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Liberalism: Strange Bedfellows Undermining Liberalism: Trump And Academia - by Bo Rothstein

For people like myself, working as a social science researcher, these are very strange times. Almost any colleague, in whatever discipline you talk with, will quickly turn the conversation onto one and only one question – the election and politics of Donald Trump. Since his election as US President, the academic community appears to have been experiencing something of a mental shellshock, or maybe it would be more accurate to label this an “election shock”. How could this happen in the country with the very best universities and, if we consider for example the number of Nobel laureates, the absolute top research units in the world? The country that, when it comes to size and professionalism, outperforms all other countries (even if you would count the whole of the European Union) in almost all research areas.

Trump and his administration stand for everything that is the opposite of constructing public policy based on research, or if you want to be more solemn, public policy based on the idea of enlightenment. Ideological warfare instead of argument based on reason and facts. Politics and statements about events based on so-called “alternative facts” instead of truthfulness. A steadfast refusal to take into account and, in some respects, pure hostility to well-established research results in key areas such as climate change and population health. Narrow-minded nationalism instead of universalism and openness to the outside world. Xenophobia and racism instead of respect for individual rights. In the field of foreign policy, the Trump administration seems to have done away with most competence residing in the State Department. The anti-intellectualism and irrationality of this administration is simply overwhelming for many academics. Many very established members of respectable academic organizations in the US have criticized this administration at an unprecedented level.

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