Berkeley Condemns Letter On BLM From “Anonymous History Professor” Calling For Academic Freedom

Berkeley is up in arms this week because of a letter sent by someone claiming to be an anonymous professor of history at U.C. Berkeley.  The writer, who identifies as a person of color, objects to a loss of free speech and academic freedom in the school adopting an institutional position on Black Lives Matter.  The writer objects to the silencing of academics who do not support BLM for reasons entirely separate from the protection of black lives.  I was sent this letter when it started to be circulated and I did not discuss it because I have no idea if this is an actual member of the Berkeley faculty though Kentucky State University Assistant Professor of Political Science Wilfred Reilley has recently vouched for the identity.  However, it is the response of the Berkeley faculty that I believe is notable and concerning.  The faculty denounced the letter and said that there is “no evidence” that such a person teaches on the faculty. Indeed, it is becoming increasingly impossible for any academic to criticize BLM or aspects of the protests. However, what concerns me is that Berkeley’s response notably does not even bother to state the pretense of tolerance for opposing views.  The condemnation would seem to reaffirm rather than redress the concerns over academic freedom and free speech for dissenting faculty members.

I actually do not agree with portions of the letter but my view of the merits is immaterial. Rather, as is often the case on this blog, I am more concerned with the implications for free speech and academic freedom in the response of the Berkeley faculty.  The letter objects to an intolerance at the school for conservatives or those who criticize groups like BLM. There is no response to that concern. To the contrary, the writer is condemned for all of his views by the school as a whole — a condemnation that does not specify which points are being addressed.  I have included both the letter and the response in full so readers can reach their own conclusions. 

Here is the response of Berkeley to a letter complaining that an alleged member of the faculty feels that there is no ability to disagree on the issue of BLM. The condemnation expresses confirms that view:

UC Berkeley History@UCBHistory

An anonymous letter has been circulating, purportedly written by a @UCBHistory professor. We have no evidence that this letter was written by a History faculty member. We condemn this letter: it goes against our values as a department and our commitment to equity and inclusion.191Twitter Ads info and privacy1,319 people are talking about this

First, it is increasingly rare for any conservative or libertarian to be hired on a faculty, particularly a highly ranking school like Berkeley.  Many of us have complained for years that there is a rising and open intolerance for conservative or libertarian voices on faculties.  In my thirty years of teaching, I have never seen the level of open intolerance for opposing views on faculties as I have seen in the last few years. I have spoken with young law professors across the country who say that they feel that they cannot speak openly to colleagues about such issues because they fear they will be fired or punished by their liberal colleagues.  Indeed, many faculty are now quite clear  in forcing colleagues either support or stay silent on such issues. This pattern did not start with the recent protests but there is now an open effort to force professors to either adopt an orthodoxy on such issues or to remain silent. If they do not, they are threatened with harassment and termination. It used to be that such measures came from students. These measures now come from the faculty itself.  

Second, this response seems to struggle to confirm the hostility for any opposing view.  Rather than even noting its commitment to academic freedom, the faculty condemns the views stated in the letter.  I have no problem with the school stating that it does not know if the letter is legitimately from a member of the faculty. However, as an institution, I have always maintained that schools should not take positions on the merits of such controversies even when the vast majority of the faculty may support one view.  Professors are always free to sign a letter denouncing the views within such a letter.  This alleged faculty member was not speaking for the faculty and it is unclear why the faculty should speak as an institution as opposed to individuals. I would feel the same way if the merits or points of the letter were reversed. I respect the passion of faculty in fighting for these causes and indeed I support many of these views.  I also believe that faculty members should be actively involved in this transformative debate. However, the academic institutions themselves should remain firm on protecting pluralism and tolerance of opposing views.

Here is the letter that started the controversy:


Dear profs X, Y, Z

I am one of your colleagues at the University of California, Berkeley. I have met you both personally but do not know you closely, and am contacting you anonymously, with apologies. I am worried that writing this email publicly might lead to me losing my job, and likely all future jobs in my field.

In your recent departmental emails you mentioned our pledge to diversity, but I am increasingly alarmed by the absence of diversity of opinion on the topic of the recent protests and our community response to them.

In the extended links and resources you provided, I could not find a single instance of substantial counter-argument or alternative narrative to explain the under-representation of black individuals in academia or their over-representation in the criminal justice system. The explanation provided in your documentation, to the near exclusion of all others, is univariate: the problems of the black community are caused by whites, or, when whites are not physically present, by the infiltration of white supremacy and white systemic racism into American brains, souls, and institutions.

Many cogent objections to this thesis have been raised by sober voices, including from within the black community itself, such as Thomas Sowell and Wilfred Reilly. These people are not racists or ‘Uncle Toms’. They are intelligent scholars who reject a narrative that strips black people of agency and systematically externalizes the problems of the black community onto outsiders. Their view is entirely absent from the departmental and UCB-wide communiques.

The claim that the difficulties that the black community faces are entirely causally explained by exogenous factors in the form of white systemic racism, white supremacy, and other forms of white discrimination remains a problematic hypothesis that should be vigorously challenged by historians. Instead, it is being treated as an axiomatic and actionable truth without serious consideration of its profound flaws, or its worrying implication of total black impotence. This hypothesis is transforming our institution and our culture, without any space for dissent outside of a tightly policed, narrow discourse.

A counternarrative exists. If you have time, please consider examining some of the documents I attach at the end of this email. Overwhelmingly, the reasoning provided by BLM and allies is either primarily anecdotal (as in the case with the bulk of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ undeniably moving article) or it is transparently motivated. As an example of the latter problem, consider the proportion of black incarcerated Americans. This proportion is often used to characterize the criminal justice system as anti-black. However, if we use the precise same methodology, we would have to conclude that the criminal justice system is even more anti-male than it is anti-black.

Would we characterize criminal justice as a systemically misandrist conspiracy against innocent American men? I hope you see that this type of reasoning is flawed, and requires a significant suspension of our rational faculties. Black people are not incarcerated at higher rates than their involvement in violent crime would predict. This fact has been demonstrated multiple times across multiple jurisdictions in multiple countries.

And yet, I see my department uncritically reproducing a narrative that diminishes black agency in favor of a white-centric explanation that appeals to the department’s apparent desire to shoulder the ‘white man’s burden’ and to promote a narrative of white guilt.

If we claim that the criminal justice system is white-supremacist, why is it that Asian Americans, Indian Americans, and Nigerian Americans are incarcerated at vastly lower rates than white Americans? This is a funny sort of white supremacy. Even Jewish Americans are incarcerated less than gentile whites. I think it’s fair to say that your average white supremacist disapproves of Jews. And yet, these alleged white supremacists incarcerate gentiles at vastly higher rates than Jews. None of this is addressed in your literature. None of this is explained, beyond hand-waving and ad hominems. “Those are racist dogwhistles”. “The model minority myth is white supremacist”. “Only fascists talk about black-on-black crime”, ad nauseam.

These types of statements do not amount to counterarguments: they are simply arbitrary offensive classifications, intended to silence and oppress discourse. Any serious historian will recognize these for the silencing orthodoxy tactics they are, common to suppressive regimes, doctrines, and religions throughout time and space. They are intended to crush real diversity and permanently exile the culture of robust criticism from our department.

Increasingly, we are being called upon to comply and subscribe to BLM’s problematic view of history, and the department is being presented as unified on the matter. In particular, ethnic minorities are being aggressively marshaled into a single position. Any apparent unity is surely a function of the fact that dissent could almost certainly lead to expulsion or cancellation for those of us in a precarious position, which is no small number.

I personally don’t dare speak out against the BLM narrative, and with this barrage of alleged unity being mass-produced by the administration, tenured professoriat, the UC administration, corporate America, and the media, the punishment for dissent is a clear danger at a time of widespread economic vulnerability. I am certain that if my name were attached to this email, I would lose my job and all future jobs, even though I believe in and can justify every word I type.

