The modern American liberals, especially those infesting academia, are low-bandwidth goons, but this is not a new phenomenon. In a 1999 essay, Tom Wolfe described how an academic mafia set out to destroy the brilliant evolutionary biologist Edward O. Wilson. This included hysterical attacks from his Harvard colleagues Stephen Jay Gould and Richard Lewontin – demonizing Wilson as a “Nazi in embryo.”
Tom Wolfe’s essay “Sorry, But Your Soul Just Died” published in Forbes in 1999 chronicled the rift between Edward O. Wilson and certain colleagues within the academic world. Wilson’s controversial ideas in sociobiology and later in his book “Sociobiology: The New Synthesis” were met with strong opposition from some in the scientific community, including Stephen Jay Gould and Richard Lewontin.
Gould and Lewontin were critical of Wilson’s views on sociobiology, which they believed oversimplified complex social behaviors by attributing them too strongly to genetic factors. They accused Wilson of genetic determinism and reducing complex human behavior to biology, which they vehemently opposed.
Wilson’s crime in the eyes of his leftist colleagues was rejecting the idea of the “Blank Slate” – Theorizing that human traits and behaviors have evolved, genetic roots – That “nature” may play a more dominant role than “nurture.”
Wilson’s enemies set out to “cancel” him. Gould and Lewontin teamed-up with the “Science for the People” to attack Wilson’s theories. Protesters picketed his class at Harvard. At one conference a protester dumped a carafe of ice water over Wilson’s head.
As Wolfe notes, the smear campaign backfired. Wilson went on to enjoy immense fame and prestige – “while Gould and Lewontin seethed … and seethed.” Wilson triumphed. But unfortunately, the deniers of human nature continued their successful long-march through the institutions.