Author: George McKeown

Objectivity Has a Poor Reputation in the Humanities, and Universities are Paying for it

A lot of the so-called ‘social justice warrior’ rhetoric that alienates people on both the left and right (concepts like cultural appropriation, microaggressions, etc.) comes directly from academia. News stories about hypersensitive students acting ridiculous are typically interpreted as a reflection of millennial attitudes. However, the type of students who show up in these news stories are taught these concepts in a matter-of-fact manner by the same departments who publish papers on topics of social justice. That’s fine, that’s how university works, but the issue is that the academic quality of a lot of humanities papers is incredibly poor. It’s natural that there is a lesser standard of proof in academic writing about social issues (i.e. not every claim can be supported by statistically significant data), but under normal circumstances the ideological diversity of the field would keep everyone from making claims that are too outlandish. However, there is no longer any ideological diversity present in humanities departments across the US and Canada. In history, for example, democrats outnumber Republicans by a factor of 34 …

A Deep Dive into the Academic Humanities: White Privilege

As I mentioned in my first article, ‘social justice warriors’ are reported on by the media in a way that makes them seem a lot more numerous than they actually are. This is not the case in certain academic publishing spheres, some of which appear to consist exclusively of these types of people. In my most recent article, I asserted that academic publishing in the humanities has become divorced from reality, in that articles that are nothing more than postmodernist nonsense are frequently published in reputable journals. I illustrated this by giving a few examples of articles accepted by reputable journals that were either blatant hoaxes by authors trying to discredit the field or genuine articles that are completely ridiculous. The problem is that these articles are used as teaching instruments in university and are the foundation of the modern social justice movement. This didn’t convince at least one reader, who wrote: “This article is garbage, with extreme cherry picking of its data and no concept of the different tiers of journals that actually matter …

Words, Violence and Hate Speech

In 2001, Canada expanded section 13(1) of the Canadian Human Rights Act (CHRA) to include “telecommunications over the internet”. This section of the CHRA dealt with “hate messages”. The expansion allowed the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) to go after anyone on the internet “that is likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt” based on group identity. Investigations were prompted by complaints, which allowed serial complainants like Richard Warman to effectively use the CHRC for personal vendettas. The cases prosecuted under 13(1) were done so outside of the Canadian judicial system, which resulted in a number of controversies concerning the CHRC’s handling of these cases. To provide a sense of how the CHRC was operating, the lead investigator gave the following quote when being interviewed about the Marc Lemire case in 2006. “Freedom of speech is an American concept, so I don’t give it any value… it is not my job to give value to an American concept.”   This is the type of person leading the commission, so it is …

Liberalism and the Social Justice Movement

Wherever there are political arguments, there’s a left-wing person accusing the right of being stupid and racist. Likewise, there’s a right-winger saying that the left is full of triggered snowflakes who have never held a real job. Of course, both of these arguments are disingenuous. These caricatures apply to only the fringes of each side, and the number of individuals who fit either of those descriptions is greatly outnumbered by far more reasonable people, both on the left and the right. However, the reason the fanatics garner so much attention in the media and in general conversation is that covering their antics are an effective way to delegitimize the opposition, be it left or right,  without having to give a real argument to substantiate one’s claims. A good example of this is the recent coverage of the ‘Unite the Right’ Rally in Charlottesville. Here is a brief summary of the rally and the events leading up to it. In February, the Charlottesville City Council voted to remove a statue of Robert E. Lee in a …