An historically valuable archive is lost by a university 6

A University Has Lost an Archive

The University of Leicester has lost the archive of the Institute for the Study of Terrorism (IST).

I founded the Institute for the Study of Terrorism in London in 1984 under the aegis of Alun Gwynne Jones, Lord Chalfont, an erstwhile Minister of Defence. Its archive was built on the foundation of the research I had done for my books on terrorism in Germany and the Middle East: Hitler’s Children: the Story of the Baader-Meinhof Gang and The PLO: the Rise and Fall of the Palestine Liberation Organization. The information I had gathered was augmented and updated continually through the six years of the Institute’s existence. With a team of five, sometimes six or seven, we worked at it in subterranean offices in central London. Our register of terrorists, names of groups and individuals with details of their affiliations, their objectives, and their actions, steadily grew.

We were a registered charity, but also funded ourselves by compiling reports for businesses needing to know what terrorist threats they could be faced with in foreign countries. Foreign contributors kept us posted on terrorist activity in their countries and regions, so quite often we received life-saving information ahead of the news agencies or even the intelligence agencies, Interpol, airport and port authorities, or the military. On one occasion, for instance, we were able to stop the import into Britain of lethal material disguised as wine in bottles with a very plausible label, because we had been tipped off by our contacts in Germany. Among our foreign advising experts was the head of the Small Arms Section of the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.

The Nature of the Archive

We built, often at grave personal risk to ourselves, a unique and irreplaceable collection of documents and recordings; lists of names of terrorist groups and individuals; photographs of perpetrators, victims, crime scenes, battlefields; descriptions and assessments of weapons and explosives.

The recordings included interviews I held with former terrorists who had served time in prison and wanted not just to return to normal life, but having come genuinely to regret their crimes, wanted to help oppose terrorism as a form of reparation. They would tell me about their organization’s membership, methods, aims, actions and plans. It was easy for them to get in touch with us. Although our address was secret, our telephone number was in the directory. They would call and I’d make an appointment to meet them in a public place, usually a busy hotel.

Our chief archivist, Ian Geldard, was a brilliant researcher with an extraordinary talent for discovery and detection. Once, at the height of the scare of bombs in planes, he packed a suitcase with the apparatus of a time-bomb, including fake explosive, then passed with it through X-ray machines between London’s Heathrow airport and Berlin’s Tempelhof and back again without being stopped, proving how dangerously untrustworthy the “safety measures” were. We informed the media and the airport authority of the experiment and its results. The report was filed in our archive along with many others.

My co-director Bernhard Adamczewski and I traveled across Europe, together and separately, to gather information firsthand. He found a “wanted” German terrorist in Vienna and informed the local police of the man’s whereabouts. We visited battlefields in the Middle East and pulled bloodstained documents from the rubble of bombed terrorist offices and encased them in transparent plastic covers to be photocopied. The copies were translated and filed. I came upon the deserted camp of one west African terrorist organization where, in the rows of desks in the classrooms, there were exercise books in which students had taken down lessons extolling Soviet Communism as the ideal system. The course had been run by graduates of Moscow’s Patrice Lumumba University. Those proofs that the organization was serving the interests of the USSR went back to London with me and entered our archive. 

The Uses of the Archive  

Once we had come into existence, legislators, the press, law enforcement, the transport and travel industries no longer had to rely on the announcements put out by terrorist groups themselves to know what they were doing, what they intended to do, and why. We supplied dependable information to members of Parliament, scholars, news channels, individual reporters and investigative journalists, airport and seaport authorities. We co-operated with the police in Britain, including the terrorist section of Scotland Yard’s Special Branch, and were several times able to give helpful information to law enforcement in other Western and allied countries.

I commissioned experts to write about particular terrorist organizations. We published their work as booklets in distinctive uniform yellow covers.  We co-convened two international conferences, one with the Institute for European Defence and Strategic Studies, one with London University’s Faculty of Laws which was opened by the Home Secretary. All this was done with the aim of promoting a shared understanding among Western policy-makers that terrorism was an inexcusable evil, regardless of the cause, however high, in the name of which it was carried out.

The archive established that almost all the terrorist groups in the First World and its allies between 1969 and 1990 were supported with training, and/or funding, arms, asylum, by Soviet Russia. (A few were affiliated with China.) I called their actions the hot spots of the Cold War.

