Academia

Liberal Intolerance and the Firing of Naomi Schaefer Riley

Left-wing academics silence a critic.

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There is much handwringing today, both from liberals and disaffected conservatives, about the deplorable intellectual climate on the right: blinkered ideology, disdain for facts, demonization of opponents. Sure enough, such behavior is depressingly common. But does the left behave differently when its sacred cows are being gored?

Naomi Schaefer Riley

For a stark reminder that "liberal intolerance" is real, look at the brouhaha over Naomi Schaefer Riley's ejection from the Chronicle of Higher Education blog, Brainstorm. A moderately conservative journalist and author, Riley joined the site's left-dominated roster of bloggers in early 2011. On April 30, she made a post titled "The Most Persuasive Case for Eliminating Black Studies? Just Read the Dissertations." The piece was prompted by a recent Chronicle cover story lauding a new generation of black studies Ph.D., with a sidebar profiling the first five students in Northwestern University's six-year-old black studies doctoral program. Riley offered sarcastic summaries of three of their dissertation topics, describing them as "left-wing victimization claptrap."

It was a shot heard 'round the blogosphere. Riley was denounced as a purveyor of hate speech. Sixteen Northwestern black studies faculty members joined a guest post on Brainstorm lambasting her comments as "cowardly, uninformed, irresponsible, repugnant, and contrary to the mission of higher education."

Chronicle editor Liz McMillen initially stood by Riley, defending her piece as an invitation to debate and allowing her to respond to critics. A few days later, faced with a deluge of angry mail and an anti-Riley petition with over 6,500 signatures, she reversed herself. A May 7 "Editor's Note " stated that Riley's post "did not meet The Chronicle's basic editorial standards for reporting and fairness in opinion articles" and that Riley had been asked to leave Brainstorm. McMillen also apologized for initially treating Riley's post as "informed opinion" and "for the distress these incidents have caused."

The conservative media picked up the story, portraying Riley's dismissal as an egregious case of speech-stifling political correctness and cowardice. One might think most liberals would agree, on the principle attributed to Voltaire: "I disagree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

Yet most left-of-center commentators who have weighed in—such as Atlantic editor and blogger Ta-Nehisi Coates and Center for American Progress fellow Eric Alterman—have condemned Riley and defended her firing. Their argument is that, while Riley has a right to her opinions and criticism of black studies is not racist, her post was so "lazy," "sloppy" and "ignorant" that such "know-nothing hackery" has no place on the blog of an academic publication. That's because Riley freely admits she did not read the dissertations she lampooned but relied on The Chronicle's summaries (not, as some have mistakenly claimed, the titles alone).

Is this a sloppy approach for a 520-word blogpost? First, let's turn the political tables. Suppose a left-wing academic blogger had poked fun at stupid Ph.D. dissertations from conservative Christian colleges arguing that homosexuality can be cured or that teaching evolution undermines students' morals—and based her post on a magazine's summary of the thesis topics. Would those tut-tutting at Riley's laziness demand actual perusal of such works?

Second, let's look at The Chronicle's general standards of quality in blogging—standards that Alterman suggests were lowered for Riley in order to appease the right by hiring a conservative.

There is Laurie Essig, a Middlebury College sociologist whose posts—mostly unrelated to academia—tend to be fact-free, muddled rants on the "white privilege" underlying the campaign against child-murdering Ugandan warlord Kony, the heterosexual oppressiveness of the happy endings of "Harry Potter," or the merits  of an attempted pie assault on Rupert Murdoch. One Essig post decries the "hysteria," "racism," and "class warfare" of concerns about unwed motherhood, making the unsupported claim that children of single parents fare no worse than their two-parent peers when they have similar resources. Another asserts that Americans "hate black women" but love Oprah Winfrey because she supports the values of "white supremacy" (by emphasizing individual choices) and "fulfills white longings for Mammy."

There is also Dave Barash, a University of Washington biologist and psychologist, who a month ago made a post titled "Major League Baseball Takes on the First Amendment." In it, Barash deplored the suspension of Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillén after he professed love for Fidel Castro, and his subsequent apology. So much for intellectual rigor: one need not be a constitutional scholar to know that a private company's decision to sanction an employee for offensive public speech is not a First Amendment issue. Shockingly, Barash's dedication to free speech does not seem to extend to Naomi Schaefer Riley.

Finally, what about the factual diligence displayed by some of Riley's media critics? Alterman—who writes that "conservative journalists specialize in attacks that ignore traditional standards of fairness and professional competence"—repeatedly makes the inaccurate claim that Riley slammed the thesis projects because she "didn't like their titles." He also throws in an aside about her earlier authorship of a Wall Street Journal column which "sought to blame women who dressed provocatively for 'moronic behavior' that allegedly invited rape." Alterman's source, however, is not Riley's column—which never mentioned provocative dress—but a left-wing website's angry recap . (Riley's actual point was that it's not smart to get so plastered at a college party that you can't refuse, or even remember, unwanted sex.) Surely, relying on a hostile summary to attack an op-ed column—which can be found and read in a few minutes—is sloppier than relying on a sympathetic summary to attack a dissertation.

