All that has been said and thought in the West is routinely brought before the tribunal of what one commentator once aptly called “the holy trinity” of race, sex, and class. Actually, it is even worse than this, for it isn’t just racism, sexism, and classism for which academia condemns the West. The latter is also guilty of “speciesim,” bias against non-humans; “ableism,” bias against the handicapped or “differently-abled;” and “ageism,” bias against those of a specific age group.
Many commentators on the right regularly charge leftists generally, and leftist academics in particular, with endorsing “moral relativism.” It should be clear by now that this charge is misplaced.
Of course it is correct that there is no short supply of leftist academics who disavow “absolutism.” And there are many who claim to be relativists.
But I have never met or even heard of an academic who really is a relativist. The leftists who dominate the academy, whether they style themselves “relativists” or not, are like jihadists or crusaders when it comes to their creed. As far as they are concerned, either others convert to their cause or risk a kind of social—and/or professional—death: ostracism and demonization. Leftist academics are absolutists in the worst sense of this word.
Before deciding as to whether they want to pledge to a university their precious time and treasure, aspiring college students and/or their guardians need to know what life in academia is really like.
Jack Kerwick received his doctoral degree in philosophy from Temple University. His area of specialization is ethics and political philosophy. He is a professor of philosophy at several colleges and universities in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Jack blogs at Beliefnet.com: At the Intersection of Faith & Culture. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or friend him on facebook. You can also follow him on twitter.