With the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the defeat of the USSR in 1991, most of the terrorist wars in the West came to end. And since we had found and reported that most of them were Soviet sponsored, donors to our institute concluded that our usefulness was also at an end. In 1990, donations stopped. Businesses no longer asked for assessments of danger. I warned that the era of terrorism was not over, but few believed me. Hamas, a terrorist branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, was in power in Gaza and using terrorist methods against Israel. The ayatollahs governing Iran were supporting Hezbollah in Lebanon. Though I did not know that Osama bin Laden was just getting started with his organization al-Qaeda (so the colossal atrocity of 9/11 was already in the womb of time), I saw that the mass immigration of Muslims into the West meant that Europe and America could become targets of terrorism in furtherance of Islamic jihad.

Reluctantly, I closed the Institute and sought a permanent home for the archive. Its obvious guardian would be a university. I anticipated that our records, solidly proving the guilt of two Communist regimes for promoting decades of mass murder in the West, would be a permanent resource for historians of the Cold War.

The Archive Bought by a University  

The University of Leicester bought the archive in 1993. There, I thought, it will be safe. In due course the University archivist who had inspected the archive and negotiated the deal to acquire it, invited me and Ian Geldard to see how they were organizing it. They named it, with my approval, “The Becker-Adamczewski Archive of the Institute for the Study of Terrorism”. We were shown that published books were separately accommodated on the shelves of the main library, and that the bulk of the collection was to be kept in a special building, bought and adapted for the purpose of housing special collections. It was called the Scarman Centre for the Study of Public Order and was under the department of Criminology. Our archive was one of the first two to be put in it – the other (we were told or I assumed) was that of Lord Scarman himself, the High Court judge.

I was not entirely happy with the decision of the university to categorize our archive under Crime. I was doubtful  that scholars would look for research material on terrorism under that heading. I would have classed it under Politics, International Affairs, War, or History, but the decision was not mine to make. I trusted that wherever it was kept, our unique and irreplaceable collection of documents, photographs, and recordings would be properly preserved and accessible to scholars.

It was a treasure for a university to possess. 

What Happened to the Archive

In 2007 I came to live in America, where I launched this website, The Atheist Conservative. In 2020, the president of Republican Atheists, Lauren Ell, posted a profile of me on their website. I had mentioned to her that the IST archive had been bought by the University of Leicester. Wanting information about it, she contacted the university – and was told that it could not be found.

As soon as Lauren Ell informed me that the archive was apparently lost, I made my own inquiry and the loss was confirmed. The building in which the greater part of it had been housed was no longer in use by the university and there was no record of where the IST research material had been moved to. However, the Head of Archives and Special Collections, Dr. Simon Dixon, let me know that he was undertaking an investigation of the loss.

Dr. Dixon did all he could to find the archive. He courteously kept me informed of the efforts he made, which were hampered by the lockdowns imposed on the university during the Covid-19 epidemic. In the late summer of 2021 he brought his search to an end. He had failed to find any remnant of the archive except the books which had been placed immediately in the university’s general library – and apparently added to with more printed material some twelve years later.

Dr. Dixon wrote to me in his final letter:

I am very sorry to report that it has not been possible to locate the full archive … My enquiries have included correspondence with current and former members of staff and a physical visit to the former School of Criminology building … [T]he printed material acquired by the University in 1993 was integrated into the Library’s main run of holdings in 2005/6 and has subsequently been managed in accordance with our collections management policies.

The rest of the archive had not been so managed. Only a trace of it – some “correspondence” – had been found:

While the unpublished archival material cannot be located, I have taken steps to ensure that a small amount of correspondence that has been recovered is preserved as part of the Archives and Special Collections for which my team are responsible. I have not given up hope that further records will come to light in future, and any additional material that I am made aware of will be permanently retained in the same way.

I am extremely sorry not to be able to provide you with more conclusive information regarding the archive at this time. …

I believe Dr. Dixon’s apology is sincerely meant, but I have received no apology or expression of regret from the University of Leicester.

If our archive was not relevant to learning, teaching and research at the University of Leicester, it could have been sold or given to some other institution. There are still some academies in America, or faculties within academies that would probably value it and make use of it. It could have been a national treasure. But it was treated as a thing of little or no value.  Why?

