—October 20, 2018
A team of self-proclaimed, Left-leaning academics this month released results from an experiment they conducted that suggests “pervasive political corruption” in U.S. university humanities departments. This corruption is broad-based and inherently entrenched in many academic disciplines, including women’s and gender studies, feminist studies, race studies, sexuality studies, fat studies, queer studies, and cultural studies, they say. While these are niche study areas in most university humanities programs, many universities now force students to take such classes as part of “diversity” requirements to graduate. The ideas promulgated by these studies are also increasingly being injected into the curriculum of more mainstream fields, such as psychology, history, sociology, and even the STEM fields.
Additionally, these postmodernist ideas are also being adopted by other cultural institutions, elements of the media, and some companies. Google, a prime example of the latter, has incorporated postmodernist thinking into employee training, and sanctions employees who don’t adhere to its dictates. Consider James Damore, the Google engineer who was fired last year after suggesting that fewer women worked in technology fields because men and women “think differently” due to natural biological and physiological differences. So much for Google’s “foundational premise for employees” that they have “the freedom to speak up about anything and everything.”
Bottom line is that these niche university academics are the driving force behind today’s politically correct climate and many of the inane concepts adopted by the far Left as key components of their social justice ideal. When you hear terms such as “toxic masculinity,” “privilege,” “cis-gender,” “non-binary,” “white fragility,” “safe spaces,” “cultural appropriation,” “social construct,” “heteronormative,” “intersectionality,” and related PC terminology, know that they emanated from postmodernist-influenced academia.
The problem is, as exposed in part by the aforementioned experiment, such concepts and the thinking behind it are not supported by rigorous research and objective truth, but instead from subjective dogma. Dogma that its adherents defend without question and insist upon foisting upon the rest of us as irrefutable truth.
“A culture has developed in which only certain conclusions are allowed, like those that make ‘whiteness’ and ‘masculinity’ problematic,” said project collaborator James Lindsay. “The fields we’re concerned about put social grievances ahead of objective truth. So as a simple summary, we call the problem ‘grievance studies.’”
To test the extent of this problem, Lindsay and his fellow collaborators devoted themselves to seeing how many nonsensical articles they could get published in top peer-reviewed “grievance study” academic journals. They crafted each hoax article by developing politically correct conclusions that were usually absurd or morally repellent, and then utilized the “existing canon” of the study area, along with citations and quotations from already published studies and papers to support them.
The first published hoax paper—“Human Reactions to Rape Culture and Queer Performativity in Urban Dog Parks in Portland, Oregon”—was not only published, but received accolades from the feminist journal, Gender, Place, and Culture. “Arguably [the team’s] most absurd paper,” its purpose in the experiment was to show that academic journals “will accept arguments which should be clearly ludicrous and unethical if they provide (an unfalsifiable) way to perpetuate notions of toxic masculinity, heteronormativity, and implicit bias.”
Another published paper—“Going in through the Back Door: Challenging Straight Male Homohysteria and Transphobia through Repetitive Penetrative Sex Toy Use”—was designed to prove that academic journals will “accept ludicrous arguments if they support (unfalsifiable) claims that common (and harmless) sexual choices made by straight men are actually homophobic, transphobic, and anti-feminist.”
“Our Struggle is My Struggle: Solidarity Feminism as an Intersectional Reply to Neoliberal and Choice Feminism,” was accepted for publication, which means that Affilia: Journal of Women and Social Work, has accepted for publication, in part, a rewrite of chapter 12 in Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” (“My Struggle”). The collaborators basically crafted this one to prove that they could get anything published as long as it was put in “terms of politically fashionable arguments and existing scholarship.”
Another accepted paper—no surprise here—argues that social justice activists have the right to make fun of others, but no one is allowed to make fun of social justice. Ironically titled “When the Joke Is on You,” reviewers called it an excellent contribution to feminist philosophy and the topic of social justice pedagogy.
Perhaps the most disturbing paper—“The Progressive Stack: An Intersectional Feminist Approach to Pedagogy”—was rejected, though with significant praise and suggestion that its premise is worthy of additional research. The premise being that “Patently unfair, inhumane, and abusive treatment of students [should] be acceptable in educational theory if it is framed as an opportunity to teach them about the problem of privilege.” Among treatment considered in the paper was that privileged students should not be allowed to speak in class, and that those students with “high levels of privilege” should be subjected to “experiential reparations,” such as by having to “sit
on the floor in chains.” Reviewers expressed concerns that the paper approached the topic with “too much compassion” for privileged students and suggested the need for crueler forms of experiential reparations.
And just think, these reviewers are likely teaching in university classrooms today!
With seven of 20 papers accepted for publication, four already published, almost all making it to the peer-review process, and glowing commentary from journal editors and academic peer reviewers, the experiment, which was exposed in early October by the media, has been deemed a success by the collaborators.
As noted by the Project Fact Sheet: “We conclude the problem we have identified in grievance studies, which has taken over large sectors of the humanities and social sciences, is real and significant. That problem is that a political bias which intentionally blends activism into scholarship (sometimes described as ‘academic leftism’) has become dominant and entrenched in varying degrees within those fields it has successfully corrupted. Moreover, it aims to spread its assumptions and methods into other fields, including the hard sciences. This, in turn, delegitimizes this scholarship and casts serious doubt upon its conclusions and results.
“Because the scholarship we infiltrated represents a view that currently has a great deal of cultural power, and because that power is nearly absolute within the universities (and seems to be going that way in media and many businesses, including large corporations), one conclusion this project provides is a permission slip for academics and others to openly doubt the scholarship that seems to legitimize and institutionalize these conclusions as factual.”
By exposing this rot in North American universities, the three project collaborators have likely ended any hopes of furthering their academic careers, but all feel the outcome of their work is worth it. “For us, the risk of letting biased research continue to influence education, media, policy and culture is far greater than anything that will happen to us for having done this,” said Lindsay, who also noted that “No one tolerates this sort of corruption when they find out an industry is funding biased research to make itself look a certain way. The same should apply to [university research].”
Project Summary and Fact Sheet— https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/19tBy_fVlYIHTxxjuVMFxh4pqLHM_en18
Feature Video (in progress)— https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kVk9a5Jcd1k
Fake News Comes to Academia— https://www.wsj.com/articles/fake-news-comes-to-academia-1538520950?redirect=amp#click=https://t.co/LrCM8kzgh6
Originally published Oct. 6, in Discernible Truth.