Commentary: The Death Spiral of Academia

Library with several people at library tables, working.

On March 1, Eric Kaufmann published a remarkably detailed and comprehensive study of bias in academia, “Academic Freedom in Crisis: Punishment, Political Discrimination, and Self-Censorship.” Kaufmann’s writing is a product of California’s Center for the Study of Partisanship and Ideology, a small think tank set up to do research forbidden in today’s Academy. His research uncovering rampant leftist political bias in publication, employment, and promotion in the academy—and discrimination against anything right-of-center—qualifies as that kind of work.

In the academy, the free interchange of competing ideas creates knowledge through cooperation, disagreement, debate, and dissent. Kaufmann finds that the last three are severely suppressed and punished. This repression’s pervasiveness may be a death sentence for science, free inquiry, and the advancement of knowledge in our universities.

I am led to that dire conclusion because there doesn’t appear to be any way for universities to prevent it. No solution can arise from within the academy, as it self-selects lifetime faculty that are largely left-wing, making promotion of dissidents highly unlikely. Kaufmann demonstrates profoundly systemic discrimination by leftist faculty against their colleagues who disagree with them politically.

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