Politico is reporting the most recent indication of how even left-leaning scholars at some of Washington, D.C.’s most prestigious liberal think tanks are fed up with how progressive wokeness is crippling academic curiosity and expression. It is causing them to leave their once-loved academic homes.
This present development is the story of Ruy Teixeira, a demomgrapher who has been a founding scholar and senior fellow at one of Washington, D.C.’s most influential left-leaning think tanks, the Center for American Progress (CAP). Politico reports Dr. Teixeira is now moving over to the conservative American Enterprise Institute.
Does the move stem from Teixeira’s newfound conservatism? Not at all. He is the same liberal he has always been. In fact, his most recent book is entitled The Optimistic Leftist.
No, his move is because he is absolutely fed up with wokeness crippling such organizations. In fact, the scholar told Politico the current ideological atmosphere of liberal organizations “send me running screaming from the left.” He added, “I’m just a social democrat, man. Trying to make the world a better place.”
But Dr. Teixeira has experienced the extremes of current woke progressivism and he has had it, so he has sought another home. He puts it as frankly as he can, “It’s just cloud cuckoo land,” over there in the liberal think tanks anymore. “The fact that nobody is willing to call bullsh*t, it just freaks me out.”
He feels like he can do his academic work better at a conservative think tank because conservatives are not afraid to truly explore truth and follow where it leads. There is genuine openness, freedom of thought and real intellectual rigor. That is less likely in leftist atmospheres. Politico explains point blank, “CAP, and the rest of Washington’s institution-based left, stopped being a place where he could do the work he wanted.” The reason, Teixeira said, “is that the relentless focus on race, gender, and identity in historically liberal foundations and think tanks has made it hard to do work that looks at society through other prisms.” It is groupthink and that is poison to academic purposes. Dr. Teixeira expanded,
I would say that anybody who has a fundamentally class-oriented perspective, who thinks that’s a more important lens and doesn’t assume that any disparity is automatically a lens of racism or sexism or what have you … I think that perspective is not congenial in most left institutions.
It is one thing for a scholar like Teixeira to watch wokeness take hold of the social discussion on unserious pop outlets like Twitter and Facebook. But this happening at work where rigor is supposed to be the rule is another matter. Politico explains, “as an employee, he’s none too fond of the institutional dynamics that he says are driven by younger staff but embraced by higher-ups afraid of a public blow-up.” Teixeira elaborates,
It’s just the case that at CAP, like almost any other left think tank you can think of, it’s become very hard to have a conversation about race and gender and trans issues, even crime and immigration. You know, ‘How should the left handle these?’ There’s a default assumption about how you’re supposed to talk about these things, even the language. There’s a real chilling effect on all of these organizations, and I think it’s had an effect on CAP as well.
A real chilling effect. He is exactly right.
The left is currently imploding because it has become absolute fundamentalist. A wholly new fundamentalism where serious questions are forbidden and discussion about important ideas are immediately shut down. Goodness, just this week, Senator Josh Hawley was called “transphobic” and unsafe by a professor in a Senate hearing for asking if women are the humans who bear children. And Dr. Ruy Teixeira’s happy exodus from prestigious liberal hallmarks for saner climes in conservativism is just the latest example of the fact.
Ideas have consequences and bad ideas have very bad ones.