5 thoughts on “The next time”

  1. One might, however, pause and ask him how many liberal Democrats one finds in the Religious Studies department. Or Accounting.

    It’s not that he doesn’t have a point about sociology departments; it’s that the silent implication/inference that it therefore applies across the entire campus is egregiously wrong, and the sort of logical error that one would not expect from anyone with a classical education (right, Mr Gruber?).

    And the point about the sociology department is rather reflexive, as “sociology” as it has been known since the 1940s rejected/rejects presumptions about the merits of the status quo, and since the fall of the Dixiecrats the “merits of the status quo” have been deemphasized in the Democratic Party. (N.B. I have clients who are “sociologists” and who write books — even bestsellers, you’ve almost certainly at least heard of a couple of them — about race relations. We’ve discussed this in some detail over the years.)

    • Actually, the gap does apply across the entire campus. And there are plenty of liberal Democrats in Religious Studies departments.

      • Tony, it depends very much on the campus, and even moreso on whether merely being a “Democrat” necessarily means “liberal.” At a certain well-known school in Connecticut, there are (if I recall correctly) three liberal Democrats at the Divinity School… and half-a-dozen Democrats that if you actually ask their views you’ll discover range from centrists to borderline Dixiecrats. At one of the institutions from which I have a degree, there is one (centrist) Democrat in Religious Studies; at the other, there are two (centrist) Democrats leavened by an actual honest-to-god (pun intended) member of the American Socialist Party.

        My point was that the implication that it’s universal and extreme has no warrant, in Toulmin’s terms; or falls prey to the inductive fallacy, in classical-logic terms. And we don’t even need to question whether, say, Baylor University would even recognize the problem.

        It’s bad logic in service of an attractive soundbite. I expect better from a cultural advocate of Sowell’s background and prominence and academic achievements. (I should add that I’ve been reading Sowell with interest since the 1980s. Not always — perhaps not usually — with agreement, but with interest.)

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