Sunday, December 27, 2015

My Newest Portrait: I Support Donald Trump

One of Trump's Twitter followers, @amesmoreno put together a new meme that pretty much captures the present political moment for me. She offered to do one for me and I took her up on it. Here is the result below:

There seem to be a lot of pundits knocking both Trump and his supporters as if we are not smart enough to sign on the current political system's corruption and lack of interest in the needs of the great middle class. I don't usually use my own face on my political work, but I'll make an exception for this effort. By the way, @amesmoreno has offered to set this up for anyone who shares their photo with her on Twitter. Who knows, these may end up in the Trump presidential library some day.

It looks like about 20 of us have been graced by this gift of marketing imagery. Here are some other samples.

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

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Shape of the Future: No More Population Pyramid

As a student of child labor and child welfare programs, I have long thought that most of us underestimate the dramatic changes associated with ending child labor. Since most of us in the U.S. grew up in a country that effectively banned child labor, we think it is normal that children go to school, play, and do their homework. It is tough to realize that this now ordinary pattern really wasn't the rule in the U.S. until the Progressive Era. In poor regions of the world like Africa and South America, this pattern has still not completely taken hold.

One of the most interesting articles that help illustrate the breathtaking changes caused by child labor laws crossed my desk this week. John Parker, the environmental editor of one of my favorite magazines, The Economist, wrote  "The World Reshaped: The End of the Population Pyramid," back in November 2014. The most interesting part of this article, for me, is how the famous population pyramid is predicted to change over the next half century. See, below: 

In Parker's view, the declining fertility rate is largely responsible for the changes we see in the population pyramid between 1970 and 2015. The column shape of the pyramid that scholars anticipate for 2060 is largely the result of improved longevity in his view. 

I have been fascinated with this chart all week. I think that Parker is misinterpreting this information because, like most social scientists, he does not appreciate the impact of child labor laws on fertility, increased intellectual capital, and wealth accumulation. In the first place, child labor laws are unlikely to change and thus we will never see increases in fertility rates again. (Unless, of course, the Muslims take over completely and drag us into their dysfunctional world view.) In fact, I would predict that the fertility rate will eventually decrease everywhere as child labor laws are enacted and fully enforced. If parents cannot benefit from their children's labor, then we are taking away what has traditionally been one of the most important reasons to have children in the first place. 

I do, of course, anticipate that improvements in medicine will result in longer life spans. It makes sense to me that the column will continue to get higher for that reason. Nevertheless, I also expect that the base of the column -- the number of children in the world -- will continue to decrease until major (even dramatic) efforts are made to encourage increased fertility rates. 

I am still thinking through the implications of this new column shaped population pyramid. At the very least, it give us a more accurate image of what the world will look like for many generations to come. Those of us alive today will be among the first to think through the predictable trials and tribulations of this brave new world. For more of my thoughts on child labor and child welfare please see my Pathway to Prosperity blog site.

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

Saturday, December 5, 2015

No More Knockout Games: My Counter Demands to Black Liberation Collective

I noticed the activists behind the Black Liberation Collective (BLC) have issued a set of three national-level demands, demands they want our various colleges and universities to comply with in the near future. Given the publicity associated with these demands, I thought it might be a good idea for those of us who would be harmed by these extraordinary demands to provide our response and our own set of counter demands. 

Reviewing my own counter demands, I think it is fair to say that I believe we have a right to demand more from the black community to address its own grievous failings before we bend over backwards to meet the protester's demands. In particular, I think we need to demand immediate changes in dysfunctional black culture, including its fascination with the so-called Knockout Game as described in the YouTube video below.

Reviewing the actual demands of the BLC, I see they have included the wish list generated by the Oxy United protesters at Occidental College. I will ignore the Occidental College specific demands since I have already dealt with them in an earlier post. Instead, I will list the national-level demands below, provide my own response, along with counter demand that should provoke an opportunity for self-reflection and legitimate debate.

1) WE DEMAND at the minimum, Black students and Black faculty to be reflected by the national percentage of Black folk in the country.

As a political scientist, I have thought about this issue for a long time and frankly it never made sense to me that black students or black faculty should be represented according to the national percentage of black folk in the country. Ultimately, this demand is unrealistic and unfair for everyone else because it fails to take into account the ways in which black under performance in the academic world is caused by dysfunctional black culture. For example, I think that it is more reasonable that we should expect the proportion of black students and black faculty to represent the percentage of black folks who grow up in strong, stable, two-parent families. As long as the black community accepts dysfunctional lifestyles, it is unrealistic to expect black achievement to come any where near to the levels seen in Asian or white communities

Reasonable Counter Demand #1: Black folk must work harder and achieve the same standards set for the rest of us. It is not that hard to obey the police, abstain from drugs/alcohol, and avoid having children while you are still a teen or single. It is not too much to expect greater personal responsibility from black folk including a strong commitment to marriage, parenting and family. In the meantime, we should not punish the children of people who are living saner and healthier lives.

2) WE DEMAND free tuition for Black and indigenous students.

This demand seems like a total waste of time and money to me. After all, it is easy to get a free education on the Internet. In my experience, you can pick up just about any skill you want by watching YouTube videos. Moreover, we have free public libraries which provide even the poorest among us with virtually unlimited resources including free access to computers. I don't see the big deal about making education free. If you want to learn about American Government, I will give you a free syllabus and my own lecture notes. Since black and indigenous students already have access to free education, I am not in the mood to give of my money fund some leftist professor to give a way a wasteful, more expensive version of education. 

