There's an easy way to know when your team will be on the losing side of some political debate. It's when you and your compadres feel an overwhelming need to silence the opposition. Do you notice any strong movement to silence flat earthers, or creationists, or even white supremacists? I don't. Their views may range from the crazy to the reprehensible -- but who cares? Let them talk! Nobody's paying any attention to them anyway. It's only when your opponents start getting some traction in the debate and you start to get that nagging feeling that they just might be right that you will feel the urgent need to take action to shut them up.
Unfortunately shutting up your opponents will not work forever. For the archetype of this genre, think of the extraordinary dissent-suppression machine of Soviet communism: seven decades of slaughtering millions of dissenters and sending millions more to the gulag, yet somehow the dissenters triumphed, and it was the Soviet Union itself that ended up on the scrapheap of history. Plenty more countries are headed down the same path today.
Here in the U.S., we do have the First Amendment, but it is always under attack; and there are numerous examples of dissent suppression and orthodoxy enforcement out there in various fields where those in power sense that they may be at risk of losing their grip. The Manhattan Contrarian does its best to expose and ridicule these soon-to-be losers. For example, in the field of climate science, I have covered here and here the efforts of orthodoxy enforcers to exclude dissenters from academic positions and from publishing in scientific journals. In the field of nutrition, discussed here, orthodoxy enforcers have tried to suppress those who point out that government diet science has been dead wrong for decades.
For today's subject, let us consider the question of the causes of wage and hiring gaps in the American workforce. Statistics show that women and certain minority groups, particularly blacks, earn less than white men in their jobs, and are hired less frequently for certain jobs than are white men. What is the explanation for these "gaps"? Could the explanation by "sexism" or "racism" by evil white men who hold all the power? Or do those explanations not really hold up?
If you follow this subject even a little, you will be aware that "sexism" and "racism" are the official orthodox explanations for these phenomena, and any efforts to refute those explanations or offer more plausible alternatives will be met with ruthless enforcement of the official orthodoxy. This is the topic, more than any other, that draws angry campus mobs to shout down invited speakers and to force them to be "disinvited" from speaking engagements at academic institutions. Scholars known for challenging the official orthodoxy on this subject -- and for getting shouted down or violently attacked on campuses as a result -- include Charles Murray and Christina Hoff Sommers, both associated with the American Enterprise Institute. Murray is the guy whose proposed speech at Middlebury College last March was canceled after violent protests left several injured. Sommers's most recent shout-down took place just last month at Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon.
Well, there are more ways to silence your adversaries than just to shout them down when they try to speak. The current issue of The Weekly Standard has a fairly extraordinary example of a new way to enforce the orthodoxy on this subject of wage and hiring gaps. The article is titled "The Politicization of the MCAT." The MCAT is the Medical College Admission Test -- the test every aspiring physician must take in seeking admission to medical school. The test is administered by something called the Association of American Medical Colleges. Over the past couple of years, the AAMC has revised the MCAT with a view to putting the profession of medicine on a path toward "social justice." Per The Weekly Standard, here are two questions that have now found their way onto the MCAT -- along with the officially correct answers:
One MCAT practice question (from a collaboration between the AAMC and online-education nonprofit Khan Academy), for example, asks whether the wage gap between men and women is the result of bigotry, sexism, racism, or biological differences (no other options are provided, and the "correct" answer is sexism). Another asks whether the "lack of minorities such as African Americans or Latinos/Latinas among university faculty members" is due to symbolic racism, institutional racism, hidden racism, or personal bias (the correct answer is institutional racism).
You don't agree that these are the correct answers? Well then, I guess you will not pass through the gate to become a doctor in this country!
If you would like to get some perspective on whether these explanations hold up, you might consider this piece from Ms. Sommers in The Daily Beast in February 2014, title "The Gender Wage Gap Myth." Sommers notes that then-President Obama had just cited the "gender wage gap" of 23% in his 2014 State of the Union address. Summers's comment:
What is wrong and embarrassing is the President of the United States reciting a massively discredited factoid. The 23-cent gender pay gap is simply the difference between the average earnings of all men and women working full-time. It does not account for differences in occupations, positions, education, job tenure, or hours worked per week. When all these relevant factors are taken into consideration, the wage gap narrows to about five cents. And no one knows if the five cents is a result of discrimination or some other subtle, hard-to-measure difference between male and female workers.
Considering what might account for the remaining 5% of the "gender wage gap," Sommers quotes statistics as to percentages of men and women in the college majors that are associated with the highest and lowest paying careers. Here are "ten most remunerative majors compiled by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce":
1. Petroleum Engineering: 87% male
2. Pharmacy Pharmaceutical Sciences and Administration: 48% male
3. Mathematics and Computer Science: 67% male
4. Aerospace Engineering: 88% male
5. Chemical Engineering: 72% male
6. Electrical Engineering: 89% male
7. Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering: 97% male
8. Mechanical Engineering: 90% male
9. Metallurgical Engineering: 83% male
10. Mining and Mineral Engineering: 90% male
And here are "the ten least remunerative majors" from the same source:
1. Counseling Psychology: 74% female
2. Early Childhood Education: 97% female
3. Theology and Religious Vocations: 34% female
4. Human Services and Community Organization: 81% female
5. Social Work: 88% female
6. Drama and Theater Arts: 60% female
7. Studio Arts: 66% female
8. Communication Disorders Sciences and Services: 94% female
9. Visual and Performing Arts: 77% female
10. Health and Medical Preparatory Programs: 55% female
How again did those devious male oppressors somehow force the women to choose these majors known to all to be the "least remunerative"? Got me. Anyway, don't try to give the answer of "they chose non-remunerative college majors" when asked on the MCAT as to the explanation for the "gender wage gap." That's not one of the options.
Go ahead and try to suppress the facts, guys. The more ruthless you become, the more obvious it will be to everyone that you have lost the debate.
I just signed up to attend an event called the "Disinvitation Dinner," to be held in a couple of weeks, where Charles Murray will be the speaker. It will be at an undisclosed location here in Manhattan.