Whether Riley's broadside against black studies is entirely fair is another matter. Some of her supporters quibble with her dismissal of a thesis on black women's childbirth experiences, including historical black midwifery, as irrelevant. It should be noted that Riley has not hesitated to lambaste what she regards as trivial research topics in other fields. Her last book, The Faculty Lounges—praised by Queens College sociologist and staunch liberal Andrew Hacker—asserts that nearly all current research in the humanities and social sciences is useless because it's too narrow to be read by more than a dozen people. Others would argue that specialized research enriches knowledge and may supply valuable material to authors writing for broader audiences.

That aside, The Chronicle's description of the other four dissertations from its up-and-coming stars lends considerable weight to Riley's argument that black studies programs are dominated by leftist hackery rather than (as Northwestern professor Martha Biondi claimed in the Chronicle piece) "rigorous intellectual inquiry."

Take La TaSha Levy, whose dissertation on black Republicanism "argues that conservatives like Thomas Sowell, Clarence Thomas, John McWhorter, and others have 'played one of the most-significant roles in the assault on the civil-rights legacy that benefited them.'" According to Levy, her interest in the topic was born when, as director of the black cultural center at the University of Virginia, she saw students reading books by black authors challenging left-wing racial orthodoxy. She worried that "they were latching on to arguments that black culture was the only thing that held the race back, and against affirmative action." Does one need to read the dissertation to see that Levy has no interest in seriously engaging the ideas of those odious "black conservatives"? The fact that she lumps McWhorter—a self-styled liberal Democrat who supports Barack Obama and has never voted for George W. Bush—together with Republicans does not inspire confidence.

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor's thesis "looks at the federal government's role in promoting single-family homeownership in low-income black communities after the unrest of the 1960s." Given Taylor's comments about "the profitability of racism in the housing market," the clear implication is that promoting black homeownership was a sinister agenda.

The Chronicle's profile neglects to add that Taylor is affiliated with the International Socialist Organization, whose socialism is not mere advocacy of European-style welfare: the ISO website boasts of standing "in the tradition of revolutionary socialists Karl Marx, V.I. Lenin and Leon Trotsky." One of Taylor's columns for its publication, Socialist Worker, hails the urban riots of the 1960s as "rebellions" that "transformed U.S. politics." Had Rush Limbaugh set out to create a caricature of a black studies Ph.D., he could not have done better.

The two dissertations Riley did not mention further support her case.

Thus, Zinga Fraser, a political activist whose dissertation is a comparative study of black Congresswomen Shirley Chisholm and Barbara Jordan, explains to the Chronicle that her goal is to examine "the aggressive politics of poverty and reproductive health and how the demonization of black women still operates today."

Dwayne Nash, a former New York assistant district attorney who says that "prosecuting people of color took a toll" on him, is studying "stop-and-frisk laws as a form of legalized racial profiling." According to Nash, stop and frisk "has very little to do with stopping crime and has a lot to do with how blackness is perceived." Stop and frisk does raise genuine concerns about civil liberties and police-community relations; but to start with the assumption that such practices have nothing to do with actual crime—whose victims, overwhelmingly, are also black—is more dogma than reality-based inquiry. (A recent study led by George Mason University's David Weisbrud, a world-renowned criminologist, provides evidence that street stops track the occurrence of criminal incidents.)

Is this ground to dismiss the black-studies enterprise? Alterman cites four scholars in the field—Anthony Appiah, Henry Louis Gates, William Julius Wilson, and Cornel West—as intellectuals whose work needs no justification. Actually, many would question that description of West, whose contributions to American discourse include attacking Barack Obama as "a black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs." As for Appiah and Wilson, their primary disciplines are, respectively, philosophy and sociology; both have been attacked  by hardcore black-studies mavens as insufficiently pro-black. Gates has cautioned against excessive politicization in African-American studies and against a "fear of pluralism" that would exclude conservative voices like Sowell. That warning seem to go unheeded at programs such as Northwestern's.

Riley's Brainstorm post could have launched a discussion of these issues. Instead, the response has amounted to radicals shouting "burn the heretic" and liberals using double standards to the excuse the immolation.

As often happens, bad behavior on the left reinforces bad tendencies on the right. Too many conservatives move from criticism of left-wing academic nonsense to general hostility toward scholarship and "elitist" knowledge. And there are those who would use "political correctness" as an excuse to wink at real bigotry. The Riley affair gives them ammunition. 

