Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The Academy Receives More Scorn

Ann Althouse talked about how her institution of higher learning made it easy for "right wingers" to make fun of it. The worst example, among many, of despicable behavior by our intellectually elites comes from Duke University. Read more at the History News Network. There, the professors, 69 of them, vilified Duke lacrosse students’ accused of rape before hearing the matter. No surprise that those doing the vilifying can be described thusly:

The 69 permanent faculty signatories included only two professors in math, just one in the hard sciences, and zero in law. (It would have been difficult indeed for a law professor to have signed a statement deeming irrelevant "the results of the police investigation.") Of the permanent signatories, 58—an astonishing 84.1 percent—describe their research interests as related to race, class, or gender (or all three), in some cases to an extent bordering on caricature. One Group of 88 member stated that his current project "argues that unless we attempt to read racialized trauma according to a more Freudian, Lacanian understanding for subjectivity we will continue to misunderstand why racial stigma persists and, more generally, why the laws humans create to protect against forms of discrimination leave in place a notion of the racialized subject as emptied of interiority and the psychical." Another reasoned that "it was not merely military mobilization . . . that paved the path to war [in Iraq] but a highly gendered war talk." An example? Laura Bush’s late 2001 comments about the plight of Afghan women, which “furthered the [U.S.] imperial project in her highly gendered appeal to a world conscience.” A third signatory, after beginning her career exploring "postmodernist theory about the individual and the body," is now " working on a new project critiquing animal rights from speciesist perspective."

But here is what really bothers me: how many members of the academy are there at Duke? That no one from the math, science, business, law, or even one or two professors among the liberal arts crowd stood for defending the students until proven guilty speaks volumes about the tyranny of political correctness within the academy. That the coach himself threw the team under the bus and then resigned reveals the insidious malignancy of cherished, clich├ęd beliefs. Why, the pusillanimity demonstrated in the face of calumny came so fast, so easy, one wonders how the coach inspired a fighting spirit in his players.

Intellectual no-talents and crack-pots will always be part of the education world. They are attracted to the stage and captive audience. Students are often held hostage in required courses for their majors. But other professors? They could at least defend the moral high ground, if not the accused. And in case anyone in these institutions wonder: the moral high ground is innocent until proven guilty especially a case with so many dubious elements.

H/T Instapundit

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