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November 14, 2006

Comments

Stephen Karlson

"Rather, what appeals to them about conservatism is the notion that people ought not to be insulated from the consequences of poor behavior."

In Homegrown Democrat, Garrison Keillor attempts (not completely successfully) to reclaim some of the commonplaces of Highly Effective People (e.g. Make Something Of Yourself, Don't Be A Noise with Legs, Do Your Part) from conservatives. A no-longer-funny humorist is probably not the best instrument for such a project, but if self-styled "progressives" will consider the possibility that "social conditions limit what people can do" is not a justification for therefore doing nothing, I will view that as progress. To the extent that the so-called "progressives" engage "suffering is self-imposed and the consequence of bad decision-making" rather than dismiss it as "an excuse" (or engage in the illiberal tactic of mau-mauing the person who raises the argument for "blaming the victim") that too qualifies as progress.

I had to chuckle at the anecdote from DePaul. Sure, the ambitious kids from richer neighborhoods might have been at Northwestern while their slacker cousins were at Southern Illinois, or Brown rather than flipping burgers at Burger King. But we're talking about DePaul students, for crying out loud. They could be at Northeastern Illinois or Chicago State. What choices did they, and their parents make, so as to have a shot at DePaul?

Mr. Bad

jeffliveshere said: "I'm confused about what you're arguing about here, Mr. Bad. Are you suggesting that there are lots and lots of self-identified conservatives who would like to be teachers who are kept out of the system because they are descriminated against? If so, I'd like some evidence aside from the claim that there aren't many conservative profs (which, from an anecdotal evidence standpoint, I find not very likely). Why do *you* think there aren't that many conservative profs (since you seem to think that)? And if you think it's discrimination, what evidence do you have?"

jeff, I'm arguing that if the numbers game is used to 'prove' that women and minorities are discriminated against, then the same can - and indeed, must - be allowed as proof that conservatives and/or white males are similarly discriminated against. Same thing re. anecdotal evidence such as Antigone offered up; you asked for "proof" of such things and there are pleny of horror stories out there from conservatives who tried to work in academia and education in general and who claim to have been directly discriminated against in hiring and promotion because of their political beliefs and philosophy. I personally don't believe that either metric is a legitimate objective measure, but as I said, if we are to use them in the case of "proving" that women and/or minorities are discriminated against, then we must allow it as "proof" that so are conservatives and white men discriminated against.

jeffliveshere

Mr. B--thanks for the response. That makes what you're trying to say much more clear to me. I'm curious, though--does anybody really use just the sheer numbers (or lack thereof) of women in various industries as an argument that there is descrimination? Certainly it can be one factor that points to it, but I haven't run across anybody arguing that the numbers alone are an argument for discrimination. Maybe you hang out in even more liberal places than me. ;)

And, of course, the numbers alone woulnd't make the case for discrimination in the case of conservatives-in-academia, either...we would want some persuasive arguments and evidence in addition, wouldn't we?

Rick

"I'm curious, though--does anybody really use just the sheer numbers (or lack thereof) of women in various industries as an argument that there is descrimination?"

------

OK, you're kidding now, right?

The sheer numbers and percentages of numbers (or lack thereof) are used as the main club. Maybe try "Alas, a Blog" for starters, or a women's studies department near you.

jeffliveshere

Rick--There's no doubt that the numbers mean something--if there were an even split along gender lines in every industry, then we'd be unlikely to ask about discrimination along gender lines, right? So I've no doubt that the numbers are part of the argument; it wouldn't make any sense for them not to be, in most cases. My claim is that I haven't ever read a paper, or even a blog post, which uses the numbers as the argument. So: Citing the numbers makes sense as part of a larger argument, in either case, and it may indeed inspire us to investigate possible discrimination, but I don't see it used as the argument itself. You 'point' to "Alas" or a "women's studies department near you"--condescendingly, of course--but you don't provide me with an example. I've spent some time on Alas, and lots of time in a womens studies department, but haven't run into anybody saying that sheer numbers alone proves discrimination. And, even if somebody has made that claim, I'd put out there that it's not a common way for people to argue--'even' on Alas or in womens studies departments.

