Hath not a half Korean eyes? Part IV: Conservatism is a mental illness

Prof. John Stackhouse sitting atop his endowed perch as Regent College’s Sangwoo Youtong Chee Professor of Theology, wrote:

You certainly make it clear when dialogue is a waste of time. Your rage and bitterness simply render conversation impossible. I’m frankly glad you’re not in the academy where you can influence people. I hope you’re good at making people money as the “righteous investor” you advertise yourself to be, but I think we’re done listening to you on this subject.

I have been reflecting on why Prof. Stackhouse became so defensive and irate with me for having spoken “blunt” opinions on his blog about affirmative action.  I said that affirmative action waters down the academy by giving less qualified candidates jobs, discriminates against white men and Asians, and shifts jobs from white males to white females.  When I mentioned my own experience of seeing myself and other adjuncts passed systematically in favor of female candidates, he said that in order to create social change some people have to suffer and even he himself has suffered.  Then I became cheeky and said, oh do tell about your suffering–it must be really hard for a full-time professor with a real job with benefits–that really sounds like suffering compared to Adjunct Hell.  That’s when he said that I was full of bitterness and rage.  But why would he do this, I ask myself, to a minority half Asian that I am.  Is it because he is a racist?

I found this blog post by church planter and pastor Wayne Park in which he reviews Soong-Chan Rah’s recent book The Next Evangelicalism.  According to Park, Rah’s book says that by numbers, brown Evangelicals are starting to dominate the scene:  Evangelical Asians, Hispanic and blacks, such as Haitians, are beginning to out number whites, while the whites continue to dominate the structures.  There Park refers to Rah’s contention that bi-cultural Christians are key to multi-ethinic ministry, citing Rah:

The cautious, sensitive biculturalism… is the perfect postmodern prescription for the heroic triumphalism of modernity. Furthermore the call to listen and to gauge others before speaking and acting provides a model for multiethnic ministry… cannot occur without the unique skills offered by bicultural Americans.

The author Rah himself visited the Park’s blog and mentions that when he has broken out of that quiet mold, he is interpreted as angry:

I do think our bi-cultural identity, our willingness to more reflective and to be third culture (as Dave Gibbons puts it) is a definitive plus. I think it will serve us well to accept the ways we live out our identity. What’s interesting to me, however, is that when Asian-Americans break out of that mode/mold, we are labeled as angry and confrontational. As one of my Korean-American colleagues put it, my passion is often mistaken for anger by the majority culture.

Because Park had participated in the dialogue with Stackhouse that led to my banishment, I commented on Park’s blog, hoping that Rah was still tuning in:

Wayne Park, Soong-Chan Rah:
I wonder how you interpret Prof. Stackhouse’s reaction to my admittedly cheeky comments on his blog, saying that it was a clear sign of my rage and bitterness? But you know I gave up being involved in theological education in North America 12 years ago, and am now a DIY investor. If there is no place for me in the evangelical theological education today except in Africa, where I have multiple contacts and many invitations that I could take up, it is because I am perceived as uppity and angry, because I am not willing to keep my mouth shut about the injustices that I see.

Isn’t this what you both are talking about: “What’s interesting to me, however, is that when Asian-Americans break out of that mode/mold, we are labeled as angry and confrontational.” When I complained against affirmative action that it has merely passed privilege in the academy from white males to white females (and I referred to ATS statistics to back up what I was saying) and that Asians have become the new Jews–i.e., subject to quotas, Stackhouse freaked out and blocked me from his blog, telling me in an e-mail that I needed counseling. Thanks for this post, Wayne. Because I’m only half Korean, I’ve always lived and worked among the dominant White culture (BTW, I’m 47, my grandparents came to Hawaii as children among the emigration of Koreans from 1902-1905). I am NEVER aware when I am being treated as just a normal everyday guy or when I am being perceived and treated as an Asian. I’ve always assumed that I’m just like everyone else; so when I’m mistreated (as Stackhouse clearly became ad hominem instead of sticking with the issues), I should just see myself as part of the mistreated white guy category. But maybe my perspective is completely wrong. Of course, I’m also conservative, so it could just be the liberal hegemony in education reacting to my conservatism: my conservatism leads me to promote meritocracy as opposed to affirmative action–as the best way to assure fairness. Asians are harmed by affirmative action and would be greatly benefited by a system of meritocracy, especially in admissions to universities.

