More from Haidt

I was unaware of how angry he is about the condition of the universities.
JOHN LEO: So you got a lot of attention.

JONATHAN HAIDT: Since Halloween, especially. Look, I graduated from Yale in ’85. Yale is very devoted to social justice. It’s very devoted to affirmative action. Now no place is perfect. But it’s probably among the best places in the country. And to have protesters saying it’s such a thoroughly racist place that it needs a total reformation – they call the protest group ”Next Yale”– they demand “Next Yale”!... And these were not requests. This was not a discussion. This was framed as an ultimatum given to the president – and they gave him I think six days to respond, or else. And I am just so horrified that the president of Yale, Peter Salovey, responded by the deadline. And when he responded, he did not say, on the one hand, the protesters have good points; on the other hand, we also need to guarantee free speech; and, by the way, it’s not appropriate to scream obscenities at professors.

JOHN LEO: Or the threat to one professor: “We know where you live”?

JONATHAN HAIDT: I didn’t even know about that. The president was supposed to be the grown-up in the room. He was supposed to show some wisdom, some balance, and some strength. And so we’ve seen, basically what can really only be called Maoist moral bullying – am we saw it very clearly at Claremont McKenna.... As far as I’m concerned, “Next Yale” can go find its own “Next Alumni.” I don’t plan to give to Yale ever again, unless it reverses course.

JOHN LEO; How did they cut themselves off?

JONATHAN HAIDT: They’re so devoted to social justice, and they have accepted the rule that you can never, ever blame victims, so if a group of victims makes demands, you cannot argue back. You must accept the demands.... Anthro[pology] is completely lost. I mean, it’s really militant activists. They’ve taken the first step towards censoring Israel. They’re not going to have anything to do with Israeli scholars any more. So it’s now – it’s the seventh victim group. For many years now, there have been six sacred groups. You know, the big three are African-Americans, women and LGBT. That’s where most of the action is. Then there are three other groups: Latinos, Native Americans….

JOHN LEO: You have to say Latinx now.

JONATHAN HAIDT: I do not intend to say that. Latinos, Native Americans, and people with disabilities. So those are the six that have been there for a while. But now we have a seventh–Muslims. Something like 70 or 75 percent of America is now in a protected group. This is a disaster for social science because social science is really hard to begin with. And now you have to try to explain social problems without saying anything that casts any blame on any member of a protected group.
Somewhat like myself, he has no obvious recourse to politics -- he says that he no longer considers himself a Democrat, but is horrified by the Republican party as well. Maybe he'll join me in voting for Jim Webb, if he decides to run as an independent. That would make two of us, plus I think Webb has a large family. We could break into the double digits.


Cassandra said...

I'm glad you linked this interview. I read it recently and thought it was excellent. More later (got to put out that fire in my hair!).

Elise said...

I recently read "White Guilt" by Shelby Steele. He recounts an incident from the 60s in which he says he could see the president of his university go from being the adult in the room to someone who felt unable to stand up to the protesters' demands. Interesting to read of it happening again.

Joel Leggett said...

Webb is long past his "use by" date. Furthermore, he holds so many contradictory positions that he has no philosophical consistency and, therefore, no basis upon which to build any support. The best one could do with Webb is project your wishes and desires onto him and hope he acts as you desire. At that point, what would be the difference between a Webb and Trump candidacy?

Grim said...

Webb couldn't win, so the harm he could do would be limited. Trump really might win, so hopes projected on him are dangerous on a different order.

For the moment, I'm focused on the Democratic primary. Destroying the Clinton campaign is the most important business of this election, I think: she is corrupt almost beyond words, and treats national security and the lives of those entrusted with it as mere means to her personal ends.

raven said...

These university SJW's make me uneasy- they remind of a passionate yet ignorant mob- I keep seeing this flicker at the edge of my vision, and it looks exactly like the Cultural Revolution skating around in the shadows. That is a chill wind.

Gringo said...