If one of the primary purposes of a university is to protect and hand on intellectual heritage, commitment to archive preservation is fundamental to that purpose. Perhaps the reason why the University of Leicester did not protect the IST archive was because it is now committed to erasing the past. An indication of this is in reports that the administration wants to “decolonize” the teaching of English literature by eliminating medieval studies (so Chaucer, inter alia, is to be removed from the curriculum), and “focus on ethnicity, sexuality and diversity”. 

Ceasing to teach something does not necessarily entail the destruction of materials used for teaching it. Is it likely that a university entrusted with documents of national and international importance would deliberately discard them because they are no longer useful to its teaching?  Would it choose to waste the fruits of long, hard, even dangerous effort exerted against a malign force threatening the Western world? Sadly, I suspect it would if it came to believe that the Western world was systemically at fault and needed to be transformed. But if therefore it would no longer protect documents of public importance, should it still be funded with public money?

The loss of an archive, whether by negligence or decision, is a calamity. To lose it by negligence is barbarously callous. To discard it deliberately is an act of intellectual vandalism, the equivalent of book-burning. If, in either case, a university is responsible, the disgrace must leave a permanent stain on its reputation.

Jillian Becker   January, 2022

Posted under education, History, Terrorism by Jillian Becker on Saturday, January 15, 2022

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BedLaM 14

(A message in a bottle.)

I am old enough to remember happier times.

There used to be small shops and restaurants, cafes and bars all along the main street of our town. Not any more. A lot of the buildings are still there but the units are empty.  Everything we buy is delivered from warehouses which are fenced off and under military protection. The delivery drivers have an armed security guard riding with them and keeping beside them right to our front door. We must sign for everything every time and show ID.

Everything is very expensive. We buy much less food than we used to. The smaller children have never tasted meat or fish.

We are classed as “white” – even though two of us aren’t – so none of us in our part of this house gets relief money. You must be classed “of color” to get the government payout, unless you were ever in prison in the old days when people used to be punished for stealing or setting fire to buildings or killing police or taking children away from their parents. Then the credit you get is called “reparation payment”.

We cannot go for walks or bicycle rides. Our car was taken from us even though it was electric.

The schools are closed. They say the buildings are put to some use but we don’t know what. Children are taught by television and only officially sanctioned textbooks may be used. Formal home schooling is forbidden. Privately owned libraries have been confiscated, but there is a list of books you are allowed to own, up to a certain number.

All the prisons have been closed down, and the law courts, and the police offices and barracks. There are no police.

The hospitals are behind high fences and gates and are heavily guarded. Only ambulances are let in. You book an ambulance if you need to go to a hospital. The wait can be days, even weeks. The only exception is if you want an abortion. Then an ambulance comes for you in a few minutes. But if you lie so as to get to a hospital you are denied treatment. There is no emergency service. If people are injured in a street accident they are taken to a fire station for immediate first aid and then wait their turn for hospital treatment. Most firefighters are trained paramedics and do not fight fires.

If you work with your hands in a factory or as a repairperson, you are transported by bus. If you work at home you can only go outside into your own yard, provided it’s fenced in and has no back gate.

Every night, after curfew, we can hear gunshot like we used to hear traffic and talk and insects.

We are not allowed to have a gun in the house. We have put bars and grids over our doors and windows, and we have hoses ready in case of fire. But there are hours every day when we have no water. And hours when we have no electricity. Our old central heating and air-conditioning no longer work.

Our telephones will only get through to certain given numbers. Everything we send by email goes to the censors, whoever they are, and only some are sent on to the addresses we put on them. No messages to private people are allowed. We can send them to our representatives in the town or the state or Congress, or the IRS, or the boss of the government department we work for.

Voting is compulsory. Our ballot sheets are brought to us with the name of the person we are voting for already printed on them. All each of us needs to do is sign a sheet in front of the official who brings it. There is only one political party.

Very little traffic comes along our road. Just delivery vans, workplace buses, occasional ambulances, the military patrols, repair trucks, dog catchers, and the government inspectors’ armored cars. The inspectors call at every house a few times a week, at different times, sometimes at two or three in the morning. They are the highest paid workers. They are all “people of color”. (So are all the armed security guards.)

We do not know if it is the same everywhere in America, or anywhere else in the world. We only know what we are told during one news hour every evening: climate control data, the latest taxes and the dates by which they must be paid, information about the current epidemic and what we must do about it, whether masks, inoculations, isolation, and/or fines.