I haven’t heard back from Park or Rah.  But I think that Stackhouse’s reaction to me is not racism but my final suggestion.  He saw me espousing pretty solid, mainline conservative views about affirmative action.  So he reacted as any good liberal and concluded that I was a lunatic.  He wrote to me in an e-mail:  “Honestly, I believe you need to get professional counseling to deal with this rage.”  Liberals in academia consider conservatism to be a mental illness.  So for example after googling “Conservatism is a mental illness” I found some surreal articles in which apparently serious academics had done studies which determined that conservatives are deranged.  In one such article, the writer concludes:

Whether it be an unfortunate evolutionary holdover or a mental disease transmitted by our parents—the science is apparently still up in the air—academic researchers have surely amassed enough evidence of psychopathology that conservatism can listed in the next edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Reasonable people, such as the distinguished academic researchers cited here, will no doubt agree that until effective treatments can be developed, we should reconsider whether sufferers of conservatism, like other mental defectives, should be allowed freely to exercise the franchise.

Ok.  So I think that article was satirical but it actually cites a number of academic studies which conclude that conservatism is a pathology.  I don’t think these two articles are satire:

Conservatism As A Mental Disorder – And A Threat, by WaltKelly

Is Conservatism a Mental Illness? states:

Resentment has always appeared to be at the core of modern conservatism. Now it has grown into a visceral aggressive motivation. Greed and [sic] has always been a part of it too, but the current conservatism is rife with selfishness and total disregard for others.

That pretty much describes to a tee Prof. Stackhouse’s view me.  Thus, his insular, provincial world view will not allow him to see me as anything more than a resentful, angry, greedy conservative bent on destroying everything wonderful that he has ever devoted his life to, the liberal diversity project in a Christian setting.  It is sad really.  Because of it, he is blinded to being able to see that the issues that I raise are serious: (1) dropping academic standards; (2) the exploitation of white adjuncts in higher education; (3) discrimination of overachieving minorities (viz. Asians and Jews) and the favoring of targeted minorities and women; (4) young men and boys dropping out, resulting from the favoring of girls and women and feminized schools; (5) The quest for diversity in the West is leading to a robbery of resources from the global church (reproduce below)[update: I see that Prof. Stackhouse has now graciously acknowledge this point].  He’s sees me as motivated by rage, while I am merely holding to the principled and mainstream conservative values of meritocracy and free market.

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Hath not a half Korean eyes? Part III: A dead lamb doesn’t fear a knife

Prof. John Stackhouse sitting atop his endowed perch as Regent College’s Sangwoo Youtong Chee Professor of Theology, has declared me unfit to teach in the academy:

You certainly make it clear when dialogue is a waste of time. Your rage and bitterness simply render conversation impossible. I’m frankly glad you’re not in the academy where you can influence people. I hope you’re good at making people money as the “righteous investor” you advertise yourself to be, but I think we’re done listening to you on this subject.