Reasonable Counter Demand #2: Pay reparations to all the white and Asian students who have been harmed by affirmative action. Due to the injustice of affirmative action, white and Asian students have gone to lower quality schools, absorbed unfair debt levels, and received instruction from inferior faculty members. We need to address the profound injustice of affirmative action by demanding that those who have benefited from it the most devote a significant portion of their incomes to make amends for the damage they have done to poor white and poor Asian students who have been the true victims of institutional discrimination.

3) WE DEMAND a divestment from prisons and an investment in communities.

All these prisons are saving us money by keeping dangerous, unsafe people off the streets. It makes more sense to me to dramatically increase the penalties for crime. If the penalties are high enough, then we would see less crime -- as is the case in places like Singapore

In an ideal world, those who cause the most crime should be required to pay the most to suppress it. In particular, we should make life miserable for unwed, single mothers. We should make an example of them so that no one would even consider becoming a single mother in the first place. It is not that hard to use birth control or to abstain from sex until you can handle the responsibilities of being a parent. We need to ask black folk to invest in their own communities by not making the birth control mistakes that cause poverty, criminal behavior, or child abuse and neglect. As the victims of the Knockout Game will tell you, it is no fun to be the victim of black criminals who lack empathy for the people they harm. 

Reasonable Counter Demand #3: We demand that the black community exercise greater self-control, discipline and responsibility. Accordingly, we demand that the black community refocus its efforts on self-improvement and changing its own violent, insensitive and dysfunctional culture.

When the Knockout Game ceases to be cool in black neighborhoods, then maybe I will be willing to think about the rest of the BLC's demands with a little more sympathy

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

Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Big Yawn: Oxy Goes Halfway to Meet Demands of Slumber Party Protesters

Students block President Jonathan Veitch from his own office on the 
Occidental College campus.

It looks like President Jonathan Veitch and the Occidental College Board of Trustees have met the student protesters halfway. As I count them, they agreed to meet at least five of the protester's 14 demands.

1. Resignation - No.
2. Chief Diversity Officer Promotion - Yes.
3. Chief Diversity Office Budget Increase - Yes.
4. More Diversity and Equity Board Funding - No.
5. Black Studies Program - No.
6. Increase Tenured Black Faculty - No.
7. Funding for Harambee - Yes.
8. Mandatory Training for Staff - Yes.
9. Demilitarization - No.
10. Removal of LAPD - No.
11. Intercultural Affairs Maintenance - Yes.
12. Elimination of First Year Education Program - No.
13. Physician of Color - No.
14. Coalition @Oxy for Diversity and Equity Demands - No.

If you score this differently, please add your comments in the space below.

What Veitch does not understand is the anti-white hostility embedded in this protest. The BLM protesters will not give up even though they got some of what they wanted, because what they want fundamentally is to eliminate white liberals from positions of power. I suspect this will come as a disappointing shock to Veitch and the rest of his administration.

The larger issue remains: The shortage of intellectual diversity at Occidental College. We will not have a real, vibrant, influential intellectual community at Occidental College until at least half the staff and faculty are conservatives. Luckily, conservatives do not worry about the race or gender of their ideological adherents.

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

Fighting Back: Dartmouth College Republicans Complain About Discrimination

I saw today that the Dartmouth College Republicans issued an open letter to the president and trustees of Dartmouth College. As a former Williams College political science professor, I experienced the same sort of hostility and unfair treatment indicated in this open letter. My sense is that conservative students and professors are the targets of profound discrimination in much of the academic world. This letter is worth reading, in full: 
It is with great sadness and the utmost disappointment that we find ourselves having to write this letter. As the Dartmouth College Republicans, we often feel discriminated against by the administration and unwelcome on this campus. As conservative students, we have often felt marginalized in this community. In light of an especially toxic campus environment, a seriously concerning incident has come to our attention: at a recent public event held on the evening of Monday, November 16, Vice Provost Inge-Lise Ameer stated, “There’s a whole conservative world out there that’s not very nice.” Furthermore, students at that meeting repeatedly violated Dartmouth’s Principle of Community by referring to conservatives by slurs such as “f***ing racists,” which Ameer did little to stop. 
Unfortunately, her recent comments and actions are only the latest manifestation of a campus culture that dismisses conservative voices. We are now at the point where the vast majority of conservative students on campus do not feel comfortable expressing their views. Even self identification as a conservative can invite serious backlash. Many of us have been called bigoted, racist, and homophobic — among other epithets — for simply stating our opinions. Thus, it is especially concerning that a senior administrator would casually encourage a culture of prejudice against conservatives on this campus. 
At the same public event, Vice Provost Ameer also stated, “If you’re feeling unsafe and you’re not feeling like you are getting responded to then contact me directly and we will deal with it because that is not right.” We feel unsafe, and we feel that we are not being responded to. The same resources made available to the Black Lives Matter protesters, including regular meetings with senior administrators, should be made available to conservative students on campus. An open and polite dialogue is essential to any college campus.
It is difficult enough to be a conservative on any college campus, and it is simply unacceptable that any administrator would reinforce such a hostile climate. We urge Vice Provost Ameer to condemn the actions and words of protesters and to send an open and public apology to all of campus, retracting her previous statements on conservatives and reaffirming the need to respect conservative students and their opinions.
 The intellectual influence and credibility of our liberal arts colleges is being reduced to nothing because of the open hostility to conservatives and conservative thought expressed by so many staff, faculty and students at places like Dartmouth and Occidental College. Given the mistreatment of conservatives on college campuses, I think it is time to fight back, establish new institutions, or move education to a fresh, on-line model that will allow for a higher level of freedom of speech.

