Sunday, March 13, 2016

Stockholm Syndrome? Two Profs Insist Academia is OK for Nice and Quiet Conservatives



I was startled to read a recent opinion article in the Washington Post by Jon A. Shields and Joshua M. Dunn, Sr., called "Forget what the right says: Academia isn't so bad for conservative professors." 

Shields is associate professor of government at Claremont McKenna College and coauthor, with Dunn, of "Passing on the Right: Conservative Professors in the Progressive University." Dunn is associate professor of political science at the University of Colorado—Colorado Spring.

The part of their article that ticked me off the most was the idea that we should be encouraged that conservatives can survive in the academic world if they learn to keep their conservatism as secret until they obtain tenure:

First, conservative professors are not helpless victims -- they have become quite skilled at navigating the progressive university. About a third of the professors we interviewed said they concealed their politics prior to earning tenure. Of course, being in the closet is not easy. (One particularly distressed professor told us: "It is dangerous to even think [a conservative thought] when I'm on campus, because it might come out of my mouth.") But it's also a temporary hardship, since nearly all the conservatives whom we interviewed planned to emerge from the ivory tower's shadows after gaining tenure. Once tenured, conservatives are free to express their politics and publish research that reflects right-wing interests and perspectives. As one put it to us: "I don't mind causing trouble now."

As far as I'm concerned, this is an unacceptable reaction to a vicious, profound discrimination against conservative scholars. 

I served for three years at an assistant professor in the political science department at Williams College. At the time, I was one of only three registered Republicans on the staff. I keep an eye on the college and contribute to two of the websites associated with the college that are okay with freedom of speech and freedom of expression. Here are links to two articles regarding my story.



I have never gotten over the way my career as a scholar was gravely wounded due to affirmative action. I am especially bitter about how my doctoral dissertation was belittled by the political science department at Williams College. I developed my thesis while living in poverty, working as a gardener, and surviving without health insurance. 

I’m still immensely proud of it. 

It hurts me to think of all the young conservative professors who are being harmed by our college and university system. There has to be a better way to confront the dominance of the hard left in our college and university system than simply telling young conservatives to be nice and shut up. It is hard to do both when you are confronting a profound level of injustice. 

For some great commentary on this story from another source, I recommend this article by David Henderson called "Academic Conservatives and Survivor Bias." My experience rings true with Henderson's comments that conservatives need to outperform their liberal colleagues in terms of publishing, but the ability to publish is limited by the liberal bias of the journals controlled by the liberals. 

I found this to be a no-win situation and I quickly left to find higher paying work in environments with less outright discrimination. Here's an article from the Williams Record back in January 1989 which captured my mood at the time. See, https://ia802705.us.archive.org/zipview.php?zip=/14/items/thewilliamsrecord_vol101b_103a/thewilliamsrecord_vol101b_103a_pdf.zip&file=thewilliamsrecord_vol101b_103a_pdf/thewilliamsrecord_vol101b_103a_0284.pdf

This article, of course, reflects my thoughts prior to knowing that my dissertation would win national recognition from the American Political Science Association that summer or that it would be easily published as part of an edited book - almost exactly as I wrote it -- about seven years later. The publisher, Praeger, also published One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch by Alexander Solzhenitsyn.

Nevertheless, I have received some very friendly e-mails from both Dunn and Shields since I drafted this article. My gut feeling is that they needed to play up the cooperation with liberals angle to help get their research published and then the Washington Post distorted their true views to provoke a reaction from their audience. (I guess that worked on me.) I'm looking forward to visiting with Shields sometime soon and sharing my story with him. 

John C. Drew, Ph.D. is an award-winning political scientist.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Purple Bruises: Mob Rule at Williams College

As one of the last conservatives to have ever taught at Williams College, I feel vindicated in reporting that this once prestigious school has now devolved into a form of mob rule. Based on the aggressive language used to intimidate students like Zach Wood, it looks to me like the college is now dominated by hard leftists who have more in common with Joseph Stalin than with FDR. Under this radical, threatening regime, we have seen a stunning failure to provide adequate security for anti-feminist speaker Susan Venker, the outright censorship of race realist John Derbyshire, and the inexplicable tolerance of anti-Semitic hate speech from Palestinian-American poet Remi Kanazi.

