Political Correctness Being Replaced by Vapid "Scholasticism"

Ashley Thorne

In an article on Minding the Campus, Mary Grabar cites a recent article from NAS's journal Academic Questions, "The Other Danger...Scholasticism in Academic Research." She writes:

Vacuous language that conveys a fear of giving offense has repercussions in the real world. Writing for the National Association of Scholars, Lawrence M. Mead, professor of politics and public policy at New York University, recently diagnosed a new form of "scholasticism" in his field. Scholars cannot provide solutions to real world problems because of their focus on narrow fields of statistical research. Mead correctly analyzes this trend as more dangerous than the political correctness imposed by "baby boom professors who . . . shifted the academy to the left." These retiring professors are being replaced by "technicians who often lack any politics at all." I would add that in narrow, statistical analysis young scholars find safety from charges of giving offense. Mead is right in seeing this development as a greater threat than political correctness, which "is at least visible and controversial, provoking debate."
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