The Lost Samurai
The London School of Economics has published the findings of its internal review into Satoshi Kanazawa’s provocative Psychology Today blog posting “Why are black women less physically attractive than other women?” Accompanying the account of this review, prominently placed on the LSE website is Dr Kanazawa’s recantation cum letter of apology to the interim Director, Professor Judith Rees. But don’t blame Kanazawa for the cringe-making contents of this missive, reminiscent of a confession in a Soviet show trial. It was reportedly written for him!
The outcome of this affair is highly unsatisfactory, both for Dr Kanazawa himself and for all those concerned about academic freedom. He has kept his job but he has been publicly humiliated and his “methodology” found wanting by a star chamber of three senior “colleagues”. He cannot publish anything for a year in any non-peer reviewed outlets. Nor can he teach any compulsory classes during this current academic year. He now has an excellent career behind him and the school will doubtless dispense with his services at the earliest opportunity. The University of Ouagadougou awaits him, where at least he can field test his theory.
Academic freedom has taken yet another hit- indeed part of the underlying purpose of this internal “inquiry” (worthy of Andrei Zhdanov) was to “décourager les autres” from considering race differences. Worse still, a vociferous clique of self-righteous students has been able to dictate just what they are taught and by whom. An unfortunate precedent has thereby been set that being “offended” constitutes grounds for challenging controversial research or speculation. Radical Islamists and exponents of other flat earth ideologies will doubtless take note.
Just what is a university for? Those who run the LSE (my alma mater) evidently have no idea, judging from the shameful outcome of this episode. Dr Kanazawa, one of the most stimulating and inventive members of its academic staff, has been muzzled. But meanwhile the mediocrities that lionized Saif Gaddafi and endorsed his plagiarised doctoral thesis remain unpunished, despite the immense damage they have done to the LSE’s reputation.
Leslie Jones. 13 October 2011