NJIT and Rutgers Newark Faculty Demand Alt-Right Colleague Be Fired


Members of the faculty and staff of the Federated History Department at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) and Rutgers University, Newark have called for Jason Jorjani, a humanities lecturer at NJIT with a PhD in philosophy from SUNY Stony Brook, to be fired.

In a statement published in the NJIT newspaper, The Vector, the faculty and staff write:

We, the faculty and staff of the Federated Department of History at New Jersey Institute of Technology, are writing to denounce NJIT University Lecturer Jason Jorjani’s views on race in his comments, writings, and interviews. A recent New York Times exposé, “Undercover with the Alt-Right,” highlighted his association with the alt-right, a white supremacist movement, and his apparent enthusiasm about the redemption of Adolf Hitler as a great world leader.  

The statement provides a few examples of Jorjani’s statements which, they say, “indicate that Dr. Jorjani is a proponent of racist ideologies.” They then object to his views because of their inaccuracy:

 Just as slave owners in antebellum America utilized the now-debunked science of phrenology to justify the bondage of African-Americans, so Jorjani utilizes discredited scientific studies on intelligence and heredity in order to segregate people into racial and ethnic hierarchies on the basis of his unscientific assumptions about their fitness for participation in civilized society.

They then object to his continued employment:

How can we trust Dr. Jorjani to educate and evaluate our students? Are we to assume that his published views on the “innate capacities” of different racial and ethnic groups will not influence his judgment about the diverse student body at NJIT?  Dr. Jorjani’s published beliefs create a hostile learning environment for students of color in particular, and his presence on the instructional staff at NJIT appears to legitimize discredited race-based ideas about intelligence and citizenship that have no place in academia.  It is our collective belief that Dr. Jorjani’s eventual termination as a University Lecturer would be justified and consistent with the principles of academic freedom and NJIT’s mission.

Last year, Jorjani complained about reports that SUNY Stony Brook was reviewing its decision to grant him a PhD (see this post).

Jorjani has since declared that he has left the alt-right, apparently because of disputes over obtaining financial support for one of the movement’s organizations and how “the corporation that was my brainchild turn[ed] into a magnet for white trash.”

His status at NJIT is being reviewed, according to an earlier report at The Vector.

Richard Spencer and Jason Jorjani. Image distorted because I don’t want to see the smiling faces of these schmucks.

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Alfred MacDonald
Alfred MacDonald
3 years ago

Well, this was entirely predictable in the most disappointing sense.Report

Alfred MacDonald
Alfred MacDonald
3 years ago

Also: “Jorjani’s published beliefs create a hostile learning environment for students of color in particular …”

This is, by far, the most worrying sentence in this article.Report

Nate S
Nate S
Reply to  Alfred MacDonald
3 years ago

What do you make of their reasoning behind that claim? As a teacher, Jorjani is expected to grade on the basis of his students’ academic merits. Given his views on minorities and their cognitive abilities (views which are widely known), can he be expected to grade minority students impartially? Could minority students expect to be treated with respect? I can’t speak for anyone else, but I’d hesitate to take his classes if I had, say, a more recognizably Jewish surname (especially given his stated hope that Hitler will one day be considered just another great Western leader, like Napoleon).Report

David Wallace
David Wallace
Reply to  Nate S
3 years ago

Taking this to its logical conclusion, it would be legitimate to fire political liberals (and conservatives) because of their negative views on conservatives (and liberals), the strongly religious (and the strongly atheistic), because of their negative views on atheists (and the religious), the pro-life (and the pro-choice), because of their negative views on students who have abortions (or who oppose abortion), and, in fairly short order, pretty much anyone with any opinions at all.

The alternative – monitoring teaching and taking disciplinary action on the basis of *actual discrimination*, rather than predicting discrimination on the basis of someone’s extramural speech – has a lot to recommend it.
Report

Dahmir
Dahmir
Reply to  Nate S
3 years ago

I’d be willing to bet money that, if anything, Jorjani would grade minority students higher, just to avoid triggering any red flags. In the absence of evidence that Jorjani grades unfairly, this is an unfounded worry.Report

JT
JT
Reply to  Dahmir
3 years ago

Yes, because worries about one’s grade are the only ones nonwhite students might have about an academic like that.Report

Jasper Heaton
Jasper Heaton
Reply to  Alfred MacDonald
3 years ago

Also: “Jorjani’s published beliefs create a hostile learning environment for students of color in particular …”

This is, by far, the most worrying sentence in this article.