Rick

What's the common way to argue about discrimination?

Anecdotes?

The only argument I really see, besides anecdotes, is percentage figures in the case of hiring and percentage figures in the case of the "wage gap".

I just don't see much else.

I see people on the OTHER SIDE of the debate come up with arguments as to why a "wage gap" or a different number of genders in certain areas doesn't necessarily mean discrimination.

Rick

I think here is an outline of a typical argument:

Feminist: Only 20% of engineers in our company are women. That's outrageous. Something has to be done about it (makes lemon face and glares with hatred).

Other person: Well, they have affirmative action in place for women and they have an outreach program at the engineering college. Maybe women just don't want to be engineers in the same numbers as men. People make their own choices.

Feminist: You're just trying to justify the Old Boy's Network. I'm going to report you to Human Resources for being a misogynist for suggesting that women aren't as good as men at being engineers.

Other person: That's not what I said ...

Feminist: [Pushes the speed dial button for Human Resources]

Antigone

Mr. B

I don't remember offering up evidence of anything. In fact, I believe I said that I wouldn't go into because it would be a thread drift.

The only anecdote I offered was the fact that there are very few liberal professors at my campus.

Mr. Bad

jeffliveshere said: "And, of course, the numbers alone woulnd't make the case for discrimination in the case of conservatives-in-academia, either...we would want some persuasive arguments and evidence in addition, wouldn't we?"

Absolutely, which is precisely why I did so. Still, many in the feminist community use simple numbers and normalized summaries (e.g., percentages) to 'prove' that discrimination exists. This is the argument used by, e.g., Nancy Hopkins at MIT used to justify her discrimination claim against her school and eventually to justify among other things, the ADVANCE program. Therefore, IMO it is only fair to use the same methods for 'proving' that conservatives, men, et al., are discriminated against in other venues. Or not. But to be fair, we have to be consistent.

Not that I would advocate for a split-second using such amateurish, non-informative and decietful methods... ;)

You also asked of Rick: "There's no doubt that the numbers mean something--if there were an even split along gender lines in every industry, then we'd be unlikely to ask about discrimination along gender lines, right?"

Actually no. For example, if there were an even split among male and female police officers, firefighters, etc., I'd likely look to discrimination against men because men tend to be much more likely to seek a career as a police officer, firefighter, etc. Therefore, even splits in and of themselves do not suggest to me no discrimination; context is very important.

labyrus

As someone who's sat through lectures made by sociopathic Fraser Institute fellows, I'm really curious as to where all these leftist professors are. Here in Calgary, most profs lean right - especially those with power in the University.

I've had proffessors try to indoctrinate me into capitalism, into statism, but never into a genuinely left-wing position.

labyrus

Oh, and Rick, when you say "anecdotes" do you mean "actual cases of discrimination"?

Rick

"Oh, and Rick, when you say "anecdotes" do you mean "actual cases of discrimination"?"

-------------

I don't know if those words are synonyms. I don't think so.

But let me tell you a little anecdote:

One time I was talking to a feminist, and she exaggerated a story - or just outright lied - about being discriminated against.

That's my anecdote for today.

Rick

What I wrote above sounds kind of snotty to me, upon reflection.

The point I was trying to get across is that anecdotal evidence - especially in places like message boards - can't always be equated with a recitation of facts with 100% accuracy.

jeffliveshere

Absolutely, which is precisely why I did so. Still, many in the feminist community use simple numbers and normalized summaries (e.g., percentages) to 'prove' that discrimination exists. This is the argument used by, e.g., Nancy Hopkins at MIT used to justify her discrimination claim against her school and eventually to justify among other things, the ADVANCE program.--Mr. Bad

I'm glad you mention Hopkins, actually, because you illustrate my exact problem with your analysis--Hopkins' study didn't just study the numbers, it included other factors as being important in showing there was discrimination. From the actual report:

So--this is hardly looking just at the numbers of faculty, is it? It's a fact-gathering project that looks not only at what seem to a lot of people like skewed numbers, but also the experiences of the faculty as regards various facts of faculty life, among other things.

