Nick- You confine your critique of the critics of DEI and the like to the populist right, who conveniently put forth the dumbest arguments being advanced against them. Try writing this article over, but this time taking on the smartest arguments. Those advanced by the guys at The Liberal Patriot, John McWhorter, Damir Marusic and Shadi Hamid at The Wisdom of Crowds, Glenn Loury, Andrew Sullivan, the wonderful essays in Claire Lehmann's Quillette . Perhaps the greatest irony you entirely miss in your piece are the habits of mind so broadly shared between the populist right and the post-liberal left. Their elevation of ideological narrative over truth. Their contempt for different points of view. Their certitude on just about everything. Their fondness for suppressing views they don't agree with. Thier increasing disdain for our Constitutional constraints upon centralized power and their longing to instead just flat seize power and rule.

I always enjoy your work.

Best Regards.

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I'm familiar with many of those arguments you listed, and they're besides the point I'm addressing in this article. Whether anyone thinks DEI or any aspect of it is good or bad, it is far from all of academia, and farther still from institutions overall.

"What do you think of DEI procedures and bureaucracy at a given university, or higher education in general?" is a different question from "have radical leftists taken over all major institutions and used them to remorselessly persecute the right?"

My article examined the latter, as I explained in this paragraph:

"Recounting these well-known facts doesn’t address questions about tolerance towards alternative viewpoints, measuring the effectiveness of DEI approaches, or the ideal allocation of education funds. They don’t show that academia (or Hollywood) is actually right-wing, nor totally neutral. But they’re more than enough to disprove claims of leftist institutional dominance focused on crushing the right."

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I agree you have dismantled the dumbest, least nuanced, most overstated and inartfully expressed arguments against woke culture and its influence within institutions.

Now let's have some "good on good". Less Alabama v. Tennessee-Martin, a bit more Alabama v. Ohio State.

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No thanks, that's not interesting to me. I don't care much about DEI, and think fixations on it (from various directions) are kinda ridiculous. Anyone is welcome to their opinion on it, but it's hardly the fault line of civilization some make it out to be.

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Since we had this exchange events have moved in favor of your position. It increasingly seems we are past "peak-woke", as some writers call it. I thought we were past peak-Trump in 2020, and again in 2022, with the clear rejection of Trump candidates in the mid-terms. And yet here we are, nine months out from an election Trump improbably looks increasingly likely to win.

The flaw in this argument is that Trump's return to the White House is only enabled by the Democratic Party's failure to offer its voters an alternative to President Biden, and the sorry rotten luck that the disqualifying effects of age upon the President were not nearly so evident when another candidate could have challenged him, and sadly, not nearly as evident today as they will be in November. So Trump emerges instead as the fault line in our civilization. How in the world did it come to this?

I will push back on your indifference to the threat posed by the post-liberal left, though, by reminding you that being down does not pre-ordain the movement to soon being out. In fact, a return of a President Trump might be just what post-liberals need to put liberalism to the sword once and for all.

And also that bad ideas are worth confronting before they rise to the level of civilizational fault lines.

In any case, a sorry mess. I thought George Friedman's book The Storm Before the Calm was a bit nutty when he wrote it. Maybe it wasn't, and hopefully he's right that we'll make it through this unprecedented period of transition.

Kindest Regards.

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While in general I agree that the right's fantasy of left-wing domination is overblown, it is clear the author has had little experience with academia. There are very few non-progressive university presidents (FWIW West Texas A&M is one--I know because he used to be president of a university I worked at; also the president of IU), but pretty much every university president I'm aware of at least votes Democrat. Football programs, of course, have no influence over what classes are taught or which professors are hired. As a retiree from an English department at a major research university I can assure you that I kept my political opinions (Classical Liberal) to myself until I retired because I didn't want the ridicule and condescension I heard all around me.

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I'm a poli sci professor at the University of Illinois. Before that, University of Iowa. Grad school at the University of Maryland.

