I protested political bias at Western Kentucky University, and I was fired for it
This week on our Substack, Ryan Hall writes about political bias at Western Kentucky University, the effect this has on students’ ability to learn and engage with ideas they disagree with, and how speaking up about this cost him his job.
A 2020 study shows that, by a tremendous margin, students of all political persuasions report that college faculty express more liberal views in class. 64% of "very liberal" students reported being in a course that espoused liberal perspectives "frequently" or "all of the time." Only 6% of the "very liberal" reported hearing conservative messaging frequently. These numbers are consistent with the other end of the spectrum, as 63% of the "very conservative" responders reported frequently hearing liberal messaging and only 12% heard from the right regularly.
In the same study, 85% of "very conservative" students in arts, humanities, and religion majors felt that they are not simply hearing the messages but feeling "pressured"—with all of the term's ugly, unethical connotations. And while the liberal bent of the humanities isn't news, the data also shows that "very conservative" students in health-related majors feel that same ideological pressure 65% of the time. Nearly 30% of "conservative students" in the health majors also report feeling pressured. These numbers suggest that faculty aren't just failing to maintain neutrality—they are actively proselytizing.
Racist response to my City Council testimony is exactly why Asian Americans are waking up to politics
For the New York Post, FAIR Advisor Yiatin Chu writes about how her recent experience testifying in front of City Council revealed deeply rooted anti-Asian sentiments held by public officials.
Powell’s racist rant was delivered in the presence of three council members without interruption or admonishment. Committee chair Nantasha Williams even thanked Powell for his testimony. It’s as if his anti-Asian hate speech in the chamber was unremarkable white noise. It took hours, after online pressure from constituents, for those present to issue generic disapproval statements, retweeting other electeds’ condemnation, and say “both sides” share blame for systemic racism.
Like many Asian Americans, I am a property owner and small landlord. When I graduated, my parents encouraged me to live at home, pay off my debt and save to buy a property. I lived at home for a few years and paid off my student loans as quickly as I could. Decades later, I bought my first investment property. I rented mostly to young men and women at the start of their careers. As a landlord, I treated my tenants the way I wanted to be treated: fairly and responsively. I’m fortunate real-estate brokers and condo management could conduct criminal and credit checks, not only for my benefit but for the safety of neighbors in the building.
The Irony at the End of History
For Persuasion, FAIR Advisor Shadi Hamid writes about the paradox of liberalism.
It didn’t used to be like this. There was a time when democracy seemed boring. Political scientists lamented the apathy and indifference of democratic citizens. Today, apathy doesn’t seem to be the problem. Across Western democracies, political engagement and excitement are rising. If anything, there is too much excitement.
But looked at through an optimist’s eyes, vigorous debate—and the polarization that results—is not an indictment of a democracy, but rather evidence that democracy is doing what it should. In the U.S. midterms, worst-case scenarios of democracy dying—to the extent they were ever plausible—did not come to pass. Trump-endorsed election deniers failed spectacularly. When the results came in, most of the GOP’s furthest-right candidates readily conceded.
How a New ‘Diversity’ Fuels Antisemitism
For Free Black Thought, David L. Bernstein writes about his experience with diversity in its current iteration, and how it is often “performative cruelty masquerading as enlightened diversity.”
As painful as these encounters could be, they formed my understanding of “diversity.” Project REAP showed me what people could accomplish if they worked together, and became a model for diversifying societal institutions. The model of diversity I valued brought together people of different backgrounds, ethnicities, viewpoints, and experiences, often but not always generating a common vision for addressing social challenges. Political scientist Yascha Mounk calls this model of diversity “cultural patriotism”: enlisting a diverse array of ethnicities and cultures in forming a single nation. By the same token, the black writer and music critic, Albert Murray, speaks of “antagonistic cooperation,” which he sees in music, literature, and race relations. Antagonistic cooperation exists when two persons or groups satisfy a common interest while minor antagonisms of interest are suppressed. I understood diversity as fostering both cultural patriotism and antagonistic cooperation. No one needed to lose for others to win. Society need not be a zero-sum game.
Helping Trans Kids Means Admitting What We Don’t Know
For New York Magazine, Jonathan Chait writes about how attempts to shut down criticism and thoughtful investigation of youth gender medicine does a disservice to trans kids, and how the media has responded to calls for more thorough research into these treatments.
Both sides of this debate within the medical community agree that trans people do require medical and social support without stigma. The disagreement lies in the process and speed of the appropriate treatment. The treatment regimen supported by most of the trans-activist community calls for “gender-affirming” care that puts kids on the process to transition in relatively rapid order, highly aware of the risk of going too slow: that transgender children will be denied care they need and grow despondent or even suicidal. More traditional treatment models call for more cautious progression to medicalization and surgery, focused on the risk of moving too fast: that children will be mistakenly diagnosed with gender dysphoria and will have long-term side effects from treatment that they later come to regret.
Progressive activists have not just embraced the gender-affirming care model; they have begun treating any disagreement with it as hateful denial that trans people exist. Indeed, they have frequently denied that any debate exists within the medical community at all.
The "Twitter Files" Show It’s Time to Reimagine Free Speech Online
For Persuasion, David French writes about why “viewpoint neutral” is not a synonym for “unmoderated” and how we can reimagine free speech online.
The principle of viewpoint neutrality means that any regulation of speech, including time, place, and manner regulations, should be crafted and enforced without regard to the underlying viewpoint of the speaker. The same rules apply to Democrats and Republicans alike, to Christians and atheists, to soldiers and pacifists. The same rules apply even to people who hold the most reprehensible viewpoints, including communists and fascists.
Along with viewpoint neutrality, there’s another key constitutional principle that’s critical to maintaining the marketplace of ideas—clarity. Rules that are vague or overbroad can chill free speech every bit as effectively as a rule that specifically targets disfavored speech for censorship. Even otherwise-acceptable time, place, and manner regulations can be unlawful if they grant to public officials too much discretion to restrict speech.
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