The vast majority of violence visited on the black community is committed by black people. There are virtually no marches for these invisible victims, no public silences, no heartfelt letters from the UC regents, deans, and departmental heads. The message is clear: Black lives only matter when whites take them. Black violence is expected and insoluble, while white violence requires explanation and demands solution. Please look into your hearts and see how monstrously bigoted this formulation truly is.

No discussion is permitted for nonblack victims of black violence, who proportionally outnumber black victims of nonblack violence. This is especially bitter in the Bay Area, where Asian victimization by black assailants has reached epidemic proportions, to the point that the SF police chief has advised Asians to stop hanging good-luck charms on their doors, as this attracts the attention of (overwhelmingly black) home invaders. Home invaders like George Floyd. For this actual, lived, physically experienced reality of violence in the USA, there are no marches, no tearful emails from departmental heads, no support from McDonald’s and Wal-Mart. For the History department, our silence is not a mere abrogation of our duty to shed light on the truth: it is a rejection of it.

The claim that black intraracial violence is the product of redlining, slavery, and other injustices is a largely historical claim. It is for historians, therefore, to explain why Japanese internment or the massacre of European Jewry hasn’t led to equivalent rates of dysfunction and low SES performance among Japanese and Jewish Americans respectively. Arab Americans have been viciously demonized since 9/11, as have Chinese Americans more recently. However, both groups outperform white Americans on nearly all SES indices – as do Nigerian Americans, who incidentally have black skin. It is for historians to point out and discuss these anomalies. However, no real discussion is possible in the current climate at our department. The explanation is provided to us, disagreement with it is racist, and the job of historians is to further explore additional ways in which the explanation is additionally correct. This is a mockery of the historical profession.

Most troublingly, our department appears to have been entirely captured by the interests of the Democratic National Convention, and the Democratic Party more broadly. To explain what I mean, consider what happens if you choose to donate to Black Lives Matter, an organization UCB History has explicitly promoted in its recent mailers. All donations to the official BLM website are immediately redirected to ActBlue Charities, an organization primarily concerned with bankrolling election campaigns for Democrat candidates. Donating to BLM today is to indirectly donate to Joe Biden’s 2020 campaign. This is grotesque given the fact that the American cities with the worst rates of black-on-black violence and police-on-black violence are overwhelmingly Democrat-run. Minneapolis itself has been entirely in the hands of Democrats for over five decades; the ‘systemic racism’ there was built by successive Democrat administrations.

The patronizing and condescending attitudes of Democrat leaders towards the black community, exemplified by nearly every Biden statement on the black race, all but guarantee a perpetual state of misery, resentment, poverty, and the attendant grievance politics which are simultaneously annihilating American political discourse and black lives. And yet, donating to BLM is bankrolling the election campaigns of men like Mayor Frey, who saw their cities devolve into violence. This is a grotesque capture of a good-faith movement for necessary police reform, and of our department, by a political party. Even worse, there are virtually no avenues for dissent in academic circles. I refuse to serve the Party, and so should you.

The total alliance of major corporations involved in human exploitation with BLM should be a warning flag to us, and yet this damning evidence goes unnoticed, purposefully ignored, or perversely celebrated. We are the useful idiots of the wealthiest classes, carrying water for Jeff Bezos and other actual, real, modern-day slavers. Starbucks, an organisation using literal black slaves in its coffee plantation suppliers, is in favor of BLM. Sony, an organisation using cobalt mined by yet more literal black slaves, many of whom are children, is in favor of BLM. And so, apparently, are we. The absence of counter-narrative enables this obscenity. Fiat lux, indeed.

There also exists a large constituency of what can only be called ‘race hustlers’: hucksters of all colors who benefit from stoking the fires of racial conflict to secure administrative jobs, charity management positions, academic jobs and advancement, or personal political entrepreneurship.

Given the direction our history department appears to be taking far from any commitment to truth, we can regard ourselves as a formative training institution for this brand of snake-oil salespeople. Their activities are corrosive, demolishing any hope at harmonious racial coexistence in our nation and colonizing our political and institutional life. Many of their voices are unironically segregationist.

MLK would likely be called an Uncle Tom if he spoke on our campus today. We are training leaders who intend, explicitly, to destroy one of the only truly successful ethnically diverse societies in modern history. As the PRC, an ethnonationalist and aggressively racially chauvinist national polity with null immigration and no concept of jus solis increasingly presents itself as the global political alternative to the US, I ask you: Is this wise? Are we really doing the right thing?

As a final point, our university and department has made multiple statements celebrating and eulogizing George Floyd. Floyd was a multiple felon who once held a pregnant black woman at gunpoint. He broke into her home with a gang of men and pointed a gun at her pregnant stomach. He terrorized the women in his community. He sired and abandoned multiple children, playing no part in their support or upbringing, failing one of the most basic tests of decency for a human being. He was a drug-addict and sometime drug-dealer, a swindler who preyed upon his honest and hard-working neighbors.

And yet, the regents of UC and the historians of the UCB History department are celebrating this violent criminal, elevating his name to virtual sainthood. A man who hurt women. A man who hurt black women. With the full collaboration of the UCB history department, corporate America, most mainstream media outlets, and some of the wealthiest and most privileged opinion-shaping elites of the USA, he has become a culture hero, buried in a golden casket, his (recognized) family showered with gifts and praise. Americans are being socially pressured into kneeling for this violent, abusive misogynist. A generation of black men are being coerced into identifying with George Floyd, the absolute worst specimen of our race and species.

I’m ashamed of my department. I would say that I’m ashamed of both of you, but perhaps you agree with me, and are simply afraid, as I am, of the backlash of speaking the truth. It’s hard to know what kneeling means, when you have to kneel to keep your job.

It shouldn’t affect the strength of my argument above, but for the record, I write as a person of color. My family have been personally victimized by men like Floyd. We are aware of the condescending depredations of the Democrat party against our race. The humiliating assumption that we are too stupid to do STEM, that we need special help and lower requirements to get ahead in life, is richly familiar to us. I sometimes wonder if it wouldn’t be easier to deal with open fascists, who at least would be straightforward in calling me a subhuman, and who are unlikely to share my race.

The ever-present soft bigotry of low expectations and the permanent claim that the solutions to the plight of my people rest exclusively on the goodwill of whites rather than on our own hard work is psychologically devastating. No other group in America is systematically demoralized in this way by its alleged allies. A whole generation of black children are being taught that only by begging and weeping and screaming will they get handouts from guilt-ridden whites.

No message will more surely devastate their futures, especially if whites run out of guilt, or indeed if America runs out of whites. If this had been done to Japanese Americans, or Jewish Americans, or Chinese Americans, then Chinatown and Japantown would surely be no different to the roughest parts of Baltimore and East St. Louis today. The History department of UCB is now an integral institutional promulgator of a destructive and denigrating fallacy about the black race.

I hope you appreciate the frustration behind this message. I do not support BLM. I do not support the Democrat grievance agenda and the Party’s uncontested capture of our department. I do not support the Party co-opting my race, as Biden recently did in his disturbing interview, claiming that voting Democrat and being black are isomorphic. I condemn the manner of George Floyd’s death and join you in calling for greater police accountability and police reform. However, I will not pretend that George Floyd was anything other than a violent misogynist, a brutal man who met a predictably brutal end.

I also want to protect the practice of history. Cleo is no grovelling handmaiden to politicians and corporations. Like us, she is free.