I don’t really think that I’m filled with rage and bitterness.  That is just Prof. Stackhouse’s opinion.  While I’ve not taught here in North America since 1998, I’ve taught as visiting professor in francophone Africa, and my courses have been largely appreciated, both here and there, especially by the best students.  I was trained at Regent College and had the immense privilege of working as a TA for the formidable New Testament scholar, Prof. Gordon D. Fee.  So I guess I am a little irked that once again that I am on another blacklist because I’ve spoken against the exploitation of adjunct labor.  But at this point I have no ambition, so if I am fighting a battle for young PhD’s who are treated unjustly, it is because I  believe that it is indeed an injustice and because I am not afraid of retribution.  Stackhouse’s backlash therefore doesn’t really damage me because “Cabri mort n’a pas peur de couteau” (“a dead kid doesn’t fear a knife”).    But the young adjunct who is mistreated by a school, particularly an evangelical school, dare not speak up because he will be blacklisted just as I was.  Stackhouse’s judgment upon me is an attempt also to marginalize an Asian, albeit only half Korean.  But it belies completely the idea that he is seeking diversity.  He’s not seeking diversity but monolithic, multi-colored/gendered sameness, as Elderj commented:

The point was that ethnic and “gender” diversity often occurs without any meaningful ideological diversity in which case it doesn’t really broaden the conversation at all. If the goal or aim is to have more voices in the conversation, what good is it if those voices are saying the same thing as what is already present? One could say that certain denominations are doing very well at bringing those voices into the conversation, and yet theologically speaking, they are fairly consistently liberal. Their liberality is not the issue, but rather the stunning lack of diversity of though[t] that is masked by the external seeming diversity of skin color.

Thus, Prof. Stackhouse couldn’t control the conversation.  Elderj who is a campus missionary with a black pentecostal background, and me a half Korean, were undermining his attempt at monolithic diversity.  So Stackhouse accused Elderj of being unintelligible:  what remarkable condescension to tell a black man he is unintelligible just because you don’t like what he is saying!  He accused me, an Asian of being full of rage and bitterness. So ok:  here is how liberal diversity works:  We want to put diversity at the table, but you better damn well say what we tell you to say, or you will become a victim of the politics of personal destruction.  Here is what Elderj said when I praised his contribution to the discussion at Stackhouse’s blog:

Yes, I was more than a little disappointed by [Stackhouse’s] acerbic responses. I’ve come to expect a bit of hubris and condescension from academic types, but was quite surprised to see it in such full on display from someone teaching at a Christian seminary. It seems he is much more interested in agreement than actual discussion, which is troubling. It is extraordinarily illiberal of him. I thought his comments towards you uncharitable in the extreme, given that he knows you not at all and I believe you were simply trying to highlight a different facet of the conversation / issue. Also his unwillingness to engage the substance of either your or my concern was unfortunate.

Seeing that this treatment of two people of diversity could potentially embarrass the esteemed Sangwoo Youtong Chee Professor of Theology, I asked him if he would kindly remove what he said about me: ad hominem comments about my psychological state, my aptness to teach, and my blog, the Righteous Investor.  I offered twice to let him remove all or a part of my awful and offensive comments from his blog.  I told him he could be as insulting as he like about my ideas, as long as he removed the ad hominem remarks, or at least permit me to respond (it seems cowardly to make such an attack and then cut me off from defending myself).,  He said no, they were his opinions, while blunt they were not libelous, and so he just changed it to make it clear it was his opinion (2nd edition, emphasis mine):

You certainly make it clear when dialogue is a waste of time. In my opinion, your rage and bitterness is rendering conversation impossible. I’m frankly glad you’re not in the academy where you can influence people. I hope you’re good at making people money as the “righteous investor” you advertise yourself to be, but I think we’re done listening to you on this subject.

After he refused to removes these remarks, I wrote back to Prof. Stackhouse:

I recognize that they are your opinions.  In fact, I welcome your bluntness, but I don’t understand why you would wish to create a public spectacle.  I am a speck of dust, a dung beetle in the scholarly and academic world compared to you.  You are an international speaker, an esteemed professor at Regent College, and writer of seven books.  I’m nobody.  What could you possibly have to gain from this?’

