The Corner


Social-Justice Warriors Infiltrate Engineering

Social-justice warriors aren’t willing to leave anything alone. They’re intent on capturing every institution, every discipline, every profession they possibly can and demanding that the people in them think and behave “appropriately.” Dissent is dangerous so all must be conquered.

One of the last places you’d think they would get any traction is engineering, but as Ben Cohen writes in today’s Martin Center article, they already have a strong foothold.

“In 2015,” Cohen writes,  “Colorado School of Mines writing instructor Dr. Jon Leydens delivered a TED talk titled ‘engineering and social justice.’ According to Leydens, in the mid-2000s students started asking him about how they could combine their ‘passion for social justice’ with their interest in engineering. Leydens is part of a growing movement that seeks to incorporate social justice into engineering, in both the professional code and the curriculum. Far from being a marginal movement, on the fringes of the profession, it enjoys support at the highest levels.”

The SJW advocates in engineering are hostile to the military and to capitalism, arguing that engineering should observe the “ethical canons” that the advocates propose.

The real problem isn’t so much that these people are going to get current engineers to give up lucrative work but that they’re infiltrating the educational system to bend the minds of future engineers. That’s where “engineering education” classes fit into their scheme.

Cohen continues, “In these classes, the instructors tried to get students to consider the interests of non-traditional stakeholders, such as the communities where a petroleum project would be located:

They (students) completed a stakeholder analysis to learn about the different perspectives that different groups have, and determine how to best address their concerns. Speakers from a local oil and gas company came in and discussed how they engage the community, listen empathetically, communicate extensively, and deal with difficult social and environmental situations.”

The momentum of the SJWs worries engineering professors like Ed Gehringer of NC State. Gehringer told Cohen that he became an engineer partially because he thought nobody would discriminate against him for his beliefs: “He worries that the changing climate will make it harder for conservative engineers to get academic jobs. In his view, incorporating social justice into engineering sends a message that conservatives are unwelcome.”

Would “progressive” engineers do that? In a heartbeat. They’re all about control.

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.


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