Trust me. I understand mob rule and the role of censorship. I’m a former Communist myself. I’m also well informed about the continuing dysfunction and lack of intellectual diversity at Williams College.  As you may know, I was among the first young, white, professors at Williams College to pay a high price for for teaching politically incorrect ideas including how black poverty and inequality would be more efficiently resolved with the improved use of inexpensive condoms than with the wholesale adoption of a socialist economy. Then, as now, my ideas caused howls of indignation and immediate accusations of racism among supposedly liberal folks who --  by tradition, at least -- should have been more concerned about protecting my freedom of speech. As James Lewis writes at American Thinker:

We can never forget that U.S. ‘liberals” of this generation are not liberals at all; they have fallen back into ruthless Leftism, just like the old days of Joe Stalin. This is the Left that threw Lawrence Summers out as president of Harvard for wondering out loud whether some boys are just better in math than girls. This is the Left that keeps imposing ever-harsher speech and behavior codes on college students, with white guys as the official scapegoats. This Left manipulates universities by mob threats. This is the Left that tried to physically attack General David Petraeus at NYU, so he had to run for it. This is the Left that deliberately stirs up race hatred, as in Ferguson and Baltimore. This is the Left that has made common cause with primitive jihadist regimes in Europe and the U.S.

As one of only three Republicans teaching at Williams College in the 1980s, I was quickly marginalized for suggesting that white attitudes and U.S. capitalism inadequately explained why violent crimes are disproportionately committed by blacks. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, blacks were charged with 62% of all robberies, 57% of murders and 45% of assaults in the 75 largest U.S. counties in 2009, though they made up roughly 15% of the population there. It strikes me as nothing less than ideological blindness to insist that such extraordinary violence is the unfortunate result of peaceful white folks living ordinary lives in our nation’s rural and suburban areas.

In this context, I’m shocked by the sheer ignorance of Williams College’s president, Adam Falk. I don’t think there is a serious person who has studied John Derbyshire who would classify him as either idiotic, a lunatic, or a white supremacist. In my view, Falk’s flippant, juvenile comments are uninformed, and display a profound level of misunderstanding about race realism, political culture studies and alt-right philosophy.

The simplest explanation for his mistreatment of John Derbyshire is that this is the sort of mistake that happens when physicists get involved in political and biological matters for which they have no training or relevant experience. While most faculty members are experts in our own fields, we tend to be hapless amateurs everywhere else.

There is, however, a more complex explanation that goes to the heart at why mob rule is the order of the day at Williams College. If there were more diversity of opinion, and freedom of thought, at Williams College, then someone could have informed Falk that censoring John Derbyshire was a big mistake and a setback for Williams College.

The reason there is no intellectual diversity at Williams College is because conservative, Republican thinkers have long since been pushed out of the full-time faculty.  I should know. While I taught at Williams College, it was said that conservative students were passive and not very active. It was suggested that there was not much interest in conservative thought on the campus. Certainly not enough interest in conservative thought to spend time worrying about the intellectual diversity of the faculty in the political science department.

Nevertheless, in less than a year, the campus saw a veritable renaissance of conservative activities and thought as conservative students – with my support and active encouragement – established a conservative newspaper, a conservative radio show, and a conservative television show on the local cable access channel. We had qualified speakers at the Garfield Republican Club. The conservative students rallied around my office, which I decorated with a large American flag. We went out of our way to tick off the liberal/Communist professors by loudly greeting each other with hearty cries of “Merry Christmas.” Ironically, an independent study conducted of the political science department recommended changes be made to address the department’s lack of ideological diversity.

As far as I can tell, I am the last registered Republican to have ever taught in the political science department at Williams College. I am certainly the last to have ever espoused consistently conservative views from a sincere, heartfelt perspective. I am also, apparently, the first and only assistant professor who was denied the opportunity to continue along the tenure track pathway.

This itself is quite odd, since, in the 1980s, I was one of our nation’s top young scholars. Hired at Williams in 1986, I went on to win national recognition for my doctoral dissertation from the American Political Science Association (APSA). I completed my dissertation during my first year teaching at Williams College. The quality of this work was so great that it has now been published, in book form, almost exactly as I wrote it under the low-ceiling of my tiny, unheated office in Stetson Hall. My thesis was by published by Praeger, the extraordinary house that also published Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. Apparently, the study, which documented a lack of ideological diversity at Williams College, has had little impact then or since.

Even as the nation has drifted in a conservative direction -- overwhelmingly electing conservatives to statehouses, governorships and Congress -- Williams College has held tight to teaching a narrow band of truth and lies. It clings to an unrealistic and unsustainable hard left faith that intentions are more important than reality. Accordingly, it will be a long time until we see an end to mirco-aggression monitors who eagerly to hunt down the unwitting first-year student who is stupid enough to tell a joke, have some fun, or say something devastatingly obvious. We are in a dangerous time. The hard left mob feels justified in every possible abuse while truth remains as vulnerable as any freezing bunkmate of Ivan Denisovich.

This article was first published at williamsalternative.com on March 6, 2016. It appears here with the permission of that website’s owner.

John C. Drew, Ph.D. is an award-winning political scientist.