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

Up Dates: How About Some Free Speech? My Response to Oxy Protesters' Demands

Oxy sociology professor Lisa Wade
claimed that it was horrifying 
to see a booklet on how to confront
a liberal professor. No
conservatives welcome here.
Since students at Occidental College seldom, if ever, hear from a conservative political science professor, I
thought it would be a public service to respond to their demands. I'll do so from my independent perspective. This will be, I expect, a useful example of uncomfortable learning.

Demand #1 Immediate removal of president Veitch.

This demands appear to be completely feckless. Veitch has the support of the Board of Trustees. He is not going anywhere. By any measure he has outperformed the previous affirmative action presidents including a hopelessly incompetent female president and a rude, divisive black president. Veitch could have every protester removed from the campus and dismissed from the school and I don't think any of us would think the less of him. When student protester's over-the-top demands lose the support of even staunch liberals, I think it is fair to say they are done.

Demand #2 Promotion of the Chief Diversity Officer to Vice President level.

Yawn. What is a chief diversity officer anyways? It is generally a weak, symbolic figure who has little purpose except to give die-hard liberals the sense they are accomplishing something. The whole role is a waste of money that adds nothing of value to the educational process. What might make sense, however, is to appoint an Intellectual Diversity Officer (IDO). They would investigate charges of liberal bias among faculty members including Caroline Heldman and Lisa Wade. The IDO would be responsible for protecting freedom of speech on campus, making sure that conservative students and faculty were not subject to discrimination in any manner including hiring practices. Ideologically, the faculty should reflect the basic political divides in the nation. At least half the faculty members, for example, should be Republican. I can't think of anything that would more dramatically improve the quality of education at Oxy than hiring and promoting the most competent conservatives to all available jobs on campus.

Demand #3 Increase the budget of the CDO office by 50%.

The problem with this demand is what do you cut and who do you harm in the process. The protesters never tell us how to pay for this. Maybe Veitch could take a $50,000 pay cut to fund the CDO? Better yet, make the protester's pay for this if they want it so much. Each of them could pay an extra $500 in their tuition bill. If they aren't willing to pay for this out of their own pockets, then it is probably a waste of money for all students to pay for it.

Demand #4 $60,000 allocated to DEB to fund programming and provide resources for black and other marginalized students.

The Diversity & Equity Board is an official student-led branch of the Associated Students of Occidental College. It is supposedly focused on empowerment and improved conditions for structurally marginalized groups. To an outside observer like me, however, it looks like a slush fund for a small group of liberal students to spend as they please. Really, it is more efficient for them to spend their own money. I might support this if an equal amount was given to conservative students on campus. Since the major problem at Oxy is a lack of intellectual diversity, I think $60,000 would go a long way in righting the ideological balance on campus. This fund would pay for visits of prominent, articulate conservatives such as Suzanne Venker.

Demand #5 Creation of a fully funded and staffed Black Studies program, a demand that has not been met for over 40 years.

This looks like another, wasteful, adventure in identity politics. It is difficult for me to understand what sort of job you get after you graduate as a black studies major. In my experience, these Black Study programs end up being a way to get unqualified black professors on campus. The problem is everyone knows that they are unqualified so that sort of defeats the point of have more examples of black academics on campus. Overtime, I'm sure the black family will strengthen and more black families will produce scholars worthy of teaching at Occidental College. In the meantime, however, it seems silly and counter productive to artificially increase the number of black faculty on campus by creating a new, black only niche occupation.

Demand #6 Increase percentage of tenured faculty of color by 20% for the 2017-2018 school years, and by 100% over the next 5 years.

As long as black culture devalues fatherhood and disciplined education, we should not expect it to produce a greater number of black academics, certainly not enough who would be capable of holding their own at places like Occidental College. Oxy is already less prestigious and less elite than when I attended it. At that time, weaker female professors were replacing better qualified male professors. I don't think the school is doing itself any favors by adding unqualified or less qualified faculty members simply because they are black. It is feckless to blame racism for issues which are almost entirely due to structural weaknesses in black culture and the consequences of black identity politics.

Demand #7 Provide funding for Harambee, the student group for black men which has not received funding in 5 years. This seems like a waste of money. Plenty of black men would do better if they attended schools that were a correct match with their level of preparation. Thanks to affirmative action, too many of them end up at places were they are guaranteed to have lower GPA's, fail and drop out. The problems they face are a by-product of affirmative action. Get rid of the special treatment and the black men who remain will be more than able to hold their own.

Demand #8 Institute mandatory training for all college employees, especially Residential Education, Student Affairs, and Campus Safety, that provides tools to properly assist people from marginalized backgrounds. Again, this just seems silly. What exactly are these special "tools." If someone could explain to me what special tools need to be used with people from marginalized backgrounds, then I might be in favor of this. Otherwise, it looks like another waste of time and money.

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

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Occidental College President Jonathan Veitch Under Attack from Black Student Alliance and Coalition at Oxy for Diversity and Equity

Black student protesters at Occidental College are complaining about how the school mistreats and neglects them. Things heated up enough that on Tuesday of this week they staged a sit-in at an administration building on the Eagle Rock campus. They want the resignation of the school's president Jonathan Veitch.