Cathy Young writes a weekly column for RealClearPolitics and is also a contributing editor at Reason magazine. This article originally appeared at RealClearPolitics.

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  1. But does the left behave differently when its sacred cows are being gored?

    you could fill two Interwebz with examples and the left would still deny its own intolerance toward challenges to ideological dogma.

    1. like Luis said I didnt know that some people able to profit $4739 in four weeks on the internet. have you read this webpage..WorkHouse.Notlong.CoM

  2. Oh for Christ’s sake, why is there even a debate about this? So called liberals (aka progressives) are the most intolerant luddites on the planet.

    1. Because the writers here, for reasons that befuddle me, seem to accept the Left’s premises about itself and act surprised when Lefty’s do not behave accordingly.

      1. The writers here follow all the PC guidelines, so that’s no surprise.

        Anyway, another thinking person Watsoned, so what else is new.

  3. Ms. Riley needs to take on the pen name Ann Hero. This is her engraved opportunity to become a star and drop a giant deuce on the twits who canned her for expressing an opinion. Then rub in in their faces with that nom de plume.

    1. Either that or “Anne Elk”.

    2. Academic publications aren’t really all that hot on people expressing opinions because they can basically make up just any emotionally charge thing. They like factual articles, research, reproducible analysis, basically not poorly researched opinion pieces.
      It really looks like Naomi Schaefer Riley’s was a bit peeved and lazy, just thumbed through the web site she was a part of and lashed out, not really bothering to read those dissertations just sticking it to them for their title and brief description.
      Why she was angry and who she was angry at, certainly didn’t make it into the article, well, at least not in those words but it certainly was there.
      Face it for that particular web site it was an very unenlightened piece and sure to cause significant problems.
      Of course as a former Wall Street Journal Editor (part of the Fox not-News empire) perhaps political ulterior motives are at the core of all of this.

      1. I don’t know if you are very familiar with academic journals, especially in the social sciences. In the hard sciences (physics, chemisty, biology) solid data is the only thing that really matters. In the social sciences and humanities opinion is all over the place. This is especially true of political science journals and sociology journals.

        Riley may have done an inadequate job of researching her article but that is by no means uncommon in academic journals. Most are governed by a small group of professors across the country and rule number one is to write something they will agree with, especially in the social sciences.

        Furthermore, most PhD candidates write journal submissions that are irrelevant and wasteful. However, because the journal facilitators have a vested interest in perpetuating their own journal they will claim that each journal is vital and more federal research dollars are desperately needed in their field. Of course, they aren’t questioned because “they’re the experts.” Most dissertations don’t exist to further the practical knowledge of mankind but to fulfill a PhD requirement.

        I don’t know where your faith in all academic publications comes from. Even the various medical journals are full of opinion and they have much more academic rigor and fact focus than a sociology journal.

        1. I’ve seen what you’ve described first-hand with a former colleague of mine that I worked with during grad school. Unlike the mere “PhD” requirement disseration, her topic was actually a good contribution of practical knowledge–essentially, a history of the Nevada atomic test site, supported by dozens of oral interviews over a period of years. The damn thing’s over 600 pages long and will likely be a definitive study of the topic once it’s published.

          However, she’s also contributed what I consider “CV-padding” articles to journals that describe more esoteric things, like the material collection of an archive she interned at. It was a good example of the “justification by publication” mentality you describe.

  4. The conservative media picked up the story, portraying Riley’s dismissal as an egregious case of speech-stifling political correctness

    Which would be completely accurate.

    1. Please enlighten us.

      1. Enlighten you about what, that is not obvious?

        1. My bad; somehow misread “accurate” for “inaccurate”. Fucking Old Smuttynose IPA’s…

          1. Damn you! I don’t have any beers in my fridge, and I have to wait for my wife to get dressed before I can go stock up! And she doesn’t seem to think it is urgent… Grrrrrr!

            1. I have an entire liquor cabinet stocked full of hookers and blow should I ever find myself in your situation. “Always have a contingency” was a maxim I learned early on. I believe it was a salty Gunnery Sergeant that taught me that when I was a lieutenant.

              1. Hmmm… I have to build some higher up cabinets to hide the hookers and blow in …

                1. Not if you hack up the hookers before storing them!

                  1. I’m supposed to cut up the hookers with the razor blade and not the blow?

                    Damn

                    1. I think a ka-bar would come in handy here, no?

  5. So, they have attacked her because she based her opinion on what I can assume are accurate summaries of the dissertations instead of the dissertations themselves?

    Are they aware that some dissertations can range from dozens to over a hundred pages long?

    1. The reactions ranged from she hasn’t sampled enough dissertations and theses (a reasonable criticism) to she’s a racist, right-wing scumbag who’s engaging in hate speech and needs to be fired.

      Obviously we know which end of that spectrum the majority of responses tended to lean towards.

