In the culture-wars currently rocking US campuses, the enemies of free speech have plenty of tools on their side. Many of these would appear to be advantages. For instance the employment of violence, thuggery and intimidation against those who disagree are generally effective ways to prevent people hearing things you do not want them to hear. As are the subtler but more regularly employed tactics for shutting people down, such a “no-platforming” people or getting them disinvited after they have been invited, should the speaker’s views not accord 100% with those of their would-be censors. As also noted in this space before, many of the people who campaign to limit what American students can learn also have the short-term advantage of being willing to lie without compunction and cover over facts whenever they emerge.
The important point here, however, is that word “short-term”. In the long run, those who wish to cover over a contrary opinion, or even inconvenient facts, are unlikely to succeed. Adults tend to be capable of more discernment and initiative than the aspirant-nannies believe them to be, and the effects will always tend to show. Take, for example, events in Portland, Oregon, last month.
Though Hollander does not claim that there is a single explanation for intellectuals’ attraction to dictatorships such as those of Stalin, Mao, and Castro (or Khomeini, in the case of Foucault), let alone to have found it, he nevertheless believes, in my view plausibly, that the longing for quasi-religious belief in an age when actual religion has largely been rejected is a significant part of the explanation. The totalitarian dictators were not the typical politicians of democratic systems who, whatever their rhetoric, seem mainly to tinker at the edges of human existence, are ready or forced to make grubby compromises with their opponents, reveal themselves to be morally and financially corrupt, are more impressive in opposition than in office, have no overarching ideas for the redemption of humanity, and make no claims to be panjandrums of all human knowledge and wisdom. Rather, those dictators were religious leaders who claimed the power to answer all human questions at once and to lead humanity into a land of perpetual milk, honey, and peace. They were omniscient, omnicompetent, loving, and kind, infinitely concerned for the welfare of their people; yet at the same time they were modest, humble, and supposedly embarrassed by the adulation they received. The intellectuals, then, sought in them not men but messiahs. More.
Reality check: They become illogical at the prospect of power.
Professor Michael Eric Dyson – White Skin Is Racist
This rant by Georgetown University professor Michael Eric Dyson suggests that white people have tremendous benefits over people of color: “One of the greatest privileges of being white in this country is to encounter a police person on the street and live to tell about it.”
Last week, the college-focused website Inside Higher Ed published a laughably slanted, 2,472-word article expounding the proposition that conservative student groups on campuses across America “view academe with disdain,” focus on “attracting controversy” and spend their days orchestrating divisive events “designed to rile people up.”
Perspective Drives Our Interpretation of Heroes and Villains in History: Capes. Masks. Is there a real difference between heroes and villains?
For example, students in 20 countries around the world were asked to classify 40 of the most important events in world history as either Historical Calamities, Historical Progress, or Historical Resistance to Oppression. Participants had similar ideas as to what is a Historical Calamity (e.g., World Wars, atomic bombings, global warming), but there was less universal agreement on what constitutes Historical Progress (e.g., digital age, Industrial Revolution), and they flat-out disagreed about what constituted Historical Resistance (e.g., Human Rights, American Civil War, fall of the Berlin Wall). Nuance and perspective were key here in how people come to understand what has happened both to themselves and to others. The broader the impact, the greater the consensus.
The five most negatively evaluated historical figures across all countries were (from the bottom) Adolf Hitler, Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, George W. Bush and Joseph Stalin. These men played key roles in dictatorships, terrorism, mass murder, and unjust wars.
There is also the question of time. George W. Bush received a more negative rating than Joseph Stalin, when the latter caused a greater number of deaths. It may very well be that among his former countrymen, Stalin’s reputation is something different. He may be more of a villain to them because his legacy is strongest there and the losses he caused are felt more keenly, whereas on a global scale he has begun to metaphorically fade from public memory. His notoriety will never be completely erased. More.
So the monstrous Joseph Stalin is figure merely on the level of… Dubya? But come to think of it, that makes sense in an era of facts-optional marchin’, marchin’ for science as Social JusticeTM
See also: Nature (which owns Scientific American): The solution is, shout louder than an aggrieved identity march. Theoretically possible, but an odd achievement for a scientist…
On the other hand, it’s not new, just more prevalent. See: The illogic of famous logicians (who promoted cruel political systems)
Progressive government under Joseph Stalin at its finest (= killing people), largely covered up in the West:
See also: Use for extra people: Jewelry The main thing to see here is that in the age of euthanasia, we are all “the fetus” now. Keep voting with and for the Cool, and the Cool will end up wearing or eating you. With pride. And some justification.