Their demands include “an increase in faculty in staff of color, a black studies program, more funding for students of color to do more programming and bring more speakers” to the school, “and so we want that by Friday," said Mika Cribbs, vice president of the Black Student Alliance, which organized the protest along with the Coalition at Oxy for Diversity and Equity

Personally, I don't care for Veitch. He is a classic leftist. He ticked me off when he failed to respond to my complaints that I was abused by left-wing professor, Peter Dreier, who went off on me during a visit I made to the campus during the last presidential campaign

Ironically, I have been treated nicely by one of the most radical voices at Oxy, political science professor Caroline Heldman. I even spoke to one of her political science classes back in 2011. She has been among those most critical of Veitch in the past, particularly in regard to his efforts to reduce rapes among the students at Occidental College. For inexplicable reasons, my contacts with other political scientists at Occidental College have been frosty at best

Veitch has been in hot water for awhile among his liberal peers for his apparent failure to crack down on campus rapists. For a full list of the things Veitch did which look questionable to the protesting students, check out the image below. You can enlarge it by clicking on it. 

Occidental College was not on my radar screen at all today until I got this obsequious letter from the chair of the Occidental College Board of Trustees. It reads:

Dear John,

I sent the following message to the campus community this afternoon that I wanted to share with you.


Chair, Occidental College Board of Trustees

Dear Oxy Students, Staff, Faculty and Alumni, 
We live in a society that is divided by issues of racial injustice and other inequities. I deeply regret that Occidental is not immune from those problems. Despite our best intentions and collective commitments to creating a safe and welcoming environment, Occidental remains a microcosm of that society. 
We must, and will, do better. We recognize the personal pain of these experiences, and we support action to address issues of racism and discrimination in a meaningful way. Leading the way in diversity has been at the core of the College’s mission for many years, and it will continue to drive our actions for more to come. While we are listening to community members’ demands, it is our responsibility to act in the best interest of the College. We stand in full support of President Veitch and have no intention of changing the leadership of the College. 
Our community has flourished in a multitude of ways under President Veitch’s leadership, including working through some very challenging issues. We know that the only way that timely solutions will occur is under Jonathan’s leadership. The Board of Trustees is in a very good position to appreciate what the president does with his time. From the very beginning, Jonathan has focused on creating a more diverse and inclusive institution. He has been tireless in raising money for scholarships; hiring a diverse faculty and staff; and furthering the mission of the College. He has our full support. We believe that the only way forward is to focus on the meaningful work we share — making Occidental a more diverse, welcoming and inclusive institution.  
Sincerely, Chris Calkins
Chair, Occidental College Board of Trustees
There is something quite pleasant in watching the left devour itself. I'll keep a watch on this issue. My prediction is that the school will cave to the most absurd demands of the student protesters without any concern at all for how those demands impact the interest of white students and white professors. If the black protesters start acting out with violence against white/conservative students on campus, I will revisit this issue. 

If any of the conservative students on campus need assistance in getting out their message, then I would be glad to help with that too. Now days, you can do a lot with a blog and a Twitter account. It is particularly helpful is conservative students capture extremist moments on camera. This would be a good time, for example, to pretend to be a student radical, say extreme things, and see how the faculty and staff react. 

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

Friday, November 13, 2015

Should I Attend Williams College? Just Say No to Icy Roads

Red Truck on an Icy Mountain Road 
by John C. Drew, Ph.D. November 13, 2015.
I spend some time on the College Confidential website. I entertained myself by offering my matter-of-fact, truthful, comments regarding the most of the hot questions posed at the website including what are my chances of getting in? How does Williams compare to Stanford, Harvard, Yale and Dartmouth? Is Williams College a welcoming place for conservatives? It only took a matter of hours for the folks at College Confidential to delete the threads I was posting on and block my account. So much for the tradition of free speech...

At any rate, I thought it would be a valuable public service to offer my take on a Williams College education based on my personal experience of having taught there in the 1980's and subsequently following the school's history through various websites including the independent Ephblog. One of my most prominent negative memories of teaching at Williams College in the late 1980's was how dangerous it was to drive there in the winter. I suppose that memory may have inspired the oil painting I did this afternoon.

What are My Chances of Getting In?

I guess I ticked off College Confidential by encouraging a young student from Washington State to apply for admission to Williams College. Since the school values geographic diversity, it was often easier for a student to get into the school if they came from a western state. Due to this geographic affirmative action, I think there is a stereotype on the campus that teaches students from outside the New England area are less bright than those who grew up closer to the campus. I also indicated that the school was generally hostile to conservative and Christian students. I recommended that a conservative Christian student, a poor white male, keep his political views secret if he really wanted to secure a place at Williams College.

How does Williams compare to Stanford, Harvard, Yale and Dartmouth?

The worse roads I ever drove on in the winter were 
the ones leading in and out of Williamstown, MA.
Here, I just expressed my own preferences. I would pick Stanford over any of these other schools simply on the basis of climate and academic excellence. I shared that I liked Harvard and enjoyed Boston. I shared that Yale was in a depressing neighborhood and wasn't worth the time or money. I thought Dartmouth was more conservative than Williams, but as depressing as Yale. I would place Williams College at the bottom of any list simply because it is in a dangerous, rural, backward part of MA. The winters there were particularly terrible. The roads to the campus are these tiny, two lane death traps that become engines of mass murder during the winter months. I shared how one of my favorite students died in a car accident while traveling to a sister school for a weekend party. I never forgot that young man and how the terrible, dangerous roads of MA cut short what would have been an absolutely brilliant life.