      1. Well, if she wanted to prove the existence of a left-wing bias in Black Studies, then, yeah, she should have gone for a larger sample size.

        Then again, if her point was not to prove the existence of the bias, but instead, take it as a given and discuss the merits of the research, then her small sample was sufficient for her article.

        1. Then again, if her point was not to prove the existence of the bias, but instead, take it as a given and discuss the merits of the research, then her small sample was sufficient for her article.

          Yes, but it’s hard to discuss the merits of particular reserach based purely on the summary. Seems like she’s trying have it both ways here. If she’s surveying bias, the summaries are enough, but she should have samples a far larger set. If she want to review the merits of particular studies, the small set is fine, but she should have read the actual theses to actual determine what the methods were.

          Using just a small set of summaries doesn’t achieve either goal.

          1. Using just a small set of summaries doesn’t achieve either goal.

            This is true, however, in her slight defense, a big part of her point was that black studies was stuck in the past. She was looking at a small set of the latest dissertations at a prestigious university and concluding “this is not a way forward.”

            1. These summaries weren’t chosen by her – they were apparently chosen by the Chronicle of higher ed to showcase some of the great new black studies scholars. Supposedly, it was a cherrypicked sample of the best and the brightest. And the summaries were presumably in the same mold – giving the most favorable description of the papers’ contents.

              So if these are the best examples, what would a random sample, or an unfavorable sample. look like?

              1. Not only that, Eduard, but those howling about Riley’s small sample size didn’t seem to be concerned when the Chronicle lauded the field using exactly the same sample size and set.

          2. It was a 500 word blog post to get a conversation started. Sadly, progressives are in no way truly liberal.

    2. The “she didn’t read the dissertations” hue and cry is a ruse. They wouldn’t have cared if she’d read every last word of them. Her crime was in not toeing the line, and the shrill harpies of the left descended in all their fury.

  6. EVERYBODY BE NICE!!!

    1. HELL NO! ANARCHY!!!!!!

  7. Liberals are self-righteous, intolerant assholes. Yes, socons fit this description, but there are at least different flavors of oonservatism that allow you to live however you want as long you behave, but with liberal/progressivism, everyone needs to be coerced into marching in line towards a glorious new future.

    1. If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the Right-Wing-Conspiracy and a teabagger.

      1. Only a Sith deals in absolutes. (irony intended?)

  8. everyone needs to be coerced into marching in line towards a glorious shitty dystopian new future.

    Fixed

  9. You know, this whole fucking race thing is getting just a little bit tiresome. If you view other people through the prism of race, you’re an imbecile. Some people are imbeciles. Live with it. What is worse is that this emphasis on race serves only the interests of our owners – those people who actually own the world. Their main strategy has always been and will always be to pit the rest of us peasants against each other, but most people are too dimwitted to see it.

    1. but most people are too dimwitted to see it

      All progressives and a majority of SoCons are too dimwitted to see it. The rest of us see it clearly. The problem is that the 2 aforementioned groups now have near 100% of the political power in the land.

      1. To correct myself, the political masters of those 2 groups have all of the power.

  10. Is that a picture of the young lady that the article is about? If so, she is sooooo not ugly and insane looking enough to be hanging with the libtard crowd. I mean, they would hate her just for looking like that.

    1. CONSIDER YOURSELF WARNED!!!

      Please focus on the issues of academic freedom and liberal intolerance.

      1. Sorry SIV, I couldn’t… it was sub.. something… neer mind…

    2. Id hit it

      1. It is an… unusually flattering picture. Not that it matters, she’s smart and writes well.

      2. AlmightyJB and Hyperion, you’re making us look bad. You stupid cunts.

        1. Goddamnit you fucking assholes, this is why nobody takes libertarianism seriously!!!

          1. They don’t take us seriously because we will have sex with 6’s and up?

            1. THEY HATE US BECAUSE OF OUR FREEDUMZZZ TASTE IN WIMMINZZZ!

        2. I think you overestimate how we “looked” prior to those statements.

          1. AND DON’T CALL ME STUPID

        3. What a fucked up day. I left the house to get beer, wound up getting coerced by wifey into shopping for 5 hours, and got called a stupid cunt while I was out suffering instead of sitting here posting and enjoying a frosty brew.

  11. Sixteen Northwestern black studies faculty members joined a guest post on Brainstorm lambasting her comments as “cowardly, uninformed, irresponsible, repugnant, and contrary to the mission of higher education.”

    THAT’S the case made for eliminating black studies. Its priests and disciples will brook no heresy. There’s little academics involved. It’s a movement, not a discipline.

    Perhaps if they’d engage in academic debate with detractors, they might change some minds. But instead they go straight to witch burning.

    1. Black studies doesn’t need to exist as a discipline as the topics could easily be enfolded into history or sociology courses. Then again, there’s probably a case to be made for eliminating sociology.