336 thoughts on “Berkeley Condemns Letter On BLM From “Anonymous History Professor” Calling For Academic Freedom”

  1. Jonathan, thank you so much for this! I was born and grew up in an European communist country, my family was partially oppressed because of their religious beliefs and their refusal to join the Party, my granddad had a secret agent spying on him as he was a lay pastor of a small protestant church. That time we looked up to America as a beacon of freedom, free speech, free gathering, opinion expressing, religion practicing… For many of us, the USA seemed to be almost a promised land, unreachable, of course. Some of us took a bold step and emigrated there… So now, looking again over the ocean and seeing the confusion, the divide in society, the harmful thinking raising, the cancel culture etc… I, personally, am very sad, often “lost in translation”, disappointed and alarmed at the same time. Will America give up their beautiful diversity, their freedom which academic ground should be an oasis of and a role model for? If the future goes this direction, the fall of America will be inevitable and even greater and faster than any thinkable economic crises might ever be able to cause. I wish at least the academia could unite in a stand for freedom, for the true diversity that begins in freedom of thought. Stay strong! D.

    1. my granddad had a secret agent spying on him”

      That is typical leftist behavior. Today we have all sorts of laws to spy on American citizens and even a President. Cuomo is a wannabe dictator of the leftist type. Stalin didn’t care how many died of starvation. Cuomo didn’t care how many died of Covid. These despots do not consider people of value to them to be of value to anyone. In part, that is why these depots don’t recognize their hypocrisy. Neither do many of the leftists on this blog.

      Some might believe the US was immune from this type of invasive government action until the World Trade Center bombing. That isn’t true. One of the progressive icons, Woodrow Wilson, was calling on children to spy on their parents in the early 1900’s. Power-hungry leftists that are willing to destroy our nation and Constitution have been around longer than any of us have been alive.

  2. Allan — Basketweaving is one of the arts, not a science.

    However, the study of basketweavers is part of anthropology, ordinarily considered to get the social science.

    1. Congratulations, you recognize the crossover between disciplines. I don’t know if you have ever seen the best basketweaving that few people continue to do today. The best I have seen are from just a few people from Japan and there is a science to it.

  3. That’s a really beautiful and moving letter. Who wrote it is almost immaterial. “Res ipsa loquitur.”

  4. Yes, Progressive Democratic President Woodrow Wilson was a racist.
    Wilson was the president during WWI.

    He significantly reduced the blacks in civil service. He aired the KKK propaganda film birth of a nation in the whitehouse.

  5. I FULLY support Anon Professor at UCB. I would also FULLY support a GW Professor, or any other professor for that matter, who has an alternative opinion and does not bend the knee to “group think.”

    A university can only be a good place for a student when the students are exposed to many opinions and belief systems.

  6. How does that exemplify your claim?

    Oxford English Dictionary entry for “scientist”:
    “A person who conducts scientific research or investigation; an expert in or student of science, esp. one or more of the natural or physical sciences.
    “computer, earth, mad, natural, rocket scientist, etc.”

    “Especially” doesn’t mean “exclusively.” Both social scientists and natural scientists are scientists.

    1. @ CommitToHonestDiscussion With this type of reasoning, there is no reasoning with you. Believe what you want.

      1. @LorenzoValla,
        Yeah, it’s clearly unreasonable to draw on the OED meaning of “scientist.” /s

        1. @CTHD I’ll stick with an ability to predict specific outcomes of specific events to evaluate whether one’s work is actually science or not. That’s why I trust my life to airplanes much but not economic forecasts. But hey, if you want to trust the ‘experts’ because of an OED claims they are scientists, that’s your choice. Good luck with the choices you make.

          1. Oh look, a conditional claim where the condition is false.

            We weren’t discussing who either one of us trusts. We were discussing whether both social scientists and natural scientists are scientists. If you, personally, define “scientist” on the basis of who you, personally, trust, OK. But in that case, you’ve got an idiosyncratic definition of “scientist.”

            You’ve got an inappropriately narrow view of what constitutes science. If you use “an ability to predict specific outcomes of specific events to evaluate whether one’s work is actually science or not,” you exclude the scientific study of chaotic systems, of the random mutations that play a key role in evolution, … Maybe you just don’t understand enough of the full range of work that scientists do.

            1. ” We were discussing ”

              Needs to be Committed is full of it. Lorenzo in his own words was discussing “real scientists” as opposed to other types. The dictionary word CTHD searched for only reflects the meaning of the word ‘scientist’ not ‘real scientists’ in the context Lorenzo was using. (They have exploited the hard earned credibility of real scientists by claiming their work is also a form of ‘science’.)

              CTHD takes everything out of context. That is how CTHD tried to convince people Flynn was guilty and that is why CTHD kept telling everyone that Flynn’s own words made Flynn guilty. He never provided those words. Instead he told people to to search for the words in the FBI files. One cannot find words that don’t exist. CTHD is a prevaricator that hides his indecency in meaningless discussion.

            2. @CTHD, you can argue and whine about definitions all you want. My only point in this, and the one that you have failed to address because you have chose rather to play the semantic police game, is that there is, by definition and by academic organization, a great distinction between natural science and social science.

              Social science – to the extent that it even attempts to make mathematical predictions – predicts the outcomes of a group as measured in a probability. That means it cannot predict the outcome of how a specific individual will always react in a given scenario. As others have stated, there are simply far too many independent variables associated with human behavior for this to be possible.

              Natural science does predict the outcome of a specific event with great precision. That’s why we have planes, the internet, computers, etc. The science is reliable enough for engineers to use it and make products and solve problems.

              If it was well understood by the general public and policy makers that social science is far, far less reliable in creating predictions whose outcomes can be used to reliably solve problems, then the use of ‘science’ for those studies would be irrelevant. But because the distinction is not well-understood, the credibility of social science has been greatly inflated by the better understood successes of natural sciences. This conflation of credibility is now exacerbating social problems instead of solving them.

              I’ll ask again, why do you think that academic programs like History have moved over the years from Humanities divisions/colleges/departments/whatevertermisapplicable to Social Science counterparts? Do you sincerely believe it’s because the process of historical scholarship has morphed into a scientific endeavor? As someone who studied history in graduate school, I saw no evidence of that. Sometimes historians gather and interpret data, but I don’t think any reasonable person would conclude that they are performing science.

              And, if you are willing to conclude that historical scholarship is an act of science by virtue of some mathematical modeling and analysis, then you’d then necessarily have to conclude that activities employing far more sophisticated mathematical analysis applied to far richer datasets that make predictions would also need to be characterized as science.

              Predicting sports outcomes would be science. Predicting future stock prices would be science. Etc. This would leave the impression that outcomes can be determined by ‘scientists’. But because even the most obstinate leftist must acknowledge this part of reality, there is no doubt that stock and sports predictions aren’t science.

              Lastly, a great irony is that the non-scientific pursuit of stock and sports analysis is likely to have far more accurate predictions than many of those coming from the social ‘science’ community.

              I’d laugh if it didn’t make me cry.

              1. Ex college basketball player who went on to coach and now trades the grains in the commodity markets…, and a respecter of science as well I suppose since I once worked in the lab at Yale doing some of the most innovative bio genetic work in the early ’80’s.

                Accuracy in the physical sciences is much more predictive as long as bio chemistry is involved, still there is room for error. Once personality is introduced, the predictive qualities are still strong, but the point of view has to take a step back from the map.

                Scientific observation about the soybean market: Trump’s trade policy has been *awful* for beans. I can point to price charts that clearly point this out. You can talk to farmers that will anecdotally tell you the same thing. You can look at Trump’s multiple stop gap measures to keep the farmers afloat, all of which have been failing. You can look at grain traders who have been shorting the market hard since January of this year and early in Trump’s term and see playing prices to fall is the closest thing to a sure bet existing.

                Pretty predictive model there.

                Does it mean that there aren’t upswings in price? Absolutely not. But again, they’re best seen for what they are: market retracements setting up the next price drop.