"Actually no. For example, if there were an even split among male and female police officers, firefighters, etc., I'd likely look to discrimination against men because men tend to be much more likely to seek a career as a police officer, firefighter, etc. Therefore, even splits in and of themselves do not suggest to me no discrimination; context is very important."--Mr. Bad

Good point. I was oversimplifying and it made what I was trying to say unclear. My point that the numbers mean something-but-not-everything still stands.

Would you be interested in studying why (if it happens to be the case) more men seek careers as firefighters than women?

jeffliveshere

Apologies for the bad syntax of my response. This one should be better:

Absolutely, which is precisely why I did so. Still, many in the feminist community use simple numbers and normalized summaries (e.g., percentages) to 'prove' that discrimination exists. This is the argument used by, e.g., Nancy Hopkins at MIT used to justify her discrimination claim against her school and eventually to justify among other things, the ADVANCE program.--Mr. Bad

I'm glad you mention Hopkins, actually, because you illustrate my exact problem with your analysis--Hopkins' study didn't just study the numbers, it included other factors as being important in showing there was discrimination. From the actual report:
"Data were collected pertaining to the allocation of resources that impact the professional success of faculty, compensations and awards that reflect the administration's valuation of faculty, and obligations that impact the professional quality of life of faculty. Although the Committee was not initially charged with addressing the question of the very small number of women faculty, the issue is so important that it could not be ignored so pipeline data were also studied. Thus, data for men vs women faculty were studied concerning salary, space, resources for research, named chairs, prizes, awards, amount of salary paid from individual grants, teaching obligations and assignments, committee assignments – departmental, Institute, outside professional activities and committees, and pipeline data: numbers of women/men students and faculty over time. Most data were obtained from the Dean's office, some from the planning office at MIT."

So--this is hardly looking just at the numbers of faculty, is it? It's a fact-gathering project that looks not only at what seem to a lot of people like skewed numbers, but also the experiences of the faculty as regards various facts of faculty life, among other things.

"Actually no. For example, if there were an even split among male and female police officers, firefighters, etc., I'd likely look to discrimination against men because men tend to be much more likely to seek a career as a police officer, firefighter, etc. Therefore, even splits in and of themselves do not suggest to me no discrimination; context is very important."--Mr. Bad

Good point. I was oversimplifying and it made what I was trying to say unclear. My point that the numbers mean something-but-not-everything still stands.

Would you be interested in studying why (if it happens to be the case) more men seek careers as firefighters than women?

Rick

I know that Hopkins even got out a ruler and measured professors offices, but is she attempting to match up salary, resources etc. with the potential of the person involved or what they have already achieved ... or is she simply determining that men get more than women, without any regard to why that is.

If you believe the idea that the curve of men's intelligence is flatter at the ends, for instance, that would suggest that there is going to be more talent among men at the very top of the pyramid.

And, since Hopkins mentioned that she was almost going to swoon (get the smelling salts!) when Larry Summers suggested that very thing, I doubt, no I REALLY doubt, that she is interested in reality.

Rick

I hate to take a cheap shot (well, actually, not with her), but she really sounds like the stereotype "affirmative action" scientist. Her contribution in the scientific world seems to be more that of being a bothersome busybody who is interfering with the work of everyone else. Complaining, but not producing much herself.

She should more likely be in the department of women's studies than the biology department.

Mr. Bad

Hi jeff,

As I said, Hopkins' citing the disparity in numbers was the motivating factor in the launching the more detailed investigation, not the investigation itself (which BYW was analyzed by Judith Kleinfeld at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks - see here for details). So given that this occurred, I believe that this fulfills your request to provide evidence that simple numbers were used to show discrimination. Surely they didn't "prove" discrimination, but then, Hopkins in no way showed "discrimination" even after she did her "study."

