Thursday, May 14, 2020

Are Women Ruining Higher Education?

It's a surprisingly plausible--and yet, of course, politically incorrect and so almost entirely undiscussable--hypothesis:
Underneath the essential oils and yoga mats, the woke spa mental-wellness crusade is accomplishing an even more profound transformation of university life. The assumption that emotional threat and danger lie just beyond the spa is the product of an increasingly female-dominated student body, faculty, and administration. That assumption is undermining traditional academic values of rational discourse, argumentation, and free speech.
   For the last 40 years, men have been an underrepresented minority in higher education, reports American Enterprise Institute scholar Mark Perry. Since 1982, females earned nearly 14 million more college degrees than men. Colleges began a “desperate” search for women faculty in the 1970s that eroded the “intellectual rigor of elite higher education in the U.S.,” says Camille Paglia, the feminist professor and author. “Due to that sudden influx, academe’s entire internal culture changed,” she says. As the female presence has grown, so have claims of a crisis of collegiate mental health.
I mean, it's not undiscussable if you're Heather Mac Donald and at the Manhattan Institute. But if you were to suggest that hypothesis in academia, you might just get fired, tenure or no tenure. You'd likely be pressured to attend reeducation camp at the least.  
   One way to try to avoid disaster is to stumble all over yourself eagerly arguing that men have their own characterological problems that have screwed up academia, too. Best if you argue: they are obviously much worse! Feminists can go on all day long about how terrible men are...but even offering up an empirical hypothesis that puts women in an unfavorable light could well be the end of you. 
   (Incidentally, I suspect that some of the flaws of philosophy are pretty male/masculine...but I usually won't say it because I don't want to support a system that aims to moralize and politicize inquiry. You shouldn't have to say something negative about men simply because you've offered up a reasoned position that puts women in a less-than-favorable light.) 
   Of course the personality distributions for men and women overlap more than they don't. I've known super touch-feely men, and I've known women who are more masculine and less neurotic than I am--if you can believe that. That's an old-school feminist point, actually, and a great one, IMO. Rather out of place in contemporary feminism, of course and unfortunately. JQ, for example, is a much more level-headed and dispassionate inquirer than I am. I'm the unstable, emotional one in the family.
   At any rate, here's a largely indisputable claim: universities have begun to put less emphasis on the pursuit of truth, and more on "social justice" and therapy.
   The only real question is: are these things related to maleness and femaleness or masculinity and femininity in roughly the ways that HMD (and others) suggest?
   Well, actually, there's another question, too: is this change good or bad?
   You know what my answer is.
   Finally, a mantra. Repeat after me: thou shalt not politicize inquiry. Thou shalt not politicize inquiry. Though shalt not politicize inquiry...


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