                Is there a set of conditions that would reverse this trend? Yes…, but they’re going to come from 30 thousand feet. First step is the exit of the Trump administration stage left. Closest thing to predictive science there is.

                So the science can be predictive in this respect…, the science having to do much more with the fundamental analysis side than the exact timing. The technical (personality side) is completely reliant on it in fact. As the change occurs, if indeed a change occurs (because Trump policy has caused a radical change in the bean market that will be really really hard to reverse since he’s forced the Chinese to look to the Brazilians and Russians to fulfill the bulk of their bean contracts and they won’t just return to buying American ‘just because’) the technical analysis side will be showing the signs and signals as they happen, and just a little bit before they happen.

                So while it’s easy to get a discussion like this bogged down into either/or ism, it comes at a high price to the acual scanning of reality.

                Peace out, yo.

              2. “there is, by definition and by academic organization, a great distinction between natural science and social science”

                I never claimed otherwise.

                What I claimed — and what you dispute — is that both the social sciences and natural sciences are sciences.

                That “there is, by definition and by academic organization, a great distinction between [A and B]” does not imply that A and B aren’t both valid proper subsets of C.

                I’m not “play[ing] the semantic police game.” Semantics is the study of meaning. Words have meanings. If you have to deny their actual meanings in order to argue your point, you have a losing argument.

                “Natural science does predict the outcome of a specific event with great precision.”

                As I already pointed out, sometimes it does, and other times it does not. Your claim reflects a narrow view of the natural sciences. Do you need me to cite some peer-reviewed natural science research that does not fit your claim (e.g., research on chaotic systems, random mutations, marine mammalogy)?

                “I’ll ask again, why do you think that academic programs like History have moved over the years from Humanities divisions/colleges/departments/whatevertermisapplicable to Social Science counterparts?”

                You can’t ask your question again, since you haven’t asked it before. You also haven’t provided evidence that “programs like History have moved over the years from Humanities divisions/colleges/departments/whatevertermisapplicable to Social Science counterparts.” I’ll be glad to look at your evidence about shifts in History Depts. across colleges and universities nationally and when/why they occurred. For that matter, I’d be glad to look at your evidence re: the History Dept. at Cal. It’s currently in the Social Sciences Division in the College of Letters and Science, and you can provide evidence that it was once part of the Arts & Humanities Division, the year that changed, and the justification given at the time. One of the elements of the discussion of your question will be the origin of “social science” as a construct. Clearly history literally could not be a social science discipline prior to the development of “social sciences” as a construct.

                1. CTHD

                  I am not taking a position, I am trying to take what you say at face value and evaluate it.

                  You say this is not a semantic debate.

                  “That words have meaning” – I will completely agree. That words have clearly understood stable meaning is critical to man’s social interaction.

                  We can not communicate without a shared understanding of the meaning of the symbols we communicate with, nor if the meaning is constantly changing.

                  It is self evident that all things called “sciences” are not the same. One of the most significant distinctions dividing the sciences is the use of the scientific method.
                  In one set of sciences knowledge is gained through experiment, and principles are established by repeatable controlled experiments.

                  But there are domains where controlled experiments are either impossible of rarely possible, and other less robust means are used to find principles.

                  I am not going to use “natural” and “social” sciences – as I am not clear what you or LV think those terms mean.

                  Are you claiming that experimentally determined principles are not substantially more robust than those determined by non-experimental means ?

                  After a couple of hundred years we found Newton was wrong. But the error is miniscule inside the problem domain that humans encounter. Such that we still teach newtonian physics and rely on it. Our buildings would collapse if we could not trust newtonian physics.

                  Conversely in many other fields of science there is no principle that is so dependable as newton’s laws – even though we know those are wrong.

                  So I am asking what you are arguing ?

                  If you are arguing that this broad thing called science – which is essentially just the organized persuit of knowledge exist – that is firmly established.

                  But if you are arguing that all forms of science are equally reliable. that is inherently false.

                  I would further state that the less a form of science relies on repeatable controlled experiments the less trustworthy that field of science is.

                  I am not deriding those forms of science – they are often extremely important.
                  But important and reliable are different attributes.

                  I am not concerned about what college within the university some field is billeted,

                  I am more concerned because you appear to be arguing that all science is roughly equal in reliability. I would ask you to clarify whether that is your argument.

                  1. @John Say The basic distinction between natural and social science is a study of the natural or physical world vs the study of how humans interact and behave, etc.

                    Since this blog entry is about a Cal Berkeley professor, I used the academic depts at that university to demonstrate that even they recognize this distinction at their own institution.

                    1. I do not know the distinction between natural and social science, and I do not want to argue defiinitions.

                      I accept that some science is about human action and others are not.

                      I noted that some science is derived from controlled experiments and some is not.

                      These different distinctions overlap significantly – but they are not congruent.

                      From the perspective of this blog entry – I do not think the natural/social distinction is as significant as the one between repeatable controlled experiments and trying to transform observational data into a substitute for a controlled experiment using statistical techniques.

            3. There is no perfect way to define the rules behind science, however, I think these steps help.
              1) Will the theory prove something not true?
              2) Can the theory be repeated with identical results?
              3) Is one confusing correlation with causation?

              How do the social sciences fare when using just 3 rules scientists should be using?

              1. Perfect ? Maybe not.

                But there are many distinctions between forms of science.

                One broad distinction is scientific principles derived from repeatable controlled experiements.

                Those results are inherently the most trustworthy.

                Trust is NOT synonymous with importance.

                There is very little in economics, that can be determined by controlled experiment.
                yet economics is incredibly important.

                1. John, I am not sure what your point is. Nothing is perfectly known. Is medicine is a science? Yes and no. It is both a science and an art. I don’t think absolute purity of man’s thinking processes exists.

                  1. Elsewhere the debate appears to be about the distinction between natural and social science.

                    I am not sure there is some hard and fast distinction – and that is my argument.

                    But there is a bright line distinction between science resting on repeatable controlled experiments and that from other methods.

                    There are many ways to reach scientific conclusions – they are all valuable tools.
                    They are NOT all equal.

                    If as an example it were possible to establish systemic racism through a repeatable controlled experiment, all my assertions that the properly regressed statistics show no fingerprint of systemic racism would be for naught.

                    Properly done repeatable controlled experiments always are correct if they conflict with statistics (given that there are not other errors)

                    1. John, I break things down into the soft sciences and the hard sciences where the soft sciences try to coopt the ability of hard science to be reproducible. Thus the soft science might give the holder of it the braggadacio to tell everyone else what to do because they are scientists. The problem for them is that they can call their research science but that doesn’t make it reproduceable.

                      A doctorate in basketweaving might make one able to create baskets and know a bit about the the history and culture behind them but just because a doctorate might have been obtained they do not hold the same type of status that one assumes exists in one of the hard sciences. They have a different type of status that is not transferrable.

                    2. Allan – the highest status goes to the woman who wrote her dissertation on black porn “Black Sugar”. She is at the top of my list. 😉

              2. @Allan I think the crux of the issue is step 2 and how identical is interpreted. a predictive model in social science might be able to very accurately reproduce the probability of how a population will behave, but it cannot say what at individual in that population will do.

                1. Lorenzo, Predictive modeling in the social sciences IMO is quite poor and all too frequently mixed with a political agenda. Humans have so many variables that one can forget important ones and therefore come up with a theory that is totally wrong.

                  I think Wennberg produced a study and proved that doctors in one city were motivated by money and greed to do more hysterectomies than doctors in another city close by. The study contained all the usual variables and more. Thus it was concluded that the profit motive , the only remaining variable, must be the cause. One variable that was not considered was religion. At the time Catholics were banned from using any type of birth control. Perhaps after the last baby of many women requested physicians to remove their uteruses so they could be compliant with church doctrine. Since Catholics predominated in one city but didn’t exist in high numbers in the other religion, not the profit motive, in my mind was the more likely motivation.

