Two Collections By Philip Carl Salzman Reviewed

September 2020

1) Philip Carl Salzman, Feminism and Justice (BookBaby, 2019), 120 pages.

Of course, “feminism” could simply be advocacy for a society, a world, a system, in which men and women (and boys and girls) are treated “fairly” — that is, as much as possible the same, in terms of the punishments and rewards of life, given the inconvenient facts that, however, men and women are not the same, often in ways that are not well understood, and that they exist in a changeable society whose values, customs, institutions and welfare need somehow to be considered. Well, perhaps it is not so simple after all, and perhaps that is why, in his Introduction, Philip Carl Salzman confines himself to the statement that “feminism in practice has become an attempt to benefit females at the expense of males”. In this Kindle publication, 17 chapters drawn from previous essays by the author, the nature of early 21st-century feminism is excruciatingly explored: a sort of reductio ad nauseam of accepted ideology and corresponding practice (for example, Chapter 8, “The Toxic Mission to Reengineer Men”, or Chapter 11, “Feminists Assault Science”).

More generally, Salzman also sets feminism in the larger context of “social justice” that seeks to “provide advantages for members of oppressed categories, and to disadvantage members of oppressor categories.” The oppressed/oppressors are of course defined in terms of the usual collectives: sex, sexual preference, race, ethnicity, income, political opinion, and so on. I have come to refer to this inability to think in terms of individuals as “cultural socialism”, because just like political socialism, it regards each person only as an intersection of collectives — the rights (indeed, in a more fundamental sense, the value) of the individual are predicated entirely on those of the collectives to which he belongs. Don’t be a landowner in the Soviet Union, nor a conservative in a 2020 Philosophy Department.

Thus, in our 21st century dictatorship of the proletariat, we have the four “Feminist Lynchings” described in Salzman’s Chapter 3:

  • in 2016 Steven Galloway is fired by the University of British Columbia

  • in 2017 Ahmed Fekry Ibrahim is forced to leave McGill University

  • in 2018 Marcus Knight, a student with serious disabilities, is suspended from California’s Saddleback College

  • in 2018 Patrick Brown is forced to resign as leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party

— all because of unsubstantiated claims of sexual harassment nevertheless supported by an officialdom intimidated by feminist control of the terms of discourse. The author mentions en passant several other such cases (not, unfortunately, including the near martyrdom of U.S. Supreme Court nominees Gorsuch and Kavanaugh), but of course the files of SAFS over the last 28 years would yield dozens of injustices suffered by individuals who happened, in some specific instance, to unwisely offend the politically correct collective.

Lest anyone imagine that these phenomena are new, let me refer the reader to two excellent on-topic publications from the 1990s, one, Christina Hoff Sommer’s Who Stole Feminism?, deploring the dishonesty and injustice of mainstream feminism, the other, Martin Loney’s The Pursuit of Division, dealing more generally with the harm done by collectivism to society, its institutions and its people. In particular, Loney (p. 302) tells us that in 1996 “the University of Toronto has an explicit policy of awarding two-thirds of all new appointments to women”. At least they were honest about it. Recently, at McMaster University, I sat through a presentation to my department from an adminstration official who told us that in our hiring we should strive to mirror the proportion of minorities in society. When I asked if this were not affirmative action, she replied “Oh no, that’s what they have in the United States.”

Salzman provides a welcome chapter on the damage done to the children of one-parent families — that is, 90% of the time, families with only a mother — now representing about one-third of all families in the USA. Of course such families are welcomed by doctrinaire feminists, who infamously tell us that “a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle” (Irina Dunn, 1970). But their failure is huge, in terms of the education level, joblessness, rate of imprisonment and income of the offspring — the measures of success in life. A recent book edited by Janice Fiamengo presents 26 case studies of the harm done, primarily to men, both psychological and material, by the pervasive feminism of society — many beginning with their home life, others damaged and disadvantaged as they make their way through the world. Of course, on the other hand, as Salzman reminds us in Chapter 8, no less an authority than the American Psychological Association tells us that “traditional masculinity ... is, on the whole, harmful”. No doubt a true statement in a world increasingly dominated by feminist ideologues!

Even more welcome is the lengthy Chapter 13, “In Praise of Dead White Men”, where, along with Abraham Lincoln and David Hume, I was delighted to find Jane Austen and Ayaan Hirsi Ali included — both of them of course despised by today’s main-stream feminists, therefore really men.

Overall, Salzman’s book is a lively read, a timely debunking of collectivist orthodoxy, with plenty of references to on-line source material. I recommend.


Janice Fiamengo (ed.), Sons of Feminism: Men Have Their Say, Little Nightingale Press (2018) 309 pp.

Martin Loney, The Pursuit of Division: Race, Gender, and Preferential Hiring in Canada, McGill-Queen’s University Press (1998) 396 pp.

Christina Hoff Sommers, Who Stole Feminism? How Women Have Betrayed Women, Simon & Schuster (1994) 320 pp.

2) Philip Carl Salzman, Universities Today (BookBaby, 2020), 179 pp.

