Universities must choose between TRUTH or Social Justice, not both - Jonathan Haidt



so I want to open with two quotations writing in London to different of intellectual life and by extension visions of what a university should be so first John Stuart Mill his famous his famous line from on Liberty he who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that and of course mill and on Liberty was just brilliant at understanding the limitations of human reasoning how biased and flawed and often shallow and silly we are but when we push against each other we challenge each other and we get better we get smarter together on this view of human nature on this view of intellectual life a university must have viewpoint diversity and it dies it dies if it has political orthodoxy and a monoculture now here's a very different view so this is an internet meme the point is not merely to understand the world the point is to change it the actual quote is pretty much them that the real quote is basically that in spirit the philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways the point is to change it now that can be very inspiring to an undergraduate but is that really the point of intellectual life is that what professors should be focused on this kind of viewpoint leads to the idea that the university is there to challenge privilege and power and viewpoint diversity political diversity we just get in the way when I showed up at Yale in 1981 here's what it said over the doorway it said Lux at Veritas so truth as the Talos the purpose the goal of the university was very clear and explicit but over over the time that I've been in the academic world the Talos at many schools has been gradually changing to more so that the Marxist one of change the point of this place is to change the world and not just change in general but social justice in particular now I'm going to argue and I've been arguing publicly in the last month or two that what we need is a schism we must separate the universities into those that are pursuing social justice and Brown has volunteered to take the leadership position on that and those that are going to devote themselves to pursuing truth as the Talos and Chicago has has volunteered to take the leadership position on that so this is these slides are taken I just gave a talk at Duke a few weeks ago it just went up online it's my foots like an hour-long talk but it lays out exactly what I think has gone wrong and what we need to do but here's the the key idea the reason why we need this schism is this one piece of psychology so motivated reasoning I'm a social psychologist I study more morality moral judgment moral reasoning the basic rule is this we don't look out at the world and say where's the weight of the evidence we start with an initial step position and we say can I believe it if I want to believe something I ask can I believe it can I find a justification but if I don't want to believe it I start by saying must I believe it am i forced to believe it or can I escape so just to give you one example in a classic study students come into the lab they are taking psychology classes they're learning about experimental methods so they're given a study looks like it's from the journal Science and they're asked to critique the methods and the study seems to show that caffeine consumption is associated with breast cancer and your job now is to read the study and say what do you think of the methods well who do you think finds a lot of flaws in that study who do you think coffee drinker do you think all coffee drinkers are trying to find flaws in the study women who drink coffee are desperately saying must I believe it must I believe it what could possibly be wrong and they find all kinds of things wrong with it the others say oh gosh okay I didn't know that so this is called motivated reasoning and there's great research from Dan kahan at Yale that scholars and experts are just as subject to this problem and sometimes more so the more you know about a field the easier you can find post hoc justifications for whatever you want to believe so motivated scholarship is the rule throughout the Academy if what if a scholar undertakes research in order to support a political agenda she or he is almost guaranteed to succeed and to believe that she or he is not biased motivated scholarship puts things out there a weak study with a small sample size will get propagated across the Academy across the world very difficult to recall if it's disproven because if people want to believe it they will now there's one major our protection we have against this it's called institutionalized disconfirmation this is the reason why science is so great this was the discovery that Europeans made in their coffee shops and communities of gentlemen scholars reading each other's papers and publishing letters the community of science is a community devoted to institutionalized disconfirmation we're all motivated but if I'm motivated to disprove you and you're motivated disprove me we get the John Stuart Mill phenomenon and the truth emerges but that doesn't happen anymore in politicized areas this is data that should scare the hell out of you this is data you might not know I didn't know until two years ago what this is this is data from higher education Research Institute this is nationally representative data of professors at American universities as late as the mid 1990s the left-to-right ratio was only two to one the blue line is people to self-identify as being on the far left or left and the red line is right or far right and the purple line in the middle is moderates so and this is all Department this includes the agriculture school the dental school everything so two to one left to right but just 15 years later it had changed to 5 to 1 5 to 1 and again this includes all the professional schools if you focus on the core areas of the humanities and Social Sciences which is where most of the concern is on our panel in the previous panel what do you find well I can show you the data from I field psychology and it's the same story in the others so I published a paper with some colleagues two years ago on how the homogeneity damages our research we put together all the research we could find what you see is that 1960 there was a study that looked at who professors of psychology voted for and for two one they went for Kennedy now then they were asked to recall who did you vote for previously and as you see roughly two to one they went for the Democrat right so psychologists have always leaned left politically as late as 1996 so the diamonds are party who you voted for the circles are left-right or liberal conservative so as late as 1996 psychologists were only four to one left to right professors of psychology but again between the mid-90s and 2010 everything changes and the numbers go up and up and up and just last week or two weeks ago we got a new data point from lang Bert at Elle set at 17 to 1 17 to 1 and I know the one guy he's a really nice guy ok so this is happening in throughout the humanities and Social Sciences and even to some extent into Sciences now this has many many profound and threatening implications for students and for faculty for students what this means is that Orthodox view has become strongly held but weakly supported they actually can't even justify the beliefs they hold so passionate because