The Environment in Which We Train the Future’s Leaders

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TaxProf Paul Caron points to the case of Brian McCall, a professor from Oklahoma University College of Law who wrote a book titled, To Build the City of God: Living as Catholics in a Secular Age.  Apparently, the book expresses some very traditionalist views, so McCall has (by all appearances) been forced out, tenure notwithstanding.*

I should be clear that I haven’t read McCall’s book, and the reports I’ve seen do not provide a great deal of context.  Based on what’s been reported, however, I do not agree with some of the statements that have been flagged (which we should probably assume are the worst that could possibly be found within its pages).  I do not, notably, believe that it is “a sin against charity as well as modesty” for women to wear pants.  That said, the much larger danger to our society can be found in the statement that the college’s dean, Joseph Harroz, posted on Facebook:

The OU College of Law is a place of inclusion. Beyond ensuring the college is free from illegal harassment or discrimination, the college must prepare tomorrow’s leaders – our students – for the world in which they will serve. It would be a disservice to them if we did not provide an educational experience that presents diverse subject matter, encourages thoughtful conversation and debate, and prepares them to practice in an increasingly diverse world. This commitment is reflected in our first-year class, which is the second class in the history of the OU College of Law to have more women than men, and which has the highest percentage of minority students of any class in the history of the college. Attracting students from diverse backgrounds ensures that all points of view will be heard in our classrooms and, ultimately, in our society.

Note that this paragraph appears to be the big “but” following an admission that an investigation “uncovered no evidence of workplace harassment or discrimination” on McCall’s part.  Talk about a sin against charity and modesty!  Indeed, Harroz’s diversity is a fraud.  His college is clearly not interested in preparing students for the world by confronting them with “diverse subject matter.”

Meanwhile:

Over the past 12 months, three scholars—James Lindsay, Helen Pluckrose, and Peter Boghossian—wrote 20 fake papers using fashionable jargon to argue for ridiculous conclusions, and tried to get them placed in high-profile journals in fields including gender studies, queer studies, and fat studies. Their success rate was remarkable: By the time they took their experiment public late on Tuesday, seven of their articles had been accepted for publication by ostensibly serious peer-reviewed journals. Seven more were still going through various stages of the review process. Only six had been rejected.

One apropos sample addressing the supposedly sexist and imperialist “western astronomy” suggests that the self-professed hoax is more subversive than its perpetrators acknowledge.  They didn’t send out gibberish that nobody could understand or believe, but something more like a parody:

Other means superior to the natural sciences exist to extract alternative knowledges about stars and enriching astronomy, including ethnography and other social science methodologies, careful examination of the intersection of extant astrologies from around the globe, incorporation of mythological narratives and modern feminist analysis of them, feminist interpretative dance (especially with regard to the movements of the stars and their astrological significance), and direct application of feminist and postcolonial discourses concerning alternative knowledges and cultural narratives.

What makes the matter outlandish isn’t that academics couldn’t possibly understand what this says, but that they believe it to be true.

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Professor McCall’s affront was his effort to understand reality and our appropriate behavior within the context of the Christian God.  His understanding of women’s sartorial choices fall within that framework, and while I’d argue against his conclusions (at least as they are presented in reports), they aren’t necessarily driven by hatred.  And they are, if anything, more rational than a belief that social science methodologies applied to mythological narratives and the disciplines of identity politics can provide a better understanding of our universe.

 

* As Joe Smith points out in the comments, it may be that McCall just resigned as a dean, not as a professor. I should have been more careful in writing the post, but the change does not affect the underlying point of the post. (11:35 a.m. 10/9/18)



  • Rhett Hardwick

    Could someone explain to me exactly how we have benefited from “diversity”. And, why it is our “strength”. My idea of diversity is dating Canadians,

    • Merle The Monster

      Sure. I’m open to the fact that there may be people who ask questions as you have who are suffering early stages of dementila who still should be taken seriously.

      • Rhett Hardwick

        I was first accused of pre-Alzheimers at age 28.

        • Mike678

          Merle has no answer–he’s an ignorant troll.
          Diversity of ideas is a good thing when problem solving. Diversity as defined by regressives is little more than quotas.

  • Joe Smith

    I believe he resigned (although probably one of those resign or be fired) from his administrator job; his tenured status still protects his law school professorial position.

    My favorite item from that “sokol squared” hoax – “And one paper — about canine rape culture in dog parks in Portland, Ore. — “gained special recognition for excellence from its journal, Gender, Place, and Culture … as one of 12 leading pieces in feminist geography as a part of the journal’s 25th anniversary celebration.” (Chronicle of Higher Education, Oct 2018)

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