From the Red Files: ‘Academic Mobbing’

It is not just conservatives, classic liberals and so called far-right people who are getting sick of identity politics. People with left-wing and socialist views are getting sick of it too as the attacks are no longer confined to those on the right side of the political continuum.

Our most obvious New Zealand example of this has been the backlash against the Feminist group Speak Up For Women who have been smeared as TERFs.

Holly Lawford-Smith at Redline, a blog for contemporary Marxist analysis, writes about academics who have been the targets of what she calls “Academic mobbing.

Academics should be standing together in defence of universities’ fundamental values: the pursuit of truth, evidence-based research, and academic freedom. They should not be joining in when identity groups mob their colleagues.

In 2003, American psychologist and professor Michael Bailey published The Man Who Would Be Queen: The Science of Gender Bending and Transsexualism. The book’s cover notoriously featured a pair of masculine calves in a pair of high heels. Bailey was mobbed by transactivists in response; partly because in it he reaffirmed Ray Blanchard’s earlier typology of transsexuality as falling into two main types: effeminate gay males who opt to live as women rather than come out, and autogynephilic males, meaning, men who are attracted to the idea of themselves as women.

In her 2008 paper published in Archives of Sexual Behaviour, Alice Dreger presented the history of Bailey’s treatment at the hands of activists. Three transwomen — Lyn Conway, Andrea James, and Dierdre McCloskey — set out “to ruin Bailey professionally and personally.” Two of these transwomen were academics

[…] Their tactics against Bailey included lodging charges of scientific and sexual misconduct; securing media attention to amplify these charges; protesting against the book’s nomination for a prestigious LGBT award; attempting to alienate Bailey from his colleagues; devoting websites to criticizing and mocking him; and (in James’ case) harassing Bailey’s children, ex-wife, girlfriend, and friends.

[…] Bailey is far from the only academic to run into problems with activists. In her book, Galileo’s Middle Finger, Dreger details a number of other cases in which scientists had similar experiences: Craig Palmer, who researched the biological basis of rape, and was subject to a massive media frenzy and threats to personal safety (“Things were so bad that the police told me to take some precautions, like checking my car for car bombs every morning and varying my routine. I was even provided a special parking place on campus they thought would be safer,” he told Dreger)

[…] Napoleon Chagnon, an anthropologist who researched the Y?nomamö people, was “treated by his peers as cancerous and contagious, portrayed by his friends as a martyr and by his enemies as a Nazi,” according to Dreger. Wild accusations against Chagnon became the subject of a book by a determined detractor and made front page news.


The tactics of the left are now being used against anyone who dares to have an opinion or to present facts that don’t fit the approved narrative. When these tactics are used against those on the right, many on the left-wing cheer and take pleasure in the individuals’ loss of their reputation, career or income. Some however, have stood up for freedom of speech and against identity politics as they could see where the path would lead.

Those who currently take pleasure in what is being done to Israel Folau will be singing a different tune when someone from an identity group that they are a member of or support, gets the same treatment.