For a student comparing Pomona and Williams College, I would -- without a doubt -- pick Pomona. I would make that decision simply on the weather factor alone. 

I also indicated that while Williams College is probably no more cliquish than other schools, it is virtually impossible to escape the cliquishness of Williams College. At Pomona, if you make a mistake, then you can always find friends at other nearby schools or in the larger community. At Williams College, however, you will find yourself trapped for a long time in a socially isolated place where there is no escape from cliquishness or social banishment. This, I think, is the sort of information which should be honestly shared with any student exploring Williams College using the resources of College Confidential.

In terms of the prestige of Williams College, I indicated that I had never heard of the school myself until I got the chance to interview there. While the school is famous among the East coast elite, it lacks the cache of a Ivy League school. Williams College students are seen as isolated, nerdy, and relatively unsophisticated compared to their Ivy League rivals. While most of us can name many famous people who graduated from Ivy League schools, I cannot think of any that came out of Williams College, except for Mika Brzezinski who graduated from William College the same year I resigned. If you do not know who she is, I am not surprised. She is the female co-host on Morning Joe.

In contrast, I can report I knew President Obama while he was at Occidental College prior to his matriculation to Columbia University. Meanwhile, Ann Coulter was one of my very first students when I taught at Cornell University.

Is Williams College a Welcoming Place for Conservatives?

Based on my personal experience and subsequent observations of Williams College, I can definitely report that it is extremely hostile to conservatives. Evidence of this hostility is immediately apparent in the school's hiring policies which have resulted in a faculty that does not contain a single conservative professor. Not one. For my take on what it was like to be a token conservative on the campus in the late 1980's see the interview I gave to The College Fix and the opinion piece I wrote for Campus Reform. One of the critiques of my perspective was that ex-MA governor Jane Swift teaches a minor leadership course on the campus. As I like to point out, I don’t think it is accurate to label Swift a conservative. After all, she is basically a pro-choice moderate. As you may remember, she was on the cutting edge of liberal Republicanism when she picked the openly gay Patrick Guerriero as her running mate for lieutenant governor. Given Swift’s political history, we shouldn’t pretend she is the MA version of Sarah Palin.

Williams College Weather: The Worst of the Worst

As a long-term resident of southern California, I cannot over emphasize how undesirable it is to live in Williamstown during the winter. I have already stressed how frightening it was to drive on small, windy, two-lane roads to get in and out of the Williamstown area. This discomforting fear was much worse during the winter when you faced the possibility of ice on the roads and the danger of going off a cliff as you climbed the mountains leading to the campus. What was most annoying to me was having to take little penguin footsteps for almost five months of the year or else risk falling backward on to an icy sidewalk. It makes my stomach knot up to remember the horrible climate of western MA. It is the sort of place that calls a portion of its highway Deadman's Curve because so many people have died trying to negotiate that piece of road.

My first winter on the campus the snow came early while there were still leaves in the trees. The weight of the snow broke trees in half and caused heavy limbs to fall on cars. It was terrible. I remember thinking I made a mistake accepting that job the first day I arrived on the campus.

All in all, I cannot recommend Williams College as a safe, pleasant or compelling place to go to school or work. It is a great place to visit briefly in the summer. If you actually try to live there, however, you will feel as if you have gone backward in time to pioneer days. College is difficult enough without the added burden of wondering if you are going to freeze to death in a snow storm on your way to the airport.

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

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Spying on College Confidential: Is Williams Safe for Conservatives?

I had some fun this week commenting at College Confidential regarding the recent story in which the student organizers of the Uncomfortable Learning series dis-invited their guest speaker, anti-feminist Suzanne Venker. Apparently, the mere thought of her appearance on campus was thought by at least some of the students to be the cause of actual physical damage. I thought it would be fun to harvest some of my comments from the site and share them with my regular readers. As I feared, College Confidential shut down the thread and apparently blocked me from their site. As they say, "You can't handle the truth." 

At any rate, I saved a lot of my comments. I might pull them together later to create an article about how difficult it is to present independent conservative ideas in our new environment of liberal fascism.

Comment #1: Williams College is in the news after liberal students prevented the appearance of an anti-feminist speaker, Suzanne Venker. Unfortunately, the students who sought to bring her to campus felt there was inadequate security for the event. For my take on what it was like to be a token conservative professor at Williams in the 1980's, see my recent article in The Campus Fix

After I did that post, someone suggested that there was never really any security concerns. I simply reported what was written about the matter. I also thought it was silly to suggest that ex-MA governor Jane Swift was a conservative.

Comment #3: I should point out that one of the students organizing Suzanne Venker's visit indicated that security concerns were a concern when it came to cancelling the Venker event in comments he made to Josh Logue at See,

Second, Williams College has a rather long standing record of hostility to conservatives. For my take on what it was like to be a conservative college professor at Williams in the late 1980's please see my recent article in Campus Reform.

Third, I don’t think it is accurate to label Swift a conservative. After all, she is basically a pro-choice moderate. As you may remember, she was on the cutting edge of liberal Republicanism when she picked the openly gay Patrick Guerriero as her running mate for lieutenant governor. Given Swift’s political history, we shouldn’t pretend she is the MA version of Sarah Palin.