Really? I mean, that’s the bit you find most troubling? I ask, because I would’ve thought the most clearly troubling part is this:

Troubling as those comments are, they are consistent with his other public statements, which indicate that Dr. Jorjani is a proponent of racist ideologies. Dr. Jorjani’s online article, “Against Perennial Philosophy,” in which he identifies himself as an NJIT faculty member, expresses a view of race and intelligence harking back to eugenic beliefs and “scientific racism” long since debunked by scientists. In attempting to explain why non-Aryan peoples have not produced thinkers like the German philosopher Hegel, Dr. Jorjani writes, “This mentality has a genetic basis. You do not find it in Asians, Arabs, Africans, and other non-Aryan peoples.” He continues later in the same paragraph to explain differences in IQ as resulting from a biological notion of race: “That Africans have an average IQ of around 75 whereas whites have an average IQ of around 100, and Africans who have mixed with whites (for example in North America or South Africa) have an average IQ of around 85 has to do not with education or social conditioning, but with different genetic inheritances from extinct Hominid species.” More frighteningly, Dr. Jorjani states, in regard to Iran specifically, but with obvious global implications, that “With the emerging technologies of embryo selection and genetic engineering, it would be possible, with the right leadership and government planning, to restore the pre-Arab and pre-Mongol genetic character of the majority of the Iranian population within only one or two generations. I’m sorry to have to suggest that this might be necessary in order to Make Iran Great Again.”

That is, I find it much, much more troubling that these sorts of horrendous and ill-supported views are propounded; that there is still purchase for such ideas in the society at large – ideas which, remember, are evidentially debunked (so don’t go touting this as a purely ideological dispute); that these kinds of views don’t flag someone as socially moribund.
It just astounds me that people think the most worrying thing about racism is the ways people try to combat it, that *that* is the thing you choose to focus on and get uppity about. Id’ve thought the most worrying thing is the racism.Report

David Wallace
David Wallace
Reply to  Jasper Heaton
3 years ago

“ideas which, remember, are evidentially debunked (so don’t go touting this as a purely ideological dispute)”

The idea that experimental evidence that P should somehow remove an academic-freedom defense for arguing that not-P gives empirical data a finality which it does not deserve. That’s true even in the physical sciences (where experiments typically have large effect sizes and are readily replicated). It’s doubly true in the social sciences, as the replication crisis should make clear, and triply true for highly politically charged empirical results in the social sciences.

“It just astounds me that people think the most worrying thing about racism is the ways people try to combat it, that *that* is the thing you choose to focus on and get uppity about.”

We could combat racism very effectively – at least in the short term – by summarily executing anyone who says anything that might be thought racist. Unless you think that’s a good idea, presumably you accept that some ways of combatting racism can be more problematic than some particular expressions of racism. In this particular case, I don’t find it difficult to see why thirty faculty and staff members at two universities seeming to disregard basic academic-freedom protections on speech might be thought more worrisome than the extramural speech of one adjunct lecturer, however distasteful that speech might be.
Report

ajkreider
ajkreider
3 years ago

Jorjani sounds like a buffoon, but I also worry about tying employment to one’s supposed ability to fairly judge students in the classroom – given one’s other beliefs. I think most would reject the idea that atheist professors cannot fairly judge their theist students’ work – even if those professors think that being a theist reflects negatively on one’s general intellectual ability.

