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Oxford professors’ excellent thread on viewpoint diversity and the left’s sneering dismissal of it – HotAir


Teresa Bejan is an associate professor of political science at Oxford University who I’ve written about before. Last summer she posted an insightful thread about the nature of free speech. Yesterday she posted a related thread on Twitter about viewpoint diversity. You’re probably familiar with the term which, simply put, means the idea of having a variety of ideological views represented at the table in the same way you might seek to have racial diversity. But the idea of viewpoint diversity often gets shrugged off by progressives who are fond of suggesting something along the lines of why represent the views of troglodytes at a university.

Today Bejan addressed those issues in a thread on Twitter, making a case that viewpoint diversity should be welcome and that those who dismiss it would never dismiss any other claims of insufficient diversity.

1) Academic colleagues I otherwise admire have a tendency to, well, *sneer* when the issue of ‘viewpoint’ diversity comes up as below, especially when it comes to conservatives.

I have THOUGHTS and some anecdotes. 🧵

— Teresa M. Bejan (@tmbejan) April 7, 2021

3) The idea that it might have ANYTHING to do with implicit or explicit biases, not to mention the inertia of ideological homophily in hiring/peer reviewing/etc is dismissed.

— Teresa M. Bejan (@tmbejan) April 7, 2021

5) In any case, I agree that these cases (women, racial minorities vs. ideology) are mostly, but not entirely, disanalogous.


— Teresa M. Bejan (@tmbejan) April 7, 2021

The left never seems to grasp that their smug condescension is one of the biggest obstacles to their own agenda. If they could just avoid the knee-jerk efforts to put everyone who doesn’t agree with them in a basket of deplorables they’d find there are people on the other side willing to actually have a conversation. But some people just want to be A-holes.

7) Now, anecdote:

At a post-seminar dinner, the very eminent invited speaker was holding forth on politics and his view that anyone who would ever vote conservative was, and I quote, “a cretin.”

He evidently thought this very clever and kept repeating it.

— Teresa M. Bejan (@tmbejan) April 7, 2021

9) Now, why would a thoughtful student who leaned conservative for whatever reason—


Why would she think that academic philosophy or pol theory would be a place where she could continue thinking fruitfully about it?

— Teresa M. Bejan (@tmbejan) April 7, 2021

11) In pointing this out, I’m not arguing that this is the MOST IMPORTANT form of exclusion in the academy, let alone the worst. Far from it!

And as ever, there are important differences between the UK/US here, different disciplines, inst., etc the sneerers and sneer-ees miss

— Teresa M. Bejan (@tmbejan) April 7, 2021

13) Moreover: an ideological monoculture in higher ed hurts the Left, too:

– In the proliferation of weak arguments that evade critical scrutiny
– and rewarding frankly MAGICAL thinking about the half of the country (or MUCH more!!) that does not share their priors

— Teresa M. Bejan (@tmbejan) April 7, 2021

15) But alas (for some), you can’t just wait for conservatism to die out, or hope that if you don’t know anyone who voted for the other guy, it means they don’t exist.

— Teresa M. Bejan (@tmbejan) April 7, 2021

At the end of the thread she made things even more personal. Saying she’s personally moved from the right to somewhere in the middle but that that shift happened despite, not because of, the screechy, shouty progressives she encountered along the way.

17) I’ll probably regret posting this, but permit me another anecdote:

As someone who has moved considerably leftward in my personal politics over time, it was NOT a result of the condescension or berating I received from my professors or fellow students.

— Teresa M. Bejan (@tmbejan) April 7, 2021

19) Now it would be dangerous to draw global conclusions from such anecdata but…

I’m a woman and have voted conservative in my life, what do I know about social science, right?

— Teresa M. Bejan (@tmbejan) April 7, 2021

And of course this gradual shift can happen in the other direction as well. People on the far left do move to the center but not because people on the right shout at them. However, while there are extremes on both sides of the aisle, the left has increasingly legitimized bullying and even violence toward those who dare to disagree.

Why don’t people on the left believe in cancel culture? Because it’s something their own side does that they can’t really justify. Instead they resort to one of two gambits to dismiss it. Some reframe it as “accountability culture” thereby excusing it and others only claim to only see it when they find an instance of someone on the left being ganged up on by the right. What most progressives (and there are some exceptions) will not do is admit their side of the aisle appears to have a unique problem with favoring threats and demands to deplatform opponents instead of conversation.

The left’s dismissive outlook on viewpoint diversity is just an extension of their similarly dismissive view of cancel culture.  Both are just ways to justify not giving those with a different outlook a seat at the table.

This content was originally published here.

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