they've never been challenged and what that means is that if anybody comes close to challenging it's very threatening a phrase that uses you are in validating my existence if you challenge a proposition that I hold dear you are in validating my existence so students are afraid to do so and I hear all over the place students say it's kind of boring in seminar classes no one will disagree and many students become intellectually fragile from the lack of challenge and that's why when is when a controversial speaker comes to campus they don't just not go they don't argue back they have to come together to get this student to the speaker band or they do a protest to drown him or her out for faculty of course this has many implications miss allocation of effort loss of rigor and our thinking fear of dissent and recently just last two or three years fear of our students one of the reasons that the comment was made that faculty lack courage that's absolutely true now we're actually quite afraid of our students because it's so easy for them we're really busy and at the drop of a hat and we offend anyone in the class it could be months of hearings they can go right to the Equal Opportunity Commission it's a nightmare and so we're all afraid of our students this is why I founded with my colleagues throughout that paper heterodox Academy I urge you all to go to header and heterodox Academy org it's the opposite of Orthodox Academy and if you are a professor if you are whether you're tenured or untenured if you have a if you are tenured or tenure-track professor please join we have 220 professors now from all fields who have come together to say we actually think that there should be some viewpoint diversity we think that's important I just want to share with you our most important project and this is why I came down here from New York because we need the help of the trustees and alumni here's what we did we just put this out last week we took the top 150 schools from the US News rankings and you know great you want to know you know you want you want to school that as a small faculty student ratio well you know US news will factor that in but what if you actually want to be exposed to viewpoint diversity what if you want your child to not just be in an indoctrination mill how can you find out where to go you can't until two weeks ago you can go to the heterodox Academy guide to colleges and we've quantified did they enjoy it has the school passed a resolution endorsing Chicago what does fire say about them what does is I say about them and what's been happening in the news that gives us an indication and here's the rankings we put it on a 0-200 scale and Chicago tops the list so Chicago Purdue Carnegie Mellon Princeton is by far the best Ivy it's the only Ivy that has any claim to promote viewpoint diversity so these are what appear to be good schools now this is our first pass we're going to bring in a lot more data we're going to we're coding now whether the school has a BRT a bias it response team an Orwellian way that you can if you hear a joke someplace there's there's a website you go to report them and then they get visited by an administrator so that's coming that's at a lot of schools so if they have that we're going to really penalize them what about the what about the bottom so you can sort by any column if you sort by ranking now the worst schools in the country on our first pass are Missouri and Oregon followed by brown and so and those are all in a tie brown Georgetown Harvard and why you a bunch of others are down there six points out of 100 so we hope our goal is to make this a major leverage point for alumni and trustees because what I'm finding is that the big donors have not stopped giving they call up the president to say hey what's going on I really care about freedom of speech the president reassures them don't worry we've got under control we're doing this not oh okay that's what yeah that's right they are under control that's right so I'm really hoping I've been working with with ACTA to try to give donors a clear stop-and-go signal make your make your gifts conditional on them making progress on this metric so to conclude there are two very different views of what a university should be based on these two ideas I think the only viable form for university that will be a benefit to the public that will actually bring us forward and finding truth is one based on John Stuart Mill's principles and then I'll just end I'll just put this up here this is a heterodox Academy we have a business plan this is our stakeholder analysis this is how what we see happening I'm in a business school now so I'm learning how to do stakeholder analyses I thought let me try it here it works pretty well so if you think about the president and the administration in the center there are a lot of stakeholders there a lot of people who care about what the university does what you see here is in green or the people who generally care about free speech and free inquiry so the people in the community most Americans is one person said before most Americans are don't like what's going on on the universities the Alumni prospective students generally so most people out there outside the university are our allies the yellow region are the people on campus and that's where the problem is on campus you have staff and you have many staff that are devoted to diversity and inclusion worthy goals but if you say all that matters is diversity inclusion therefore we don't want any ideas that could upset people so in red are the people who I think are opposed to freedom of inquiry and freedom of expression on campus and so you see that in the faculty the humanities are generally on the other side as we saw at Yale 400 humanities faculty rushed to support the protesters and condemned the Christakis is the science faculty overwhelmingly on our side on this it took a month but 40 professors a month later put their names up saying that they supported the Christakis –is 40 and they were almost all in the Natural Sciences or they were in the Christakis as home departments and guess what the Yale students come back saying those scientists they need retraining they need reeducation they're insensitive so again faculty are afraid to stand up the red line is what we call the the what are called the axis of something or other wait a catchy name for it but the point is that the federal government the Department of Education Department of Justice are really putting the screws on universities to to crack down on any case where someone feels marginalized and that leads them to these excessive procedures the axis of outrage I'm sorry that's it so there's an axis of outrage in which ideas propagated in the studies departments the humanities spread to the the social justice warrior students supported by the diversity and therapy staff with pressure from the do-e and DOJ so that's the situation and that's why we think the solution well there's many have to do many things but basically we have to empower or strengthen the people in green and break up the axis of outrage and if alumni alumni are the most powerful force here if the alumni will give to schools that are doing a good job of it and tell the president directly I am no longer giving until you work on this problem I will not give any more money when that happens I think we'll start to see change thank you

