, facts, and authors that cannot be used. According to Height, the patron saint of Social Justice University is Karl Marx, not John Stuart Mill. The point is to change that. Our university is now more focused on calm research than political activity.

Last year, Height and two colleagues worried that the lack of ideological diversity had a negative impact on the quality of research in their field, and with the Heterodox Academy as a place for social science scholars to discuss I have created a website and blog called. Issues within the university. As is known, HxA has since grown into an international non-partisan organization of over 5,000 professors, managers and students. Its mission is to promote diversity of perspectives and constructive disagreements as the foundation of academic business. Its vision, as expressed on its website, is “an academy eager to welcome professors, students and speakers who approach problems and questions from different perspectives.” As the tagline says, “A good brain doesn’t always think the same way.”

Modern universities rarely embrace this vision. Instead, their strategic plans and mission statements usually identify a set of political values ​​and goals such as fairness, diversity and inclusion. “Diversity” means the variety of skin colors, not the idea. The diversity of idealism is abominable for these causes. Leftist scholars once defended the diversity of idealism. Now that they have seized control of the university, the diversity of perspectives is perceived as dangerous.

At my law school, the school board recently rejected a 33-to-4 vote to propose adding perspective diversity as a value and goal for its strategic plan. The diversity of perspectives, like HxA itself, was said to be an “alt-right ploy” armed with those who disagree that society should be transformed according to the values ​​expressed in the plan. ..

Diversity of perspectives is not the same as “academic freedom.” Academic freedom means that faculty members can express their opinions without interference or criticism. Diversity of perspectives means that institutions aim for diversity of philosophical and idealistic perspectives. Academic freedom does not create a variety of perspectives if most scholars have already sung the same song. Universities can safely support academic freedom as an important institutional value without jeopardizing the status quo. On the other hand, a commitment to diversity of perspectives threatens general consensus, as it may force universities to hire new professors with conservative, classical liberal, and / or libertarian beliefs. I will.

An alternative to perspective diversity is the academic culture of homogeneity and coherence. Universities have become political institutions that prioritize fidelity over general idealistic views. Students seeking education rather than indoctrination need to be careful.

Bruce Pardy is a professor of law at Queen’s University and a member of the Heterodox Academy.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.