Patterico's Pontifications


Nicholas Kristof: Of Course Progressives Believe In Diversity, Well, Except For “Conservative” Diversity…

Filed under: General — Dana @ 7:43 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Nicholas Kristof has an eye-opening piece at the New York Times titled A Confession of Liberal Intolerance. In his op-ed, he both admits to and laments an undeniable sort of discrimination at our institutions of higher learning. You’re sort of late to the party, Nicholas, but welcome anyway:

We progressives believe in diversity, and we want women, blacks, gays, Latinos, and Muslims at the table – er, so long as they’re not conservatives.

Universities are the bedrock of progressive values, but one kind of diversity that universities disregard is ideological and religious. We’re fine with people who don’t look like us, as long as they think like us.

Thus Kristof begins his confession. Given the recent outing of Facebook for its calculated political bias, Kristof informs us that that’s exactly where he’s been mulling this over. On Facebook. How ironic.

I’ve been thinking about this because on Facebook recently I wondered aloud whether universities stigmatize conservatives and undermine intellectual diversity. The scornful reaction from my fellow liberals proved the point.

“Much of the ‘conservative’ worldview consists of ideas that are known empirically to be false,” said Carmi.

“The truth has a liberal slant,” wrote Michelle.

“Why stop there?” asked Steven. “How about we make faculties more diverse by hiring idiots?”

To his credit, Kristof zeroes in on the root of the problem: liberal arrogance. (I think liberal ignorance would have worked equally as well.)

He also offers findings from four different studies that demonstrate that Republican professors in the humanities and social sciences are indeed “endangered species,” and the stark contrast a black sociologist provides reveals the narrow-minded bigotry of supposed “progressives” (a term used to describe a group of people who are anything but…):

“Outside of academia I faced more problems as a black,” he told me. “But inside academia I face more problems as a Christian, and it is not even close,”

If it’s tough being a conservative in academia, it’s even tougher if one is also an evangelical:

According to Yancey’s study, 59 percent of anthropologists and 53 percent of English professors would be less likely to hire someone they found out was an evangelical.

“Of course there are biases against evangelicals on campuses,” notes Jonathan L. Walton, the Plummer Professor of Christian Morals at Harvard. Walton, a black evangelical, adds that the condescension toward evangelicals echoes the patronizing attitude toward racial minorities: “The same arguments I hear people make about evangelicals sound so familiar to the ways people often describe folk of color, i.e. politically unsophisticated, lacking education, angry, bitter, emotional, poor.”

Kristof, who earns his bread and butter in the belly of the self-admitted liberally-biased beast, nonetheless reminds readers of all political persuasions why this particular kind of discrimination is so dangerous:

To me, the conversation illuminated primarily liberal arrogance — the implication that conservatives don’t have anything significant to add to the discussion. **My Facebook followers have incredible compassion for war victims in South Sudan, for kids who have been trafficked, even for abused chickens, but no obvious empathy for conservative scholars facing discrimination.

The stakes involve not just fairness to conservatives or evangelical Christians, not just whether progressives will be true to their own values, not just the benefits that come from diversity (and diversity of thought is arguably among the most important kinds), but also the quality of education itself. When perspectives are unrepresented in discussions, when some kinds of thinkers aren’t at the table, classrooms become echo chambers rather than sounding boards — and we all lose.

**Clearly, narrow-minded bigots are limited in their capacity to feel anything but disdain for those who dare to think differently. The very definition of progressive.


41 Responses to “Nicholas Kristof: Of Course Progressives Believe In Diversity, Well, Except For “Conservative” Diversity…”

  1. Hello.

    Dana (0ee61a)

  2. Kristof zeroes in on the root of the problem: liberal arrogance. (I think liberal ignorance would have worked equally as well.)

    No, I have to disagree. It is a product of liberal insecurity. Nowhere is the insecurity of it more visible than with SJWs and their demand for “safe space” and an end to “micro-aggression.” Liberals have always been frightened when their core beliefs are challenged. But with SJWs, it has reached a new height. What are micro-aggressions other than an attempt to shut down anyone with a differing world view who inadvertently challenges the core view of the neurotic listener.

    It is insecurity, now to the point of neurosis.

    ThOR (c9324e)

  3. I mentioned the lack of viewpoint diversity to a liberal university professor acquaintance. The response was that it should tell me something – meaning, that the smart people are leftists.

    Yeah, sure.

    John Moore (8ad7da)

  4. SJWs are not arrogant and neither are liberals, in general. They’re self-involved and vindictive. The term “cry-bully” aptly describes a broad range of liberal behaviors. Neither crying nor bullying are the behaviors of the arrogant.