Comment #7: Part of my job as a consultant to colleges and universities is helping them secure funding to predict and stop violent behavior through the use of behavioral assessment teams (BATs). It would be extremely difficult for BAT programs to work on school campuses if administrators ignored the fears expressed by vulnerable, outnumbered students like Zach Wood. Gavin de Becker teaches us that we should learn to trust our fear instinct as a reliable tool for self-protection. I recommend his book, The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals That Protect Us from Violence.

Later, I responded to the suggestion that resistance to Venker was limited to a small, extremist group of students by referring the reader to the comments Zach Wood's peers made in their own school newspaper.

Comment #8: To understand how the majority of students at Williams College view freedom of speech for conservatives, I think it is useful to read what their opinion leaders are saying. Check out this opinion piece written by the editor of the campus newspaper, The Williams Record.  Then, check out this opinion piece written by the Williams Record EditorialBoard.  The comments are worth reading too.

Comment #12: I have read Zach Wood's comments in his recent article in the Washington Post, "I ran a speaker series to expose Williams students to unpopular ideas. It was deemed ‘too offensive.’"

The negative response to inviting Suzanne Venker was not limited to "some of the extreme elements on campus." As Zach Wood writes:

Recently, Uncomfortable Learning invited Suzanne Venker to campus. Venker, a noted anti-feminist, has argued that feminism turns women into victims, devalues motherhood and makes male-female relationships a battleground. Just minutes after I invited people to the event via Facebook, my Uncomfortable Learning partners and I started receiving incendiary attacks.
Our peers called us sheltered, privileged men’s right’s activists endorsing hate speech, white supremacy and misogyny. One person accused me of a calculated attack on women at Williams. Another said I had blood on my hands. That post received over 50 likes. I also received a phone call from a private number. 
The person on the line said, “I used to have respect for you, but now I know you’re a sexist. Go to hell.” Then they hung up.
A few days later, after a torrent of online bullying, our board canceled the event because of security concerns. I worry about the message this sends. To outsiders, it may seem like Williams doesn’t believe in free speech. And it makes our student body seem like we need to be coddled and given “safe spaces” that prevent us from having to face views we find offensive.

The fact that a Facebook post accusing Zach Wood of having "blood" on his hands got 50 likes should be a powerful indication that there is something seriously wrong with the state of free speech at Williams College. We should honor and value Zach Wood's statements regarding the way he and his fellow organizers were the victims of online bullying. All the evidence I have gathered about this situation indicates that a lack of free speech is still a profound problem at Williams College. For my take on what it was like to be a young conservative professor at Williams College in the late 1980's, please see this post at my Anonymous Political Scientist blog site.

Finally, one of the commentators started going after me for why I left Williams College in 1989. I hit back with the truth and some snark.

Comment #14: I should briefly respond to comments by Ephman. According to Williams College the only reason I was taken off the tenure track was the supposed low quality of my research work. There were no other reasons ever suggested for this unprecedented action. As Ephman has indicated, he was not on campus at that time so I do not think he is a reliable source for understanding my brief tenure as a Williams College professor.

I have maintained a strong interest in studying the events taking place at Williams College over the years and have been an active participant on the most important website regarding the school, Ephblog, since 2010. I remain in touch with my former Williams College students, many of whom are still dissatisfied with the treatment of conservatives at the school. I made the following points: 

  1. Although there have been conservative speakers at Williams College, there are no conservative professors.
  2. Jane Swift is a liberal Republican who does not, and has never, represented the GOP base.
  3. Absolutely no administrator at Williams has indicated the slightest support for Venker's anti-feminist perspective.
  4. Zach Wood has repeatedly indicated that a lack of security in the face of a massive amount of threatening on-line posts was the motivating reason for rescinding Venker's invitation.

Finally, I am not hiding my identity from anyone. My views have been published in reputable publications by editors who have checked my information and experience. I am certainly a more credible, honest and unbiased source than those who may be currently employed by Williams College or whose jobs/careers are dependent on maintaining untruthful information about it.

Comment #19: jersey454, I respect Zach Wood's sincerity when it comes to his report that the Venker event was cancelled for security reasons. If I had been subjected to the same on-line bullying that he experienced, then I would have shared his deep concern for Ms. Venker's safety.

Although you may be friends with those who bullied him (or may have been one of those bullies yourself)
it is difficult to predict violent behavior unless you know key details about these folks including their past criminal histories, use of drugs and alcohol, and ideological leanings. Unless you can provide more detailed information about those who bullied Zach Wood, then I do not think it is fair to suggest there was zero basis for his fears of violence.

There are plenty of conservative thinkers who are skeptical about each of the issues -- anti-feminism, gay rights, discrimination in the workplace -- which you seem to think are completely settled in an intellectual sense. Your apparent unwillingness to even entertain the idea that you might be wrong is part of the reason that so many of us are appalled by the lack of intellectual diversity at Williams College.

A responsible liberal arts education should include a scientific look at the most controversial issues of our day. That is certainly the sort of education I provided when I was teaching in the political science department at Williams College. Much of my own research, for example, destroyed years of liberal settled science on the exact causes of the U.S. welfare state. To see how my research impacted the field of welfare reform, please see this excerpt from Paul E. Peterson, Mark C. Rom's book Welfare Magnets.