As an aside, I also find the NJIT faculty’s approach to Charles Murray-style genetic explanations worrying. It’s a point I think I first saw in Singer. Focusing so heavily on rejecting the racial-difference account leaves open the risk that there are such differences. And if that proves true, you’re handing the racist a weapon. Rather, the view should be that it doesn’t matter if there are such differences. How we should treat people as individuals or as members of group (with dignity, respect, access to opportunity, etc) is not determined by things like the general level of IQ associated with members of that group. Report

Ben
Ben
Reply to  ajkreider
3 years ago

In fact, Charles Murray and Richard Herrnstein make that same point in the Bell Curve. Report

quidnunc
quidnunc
Reply to  Ben
3 years ago

I haven’t read Murray recently but I’m pretty sure his position in The Bell Curve was open minded about the possibility that there is an inherited component to group differences that could partially explain the observed iq gap, not that the observed differences at the time of publication are genetic. Murray’s position is controversial for obvious reasons like nuance lost when people like Jorjani wield it incompetently to justify their thinking about racial hierarchy. I don’t blame Murray for ignorant interpretations of his work because if it wasn’t him it would be someone else but he has opened the door for those types of people by staking out an “open minded” position well ahead of the science that could resolve it.Report

Ben
Ben
Reply to  quidnunc
3 years ago

That’s also true and important. Contrary to what’s often thought, Murray and Herrnstein did not, in fact, advocate a genetic explanation of the racial IQ gap in the Bell Curve.

I wish more people — especially philosophers — would read the Bell Curve. It’s actually quite a good book. It has the same methodological deficiencies as a lot of work in the social sciences. But — and this is important — it’s not any *more* problematic than your typical social sciences article, and in fact it’s more careful than at least 90% of it.Report

Peter Alward
Peter Alward
3 years ago

Of course, similar considerations would have counted in favor of the withdrawal of the conditional offer of employment to Steven Salaita by the University of Illinois.Report

Matt Weiner
Matt Weiner
Reply to  Peter Alward
3 years ago

Salaita’s views and Jorjani’s are not on a par, and “withdrawal of the conditional offer” is a tendentious description of what happened there.Report

D.C.
D.C.
Reply to  Matt Weiner
3 years ago

“Salaita’s views and Jorjani’s are not on a par”

That’s the whole point of academic freedom — to prevent random people from issuing from up on high a decision as to what’s on a par or not.Report

Matt Weiner
Matt Weiner
Reply to  D.C.
3 years ago

Direct your comment to Peter Alward, who claimed that “similar considerations would have counted in favor” of the hire-fire of Steven Salaita. “Similar” = “on a par,” no?Report

Matt Weiner
Matt Weiner
Reply to  Matt Weiner
3 years ago

To extend this point: You may think that the reasons for not letting Salaita take up the position he was hired to are reasons for not refusing to renew Jorjani’s contract, because you think that no one should have their academic employment terminated because of their views however noxious. That’s perfectly defensible!
But that doesn’t entail what Alward said, which is that the reasons for refusing to renew Jorjani’s contract are reasons for not letting Salaita take up the position he was hired to. The reasons for refusing to renew Jorjani’s contract are that he’s a Nazi sympathizer who defends his views with crank pseudoscience (also crank pseudohistory, according to expert comments on previous threads discussing him). Salaita is not a Nazi sympathizer who defends his views with crank pseudoscience. So those reasons don’t apply to him.

(Now, as I understand it, Jorjani has been suspended in the middle of the term, which is a more drastic measure and one that I don’t think his colleagues called for. That raises additional concerns.)Report

David Wallace
David Wallace
Reply to  Peter Alward
3 years ago

They’re on a par at least in the sense that if this sort of reason is grounds to fire Jorjani notwithstanding academic freedom, it’s difficult to see how a pure academic-freedom defense could be made against firing Salaita. (I agree that “withdrawal of an offer” is not really the right description of what happened.) Report

Matt Weiner
Matt Weiner
Reply to  David Wallace
3 years ago

David, that’s not an argument that Salaita’s and Jorjani’s views are on a par in any way.
And, the differences in their views does make a difference to Peter’s original claim that similar considerations would have counted against Salaita. Their views would presumably be irrelevant to a pure academic-freedom defense, but the letter from Jorjani’s colleagues seems to rest on a principle that’s more like “People who have publicly made unfounded assertions that some of their students are genetically inferior due to their race can’t be trusted to fairly evaluate those students,” which wouldn’t apply to Salaita. (If Salaita had ever claimed anyone was genetically inferior, it surely would have been widely publicized.)
This isn’t to say that it’s right to terminate Jorjani, just that the parallel to Salaita ignores the actual arguments made in the letter.
Report

Laurence McCullough
Laurence McCullough
3 years ago

The statement contains two rhetorical questions: “How can we trust Dr. Jorjani to educate and evaluate our students? Are we to assume that his published views on the “innate capacities” of different racial and ethnic groups will not influence his judgment about the diverse student body at NJIT?”