A security guard who came with a delivery person told me she was going on next to a house by the sea, so I asked her to throw this message in a bottle into the water. I’ve had it ready (except for this last paragraph) for days. I explained what it was. She seemed sympathetic. I think she will do me the favor, though I can’t be sure. If she takes it to the inspectors I’ll be in trouble. If you who are reading this are not an inspector, and are in another country, well, just so you know …

Posted under satire, United States by Jillian Becker on Friday, January 7, 2022

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Conservatism now 3

In the January 2022 issue of The New Criterion there is a debate about conservatism, its “merits and limitations”, its “proper meaning and vocation”.

The main difference of opinion is over whether conservatism needs to be focused more or less on “the common good”.  The argument – as always between thinkers on the same side of a wide political-philosophical division – is significant to those pursuing it, but likely to seem slight to the unengaged.

There is broad agreement that conservatism is struggling to survive.

The triumph of anti-conservatism  is undeniable. In Michael Anton’s essay, he gives an account of how the enemies of conservatism on the Left have ruined our institutions and every aspect of our culture. We think his horrifying description of the wreck is true. To the question whether conservatism can recover, he concludes no certain prognosis can be made. While he hasn’t entirely given up hope for it himself, he deplores the failure of his fellow conservatives to recognize the critical condition it is in.

In his introduction to the debate, the editor, Roger Kimball, quotes this by Michael Anton:

If conservatives are right about the importance of virtue, morality, religious faith, stability, character and so on in the individual; if they are right about sexual morality or what came to be termed “family values”; if they are right about the importance of education to inculcate good character and to teach the fundamentals that have defined knowledge in the West for millennia; if they are right about societal norms and public order; if they are right about the centrality of initiative, enterprise, industry, and thrift to a sound economy and a healthy society; if they are right about the soul-sapping effects of paternalistic Big Government and its cannibalization of civil society and religious institutions; if they are right about the necessity of a strong defense and prudent statesmanship in the international sphere—if they are right about the importance of all this to national health and even survival, then they must believe—mustn’t they?—that we are headed off a cliff.

And Kimball comments:

It seems to me that Anton was quite right when he went on to observe that it was “obvious that conservatives don’t believe any such thing, that they feel no such sense of urgency, of an immediate necessity to change course and avoid the cliff”. 

Conservatives, Kimball thinks, should feel such an urgency, such an immediate necessity, and should act to save conservatism from extinction:

Our basic problem … is not so much a poverty of understanding as a paralysis of will. The real problem conservatives face is not in formulating sophisticated principles but in effectively confronting the juggernaut of progressive usurpation. For decades we have been living with the one-way ratchet of liberal imposition. The harvest is a situation in which conservatives are considered legitimate only when they embrace progressive aims. Conservatives, in other words, have conspired in their own eclipse. Meanwhile, the true sources of value—not government but the family, the churches, and our educational institutions—have been twisted out of all recognition. The answer to this tyranny lies not in the framing of better arguments but in the deployment of a more efficacious politics.

We at TAC have an enduring difference of opinion with the majority of our fellow conservatives over religious faith. We do not think that the churches are, ever have been, ever will be or could be a “true source of value”.  We agree with the rest of Anton’s (and Kimball’s) summary of what conservatism is, what is good about it.

Is Kimball right that conservatism as a political force requires urgent action to save it from extinction?

Can it be saved from extinction by any means, or is it doomed?

Posted under Conservatism by Jillian Becker on Saturday, January 1, 2022

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To our readers at this year’s end 2

It is possible that the horrible year 2021 will turn out to have done good.

The Left, by coming to power (through cheating and chicanery) and proceeding to impose its oppressive policies, may have destroyed itself.

It has taught America a lesson in practice, proving how fearful, dreary, insecure, costly, humiliating, lonely, brutal, sorrowful and sickly is life under Leftist rule. If the electorate has learned the lesson, it may not need to be taught again this century.

The misery is not yet over. But 2022 is an election year and may end with the defeat of the Left.

That is the nearest we can come to a cheerful message for our readers. It is a hope, and with that in mind, we wish you all a

Happy New Year!

