It’s a sure sign of what I call "political excess," evidence that gigantic crises are about to change attitudes on a mass basis.
For decades an essential part of the current Thesis was that a "political correctness" pushes major universities to the left. Exhibit A has always been Yale University in New Haven.
In fact this was never true. There were liberals there, always have been. But there were also conservatives there. George W. Bush and William F. Buckley are Yale people. The Clintons went to the Law School.
What really determines what happens at Yale is the eternal search for more money. Generally this doesn’t determine who gets a job — money tends to follow quality.
But when a Thesis reaches its peak, when the system is under the most peril, money (always a lagging political indicator) can triumph. While man usually bites God, sometimes God (in the form of Mammon) bites man.
Thus, a top committee there has rejected the appointment of Prof. Juan Cole of Michigan to its Middle East Studies department. This despite his overwhelming endorsement by an assortment of lower committees.
And that’s the problem. In his no-holes-barred blog, Informed Comment,
he pulls no punches. And this is apparently what lost him the Yale gig.
Yet by the normal rules of "publish or perish," Cole is more published
than anyone. Thanks in part to his blog, he has built the kind of
reputation you build departments around, not the kind you dismiss.
Frankly, Cole is better off. Any University that lets money or
political influence trump its academics is, by definition, not an elite
university. Elihu Yale has become Bob Jones.
The Yale Middle East Studies department has just erected a giant "second rate" sign on its front door.
I wonder if Rice is hiring…