We know that they are rhetorical questions because the statement offers no evidence in support of their implicit claims. This violates the accepted standards of evidence-based reasoning, not to mention that rhetorical questions often result from lack of intellectual work.

Then there is the philosophical peril of asking rhetorical questions. Nothing prevents one’s interlocutor from answering to each as follows: To the first question: Readily. To the second question: Yes.

Oh yes: Where is the argument to show that the professor’s public remarks are not protected by academic freedom?

Thus do our colleagues bring public discredit on themselves and our discipline. Sic transit gloria philosophiae.

Laurence B. McCullough
Distinguished Emeritus Professor
Center for Medical Ethics and Health Policy
Baylor College of Medicine
(no website)Report

Tristian
Tristian
3 years ago

Were this to succeed it would provide a roadmap for getting rid of controversial faculty members of stripes. I suppose the defense would be that we can draw a bright line between legitimate controversy and views that are beyond the pale in their demonstrable evilness, so only those holding beliefs of the latter sort are in danger here and they deserve to be fired. Keep to controversial positions within the pale of respectability and you’ll be safe. But this won’t hold if creating a “hostile environment” requires no more than holding views that could cast students in an unfavorable light. Holding respectably controversial views can do that much. Report

Jonathan Reid Surovell
3 years ago

Given the extreme vileness of the views attributed to him in the New York Times expose, I think it behooves us, in debating how his comments should impact his life, to listen to Jorjani’s account of what he said:

‘A recent piece of trash ‘journalism’ in The New York Times entitled “Undercover With the Alt-Right” features video footage of me… has been deceptively edited to make it appear as if I am advocating genocidal extreme right-wing policies….. My nightmarish prediction of a future that would follow from Western policymakers’ failure to address the Muslim migrant crisis in the present has been taken out of context and made to appear as if it is advocacy for “concentration camps and expulsions and war… at the cost of a few hundred million people.”’ (from Jorjani’s blog post, which Justin links to)

Whatever the faults of Jorjani’s prediction–and they are surely decisive–predicting concentration camps and world war is not the same as advocating them.

Maybe Jorjani really did advocate, as opposed to predict. But given that documentary exposes of this kind commonly misrepresent their subjects in this way (Van Jones’s “nothing sandwich,” e.g.), we shouldn’t trust the expose enough to let it factor into a call for Jorjani’s firing. Maybe release of the full video of Jorjani’s conversation would change things.Report

JT
JT
Reply to  Jonathan Reid Surovell
3 years ago

Among other things, Jorjani also argues that Iran never produced any real philosophy because the ethnic Aryans were overwhelmed by Arabs and Mongols in the gene pool: https://altright.com/2016/10/21/against-perennial-philosophy/ Is that vile enough for you?Report

beauvoir's baby
beauvoir's baby
Reply to  JT
3 years ago

I clicked the link. I read the essay. I agree that it is terrible, and deeply concerning. So is the website that it is published on. Your summation is essentially correct, JT. I share your horror.

I also see that Jorjani’s bio underneath the essay says that he is employed as an academic at NJIT. This gives him an air of credibility while at the same time discrediting NJIT. I can understand why people who work at NJIT would like to see him lose his job. I would too.

I guess the question is: how do we argue for dismissing Jorjani (or someone like him) without threatening the principle of academic freedom? A freedom that we all rely on? I would love to hear your thoughts on this JT. (I made some comments earlier below, before reading the link you posted. I was wondering whether it could be argued that Jorjani violates disciplinary standards of expertise. I’m not sure that’s a viable position though.)Report

J.T. (still me; but can't post under my old handle for some reason)
J.T. (still me; but can't post under my old handle for some reason)
Reply to  beauvoir's baby
3 years ago

Thank you, beauvoir’s baby, for taking the time to see where I’m coming from, unlike most of the other commenters here. I really wish I had it in me to respond to your question, since it is a very good one, and exactly the one to ask in this case, but I can’t anymore, not here. It’s just too discouraging to have to constantly push back against those who take it to be a legitimately open question as to whether or not I am genetically inferior in virtue of the blood in my veins. Apparently, one can’t even express how demeaning this is as a nonwhite philosopher without thereby being seen as ‘behaving badly’ by people who in all likelihood enjoy the privilege of never having to put up with that kind of racialised abuse. It’s crazy-making and I haven’t got the spoons for it. Report

Quiz
Quiz

I don’t want to defend Jason Brennan’s cruel and insulting reply to you below.