      1. That’s like arguing we don’t need medical schools because we could just wedge it into the biology department.

        1. I don’t think that analogy works, Dragon. Medical schools are providing something distinctly different and necessary, practical training and knowledge for potential doctors. What does black studies provide that history or sociology wouldn’t?

          1. A place for racial grievance types to congregate, get paid for it, and claim all criticism of them is racism, obviously.

            1. And protecting their phony-baloney jobs is first order of bidness.

      2. I think that there is a place for an interdisciplinary major like that, but I see no reason why it needs to be a whole separate department. As you note, it is all covered in other departments already.

        I don’t think that any academic discipline really needs to be eliminated, though. The problem is usually that there is too much money available for too many students, so people are encouraged to go into fields where all that is really needed is a few academics to work at universities.

    2. Witch burning? I see you avoided using the term lynching.

      1. That and I wanted to keep the religion metaphor going.

  12. I wasn’t born a racist and I wasn’t raised a racist, but the more that the issue of race erodes civil debate, the more racist I become.

    1. It’s sorta like the WOD. I don’t use any drugs, except for the legal one. But the more the WOD drags on, the more that I want to.

      1. I feel the same way whenever some new anti-smoking idiocy comes up. I really want to start smoking cigs again just to say “fuck you” to those assholes.

        1. Some people would say it’s rationalization, but that is a big part of why I continue to smoke. At some point, though, the tables turn — the taxes get jacked up to such a level that you know they’ve crossed over from the authoritarian motive to the profiteering one. That line is not defined though; there is overlap a good ways in both directions from where it lies. So everyone has to decide for themselves where it is; once you’ve crossed over, the rebellious action becomes the quitting one. When a sufficient number of people reach that point, the authoritarian wing has been placated, the money-grubbers find their well has run dry, the focus shifts, and they both go full steam ahead after the fatties.

          Once that happens, you get to smoke (or not smoke) black market cigs without having to make all of these econo-political calculations. 🙂

          1. Or you can do what I did, which was trade up to an e-cig and ruthlessly mock the fake coughers when they start their bullshit before they see it’s not smoke. Best of both worlds.

            1. I hear you, but those just have not appealed to me. Not that I’ve tried them…but I’m just picky — been smoking kools for about fifteen years now, and would turn down a newport, if I was out, and one was offered.

              On the other hand, it used to be that I was dead-set against computers…and, lo and behold, I ended up being a software developer. So I’ll make it a point to give them a try sometime.

              1. They’ve come a long way since the early days. If you ever decide to look into it, take a gander at the ego-c. 40 or 50 bucks for a kit with chargers and enough pieces to make two of them (plus extras). Charge the battery once a week, refill it once every 3 or 4 days. It’s less hassal than actual cigarettes.

                1. Thanks — I’ll keep that in mind.

            2. Nice idea, Coeus, but you are lucky to live in an area that doesn’t forbid e-cigs. I do, and the rationalizations from the anti-smokers for the ban are just plain fucking stupid enough to have convinced the local voter base to go along with it.

              Mainly, it’s because e-cigs LOOK like cigarettes, and That’s Just As Bad to liberals.

              1. It was expected. They lied about second-hand smoke, why wouldn’t they lie about this? Joyless fucks. How did Santorum not win with these people around?

    2. What’s the difference between a park bench and a black male?

      1. Is this going to be a racist joke?

      2. Okay….I’ll bite….what’s the difference?

      3. I’m guessing that park benches can actually support a family.

    3. You shouldn’t. One of the most stupid things about racism, the real kind, is that it attempts to ignore individualism. Blaming members of a group used by people seeking power over their fellows does the same thing.

      Don’t hate Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton because they are black, hate them because they are shit bag individuals.

      Individuals like Thomas Sowell and Walter Williams are nothing like the other two, except in the meaningless pigment of their skin.

      1. Word. I get so goddamned sick of race pimps from time to time that I find myself wanting to blast the entire race.

        1. It is important to always remember that even an accurate generalization of a group does not allow you to assume anything about any particular member of that group.

          1. But all racism is racism, even when it isn’t, Marshall.

            It’s like all sex being rape, even when it isn’t rape.

      2. That’s why Tom Wolfe is a literary genius: his Reverend Bacon character in The Bonfire of the Vanities is a great amalgam of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton; without a single hateful word, he shows the moral bankruptcy of the racial firebrand/rent-seeker type.

        1. After Radical Chic and Mau-Mauing the Flack Catchers, you can see Wolfe getting it in spades.

    4. Watch out. I made a statement like that over at HotAir that caused the old hack Ed Morrisey to get his butt in the air and banish me to the outer limits.

    5. Really? I find my anti-racism reenforced. But I am frustrated at the depth of the racism of many supposed anti-racists. No one does more damage to race relations than the professional victimologists who try to bring race into everything.