Ideally, Williams College should be a place where students confront liberal orthodoxies and make up their own minds based on evidence and independent thought -- not peer pressure or on-line bullying. Williams College should be a place where students benefit from Uncomfortable Learning provided by conservative scholars who are smarter and better read than liberals who simply hang on to the Democrat party's line-of-the-day.

Comment #20: Again, I should point out that Ephman seems to lack basic knowledge of how tenure decisions are made regarding junior faculty members at Williams College who have recently completed their dissertations. In my case, my department read chapters of my doctoral dissertation as their primary assessment of my skill as a researcher. On the basis of reading my thesis - which I completed while I was still teaching at Williams - they decided that the research work done in my dissertation was of low quality.

The error of that determination, however, became apparent only a few months later when this same body of work was judged by a panel of independent political scientists associated with the American Political Science Association (APSA). These readers had the exact opposite reaction. They believed my work to be so exemplary that they awarded me the William Anderson Award for having written the best doctoral dissertation in the nation in my field. This award demonstrated that Williams College gravely underestimated the quality, significance, originality and relevance of my research. I think it is perfectly obvious that I was a victim of racial/ideological discrimination.

The quality of my doctoral dissertation research was so great that it is still cited by authors. To see how my research impacted the field of welfare reform, please see this excerpt from Paul E. Peterson, Mark C. Rom's book Welfare Magnets.

To highlight the extent to which I research skills were disparaged, I should point out that my dissertation was eventually published, almost word for word, exactly as I wrote it as part of an edited volume. You can judge the quality of my research work yourself by using this on-line resource.

As far as I can tell, the extraordinary quality of my research was recognized by both national-level experts in my field, by national-level authorities appointed by the APSA. The only folks who didn't seem to appreciate the extraordinary quality of my work were the left-wing professors at Williams College, the professors who saw me and my opposition to affirmative action as a profound threat to their liberal orthodoxy.

Pushing on, the liberals defending Williams College ran out of steam. They demonstrated an intellectual laziness which seemed epidemic on the left.

Comment 22: I suspect you are the only one in the world who believes that Williams College's hostility to conservatives is negated simply because it imports a tiny number of conservatives to speak to its students once in a while.

Comment 31: The real lesson here is that liberals are lazy and mean. They are unable to respond intelligently, logically, or coherently when confronted with tough evidence that shows how their outmoded leftist ideology is inconsistent with reality, unable to predict the future, and a dead end that leaves them isolated and powerless in the real world.

It makes me worry you are delusional if you sincerely hold to this utterly ridiculous defense. Given the William's long-standing hostility to conservatives -- as reflected in its hiring practices -- I do not think you have made the case that Williams is a realistic choice for conservative, Christian students seeking a quality liberal arts education.

Sadly, Williams is also a poor choice for liberal, secular students who are not being challenged in the classroom with a powerful conservative perspective.

For my advice to conservative students at Williams College, please see my recent opinion piece in Campus Reform.

Comment 24: Ephman, you are delusional and full of it. At the national level, the views taught at Williams College are irrelevant to modern life. The silly, childish leftist ideas taught on that campus are a joke to those of us making a good living in the real world. As a former professor, I'm more proud of the fact that I live near the beach than that I once taught at frosty Williams.

Comment 27: Jersey454, you are so brainwashed you are making me laugh. Given the liberal bias of Williams College, I am not surprised at the extremely unhealthy people it attracts. While I was on the campus, no less that two of its professors committed suicide. 

I think you are naive if you think you and your fellow students are fine examples of mental health. I don't see how anyone can be healthy and happy while still holding on to delusional, unrealistic liberal beliefs. The willingness of you and your fellow students to engage in on-line bullying is quite disturbing and potentially an expression of psychopathic tendencies.

  1. You would be exposed to even more challenges to your comfortable left-wing orthodoxy. If you had a conservative professor like me you would learn that affirmative action causes incredible resentment and anger and that anger and resentment does not subside over time.
  2. You would learn, for example, that twin studies show there are more ex-gays than current gays.
  3. You would read studies that demonstrate low IQ is correlated with both poverty and criminal behavior and that this fact makes it difficult to solve problems related to both poverty and crime.
  4. You would read studies that indicate how, in Europe, a tolerance for gay marriage actually undermines the prevalence of traditional marriage.
  5. You would learn more about why women under perform men at the highest levels of math and the consequences of this difference between the sexes.
  6. You would learn the details about how Protestant Christians were the pre-eminent enemies of Hitler's totalitarianism and investigate why atheism is highly correlated with mass murder and genocide in the last century.
  7. You would study and read the Qu'ran to help you understand why it is the cause of so much conflict and blood shed. You would review passages in the Qu'ran to help you understand its hostility to gays, women, Christians and Jews.

In other words, you would receive a completely different education. A more valuable education which would put you in touch with higher quality scholarship, a more realistic view of the world, and give you the tools needed to create a fulfilling life for yourself based on the latest and most significant research. You would be studying under a professor who is on the cutting edge of social problems, active in reforming the Republican party, and fearless when it comes to expressing independent thought. Right now, all you get is a pale reflection of the inadequate decisions you made in high school.

As this thread illustrates, leftists also tend to be gutless conformists. Here, they post in complete anonymity. They quickly, almost immediately, fall into vicious, unsubstantiated personal attacks. They cannot be bothered to do the hard work needed to even partially address an intelligent conservative critique of their old-fashioned views. They too lazy to investigate the latest peer reviewed studies which contradict their cherished ideology.