    ThOR (c9324e)

  5. Heh! Obamabots have pointed out to me that Obama has the support of an overwhelming majority of academicals. My response always is, “That does not make me admire Obama; it confirms my disdain for academicals”.

    Of course these people are Progressives. With their tenures, sinecures, make-work courses, 13-hour workweeks, hefty pensions, and fat fringe benefits, they are one of the most elevated welfare classes. They would view conservatism as biting the hand that feeds them.

    Present company excepted.

    nk (dbc370)

  6. Dana, this is my world. What is interesting is how Kristof owns that such actions are the antithesis of tolerance.

    But read the comments.

    Many of my academic colleagues are mad at Kristof about this essay. It makes it difficult for them to feel superior and better than other people. Kristof was brave to post it.

    Simon Jester (02dde9)

  7. Simon Jester,

    The comments are priceless. So clueless and ignorant. These are people who have likely never met a real conservative in their lives, let alone engaged in any substantive discussion. They believe Sean Hannity is an accurate representation of a conservative. Thanks, Fox News.

    Dana (0ee61a)

  8. It’s funny, Dana. Over and over again, I have heard from progressives that knowing a gay person, or a transsexual, really made one sensitive to be excluded and a better, more understanding person. I have even had academics tell me that knowing even one such “excluded and vilified” person was part of learning “diversity.”

    But that doesn’t count when it comes to personal beliefs.

    It’s an acceptable bigotry.

    Except I have friends who simply insist to me that “conservatives” “…just aren’t as smart…” and “…are totally motivated by money…” and similar things. It’s historically similar to any number of sexist and racist comments in the past.

    But….but…but…this is different!

    Just like with electing BHO (or maybe voting for DJT): the truth doesn’t matter, nor does consistency. What does matter is how your actions make you feel about yourself.

    Such narcissism.

    Simon Jester (02dde9)

  9. Related, from Camilia Paglia:

    As a veteran of more than four decades of college teaching, almost entirely at art schools, my primary disappointment is with American faculty, the overwhelming majority of whom failed from the start to acknowledge the seriousness of political correctness as an academic issue and who passively permitted a swollen campus bureaucracy, empowered by intrusive federal regulation, to usurp the faculty’s historic responsibility and prerogative to shape the educational mission and to protect the free flow of ideas. The end result, I believe, is a violation of the free speech rights of students as well as faculty.

    In any case, for every new department or program added to the U.S. curriculum, there should have been a central shared training track, introducing students to the methodology of research and historiography, based in logic and reasoning and the rigorous testing of conclusions based on evidence. Neglect of that crucial training has meant that too many college teachers, then and now, lack even the most superficial awareness of their own assumptions and biases. Working on campus only with the like-minded, they treat dissent as a mortal offense that must be suppressed, because it threatens their entire career history and world-view. The ideology of those new programs and departments, predicated on victimology, has scarcely budged since the 1970s. This is a classic case of the deadening institutionalization and fossilization of once genuinely revolutionary ideas.

    Dana (0ee61a)

  10. ah simon, 1984 is an owner’s manual for them, so we have someone like the senior citizen who couldn’t recall the time before ingsoc,

    narciso (732bc0)

  11. Another issue I have with the Kristof piece is his failure to generalize. Sure, political bullying is commonplace in academia, but so is apolitical intellectual bullying. A professor who is willing to bully a student or fellow teacher over political issues, is no less willing to bully over a broad range of issues, pedagogic and otherwise. These people are bullies and not just political bullies. And this behavior doesn’t stop at the university gates. As long as liberals believe that they trade in truth, rather than facts and theories, it will never be otherwise.

    And then there’s the issue of sexual bullying by academics, but I’ll leave that for later.

    These folks are not the best, nor the brightest.

    ThOR (c9324e)

  12. A very thoughtful post, Dana. As for “They believe Sean Hannity is an accurate representation of a conservative. Thanks, Fox News.”, I’m not a fan of Hannity, nor do I watch much Fox News any more, but that’s pretty weak. It’s a case of willful ignorance on their part. They choose to close their eyes, ears and minds.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  13. ah kristof do we forget what he enabled to happen to steven hatfill, because he followed crazy meryl nass , and even crazier insinuation that he some sort of nazi sympathizer, did he ever apologize for that,

    narciso (732bc0)

  14. Many liberals that I know make poor choices, place more value on good intentions than the results of those intentions and have an almost pathological need to see themselves – and have others see them – as heroic. But I also know that it’s always a good thing, and additive, to have issues and situations given careful consideration utilizing different perspectives.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  15. The default position of the left is that they are smarter than everybody else, so they are right. When confronted with a smart conservative, they don’t know how to react, so they resort to name-calling and allegations of whatever discrimination is popular at the time.

