I'm happy to announce Heterodox Academy.
We are a group of scientists and scholars, mostly in the social sciences, who have come together to advocate more intellectual diversity in academia. We include Jonathan Haidt, Steven Pinker, Charlotta Stern, Dan Klein, Jarret Crawford, Lee Jussim, Scott Lilienfeld, April Kelly-Woessner, Gerard Alexander, Judith Curry, and many others. We launched the website roughly in concert with my and colleagues new paper in Behavioral and Brain Sciences (older preprint here for those without journal access.)
In recent decades, our academic institutions have become strikingly ideological. It would be one thing if we saw competing ideologies battling each other in a war of ideas – it would be disappointing that scholars were sorted into ideologies, rather than looser commitments, but at least different systems and ideas would be in play. The problem in our era is not just that academics are excessively ideological, but that almost all of them subscribe to the same ideology.
This place, this time, is but one place, one time, in the broad sweep. We're part of a story, an enterprise, that began thousands of years ago, and will continue for thousands of years after we're dust.
It would be foolish of us to assume that whatever ideology or philosophy that happened to be popular when we came of age was the last word, or even particularly impressive. It would be lazy and incurious of us to assume that the political landscape of our day should bind us, or should give us the answers to our questions. I think it's time for scholars to realize that the nostrums of the early 21st-century academic left, the cobwebs of Marxism, and the various iterations of structuralism are all well and good, but there is much more between heaven and earth than all of that.
Thus, Heterodox Academy. This isn't particularly about the heavy discrimination against conservatives in academia, though we would certainly benefit from having far more of them in the academy, and certainly in social psychology. We have little hope of achieving a reliability valid social science when its researchers are so invariant and narrow in their culture and politics, as social psychologists are.
This is about bringing in more non-leftists, an unbounded and multidimensional category that extends far beyond one side of a left-right line. It would be a mistake to assume that the only challenge the left faces is from the right. This is about bringing in more moderates, libertarians, idiosyncrats, and perhaps most precious of all, non-political scholars and scientists.
Social psychology in particular would benefit from more researchers who do not derive so much of their identities from their (uniform) political ideology. Leftist activists are using social psychology as a vehicle to wage larger, crass political campaigns. I would not want their opposite numbers on the right to flood into the field – I'd want an influx of sober scientists.