Friday, June 04, 2004


I have just come across another bit of "sophisticated" debate on the blog of a Leftist academic. Get this from Brian Leiter: "Yes, it's true that when you raise the intellectual bar high, as serious universities do, you get fewer right-wing kooks, but that simply doesn't mean there is political indoctrination going on at universities. The fact that the U.S. has moved farther to the right during the same time period when the universities have allegedly moved to the left ought to be taken as empirical confirmation of that point." I guess that as a dumb psychologist I may have missed the point of this clever bit of legal reasoning but he seems to be saying that if more people are conservative and the universities are more leftist, the universities can only have got that way by raising their academic standards. But does not that equate higher intellectual standards with greater Leftism? So is he not assuming what he has to prove?

And it is presumably true by definition that "kooks" will be excluded by a higher intellectual standards but why does a higher intellectual standard exclude right-wing kooks only? Are we again asserting that only rightists are kooks? It appears that we are. Otherwise, why put "right-wing" in front of kooks? In Leiter's case, it would appear that abuse and assertion has taken the place of evidence and reasoning. I feel sorry for the law students he is allegedly teaching at the University of Texas. Or maybe my studies in analytical philosophy have just not equipped me for Leiter's version of logic. Maybe I am just a "kook".


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