                  That actually destroys the study but I think people still use the study to push the agenda, socialized medicine.

                  1. @Allan Agreed. There will always be incompetence, an agenda, bias and other issues influencing the credibility of a social science predictive model. That’s where having strong methodology and anonymous peer review among other constraints are very important.

                    For any research to be credible, at a minimum it needs to welcome and withstand criticism without resorting to claims that the criticism is based on racism or other ad hominem attacks.

  7. You know what is funny??? All the talk here about the Constitution being based in racism, because of the 3/5 compromise basically, and nobody ever mentions who it was that wanted slaves counted as less than a whole human being.

    It was the Northern non-slave states. The Southern States would have been quite happy to count slaves as 100% human beings because it would have given them more representatives in Congress.

    Think about it.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

    1. The issue of nonfunctional representation among the component states of a Union is the precise underlying rationale for the Electoral College. The Founding states insisted on the Electoral College as a requisite to the formation of a Union representative of its constituent states and their citizens. They had the vision to see that a purely popular vote would allow the largest state or states to control all decisions, thereby effectivley nullifying the votes of all other states (irrespective of ideologie or political dogma). They realized that no Union could be sustained under such an incongrunt regimen (i.e. a purely popular vote), as it would not be tolerated by the states that had no voice under such a system. In contemporary terms, this would mean that the country would be controlled by New York and California, whose citizens demonstrably have little or no comprehension or cleary little or no empathy with the interests and viewpoints of the majority of other states. Without the Electoral College, there could be no functional representation, no possiblity of a Republic representative of the citizenry of all of its states, and we would not now be sititng in the greatest country the world has ever known (among a landscape of failed nation states, including those espousing socialist, facist, collectivist doctrines). By logical extension, without the ingenious innovation of the Electoral College, none of us would ilkely have ever been born, and certainly would not now be having this dialogue.

      1. The communists (liberals, progressives, socialists, democrats, RINOs) have illicitly nullified most of the Constitution.

        They’ll get to the electoral college soon enough.

        Have patience, Comrade.

        America needs another George Washington and it needs him posthaste; lest there be nothing left, not a shred, not a scintilla.

        1. It may not be merely coincidental that the left wing of our national legislative bodies appear to favor aboliishing the Electoral College, no doubt knowing full well it would lead to disintegration of our Republic. Unless these nihilists are kept out of control there will be no opportunty for another great leader of any personality trait.

      2. My understanding through civics class in 1949 of the electoral college:
        The number of representatives in the house was smaller then. One reason it was done was to give each state, as a state, more representation. The electors were to be selected by each local area to represent them in a non-partisan election. There was no idea of pledged electors. The full democracy was deliberately eschewed. Each district was to elect a man they knew and trusted to represent them all.

    2. The electoral college and the 3/5 compromise were independent.

      The electoral college only has to do with electing the president.
      And contra enigma it does NOT dilute votes.
      Votes of more populous states are not diluted. EC votes are allocated by population.

      Democratic votes are diluted because democrats have chosen to concentrate in a small number of congressional districts.

      Again they have CHOSEN
      No one forced them to.

      A century ago the reverse was true – democrats were rural and republicans were urban

  8. “given the paramilitary pretenders posting here regularly – mespo, kurtz, antonio – as well as others like John having wet pants over Antifa, the one cop killing we know about during protests was p[robably righ wing, is just an inconvenient fact they’ll ignore while singing their narrative.”

    you clearly didn’t understand my narrative, if you did of course you did not agree with it anyhow, and I don’t need to rehash it.

    Shay Mikalonis: shot in the head by a protester. Las Vegas, coma, now paralyzed neck down. Young guy who can never do young guy stuff again. Check it out. Definitely not shot by a ‘Right winger”

    not a peep on national news of course.

  9. Meanwhile, with all the Antifa fear, the killing of a black federal officer in Oakland during Floyd protests, is connected to a right wing white terrorists who – like mespo, anotonio, and kurtz – is itching for a 2nd American Civil War.

    “OAKLAND, Calif. — An Air Force sergeant suspected of killing a Santa Cruz County sheriff’s sergeant will be charged, along with a Millbrae man, in the fatal shooting of a federal security officer last month in downtown Oakland, federal officials said Tuesday.

    Steven Carrillo, who was charged last week in the killing of Damon Gutzwiller, the sheriff’s sergeant, was aided by 30-year-old Robert Justus, of Millbrae, in the killing of 53-year-old federal security officer David Patrick Underwood, officials said. Justus drove a white van and acted as the getaway driver in the May 29 Oakland shooting, officials said.

    Officials said Carrillo harbored a hatred of law enforcement and had ties to a right-wing Boogaloo group that believes a second American Civil War is coming soon.

    Underwood, a 53-year-old Pinole resident, was guarding the Ronald V. Dellums Federal Building in Oakland amid protests nearby over police brutality and the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The white van was captured on a surveillance video, officials said, which revealed that the gunman had slid open the van’s side door to fire the weapon….”

    1. Yes, Carillo might be part of a group that is on the far right, or far left, is pro gun, or anti-gun. is white supremicist or not, did not exist before late 2019, probably does not exist at all. changes its name all the time.
      Basically it makes AntiFa look like a disciplined highly organized force.

      And the tie to this group/non-group is because he might have written some phrases that might be tied to them – or not.

      What is known is that he is anti-police, that sounds to me like BLM and Antifa.

      When you have some actual facts get back to us all.

      1. You have the facts – no Antifa murders, right wing murder again and you’re still on chair crying “Eeeek!”

        1. No Antifa murders ? Are you sure ? There have been a large number of killings as a result of this mess. Some are just the result of huge jumps in crime rates – like in chicago.

          But many are explicitly tied to the riots.
          And those pushing the riots are responsible – be that antifa or BLM
          Take you pick.

  10. Federal funding, federal student loans or even charitable deductions should only be allowed where true freedom of speech and thought are protected by the organization receiving these funds. The letter clearly makes the case that BLM racism against whites and others is encouraged, not just tolerated. Our freedoms and our country’s survival are at state and silence is not going to stop this wave of violence gripping our country due to a corrupt press and a Democratic Party more interested in power than country.

  11. Increasingly, academia promotes group think. There is less and less reasoned discussion and debate. It’s lockstep, or you’ll never get tenure. Remember when tenure was defended as a protection for dissenting opinions? When was the last time you’ve heard any serious conservative presence on campus? The few holdouts are cowed and afraid now.

    It’s gotten to the point that I don’t think universities should receive federal funds any longer. Why do Democrats get all this free taxpayer money through their university madrassa program? They already get the free publicity and PR with the mainstream media.

    Are we going to turn this around? Because it appears as if the end goal is a Single Party county. Dissent is not tolerated in K-graduate school. The media is already a propaganda machine for Democrats. Various of the government alphabet soup persecutes conservatives. The FBI and NSA was used to spy upon a Republican candidate, and then president. A false dossier, known to be false, was used as the source for this spying, and subsequent undermining of years of a duly elected president.

    Are we going to turn this around? Or is this going to be the decades-long soft coup? Eventually, will Democrats be in all positions of authority? Will every Republican president be harassed until they don’t try to get elected anymore?

    Look at the chaos on TV. What would happen if there was a Democrat Supreme Court, President, both houses of Congress, and Democrat activists in the IRS, NSA, FBI, DOE, EPA…That seems to be the end goal. How do Democrats do with dissenting opinions?

    1. The fundimental problem is that sometime in the 90’s they went from 70% left to 95% left.

      that destroy the ability for even dissent on the left.
      The change in the mix of the faculty was followed by the change of the student body into an army of snowflakes.

