Professor Chad Topaz’s latest twitter thread deserves a thorough fisking. Key section:
I don’t debate social justice.
What are we to make of this?
1) I believe Topaz. He has no interest in a debate. (I reached out to him and received no response.)
2) There is a long tradition at Williams of refusing to debate, although it has been somewhat dormant in the last 50 years. The ministers who started Williams had no interest in debating the divinity of Christ. Mark Hopkins refused to allow Ralph Waldo Emerson on campus. Adam Falk banned John Derbyshire. Can any historians flesh out the attitude of Williams faculty toward debate during the 19th century? Topaz is a modern version of that worldview.
3) Nothing wrong with a refusal to debate, of course, if, that is, you are running a Madrassa. Is that what Williams is? I hope not!
4) I have no objection to Williams professors who prefer to have nothing to do with Topic X. Life is short! They are busy with their students and their research. But it seems unusual for a professor, like Topaz, to be so engaged in social justice issues — as he obviously is — and yet, at the same time, to refuse to discuss/debate the topic. Most SJW professors won’t shut up about social justice.
5) I recommend that Topaz’s opponents, like Professor Colin Adams, publicly challenge him to a debate about diversity statements and the desirability of publishing the views of their critics.