Posted under Miscellaneous by Jillian Becker on Thursday, December 30, 2021

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Please try to be jolly 5

We wish all our readers and commenters, regular and occasional visitors, applauders and denigrators, atheists and believers, optimists and pessimists, vaccinated and unvaccinated,

 

a very merry holiday season

 

despite the pandemic, loss of liberty, high prices, shortages, rough weather, Communist China, the House January 6 committee, rising crime, and the decline of the West.

Posted under Miscellaneous by Jillian Becker on Thursday, December 23, 2021

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The danger to democracy is democracy itself 3

There is a danger to democracy in democracy itself: majorities can vote against it.

Two recent articles express, in deep pessimism, the conviction that America has chosen its own irreversible doom.

Mark Steyn thinks it may be all over for America. Its system has brought in forces of self-destruction driven by trivial concerns over climate, race, and sex.

He writes:

Is America past the point of no return? The more lavishly funded any activity is, the more it’s a racket. Fresh from taking two decades to lose a war to goatherds and reducing itself to a global laughingstock to allies and enemies alike, the Government of the United States decided that what a six-star joke really needed was the first four-star transgender admiral.

Now we have an incoming vice-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff telling the world that what a bloated lavishly funded military that can’t win a war needs to prioritize is “gender advisors”. …

Chairman Xi was a no-show at COP-26, because he has no intention of joining the west in committing economic suicide. But, if Joe and Justin and Boris are so eager to tank what remains of their livelihoods, he’s happy to sell them expensive ineffective “green solutions”. In other words, having annexed American manufacturing and American high-tech and American intellectual property, Beijing is happy to annex American virtue-signaling and profit from that, too.

There is no equivalent (not even Rome’s) to America’s form of great-power suicide. Britain lost global dominance because, for eighteen critical months , London and the British Dominions stood alone among the great democratic powers in resisting the Third Reich. It was a sacrifice that exhausted and bankrupted a mighty empire, but it was at least for something recognizable as a great cause. America is exiting the world stage because it’s hot for trannies and MS-13 cartels: has there ever been anything more pathetic?

Paul Gottfried points out at American Greatness that many an oppressive regime is in power not because their power was seized illegitimately, but because they were voted for.

Regimes that embattled minorities are on the streets protesting are not there by accident. Voters made choices.

And even when they do their worst, they can safely submit themselves for re-election:

Majorities, and often overwhelming ones, voted for the ruling class; and if an election were held tomorrow, the same rulers would likely win. …

He gives examples of popular authoritarian rulers in America:

Bill de Blasio won a second term as New York City’s mayor in 2017 with 65.4 percent of the tabulated vote. On November 4, 2020, Kim Klacik, an earnest young black woman, ran against Kweisi Mfume, the longtime incumbent in Maryland’s seventh congressional district, which includes Baltimore’s inner city. Klacik promised to fight for more police protection, and, unlike Mfume, she pledged to bring the races together. Against a notoriously philandering politician who gave up his birth name to assume an African one, Klacik lost the congressional race by 40 points, although remarkably enough, she amassed a large war chest. Politicians such as Mfume, Lori Lightfoot in Chicago, Maxine Waters in Los Angeles, Gavin Newsom in California, and Bill de Blasio in New York have all reached high political positions for the same reason: they attract lots of votes. …

If it is argued that almost as many Americans have voted for freedom as voted for dictatorship, the inherent danger in democracy is only emphasized: the will of many can be frustrated by the will of a few more. The choice of democracy itself is the hazard.

In which case, since all other systems are worse than democracy, there is no way that a free republic such as the Founders tried to establish can be secured.

If the “Biden” administration came in by cheating, it means that cheating is not just possible but practicable in a democracy.

How likely is it that after this turn to oppression, with another election another day America can go back to being the free nation it has been in the past?

Even if it can, even if it does, what will preserve it?

Posted under Democracy, United Kingdom, United States by Jillian Becker on Thursday, December 16, 2021

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Smashing the pillars of our world 5

Britain’s great conservative Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, said: “Britain was created by history, America was created by philosophy.”

What were the principles of America’s foundational philosophy?

  • Freedom: freedom of the individual, and so, logically, freedom of conscience, speech, publication,  assembly; property ownership and a free market.
  • The rule of law under which all are equal.
  • Government by the people themselves to protect their freedom with the rule of law, and with military strength against foreign enemies.

All those principles are now being abandoned by usurping powers, to be replaced with contrary ideals.

The systems and institutions that proceeded from them are being corrupted and turned from their intended purposes to serve opposite ends.

