Attach the prefix “bio” to any social science discipline and one of the first criticisms launched at you will be that you are inviting back eugenics. I’ve listened to this a thousand times and have grown weary of the lack of actual knowledge about the advent of eugenics.
If you receive a standard education in the social sciences or humanities, you will listen to some progressive professor hail the original progressives. President Wilson, Upton Sinclair, and the other names etched into history are cherished symbols of progressive ideology because they cared about people and wanted to use government to make the lives of the poor better.
Of course, nobody is perfect--especially the progressives.
According to Thomas Leonard in his new book:
“Progressives did not work in factories. They inspected them. Progressives did not drink in salons. They tried to shudder them. The bold women who chose to live among the immigrant poor and city slums called themselves settlers, not neighbors. Even when progressives idealized workers, they tended to patronize them. Romanticizing a brotherhood that they would never consider joining.”
And in a recent interview:
And across American society, eugenics was popular. It was popular among the new experimental biologists that we now called geneticist. It was certainly popular among the new social scientists, the economists and others who were staffing the bureaus at the administrative state and sitting in chairs in the university. And it was popular among politicians too. There were many journals of eugenics. There were many eugenics societies. They had international and national conferences. Hundreds probably thousands of scholars were happy to call themselves eugenicists and to advocate for eugenic policies of various kinds. There’s a book published in I think around 1924 by Sam Holmes who was a Berkeley zoologist and there’s like 6000 or 7000 titles on eugenics in the bibliography.
The progressives were also imperialists, they embraced the use of coercive governmental power, and they were RACIST to the core.
Yet on college campuses across the US, progressives are idealized and the progressive movement embraced despite its historical abuses, despite the TERRIBLE and TRAGIC consequences attributed to progressive ideology, and despite the fact that these folks were often not very nice people.
You can find Professor Leonard’s excellent book here:
And his recent interview here: _
I want to ask a serious question, even though asking it invites criticism. Is the Black Lives Movement moral? On its face, at least, many can agree that calling attention to unwarranted police violence and unnecessarily hostile treatment by the cops is responsible. We can even agree that any group can petition government to air their grievances and that groups have a right to assemble, to protest, and to attempt to convert others to their side. None of this is at issue here.
But what if the movement’s claims lack empirical confirmation? What if the movement causes violence, engages in harassment of others, and seeks to silence dissent? What if that movement causes, even unintentionally, more harm? Can we say that the movement is moral?
Now, I can hear some of the criticisms already: BLM is composed of a diverse group of people and you cannot stereotype all; the issue is moral, even if the tactics employed by some are illegal; and their standby......you are a racists for even asking.
Take a look, however, at the harm caused by BLM and how they use threats and intimidation to achieve silencing their critics. Is this “right” behavior? Look at the hateful and often racist rhetoric employed by many in the BLM crowd. Are hate and racism no less damaging to them than to anyone else? And look at their claims--claims that are backed by fury but that are often empty of substance.
So, I’m inclined to see BLM as movement that is largely immoral even if it contains individuals who are moral. I’m inclined to view their general claims as largely hollow even if the occasional case supports their view. And I see more and more how their rhetoric and their actions are brining harm to people.
Here is another example of their awful rhetoric and their efforts to suppress dissent: _
A recent study in Public Opinion Quarterly went viral, making its way around the news cycle, the blogosphere, and progressive interest groups.
The study reported that skin tone/color, associated with a picture of President Obama, correlated with some ugly sentiments. Proof positive, many on the left would argue, of implicit and explicit racism.
A psychologist, L.J. Zigerell, however, did us the service of checking the original authors’ results. He was able to replicate their reported results but also found that researchers reported only 2 of 16,369 potential combination. He posted this finding on his website and on Twitter.
The authors’ of the study responded to these criticisms and a civil discussion occurred. You can read everything here: http://www.ljzigerell.com/?p=3622 _
Read the comments for yourself and evaluate the various positions. They each make valid points.
While it is obviously concerning that multiple testing can produce the types of findings reported by the authors (a problem endemic in the social sciences), a focus on this issue alone misses at least two broader points.
First, studies are too easily embraced when they confirm our worldview. Those on the left love it when a study shows discrimination or when a study shows that conservatives are inferior. I would say that conservatives love it when studies are produced that show liberals to be inferior but.......few liberals are going to do those studies. Nonetheless, conservatives, too, have their favorite issues and often too readily accept some studies as gospel.
Second, and less appreciated, is how the internet is now allowing for increased vetting of studies. I’ve read outstanding critical reviews of studies that were published in top journals by people not formally trained in those fields. Indeed, if you can cut through the swamp of crap that is out there, you can find some very intelligent bloggers who are now holding scientists to account. In a way this practice takes science out of the dark and closeted corners of academia and exposes it to the sunshine of open debate. While some internet scholars abuse this process, others make important contributions.
I have to say that since I’ve been on Twitter I’ve had more honest, candid, and insight discussions about research than I have had in several years. It is the one place where you can see an idea get vetted, discussed, and scrutinized without concern for academic standing.
Anyone who studies government and the use of governmental power understands that what comes around, goes around. When you create a system to control people, that system will eventually be corrupted (see Title IX) or it will eventually be used to control you. It’s almost guaranteed.
So it is with our universities, too. The mad rush to quash anything deemed offensive required the creation of system to document and investigate allegations of bias. Enter the “bias response team.” Just like a police SWAT team, BRT’s jump into action when someone complains about something....anything.....no matter how frivolous.
With this system in place you can bet your backside that we will see more and more claims of victimization and more and more calls to STOP THE BIAS.
