Academic Groupthink

Crispin Sartwell’s op-ed “The smog of academic consensus” points out some of the deep problems with academia. First, faculty are overwhelmingly on the left, nearly unanimous in their support of Barack Obama.

“Within the academy, conservatives really are an oppressed minority. At the University of Colorado, for instance, one professor found that, of 800 or so on the faculty, only 32 were registered Republicans. This strikes me as somewhat high, so I assume they are primarily in business or phys ed.”

And precious few of those 32 would dream of publicly advocating views associated with The Occidental Observer—that whites, like all other ethnic groups, have interests and the right to defend them. It’s a lock that the proposed chair in conservative studies at the University of Colorado will be bestowed on a neocon for whom “conservative values”  equals open borders and continuation, if not expansion, of the failed interventionist foreign policy of “regime change” in the Middle East.Sartwell points to a particularly destructive form of groupthink that has seized the minds of university faculty and put them in an intellectual deep freeze:

“The fact that everyone agrees and everyone has a doctorate leads to the occasionally explicit idea that all intelligent people think the same thing — that no one could disagree with, say, Obama-ism, without being an idiot. This attitude is continually expressed, for example, in attacks on presidents Ronald Reagan or George W. Bush, not for their political positions but for their grades and IQs.”

The problem is that maintaining one’s reputation as an “intellectual” is the basic stock-in-trade for academics. (For “intellectual” read “devoid of any group interests” — if, and only if, one is white, that is.) To dissent from this consensus is to trade their mortar boards for a dunce caps—the worst possible fate for an academic and the quick route to pariahdom.

And it’s not just in the academic world. The mainstream media continually vilifies white people who advocate defending their people and culture as intellectual cretins. A classic example that probably went a long way toward creating this stereotype was the TV show All in the Family from the 1970s, produced by Norman Lear who has a strong ethnic identity of his own in addition to being a liberal activist.

All in the Family repeatedly brought out that the main character,, was uneducated and none too smart—constantly mispronouncing even ordinary words and lacking a basic understanding of geography or history—Lincoln signed the Declaration of Independence, Denmark is the capital of Colorado, and Florida is on the West coast. But this TV show still shapes current attitudes about people who have a problem with massive non-white immigration and multiculturalism.

As Sartwell notes, academic brainlock groupthink can be linked to the atmosphere in graduate school:

“[The herd-like mentality of professors is the predictable result of the fact that a professor has been educated, often for a decade or more, by the very institutions that harbor this unanimity. Every new generation of professors has been steeped in an atmosphere in which the authorities all agree and in which they associate agreement with intelligence — and with degrees, jobs, tenure and so on. If you’ve been taught that conservatives are evil idiots, then conservatism itself justifies a decision not to hire or tenure one. Every new leftist minted by graduate programs is an act of self-praise, a confirmation of the intelligence of the professors.”

New Ph.D.’s are often in awe of the professors they worked with as graduate students and strive to emulate them, even down to personal mannerisms. Quite a bit of this is pure self-interest: For most academics, upward mobility in their professional societies requires maintaining their ties with their mentors from graduate school. Their mentors write letters of recommendation at each stage in the promotion cycle, and they serve on the editorial boards of important journals — something to think about when submitting an article for publication. To publicly dissent from the political culture of the university is to cut oneself off from all that is important in life.