My issue here is about domination and control, and the ruthless application of power. I believe you when you say you kept opinions you would've liked to share to yourself because you "didn't want the ridicule and condescension." But that's considerably smaller than radicals capturing power and domineering the entire academy as an institution.

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Perhaps not all of academia, but I can identify two distinct realms where there is complete control. One is the national linguists' organization, the Linguistic Society of America, which has become completely dominated by 'progressives', to the point that prominent linguists' work is denigrated in official publications because of theoretical issues that have become identified as 'racist' (details omitted because some of the participants might read this, or you might know them). The 'racism' charge is unscientific nonsense, and I actually 'do' some of the science.

The second area is the Theatre Department at my university, which is completely controlled by antiracist rhetoric (I'm an adult acting student and take classes and audition for shows). All official communication (from the Chair and the Director of Undergraduate Programs) is sprinkled with antiracist terminology. Perhaps in Political Science your colleagues are more tolerant or at least circumspect.

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Let's take a market-based approach to this. I'm guessing you're both aware of the 2009 Pew poll showing the intense leftward skew of working scientists (both in academia and industry https://www.pewresearch.org/politics/2009/07/09/section-4-scientists-politics-and-religion/). And that you're aware of the reasons for this.

Research grant money can be valuable to universities - I think you can see the leftward market pressure.

(that was semi-focused. Here is where I begin to ramble. Good stopping point)

Every academic of a conservative bent - classical liberal, post-Southern-Strategy Republican, NatCon, Conservative Christian, whatever - seems to have anecdotes about the pressures they or their friends face, rejections for positions and advancement, etc. (I certainly see some of this in the FIRE quarterly.) But, in terms of economic impact (salaries, tenure, etc.) do these anecdotes translate into statistically significant numbers?

Theater? Not surprising - the arts have long leaned to the left, although there are scattered individuals that are counterexamples. I suspect queer people are over-represented in the arts and, for people trying to make a living in the arts, economic hardship is the norm (although you wouldn't know this from the media focus on wealthy, successful, popular stars).

Linguistics? That one intrigues me. Parts of it fall under the umbrella of science, although I wouldn't call it a hard science. How is linguistic research (outside of Wycliffe/SIL/&c) generally funded? It's also an area where, by the nature of the beast, many people are exposed to cultural and ethnic diversity and to historical developments (e.g. spread of language by conquest or trade). These things might push people away from the ethnonationalism of some modern conservatives, possibly to the extent of overreaction. Prof. Nathan here doesn't strike me as an ethnonationalist, but the left and right tend to see each other as monolithic.

(Afterthought 1: as I look back on it, I suspect that queer people are also overrepresented in linguistics, as they are in the arts. Through happenstance, most of the linguists I've met are gay. And I remember that when the military was pushing out queer people, there was a lot of press about military intelligence organizations losing valuable expertise in linguistics. Just a thought.

Afterthought 2: libertarianism in the LanguedOK is pretty pale, male and straight. David Boaz has a great piece on this: https://reason.com/2010/04/06/up-from-slavery/ Pull-out quote (I kinda hate pull-out quotes, but I'm nakedly hypocritical about that :-) ". . .if we want to attract people who are not straight white men to the libertarian cause, we'd better stop talking as if we think the straight white male perspective is the only one that matters. . .")

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Interesting takes. Actually, most of linguistics isn't 'funded'. Although there is some NSF money, and some private (IT and AI-type research) it's generally closer to the History and Political Science model. Research is part of your assignment as a professor, and publications are coin of the realm, either books or articles.

It is true that linguists in general are usually deeply into other cultures (that comes along with researching other languages), and hence very sympathetic to 'multiculturalism'. On the other hand, I don't find LGBTQ+ folks particularly over-represented, to the best of my knowledge.

Finally, I'm most emphatically NOT any kind of ethnonationalist. I'm horrified by the rightward turn of the Libertarian Party, and no longer support them, or even use the name, preferring to call myself either a 'Bleeding Heart Libertarian' (thanks to the late Steve Horwitz) or a Classical Liberal.

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