One would have thought, after almost a century of insightful publications (such as the one here under review) criticizing the Deweyist/socialist transformation of the North American education system (see the References for a sample), that the system would now be fixed, we could rest assured that our children and grandchildren would actually be educated. Well, of course we — or at least some of us — now recognize that such an expectation was laughable, that things have got worse rather than better. This is what Philip Carl Salzman, in his Introduction, has to say about the University of 2020:

“Under the rationale of ‘diversity, equity, and inclusion’, preference is given to members of alleged victim categories in admission, funding, hiring, and special facilities and events, often segregated. Females, African Americans, Hispanics, Indigenous Natives (especially in Canada), LGBTQ++, the disabled, the poor, Muslims, and illegal aliens are favoured and celebrated, while males, whites, Christians and Jews, the abled, members of the middle class, and often East Asians are vilified and discriminated against.

“Only ‘social justice’ opinions are regarded as legitimate, and other views, critical views, are suppressed through selective avoidance in hiring and invitations, or silenced through deplatforming and characterization as alt-right, far right, fascist, KKK, and Nazi. The beloved ‘diversity’ no longer applies to diversity of opinion, which is now rejected as a white male supremacy talking point. But universities do not leave policing to student and staff ideological vigilantes. They hired, at great cost, multitudes of political commissars called ‘diversity, equity, and inclusion officers’ at every organizational level to police thought and expression. Social justice and anti-bias courses are set up, sometimes required for all staff, to re-educate those not sufficiently ‘woke’, and those who had strayed into unacceptable thought or language.”

Throughout the 23 chapters of this Kindle publication — put together from 23 articles published separately in various forums over the last several years —, Salzman expands on the evil effects of “diversity”: the reduction in the quality of both students and instructors, resulting from the abandonment of merit as the sole basis for selection, leads inevitably to a corresponding reduction in the quality and analysis of the educational material provided to students. This double whammy is conveyed by many of the author’s chapter titles:

  • “Marxism Failed in the World, but Conquered Western Academia”

  • “Diversity in Everything but Opinion”

  • “Diversity Replaces Merit at Canadian Universities”

  • “Today’s Social Science Courses: More Feelings, Fewer Facts”

Salzman writes in a distinguished tradition. Already in 1924 the irrepressible H.L. Mencken was expressing strikingly similar ideas in The American Mercury:

“The aim of public education … is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry, to down dissent and originality.”

In Canada Hilda Neatby was to my knowledge the progenitor of serious criticism of the effect on education of collectivist ideology. (See David Livingstone’s article for a recent insightful analysis of her work.) Already in 1953, she repeatedly uses the term “progressive” as a pejorative, assigning to it a meaning very close to its current identification with socialism. In particular, Neatby describes the primary/secondary education system’s abandonment of

  • precise use of language (meaning evolves over time)

  • an understanding of history (we live in a socialist present)

  • familiarity with the great thinkers of the past (their ideas are not relevant to our Brave New World)

In the university, in certain programmes, the initial effects of this change of emphasis and approach were perhaps marginal. For example, in 1953, as a first year student in Maths, Physics & Chemistry at the University of Toronto, my fellow students and I were (correctly) told by our Introductory Calculus lecturer that, as in years past, 50% of us would not do well enough to pass into second year. The MPC reality was still stable: above all, the university valued academic/scientific excellence. Today, however, if I try to fail more than 7% in any single course, regardless of difficulty, I will hear from the Dean and be required to change my marking scheme. Now, in the absence of other values, the university protects its source of income. Mencken and Neatby were prophets.

Where diversity divides, individuals and their accomplishments are interpreted according to the intersection of collectives to which they belong: irrelevant factors such as sex, racial background, sexual preference, religion, wealth, union membership, and so on. These categories are applied to the selection and evaluation of both students and their mentors — thus, inevitably, degrading the quality of education.

Perhaps I may urge readers of this review, if they have not already done so, to access the References listed below. I particularly recommend the Sowell book for its wealth of source material. Collectively, they reinforce Professor Salzman’s message, that “diversity, equity, and inclusion”, seemingly positive, at least innocuous, criteria for decision-making, in fact, as they are interpreted and applied, relentlessly undermine, not just the education system, but our entire society. When there is “Diversity in Everything but Opinion”, the mob rules.


Hilda Neatby, So Little for the Mind: An Indictment of Canadian Education, Clarke Irwin (1953) 384 pp.

David Bercuson, Robert Bothwell & J. L. Granatstein, The Great Brain Robbery: Canada’s Universities on the Road to Ruin, McLelland & Stewart (1984) 160 pp.

Thomas Sowell, Inside American Education: The Decline, the Deception, the Dogmas, The Free Press (1993) 368 pp.

John Fekete, Moral Panic: Biopolitics Rising, R. Davies Publishing (1994) 383 pp.

Martin Loney, The Pursuit of Division: Race, Gender, and Preferential Hiring in Canada, McGill-Queen’s University Press (1998) 396 pp.

Alan Charles Kors & Harvey A. Silverglate, The Shadow University: The Betrayal of Liberty on America’s Campuses, The Free Press (1998) 415 pp.

Bruce Bawer, The Victims’ Revolution: The Rise of Identity Studies and the Closing of the Liberal Mind, Broadside Books (2012) 378 pp.

Robert Ivan Martin, Free Expression in Canada: Surrendered to Diversity and Multiculturalism, Stairway Press (2012) 449 pp.

David Livingstone, “Still So Little for the Mind: The Enduring Relevance of Hilda Neatby’s Defense of Liberal Education in Public Schools,” VoegelinView (2017) 1–12.

Heather Mac Donald, The Diversity Delusion: How Race and Gender Pandering Corrupt the University and Undermine Our Culture, St. Martin’s Press (2018) 278 pp.