    They do, though, have the advantage in that not all conservatives are smart and are willing to display their ignorance whenever given the opportunity.

    In my mind, real conservatives should step back and realize what we really believe in: Government can be an answer, but it is not the only answer. The individual is more important than the collective. Everyone is free to speak their mind without repercussions unless it immediately endangers others and triggering doesn’t count. All religions are free to espouse their beliefs.

    Most importantly, the Constitution and all articles of the Bill of Rights are equal as lawfully amended and are the law. I realize I will get pushback on this, but all remedies are included in the original documents.

    Disagreements in my opinion are not only welcome, but encouraged.

    Ag80 (eb6ffa)

  16. That’s a platform I can get behind.

    Leviticus (4e54bd)

  17. Well .. A start I guess.

    But until their jobs, their money, their security are put at risk, academics won’t change.

    It is pure self selection and a Ph.D. Is truly the route of the not so bright, who don’t want to work hard, but have enough fuel in the tank to earn the degree (with some normally half baked research where they lie about the data to wrap it up in time for a degree ceremony.)

    Sorry having been at a Major University and involved in research (as well as my wife) … I can say they are absolute mediocre for the most part and intellectually dishonest.

    Go pull Ph.D. Thesis and read … I would say 95% are filled with lies and data manipulation. Everyone knows it too.

    Rodney King's Spirit (e2dd8e)

  18. This fellow makes some great points about this subject…

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  19. I know this went down the memory hole, fwiw,

    is it as infamous as krugman’s performance re tucson, you decide,

    narciso (732bc0)

  20. I think that this also explains much of Trump’s ability to attract evangelicals — it’s not that they see him as a kindred spirit, but that he seems willing to fight the arrogant bastards when no one else will. It’s a pretty strong emotional appeal/

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  21. One should never mistake social conservatism for conservatism. Many religious social conservatives, like social liberals on the left, think they know the truth. Whether you worship the Goddess or Huckabee’s version, God is on your side and big government is the vehicle to enforce her/his will. And the bigger the better.

    Huckabee was unhappy with Cruz for stealing his voters. Wrong yet again, Mike. Cruz didn’t steal those voters; Trump did. Trump, the heathen, stands ready to use the levers of government to reshape the nation in their desired image, or so he claimed at the time; Cruz wants smaller, less intrusive government. It wasn’t even close.

    ThOR (c9324e)

  22. well he hired alice stewart, who was team huck, so there’s some of that, that explains his more sectarian pitch, that beck telegraphed,

    narciso (732bc0)

  23. I believe Kristof is the same columnist who a few years ago was honest enough to admit that a larger percentage of liberals are less charitable — from donating money to donating blood (and beyond just giving to religious causes) — than a cross-section of conservatives.

    I wouldn’t be as irritated with people of the left if more of them were as up-front about their biases and quirks as Kristof is, and if they were candid enough (unlike the New York Times) to admit that, yes, they are very much of the left—and stop with the nonsense of using “progressive” as a euphemism and shying away from “liberal.” Most crucially, liberals wouldn’t be as two-faced if they didn’t fall for the notion that their left-leaning impulses somehow imbue a person with greater compassion, sophistication and tolerance than non-liberals and certainly conservatives.

    The debacles of cities like Detroit, etc, etc, or countries like Venezuela, Brazil or France — meaning places that are awash with liberalism and staunch liberals — should be a daily reminder to people of the left that their warm-hearted perceptions of themselves and those of like-mind are not deserved or justified.

    Mark (a3bba5)

  24. or Huckabee’s version

    FWIW, that person has a variety of rather surprisingly squish-squish biases and isn’t exactly a straight-common-sense conservative. Simply put, he’s the type who’ll fall for the notion embraced by George W Bush that “conservative” needs to be proceeded by or qualified with “compassionate.”

    Mark (a3bba5)

  25. Here’s the CATO institute on Huck.

    ThOR (c9324e)

  26. Here’s the CATO institute on Huck.

    Sheesh! I had a sense he was ideologically about as firm as a bowl of Jell-O, but I didn’t realize just how bad he really is.

    Most people have tidbits of left-leaning biases embedded in their brains, which is why that trait can stupefy anyone and everyone, on any number of occasions. Most of the biggest blunders of Republicans like Reagan and Bush I and II have occurred when they allowed their inner-liberal to get the better of them.

