APSA’s ‘Diverse, All-Woman Team’
Wokeness blinds. A political scientist e-mails:
I wanted to draw your attention to the new editorial board of the American Political Science Review, the premier journal in my discipline. (You can find the announcement here.) In its oblivious self-contradiction, the announcement reads like Newspeak:
In entrusting the editorship of the association’s flagship journal to our diverse and all-woman team, the Council is demonstrating its commitment to promoting a wider range of voices and scholarship in the journal and the discipline.
Outsiders often lump political science in with the rest of the lost causes (sociology, anthropology, the humanities…), but until recently our discipline tended to privilege science over ideology. Inconvenient research struggled to get published, of course, but the top journals (usually) refused to compromise scientific rigor to publish fashionable dreck. It was a leftie discipline, but at least a methodologically sophisticated leftie discipline. In fact, within my memory, deconstructionist feminist scholarship was relegated to third-tier journals because it refused to approach its questions with anything like the scientific method (science being, of course, the tool of the patriarchy).
Now, I feel like I am watching a slow-motion coup. Over the past few years, I’ve witnessed several better-qualified males passed over for jobs in favor of obviously less-qualified females. It has gotten to the point where, at conferences, I even hear liberal women worrying about the hurdles their male friends in grad school face on the job market, especially as they see those friends growing bitter and depressed. Journals that were once criticized for their methodological monotony (if it wasn’t an advanced piece of data analysis, its odds of publication were slim) are now, suddenly, being taken over by the race-and-gender brigade eager for “poststructural methods such as deconstruction.”
To be fair to the APSR, there are some highly qualified women on the new board, women who do good work. Yet the total exclusion of men is galling and dispiriting. I don’t understand how this kind of sexism can go hand-in-hand with such vicious sanctimony.
I thank God I have a job at a terrific university where this nonsense has not (yet) taken hold. But it is dispiriting to me to watch it begin to tear down one of the last disciplines that had resisted this disease–the more so because political science has traditionally sheltered students who want to study the humanities without the joylessness that now consumes those fields. If we fall, as well, where else are the non-STEM majors going to go?
“Diversity and inclusivity” are what Social Justice Warriors appeal to when they are seeking to justify imposing a race, gender, and sexuality-based monoculture that explicitly excludes heterosexual white males.
This could last a long time. Last night, I interviewed my houseguests, two old friends who grew up in the Soviet Union. They told me that in their youth (the 1970s and 1980s), nobody believed in Communist ideology anymore. But it also didn’t occur to most people to resist it. People just assumed that it was a fact of life, and if you wanted to have a decent life, you had to accept it, though you knew it was all a lie. They told me that it’s hard for Americans to understand that very few Soviets had the knowledge that things were bad for them. If you lived in a big city, you might have some way to learn about the outside world, and maybe you would know something about dissidents. But the name “Solzhenitsyn” was widely reviled, because of the success of propaganda. And, crucially, most Soviet citizens outside the big cities were living in complete ignorance of the lies.
It’s a mentality that works within a system dedicated to rewarding lies — as long as the system can preserve itself from reality. People who think that “common sense” will eventually catch up with the ideologues are often self-deluded about how resilient ideology is.
As the professor whose letter I quote above points out, even some professional political scientists can’t see the blatant Orwellian contradiction of boasting of a “diverse, all-woman” team. The diversity ideology is all over the academic professions. And not just academia: Heather Mac Donald’s book The Diversity Delusion is well documented. “Diversity” is not about diversity at all; it’s about imposing ideology, even if it costs. It’s an ideology that is increasingly accepted among the professional classes. I once argued with a very smart manager about the cost to the quality of the company’s product by promoting less qualified and less capable people on the basis of their gender or ethnicity. The manager replied that “diversity” (meaning the gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation of an employee) is a component of quality. This person truly believed it.
One of my former Soviet interview subjects last night said:
When we came to America in the year 2000, we had started to think critically about the situation [in the former USSR] only a few years earlier. Some of the people who came here from the former Soviet Union in our generation, if they have good jobs with the government or within the system, they apply the same mentality that they had in the Soviet Union: everything is just fine, we need to protect what we have. They would vote for the Democrats, and not talk about it, because it would be divisive.