Researcher Condemns Conformity Among His Peers (NYT: Science)
“Academics, like teenagers, sometimes don’t have any sense regarding the degree to which they are conformists.”
So says Thomas Bouchard, the Minnesota psychologist known for his study of twins raised apart, in a retirement interview with Constance Holden in the journal Science.
[. . .]
I remember when I first realized that even rebels have their need for conformity. I was teaching a freshman writing class in 1994. Several of my students had adopted the Standard Issue Grunge Uniform for College Students. They had also adopted the Standard Issue Anti-establishment Opposition Ideology (SIAOI). One student loudly denounced the frat-boy mentality of the university and went on to articulate all the talking points of the comfortable academic Left. Of course, at the time, I was delighted. But being constitutionally contrarian ,I challenged his points and noted (to my own amazement) that his dress and ideas were formed very precisely AS a way of opposing the establishment. Wasn't it reasonable to suggest that his whole outlook (and outfit) was determined by the frat boys he claimed to loathe?
In my long experience in the academic world, I can bear unflinching witness to the fact that perhaps the only group more conformist than leftist academics resides in barracks and salutes superior officers.