Author Since: Mar 11, 2019

  1. Social justice is anti-truth, it's delusional. SJWs are willing to cultivate a police state, as they have done in the UK, as long as no one offends their sensibilities. I would definitely use heterodoxacademy.org as a tool to steer my friends and family clear of those indoctrination temples.

  2. but there can be a lot of group think in the sciences too.. While real science.. true scientific method is useful.. most of the time it is corrupted by bias and other pressures such as funding, and $$$ etc.. I don't like the "Truth vs Social Justice" thing either. I agree that PC thought is damaging… one still should not discount right vs wrong. If a bunch of scientists (and this has happened remember) decided that they found some scientific basis to justify racial differences and therefore imposed policies and cultural structures to keep the races separate OR to kill off certain groups of people due to "inferiority" then that can be dangerous. I think understanding Natural Law in regards to knowing right vs wrong.. (do not harm others) is critically important….

  3. I think we should also pay attention to the fact that identity politics have hijacked and devirtualized the semantics of of the expression "Social Justice". Social justice in the sense of equal opportunities and of a society where everyone is treated fairly and nobody is privileged regardless of social/financial status (unless disabled people) is a good concept.

    Social justice in the sense of forcing equal outcomes, regardless of differences in skills, effort or even interest for achieving those outcomes… It's not "social justice". It's social cosmetics! It's forcing something that doesn't happen naturally by favoring some people to the detriment of others, in order to get a final artificial outcome. The Nazis also killed Jews to get more "Aryans" in positions previously dominated by Jews… That's the kind of "justice" these Identitarian ideologues are pushing for. The only difference is that instead of killing people they want to intervene in deciding how many of each type of people to to how many types of social role or occupation. I guess they just haven't thought of outright killing heterosexual white males… It would be much quicker.

    It's pretty petty that these Identitarian ideologues think they know better how the world should be and are willing to go the extra mile or miles to push their personal view of the world. Even if because of biological natural differences women and men will tend to FREELY choose different jobs or social roles, these people will stop at nothing to make sure women and men will be equally present in everything, just to satisfy their selfish cosmetic fetishism, in seeing the world the way they enjoy. that's how dangerous these people are. They are despots like the world has never seen…. Expressed by how they always try to silence anyone who will think differently or how morally authoritarian they sound when they (rarely) accept to engage in debate.