Victor Davis Hanson writes at Townhall:

Conservatives now have lost their former traditional confidence in the administration of justice, in the intelligence and investigatory agencies, in the nation’s military leadership, in the media, and the criminal justice system.

Freedom is much diminished, especially with the forced quarantine and masking of the healthy in an epidemic of Covid flu, and threatened penalties for those who refuse vaccination.

The rule of law is scoffed at by those who should enforce it.

As Victor Davis Hanson says:

The American criminal justice system also used to earn the respect of conservatives. Prosecuting attorneys, police chiefs, and big-city mayors were seen as custodians of the public order. They were entrusted to keep the peace, to prevent and investigate crime, and to arrest and prosecute criminals.

Again, not so much now.

After 120 days of mostly unchecked riot, arson, looting, and violent protests during the summer of 2020, the public lost confidence in their public safety agencies.

District attorneys in several major cities – Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and St. Louis – have often predicated prosecuting crimes on the basis of ideology, race, and careerism.

In the current crime wave, brazen lawbreakers enjoy de facto immunity. Mass looting goes unpunished. Indictments are often aimed as much against those who defend themselves as against criminals who attack the innocent.

Government by the people has been corrupted by electoral fraud. And the military cannot be relied on to protect the nation:

Mention the military to conservative Americans these days, and they unfortunately associate its leadership with the disastrous flight from Afghanistan. Few, if any, high-ranking officers have yet taken responsibility – much less resigned – for the worst military fiasco of the last half-century.

Instead, President Joe Biden and the top generals traded charges that the other was responsible for the calamity. Or both insisted the abject flight was a logistical masterpiece.

Never in U.S. history have so many retired four-star admirals and generals disparaged their president with charges of being either a traitor, a liar, a fascist, or a virtual Nazi, as occurred during the last administration.

Never has the proper advisory role of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff been so brazenly usurped and contorted.

Never has the secretary of defense promised he would ferret out alleged “white supremacists” without providing any evidence whatsoever of their supposedly ubiquitous presence and dangerous conspiracies.

Worse, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff informed the hostile Communists who govern China that he would warn them if President Trump decided to attack their country with nuclear weapons.

Victor Davis Hanson concludes:

No one yet knows what the effect will be of half the country losing faith in the very pillars of American civilization.

Does it mean that the experiment of creating a nation from a benign philosophy has failed?

At our Forum 0

Some of the most recent topics under discussion:

Lament for the West – Cancel the Woke Before It’s Too Late

Event 201 – Pandemic or Scamdemic?

Now the Left – Whining, Racist, Spiteful – Urges the Use of Witchcraft

Klaus Schwab’s School For Covid Dictators, Plan for ‘Great Reset’

Tens of Thousands protest in Brussels against government anti-Covid measures youtube.com

YouTube Dislikes You

Mentally Fragile State Department Officials Broke Down Over Disastrous Afghanistan Withdrawal.

Please join us! We would like to know your opinion.

Posted under Miscellaneous by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, December 7, 2021

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Weeping women sweep reason out of the academy 1

The splendidly clear-sighted researcher and writer and defender of reason Heather Mac Donald wrote this in a City Journal article, Spring 2020. Its truth abides.

The feminization of the university and the prominence of therapeutic culture [both of which she amply demonstrates to be facts] have created a perfect storm directed at free speech and reason. In a recent survey of college students, females were twice as likely as males to say that a controversial speaker should be canceled if the majority of students “feel emotionally unsafe or uncomfortable with the speaker’s content.” Males, by contrast, were more likely to support a controversial invitation in the name of academic freedom and the advancement of knowledge. …

The real crisis in academia is not mental health; it is the breakdown of universities’ understanding of their core mission. All other alleged crises follow from this one. Education exists for one main purpose: to pass on an inheritance of human achievement …  Yet faculty have lost the language for celebrating that inheritance; they have gone mute, or worse, when it comes to articulating the splendors of Western civilization.