    Mark (a3bba5)

  27. Tell me more, Mark. Does one’s inner liberal have anything to do with Peggy Noonan? Perhaps David Brooks and a crease in the pants? Maybe it has to do with Jeremiah Wright and his hourly scream of “GODDAMN AMERICA” for perhaps 30 years straight, everywhere he went.

    I can only guess, but I can also hope that you will fill us in on your conception of what constitutes the inner liberal. Ideally, you could do this in almost the same words, multiple times per day, for weeks, months, or (dare we hope?) years on end.

    Patterico (86c8ed)

  28. noonan ignored everything that obama had been taught, the critical race and legal studies of bell and de unger, the sermons of wright, the gramsci cultural push of ayers, who almost singlehanded created the confiscation narrative, through the joyce foundation, in exchange for vague ‘hope and change, it’s the same ‘poor choice’ that cuba, and venezuela, made,

    narciso (732bc0)

  29. There are many ways in which the GOP has contributed to the Trump fiasco, one of which has been to promote the idea that there is something morally suspect about small, unintrusive government. In so doing, they cede the moral high ground and promote the idea that authoritarian policies are a good idea if they are done in a right-thinking Republican sort of way.

    For Republican politicians, most of whom are primarily interested in opportunities for graft, “compassionate conservatism” is the ticket. For others, it is the appeal of social engineering. There is nothing “conservative” about any of this.

    I’m not a Trump fan, but one of the funniest ironies of recent days has been Paul Ryan, the current face of the GOPe, insisting that Trump doesn’t merit his support because he isn’t a real conservative. It would only be funnier if John Boehner had said it.

    ThOR (c9324e)

  30. there is probably some of that, when you lose your history, to constructivist propaganda, that was neil’s contribution, e plub nista, when up is down, and cold is hot, there will be a reaction,

    narciso (732bc0)

  31. your conception of what constitutes the inner liberal.

    Pat, your own inner-liberal several days ago made you actually rationalize away the biases behind the anti-US extremism of Jeremiah Wright, in which you implied that since he presumably didn’t give “goddamn America” sermons on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, he therefore shouldn’t be characterized as bad as he really is. Your inner-liberal also blinded you to the two-plus-two-equals-four obviousness behind the life history and political orientation of Obama hardly making him fit the label of patriot, assuming one is referring to his gut instincts towards the traditional US, but maybe not towards a place like the modern Venezuela or even a Cuba, which he happily paid a visit to several weeks ago.

    Mark (a3bba5)

  32. here’s 100 colleges what love jesus or what have you

    there’s actually a few of them in illinois

    happyfeet (831175)

  33. First off, Mark is a first-class nutter.

    Secondly, I think I’ll leave this here:

    John Hitchcock (18adbf)

  34. We were told on a number of occassions, the world would hate is for living him, Romans punctuates the point.

    narciso (1b4366)

  35. Typos aside, exactly, narciso.

    John Hitchcock (18adbf)

  36. Perhaps it wasn’t a typo, to live as he lived.

    narciso (1b4366)

  37. First off, Mark is a first-class nutter.

    That’s the second time I believe you’ve responded in an ad-hominem way to my pointing out how left-leaning biases can make any person a fool. You presumably are of the right, but am I hitting too close to home?

    Were you liberal in your younger days, or were you more of the left years ago than you care to admit? Or perhaps you’re resentful when certain major figureheads associated with conservatism can be used as a cautionary tale of what happens when a person gives in to his inner-liberal.

    Only fools and idiots resent reality. They also resist the concept of “the truth will set you free.”

    Mark (a3bba5)

  38. 22. One should never mistake social conservatism for conservatism. Many religious social conservatives, like social liberals on the left, think they know the truth. Whether you worship the Goddess or Huckabee’s version, God is on your side and big government is the vehicle to enforce her/his will. And the bigger the better.

    Huckabee was unhappy with Cruz for stealing his voters. Wrong yet again, Mike. Cruz didn’t steal those voters; Trump did. Trump, the heathen, stands ready to use the levers of government to reshape the nation in their desired image, or so he claimed at the time; Cruz wants smaller, less intrusive government. It wasn’t even close.

    ThOR (c9324e) — 5/10/2016 @ 9:26 pm

    I agree with what you said. I bolded a certain part because it struck me that there’s a way to read it that you probably didn’t intend. But like a Rorschach inkblot test it’s what I saw first.

    The first image that popped into my head was one of these televangialist megachurches. They’re primarily social; people join it like a great big club. They tend to largely attract people who are social and fiscal conservatives, but not necessarily conservatives who arrived at their political views through any sort of intellectual endeavor. Only on a third level are they in any way religious. And that religious layer is only a veneer. For a very simple reason; an operation like that has a lot of overhead. If those preachers would tell their congregations all of what Jesus had to say, and preach the Old Testament as it relates to the New, that crowd wouldn’t be so large. And so of course the weekly haul when they take collections not so big.