    I'm not condoning the "law of the jungle" or "every man for himself and God for us all". On the contrary… I'm an advocate of "All for one and one for all". But that's a totally different story and we (at least in Europe) already have the Welfare State for that, thank fully. I think it's perfectly fair that everyone contributes to society and that the state will manage those contributions to help in particular (but not exclusively) those in greater need. I'm all for Social Welfare. But that has absolutely nothing to do with identity ideology.

  4. When I did sociology, was still pretty mixed opinions and background, had conservatives and minister candidates in class. (We even socialized outside of class) Profs however did have the tragic utopian blindspots of assuming that humans will do good if they are simply fed and housed, evil will disappear AND that social science followed the same principles as other sciences and could be solved with some Newtonian unified theory, having a single or very limited foundational causes. Data was big at the time, field studies and measurements. Most work in the developing world was interpreted in a Marxist framework, largely agricultural even though Marx said it couldn't work in agriculture, that you needed value added technology, factories and widespread infrastructure already in place. (Which is why they probably all seem to end in coups). Marx was everywhere… he was the Newton.

  5. I laugh in people's faces when they say they went to university. Cool fag, you got ripped off and socially engineered only to come out half retarded and in debt that you'll never pay back.

  6. I went to uni between 91 and 94 and studied media and communication (yes a cliché I know but I'm now a videographer so it had some usefulness). The words I heard more than any other were 'marxist-feminist', 'sexist', and 'patriarchy' and most of what we learned was the 'deconstruction' and criticism of dominant 'white male western cultures' and the counter cultures of the 60s. Some of it was justifiable, there was discussion about civil rights, Vietnam, Woodstock, Malcolm X etc, pretty interesting and gave me new perspectives on things. I still respect a lot of what was said – however I did also get a sense that everyone was scared to have a dissenting voice and so debates were largely echo chambers because we were all so 'right on' and 'enlightened' thanks to the privilege of our uni education. LOL. I became quite the militant feminist as a result because I recognised some of the behaviours I'd experienced in my own life as symptomatic of that oppressive anti woman culture – and now I had the means to explain it. Remember back then it was still legal for a husband to rape his wife. And I think there was some truth in what was being discussed and still is. Women are not afforded the respect or autonomy they deserve in many parts of the world by virtue of being seen as property or inferior by men. This can't be argued and is an ongoing battle – and one that a lot of men are on board with. However what I'm seeing today on campuses with young women screeching and whining and being aggressive over nothing – when I see things like a guy with period blood stained trousers and a sign 'men have periods too', losing people their jobs over some imagined slight about a word, an opinion or a Halloween costume, well that's far beyond being 'oppressed', and far from any sense of academic rigour or debate, they're becoming the oppressors instead… That lack of dissent and debate stifled us a bit then and it has gone into overdrive because the orthodoxy has become all pervasive. Plus kids nowadays never get told no, and there is a sense of narcissism in their victimhood. It's all about ME!!!! And everyone tiptoes around them in fear! It's a complete joke!!! This will not end well.

  7. I just withdrew from my school today. This is what I sent them, "With regret here is my withdraw form. If Dr. Hamilton or CalSouthern University change their position to allow diversity of thought, I would be happy to continue my education here. I was brought up to believe we do not prejudge people—get to know them, do not be prejudice. The stereotyping of genders and race should not be encouraged in clinical psychology. A great university would support a student that is willing to challenge popular ideology. Instead, Dean Hamilton told me that I was not a good fit."

  8. maybe the left-right balance in Universities is swinging so dramatically to the left because the right can't argue its case very well. Maybe right wing politics should try a bit harder to put forward its vision and show why it's better than leftism.

  9. Think Tank, of of the Deep State is ( Division through using all the ISM'S as a WEAPON. ) This is to creat an Amy of ISM'S "Victims" that want to destroy the Fabric of our Nation and Constitution. Be Woke !!!. The Media machine is playing Us . CNN ect…

  10. Purge the Regressive Leftist agenda, the Fascists Leftist liberal Professor's have infected the mind's of our Youth with Division by using all the ISM'S as a WEAPON to destroy this Nation and our Constitution. GLOBALIST AGENDA WILL CONTROL YOUR FUTURE ONCE THEY SUCEED. THEY REALLY DON'T CARE ABOUT YOU AND YOUR BELIEFS.