The pessimist in me sees this as nothing short of catastrophic. The BRT at the University of Oregon, for example, investigated a host of allegations--ranging from words that were uttered in a classroom to pictures of women in bikini’s.
Bias....... it can be found everywhere and anywhere. In short order I’m sure BRT’s will be called on to eliminate grades. Wait, wait, wait. I found out that my university already has a committee that looks into grades. When a professor issues “too many” W’s/F’s/D’s, the committee kicks into action to make sure the professor is doing everything possible to be fair. As I found out this term, students are now very much aware of this committee and have no problem complaining about the “unfairness” of their grade.
Anyway, expect it to happen because it is only a matter of time.
Never, ever, underestimate the will of the social justice crowd to gain and to exercise power. Never. They want it, desire it, and will do anything to get it. And once they have it, they will turn that power to regulate the groups they don’t like and to make sure that students are indoctrinated to their cause.
But fear not. If you survive the purge take solace in the fact that the apparatus of power they built will inevitably be used against them. As innumerable cases this past year have shown, there is nothing that satiates their thirst to control. They will turn on each other with a vengeance and the system will crumble. The only issue is how many careers will be ended between now and then and how many students will be converted into their grievance culture.
Read about it here: _
I want to give props to Professor Rick Rosenfeld. Professor Rosenfeld, you may remember, was the author of a report that questioned the empirical veracity of the alleged Ferguson Effect. That report was used by the policy committee of the ASC to justify marshaling resources against Heather MacDonald--the conservative writer who has argued in favor the Ferguson effect.
In a recent interview, however, Professor Rosenfeld stated that, on further review, the data showed some support for the effect. Props, props, props.
To be clear, I’m not saying this because I agree with his views. Instead, I believe it is critically important for scholars to CHANGE THEIR MINDS when the data show earlier conclusions were wrong or were not clearly understood. Many scholars are simply afraid to show the intellectual struggle that occurs when serious minds attempt to tackle, in an honest way, complex problems.
You can read the article here: _
Everyone knows that Chicago has a serious problem with violent crime.....a very serious problem. Each weekend dozens and sometimes over 100 people are shot. The violence is utterly amazing.
Of course, Chicago has a policing problem too. Well, let me specify that statement. The Chicago police ARE the problem--that is, if you believe Rahm Emanual, the ACLU, BLM, and the rest of the left-wing establishment.
If you follow Chicago crime and politics you will know that Illinois generally and Chicago specifically has taken some really stupid steps to solve problems unrelated to crime. One of these stupid steps was to implement a 2-page “contact” card that officers have to complete each and every time they conduct a street stop. These contact cards are then submitted to the ACLU for evaluation.
The ACLU has a mixed history of protecting the rights of citizens. Sometimes they take on cases and issues that need their services but sometimes they take on situations where their ideology interferes with reasonable policing efforts. Clearly, Chicago PD has some issues but the efforts of these groups has seriously hampered the ability and will of the police to serve their communities. The results were predictable: street stops have declined by 90 percent and drug arrests have plummeted.
The unfortunate byproduct of the hyper-charged political atmosphere is that the only people who benefit are the political ideologues and the thugs.
For an excellent and insightful discussion on the internal politics, watch these videos. Fascinating and disturbing.
With all the talk about codes of ethics, Obama, and Trump, I thought the following article was interesting. The core thrust of the brief publication is that power should be used sparingly because, eventually, it will be used on you.
The lead quote, taken from the work of Chief Justice John Marshall in 1804, sums up nicely the general quandary we often find ourselves in:
"So true is it that men close their eyes on encroachments committed by that party to which they are attached, in the delusive hope that power, in such hands, will always be wielded against their adversaries, never against themselves.”
The author goes on to say:
"Liberty works the same for you as it does for me. When you limit your neighbor’s freedom in the name of “justice” or “fairness,” you’re signing the death warrant on your own."
You can read the article here: _
ESPN just published a documentary called “Fantastic Lies.” The documentary is about the horrible happenings at Duke University when a black stripper accused a group of white, male lacrosse players of rape. Many in academia are familiar with the story.....or at least most of the story.....and most wish it would go away.
I, however, think the Duke case should serve as an important warning. People on the outside of academia do not fully grasp how political academics are, especially those in the (fill in the blank) studies programs. They don’t understand that most academics will not confront injustice that occurs under their roof, and they don’t understand how a radicalized environment makes possible seemingly unfathomable decisions possible. This documentary will shed some light here.......and it is not pretty.
This documentary will give you some insight into campus politics, into the campus groups who led the charge to destroy these young men, and into the immoral and illegal conduct of a prosecutor.
The coach of the team lost his job at Duke.
The team, which was set to win a national championship, was destroyed.
The young men involved had their lives and futures turned upside down.
The media fueled a lynch mob--a mob that included many professors.
The prosecutor would eventually go to jail and be disbarred.
The stripper who made the false allegation would go on to murder someone and is now locked away.
Of course the professors who capitalized on this horrible situation, who fanned the flames of anger that helped to create this injustice,......well.....nothing happened to them. They went back to work peddling their prose and secure in the knowledge that they can destroy lives under the guise of academic freedom. It seems you can lead the revolt and walk the guy to the firing squad but in the end avoid any moral responsibility.
Oh, the President of Duke recently said his conscious was clear over how he handled the Duke lacrosse team. Watch the documentary.............make up your own mind. Would your conscious be clear?
John Paul Wright and Matt DeLisi
Professors of Crime and Criminology