1) Academic colleagues I otherwise admire have a tendency to, well, *sneer* when the issue of ‘viewpoint’ diversity comes up as below, especially when it comes to conservatives.

I have THOUGHTS and some anecdotes. 🧵
2) The well-documented dearth of conservatives in the American professoriate is presented as evidence of their intellectual inadequacies (i.e. political conservatives are "flat-earthers" who can't pass peer review)

Paging @mattlodder
3) The idea that it might have ANYTHING to do with implicit or explicit biases, not to mention the inertia of ideological homophily in hiring/peer reviewing/etc is dismissed.
4) Forget the fact that those same colleagues would NEVER explain the dearth of women or other groups in a field by saying that they’re just stupider, on the whole (and rightly raise cain at the merest whiff of such suggestion).
5) In any case, I agree that these cases (women, racial minorities vs. ideology) are mostly, but not entirely, disanalogous.

6) I BEG my colleagues to consider that their scorn will have little (at best) effect on the Conservative political establishment they loathe.

Yet it has a potentially **MASSIVE** effect on our students (not to mention junior colleagues, spectators, etc).
7) Now, anecdote:

At a post-seminar dinner, the very eminent invited speaker was holding forth on politics and his view that anyone who would ever vote conservative was, and I quote, “a cretin.”

He evidently thought this very clever and kept repeating it.
8) This very senior scholar was being an assh*le.

But the very thoughtful undergraduates sitting beside him (whose politics I don’t know, but might guess) did not know that, or they were not sure.

They looked stunned and said nothing.
9) Now, why would a thoughtful student who leaned conservative for whatever reason—


Why would she think that academic philosophy or pol theory would be a place where she could continue thinking fruitfully about it?
10) Perhaps she would conclude that very senior and eminent people in the field regarded people “like her” or her loved ones with contempt.

And in this case, she would BE RIGHT.
11) In pointing this out, I’m not arguing that this is the MOST IMPORTANT form of exclusion in the academy, let alone the worst. Far from it!

And as ever, there are important differences between the UK/US here, different disciplines, inst., etc the sneerers and sneer-ees miss
12) BUT, and I will say this again and again:

Academia and elite culture across the Anglosphere is feeling the lack of thoughtful conservatives conversant with other viewpoints today pretty keenly.
13) Moreover: an ideological monoculture in higher ed hurts the Left, too:

- In the proliferation of weak arguments that evade critical scrutiny
- and rewarding frankly MAGICAL thinking about the half of the country (or MUCH more!!) that does not share their priors
14) Wouldn't it be nice indeed if people who disagreed with you were simply stupid? Wouldn't that feel great?

It would be even nicer if they would all just die out by the next election, huh?
15) But alas (for some), you can’t just wait for conservatism to die out, or hope that if you don’t know anyone who voted for the other guy, it means they don’t exist.
16) And as we've seen time and again: those who lack arguments find it more and more necessary to resort to pressure and even force of all kinds (social, economic, physical)
17) I'll probably regret posting this, but permit me another anecdote:

As someone who has moved considerably leftward in my personal politics over time, it was NOT a result of the condescension or berating I received from my professors or fellow students.
18) Those experiences were depressingly frequent and, frankly, radicalising. They mostly involved men shouting at me.

Today, I'm something like a boring moderate, but that puts me WAY to the right of most pol theorists, especially at an "elite" inst. like mine
19) Now it would be dangerous to draw global conclusions from such anecdata but...

I’m a woman and have voted conservative in my life, what do I know about social science, right?
Of interest maybe to @Musa_alGharbi @asymmetricinfo

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More from @tmbejan

16 Jul 20
1/ It’s also worth asking today: what exactly makes speech “free”?
2/ The sense in play in the current debate about ‘cancel culture‘ is that of parrhesia. In Greek, it means literally “saying it all”—that is, speaking one’s mind, what one likes, when one likes, and to whom.
3/ Parrhesiastic speech is thus ‘free’ in the sense of being freely or frankly spoken, without fear or favor towards one’s audience and how they might react.
Read 25 tweets

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