  11. By the way, the point of Marxist thinking on ideology, which none of these people seem to have investigated much further than reading Cliff notes, is much the same as Darwin's point about perspective. There is no presuppositionless standpoint, especially economically and politically. That doesn't mean everything is reducible to those two dimensions. It means that skepticism must be MORE ruthless about rational standards, not less. It means that claims of disinterested logic cannot be taken at face value. This simpering panhandling to donor power is exactly the wrong approach: it enlists economic warfare on the administrative fountain of universities that do not toe the line on a vaguely defined notion of free speech. That's like going after a fly with a sledgehammer. It would be sufficient to take seriously social justice claims with merit by, for instance, prosecuting date rape, or making college more broadly affordable. The young are using the only power they have left: cultural power. They have been hung out to dry in every other way, by THIS shitheads generation.

  12. What he's referring to is not social justice. It's a caricature of it, contributed to by both ends of the political structure, true, but managed and marketed by centrism and the right. The truth is that social justice, rationally constrained, is the basis for any intellectual culture that claims to be democratic.

  13. What is a "cristokrisis," which is mentioned near the end of the video? I'll have to plod through this again. However, having made a side trip to Heterodox Academy, I am not optimistic. I am not familiar with the speaker or his backers, but a quick glance at his Wikipedia bio tells one that he is a democrat, raised in a Jewish home in Scarsdale, and that his educational background includes Yale and Penn. The theme here though seems to be "give extremely light lip service to truth so that our social justice warrior values can be defended as "pure." Regarding the use of U.S. News' college survey, perhaps choosing a college based on that survey one might end up with a reasonably good education, who knows; but, if people are looking for the best country to live in, they should be cautioned not to depend on a survey by The Daily Worker. Maybe on second thought I'll just block the last hour out, and forget the whole morning.

  14. A sign of a crumbling civilization is when truth and facts are ridiculed, silenced or even banned.
    Those who dare to speak out are character assassinated, mocked, fired or even threatened with physical violence.
    Everytime this happens millions of dead human corpses will pile up on the streets.
    It's called fascism people, wake up!!

    You can call antifa now….

  15. Prof Haidt is brilliant. Universities today are like a ship without helm or rudder. They go in any direction their blind left command. All Universities should make a Freshman module on 'John Stuart Mills Thinking Skills' compulsory.

  16. I guess viewpoint diversity is the goal…
    What are "conservatives" bringing to the discussion ?
    The very word "conservative" means "to conserve the status quo".
    What is the status quo ?
    Someone once said: To those used to privilege, equality feels like oppression.
    Do "conservatives" feel oppressed ?
    I can guess why… can you ?

  17. I went back to school 2 years ago at the age of 46 at The Ohio State University….it was a fucking nightmare with nothing but ultra leftist whiny, gen z victims that thought everything was sexist, racist, every -ist you can think of. Disgusted me. I'm center left and can't recall the amount of times I was called a racist, fascist Nazi, especially by instructors.

  18. The public in Wisconsin went up in arms after Gov. Scott Walker's administration tried to take a phrase about seeking truth out of the charter of the University of Wisconsin. He failed. The point is Walker is a Republican. In Wisconsin, it is conservatives trying to bury truth, not liberals. Life is complicated.

  19. Notice how it's always the young that are seduced by simplistic and utopian ideologies and spend a great deal of energy spewing this dribble without actually giving much though to the WHY of their reasoning. This is why ancient civilizations relied on the "wisdom of the elders" to guide their societies. Even today you'll find that people of ancient cultures revere their elders and give them a place of honor at gatherings.

    Our current society is being turned upside down where wisdom dies and instant gratification prevails. The fact that so many young people are deeply lost and confused should tell you something about what our so called civilization has succumbed to. The SJW movement, radical feminism, Transgender movement are all symptoms not the cause of our "malaise".

  20. To break up the axis of outrage, the most important group to break on the libtard side is feminism. I would think to do this, we have to get their allies to leave them.

  21. Sounds good, but what happens when companies hire from all one discipline? What happens when Truthers pull the best of what they need from the SJW’s?

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