Skip to comments.Calling All Hombres
Posted on 03/04/2006 11:56:54 AM PST by mathprof
"Defend yourself." That's the lesson Harvey Mansfield drew for Larry Summers the week before Harvard's president was forced to resign. Mr. Mansfield, a 73-year-old government professor and conservative elder statesman of the university, went on to suggest that Mr. Summers's capitulation to those he offended (when he said women might be biologically less inclined to succeed in the hard sciences) is not simply a craven kowtow to political correctness, but proof, also, of a character flaw. Indeed, Mr. Mansfield continued with a mischievous smile, "He has apologized so much that he looks unmanly."
Perhaps this seems like a quaint insult, but Mr. Mansfield means something very particular by it. He would like to return the notion of manliness to the modern lexicon. His new book, "Manliness" (manfully, no subtitle), argues that the gender-neutral society created by modern feminists has been bad both for women and men, and that it is time for men to rediscover, and women to appreciate, the virtue of manliness...
But it is his combat with campus liberal orthodoxy that has brought him a more public profile. To drive home his crusade against grade inflation, he began giving students a real grade (what he actually thinks of their work) and an "ironic grade" (which goes to the registrar). More controversially, Mr. Mansfield argues that grade inflation is the result of the university's affirmative-action program--admitting too many underqualified minority students and then not wanting to give them poor marks.
Of all the enemies Mr. Mansfield has made, none has he more consistently provoked than feminists. It's been 20 years since he voted against the proposal for a women's studies major at Harvard (the only faculty member to do so), arguing that "it is not possible to study women except in relation to men." He hasn't let up since.
(Excerpt) Read more at opinionjournal.com ...
That must have been an editing mistake at the WSJ. Should read widely suppressed by social scientists.
"I see is that we are embarked on a great experiment in our society, something very radical: to make the status of men and women equal, or, better to say, the same."
I'm waiting for someone someday to say that the status and roles of men and women are equally important and equally treasured. :)
LOL, spot on.
Indeed, Mr. Mansfield continued with a mischievous smile, "He has apologized so much that he looks unmanly."
I am also reminded of Trent Lott trying to save his leadership position. He and Larry Summers have that in common. Had they the courage of their convictions rather than just the fearful desire to keep their jobs they would have fought their opponents on intellectual grounds rather than groveling in a pity pit. They had no chance of begging their way back in, the charges against them were ridiculous, so begging had no chance. Had they any testosterone at all they would have gone out fighting with heads held high.
The situation on today's campi is the result of a subversive drive to install an agenda, as you well know. When tenure was first proposed and adopted it was understood that all would be striving to achieve true academic excellence and that controversy should not be excluded from that.
Since the left has gained control academic excellence has given way to propaganda and controversy is not allowed.
The real qustion for all of us is, "What is the appeal of Communism that attracts so many academics to its fold?" We know their methods, their tactics, and how they accomplish what they do. But why do we allow it?
What is the appeal to journalists? The Communists have taken over our schools and the MSM. Why?
Going to major online bookseller. If this book is being trashed by militant man-haters I will order it.....
No reviews yet. Wait till some man-hater posts it on a rant-site.
I have no REAL answer at all--only guesses. Of course, many grew up in households which were left to begin with. Some were caught up in the sixties and radicalized by professors who were 1930's Marxists. Others are control freaks--and modern-day Marxism is the drug of choice for control freaks.
A few see this as explaining their own personal lives--i.e., its everybody elses' fault.
But, in today's academe, there is a relentless bombardment of leftist--often far leftist--opinion. You can't get away from it and anyone who disagrees, as one of my ex-students is finding out in grad school, can end up the odd man (or woman) out.
My students know so little when they come to me; they are easily led, I know.
But isn't tenure the reason all those liberals are there in the first place?
No. Because they would have been hired and retained anyway.
Every school that has a tenure system has a procedure and rules. So, while rules can always be played with, a conservative such as myself, once hired, can always point to their right to due process and to what is called "adequate consideration." That means if I publish two books and some lib headcase publishes two books, I still get the same credit toward tenure or I call my lawyer. These rules are usually spelled out in very thick handbooks which constitute our contracts. If I am discriminated against, I can take it to a jury. Jurors tend to dislike academics anyway so when someone gets a case in court like this, the conservative has a real good chance of winning.
Most schools would never take this chance and so the game is fair--up to a point. And that point is not saying anything so conservative that it keeps you from getting published (until after tenure.) I know in my case I stuck to statistics until I had been tenured and promoted.
It worked and now it would take a lot to dump me.
That's not a valid assumption.
You're arguing only against tenure for conservatives -- and not abolishing the tenure rules for everyone -- and then the community and not the self-serving interest controls the hiring and firing.
Everything changes and not just one thing -- tenure for conservatives.
In academe, the broader community has no say whatsoever in the process.
Who does? At most colleges and universities it works like this:
1.) Your department chair.
2.) Then a department committee.
3.) Then a division (sometimes called a "school" committee.)
4. Then your dean.
5. Then a college-wide committee.
6. Then a Provost.
7. Then the President.
8. Then the Board or a Board Committee.
By the time your application gets to the Board, which is the first time anyone from beyond academe gets a say, there is opinion after opinion supporting the document. If the application is not approved at one level, it does not go up to the next (at most schools.) With written tenure rules and procedures, it is to no one's advantage to do something really stupid and get sued.