  13. Out for now. Back later with a 6 of the devil’s dishwater.

  14. I dont think she should have been fired for her views she should have been fired because her article sucked. It was an opinionated snarky insensitive sarcastic piece of writing. Like something that would be in Reason magazine. Im bet Reason will hire her.

    1. *I bet*

      1. Are you the new troll? If so, what kind of troll do you see yourself as. Cuz we already have a couple smarmy leftys. We kind of have a niche for weapons grade crazy, but you’d need to be able to pull it off without spamming threads. You could try just being a completely rude asshole. Have you ever used the term “christfag”?

        You know, we have lefty trolls. Where are the righty trolls? Like, wheres the guy who calls us all cowards and pussies because we don’t favor wars everywhere? Do they come around when the GOP holds the White House? Is that how it works?

        1. Do they come around when the GOP holds the White House? Is that how it works?

          Pretty much.

        2. Where’d Gregggoooo ever get off to?

          You’d have liked him. He ran a blog called, “libertarians for freedom” that was all about building a wall at the border and the need to attack Iran. That guy was a good conservative troll.

          1. Then there was Lone Whacko. He had his own special thing going on. But he did a lot of blogwhoring spammy stuff. But the obligatiory “shut the fuck up lone wacko” was fun.

          2. Someone gave him a dictionary with the word “libertarian” in it.

            Haven’t heard from him since.

        3. He’s the kind of troll that gets shit done. He’s going to be like no troll we have ever seen before. Throughout the Summer he is going to brow beat us until we are utterly speechless, and by November, we’ll be begging him for mercy with promises to vote for Obama.

          Fear the mighty some guy666. You can’t imagine where it is going from here. How bad it is going to get. Even Mary did not prepare you for this new breed of troll.

          Coming to an I-Max near you, Summer of the Troll!

        4. Where are the righty trolls?

          Start a thread on gay anything.

        5. “Like, wheres the guy who calls us all cowards and pussies because we don’t favor wars everywhere?”

          They’re too busy bothering Laurence Vance.

        6. “weapons grade crazy”

          I like that, never heard it before. I’m gonna steal it.

      2. Should trolls be fired for writing run-on sentences?

    2. I bet this guy “treasures” free speech but advocates the systematic execution of anyone who disagrees with him.

      1. Hey, hate speech deserves no protection buddy! And by hate speech, of course, I mean any speech with which I personally disagree.

  15. The Chronicle’s profile neglects to add that Taylor is affiliated with the International Socialist Organization, whose socialism is not mere advocacy of European-style welfare: the ISO website boasts of standing “in the tradition of revolutionary socialists Karl Marx, V.I. Lenin and Leon Trotsky.” One of Taylor’s columns for its publication, Socialist Worker, hails the urban riots of the 1960s as “rebellions” that “transformed U.S. politics.” Had Rush Limbaugh set out to create a caricature of a black studies Ph.D., he could not have done better.

    So what’s the point here? Is Taylor supposed to be like banned from college because she’s a socialist or something? How does one students, political leanings mean the entire field is invalid? If she’d become an electrical engineer, would that mean the engineer school should be closed to?

    1. If she’d become an electrical engineer, would that mean the engineer school should be closed to[o]?

      Well, Denis Rancourt, a tenured physicist was fired from the University of Ottawa: ostensibly over grading everyone A+ in his course but pretty much for his ultra-radical-left views and actions flowing from them.

      Of course the Faculty of Physics wasn’t closed, but he wasn’t representative of the faculty.

    2. I think the point is “commies suck.”

    3. I think the point was that Riley’s characterizations weren’t just ill-informed caricatures, and that the black studies departments at most universities do, in fact, tend to be over-represented on the batshit neo-Marxist end of the political spectrum.

  16. making the unsupported claim that children of single parents fare no worse than their two-parent peers when they have similar resources

    That may be so, but it misses the point that single parents tend to have waaaay less income than two-parent households, and such poverty does not tend to help the kids.

    1. It doesn’t miss the point as long as the point is understood to be that one has much better chance of avoiding poverty if one isn’t a single parent — or let’s be un-PC and say single mother.

    2. when they have similar resources

  17. Dwayne Nash, a former New York assistant district attorney who says that “prosecuting people of color took a toll” on him, is studying “stop-and-frisk laws as a form of legalized racial profiling.” According to Nash, stop and frisk “has very little to do with stopping crime and has a lot to do with how blackness is perceived.” Stop and frisk does raise genuine concerns about civil liberties and police-community relations; but to start with the assumption that such practices have nothing to do with actual crime?whose victims, overwhelmingly, are also black?is more dogma than reality-based inquiry. (A recent study led by George Mason University’s David Weisbrud, a world-renowned criminologist, provides evidence that street stops track the occurrence of criminal incidents.)

