"Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Sultan of Johor are seen in a blue Proton Saga... "When asked whether there is any tension with the sultan, Dr Mahathir said: “No, I don’t see anything because I went to see him and he drove me to the airport. I don’t want to comment on the sultans because if I say anything that is not good then it’s not nice because he is the sultan”"

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Saturday, April 06, 2019

“More Studying and Less Sex. That Is Not Something to Be Regretted.”

“More Studying and Less Sex. That Is Not Something to Be Regretted.”

"Aaron Sibarium (The American Interest): Thank you for agreeing to do this, Heather. To begin, why don’t you tell me what The Diversity Delusion is about, and what inspired you to write it at this particular moment.

Heather Mac Donald: The book is about the identity politics and victim ideology that have taken over college campuses. I was inspired to write it out of a combination of sorrow and rage. Sorrow, because I believe so strongly in the humanist mission of universities and the extraordinary privilege of being able to study the greatest works of civilization. And rage, because I see ignorant students being encouraged by faculty and campus administrators to reject the monuments of human thought on such absurd grounds as an author’s gonads and melanin...

We have just lived through a month of Gender Studies 101 with the hysteria over the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. The tribal victimology that characterizes college campuses is now becoming the currency of a surprisingly large sector of the Democratic Party. Many females have decided that they represent an oppressed class and that such traditional Enlightenment values as due-process and the presumption of innocence are expendable. Campus rape tribunals have discarded essential truth-finding mechanisms such as cross-examination in the service of the #BelieveSurvivors mantra. And now that contempt for rational means of proof is entering the public consciousness as well...

What matters is the dominant narrative, whether or not the majority of people subscribe to it. That narrative sees white males as the source of most everything evil in the world. The hemorrhaging of lower-class, white males from the American economy and civil life, documented by Charles Murray, may be partly influenced by such circumambient contempt.

To further buttress Mounk’s point, the Pew Research Center did a study of so-called gender equity in STEM within the last year and found that the more years of higher education that females had, the more likely they were to say that they had been the victims of sex discrimination...

I do not think that [helicopter parenting] is what is generating the maudlin campus victimology, because the demographics don’t really match up. The brothers of white females are subject to the same overprotective parents, as noted above, and yet they are not, by and large, identifying themselves as an oppressed victim group needing safe spaces and all sorts of reparations. At best, they can present themselves as allies.

Moreover, blacks and Hispanics are, on average—and I’m making a generalization here—not over-parented to the same extent. In fact, there’s often a lack of parenting on the part of fathers. Yet black and Hispanic students are eager to jump on the victim bandwagon. So my alternative hypothesis to the over-parenting, psychological explanation is that this really is an ideological phenomenon...

There are two important ironies here. First, the original poststructuralist thinkers who created the rhetoric of high theory read the Western canon exclusively. Jacques Derrida and Paul de Man, for example, deconstructed Proust and Plato; they never thought to go in search of female or black writers to fill a quota.

Second, one of the most bizarre tenets of deconstruction was that the self was a mere linguistic trope—there was no self, just language play. But in the 1980s, with the rise of multiculturalism, the self came roaring back with a vengeance. Suddenly academic victimologists were defining the self in the most reductive manner possible, in terms of gonads and melanin. The self became the subject of endless study and theorizing—but it was emphatically not a made-up construct...

We have a bizarre hybrid of promiscuity and neo-Victorianism, which is characterized by a belief in ubiquitous male predation but which also looks to males to be the unique guardians of female well-being. When you destroy the traditional restraints on the male libido as sexual liberation did—those restraints being chivalry and gentlemanliness on the one hand and female modesty and prudence on the other—you’re unleashing a force that the female libido can rarely match. Sexual liberation was premised on a fallacy that males and females are identical in their sexual drives. They are not. Nor are they identical in their emotional (and hormonal) responses to intercourse.

TAI: You suggest at one point that the only good thing about Title IX is that it is actually remoralizing campus sexuality in a weird way. That it paradoxically results in a more conservative or, as you call it, neo-Victorian sexual ethic.

HMD: More studying and less sex. That is not something to be regretted. Colleges are not primarily for partying and one night hook ups...

Just as a female can, with almost 100 percent certainty, avoid becoming what is viewed on campus as a rape victim by acting prudently and not getting blackout drunk, by not taking off her clothes and getting into bed with a guy whom she may or may not know, so, too, can every college male usually avoid the predicament of being falsely accused of rape by walking his girlfriend home after a date, kissing her goodnight, and writing her a love poem back in his own dorm room. If the bureaucratization of campus sex, with campus rape bureaucrats promulgating preposterous ten-page legalistic rules for coitus, results in less campus sex, there is simply no social cost, unlike, say, the over-regulation of natural gas production, which results in less of a socially useful product and activity...