If you take away tenure, ANY one in this change could fire you for any reason (you would have done away with rules and procedures) and simply hired a liberal in your place. The broader community would NEVER have a say in it--which is what I think your point was.
If I am misreading what you are saying, let me know and I will try to make what is an arcane process clearer.
The argument against every change by the defenders of the status quo, is that nothing changes -- or they just get worse.
Rather than that everything changes -- and so we don't have those problems in the first place.
A teacher who has something of value to transmit, can feel confident that he will find those who will value that information; and those who merely hold their positions out of habit, will have to find other things to do -- that people can value.
Lord, I wish I could agree with you, but I can't. I have been in this business three decades and have seen any number of careers saved by the rules.
I am not trying to maintain the status crow, one of the reasons I am on FR is that this is one place where I can say what goes on in academe and people will listen.
If you really want to do something to change the status quo, then find out who is being hired at your local college and raise hell about it. The deans do the hiring and they are almost always far-left. Put pressure on the hiring process, demand accountability by the board, hell, try to get a seat on a board as a community representative.
If you are inclined to be an activist, get the voter registration records from your courthouse. Almost all, if not all, of the members of your English, History, Political Science, Philosophy, Religious or Theology Department, Psychology, Sociology and Anthropology departments will be Dems or Greens. Then go to the newspapers and raise ugly questions. Send the results to state legislators.
Otherwise, if you do away with tenure, almost every conservative in academe will come under the gun to shut up or be fired by their deans. THERE ARE ALMOST NO PEOPLE INSIDE THE SYSTEM WHO WILL SAVE CONSERVATIVES. THERE ARE MANY WHO WILL SAVE LIBERALS. THE COMMUNITY HAS NOT A CLUE AS TO WHAT HAPPENS.
That is the way it is. I wish I could give you another answer. I can't.
You're talking about change -- without changing anything, particularly the infrastructure that supports the status quo.
I'm talking about change that is fundamental -- doing something entirely differently, which is the possibility of rethinking learning with today's capabilities. Education, along with mainstream mass media, is one of those functions the technologies of today have made obsolete and redundant.
Here, we talk a lot about the increasing irrelevance and demise of the mainstream press, but close behind are the other institutions of information and communications -- the schools and universities. That's the next playing field to be leveled.
Progress and evolution is not something that happened only in the past -- and now we shouldn't change anything but accept things as they are.
I agree. Tenure may be bad, but I suspect the lack of it would be worse.
Imagine a non-tenure situation with a decidedly leftist leadership. Who is going to express an opinion to the right of the leadership when none of the protections provided by tenure are present.
My vote would be "no one." To the extent that some do, it's a safe bet that it will be far fewer than in a tenure situation.
Well, we agree on a lot of this. I am driving my students to go to the sources outside the MSM--I force them to use the 'net to go to alternate sources--including FR in some classes.
When I hear them talking about what some other professor has poured into them, I ALWAYS push them to double-check the data. If we can teach the kids to be interested, if we can make certain that everything they receive is not filtered, then those of us who still care about truth are going to win. No student today has to be dependent on a professor or a textbook--which is the way it should be.
We will have to disagree on what would happen to conservatives in academe if we did away, right now, with tenure. I speak from some experience on this subject. Back in 1994, I gave a scathing interview regarding Clinton to our university's PR department--they had their own TV station that broadcast across the state. I had been a regular on one of their shows for some time. I never was asked to be on that show or any other of their shows ever again. And I was one of their best known professors (at least in the School of Liberal Arts.)
Had I been an untenured professor, this would have been a difficult situation. The rumor mill (driven I am sure byy the mutants in Journalism) took over at that point and, if I had not had tenure, it could have been bad for me.
I look forward to bringing this issue up again. Thank you for a good disagreement.
What about post-tenure review? Do you have that? This is, I think, our second year of post-tenure review, and I am interested in what will happen to very weak professors. We know who they are: how they ignore kids, teach poorly, sign up for committees with no intention of attending meetings, do no research, etc., etc.
I fear the union has agreed to this soley so that they can demand more money. There is a provision for raises if the materials meet certain levels, and we all know how unions love to sue if the administration disagrees with the union stance. (As an aside, I think union leaders can be some of the most short-sighted, childish people imaginable....but that's another thread...)
Re hiring committees: I have been on many, probably because I do the work well. I like to see good people hired, regardless of politics. I expect many of them were liberals, but more moderate and certainly not ideologues. They have also proven to be good teachers and they do listen to my alternative ideas.
Having tenure and my final promotion as full professor helped to give me the power to speak out on FR.
I have to quibble with the definition of manliness: "confidence in a risky situation." I think women can show this too. But I have no problem with men and women being "defined" in ways that emphasize their inherent differences. As a woman, even a strong woman, I do see incredible sexism out there. I think the feminists try to be as strong as men, but what they also need to do is to value what women do very well: nurture their families, whether full-time or part-time. Feminists tend to dismiss traditional homemakers to their detriment. Young women nowadays thrive on their choices. My generation was told that careers were the only valid choice, with the result that some waited too long to have families and feel cheated.
Enough ranting for now.
I certainly don't disagree with you. I would also suggest that, at least among my more radical colleagues, they have a feeling of superiority and they enjoy it. If they are working to "save" people that means they are capable of doing what the average person is not--or so they believe.
Like you, prices are subject to change. But: the US is so obviously functional and has worked for so many, that I have never understood the almost furious hatred so many in academe have toward the US.
Don't hold your breath.