Canary in the coal mine

“Ho, hum, what else is new?”  That was my first reaction when I saw a report that Susan Douglas, a professor of communications and department chair at the University of Michigan, had published an article titled “It’s Okay to Hate Republicans,” in which she stated:

I hate Republicans. I can’t stand the thought of having to spend the next two years watching Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, Ted Cruz, Darrell Issa or any of the legions of other blowhards denying climate change, thwarting immigration reform or championing fetal ‘personhood.’

According to the professor, Republicans exhibit the following “psychological characteristics”:

[d]ogmatism, rigidity and intolerance of ambiguity; a need to avoid uncertainty; support for authoritarianism; a heightened sense of threat from others; and a personal need for structure.

To convince readers she isn’t just spouting personal opinions, Douglas offered this:

According to researchers, the two core dimensions of conservative thought are resistance to change and support for inequality. These, in turn, are core elements of social intolerance. The need for certainty, the need to manage fear of social change, lead to black-and-white thinking and an embrace of stereotypes.

These comments sparked outrage among campus conservatives and Michigan Republican Party officials.  Evidently aware that UM is a public institution funded by taxpayers, school bureaucrats scrambled to provide cover.  Spokesman Rick Fitzgerald said:

The views expressed are those of the individual faculty member and not those of the University of Michigan. Faculty freedom of expression, including in the public sphere, is one of the core values of our institution. At the same time, the university must and will work vigilantly to ensure students can express diverse ideas and perspectives in a respectful environment and without fear of reprisal. The university values viewpoint diversity and encourages a wide range of opinions.

It looks like Douglas will be keeping her job.  Unlike Professor John McAdams of Marquette University, currently suspended due to a bogus “harassment” charge (incurred after defending a student for disagreeing with a liberal philosophy professor), she will not be under investigation, will not be relieved of her duties, and will not be banned from campus until the investigation is completed.  In other words, if you’re a card-carrying liberal, “viewpoint diversity” applies; if not, you’re out of luck.

On second thought, there is something new going on here.  Let’s focus on the first quote from Douglas’s article and ignore the other two, which describe attributes actually true of the left.  The passage accurately anticipates the gut-wrenching panic the left will feel next month when Republicans take over Congress.  I’m including in “the left” Democrats all the way up to the White House.

President Obama has had a relatively free hand for the past six years in office.  The mess he has made of it is no longer a matter for debate, relative to any policy issue you like, domestic as well as foreign.  With Harry Reid gone, Obama’s “pen and phone” governing style, no less dictatorial, will soon be seen for what it is: an impotent bluff.  “Lame duck” doesn’t even begin to describe it.  The Andrews Air Force Base golf superintendent had better get ready to block off even more tee times for the White House.

This assumes that Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader McConnell will give top priority to reversing key Obama initiatives.  I don’t mean recalling incompetent ambassadors or doing away with the various “czars.”  The readership here will probably pounce on me for saying it, but let’s give Boehner and McConnell the benefit of the doubt, at least for now.

One thing’s for sure, however: academia will become even more stridently liberal over the next two years as they see their champion in the White House fade into irrelevance.  

“Ho, hum, what else is new?”  That was my first reaction when I saw a report that Susan Douglas, a professor of communications and department chair at the University of Michigan, had published an article titled “It’s Okay to Hate Republicans,” in which she stated:

I hate Republicans. I can’t stand the thought of having to spend the next two years watching Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, Ted Cruz, Darrell Issa or any of the legions of other blowhards denying climate change, thwarting immigration reform or championing fetal ‘personhood.’

According to the professor, Republicans exhibit the following “psychological characteristics”:

[d]ogmatism, rigidity and intolerance of ambiguity; a need to avoid uncertainty; support for authoritarianism; a heightened sense of threat from others; and a personal need for structure.

To convince readers she isn’t just spouting personal opinions, Douglas offered this:

According to researchers, the two core dimensions of conservative thought are resistance to change and support for inequality. These, in turn, are core elements of social intolerance. The need for certainty, the need to manage fear of social change, lead to black-and-white thinking and an embrace of stereotypes.

These comments sparked outrage among campus conservatives and Michigan Republican Party officials.  Evidently aware that UM is a public institution funded by taxpayers, school bureaucrats scrambled to provide cover.  Spokesman Rick Fitzgerald said:

The views expressed are those of the individual faculty member and not those of the University of Michigan. Faculty freedom of expression, including in the public sphere, is one of the core values of our institution. At the same time, the university must and will work vigilantly to ensure students can express diverse ideas and perspectives in a respectful environment and without fear of reprisal. The university values viewpoint diversity and encourages a wide range of opinions.

It looks like Douglas will be keeping her job.  Unlike Professor John McAdams of Marquette University, currently suspended due to a bogus “harassment” charge (incurred after defending a student for disagreeing with a liberal philosophy professor), she will not be under investigation, will not be relieved of her duties, and will not be banned from campus until the investigation is completed.  In other words, if you’re a card-carrying liberal, “viewpoint diversity” applies; if not, you’re out of luck.

On second thought, there is something new going on here.  Let’s focus on the first quote from Douglas’s article and ignore the other two, which describe attributes actually true of the left.  The passage accurately anticipates the gut-wrenching panic the left will feel next month when Republicans take over Congress.  I’m including in “the left” Democrats all the way up to the White House.

President Obama has had a relatively free hand for the past six years in office.  The mess he has made of it is no longer a matter for debate, relative to any policy issue you like, domestic as well as foreign.  With Harry Reid gone, Obama’s “pen and phone” governing style, no less dictatorial, will soon be seen for what it is: an impotent bluff.  “Lame duck” doesn’t even begin to describe it.  The Andrews Air Force Base golf superintendent had better get ready to block off even more tee times for the White House.

This assumes that Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader McConnell will give top priority to reversing key Obama initiatives.  I don’t mean recalling incompetent ambassadors or doing away with the various “czars.”  The readership here will probably pounce on me for saying it, but let’s give Boehner and McConnell the benefit of the doubt, at least for now.

One thing’s for sure, however: academia will become even more stridently liberal over the next two years as they see their champion in the White House fade into irrelevance.