College is not even about the promotion of happiness. That is too utilitarian a goal; knowledge is an end in itself. But even were student happiness a legitimate matter for colleges to concern themselves with, a therapeutic approach is the wrong way to cultivate it. The surest route to happiness is a passion for something outside the self. The only thing that kept Bertrand Russell from committing suicide during his adolescence was his desire to learn more math, he recounts in his 1930 book, The Pursuit of Happiness. As an adult, his “diminishing preoccupation” with himself led to growing contentment: “Every external interest inspires some activity which, so long as the interest remains alive, is a complete preventive of ennui,” he wrote. J. S. Mill, who also grappled with depression, agreed. “The only chance [for happiness] is to treat, not happiness, but some end external to it, as the purpose of life,” Mill wrote in his autobiography. …

Away with Women’s Studies (and Black Studies, Chicano Studies …)!

Our civilization is engaged in an unprecedented experiment: turning on its own accomplishments with shame and contempt. American students growing up today are given reason to be proud of their heritage only if they have had that rare nonconforming teacher who still honors the past. Otherwise, students are taught to see in the monuments of Western thought and imagination a thinly veiled power grab. They themselves are either oppressors or the oppressed, either category spirit-killing. …

The university’s comparative advantage over all other institutions should be the promise of real knowledge. But as the therapeutic culture has spread throughout the university, the language of reason and evidence has been replaced by claims of emotional hurt. In any controversy, the person who can express the deepest outrage or injury wins the day …  “I feel like” substitutes for rational argument.

Of course women are the emotional sex. Their feelings rule them because their physiology torments them. Their temperatures go up and down as the moon waxes and wanes.

Dear Patriarchs,

Thank you for still being there.

Please don’t put women at the helm of the ship of state. Do not put their fingers on “the nuclear button”. Do not seat them in a passenger-jet cockpit. Do not send them to the battle front. Do not give them the job of defending the innocent or prosecuting the guilty in a court of law, or judging guilt and innocence.

Do not give them power.

There are exceptions among them who are capable of reason. Those few will make themselves known. As a general rule –  be nice to women but remind them that there are only two sexes, and they’re the sex that’s destined by biological evolution to feel the tragedy of life, while you can laugh at its comedy.

Let them weep and wail. Out of earshot.

You? Discover and invent.

Posted under education, Feminism, Science, Sex by Jillian Becker on Saturday, December 4, 2021

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The Great Reset: not all that dangerous but actually even more dangerous 8

America is governed by an oligarchy. Has been for some time, with a four year interruption when Donald Trump was president. The oligarchs are rich and powerful and determined to stay that way. (Donald Trump, though rich, was not one of them but, unacceptably, a patriot.) Their only willing change will be to become more rich and more powerful. They are the elite, and they see their interests, being rich and powerful and ever more rich and powerful, as naturally best served in an international,  or “global”, alliance of the rich and powerful, whoever and wherever they may be.

Most of the oligarchs are not in government. They resent the power of governments, even of those that belong in the alliance – chiefly those of the US, the EU, Britain, and China.

In the implementation of the Great Reset, an agenda issued by the World Economic Forum from a mountain top in Switzerland, private powers will be in close partnership with governments. They call it public-private partnership. The private part will be the dog, and the public part – government – will be the tail. The dog will wag the tail. 

Ivan Wecke writes, at OpenDemocracy, a skeptic’s view of the Great Reset – and he finds that the horrified reaction to it of us ordinary citizens is not irrational or unjustified:

The Great Reset conspiracy theories don’t seem to want to die. The theories were triggered by the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) summit last year, which had the theme The Great Reset …

The set of conspiracy theories around the Great Reset are nebulous and hard to pin down, but piecing them together gives us something like this: the Great Reset is the global elite’s plan to instate a communist world order by abolishing private property while using COVID-19 to solve overpopulation and enslaving what remains of humanity with vaccines.

Such laughable nonsense, the writer implies. So –

Intrigued by the palaver around last year’s summit, I decided to find out what the WEF’s Great Reset plan was really about. At the heart of conspiracy theories are supposed secret agendas and malicious intent. While these may be absent from the WEF’s Great Reset initiative, what I found was something almost as sinister hiding in plain sight. In fact, more sinister because it’s real and it’s happening now. And it involves things as fundamental as our food, our data and our vaccines.

“Almost as sinister … In fact, more sinister …”?

Then tell us, please, what the real Great Reset is all about.

The magic words are ‘stakeholder capitalism’, a concept that WEF chairman Klaus Schwab has been hammering for decades and which occupies pride of place in the WEF’s Great Reset plan from June 2020. The idea is that global capitalism should be transformed so that corporations no longer focus solely on serving shareholders but become custodians of society by creating value for customers, suppliers, employees, communities and other ‘stakeholders’. The way the WEF sees stakeholder capitalism being carried out is through a range of ‘multi-stakeholder partnerships’ bringing together the private sector, governments and civil society across all areas of global governance.