  12. im going to tell white folks something they ought to roll over in their heads, under their cowboy hats, all selfish and me-oritented.

    “if we don’t hang together, we will surely hang separately”

    this is going to be a dynamic like jail, where whites learn to come together for mutual interests and self defence, or it is going to be a liquidation, where a soon to be future minority population gets liquidated or at the very least, confined into bantustans,

    or maybe just ever more economically and socially pressured, and increasingly twisted into a barbell sized shape, with a few rich compradors on top and a bunch of poor ones on the bottom.

    this is history, figure it out. i know professors don’t teach the obvious lessons but people have books and brains. i mean supposedly white folks are smart. should be able to see what happened to the “native americans” and realize one day it can happen to us.

    i tend to wonder about that, however. white folks being smart that is. they ( I choke on the word “we”” of late) seem pretty weak, atomized, and stupid as ever to me these days.

  13. I doubt that this was ever sent as an email. I’ve yet to see anything online with an actual email header. Along with the missing header, I haven’t found any of the purported attachments with an online search, despite the claim “please consider examining some of the documents I attach at the end of this email.”

    What kind of history prof would say “our department appears to have been entirely captured by the interests of the Democratic National Convention [sic], and the Democratic Party more broadly,” when it appears that the person meant to refer to the Democratic National Committee?

    These things, along with other elements of the letter — such as the fact that the person refers to “recent departmental emails” but doesn’t specify their authors, dates, or any other identifying info (e.g., quotes) and strangely refers to Chairs as “departmental heads” — suggests to me that it’s not written by a Cal prof., and perhaps not by someone who’s a professor anywhere.

    It’s looking more and more dishonest to me.

    1. OK, I’ve now found confirmation that it was sent as an email:

      Wilfred Reilly (@wil_da_beast630):
      “As re this “Berkeley History Prof letter,” I can confirm that the letter was sent to the e-mail addresses for multiple members of the UC History Dept., and cc’d to myself, Tom Sowell, and the UC Chancellor. I obviously can’t prove whether or not the sender is who he claims to be.”

      He later adds:
      “My own honest take on “UC Berkeley History-Gate” is that the letter writer is probably (70+%) some kind of adjunct prof, lecturer, or grad student who teaches there. I don’t see a 4chan troll having direct e-mails for me, the entire History Dept, and Tom Sowell. #just_a_guess”
      But it’s actually quite easy to find email addresses for professors; they’re generally listed on the person’s departmental webpage.

      Looks like the letter writer is a Brit, given that s/he twice spells “organization” as “organisation.”

      1. Who cares ?

        The assertions made are demonstrably correct.

        Are you saying that british history professors are not able to experience racism in the US

        1. The assertions may or may not provable, and given the claimed authority for the viewpoint is in question – at best – that makes it almost worthless. My assertions about UC Berkely may similarly be provable or not. Maybe JT will copy them in a blog column.

          1. “The assertions may or may not provable”

            Nope, they are actually proven.
            there are myriads of sources of data and studies demonstrating no fingerprint of systemic racism in policing.

            I have no idea what the professors sources were – maybe his were different and excellent. maybe they were crap. But his arguments were not merely provably, but PROVEN correct – before he wrote them.

            ” and given the claimed authority for the viewpoint is in question – at best – that makes it almost worthless.”

            Nope, if the proffessor turned out to be a fraud – some white teen posting from Poughkeepsie, the arguments are still backed up – proven. Possibly by his sources, but definitely by others.

            If my IQ was 80 and I was a janitor at a movie theater, and I said the earth was round, and provided peanuts cartoons as my source.

            The earth would still be round.

            You really need to become familiar with common logical fallacies
            You use them constantly and appear to beleive that they are valid arguments.

    2. “I doubt that this was ever sent as an email.”

      And how is this in any way relevant ?

      The letter makes a number of assertions, arguments and factual claims.

      Those are all testable,
      Most of us are familiar with some if not all of the evidence, studies, papers, statistics to verify those assertions.

      While it would be useful to have the specific studies etc. that the author relied on.

      The fundmental question is not “does the author’s evidence, prove his assertions”,
      But are the assertions confirmed or rejected by all available evidence.

      Further, even if we have no studies and statistics at all. The assertions in the letter are still true of false based on the facts. The absence of papers and statistics does not make the assertion true or false.

      Your argument here is fallacy. There is no reason to distrust the claim that this is an email. Because there is no reason for the author to falsely claim that.

      The letter would have the same significance as a op ed, as a blog post, as a youtube video. The form does not matter.

      “It’s looking more and more dishonest to me.”

      What is dishonest is your unwillingness to confront the truth of the content.

      If this letter was written by David Dukes – that might be good reason to scrutinze the assertions more thoroughly – but in the end they are either supported by reality or they are not.

      When the truth is spoken by a disreputable liar – it is still the truth.

      In this case the letter is anonymous. That is a legitimate reason in and of itself for scrutiny. Each of us has the right to speak anonymously. But anonymous speech has a cost – it loses the credibility it would have had we attached our name.

      But the speech is still ultimately true or false based on whether the real world facts support the content.

      It is dishonest to pretend that you can make what is true false by attacking the form it was delivered. It is also fallacy.

      Many of your critques of are erroneous. But there is no reason to address them one by one, as your overall claim – that the form this came in matters with respect to the truth of what it says.

    3. This political hack is looking for sleaze and apparently found it in his own reflection. He is afraid to deal with the important ideas being brought forward, intolerence to alternative ideas. Wow, this guy will discuss what type of paper was used but not the ideas written on the paper. That is cowardice…go with the crowd…be liked…assume everyone else is as shallow as he is and then accuse the author of the letter (no matter how these clear and understandable ideas were given to the pubic) of being dishonest. CTHD couldn’t define himself better.

  14. All I can say about the letter from the anonymous historian is WOW. While his opinions are certainly controversial in today’s climate, they are certainly far less radical than what the orthodoxy on the left has become.

    I don’t know how we get out of this mess. The far left controls academia and the ‘mainstream’ media and their solution to the problems they have created is to double and triple down. At some point, either the general population will see the charade for what it is, or I fear that we will see far greater problems and possibly an actual fragmentation of the union.

    1. Much of what he says is NOT an opinion.

      There is no evidence is systemic racism.

      The claim that there is, is an opinion without any support.

  15. As I read this full post, including the letters, I was left feeling – How Can This Happen? How can we allow our institutions of higher learning to devolve into a monolithic megaphone for only one side. It would be just as bad if it were only for the more conservative viewpoint, but as you and the letter writer point out it leans – not a strong enough word – uncompromisingly to the left. The minute our institutions of higher learning ceased to be a place for the open exchange of ideas, they lost their reason for being.

    1. “it would be just as bad if it were only for the more conservative viewpoint”

      The academy has at many times in the past been dominated by the conservative viewpoint. That is often unfortunate, but it is not nearly as bad.

      Our institutions should be intrinsically conservative, changing very slowly. They most be stable and they must not fail.

      Education specifically must be liberal – as in prizing liberty, not as in left. Education must provide a deep understanding of the past as a foundation to innovate upon.

      What has occured is that modern progressivism – post modernism, Cultural marxism, has come to be almost the exclusive perspective – atleast in the mist prestigious towers of the academy. This is the most illiberal ideology ever conceived, it is the heir to the bloodiest ideologies of the past 3 centuries.

      1. well. marxism gives tools to understand who is really in charge and it’s not BLM and not don trump. try guys like geo soros and international finance.

        as for post modernism it is all derived to one degree or another from Nietzsche and Martin Heidegger. Now in Europe they understood and understand their contributions to philosophy and grounded their political thinking in their insights. This gave those who did the power of existential confidence. If you are stuck in Ayn Rand’s shallow understanding of philosophy as many liberterians are, this will just sail over your head. Somebody told me that 25 years ago and by now i figured it out. They were right.

