Monday, May 9, 2016

The Left Will Reject Any Discussion of the Hard Truths About Race on Campus

In “Hard Truths About Race On Campus” (Wall Street Journal, Review, May 7 – 8, 2016, pages C1 & 2 []) Professors Haidt and Jussim seem to miss some observations that might be additive to their arguments. When I was starting out in business in San Francisco, activism began on college campuses with the seed being the Vietnam War. That new Left wanted to bring down those in power (conservative Republicans) or just have irresponsible fun (sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll) but sadly they were taken seriously. Many college administrators gave in to their demands, and human nature being what it is, if your demands are fulfilled, you demand more. And more. The greater Progressive Left figured out that giving the kids what they demanded would buy allegiance and votes. And it has worked: today, a large majority of university administrators, instructors and students are Democrats. A vast voting bloc of something around 21 million college attendees in the 4725-some institutions of higher education. One strategy of the Left to gain and retain power has always been the  collectivization of individuals (making them easier to herd) through a divide and conquer strategy. It segments groups by, say, skin color -- "race" -- sexual choices, gender, net worth, and so on. It figures out how to get their votes, executes and puts each group in the shopping bag labeled, Progressive Democrat Voter. Race is one of the groups. At the same time, the Left wants more and more students (voters), and the way is to make it easier to get in to college. But to get them in, standards need to be lowered (“affirmative action”) and classes and grading need to be easier to keep the students happy. That means continuing to give in to student demands. But as always the strident activist students seem to speak for all the students (the collective). And also as usual, the media loves the activists for the readers and viewers they attract. Summing up, the policies of the left include affirmative action, easy majors (yes, diversity, gender, ethnic and cultural studies, that which we used to call "underwater basket weaving.)  And easy grading.

Now consider that today the federal government, through a variety of schemes (including President Obama's takeover of the student loan industry) is the prime financing entity for higher education. Remember that the Golden Rule No. 1 is, "Who has the gold makes the rules."  So the federal government makes the rules and college presidents obey, knowing that without the gold they would have no institution. What is the goal of the Obama Democrats running the educational show? Power, gaining and retaining power through votes. Whatever the student activists want, the financier, the federal government, and the administrators give in. It all comes together for the benefit of the Democratic Party at the expense of the nation.

The Left does not want any assessment or even knowledge of these true goals.  For example, the oppression against climate change "deniers" is not about global warming, but about the danger of the scientific method itself, measuring and assessing the Left's various narratives. The authors write: "such reforms [of affirmative action and diversity training] will fail to…reduce discrimination and inequality." And "make life more uncomfortable for everyone, particularly black students." That seems to be a goal of the Left; if it was all comfortable and everyone got along, the power of the Left would be marginalized.

Finally, please consider the actual words and phrases the professors used: marginalized, racial gaps, welcoming, inclusive culture, sense of ethnic victimization, feel denigrated or insulted, microaggression, and so on. Each word or concept is absolutely subjective, undefinable. They are not only impossible to measure, but each are individualized emotions particular to each student. They cannot be collectivized. One kid's "microaggression" is different than another's and, in fact, generally not anything the the microaggressor wanted. There is nothing rational about any of it that can be measured.  The loudest squeak gets oiled. So colleges must  cater to the most effective advocate or publicized activist with more and more demands. The promised ground of the Left. 

The authors finish with: “The time may be right for a bold college president to propose a different approach, one based on the available evidence about what works and what doesn’t. That would be the best way to create a university community in which everyone feels welcome.” But that could easily risk financial support from the federal government as well as the student hordes calling for the resignation of the “bold college president.” There does not seem to be any solution.

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