    Are you seriously going to argue that saying there’s a racial component to stop-and-frisk is an outrageous statement?

    Jesus Christ is this site going down hill. Every year it’s less and less libertarian and more and more just Republican talking points.

    1. Yeah, that’s not what was said at all.

      Read harder.

    2. Stormy, I have to echo the call that you actually read the words she wrote, not the words that enable you to bash reason for no….er….reason.

      1. I tend to start with the assumption that they have nothing to do with crime, only quotas for possession charges.

    3. Agreed, Stormy. This site has been highjacked by republicans who think Libertarianism is cool and edgy. It has descended into a cult of close minded circle jerkers.

      1. *yawn*, I see Tony has adopted a new name.

      2. some guy666|5.16.12 @ 8:00PM|#
        …”It has descended into a cult of close minded circle jerkers.”

        Perfect opportunity to pick up your game and present opposing views that aren’t lefty crap or dishonest. Or is that asking too much?

        1. Possibly two names, Randian… there’s Stormy, and there’s the 666 guy. Maybe Tony has a couple of retarded cousins.

          1. I’ve been here for quite some time:

            https://reason.com/blog/2004/10…..ent_153569

            I just have found less and less content here worthy of comment as time has passed so the new guys don’t realize I was here long before they were.

            This site used to be ideological and independent. Now it’s pretty much garden variety Republican partisanship masquerading as independence. A way for hipsters to pretend they’re not the Rush Limbaugh/Sean Hannity crowd while behaving exactly like them.

            1. You forgot to say “Kochsuckers”.

    4. saying there’s a racial component to stop-and-frisk

      Is there a racial component to murder robbery?

      1. Fuckin’ ampersand-eating squirrels moved into the server room?!

  18. “She should have been fired because her articles sucked.” Then I guess they’d be firing 90 percent of the bloggers at The Chronicle of Higher Education?

    1. Ha-ha.

      No.

  19. First, let’s turn the political tables. Suppose a left-wing academic blogger had poked fun at stupid Ph.D. dissertations from conservative Christian colleges arguing that homosexuality can be cured or that teaching evolution undermines students’ morals

    But on the other hand Cathy…they don’t actually write dissertations like that at Christian colleges.

    1. Are you absolutely positive about that? Research project!

      1. “Analysis of Biblical Prophecies: Why I thought the Rapture Would Arrive Before My Paper was Due”

        “Which one is the Antichrist – Hillary or Obama?”

        “Satan and Christopher Hitchens – Together at last!”

  20. While I find this whole situation to another hilarious example of the fundamental intolerance of the Left, I have to admit that I lost a bit of sympathy for Naomi when I read her opinion piece in the WSJ. She seemed to be subtly misrepresenting her original post as something other than off-hand snark. Justified snark? Yes. But let’s not pretend that it was a measured invitation to thoughtful debate.

  21. BTW it’s because she’s white.

    If she were black and wrote it, it wouldn’t be as big a deal. Well, it would have been a different discussion.

    1. No, then she wouldn’t be “black enough”.

      1. No, she’d just get the “Uncle Tom” treatment like Tom Sowell and Colin Powell and all those other uppity blacks who don’t realize how racist it is for them to not accept their role as Steppenfetchit to the Left.

  22. Cathy Young gets to the unbiased heart of it again…. Cathy Young for President (actually that would stink as she would then not have time to write)…

  23. OT: Whatever happened to MuNG?

    1. The fucking dumbass can’t figure how to register w/o using his .edu address.

      1. That’s FUNNY!

  24. Here’s something I find interesting about the liberal support for firing Riley. A lot of them are saying, “Hey, it’s not a free speech issue. TCHE is a business so they have the right to fire anyone they want and Riley can go elsewhere if she wants.” Fair enough, but let’s see how well this is applied when someone or something they like is fired or boycotted against or is refused or withheld for some reason by a private business.

    1. Give ’em enough line to swallow the hook. The right wing’ll be very glad to castigate them for hypocrites.

  25. Speaking of righty-trolls, Slappy hasn’t been around with the ‘go KKK!’ pitch in a while.

  26. actual crime?whose victims, overwhelmingly, are also black

    Liberals prefer to go easy on the criminal when the victim is black.

  27. But a Ph.D. is still recognized as a Ph.D. That’s not a black Ph.D. or a Muslim Ph.D. or a female Ph.D.

    What’s the point of this? Simply this: emphasizing diversity… differences… and demanding that small groups, or any group, can demand that all others “accommodate” their differences [meaning do what they want] is not the American way. The American way is just the opposite: you can be whoever you are and live as you see fit [as long as it doesn’t harm others], but don’t expect anything more from others than being acknowledged and judged the way anyone else would be judged.