        American populism now emerges at a time when enough people like me have assimilated the intellectual tools of Marxism and postmodernism and want to turn them back on our oppressors. It’s as simple as that. All this individualism stuff is actually poison. So is whining about Marxism. If you fully understand ideas they don’t control you, rather, you control them. They are tools, just tools.

        Now if you are talking about “Trotskyism” sure that is an intellectual adversary and a toxic poison. but it’s possible to disentangle these threads. Alekskandr Dugin’s book on Heidegger does this if you are interested.

        Or if you want an American, you can look at Martin S Lind’s famous essay on the Frankfurt school. If you understand it, it is not just a criticism of the Frankfurt school’s “long march through the institutions,” it is a recommendation to start a different kind of long march.

        Martin S Lind is also a keen thinker on insurgency and counterinsurgency, and his writings on that are keenly relevant to our times as well.

        1. Neitche is not a protomarxist. He is very much about the individual not the group.

          Libertarian is inherently shallow – it is NOT a philosophy of everything.

          It does not answer the question of how you should live your live.
          It is solely about the relationship of the individual to the government.

          While Rand is an influence for many libertarains, if you want greater depth try Nozick,
          Or Mises, or Rothbard, or Hayek or Coase or Friedman.
          Or Mill or Lock or Smith.

          Conservatism is so lacking in depth that it borrows heavily from libertarianism

          “If you analyze it I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism. I think conservatism is really a misnomer just as liberalism is a misnomer for the liberals — if we were back in the days of the Revolution, so-called conservatives today would be the Liberals and the liberals would be the Tories. The basis of conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom and this is a pretty general description also of what libertarianism is.”
          Ronald Reagan.

          1. That’s The Way They Take Us In: Proto-Marxist Consciousness on the Plantation

            We raise the wheat,
            Dey gib us the corn;
            We bake de bread,
            Dey gib us the curss;
            We sif de meal,
            Dey gib us de huss;
            We peal de mean,
            Dey gib us de skin,
            And dat’s de way
            Dey takes us in.
            We skim de pot,
            Deb gib us the liquor,
            And say dat’s good enough for a n—–

            Walk over! walk over!
            Tom butter and de fat:
            Poor n—– you can’t get over dat;
            Walk over!

            Frederick Douglass

          2. Who said Nietzsche was a protomarxist? Just you

            i said postmodernism is derived from Nietzsche and Heidegger, both considered men of the right. The European right that is.

            American “conservativism” is just classical liberalism and liberterianism is a caricature of it.

            Fred and Martin were certainly not “conservatives” in the American sense of the word

    2. Our society gives far, far too much credibility to the scholarship generated by much of academia that has self-identified as science but is nothing close to science. Berkeley, like in many universities, has history, sociology, anthropology and various ‘studies’ programs NOT in the Humanities college, but in the ‘Social Science’ college. Why would that be??? They have exploited the hard earned credibility of real scientists by claiming their work is also a form of ‘science’.

      The conclusions reached by these scholars simply do not, can not, and will never have the actual credibility and repeatability as the work done by actual scientists because their work is not rigorously tested and challenged. Yet, they enjoy the association their field has with being labeled as a form of science.

      1. “Berkeley, like in many universities, has history, sociology, anthropology and various ‘studies’ programs NOT in the Humanities college, but in the ‘Social Science’ college.”

        That’s false. There is no “Humanities college” or “Social Science college” at Cal.
        Here are the UCB colleges and schools:

        Arts, humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences are mostly in the College of Letters & Science.

        “Why would that be???”

        Why would you make a false claim? I don’t know. But if you’re honest, you’ll acknowledge the mistake.

        BTW, social sciences and natural sciences are sciences by virtue of the nature of the research done: generating a hypothesis, gathering data, analyzing data for confirming and disconfirming evidence of the hypothesis, …

        1. Berkeley divides these areas of research into Divisions, not Colleges within the College of Letters and Science. I misread their website, but the point stands that there is a distinctive grouping made between Humanities and Social Sciences. Why is the study of History not in the Humanities?

          Now that we’re beyond that minor point of confusion, the GIANT difference between natural and social science is that a hypothesis in natural science is immediately rejected whenever one test case fails. Social science does not share that same threshold and instead does exactly what you are doing: pointing out other commonalities the two very distinct forms of research share. Those commonalities are far less rigorous and can be applied to other activities that no one would usually characterize as a scientific pursuit, such as stock market analysis.

          The reality is that social sciences make predictions about the probability of a certain population, but they cannot guarantee the outcome of an individual event. OK, fine, that doesn’t discredit their work, but it does mean that no one should ever conflate their efforts with the natural sciences. But they do it for just that reason – to exploit the earned credibility of the natural sciences and apply it to their non-scientific work that sometimes includes math, wave their hands, and call it science.

          In the past, I would simply chuckle at these distinctions, but now we see what they are doing to our society. Epidemiologists get labeled as scientists and scare nations into shutting down their economies while ‘social scientists’ refuse to engage in any discussion or research that will undermine preconceptions and foment racial discord.

          1. “a hypothesis in natural science is immediately rejected whenever one test case fails”

            It depends on the hypothesis. For example, a conjecture about modal gorilla behavior doesn’t fail if a single gorilla fails to act as predicted.

            “no one should ever conflate [social science] efforts with the natural sciences”

            Does anyone do that? If so, could you cite or quote one of them?

            1. “no one should ever conflate [social science] efforts with the natural sciences”

              Does anyone do that? If so, could you cite or quote one of them?

              During the pandemic, did you miss the part about epidemiologists being referred to as scientists?

          2. A decent rule of thumb is that any discipline with “science” in the title isn’t. Political Science, Social Science, and Computer Science come to mind.

            1. Again, that’s an older use of the term ‘science’, which is used to refer to a branch of knowledge generally. A mathematician of my acquaintance put it thus: artists create, scientists discover. I suppose you could call it ‘political knowledge’. To use ‘science’ to refer only to natural sciences is a more recent convention.

              The problem with political science is that it’s quite heterogenous and it’s teachers aren’t conscientious about instructing their charges in the various tools they might use in inquiring into the properties of political life. Some programs require a specialized concentration, others do not. A concentration should be required in all programs.

              1. Older use of the term? That’s handy and underscores the inherent dilemma I described. The general public doesn’t necessarily know that xxx-science isn’t as rigorous or as capable in predicting events as the natural sciences used to create devices they use in their daily lives.

                But ask yourself why the term has changed to include these other fields. And why do these other fields feel compelled to have their work fall under the rubric of ‘science’. Since their work is published in written form, why not call it xxx-literature?

                If we did that, I suspect that “Political Literature” would a far more accurate characterization than “Political Science”.

        2. The difference between hard sciences and soft sciences is the use of the scientific method – controlled experiment.

          It is very rare to be able to conduct an actual controlled experiment in anthropology, economics, sociology”
          While in chemistry and physics nothing else is acceptable.

          There is some blurring – sometimes controlled experiments are possible in pyschology.

          For the most part in soft sciences hypothesis is tested by gathering data and trying to regress out the effects of other independent variables.

          This process is highly unreliable as the number of independent variables increased.

          Economist Paul Romer did a paper several years ago demonstrating that with 20 independent variables he could offer almost any theory, and still make a perfect model to hindcast to real world data.

        3. Again this political hack, CTHD, is looking to argue something other than the subject matter. He is trying to make himself look smart. “That’s false. There is no “Humanities college”. Who cares? CTHD should care because instead of looking smart he looks small and stupid. Lorenzo made a credible distinction between social science and science. That distinction is beyond the understanding of CTHD.

