How ideological capture is hurting clinical psychology
This week on our Substack, clinical psychologist Tab Shamsi writes that the American Psychological Association “has been pressured to admit its ‘racist core’ and apologize for missing the ‘lived experiences of people of color’ throughout its long history.” Shamsi believes this well-intentioned endeavor does more harm in practice than good.
We are now told that we must deny our multifaceted nature as individuals and instead embrace the immutable characteristics bestowed upon us by group identity. All differences in any outcome of interest can only be understood through the explanation of racist bias and discrimination. A recent spotlight article on the psychology of American racism goes to extraordinary lengths to redefine the concept of racism as a “system of advantage” that only works in one direction (perpetuated by whites against non-whites). It is not that we all have an innate predisposition to favor members of our own group over others, or that we prefer the familiar to the unfamiliar, but that there is a particular problem with a particular group of people and it is in urgent need of remediation.
The larger legacy of Rushdie’s ‘Satanic Verses’
For the Daily News, FAIR Advisor Jacob Mchangama writes about the recent attack on Salman Rushdie in Chautauqua, New York, the long and bloody history of the reaction to Rushdie’s book The Satanic Verses, and the dangers of catering to the “fanatics’ veto.”
The argument that ideas offensive to religious groups is akin to “punching down” on the weak and marginalized, and thus an unworthy exercise of free speech, is deeply at odds with reality. Those persecuted for blasphemy are almost by definition vulnerable minorities, and those persecuting blasphemers are those with power. And no power relation is more unequal when those using pens are confronted with knives or guns.
Disputed Questions: Is America Good?
For RealClear Wire, FAIR Advisor Wilfred Reilly, FAIR Senior Fellow for Education Adam Seagrave, and clinician and podcaster Xavier Bonilla all tackle the question, “Is America Good?”
The modern United States of America is one of the richest, happiest, and most productive societies ever to exist. The U.S. is one of the wealthiest countries in the world, with a per capita gross national income of $55,351 – ahead of power players like Germany, Bahrain, Canada, and France – and an overall annual GDP of $17.7 trillion (second only to Red China’s). Beyond mere wealth, the nation posts a .926 on the Human Development Index used by the U.N. to measure health, education, and general welfare within states – just .31 back from leaders like comparatively tiny Norway, and only .74 away from hypothetical perfection. For purposes of comparison, China, our primary rival these days, posts a .761 on the Index and comes in at 85th place globally. The U.S. utterly dominates world pop culture, bringing joy to hundreds of millions of people; competes annually for the global lead in new patents; and even scores as one of the top ten nation-states on IQ.
Red and blue America don't trust each other. And that's driving us dangerously apart.
For USA Today, FAIR Advisor John Wood, Jr. writes that while the dispute between Americans on the political right and left is thought by both sides to be a dispute about facts, the reality is that it’s a dispute about interpretation of facts—and a lack of trust.
Americans are divided, according to a widely shared perception, because we disagree about facts. It is not that we have different opinions about subjective issues, but rather that we disagree about objective truth, and that keeps our vast progressive and conservative tribes from reconciling.
Use State Standards to Prepare for Your Next Parent-Teacher Meeting
For Chalkboard Review, Jessie Enloe outlines steps parents can take as they navigate the often complicated state standards regarding their children’s schools, and how they can better prepare themselves for school board meetings.
Unfortunately, state learning standards are becoming increasingly opaque, leaving cynics to suspect intentional collusion. After all, if the average working parent can’t keep track of the standards, then their attempts to understand or even influence them are left virtually ineffective. So what can the working class parents of America do to ensure a political agenda doesn’t trickle down into their local districts? While this short read will not have all the answers, hopefully it will act as a beginners guide to understanding both how your state’s academic standards influence curricula and how you can learn more during limited spare time between work, dinner, extra-curricular activities, and bedtime rituals.
Rushdie’s Moral Heroism
Quillette’s Editorial Board also write about the recent events surrounding Salman Rushdie, Iran’s history of antagonism, and the indisputable bravery of Rushdie in the face of all the furor surrounding his book The Satanic Verses.
Salman Rushdie has risked everything for his art. Like Jyllands-Posten editor Flemming Rose, the slain cartoonists and satirists at Charlie Hebdo, and numerous other courageous writers, thinkers, artists, and intellectuals hunted across the globe for violating ancient taboos against blasphemy, he has stood up for free thought and expression, even as others have disgraced themselves by offering excuses on behalf of those who perpetrate lethal violence in the name of religion.
The Polarization Spiral
For Persuasion, Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt write that “the polarization spiral between the left and the right has only gotten more intense in the last three years.” They also note that the “most alarming” aspect of this is “the growing acceptance of political violence as a justifiable method for achieving political goals.”
We now know a lot more about the polarization spiral and who is driving it. The Hidden Tribes study, published in 2018 by the UK-based group More In Common, surveyed 8,000 Americans in December 2017 and used a statistical technique to identify groups of people who had similar core beliefs. They found seven groups. The one furthest to the right they labeled the “Devoted Conservatives.” This group makes up 6% of the population. Its members are “deeply engaged with politics” and hold “strident, uncompromising views.” Devoted conservatives see themselves as the last defenders of traditional values that are under threat from the far left. This group was clearly overrepresented in the attack on the US Capitol in January 2021.
The group furthest to the left were the “Progressive Activists.” This group, which makes up 8% of the population, is “highly sensitive to issues of fairness and equity, particularly with regards to race, gender and other minority group identities.” Progressive Activists talk frequently about “power structures” and how they cause and maintain inequality. They are the most active of all groups on social media. This group is clearly overrepresented in campus protests and in mass marches for progressive causes.