    You may have a juvenile perception of education, but don’t expect the world to confer adult credentials on your juvenile work.

    In other words, diversity in our society means the everyone plays by the same rules and gets judged by the same results. It doesn’t mean some people get special treatment because they claim to be more diverse than others… even if they expect special treatment.

    http://hallofrecord.blogspot.c…..-mean.html

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  30. Wait, so you’re saying the purveyors of hate speech laws, campus speech codes, “free speech zones”, book bans, and throwing pies in the faces of speakers who challenge their world view aren’t actually defenders of free speech? Well I’ll be damned.

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  32. She dismissed academic research without actually reading it. That’s not acceptable in a journal about higher education.

    That’s why she was fired, period. She had posted plenty of moronic, uninformed pieces before, but never with an admittedly uninformed slur.

    Also, the chronicle is a for profit, privately owned magazine. Why is Reason publishing OMG team red butthurt articles? (Koch Funding)

    1. More dumbshittery from Derider. Must be a day when the sun rose from the east.

    2. It wasn’t in a journal about higher education. It was a post on a fucking blog.

  33. She dismissed academic research without actually reading it. That’s not acceptable in a journal about higher education.

    That’s why she was fired, period

    That first part is true. The last part is not. And you know it’s not because you then said:

    She had posted plenty of moronic, uninformed pieces before, but never with an admittedly uninformed slur.

    That uniformed slur part that you put on the end to justify it? How the fuck do you know that? Unsupported, maybe, but plenty of informed people hold the same opinion. The whole field she was criticizing relies on unsupported maxims. No one was ever fired from the journal for writing uncritically about them.

  34. Oh for crying out loud. Riley was fired because she wrote a piece titled “Just Read the Dissertations” when she had not in fact read the dissertations. And when called on the fact she mocked the idea of learning about a subject before dismissing it. At the website of a newspaper focused on higher education. She was fired for being a dumbass.

  35. The fact that she lumps McWhorter?a self-styled liberal Democrat who supports Barack Obama and has never voted for George W. Bush?together with Republicans does not inspire confidence.

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  40. You don’t need someone like Cathy Young to mock “Black Studies”, the studies mock themselves, just like having “White Studies would be a joke.

    The people defending her firing are probably more concerned that the word of taxpayers having to pay that shit gets out sufficiently that their funding gets cut.

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  45. “She was fired for being a dumbass.”

    Hey, I’ve got this cool set of bridges I’d like to sell you.
    If she was fired for writing a bad article then why did the CHE originally defend her? Why did they judge her on just one article? Why do they allow a lot of other crap from other bloggers on their site.
    No, she was fired because after the complaints piled up and became more intense, the CHE office flooded out with the editors own nervous sweat.

    1. Yeah, pretty much. I read the comments on her firing at the blog, and for every legitimate criticism–the main one being that she didn’t read anything other than the summaries of the manuscripts she was criticizing–there were a hundred other examples of self-justifying mental masturbation that boiled down to “DAS RACIS’!!!”

      The entire episode showed that the academic holy trinity of class, gender, and ethnicity has become institutionalized dogma, and anyone speaking against it is a heretic to be exterminated.

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  47. He also throws in an aside about her earlier authorship of a Wall Street Journal column which “sought to blame women who dressed provocatively for ‘moronic behavior’ that allegedly invited rape.” Alterman’s source, however, is not Riley’s column?which never mentioned provocative dress?but a left-wing website’s angry recap .

    This sort of thing is pervasive in liberal circles. They don’t actually read conservative opinions directly, or watch FOX themselves. What they read is regurgitated reports of what the awful right-wingers are saying by other liberals.

    For instance, I have a close liberal friend who is constantly railing about how FOX lies, based on what he saw about it on Jon Stewart. He would never stoop to actually watch FOX himself.

    1. Thank you, 140th conservative commentator on this article appearing in Reason Magazine, for informing us that people often associate with those who share their political beliefs! I certainly couldn’t have figured that out by reading the vigorous head-nodding of the first 139 comments.

      To speak more generally about the article: it is not hypocritical to be intolerant of what is wrong. That the author of this article and many of its readers find it self-evident that the other bloggers on the CHE she quotes are idiots is not really a convincing argument, I see no reason to think they are as foolish or lazy as Riley in what they write.

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  49. “(…)blinkered ideology, disdain for facts, demonization of opponents. Sure enough, such behavior is depressingly common. But does the left behave differently when its sacred cows are being gored?”

    In a world of Noam Chomskys, Howard Zinns, Peter Singers and Bill Ayers, does this question even need to be posited?

  50. “So much for intellectual rigor: one need not be a constitutional scholar to know that a private company’s decision to sanction an employee for offensive public speech is not a First Amendment issue”

    It’s almost as if this also applies to The Chronicle’s decision to fire Naomi Riley!

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