Anti-Conservative Bias on the Job Market

Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

I once interviewed for a job, and in the process, my interviewers described what the ideal professor would be like at this university. They of course mentioned teaching and research. But they also said that the ideal professor would be someone who is transformative and makes an impact on not just students, but the community.

If you are in academia long enough, you know that this is all code. It’s interesting because it’s the exact same language Christian schools use, but you know it doesn’t mean the same thing because these people (my interviewers) are leftists. If part of the job is to be transformative, and the end product of the transformation is supposed to be someone who works for liberal social justice, then a conservative cannot honestly answer in detail how he will be transformative without hurting himself.

And that is the problem with all those liberals out there who say things like “I’d consider a conservative on his merits.” Well, part of the merits are working for liberal social justice, which a conservative won’t do, and so can’t honestly speak to those experiences in an interview.

The search for someone “transformative” is par for the course in the application process now. This is why, as someone recently told me at a conference, you must include something about diversity in a cover letter. Some now require a whole statement. The whole point is to show your commitment to the cause, and if you can’t, you won’t be hired. The push for diversity can only go so far. It can’t include people who are against it, because those people might start undermining it from within. It can’t even include people who don’t care much about the issue, because even they might become a threat. From here it is a small step to the conclusion that leftists aren’t really committed to diversity. That talk is just cover for their real motives. They don’t want to welcome everyone. They want to create campuses, and ultimately whole societies, around their values to the exclusion of other values. This is no different than ultra-conservative Christian schools that expect you to adhere to a lifestyle covenant. At least people at those places are honest about their values though.

Walter Montgomery

Walter is a philosophy graduate student in New Hampshire. He sometimes wishes he was a lawyer, and other times wishes he was a basketball coach. Some of his favorite childhood memories involve traveling with his immediate family, grandparents, and cousins’ family in big gas-guzzling vans towing campers. He sees philosophy as a tool for getting at Truth, and thinks too many contemporary philosophers see it as a tool for advancing their ideological preferences.

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15 Comments

  1. About 30% of the job ads appearing on PhilJobs now specify “philosophy of race (sexuality and class)”, “philosophy of gender”, “African(a) studies”, “feminist philosophy” as AOS or AOC. We all know what this means.

    • That sounds about right, Bob. I’ve long desired to compile data on how many of the PhilJobs jobs specify those as AOSs or AOCs. But I haven’t gotten around to it yet. But I’m _sure_ all those positions are there because the undergraduates are clamoring to take these courses. Actually, isn’t it interesting that, in an age where humanities budgets are being slashed (at least that’s what we are told), there is still room in the budget to add tenure lines for these specializations?

  2. Keep in mind the positive feedback loop between “diversity hires” and more leftist ideological uniformity among the faculty, given the feedback loop between the demographics involved and leftist politics.

    Not that those involved in this loop see any problems here; they’ve managed to insulate themselves from outside criticism enough as it is so it’s just the normal course of affairs there; it’s just how intellectually and morally superior things get done nowadays. Extra points for intellectual and moral compass reliability the closer they are to a big coastal city.

  3. “From here it is a small step to the conclusion that leftists aren’t really committed to diversity.”

    ‘Diversity’ means anti-white-male. They are very committed to that.

    “They want to create campuses, and ultimately whole societies, around their values to the exclusion of other values.”

    No, they are fine with non-whites who have values that are inconsistent with the values of leftist Jews and whites as long as those other people hate white males too.

    • “Diversity’ means anti-white-male. They are very committed to that.”

      That’s often what it means behind closed doors, but it isn’t the general population’s meaning. It isn’t what they mean when they tell the baby-faced kids walking around on campus tours with their parents.

      “No, they are fine with non-whites who have values that are inconsistent with the values of leftist Jews and whites as long as those other people hate white males too.”

      I suppose the enemy of their enemy is their friend…for now.

  4. Interesting choice of picture for the post, by the way. Were you trying to make a point about the bias in favor of women as well? What a ridiculous image, no? Some baby-faced blond tart playing dress-up-like-a-man, having a pretend “serious” interview with other women dressed up like men. Don’t they just look like they’d much rather be reading celebrity gossip magazines together and talking about recipes?

  5. “About 30% of the job ads appearing on PhilJobs now specify “philosophy of race (sexuality and class)”, “philosophy of gender”, “African(a) studies”, “feminist philosophy” as AOS or AOC. We all know what this means.”

    Holy shit. Is that right??

    • Someone should do a decent study, but here’s what I’ve myself once come up with: “For example, of the first 50 advertisements listed on Philpapers (on 22 November 2016) for tenure-track or permanent positions 14 (that is, 28%) mention feminist philosophy and/or philosophy of race and gender, either as one desired area of specialization or competence, or as an area in which the successful candidate may be asked to teach (the areas are not always listed among the AOSs or AOCs; they may only show up in the full text of the advertisement). Restricting the job advertisements to the US, the percentage is no doubt higher” (from http://rightlyconsidered.org/2016/12/12/closet-conservatives/).

    • when it comes to “philosophy of X,” there’s lots of stuff with overt or implicit leftist content, but you have to do your research to find a place like the University of Arizona’s Philosophy of Freedom Center. Philosophy of freedom (beyond academic freedom, that is) doesn’t seem to be a big deal in the universities.

  6. These are reasons why I will probably target Christian institutions to apply to when I finish my PhD. My department currently is pretty much all social justice all the time and it’s highly annoying.

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