CounterCurrent: Week of 2/21
In 2018, John McWhorter remarked that “third-wave antiracism is a profoundly religious movement in everything but terminology.” I think that the same sentiment is applicable to virtually all of “woke” leftism. The woke no longer see their ideology as a set of views they wish to defend, but rather as indisputable facts of doctrine that are to be promulgated with a religious fervor, one in which saints are lionized and heretics are punished. And within this new religion, there is an accompanying (un)holy trinity: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI).
DEI is, of course, nothing new. If you’ve stepped foot on a college campus in the last ten years, you’ve likely seen the terms plastered over every department office, library, and student service center in sight. But at least the language was primarily limited to the wishy-washy missives of social justice bureaucrats, and professors could more or less mind their own business. This is no longer the case. As the DEI religion continues to gain adherents within universities’ staff and executive leadership, the professoriate comes next and is already full of converts old and new alike.
And how do you ensure that professors of any academic field, regardless of their personal interest in ideological battles, recite and practice DEI dogma? The first step is to make it a necessary part of their career advancement, and an increasing number of institutions are doing just that.
The latest is the University of Utah (U of U), whose Physics & Astronomy department has proposed the requirement of DEI “work” as part of a professor’s eligibility for retention, promotion, and tenure. We were alerted to this proposal by a U of U physics professor who will, for now, remain anonymous.
I analyze the Department’s proposed language at length here. Suffice it to say here that U of U Physics & Astronomy believes that all faculty “should make EDI [its rearranged variant of DEI] part of their work as faculty members,” which entails all sorts of “inclusive” teaching philosophy and practices. This is an alarming assertion and does not bode well for the future of academia (it also proves that not even the hard sciences are safe from DEI influence).
Professors can no longer wholly devote themselves to dispassionate research—they must now incorporate an impassioned defense of religious dogma into their work in order to have a chance to advance in their careers. Naturally, for those who wish to stay within the academy, true scholarship will take a backseat to progressive activism. Those who wish not to engage in said activism will be forced out of higher education altogether. The National Association of Scholars urges the University of Utah and all other institutions proposing similar mandates to withdraw the language from their faculty policies immediately, so that professors can get back to the jobs for which they were hired in the first place: disinterested research and disinterested teaching. Anything more is a perversion of higher learning and will only work to deepen the rot we already observe today.
Oh, and before I close out, if you would like to voice your concerns about this proposed ideological litmus test directly to the University of Utah, you can reach the president’s office here: [email protected], and the department chair of the physics & astronomy department, Christoph Boehme, here: [email protected]. Keep it civil.
CounterCurrent is the National Association of Scholars’ weekly newsletter, written by Communications & Research Associate David Acevedo. To subscribe, update your email preferences here.
Image: Ben White, Public Domain