Sep 132007

I had thought it would come to this eventually. I didn’t realize it was already here as a matter of official policy, and has been here for ten years already.

Here is John Leo in a column at

In 1997, the National Association of Social Work (NASW) altered its ethics code, ruling that all social workers must promote social justice “from local to global level.” This call for mandatory advocacy raised the question: what kind of political action did the highly liberal field of social work have in mind? The answer wasn’t long in coming. The Council on Social Work Education, the national accreditor of social work education programs, says candidates must fight “oppression,” and sees American society as pervaded by the “global interconnections of oppression.” Now aspiring social workers must commit themselves, usually in writing, to a culturally left agenda, often including diversity programs, state-sponsored redistribution of income, and a readiness to combat heterosexism, ableism, and classism.

I’m somewhat sensitive to this issue, because I’ve occasionally had people of the left ask me why a person of my political views is working for a public university, on the public payroll.  (I have a support staff position.)    My standard response is that it’s a damning indictment of the system if giving me a paycheck is supposed to buy my political views as well.

But that’s the direction in which things are headed.  A personal observation is that young students and even faculty members are having increasing difficulty separating ecological science from environmental activism.     I wonder how many can still articulate the reasons for separating the two.   They seem to understand the difference between science and non-science when the topic of creationism comes up — but they don’t seem to be able to apply the principles generally.

Well, I don’t know if this National Association of Scholars (apparently the source of much of Leo’s information) is going to make much headway in protecting science and scholarship.

How about this:  NASW should add an amendment to its code of ethics, explaining that whenever its members engage in public discussion of political affairs, that they should add the disclaimer that their political views are bought and paid for.    Newspapers when printing letters to the editor from such persons, should point out that the political views of the writer have been bought and paid for, and are not the result of independent thought any more than those of a corporate PR flack are.