Sunday, February 20, 2011

Under the iron boot of academic liberalism

At the annual meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Jonathan Haidt asked his colleagues how many of them would describe themselves as other than liberal. Maybe 20-30 centrists or libertarians raised their hands, and three conservatives - out of around 1,000 present in the auditorium. To Haidt the result signaled the blatant discrimination practiced by the liberal majority toward any non-conformists. He apparently berated his arrogant colleagues for the hostile climate they had created for the few brave dissidents in their ranks, and warned them that their extremism would damage the public's faith in their scientific enterprise. As I read this I scratched my head. What's the big deal, really? Isn't it obvious that anyone who has an IQ above 115 and has read at least 20 non-fiction books from cover to cover cannot possibly be illiberal? Well, I do have two personal acquaintances who deviate from this rule - one in his 50s, the other in his mid-20s. But they must be the kind of rare exceptions which only serve to prove the rule. There cannot possibly be anyone else in the world who is quite like them.