But it’s simply not true that those who believe Jorjani’s statements should be protected by academic freedom must believe it’s a legitimately open question whether you’re genetically inferior. Any more than one has to believe it’s an open question whether the victims of 9/11 had it coming, in order to believe that Ward Churchill’s statements to that effect should be protected by academic freedom (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/On_the_Justice_of_Roosting_Chickens).Report

beauvoir's baby
beauvoir's baby

J.T. I think that most people here just think the answer to the question is that no, we can’t dismiss Jorjani without undermining academic freedom. I don’t think any of the comments here indicate that anyone thinks it is a legitimately open question as to whether or not you personally (or anyone else who shares your heritage) are genetically inferior.

This is not intended as a defense of commenters here, rather, I think perhaps it would be of benefit to you emotionally and discursively to not so quickly jump to the worst conclusions about your interlocutors. While I agree that some people here could displayed more empathy, I don’t think that is grounds for believing that they are racist or hostile to antiracism.Report

Jonathan Reid Surovell
Reply to  JT
3 years ago

Hi JT,
What I read of the Jorjani piece you link to makes stupid and pseudo-scientific claims about race and IQ, and bases political recommendations that I find abhorrent on these claims. I didn’t read the whole thing because it didn’t seem worth the time.

I will add, though, that this article you’ve shared doesn’t alter my disappointment about Jorjani’s opponents’ uncritical acceptance of the NYT expose. (Not that you say it should.)Report

samantha
samantha
3 years ago

While I am revolted by Jorjani’s associations with the alt-right and its ideals, I agree with Jonathan Reid Surovell above.
When reading the NYT Opinion piece “Undercover With the Alt-Right,” I clearly got the sense that Jorjani was predicting rather than advocating. Time to ask more questions and listen closely rather than get out the torches and pitchforks (even though admittedly I’m emotionally inclined to the latter.)Report

beauvoir's baby
beauvoir's baby
3 years ago

Firstly, I think we have to separate disciplinary expertise about history and politics out from expertise about particular individuals. We can accord expertise to faculty about history and politics, but that doesn’t amount to expertise about which views are properly ascribed to Jorjani’s. If the people who wish to see Jorjani fired are correct that Jorjani has the views they ascribe to him (views which do not meet disciplinary standards), then perhaps they are right to want to fire him. But it’s not clear they are correct about his views, based on comments above.

Secondly, why does this have to be a public affair? Shouldn’t this just be internal to the discipline? Aren’t there protocols in place for this sort of thing? That this demand has been publicized makes me suspicious that this is intended as a witch hunt, perhaps to make Jorjani uncomfortable enough that he leaves of his own accord. I certainly don’t want to see academic hiring and firing proceed according to “trial by Twitter”, that is, the court of public opinion (or at least the opinion of vocal groups of people on the internet). Report

David Wallace
David Wallace
3 years ago

Jorjani is employed as a historian. His privately expressed views on the science of inheritance and race don’t seem salient to the question of his professional competence (even granting that they are “discredited” views, which I have no idea about, having not looked at them.) If there is evidence in his published work or research activity that he is not professionally competent as a historian, or if there is testimony from his teaching that he behaves inappropriately to students on grounds of race or gender (or indeed on any other grounds) then NJIT presumably has internal procedures that can properly assess that evidence.

