I have hinted several times (here, here, here and here) before that relativism (including moral relativism) is not consistent with the liberal core model (in Lakoffian sense). Instead, postmodernism is used these days as a tactic by conservatives to push their pre-modern views within a modern society. In other words, faced with the reality of a modern world, the only way conservatives can re-intorduce their medieval ideas is by invoking relativism, i.e., equivalence between their view and current view. Thus, they are pushing for so-called "fairness" and "balance" in the media (he said/she said journalism) as that is the only way to get Ann Coulter on TV. Thus, they are pushing for "balance" in schools, as that is the only way they can smuggle Creationism into schools. Thus, they are pushing for "balance" in Academia, as that is the only way Horowitz can force his minions into it. Unfortunately, there is no, and should be no "balance" between their out-dated opinion and the modern understanding of the world, based on empirical data collected by liberals.
So, I was about to write a long post explaining all this, but then I discovered this piece of satire that does the job of explaining this much better than anything I could have written:
Intellectual Diversity at Stanford
But these far-left academics just ignore these devastating critiques. They
continue to pretend their job is to investigate "reality" and believe things
based on "evidence", when everyone can see that these are merely absurd
justifications for them to maintain their positions power and status over
society. And, as has widely been conceded, their advanced "search committees" and "hiring requirements" are just ways to prevent nonconformists from challenging their orthodoxies.
The party of McCarthy must save academic freedom. Wealthy businessmen must pool their resources to fight elitism. Racists and sexists must tout the values of diversity. Conservatives must embrace postmodernism. Hard work? No doubt. But they are bravely willing to sacrifice all credibility to protect our nation’s youth. We should salute their courage.
(via Stanford Discriminates Against Stupidity! on Patternhunter: http://www.patternhunter.com/2005/02/stanford-discriminates-against.html)
I see that Chris has written on the same topic, citing the very same post by Aaron Swartz (
http://mixingmemory.blogspot.com/2005/02/diversity-in-academia-proposed-study.html). Chris is not as blunt as I am, but if you unwrap the tortilla-bread and look at the stuffing, I believe he would agree with me:
Yet, as Aaron Swartz (link via Preposterous Universe), an undergraduate at Stanford, so aptly (though sarcastically) notes in response to claims of discrimination at his university, "diversity," at least in the realm of ideas, is not an inherent goal of universities. Universities are in the business of educating and scholarship, both of which require that ideas be held to some standard, of truth for instance [my emphasis].
...and later adds:
It would be reasonable to say that universities like Stanford discriminate, albeit indirectly, against believers in astronomy and telepathy, as promoters of these ideas will have a very hard time meeting the standards of scholarship that such universities demand. Few of us would argue that universities have a compelling interest to remedy the effects of such discrimination.
...but than states this:
While it may not be fair to compare political conservativism to astronomy and telepathy....
...to which I say: Why not? The whole Part VI (Chapters. 20-23) in Lakoff's "Moral Politics", most of Graff's "What is marriage for?" (particularly Part III) and the whole book "Liars, Lovers, and Heroes: What the Brain Science Reveals About How We Become Who We Are" cover the empirical data on human nature, human development, human behavior, and effects of particular parenting styles on development of offspring's ideology. The basic premises upon conservative worldview is built on have turned out to be wrong. Thus, people who would promulgate conservative ideas by teaching them to the next generation are a couple of centuries out of date in their scholarship. Why should Universities hire them?