Heather Mac Donald

S4E9: Heather Mac Donald | Why Did Universities Abandon Their True Mission?

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In this week’s episode Henry speaks with Heather Mac Donald, who is currently the Thomas W. Smith Fellow at the Manhattan Institute. A New York Times best-selling author, she primarily chats with Henry today about, “The Diversity Delusion: How Race and Gender Pandering Corrupt the University and Undermine Our Culture” a book which Mac Donald published in 2018. The discussion today primarily focuses on the value a university education holds within the very complex modern era we exist in now. 

The conversation starts with Mac Donald talking about her experiences on college campuses in modern times versus in the past decades. She views herself as privileged for having attended college when she did, during the 1970’s. Speaking on this, Mac Donald says, “in retrospect, I’m particularly grateful that I was not poisoned by the resentment of the identity politics which would subsequently arrive in the 1980’s”. 

Mac Donald also goes on to talk about the ways in which she has been received at college campuses. She speaks about this changing along with other major shifts at universities and on college campuses. “There’s been degrees of students sticking their fingers in their ears and saying, ‘I don’t want to hear, I don’t want to hear’. I mean, I have been in Federalist Society meetings, say at the Yale Law School, pre-George Floyd, I was talking again about police and the students. There wasn’t a walkout, there wasn’t a temper tantrum.”

During the conversation Mac Donald contends that there are a number of fields where deviating from mainstream thought could be seen as troublesome. She’s beginning to notice the influence of a mob mentality beyond just the world of academia. “It would seem that on average, faculty are not particularly courageous. I’m not sure that they’re any worse than any other profession, because as I’ve recently been writing about, and in the medical profession, you have doctors that are also silent as the ridiculous narrative that medicine is systemically racist, is perpetrated in order to tear down meritocratic standards, they’re largely silent. So very few people are willing to stand up to the mob it would seem.”

Near the end of this episode, Mac Donald remarks on how institutions will use bureaucracy as a means of protecting students against discrimination.

“Every single college is discriminating in their favor, whether it’s in terms of college admissions, hiring, or promotions. So, let’s get rid of this nonsense and try to lower tuition and preserve the reason for being of colleges, which is the transmission of our inheritance”. 

To hear more from this conversation, including more about Mac Donald’s upcoming releases, be sure to listen to this week’s episode of Keeping it Civil.

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