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“Achieving Disagreement” Inside the College Bubble

(Steven Hayward) One of the best explanations for why colleges and universities seem so insane these days is offered indirectly by one of the smartest left-leaning academics of our time—Cass Sunstein of Harvard Law School. An interesting old article of Sunstein’s entitled “The Law of Group Polarization,” he explains how homogenous groups of people will become more extreme the more they deliberate together, and paradoxically degrade deliberation. And there are few groups more intellectually homogeneous than a “cultural studies” department and its various disciplinary cognates these days.
Sunstein was prompted to write this paper because he was surprised at how little studied this phenomenon is. The main point, according to Sunstein: “Members of a deliberating group move toward a more extreme point of view in whatever direction is indicated by the members’ pre-deliberation strategy.” In other words, it is not at all to be surprised that a homogeneous group of academics concerned

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