Saturday, January 06, 2007

It's Not A Small World After All

Ivy League professors who question the received orthodoxies of academe are uncomfortably aware that even tenure is no sure protection against outrage from their colleagues and political partisans.

The hasty departure of Harvard president Lawrence Summers following the outcry against his musings about biological reasons why fewer women study the hard sciences and engineering is a demonstration thereof.

Another Harvard professor may soon find himself in the same predicament for suggesting that the world really doesn't operate like a Benetton ad:

While in Sweden to receive a $50,000 academic prize as political science professor of the year, Harvard’s Robert D. Putnam, a former Carter administration official who made his reputation writing about the decline of social trust in America in his bestseller Bowling Alone, confessed to Financial Times columnist John Lloyd that his latest research discovery—that ethnic diversity decreases trust and co-operation in communities—was so explosive that for the last half decade he hadn’t dared announce it “until he could develop proposals to compensate for the negative effects of diversity, saying it ‘would have been irresponsible to publish without that.’”

In a column headlined “Harvard study paints bleak picture of ethnic diversity,” Lloyd summarized the results of the largest study ever of “civic engagement,” a survey of 26,200 people in 40 American communities:

When the data were adjusted for class, income and other factors, they showed that the more people of different races lived in the same community, the greater the loss of trust. ‘They don’t trust the local mayor, they don’t trust the local paper, they don’t trust other people and they don’t trust institutions,’ said Prof Putnam. ‘The only thing there’s more of is protest marches and TV watching.’

Lloyd noted, “Prof Putnam found trust was lowest in Los Angeles, ‘the most diverse human habitation in human history.’

Professor Putnam could have found the same results in Toronto as well. Our civic leaders regularly bemoan the absence of a common civic identity and cooperation in Toronto, at the same time that they praise Toronto for being the most multicultural city in the world.

There isn't a city here in Toronto, merely an agglomeration of ethnic and economic enclaves.

And while that brings us a plethora of ethnic restaurants and cultural festivals, it doesn't encourage civic cooperation.

Source: American Conservative


William E. Demers said...

It is unfortunate that science is being blurred by politics and the Liberal Newspeak of the 20th/21st centuries.

The fact of the matter is that scientists and scholars are coming out with information that is very contrary to the Liberal "everyone is exactly the same" concepts.

Hopefully more people will have the balls to stand up and defend their findings, amidst the political firestorm.

Anonymous said...

It's amazing how cowardly academics are, they quiver when they find evidence that goes against the groupthink. Cowards.