[On the feminist myth of one-in-five college women being raped/sexually assaulted] The mother of all campus rape surveys was a study that was published in 1985 in Ms. magazine by University of Arizona professor Mary Koss. Koss found that 42 percent of the college females whom she characterized as rape victims went on to have sex again with their alleged assailant. I propose that that is a behavior that is inconceivable in the case of what most people would understand as rape. Koss also found that 73 percent of the campus females whom she characterized as rape victims, when asked directly whether they have been raped, said they had not. In other words, the feminist claim that we’re living through an epidemic of campus sexual assault depends on doing something that feminists have told us one should never, ever do, which is to ignore what females say about their own experiences...

But the other reason that I reject this narrative about an epidemic of sexual assault is that if it were the case, we would have seen a stampede decades ago to create single sex schools where girls could study in safety. Instead, the stampede of girls to get into this alleged maelstrom of sexual violence increases in ferocity each year...

Unless females are too clueless to look out for themselves and to get the word out: “Don’t go to those frat parties, they are one big gang rape,” one has to assume that this epidemic of sexual assault is not occurring...

There are very simple steps that girls can take to avoid getting raped. Do not drink yourself blotto. The drinking that happens on the part of females is done quite often to deliberately lower their sexual inhibitions. Do not get into bed with a guy you don’t know. Don’t take your clothes off. Doing those things sets in motion processes and impulses that are hard to control once you unleash them.

Do we believe that girls are capable of using their reason to evaluate risk and take simple precautionary measures, or not? If they’re not capable of doing that, I don’t know whether they even belong in college.

You say if rape culture is so pervasive, you might as well go to college because it’s going to be everywhere. But you could still have single sex schools. You could ask the adults to once again say, “No sex in dorms,” instead of saying, “Here’s a 20-page contract modeled on a mortgage to sign before you have sex.”...

TAI: It sounds almost as if you’re making a kind of feminist argument for women’s empowerment. That’s the language you’re using—“power.” Have you ever put it in these terms to college audiences, and if so what has the response been? Because although you’re denying a lot of the Left’s empirical premises, you’re also asserting that women have agency—an idea the Left can’t get enough of...

HMD: I have put the question to many a campus rape bureaucrat and said, “If you really believe there’s this epidemic of campus rape going on, doesn’t it behoove you to try to stop it? Shouldn’t your primary responsibility be female safety, and given that a message of female prudence and modesty would be an almost 100 percent prophylactic against what you insist on calling rape, why don’t you send that message of female prudence and modesty?”

And what I’m told by the campus rape bureaucrats is, “Oh, we would never send that message because then people would presume that females are responsible for being raped, and we all know that they’re not.” That means that these bureaucrats are more interested in preserving the principle of male fault than they are in guaranteeing female safety...

The 2015 surveys commissioned by the American Association of Universities on 27 college campuses found that the LGBTQ communities reported much higher rates of sexual assault than everybody else...

There is an entire campus bureaucracy dedicated to LGBTQ’s allegedly oppressed status, a status that has admittedly been somewhat subsumed of late now that trans is the top victim dog. But until trans came along, being gay on campus probably enjoyed the highest victim ranking...

[On minorities having poor writing skills] People are terrified of correcting black students or Hispanic students, because of the chance that they will be accused of racism...

If MIT admitted me to its freshman class, and I had a 650 on my math SAT on an 800-point scale, and my peers, by and large, had 800s on their math SAT, I would struggle miserably in my first year. I would not be able to keep up with freshman calculus or advanced calculus which understandably and unimpeachably would be pitched toward the average level of academic preparedness of my peers. I would flounder. I would very likely drop out of my STEM track, and I would then have two options. I could say I was admitted without competitive scores, and I am now suffering the consequences. Or I could I say that I am in a patriarchal environment which is causing me to feel trauma and flounder because I am surrounded by implicit bias.

Not surprisingly, students who are the alleged beneficiaries of preferences tend to choose the implicit bias or institutional racism explanations for their problems. There was a very good study that was done at Duke University that found that incoming Black male freshmen intended to major in a STEM field at a higher rate than white male freshmen. But by the time of graduation, the attrition rate of Black males out of STEM majors was enormous, leaving the field almost exclusively to whites and Asians. Meanwhile those Black male students gravitate into much easier fields that do not have the same objective rigorous standards. That’s part of what we see with these absolutely abysmal writing examples that I’ve put forward in the book. Not just bad writing but also bad thinking...

The Trump Education and Justice Departments withdrew guidelines that the Obama Education and Justice Departments had sent out to colleges outlining how they could best implement racial preferences within the confines of the law. The Trump Administration withdrew those guidelines and substituted something from the Bush Administration that was much less enthusiastic about racial preferences.