Well, there you have it.  Prof. Stackhouse has publicly offended a black man and a half Korean, two minorities, two diverse voices, that weren’t saying what he wanted them to say.  Is that the kind of diversity that Regent College is looking for?  Perhaps in the future Prof. Stackhouse’s reasons for insisting upon his public ad hominem attack upon me will be made known, but for now, I am just a little mystified.  In a way, it is quite amusing because the esteemed professor accused Elderj and me of not living up to the standards of the Oxford Union–yet a personal attack is a well-known debate fallacyNo one should wonder that a student uses ad hominem when his teacher resorts to the same fallacious forms of argumentation.  But Stackhouse shows himself to lack care as a scholar :  “I hope you’re good at making people money as the ‘righteous investor’ you advertise yourself to be.”  Actually, I am not an investment adviser nor financial planner.  I am a DIY investor; I invest my own money.  I am not a professional investor and I have a day job.  I do not claim to be the Righteous Investor but strive thereto.  It is important, for the record, to clarify this.  But Stackhouse refused even to correct this error.

Hath not a half Korean eyes? Part One

Hath not a half Korean eyes? II Social justice for me but not for thee

Hath not a half Korean eyes? III A dead lamb doesn’t fear a knife

Hath not a half Korean eyes? IV Conservatism is a mental illness

Hath not a half Korean eyes? V Principled meritocracy

Hath not a half Korean eyes? VI Alumnus squashed

Hath not a half Korean eyes? II. Social justice for me but not for thee

My last comment at the blog of Dr. John G. Stackhouse, Jr., Sangwoo Youtong Chee Professor of Theology at Regent College, was not approved.  I was arguing there that affirmative action has been detrimental to academic standards but also creates social injustices against Jews, Asians and white men, while shifting preferential treatment from white men to white women.  I also argued that the long term effects of affirmative action and feminized education is that boys and young men are dropping out of the picture–that the issue of our day is no longer fairness to women but finding a way of encouraging boys and young men in education again.  Finally, I became a little personal.  I revealed my own personal frustration with affirmative action.  I was discouraged from seeking employment in the academics because the selection of candidates was based not on academic merit but on being a member of preferred gender or race.  I figured that dropping out of the rat race, I would be doing myself and others a favor, because I would not have to compete with other white males over the few jobs that weren’t given to preferred diversity candidates.

Prof. Stackhouse, Sangwoo Youtong Chee Professor of Theology at Regent College, maintains that diversity is necessary in the academy, especially a place like Regent College.  While I may grant this premise to a certain extent, I said that diversity should never trump high academic standards in the hiring process–which many academics recognize as a serious problem–but not Stackhouse. He trivialized my concerns, said that he felt bad for the victims, and then said that he too has suffered:

I feel badly for each and every one of those victims and, as I wrote before, I have myself been victimized by that process. (No, P. W. Dunn, I am not singing the blues, but you have no idea what it has been like for me as a privileged white male to make his way in the academy over the last three decades. So please stop assuming that it has been Easy Street just because I have managed to secure employment.) But no major social change occurs without problems. That’s what happens in the Real World.

I found this actually quite amusing.  The power structures exploiting the glut of white male PhD’s is a well acknowledge problem in the academy and while even some other progressives are apologetic about the injustice to the burros of Academia, Stackhouse’s response is like, I’m sorry, but you know, I’ve suffered more than you.  In our society today it is all about who can portray themselves as the biggest victim, harboring the centuries of injustice and rancour.  So naturally, Stackhouse, when confronted with the serious injustice caused by the social engineering of affirmative action, has to portray himself as a bigger victim.  I therefore responded:

Prof. Stackhouse: Thanks for this reply.

You know I didn’t realize the degree to which full-time professors with tenure suffer because they are privileged white males. Please tell us more so that I might have some appropriate empathy for your situation. I think that you must obviously be a much bigger victim than I could ever be.

As an insufficiently diverse person, I should just be happy that other people, who may be inferior scholars, will be given preference for academic jobs because they have the correct biological plumbing or skin colour. That’s like the story I heard when the full time faculty learned that the white male adjuncts had no real jobs–they said, well let them eat cake!

