There’s one thing that’ll get you in more trouble today than telling a big lie.
Voicing a simple truth.
Professor Stuart Reges found this out the hard way. He was demoted and put on probation by his employer, the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering in Seattle, after addressing the issue of why so few women enter his field. His striking conclusion?
The computer scientist didn’t claim that women were only happy barefoot and pregnant, though you wouldn’t know it by the uproar following what he actually did say: Women don’t frequently enter computer science because — wait for it — they don’t want to.
The professor’s problems started after penning the 2018 Quillette article “Why Women Don’t Code.” “I believe that women are less likely than men to want to major in computer science and less likely to pursue a career as a software engineer,” he wrote, “and that this difference between men and women accounts for most of the gender gap we see in computer science degree programs and in Silicon Valley companies.”
Reges’ piece, replete with data and logical argumentation, was one of the 10 most read on Quillette in 2018 and was even shared by famed Canadian psychology professor Jordan Peterson. It wasn’t, however, too popular among the pseudo-elites within and without the University of Washington (of which the Allen School is a part).
As Reges related Saturday at Quillette, “My position is not tenured and when my current three-year appointment came up for review in December, I was stripped of my primary teaching duties and given a highly unusual one-year probationary appointment.”
Not surprisingly, the cowardly Allen School academics and administrators deny that Reges is being persecuted for his beliefs, but a colleague revealed to him privately that an “angry mob” has been targeting him every since his article’s publication. In the same craven vein, a blogger published an article impugning Reges, anonymously, and disseminated it widely around the school via e-mail.
In reality, the professor’s assertion about women in tech is vindicated by both experience and scientific studies. As to the latter, the Norwegian documentary “The Gender Equality Paradox” (which I often cite), presented below, illustrates how the truth is the precise opposite of what the “gender theorists” predicted: The more freedom women have to choose career paths, the less likely they are to select traditionally masculine fields. For freedom means women can follow their hearts — which lead to things feminine.
Reges’ original article was actually quite politically correct, and he thought his job would be safe. Jordan Peterson warned him otherwise (tweet below), citing as a cautionary tale the fate of James Damore, a Google employee who was fired in 2017 for expressing views similar to Reges’.
Make no mistake about it: the Damore incident has already established a precedent. Watch what you say. Or else. https://t.co/3Zzg1g2y9C— Dr Jordan B Peterson (@jordanbpeterson) June 19, 2018
Yet both professors are wrong about the precedent. Speaking of unfashionable group differences has long been a third rail of American social commentary. Just consider how Larry Summers was forced out of the Harvard University presidency in 2005 for voicing views akin to Reges’ (though he focused more on “intrinsic aptitude” than inclination).
Reflecting the same pc phenomenon, toy company Mattel took heat in 1992 for creating a talking Barbie doll that, among other things, said “Math class is tough!” Ah, the patriarchy stigmatizing the lasses again, huh? Hardly. Mattel actually heard the sentiment from girls themselves during market research, finding it common among them.
But it doesn’t matter what girls say about girls or what science does; the social engineers have their story (ideology, really) and they’re stickin’ to it. One indication of this is that a “working group” formed in response to Reges’ article (“Create a serious crisis where there is none,” is the principle — “and then never let it go to waste”), issued recommendations largely as relevant to computing as a cupcake recipe. One calls for a “relaxation of grading on coding style,” meaning, an affirmative-action inspired dumbing down of standards. Then there are the following, Reges relates:
• The addition of an indigenous land acknowledgement to the syllabus. (In other words, the school will state that Europeans stole all the land in this country from the native Americans.)
• The use of gender-neutral names such as Alex and Jun instead of Alice and Bob.
• The use of names that reflect a variety of cultural backgrounds: Xin, Sergey, Naveena, Tuan, Esteban, Sasha.
• An avoidance of references that depend on cultural knowledge of sports, pop culture, theater, literature, or games.
• The replacement of phrases like “you guys” with “folks” or “y’all.”
• A declaration of instructors’ pronouns and a request for students’ pronoun preferences.
Then there’s the rampant contradiction. For example, Reges points out that the social engineers claim women are “underrepresented” in computer tech because “men have created a culture that matches their values and interests.” Yet how “is that possible if men and women don’t differ in fundamental ways?” he asks.
And how could people acknowledge that men have different “interests,” but then hiss at the claim that they just may be more interested in computer tech? It’s simple, and this is something conservatives ignore at their own peril: The ideologues known as “leftists” couldn’t care less what the Truth is.
People oriented toward it don’t fall into such obvious and frequent contradiction, because Truth doesn’t contradict itself. But those governed by emotion do because it changes with the wind.
This is why I so often warn about the relativism (the denial of Truth) prevalent in our time. It explains much. Relevant here is that when a Truth-oriented person finds that his ideological platform conflicts with Truth, he’ll alter the platform. But deniers of Truth elevate something else — often their ideology — into its position. Then, when that conflict occurs, they rationalize away the Truth. It’s a matter of worshiping the wrong “god.’
Speaking of which, Reges himself worships the spirit of the age, paying homage to “diversity” and “equality.” But the fundamental question here is never asked: How is the world somehow better, and women in any way happier, when more females enter computer science? Is this the secret to contentment? Aside from Joe Biden, are we now going to hear “Learn to code” from the pulpit and self-help gurus?
In fact, an even greater sex imbalance exists among oil rig workers, bricklayers, and garbage collectors — and in workplace fatalities, 92 percent of which involve men. Will the world be better if male-female parity is achieved in these areas? Will the “woke” social engineers even notice these disparities?
The truth is that equality tells us nothing about quality (as explained here). It’s wholly irrelevant.
The truth also is that leftists couldn’t care less. They’ll enforce their will for the same reason why free women choose their careers: They want to.
Photo: IvelinRadkov / iStock / Getty Images Plus
Selwyn Duke (@SelwynDuke) has written for The New American for more than a decade. He has also written for The Hill, Observer, The American Conservative, WorldNetDaily, American Thinker, and many other print and online publications. In addition, he has contributed to college textbooks published by Gale-Cengage Learning, has appeared on television, and is a frequent guest on radio.