The truth is that the liberal ideology taught routinely at places like Williams College represents a dumbed down education, an education more suitable for sheep than proven leaders. I expect that students and parents searching for a quality liberal arts education will search out alternatives like Hillsdale College which preserves the best of a traditional, demanding liberal arts education. See,

As I digest all of this, I think I'll do more to shape it into a coherent article that will help clarify the politically correct sickness that has take over places like Williams College. For now, however, I am glad I rescued these comments before College Confidential completely deleted them.

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

Friday, November 6, 2015

Uncomfortable Nostalgia: Campus Reform Publishes My Take on Lack of Intellectual Diversity at Williams College

The folks at Campus Reform have published my take on the lack of intellectual diversity at Williams College, our nation's #1 ranked liberal arts college. I taught there between 1986 and 1980 and was shocked at the pure hostility directed at me and the conservative students on campus - particularly the Christian students.

I remember thinking, in the end, that it would have been evil for me to lend my prestige to such a hateful, destructive, unhelpful institution.

Apparently, Williams College long-standing hostility to conservatives is still going strong. Liberal students effectively blocked the appearance of anti-feminist author Suzanne Venker just last month.

I should mention that I saw an article in the Huffington Post by former MA governor Jane Swift asserting that Williams College was friendly and welcoming to her

I should just point out that I don’t think it is accurate to label Swift a conservative. After all, she is basically a pro-choice moderate. As you may remember, she was on the cutting edge of liberal Republicanism when she picked the openly gay Patrick Guerriero as her running mate for lieutenant governor. Given Swift’s political history, we should not pretend she is the MA version of Sarah Palin.

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

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Uncomfortable Nostalgia: Intellectual Diversity Still a Casualty at Williams College

As a former Williams College political science professor, I got nostalgic this week as I read how student protesters secured the cancellation of a speech by conservative author, Suzanne Venker. Her announced topic, “One Step Forward, Ten Steps Back: Why Feminism Fails” inspired a cacophony of on-line hostility which caused a student organizer, Zach Wood, to share with her that Williams College “has never experienced this kind of resistance” to a campus speaker.

According to Wood, at least one student labeled Venker as a “misogynistic, white supremacist men’s rights activist” whose anticipated presence was causing “actual mental, social, psychological, and physical harm to students.”

What surprised me the most was Wood’s impression that this sort of bizarre, over-the-top, anti-conservative hysteria was unprecedented at Williams College.

As I shared in a recent interview with Jennifer Kabbany, the editor of The College Fix, I witnessed the considerable hostility of Williams College students, faculty and administrators to conservative ideas first-hand when it was directed against me while I taught on the campus from 1986 to 1989. At the time, I was one of only three registered Republicans on the faculty. My status as a registered Republican became public knowledge when I decided to help out the local party officials by running for a state representative seat in the area. Although I was not expected to win, party officials convinced me that my appearance on the ballot would help keep one of Gov. Michael Dukakis’s top allies, Rep. Sherwood Guernsey, from working out-of-state to support the governor’s 1988 presidential campaign.

Within a couple of months, the female students were boycotting nearly all my classes and at least one member of the campus black student organization was denouncing me as a racist. In the spring of 1989, my department chair informed me that I would not be allowed to continue on my tenure-track career path. He told me that this genuinely unprecedented decision was due to the poor quality of my research. Ironically, a few months later, I won a prestigious national award from the American Political Science Association for having recently completed the best doctoral dissertation in the nation in my field. In protest, I resigned from Williams that summer rather than accept an additional year of employment.

Students and faculty at Williams 
College figured out I was a 
Republican when I ran for a 
state representative position 
in Massachusetts. 
As I recall my final year at Williams, I remember how I used my status as a faculty member to make a modest contribution of the preservation of traditional marriage. To satisfy my own curiosity regarding how to achieve a happier life, I developed a special one-course winter study called "Decisions, Decisions."  I remember that course with particular fondness because I added to the syllabus the politically incendiary topic of how to pick an appropriate marriage partner.

Much like Suzanne Venker, I was eager to provide a common sense critique of feminism coupled with a practical understanding that most, if not all, of my students would go on to marry and have children. The class, a surprisingly even mix of young men and women, clearly enjoyed the course. It ended up impacting my own decisions about how to find a suitable wife.

You can sample Venker’s recommendations for living happily ever after by reading the text of her planned speech. It is now available on the Fox News Opinion website. The gist of her message is that feminism fails “...because it denies the existence of biology and teaches that equality means sameness, which is a losing proposition when it comes to planning a life—particularly if that life includes marriage and family.”

As I consider what happened to Venker, I am most interested in understanding why the organizers of this student-run, alumni-funded speaking series would give in to threats of violence. I think part of the problem is that the students who established the Uncomfortable Learning Speaker Series are so isolated that they do not have a faculty adviser.

While I was at William College, I helped the conservative students create their own radio and television shows. I remember that later on some administration officials threatened the conservative students who were seeking to establish an alternative newspaper that would print their articles and opinion pieces. I remember advising them to persist even if they were kicked out. Those young conservatives won that fight. I would have counseled student organizers like Zach Wood to go ahead with their event even if their fellow students threatened to behead the participants.

After all, I applaud the creative realignment contained in the theme of "Uncomfortable Learning." I expect this theme will catch on elsewhere. I think will be a short and simple way of reminding people that an environment of liberal fascism is no substitute for a proper education. If young people need to pick their battles, then this one looks okay to me.

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

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