The war on freedom is rotting our intellectual life

From Denyse O’Leary at MercatorNet:

In 2015, Eric Posner, a law professor at the University of Chicago, announced that “universities are right—and within their rights—to crack down on speech and behavior. Students today are more like children than adults and need protection.” Why today in particular? Is it possible that decades of proselytism for left fascism by their teachers have left their mark? The rioting students are not dissidents but conformists.

This article unpacks the assumptions, promoted by tenured academic for decades, that underlie the crackdown on intellectual freedom and dissent, including:

History is fungible if it raises troubling issues. That is a logical outcome of a post-truth society. Statues must be removed or names changed if historic figures’ failings feel sensitive. And it is only the current sensitivity that matters. Failings that do not arouse current sensitivities are never considered. In the vacuum of context that necessarily develops, learning about the actual past becomes impossible. In George Orwell’s 1984, the protagonist Winston, a low-level bureaucrat, was employed full time rewriting history. He certainly would not want for work today.

There are no fixed standards of justice to appeal to. Recently, controversial conservative pundit Ann Coulter could not speak at Berkeley due to threats of violence. But Marxist anarchist Germain Greer had to withdraw from speaking at Cardiff in Wales because she does not toe the line on transgender claims. Ayaan Hirsi Ali was disinvited from receiving an honorary degree at Brandeis because of her negative attitude to Islam. Ex-Muslim Hirsi Ali is a victim of female genital mutilation but that is apparently not a Correct sensitivity any longer so it cannot be counted in her favour. More.

See also: The war on intellectual freedom How political correctness morphed into a monster.

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  • Alain

    I was led to believe that “1984” was a work of fiction. Little did I know.

  • El Martyachi

    It’s as though you want them (establishment stakeholders) to fix the place. That’s not happening. It’s gotta go down… and, thankfully, looks to be doing so at a decent pace.

  • Hard Little Machine

    But does it matter if the intellectual life of America dies? I’m not sure. Maybe maybe not. Maybe it’s ok if America is IQ67 and furiously angry, stupid, violent and insane. Maybe we’re done.

    • Alain

      What passes for the intellectual life nowadays in the West could not die soon enough; it is anything but intellectual.

      • Hard Little Machine

        That’s what I’m wondering about. I look at the non-liberal arts, the non philosophics and I see an America being run as a colony of Asia. And trust me I’m as big a fan of a broad and deep liberal arts education and collective knowledge as anyone. The idea that we can live w/o people who think contextually is wrong. We need history we need thought we need culture, we need all of that. But when I look around I see Thunderdome. When societies implode there’s rarely a way back.