To institute social change which makes victims is one thing: the ends justify the means, don’t they? But then do you expect the victims to go away quietly? What do you think is the appropriate response to people or from people who have become the victims? Your response is to say to them that they have no idea how much YOU have suffered and then expect them to play nice? But many of my people–young white male scholars are made to suffer silently because they have been the beneficiaries of many years, excuse me, centuries, of discrimination against our women? But I wonder, do you think that Asians who have been the victims of affirmative action should also shut up? How does that square with the notion of fairness towards minorities? One of my big problems with affirmative action as a means of ending discrimination is that it perpetuates unfairness. That’s why the Asians are the new Jews. It seems that the advocates of fairness weren’t upset that unfairness existed–they were upset because they weren’t benefiting from it.

I had invited Stackhouse to explain how he as a full-time professor has suffered injustice from affirmative action, and he tacitly refused to elaborate, other than being passed over for a research grant.  I am pretty sure why he didn’t elaborate.  It was because he would have only strengthened my case further that affirmative action in its quest for diversity undermines the rewarding of merit.  Therefore, he chose instead to attack me personally, my career, and my blog (1st edition):

You certainly make it clear when dialogue is a waste of time. Your rage and bitterness simply render conversation impossible. I’m frankly glad you’re not in the academy where you can influence people. I hope you’re good at making people money as the “righteous investor” you advertise yourself to be, but I think we’re done listening to you on this subject.

My first reaction is that this is a form of childish backlash.  Stackhouse has his little diversity project at Regent College and he doesn’t want anyone to challenge it.  Though I am used to a level of attack in blogging, I didn’t expect such a public reprimand from someone who is so brilliant and well-established as Prof. Stackhouse.  So here is my response which he blocked:

I’m sorry Prof. Stackhouse.  I thought I was adding a diverse voice to this discussion.  Mea culpa.

But since you are trying to promote diversity, I think that you have serious problem when you want to define away certain kinds of diverse opinions.  It makes it look like you are the one who is making discussion impossible, because when someone disagrees, he is accused of rage and bitterness, unhappiness, weirdness, lack of both focus and intelligibility. Since rage and bitterness are both great sins, you are now perfectly justified in excluding me permanently from both the discussion and the academy, at least as far as it depends upon you.

But if you’ve suffered, I’d like to hear about it.  I’ve opened up to you and your readers at great risk.  I am now on your blacklist, at least as potential faculty at Regent College (I said above that this was going to happen), which has a very large evangelical base.  Well, too bad for me I guess.

But I’m not quite sure why you’ve chosen to bring up my blog, the Righteous Investor and my recent attempt at DIY investing.  Are you saying, “Well you better be good at that because you can kiss your academic career goodbye”?  This is precisely why I’ve claimed that most young white scholars who become victims of affirmative action are reticent to speak what is in their hearts: not only will they be accused of rage and bitterness, as well as sexism and racism, but they will be permanently banned from academics.  Diversity is such a wonderful thing!

Prof. Stackhouse wrote to me an offline message that he had to screen my comment because I was so angry that my contributions were so extreme and vitriolic that they were not helpful to the conversation.  He suggested that I get counseling and that he would not allow me to comment again on his blog until I could speak the truth in love.

 

Hath not a half Korean eyes? Part One

Hath not a half Korean eyes? II Social justice for me but not for thee

Hath not a half Korean eyes? III A dead lamb doesn’t fear a knife

Hath not a half Korean eyes? IV Conservatism is a mental illness

Hath not a half Korean eyes? V Principled meritocracy

Hath not a half Korean eyes? VI Alumnus squashed

 

Hath not a half Korean eyes? Part I

Prof. John Stackhouse sitting atop his endowed perch as Regent College’s Sangwoo Youtong Chee Professor of Theology, has declared me unfit to teach in the academy:

You certainly make it clear when dialogue is a waste of time. Your rage and bitterness simply render conversation impossible. I’m frankly glad you’re not in the academy where you can influence people. I hope you’re good at making people money as the “righteous investor” you advertise yourself to be, but I think we’re done listening to you on this subject.