    Consequently they, really any church that measures success in the size of their congregation, generally tell people what they want to hear to keep them coming back. But that ain’t Christianity. It’s unfortunately what most people think of when they hear the word Christianity. I say unfortunately because a) people think Christianity is supposed to be “affirming” and b) it can affirm almost anything.

    For example I read an article a couple of years back (I think it was on the Huffpo) written by an abortion doctor who said she grew up in a “good Christian home” (whatever that means) and it was actually what she calls her Christianity which led her to want to “serve” by aborting babies. I’ll shift fire to the Catholics, who haven’t gone quite that far but they’re not far off.

    Nancy Pelosi claims to be a Catholic yet she also calls abortion “sacred ground.” This goes beyond heresy and is firmly into scandal territory. Yet she has yet to be denied communion. I’m not aware of any abortion advocating lawmaker having been denied communion. So, apparently, the Catholics have joined all the Protestants in affirming abortion, at least tacitly. This requires the church to ignore a great deal of the Catholic catechism and bishops to abdicate duties required of them under Canon law. No problem, apparently.

    The current big push is gay Christianity. There have been an avalanche of books published over the past ten years claiming that homosexuality is actually perfectly in line with all things Christian and has been all along it’s just that only in the last few years has anyone understood theology, Greek, or Hebrew. We’re smarter now than all those idiots who’ve been getting everything wrong the past 2,000 years. This is justified with theologically ridiculous arguments. (Really? St. Paul in his letter to the Romans, chapter 1, was drawing on pagan Greek stoic philosophers to arrive at the meaning of what is natural, and he could not possibly have been using scripture to define the term? Really? Who knew the Greek stoics were actually a source of canonical authority.) But hey! If so much of the scripture isn’t even worth preaching let alone defending, how are you going to know why that’s ridiculous so you can begin to argue against it? Face it; you’ve already capitulated on so many other fronts on what basis are you going to refuse to knuckle under on this one?

    Of course, most of the mainline Protestant denominations already have. But then, they’ve also moved past the whole deity of Christ thing. He was just an iron age Jew who was a great teacher but he was still just a fallible man (you can’t graduate from a lot of Protestant seminaries if you still think Jesus was God in the flesh).

    Mark 8:34-38

    34 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35 For whoever wants to save their life[a] will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. 36 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? 37 Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”

    That bit about how if you’re going to follow Christ you have to deny yourself, as in to deny your desires, is not one you hear in a mega church that measures success in how large the congregation is and the size of weekly collections. Nor are you likely to hear much about judgement and the wrath of God.

    If you’re gay and walk into a church that still believes in the authority of the whole Bible, that it is the divinely inspired word of God and consequently you can’t edit or ignore any part of it, that God is your Creator, and consequently your Creator defines sin and indeed your Creator defines you, and you can’t have it the other way around, and feel uncomfortable because it’s not affirming your sexuality and lifestyle? Join the club. It’s not supposed to affirm any of the baggage you walked in with. The Bible isn’t supposed to do that for anyone. But if you want to say you’re a Christian and have all that affirmed I’m sure there’s a PC USA Church nearby that will affirm anything about you that you like.

    That won’t be good enough, though. No dissent from the secular orthodoxy will be tolerated. In the name of tolerance. Besides, all those other nominally Christian denominations have already thrown in the towel. Like the last holdout wedding cake baker or Florist every knee must bend to our secular overlords.

    It’s going to go very hard on the hold outs. I.E. the actual Christians.

    Which is taking the long way around the barn to get to this. If you’re really a Christian the last thing you want is a big government that has some sort of divine mission to enforce anyone’s will on anyone else. Because the first thing it will do, in fact what it’s already doing, is enforcing it’s will on Christians.

    Which is why I believe Ted Cruz when he says he’s a Christian but have grave doubts about Huckabee.

    Harvard professor: Start treating Christian conservatives like Nazis

    John 15:18

    If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.

    Steve57 (412496)

  39. well he might be engaging in the fallacy warned again in romans 14,

    narciso (732bc0)

  40. I had to shake my head a little as I read some comments here. Narrative exists everywhere. Sure, there are some academics who don’t work hard and flap their gums too much.

    Isn’t that true for any profession?

    I have been through the mill in academia, and in the sciences (where I am), I would be very hesitant to claim that 95% of PhD theses are fraudulent.

    But that point of view does serve a particular Narrative.

    Simon Jester (c8876d)

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