And predictably, the coverage of the Trump Administration’s actions in the mainstream media was completely silent about why colleges feel compelled to use racial preferences in the first place. There was virtually no mention of the academic skills gap. Indeed, the New York Times framed this as an ongoing fight for equity and integration, using language from the ’60s to imply that schools today are like Ole Miss barring the door to Black students and that we still have to force them to integrate themselves. This is preposterous. Every selective school in the country is twisting itself into knots to admit as many underrepresented minorities as possible, via the folly of racial preferences that only sets up students to struggle if not fail completely.

So, yes, it is completely verboten to mention the academic skills gap. It only comes up fleetingly in the context of, “Well, we’re not spending enough taxpayer dollars on schools.”...

One danger of this universal frenzy, the idea that everybody should go to college, is that it devalues occupations that don’t require high levels of cognitive sophistication and implies that there are certain jobs that are not worth doing. That is a trope you hear with a certain degree of regularity from the New York Times and others in discussing poverty.

In many ways, we’re a more meritocratic society than ever before in human history because we have largely cast aside the traditional kinship rules that would determine who gets hired (the Trump family White House notwithstanding). Yet we also have an incessant assault on meritocracy because of identity politics and the notion that the National Science Foundation has embraced: that the only good science is diverse science. That’s ridiculous. But nevertheless, every STEM faculty in the country is being forced to interview and hire females simply because of their gender rather than their scientific qualifications...

I do have a chapter on the Great Courses, which are video lectures by college lecturers who are screen-tested to make sure that they are able to present their material in an accessible way. My point was not that this provides a serious alternative to college; rather, it’s just to say that there’s a vast untapped desire for traditional humanistic learning that has not been colonized by high theory and identity politics. Adults feel like they have a gap in their education and hunger for teaching that speaks unapologetically about great literature, great philosophy, and ideas that changed the world, without all the harping on unending oppression.

I’m not sure that the Great Courses themselves can point us out of the dilemma, but certainly they demonstrate an untapped desire. I write about UCLA in 2011 jettisoning its requirements that every English major take one course in Chaucer, two in Shakespeare, and one course in Milton. This was an absolutely reasonable requirement given the importance of those authors to English literary tradition, yet UCLA replaced it with requirements in various identity-based theories. At the time they did this, UCLA had the most popular English major in the country because it was still wedded to a traditional historical approach to the study of literature. This is something that college students themselves want. One of the Great Courses lecturers on medieval history told me that if you ask students what they want to study, they’ll say kings and queens and knights, not the construction of the gendered self.

To a certain extent, schools are betraying their own students by forcing this stuff down their throats. The driving force in this entire enterprise is the idea that America today remains endemically racist and sexist and that any disparity in group representation in any institution is, by definition, the result of bias as opposed to differences in culture, skills, behaviors, and preferences. As long as that idea of endemic racism and sexism remains the dominating force of elite thought in this country, it’s not going to be possible to beat the diversity delusion back.

Then there’s the whole free speech issue, which we haven’t talked about, but which I regard as a mere epiphenomenon of victim ideology. We’re not going to solve that one either, without taking on the structural bias claim head-on. Even if more faculty issued high-sounding statements about the value of free speech, it’s not going to make a damn bit of difference as long as students are told that they are existentially threatened by circumambient racism and sexism and therefore entitled to silence others by force to protect their very lives...

A professor at the University of Southern California public policy school, James Moore, sent around an email in response to calls to “believe survivors.” Moore said, paraphrasing here, Well, if anyone in the future is ever the subject of a false criminal or tort claim, you may find yourselves to be bigger supporters of due process than you are now. Accusers sometimes lie. This provoked an absolute meltdown on the part of the school. The dean of USC’s public policy school, Jack Knott, sent around an email message exactly like Salovey’s, talking about the importance of free speech but then asserting that Moore’s mild email was antithetical to the school’s values and would make it even harder for USC’s oppressed female students to survive. So these administrators pay lip service to free speech, but then go and stoke the furies...

TAI: Now even some Never Trumpers like Bret Stephens are saying, “You know I gotta hand it to the President, he stood up for due process and didn’t let the Left totally destroy a good man’s life. Yes, he’s crude and he’s an asshole, but at least he’s fighting back.”

Is that true? Has Trump been effective at resisting identity politics, or do you think it’s a lost cause at this point?

HMD: Interesting. Well, is he effective? He’s certainly fighting back. The question is, “Is he fighting back effectively, or is he just going to create more backlash?” Is he inflaming the delusional idea that America is endemically racist and sexist more than he is putting it to rest. Again, that’s an empirical matter. I’m not sure...

I view Trump as an incredibly painful dilemma: I support his policies but deplore his personality. I don’t think he’s a racist and sexist. I just think he is the worst possible example of an adult male. He is thin-skinned, gratuitously vindictive, the opposite of magnanimous. I would think it would be very hard to raise a boy today with that as our premier male role model."
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