Why did he do this?  Well, he wrote a blog post in celebration “International Woman’s Day: Who needs it?”  A theology student then challenged him about the lack of female representation on the faculty and board of Regent College.  Then Prof Stackhouse went into full apologetic mode, saying that despite actively recruiting diverse faculty, Regent College remains underrpresented.  This is where I came in as a half Korean who has never been recruited for anything in academics (well except my current writing project for on the Acta Pauli in CChrSA–but that wasn’t based upon being a half Korean), but especially never ever the prestigious Regent College Faculty.  So I wrote:

I left academics precisely over issues like affirmative action. I entered the job market at a time when hundreds of resumes of men were being thrown in the garbage to consider the handful of women scholars; such preferential hiring could not but have a detrimental affect on the quality of educational institutions. One result is that if you are female, you are now more likely to go to university. A lot of people are going to be offended by what I say, but they will have a hard time defending, based on academic standards, the narrowing of the hiring pool to the small percentage of female candidates.

I was asked if I really believed this to be true.  So I wrote:

I for one do not believe that the sacrifice of quality at the altar of diversity has been beneficial to academic standards in higher learning. Before I started job hunting, one of the colleagues in my field, explained to me how they did a job search at his California University (this was in circa 1994). He testified that they would receive maybe 100 applications. They would take the 95 or so from men and file them in the trash. Then they would choose three from the five women applicants and interview them, and then choose the best candidate from those three.

This means then that a woman can find a job in academics quite easily and men have a much harder time. This scenario is confirmed even by Prof. Stackhouse’s own confession above. Faculties will go out of their way to “recruit” women, but to hire a man, they just have to post the position and the applications come in.

The same holds true for racial minorities of the correct sort–forget it if you are either Jewish or Asian; that won’t help, because these are over-represented minorities–in fact only the best Chinese or Jewish kids can even get into some schools.

Now imagine if they did this with the NBA. Ok. We are going to give half-Korean men (they are underrepresented in the NBA, quelle horreur!) and females the preference for hiring. How long would it be before people would stop even watching the NBA and just start watching European league basketball instead? But in academics they’ve been selecting the team not to win championships (based strictly on the people with the best talent and the strongest dossier) but to create diversity–then telling the entire world that the team is better because of it. Well perhaps the faculty page on the website looks less monolithic, but I would rather watch European league academics where the concept of diversity has been much slower in catching on.

Then, I was accused of believing that “Europeans-based races excell intellectually and academically over other races”:  I said that I wasn’t saying that whites were smarter than half Koreans or other diversified people–the thought never occurred to me.  I was only arguing that preferential hiring would have a negative effect on academic standards.  Then, it suggested that I held to the assumption that women and minorities were second rate by academic standards, I said:

If women and minorities are not second rate, then there is no need to give their applications preferential treatment. They can compete in the general pool of applicants. I don’t agree with the assumption either and so I believe that preferential hiring must stop.

This discussion led to Prof. Stackhouse to start another blog post called, On Behalf of Diversity in Academic Hiring:  Part One; I think perhaps he thought by opening up another post, he could then get me to focus my bitterness and rage against something other than his post celebrating International Women’s Day.   This was a brilliant move on his part.  This will be discussed in part two of this series.

Hath not a half Korean eyes? Part One

Hath not a half Korean eyes? II Social justice for me but not for thee

Hath not a half Korean eyes? III A dead lamb doesn’t fear a knife

Hath not a half Korean eyes? IV Conservatism is a mental illness

Hath not a half Korean eyes? V Principled meritocracy

Hath not a half Korean eyes? VI Alumnus squashed