<< News Scan | Main | Sacramento Deputy Sheriff Killed Because of Realignment >>


The Science of Criminology, Distorted by Political Correctness

| 2 Comments
John Paul Wright and Matt DeLisi, writing in the City Journal, identify the primary problem in criminology today: criminologists.

Walter Miller, one of the few mid-twentieth-century criminologists whose work was unapologetically conservative, suggested that ideology can turn "plausibility into ironclad certainty . . . conditional belief into ardent conviction . . . and reasoned advocate into the implacable zealot." When shared beliefs take hold, as they often do in the academic bubble in which most criminologists live, ideological assumptions about crime and criminals can "take the form of the sacred and inviolable dogma of the one true faith, the questioning of which is heresy, and the opposing of which is profoundly evil."

Miller's observations have proved prophetic. Led by the work of Jonathan Haidt, a growing number of scholars now acknowledge that a lack of ideological diversity in the social sciences skews research in favor of leftist claims, which become the guiding principles of many fields, challenged only at the risk of harming one's career. Liberal assumptions go unchecked and tendentious claims of evidence become fact, while countervailing evidence doesn't get published or faces much more rigorous scrutiny than the assertions that it challenges.
This is a major problem that requires more attention from policymakers than it has received.  Nothing is more toxic to science than dogma.  The validity of academia's output depends on assumptions and conclusions being challenged.  If academia has articles of faith that cannot be challenged without risk to one's career, then its output does not deserve confidence. 

Academia is heavily dependent on government funding in various forms.  Government needs to start insisting on diversity of viewpoint in the faculty and freedom to challenge sacred cows as conditions of funding.  Bias against conservative viewpoints in hiring, publication, and tenure decisions should be regarded as serious misconduct and sanctioned accordingly.  (Bias against liberal viewpoints should also, if that actually happened.)

2 Comments

This paragraph hit the nail on the head:

criminologists’ lack of direct contact with subjects, situations, and neighborhoods—their propensity to abstraction—invites misunderstandings about the reality of crime. Most academics have never met with women who have been raped or children who have been molested, or seen the carnage wrought by a bullet that passed through a human skull, or spent a lot of time with police on the street. The gulf between numbers on a spreadsheet and the harsh realities of the world sometimes fosters a romanticized view of criminals as victims, making it easier for criminologists to overlook the damage that lawbreakers cause—and to advocate for more lenient policies and treatment.

Come down from your ivory towers, academics.

Shelby Steele has stated " Disproportionate black involvement in violent crime represents the elephant in the room".

Progressives will not acknowledge this well-established fact and can not or will not see how this makes all police more wary/fearful of their interactions with black offenders.

Leave a comment

Monthly Archives