As for Hopkins' credentials as a scientist, I'm not sure, but I think she's somewhat of an expert on Zebra fish, a freshwater species popular with tropical fish enthusiasts. Not exactly ground-breaking or earth-shaking research. Further, I don't think she's done anything significant in her area of expertise since she became obssessed with alleged 'discrimination against women' and her in particular, so she's dropped to second- or third-rate status as a scientist. It makes me think that perhaps her energies are squandered in feeling sorry for herself and that maybe if she focused more on her work and less on feminist conspiracy fantasies she just might earn that corner office she seems to covet.

Livia

For those who said their universities are filled with conservative professors, could you please share where they are located? Out here in So. Cal., I only run into liberals. In fact my CSU profs prided themselves that there were NO conservatives in the entire History dept.

As a "conservative" and a public middle school teacher, I would add that although I do not know of any direct cases of hiring discrimination based on political viewpoints, the teacher's union makes things extremely uncomfortable for those who do not support their liberal agendas. I have been subjected to propagandist mail , and verbal attacks on election days. I can't think of any republican (and there are a slight few of us at my school) that has ever done the same to a democrat.

I personally think that conservatives can, and do, view teaching as a rewarding career despite low pay, prestige, etc. So I'm still confused as to why there are not more of us!

Mr. Bad

Rick said: "If you believe the idea that the curve of men's intelligence is flatter at the ends, for instance, that would suggest that there is going to be more talent among men at the very top of the pyramid."

Indeed, this has been shown. The variance in intelligence is higher for men than it is for women and explains why there are more male morons as well as male geniuses. However, feminists always look up with jealousy and almost never downwards with relief; e.g., they whine about the CEOs and ignore the fact that the vast majority of the homeless and destitute are also men. Once again, double standards and hypocrasy are the rule of the day for them.

Michael Devereaux


"Those who have ought to share with those who don't, and I still believe that government is best prepared to serve as the primary instrument through which that sharing takes place."

Mr. Schwyzer, do you mean that using the government as a clearinghouse, where those who voluntarily donate can be best matched up with the needy, would make government the best primary instrument?

Government is primarily an institution of force, to create civilization out of anarchy. (And the more moral the government and its rules and methods, the more moral the civilization.) But its nature is essentially always force.

I fear that what you really mean is, "Those who have ought to be forced to share with those who don't." And indeed the government would be the pest primary means of doing THAT.

I think we do a fair amount of sharing in this country, to the degree of providing a reasonable safety net.

The cost of that is a centralization of power around the seat of government, and the inevitable corruption that pervades Washington D.C. - because it is all about the redistribution of the money and for whom that massive flow of dollars will be directed via their own preferences. The resulting corruption is therefore inevitable. I am uncertain that it is the best primary means of ensuring that the needs of the unfortunate are met; but we are so well trained to require it, that it must remain in some form.

viz

trishka said:

"i think there's an element of denial about the institutional biases against them because to acknowledge them would be scary & likely to shake their confidence. sort of a "don't look down" attitude of a rock climber or a high-wire acrobat. if they consciously realise that the deck is stacked against them, then it becomes that much more of a challenge for them to do it on their own, and that might shake their faith that they will be able to make it out. and more power to them, i guess."

I think this is may also be true of some of the anti-feminist women out there.

Mr. Bad:

Although zebrafish are kept as pets, they are used as model organisms for biology research. (Check out all the current papers that come up on a search for zebrafish!) So I don't think Hopkins' research is as irrelevant as you're implying.

Juan Huang Lo

Gender Studies Professor?


You, my friend, have no business talking about mental retardation in others... Bless your condescending little heart.

בניית אתרים

real world ? i think everyone looks difrent on is world so i'm not sure that people under 18 see the world like us...but good point!

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