Haidt had an interesting posting several months ago at his Hterodox Academy blog:The Yale Problem Begins in High School. Haidt recounted his experience apeaking at an elite private high school which many believe is Seattle's Lakeside. He thought the talk went well, but during the discussion period the SJWs came out in full force, beginning with a when-did-you-stop-beating-your-wife type of question: “So you think rape is OK?” The hostile questions came from girls. At the end of the discussion, the boys in the audience gave him a standing ovation.

A discussion in a classroom, limited to the 60 who had signed up for the further discussion, followed.

Read the article to find out what happened.

Well, that line worked in my 5th grade oral book reports, so I figure it would work here.

Cassandra said...

Somewhat related, have you seen this? The language is a bit off color here and there, but I thought it was hysterical:

The best part (besides watching several young men trying hard not to laugh) was the police sketch artist part at the end. Reminded me of Orwell's Newspeak - there are so many things these kids feel they can't say that they lack the words to describe the man who just left the room.

Ymar Sakar said...

Raven, these universities reminds me of Mao and the Cultural Revolution, and successive purges of martial artists and families afterwards, in China.

Good times, right.

Ymar Sakar said...

As for Haidt, he came off as a know nothing intellectual when I first heard of him. His Ivy League background would easily explain that. His recent comments and behavior, however, is a bit more worthy of respect. But his journey has only begun. His vice is one of sloth, something war will cure one way or another.

For all their so called brains and pseudo intellectual credentials... and only now are they seeing what's stomping their heads in the mud? I call that something quite different.

Grim said...

I did see that sketch, Cass. My favorite part was when they bring the guy back and he challenges them on the words they used to describe him. Even when those words were perfectly fair, they wilt.

Cassandra said...


Haidt is actually doing something about bias in academia (Gringo mentioned the Heterodox Academy - that's one of the very few blogs I read regularly). I think he's doing something important: challenging the prevailing wisdom in academia, challenging the groupthink, and encouraging conservatives to speak out.

That's far more than most people are doing, so I applaud him.

Ymar Sakar said...


If I recall correctly, you didn't think there was all that much of a problem with group think back in 2007. What changed to make it so dangerous that someone like Haidt should "do something" about it or that whatever he does is important?

Why is it a problem now when it wasn't a pressing problem before?

Cassandra said...

If I recall correctly, you didn't think there was all that much of a problem with group think back in 2007. What changed to make it so dangerous that someone like Haidt should "do something" about it or that whatever he does is important?

Not sure that's true. I've been writing about lefty bias in academia since early 2004 (especially because government often quotes academics as "Science", as in "how can you doubt the Science - it's "settled").

I've always thought it is dangerous for people not to think for themselves, and worse for them to discourage others from thinking for themselves. The ability to compensate for bias been one of maybe 3-4 strong themes in my writing over the years.

I've also been writing about Haidt's work for many years, but only since 2008. In 2007 I don't think I had ever heard of the guy (that was also one of the years when I took a long hiatus from blogging - I remember, b/c my husband was in Iraq that year). So there may be posts I deleted that I can't find now. Not sure.

Regardless, it's not a new topic for me.

Ymar Sakar said...

The entire point of the System and the social consensus is to make people obey something other than their conscience. So why did you support obedience to the System if you understood that danger?

Or did you think the risk was not enough to lead to a civil war and could be managed.

I wonder where this highly praised "Rule of Law" is that will save Americans from the fascist youth orgs.

Ymar Sakar said...

I have no awareness of Haidt's work from before a few weeks ago, and do not particularly care to.

I write of your general tone and philosophical reaction, Cassandra, circa 2007.

What the DHS was doing is called profiling: a well known law enforcement practice conservatives used to defend - when it was used against Islamists or young black men, both with good reason. The logical fallacy involved with criticisms of profiling is the careless - and wrong - equivalence that saying terrorists tend to fit a certain profile equates to calling all people who fit that profile, terrorists. We made fun of that sort of thinking a few years ago. What has changed? - VC 2009

You like to try to criticize both sides, for this Higher Standard. Thus it is not the idea of Leftist fascist youth groups taking things too far that you're concerned about, it's hypocrisy on all sides. But if it is hypocrisy on all sides you worry about, what would it take to convince you that the DHS and the IRS and the other alphabets were targeting patriots?

