From the Comments: Organizational Ecology, François Nielsen, and the Lack of Diversity in Higher Education

Jacques elaborates on my observations about the lack of diversity in the social sciences and humanities:

One small comment. You said “left wing thought.” It was true when I began my career in the 70s. I have seen the “thought” part perish in my lifetime. They are now simply a bastion of leftism with almost no thought at all but just tedious repetitiousness. Thought does not normally flourish in the midst of consensus. My friend Dr François Nielsen at U of North Carolina wrote some vigorous things on the subject. (He was trained in the same program as Dr Amburgey and myself.)

I asked Jacques for some sources, and he provided a couple (a pdf here and a short video here). The “same program” Jacques is writing of was Stanford’s sociology department back in the late 60s and early 70s, when Organizational Ecology was prominent (I’ll leave it up to Delacroix and Amburgey to elaborate on the details).

Speaking of diversity, Amburgey disagrees with Delacroix’s (and my) assessment. He thinks the lack of diversity has to do with the rise of STEM. The entire ‘comments’ thread is well worth reading through.

The Minimum Wage and Stupid National Public Radio

Two things on my mind this Bastille Day 2012. The first is who is more stupid, French leftists or American liberals? I have life-long knowledge of both tribes. At this point, I think French leftists are smarter but more dishonest that their American cousins. In general, there is a certain artlessness about deception in ordinary Americans. The French are often artful; can’t take that away from them.

The second matter on my mind is that constant struggle to avoid using nasty epithets in connection with liberals’ statements. One that keeps coming up is the simple “stupid.” I scrupulously avoid the word on this blog and in my other writings. Yet, there are informational events that sort of self-label with no escape possible. Here is one, below.

It’s shortly after 5 pm on Sunday July 10th 2012. I am in my pick-up truck listening to National Public Radio. (I know the combination is jarring.) There an in-depth discussion of the minimum wage. That’s always interesting. Conservatives make an apparently impeccable theoretical argument against: Minimum wage laws create unemployment among the most vulnerable categories of the work force. Liberals sometimes make sophisticated arguments for the minimum wage. Behind those, however, I always find the usual combination of mindless jeremiads of “sad” and “unfair.” But, it seems to me that the empirical evidence supporting the conservative position against minimum wages is on the thin side. Listening to a relaxed radio show from the Left could be a good way to find out more. Continue reading

Conservative National Public Radio

It’s Sunday evening and I am listening to NPR while driving home. I am neither apologizing for this nor confessing. I listen to FM stations that carry NPR for their music programs. I listen to NPR itself for the story-telling show, “This American Life,” and for “A Prairie Home Companion.” I even listen to political programs that are locally produced and carried by NPR affiliates because it’s good for me to know what the enemy is thinking. The day of the week matters in this story because I am pretty sure the Sunday spots don’t go to stars. […] The presenter, whose name I did not catch, is interviewing on air another NPR person, a reporter who did and investigation on the topic: Does NPR have a left-wing bias? Imagine!

The presenter snickers at the sound of the name of the investigation. The reporter reports in some detail on the results of his inquiry. It turns out NPR does not have a left-wing bias at all. In fact, it’s to the right of the Wall Street Journal on some issues, he asserts. The presenter snickers.

I don’t have much of an opinion on the investigation itself. I did not hear much about the methods used except that they involved both self-identified liberals and conservatives keeping a journal. I don’t have much against this soft methodology. It’s used all the time. It’s known to be soft; it does not make it useless. I am a little perplexed by the findings because, of course, I am convinced NPR has a left-wing bias. Yet, it’s not the job of research, it should not be the job of research, to comfort our received ideas. One of the ways you know good research in the social sciences, in fact, is that it shakes trees and allows rotten fruits to fall to the ground. Continue reading