      2. Lorenzo, is it not obvious to you that the “social sciences” are all basically tasked with social engineering and management?

        Their job is to control the populations and make the world safe for the billionaire donors who endow the universities.

        The butt of every joke is the maga hat wearing white guy, and the guy who pays for the jokes to be written is the billionaire computer geek white guy like bill gates, jack dorsey, etc etc etc

        especially in norcal.

        1. Their job is to control the populations and make the world safe for the billionaire donors who endow the universities.

          You need to sober up.

        2. “Lorenzo, is it not obvious to you that the “social sciences” are all basically tasked with social engineering and management?

          Their job is to control the populations and make the world safe for the billionaire donors who endow the universities.

          The butt of every joke is the maga hat wearing white guy, and the guy who pays for the jokes to be written is the billionaire computer geek white guy like bill gates, jack dorsey, etc etc etc

          especially in norcal.

          No. I think that’s absurd and nonsensical. Ascribing that kind of motive to them is exactly the flawed type of reasoning many of them are using.

          Despite my misgivings about Social Science, I do believe that they tend to be very sincere about their work and it’s meaning. That’s fine, but it doesn’t mean they should be treated as if they actually have the answers to so many mysteries of human behavior.

  16. My grandfather whose ideas were similar to mine fought ‘nazis’, so I could be called one.

    Hey, only ‘nazis’ support free speech, so what’s the problem?


  17. The letter in question is wrong about ActBlue which is essentially a bank or better, a clearing house.

    1. Both the letter and your remarks can be concurrently correct.

      Personally I do not care. Except for the hypocrisy of the left.

      We are constantly told that political contributions must for tightly controlled less special interests gain power.

      And yet that is precisely what democratic fundraising is about.

      Grow up. Get government entirely out of campaign donations.

      Pretty much everything about a campaign is about political speech and outside the reach of government.

      1. John Say — The government role is to surveil for corruption. That role is necessary.

        1. “The government role is to surveil for corruption. That role is necessary.”


          “that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men”

    2. David Benson is the God Emperor of Making Stuff Up and owes me forty-five citations (one from the OED, one from the town ordinances and two from the Old Testament), an equation and the source of a quotation, and his mental health professional certificate after eighty weeks, and needs to cite all his work from now on. – ActBlue made almost $ 8 mill off Bernie. And we aren’t even counting the others. Where is the rest of that money going?

      1. Paul C Schulte, oh yee who cannot read: I previously posted the relevant links about ActBlue; many organizations use ActBlue as a clearinghouse for donations.

        By the way, I notice that your mental deterioration has progressed, for now you appear to be under the further dilusion that I am a mental health clinician. I recommend that you go visit one about your dilusions regarding me and, at least, others here.

        1. David Benson is the God Emperor of Making Stuff Up and owes me forty-five citations (one from the OED, one from the town ordinances and two from the Old Testament), an equation and the source of a quotation, and his mental health professional certificate after eighty weeks, and needs to cite all his work from now on. – David, I only add when you don’t supply the citation. The last addition was for not revealing your mental health credentials.

            1. David Benson is the God Emperor of Making Stuff Up and owes me forty-five citations (one from the OED, one from the town ordinances and two from the Old Testament), an equation and the source of a quotation, and his mental health professional certificate after eighty weeks, and needs to cite all his work from now on. – are you projecting again?

  18. “We condemn this letter: it goes against our values as a department and our commitment to equity and inclusion”. Define equity and inclusion UC Berkley. Does the entire UC Berkley current and future population have the same rights to equity and inclusion? UC Berkley, how do you condemn a well written opposing point of view and align with your “value of inclusion” ? Thank you for your BS response it proved the author’s point.

  19. The author of the anonymous “UC Berkeley” letter may not be a History Professor, but his ‘critical thinking’ skills are clearly briliiant. It would appear that the currently rare practice of socratic reasoning and dialogue could remedy a glaring deficiency in the Berkeley curriculum. Quite possibly, such an approach would be labeled “racist” by “UC Berkeley History”.

    1. The very fact that the letter had to be published anonymously demonstrates the enormous failure of the academy.

      The news is full of stories everyday of academics being fired for far less innocuous remarks.

      A CA accounting professor was suspended for responding to a black students demand that blacks be exempted from the final exam because of the racially charged environment,

      By saying:

      The exam will take place as scheduled.
      Ther exam is 100% of the class grade. There is no means to grade any student that does not take it anything but fail

      Grading is done completely anonymously – there is no means to know which students are black to provide them with a preference.

      This response was deemed suspend-able.

      And there are far less egregious ones that have resulted in firings.

      Free speech, critical thinking do not exist on the most prestigious campuses in this country.

      1. John, the academy hasnt failed.

        It has done what it was paid to do. To wit: Create more managers for the billionaires who own our society.

        The whole political correctness schtick is to ensure an organized division of spoils among we lesser folk such that no successful uprising against them is ever possible.

        Liberal ideology was just a tool they had in 1776, 1789, and World War II and the cold war, to defeat their rivals.

        Those rivals have been mopped up and they now discard liberal ideology and move on to shutting down other possible forms of resistance, like Trump getting in the way of their “free trade” racket outsourcing America to the slave state the PRC.

        If you could bend some of the much hated tools of Marxism to the task, it would be pretty obvious. Well, don’t take it from Marx then, take it from David Ricardo, who came up with the labor theory of value in the first place.

        1. “It has done what it was paid to do. To wit: Create more managers for the billionaires who own our society.”

          That is not its job but it has failed at that.

          Separately I would note that the uber wealthy can game the system to their personal advantage – to a limited extent, but they can not do so to a large extent or to expand their class or its powers.

          Look arround you – The Walton’s, Bezo’s, Gates – where does their wealth come from ?

          What about Harry Winston ?

          You can get rich catering to the needs of the wealthy,
          But if you want to be uber wealthy you must deliver to the working and middle class what they want.

          The Walton’s are fabulously wealthy because they sell the working class what they want for 1.5% over cost.

          Read Smith – you can not get wealth without creating wealth for others.

          The Walton’s not only provide the working class what they want but they deliver jobs to thousands of people.

          The same for Bezo’s and Gates – no matter how wealthy they are – to get that wealthy they had to create massive amounts more wealth for others.

          That is not an accident. It is an immutable fundimental of economics.
          You can try to game it, but it does not bend far.

          I am not a big rand fan, but I would note that Gates is a good example of the basis for her hostility to charity. Gates the philanthopist has been a failure. He has spent massive amounts and produced minimal results.

          Gates the entrepeneur did far far far more for humanity. He created wealth and jibs for the entire world.

          Look at China – just the smallest touched of free markets and 1.3B people go from $300/yr to $11K – from the bottom of the third world to the bottom of the first.

          Read Nobel winner Ronald Coase – How China became capitalist.
          Wonderful book – easy to read and an excellent primer on basic economics at the same time.

          What happened in China over 40 years has done more to improve the lot of the poor in the world than every church and charity in human history combined.

          No wonder Rand disliked charity.

          Job’s tried charity brielfy. He quickly learned he could do more to help people by turning his focus back to apple.

        2. It has done what it was paid to do. To wit: Create more managers for the billionaires who own our society.

          Actually, no. Fewer than 20% of all graduates study business or public administration, and many of those who do study specific technical disciplines like accounting.

          1. you dont get it absurd. business management is not what i was talking about. it was being facetious

            i was talking about how American university perversions of the humanities and social sciences is a form of cultural conditioning and social engineering to make more unthinking, pliant, cubicle dwellers in various bureaucracies.

            this is what the big money is paying them to do. emasculate, condition, and control

            1. i was talking about

              No, you’re parrying because you say stupid sh!t and have trouble doing course corrections.

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