As it is, though, this looks like a pretty straightforward case where Jorjani ought to be protected by academic freedom, and despite a bare claim at the end of their statement that “Dr. Jorjani’s eventual termination as a University Lecturer would be justified and consistent with the principles of academic freedom”, they provide no explanation as to how this could be.Report

beauvoir's baby
beauvoir's baby
Reply to  David Wallace
3 years ago

You raise good points David, thank you. Up thread, you flagged an important distinction between a teacher’s speech in the classroom, and a teacher’s extramural speech. Is the idea that if Jorjani’s speech meets disciplinary standards in the classroom, then any (legal) utterances he makes outside the classroom are covered by principles of academic freedom? But what if what he teaches in the classroom is contradicted by what he “teaches” outside the classroom? For example, must someone who is hired by a college to teach evolutionary biology, and perfectly executes their duties in doing so, be permitted by the college to moonlight as a public face of young earth creationism? Such a person would also be utilising the authority and prestige conferred by their appointment with the college to lend an air of scientific legitimacy to young earth creationism, while at the same time discrediting the college in the eyes of the scientific community. Would firing such a person be a violation of their academic freedom? Report

asst prof
asst prof
Reply to  beauvoir's baby
3 years ago

yes. Report

beauvoir's baby
beauvoir's baby
Reply to  asst prof
3 years ago

I had a feeling I was setting myself up for a one word answer with the way I phrased the post.

I guess I am trying to grasp where the limits of academic freedom might lie.Report

David Wallace
David Wallace
Reply to  asst prof
3 years ago

I’m not *sure* I’d go quite that far. There is such a thing as clear incompetence in one’s own discipline, and I’m not sure demonstrable incompetence in one’s discipline is insulated from criticism by it happening in extramural speech. But saying stupid or vile things about things outside one’s field is a different matter. And the bar for “clear incompetence” needs to be really really high. (I’m thinking aloud here.)Report

asst prof
asst prof
Reply to  David Wallace
3 years ago

Maybe I’m misunderstanding the thought experiment. If, say, this person is fulfilling all of their job duties, and has tenure, and so has, presumably, demonstrated competence, does advancing a view which is in tension with the very foundations of that discipline generate grounds for firing them?

I thought this was the sort of thing academic freedom is meant to protect, to encourage a diversity and freedom of thought—allowing ideas that we find stupid or crazy, as long as they are advanced by a competent member of the community. And it’s worth noting that this hypothetical person is creating a hostile environment for no one (I take it this is the central issue in the above case). Report

David Wallace
David Wallace
Reply to  asst prof
3 years ago

Tenure wasn’t included in the original account; I agree it makes a difference (the “presumably demonstrated competence” clause in particular).

Still, I feel there may be limits. The geology professor advocating the flat earth theory, say. Report

Merely Possible Philosopher
Merely Possible Philosopher
3 years ago

Well, I hope they petition against letting Peter Unger teach. After all, how can he fairly evaluate his students given his published views that neither he nor they exist?Report

JT
JT
3 years ago

The comments here are deeply disappointing. This guy literally argues that people like me (i.e., non-Aryans) lack the genetic basis for producing worthwhile philosophy. Message received. Report

David Wallace
David Wallace
Reply to  JT
3 years ago

“Message received.”

Which message, and from who?

If the message is “people like you lack the genetic basis for producing worthwhile philosophy” then only Jorjani is giving the message, and I don’t recommend accepting it.

If the message is “ a claim that people like you lack the genetic basis for producing worthwhile philosophy is prima facie protected by academic freedom” then fair enough.Report

Jason Brennan
Jason Brennan
Reply to  JT
3 years ago

JT,

I believe the right to free speech includes the right to engage in hate speech. So I support the right of Neo-Nazis to mark in Skokie. It doesn’t follow that really, deep down I’m an anti-Semite.

Similarly, if we think academic freedom includes the right to hold and defend racist views, it doesn’t follow that we ourselves are racist.