An assistant professor at California State Polytechnic University argues in a recent academic research paper that eastern fox squirrels are subjected to a “gendered, racialized, and speciesist” form of media bias. Teresa Lloro-Bidart, an associate professor of liberal studies at Cal Poly, argues in a recently published postmodernist research paper that eastern fox squirrels are on the receiving end of racially-charged media bias.
Lloro-Bidart claims that she worked towards such a conclusion by analyzing the coverage of eastern fox squirrels through “feminist posthumanist,” and “feminist food studies” lenses.
I’m on the campus of the University of California at Berkeley, where conservative speakers are being systematically censored by violent protests designed to prevent them from speaking. I am on Sproul plaza in the centre of the campus, where free speech was supposedly enshrined back in the sixties but where it is now appallingly being suppressed.
This is the campus where conservative views are called fascism and shouted down. As you can see from these posters on this campus noticeboard.
This is where Jewish students in particular are being intimidated by threatening pro-Palestinian demonstrators. I was originally asked to speak at Berkeley Hillel, the Jewish student centre here. But remarkably, even that was considered too dangerous for me.
Every week in America brings another spate of defeats for freedom of speech. This past week it was Ann Coulter’s turn (yet again) to be banned from speaking at Berkeley for what the university authorities purport to be “health and safety” reasons — meaning the health and safety of the speaker.
Each time this happens, there are similar responses. Those who broadly agree with the views of the speaker complain about the loss of one of the fundamental rights which the Founding Fathers bestowed on the American people. Those who may be on the same political side but find the speaker somewhat distasteful find a way to be slightly muted or silent. Those who disagree with the speaker’s views applaud the banning as an appropriate response to apparently imminent incitement.
The problem throughout all of this is that the reasons why people should be supporting freedom of speech (to correct themselves where they are in error, and strengthen their arguments where they are not) are actually becoming lost in America. No greater demonstration of this muddle exists than a letter put together by a group of students at Claremont McKenna College earlier this month to protest the appearance on their campus of a speaker with whom they disagreed.
A pro-choice professor accused pro-life organizations of “child pornography” for using images of dead fetuses as a rhetorical device during a debate at Purdue University.
At an April 24 debate hosted by the Boilermakers for Life student organization, David Sanders, an associate professor of Biology at Purdue, accused his interlocutor of “child pornography” for showing “images of fetuses” when defending his pro-life views.
The phenomenon of rich, privileged “snowflake” college students demanding “safe spaces” from “microagressions” rightly provokes derision and scorn from normal people. Those who live among the slings and arrows of the real world, where actions have consequences and one’s delicate self-esteem is a matter of indifference, can only shake their heads at such childish tantrums. But the roots of this degradation of the university’s traditional mission to cultivate critical reasoning rather than narcissism run deep in our therapeutic culture, and threaten the virtues and qualities of mind necessary for self-rule and political freedom.
Did you know that our “genocidal history” is even worse than that of Nazi Germany? Come as a surprise, does it? If that it happens to be the case there is a safe assumption to be made: you haven’t been studying at one of our Australian university where mendacity meets mediocrity
Only the students in the queue awaken me from my complacency. Where do we turn for comfort, they ask, when our reading lists are gibberish about which we can understand only that it is all left-wing? Is there no network, no secret society, no alternative reading list to get us through the next three years? Is there, in a modern university, no “safe space” for conservatives?
—Roger Scruton, at the Edinburgh Book Festival, August 2016
These observations by the English philosopher Roger Scruton at a book signing of his recent work on the dominance of neo-Marxist and postmodernist intellectuals in Western universities, Fools, Frauds and Firebrands: Thinkers of the New Left, describe a situation that is now ubiquitous throughout the English-speaking world. The humanities faculties of our public universities have been so comprehensively captured by the Left that they create an intellectual environment that leaves students of a conservative disposition completely out in the cold.
Observation shows and science confirms that a young person’s brain does not fully mature until age 25. Your college years should be years in which your mentors train you to integrity, reason, self-confidence and broad-mindedness. Instead, the bullying leftists of academia are betraying their charges for the purpose of imposing their political view.
Donna Hylton – sodomized man with steel pole before murdering him
Convicted felon Donna Hylton spoke on a civil rights panel at a fancypants college earlier this month but completely failed to mention that she — along with several others — kidnapped a man, forcibly sodomized him with a steel pole and then tortured him to death.
When a student at the event asked Hytlon about the heinous crime, a second panelist loudly berated the student for having “embarrassed” Hylton.