The bold is a portion of what you wrote in 2009 but your previous stance before was little different.

If I had said that the Leftist alliance had already supplied themselves with the power to take over and make Civil War II in the US inevitable, it doesn't take much to guess what your response would have been in 2007.

Rules of conduct and ethical standards aren't just for the Left - if we claim to uphold them, we must uphold them all the way, regardless of who is held to account. We can't selectively cherry pick standards that prove "useful" while maintaining any degree of credibility.

The Left merely uses rules of conduct to get their agents inside, then the agents purge the organization of dissidents and take it over, instituting new Codes of Conduct that eliminate dissent, patriots, conservatives, what have you. At that point, are we supposed to Obey Those Rules of Conduct once again, which has led us to this point of destruction?

People point to Hussein or Clinton or Benghazi as examples of the Left breaking rules. The point is, the Left wouldn't be breaking rules if they didn't have enough strategic power to take out their enemies once and for all. It doesn't matter whether Hussein was elected in 2008, that had little impact on the Leftist alliance's power itself. It was already there. Hussein merely rushed its mobilization before they were certain of Complete Victory. Like an avalanche following their Messiah, the rest followed.

But undermining respect for legitimate authority and impeding the administration of essential government functions doesn't strike me as the kind of enduring legacy I want to leave my children and grandchildren. We used to be a nation of laws and standards - imperfectly realized perhaps, but what we do not aim for, we have little chance of achieving.

So once again there is this "legitimate authority" line about safeguarding the Leftist regime. Using rules the Left has never once in their entire genesis, obeyed. The only "essential gov function" of the Leftist alliance is the eradication of Western civilization, period.

Of course you thought it was "legitimate authority" back then. If people had been encouraged to consider what Authority meant and what Legitimacy meant, they would have figured it out in a few years, at least. But they didn't. The Left has intent, not bias. Evil has intent, not bias. The Rule of Law does not remove intent from evil, nor does it provide legitimacy to Authoritarian/Totalitarian Regimes. Nor does the presence of one man in the Presidency, become capable of destroying America, if America hadn't already been destroyed and undermined to begin with. That requires thinking outside the "group" however.

Grim said...

I have no awareness of Haidt's work from before a few weeks ago, and do not particularly care to.

Have you considered that your disdain for the minds of others may be a weakness in your technique? There's a difference between giving in to 'groupthink' and considering the thoughts of those who have more experience or education than you do yourself. It might be that the world would appear to be less full of 'mind-controlled slaves' if you were to more seriously engage the minds you think controlled.

Cassandra said...

Ymar, I am not sure what you read into my essay but I'm pretty sure it's not what I said.

That essay was about hypocrisy: about claiming to champion your values, but betraying them the moment they get in the way of something you want.

We're not living under a totalitarian regime yet. If you can't tell the difference between the America under Barack Obama and the USSR under Stalin or Cambodia under Pol Pot, allow me to suggest to you that the differences are well summed up in the literally millions of lives taken by those regimes.

The trick is finding the balance mentioned here:

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotismit is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

"Absolute despotism" is neither a nuanced nor mincing term. Soldiers are not being quartered in our homes, and though government has grown more powerful and intrusive, but last time I checked dissenters are not being rounded up at midnight and sent to re-education camps. Nor are they being killed by our government.

Freedom isn't easy, and defining oppression down doesn't make anything better. People can and ARE standing up to attempts to induce groupthink - this is one of the hallmarks of a free society: not that evil never occurs, but that people are free to resist it (as they are doing every day here in the US).

How did we ever get so spoiled that we honestly began to believe this responsibility should be easy or cost free (or that stepping up to defend our own freedoms was 'too hard')?