A few weeks back the world woke up to what could quite possibly be the greatest ever scandal in the modern Western academy. Three Anglo-American academics published seven hoax papers in one single year, in top-tier journals, mostly from the field of feminist and gender studies. The papers were remarkable. One of the articles literally was a paraphrase of Hitler’s Mein Kampf, albeit written in a feminist language. It got accepted in a feminist journal.
Anyone who looks up to the Western higher education model as something to be emulated, this comes as a shock and a warning. Ideological disciplines like academic feminism, gender studies, race studies, etc are not that common in other parts of the world, where primary funding for higher education still goes to science, economics and business. But with the growth of student exchanges, research collaborations, and educational departments and campuses spreading, this is a moment of reckoning.
The papers included unscientific garbage, which the hoaxers named as Grievance studies. For example, one paper mentioned fat accumulation and fat bodybuilding is a legitimate idea of health research. Another paper suggested that dog parks are grounds of patriarchy and human behaviour is observable through dogs when they exchange in carnal activities, which demonstrate power dynamics. Another paper said that feminist astrology should replace physics and astronomy. Another suggested that men should be put in chains in classrooms, as a punishment for patriarchy etc. The list goes on, and gives an idea. Unfortunately, most were either accepted or published.
This, needless to mention, is shocking. It’s unbelievable that these disciplines get funded from public tax and are taught at institutions of higher learning. One cannot imagine phrenology, craniometry, flat-earth theory or other pseudoscience will get funded like this, and yet, these disciplines are. Capital spent on these disciplines could be better spent on technology, and public welfare, instead of topics which have zero real-life relevance. However, the social cost of these disciplines is worse. These are the same disciplines which churn out young activists and students, with ideas of feminism and Me Too, and other such social change movements, which then, in turn, are spread in tech sectors and media and other professions. Some of these disciplines and courses are also made compulsory to first-year students, both domestic and foreign, which in turn act as ideological propaganda. It results in the spread of a culture and ideas, some of which will not be welcome in other parts of the globe.
Heather Mac Donald, in her latest book, The Diversity Delusion, highlights the roots to this.
She notes, that all these disciplines, traces its roots from the 60s Sexual Revolution in the West. She writes, “The sexual revolution threw these arrangements aside. From now on, males and females would meet as equals on the sexual battlefield. The ideal of female modesty, the liberationists declared, was simply a cover for sexism. Chivalry was punished…”; the idea being that society and structure should breakdown eventually, if only the ideas of family and hierarchy are broken down.
The result is visible. The stable family as a unit of life has broken down in the West, and in the more traditional non-Western countries, there’s a visible backlash against this. In Hungary, there’s currently a government crackdown, on Gender studies, even though Hungary is part of EU, simply because the Hungarian government noted that this is ideological propaganda, in the name of academia. In India, likewise a movement in support of traditional families is seen, just like in Brazil and some other Lat Am countries, election rhetoric touched upon these ideas. One can only expect this to spread.
These hoax papers, therefore mark a reckoning. The amount of money that these disciplines drain up is enormous and can be used for the actual betterment of people. But more importantly, it showcases a strain of academic cancer, these disciplines, which are simply ideological subversion and unscientific propaganda, and which is spreading and engulfing broader higher education, and leaving its mark on foreign policy and society.