Wendy
McElroy
 

The Campus Conscience Police


"Over one's inner mind, and self, no one has coercive power."

So write Jordan Lorence and Harvey A. Silverglate, attorneys and authors of the just-published www.thefire.org/index.php/article/5064.html Guide to First-Year Orientation and Thought Reform on Campus from the www.thefire.org Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). The Guide is yet another indication that political correctness is faltering on campuses across North America. To those who value the right of individuals to a conscience -- that is, to judge right and wrong for themselves -- this is welcome news.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_correctness Political correctness (PC) is the belief that certain ideas and attitudes are improper and, so, should be discouraged or prohibited by punishing those who advance them. Conversely, ideas and attitudes that are proper should be encouraged by being enforced.

An example of a politically incorrect idea: inherent biological differences between the two sexes explain why there are more male than female scientists. The correct version: discrimination against women explains the 'gender imbalance' in science, and the discrimination must be remedied.

Both preceding explanations may have merit but PC is not interested in weighing evidence. It acts to quash the ideologically incorrect idea and to champion the correct one.

Last January, when Harvard University President Lawrence Summers raised the mere possibility of biological differences as an explanation for the 'gender imbalance' in science, a vicious PC backlash forced him to mapologize publicly no less than three times. After what some called www.theatlantic.com/doc/prem/200502u/nj_taylor_2005-02-08 his "Soviet-show-trial-style apologies", Summers made www.boston.com/news/education/higher/articles/2005/05/17/summers_sets_50m_womens_initiative/ an act of contrition by pledging "to spend $50 million over the next decade to improve the climate for women on campus."

©2008, Wendy McElroy

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Wendy McElroy is the editor of ifeminists.com and a research fellow for The Independent Institute in Oakland, Calif. She is the author and editor of many books and articles, including her latest book, Liberty for Women: Freedom and Feminism in the 21st Century. She lives with her husband in Canada. E-Mail. Also, see her daily blog at www.zetetics.com/mac



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