The only message you should receive is that people have fairly conventionally liberal views about free speech and academic freedom. If you are “receiving” a different message, then you are deliberately misinterpreting others. Stop behaving badly.Report

J.T. (still me; but can't post under my old handle for some reason)
J.T. (still me; but can't post under my old handle for some reason)
Reply to  JT
3 years ago
Mohan Matthen
3 years ago

I’m sorry to be coming to this discussion late, probably too late to have a discussion
Here is some of what Jorjani says in the post “against perennial philosophy”. https://altright.com/2016/10/21/against-perennial-philosophy/
He characterizes some supposed merits of Nietzsche as characteristic of the Aryan genius, and then writes: “This mentality has a genetic basis. You do not find it in Asians, Arabs, Africans, and other non-Aryan peoples.”
He then goes on to make some assertions about genetics. “different groups of Hominids that are now extinct mated with certain populations of Homo Sapiens and not with others. For example, many Europeans have Neanderthal genes but no Africans do. Many Africans and South Indians have genes from an extinct Hominid called the Denosovan, but no Europeans have Denosovan genes. Racial difference is real, and it matters. That Africans have an average IQ of around 75 whereas whites have an average IQ of around 100, and Africans who have mixed with whites (for example in North America or South Africa) have an average IQ of around 85 has to do not with education or social conditioning, but with different genetic inheritances from extinct Hominid species.”
Here is his denouement: “So if we ask why Iran never produced a Hegel after the Arab invasion, we have to remember that Hegel was German and not Greek.”
People in this thread seem to suggest that such views are protected by academic freedom. I find that hard to accept. It’s true that he’s a history professor, and the views I object to in the above pertain not to history but to human genetics. But he is using them to make historical points—why Nietzsche was able to be so brilliant; why there was no Iranian Hegel. The problem isn’t that he might not treat non-Aryans fairly—we don’t have any evidence of that—the problem is that his history is crap.Report

Shane Glackin
Shane Glackin
3 years ago

Let’s agree that it would be a bad thing if academics could be fired just because students or anybody else disagreed with their political views.

That is not what is happening here. Treating Jason Reza Jorjani’s *actual support for Hitler* as “just another political view” would be like treating “cannibalistic serial-killer” as just another sexual orientation.Report

Jason Brennan
Jason Brennan
Reply to  Shane Glackin
3 years ago

Defending or supporting X and actually doing X are different; academic freedom could include the right to defend genocide in an academic paper but it doesn’t include the right to actually commit genocide. So your analogy fails. Report

Mohan Matthen
Reply to  Jason Brennan
3 years ago

Let’s agree that supporting genocide and committing genocide are different. (I am not ready to accept that supporting genocide in an academic paper is protected by academic freedom, but let’s put that aside.) What would you think if somebody supported genocide on the basis of incompetently cited and poorly researched genetic evidence?Report

Jason Brennan
Jason Brennan
Reply to  Mohan Matthen
3 years ago

I would think they are probably a full professor in an English department.Report

Matt Weiner
Matt Weiner
Reply to  Jason Brennan
3 years ago

What basis do you have for this comment? Report

Mohan Matthen
Reply to  Jason Brennan
3 years ago

I have to say that’s a neat and witty way to deflect attention from an indefensible position.Report

Matt Weiner
Matt Weiner
Reply to  Mohan Matthen
3 years ago

I wouldn’t even give it credit for being neat and witty. Jason apparently decided he didn’t want to participate in the discussion anymore, and signaled this with the intellectual equivalent of blowing a raspberry.
I mean, I don’t know what the underlying point of the joke is supposed to be other than that Jason doesn’t respect professors in English departments. Is there anything about English departments that makes him think that it’s funny to joke about genocide supporters being likely to come from there? Is this a joke about Paul de Man, who’s been dead for almost 25 years? I’m honestly at a loss.
And after Jason told another commenter to “Stop behaving badly,” well, there’s a saying about the beam in your own eye.Report

beauvoir's baby
beauvoir's baby
Reply to  Jason Brennan
3 years ago

Jason, hypothetically speaking, do you think that defending genocide when there are social conditions that mean genocide is a live possibility should be covered under academic freedom? I am not so sure we can draw such a sharp distinction between “defending genocide” and “committing genocide” in such a situation, especially as genocide is such a large undertaking that it is generally a collective act.Report

Shane Glackin
Shane Glackin
Reply to  Jason Brennan
3 years ago

What analogy do you imagine that I’m making that the distinction between doing X and supporting X disproves?

This is terribly strange.Report

Oliver Traldi
Oliver Traldi
3 years ago

Glad to see Continental philosophy providing that all-important moral check on the supremacist ideology of pure analysis.Report