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Universities and Truth

Steven-Pinker Tenured Harvard Professor
Kerby Andersonnever miss viewpoints

Carine Hajjar asks an important question: “Do Universities Still Care about Truth?” I suspect you already know the answer, but her commentary surfaced some interesting facts.

She is a recent graduate of Harvard and even served on the editorial board of the Harvard Crimson. Although universities say they value diversity, intellectual diversity is not something they seem to value. She reminds us that only three percent of Harvard University’s faculty reported being “conservative.”

Organizations that work on college campuses have found most faculty and students are “self-censoring” themselves on campus. They have seen what happens to anyone who strays from Leftist orthodoxy.

“College and cancel culture,” she says, “have become disturbingly synonymous.” To illustrate her point, she tells the story of Professor Steven Pinker. In previous commentaries, I’ve talked about some of his books, including Enlightenment Now. He has persuasively argued that the world isn’t getting worse but is improving in significant ways. Apparently, that’s what got him in trouble.

Hundreds of members of the Linguistic Society of America have signed a petition to remove him from the organization. The complaint comes from “an African-American social scientist” who believes that reporting that overt racism is decreasing is “legitimate grounds for punishment.”

Pinker is a big enough name to weather the latest political storm. Of course, he also has tenure. But other educators and students are not as fortunate. As one attorney put it, “if you have to be Steven Pinker to avoid getting canceled, that’s a problem.”

This latest example illustrates what happens to a secular, progressive Ivy-league professor. Other faculty members and students don’t stand much of a chance. viewpoints new web version

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