That is the question that dominated the Society for Personality and Social Psychology at its annual conference, according to a fascinating article in today’s New York Times (also referenced by Inside Higher Ed). But rather than looking at the usual litany of victims and rounding up the usual suspects, Dr. Jonathan Haidt of the University of Virginia argues that social psychologists discriminate against conservatives. After polling the audience, over 80% of which self-identified as liberal, he commented:
Anywhere in the world that social psychologists see women or minorities underrepresented by a factor of two or three, our minds jump to discrimination as the explanation. . . . But when we find out that conservatives are underrepresented among us by a factor of more than 100, suddenly everyone finds it quite easy to generate alternate explanations.
And this leftist echo chamber has consequences on campus, especially for conservative students, who hide their political beliefs from colleagues who openly assume that everyone—or at least everyone who is considered “intelligent”—is liberal.
Dr. Haidt’s diagnosis confirms what other studies—some of which the New York Times references—have shown: that leftists and Democrats vastly outnumber conservatives and Republicans among university faculty. And it confirms what professors like Dr. Mike Adams and students like Julea Ward have experienced: if you merely express conservative or Christian views, you will face discrimination, in the form of lost promotions or even expulsion.
But Dr. Haidt does not just diagnose the problem. He also explains how it arose: “social psychologists are a ‘tribal-moral community’ united by ‘sacred values’ that hinder research and damage their credibility—and blind them to the hostile climate they’ve created for non-liberals.” And to break up this ideological monopoly, he prescribes some good medicine: hefty portions of National Review and Thomas Sowell. Hopefully, his message will catch on and the discrimination against conservatives and Christians in higher education will end. Until then, perhaps we should call his prescription Chicken Soup for the Leftist Soul.