Sunday, November 24, 2019

I am not afraid of social justice

By Mathew Goldstein

It is unfortunately common for religious institutions, including colleges and universities, to require various employees to sign a statement of belief as a condition of employment. Students are also sometimes required to sign a statement of belief. Dissenting from that statement can result in being disemployed or dis-enrolled. This is no big surprise to anyone, religion and ideology are like hand and glove.

Right wing political commentary in particular exhibits a tendency to be hyper-partisan. President Trump promotes this divisive partisanship and he is operating in a larger environment of hyper-partisanship within the Republican Party at large that pre-dates his election. Almost everything is painted good or bad based primarily on whether it supports or opposes the agenda of the Republican Party as defined by the elected leaders with close to every other consideration being assigned secondary priority, resulting in lots falsehood and hostility. Unfortunately many people appear to be attracted to this hyper partisanship. The same religious people who tend to be associated with those religious institutions that impose belief statements on employees and students are disproportionately supportive of the Republican Party.  The reasons for this are most likely multi-dimensional, but I would be surprised if these two aforementioned negative tendencies are not related to each other and are not reinforcing each other.

Secular institutions, insofar as they prioritize free-thought, tend to have more academic and intellectual integrity. But free-thought at our secular colleges and universities is also under attack. And this attack originates mostly from Leftist activists. Motivated in part as a counter reaction to a nasty tendency within the Right to malign some minorities, and also to the influence the Right has with the Republican party that controls many states and most of the federal government, the Leftist attacks on free-thinking have become a significant problem. Former president Obama has recently joined a growing chorus of people who are speaking out against the intolerant and authoritarian excesses exhibited among some on the Left. 

The Left tends to predominate in secular academic institutions, and it is often in such institutions that they have been shouting down and blocking, sometimes even physically attacking, speakers who they decide should not be allowed to speak. They issue demands on their schools, including demanding that particular people be fired or that people be hired based on their willingness to endorse Leftist ideology. They demand that campus newspapers take sides when reporting news by excluded expressions of opinions or perspectives that they dislike, or by not interviewing people they dislike, or by not interviewing anyone who works for employers that they do not like. They engage in unrestrained campaigns of denouncement, hostility, and ostracism, to intimidate other students and faculty into restricting their expression and goading them to express Leftist compatible views. 

A recent example a lack of commitment to facts and destructive control over school policy exercised some on the Left at some academic institutions is the Gibson’s bakery incident. Gibson’s Bakery won $31.5 million in punitive and libel damages and attorney fee reimbursement from Oberlin College because school staff actively sided with students and some faculty who falsely accused the bakery of racism and promoted a boycott of the business, starting the day after a black student too young to legally purchase alcohol was arrested for shoplifting several bottles of wine while requesting to purchase one bottle. In the absence of a commitment to facts, the path to hell is paved with good intentions. 

About six students are arrested each year for shoplifting at that bakery, most of them caucasians. Local businesses where students shop absorb a significant yearly cost from shoplifting, most of which is by students, so they have good justification to be intolerant of shoplifting. To this day Oberlin College is in full denialism mode, refusing to acknowledge its responsibility for stopping its purchases from the bakery and for allowing its employees to publicly endorse and promote the racism slander based boycott while they were on the payroll. Gibson’s bakery, which has been in business continuously since the late 1800’s and barely survived going bankrupt during the boycott, is only one high profile example of this problem. There are an ever increasing number of innocent victims of misdirected Left wing attack campaigns, with the passive or active support of faculty and sometimes also the academic institutions. If this continues then there should be more such lawsuits with large monetary awards against this mismanagement by those academic institutions.

An explanation of how the Left is promoting its own brand of censorious, discriminatory, anti-intellectual, self-righteously judgmental, closed minded, ideology under a “Social Justice Warrior” banner, from inside secular institutions, successfully targeting some colleges and universities in particular, often with support from some professors or university executive staff, written by Lee Jussim, a professor of social psychology at a Rutgers University, My Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Statement has been published on