The idea of stakeholder capitalism and multi-stakeholder partnerships might sound warm and fuzzy …

No it doesn’t. It sounds sinister like those conspiracy theories the writer has dismissed.

…  until we dig deeper and realise that this actually means giving corporations more power over society, and democratic institutions less.

As we said, the Corporations Dog will wag the Governments Tail.

The plan from which the Great Reset originated was called the Global Redesign Initiative. Drafted by the WEF after the 2008 economic crisis, the initiative contains a 600-page report on transforming global governance. In the WEF’s vision, “the government voice would be one among many, without always being the final arbiter.” Governments would be just one stakeholder in a multi-stakeholder model of global governance. …

Multi-stakeholder partnerships are public-private partnerships on the global stage.

Who are these other, non-governmental stakeholders? The WEF, best known for its annual meeting of high-net-worth individuals in Davos, Switzerland, describes itself as an international organization for public-private cooperation. WEF partners include some of the biggest companies in oil (Saudi Aramco, Shell, Chevron, BP), food (Unilever, The Coca-Cola Company, Nestlé), technology (Facebook, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Apple) and pharmaceuticals (AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna).

Instead of corporations serving many stakeholders, in the multi-stakeholder model of global governance, corporations are promoted to being official stakeholders in global decision-making, while governments are relegated to being one of many stakeholders. In practice, corporations become the main stakeholders, while governments take a backseat role

It is coming. For sure. No, wait … Oh good grief! it is already here!

The multi-stakeholder model is already being built. In recent years, an ever-expanding ecosystem of multi-stakeholder groups has spread across all sectors of the global governance system. There are now more than 45 global multi-stakeholder groups that set standards and establish guidelines and rules in a range of areas.These groups, which lack any democratic accountability, consist of private stakeholders (big corporations) who “recruit their friends in government, civil society and universities to join them in solving public problems”.

Multi-stakeholderism is the WEF’s update of multilateralism, which is the current system through which countries work together to achieve common goals. The multilateral system’s core institution is the UN. The multilateral system is often rightly accused of being ineffective, too bureaucratic and skewed towards the most powerful nations. But it is at least theoretically democratic because it brings together democratically elected leaders of countries to make decisions in the global arena. Instead of reforming the multilateral system to deepen democracy, the WEF’s vision of multi-stakeholder governance entails further removing democracy by sidelining governments and putting unelected ‘stakeholders’ – mainly corporations – in their place when it comes to global decision-making.

Put bluntly, multi-stakeholder partnerships are public-private partnerships on the global stage. And they have real-world implications for the way our food systems are organized, how big tech is governed and how our vaccines and medicines are distributed. …

And all other commodities. Because by controlling resources over the whole world, they will have more power and more money. (Read more about that here).

Another landmark in the development of stakeholder capitalism can be found in the Big Tech sector. … It’s not easy to find a list of stakeholders but after some digging a long list of ‘roundtable participants’ for the roadmap includes Facebook, Google, Microsoft and the WEF.

Although the functions laid out for this new body are quite vague, civil society organizations fear it will come down to Big Tech creating a global body to govern itself. This risks institutionalising these companies’ resistance against effective regulation both globally and nationally and increasing their power over governments and multilateral organizations. If the body comes to fruition, it could be a decisive victory in the ongoing war GAFAM (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft) is waging with governments over tax evasion, antitrust rules, and their ever-expanding power over society.

More than 170 civil society groups worldwide have signed another open letter to the secretary general of the UN – this time to prevent the digital governance body from forming. The secretary general was approached for comment but had not replied at the time of publication. …

So … something fishy really is going on in the realm of global governance. If you value your right to public health, to privacy, to access healthy food or to democratic representation, be wary of the words ‘stakeholder capitalism’ when they pop up at the next Davos summit.

Must we now accept that the age of democracy is over? You may still have a vote, you may even help elect a government of your choice, but it will have little power.

There will not be “world government” – that’s just conspiracy theory – but there will be “global governance”.

There will not be “communism”, but there will be “equitable redistribution” – aka communism – and it will be called “stakeholder capitalism”.

There will be?  No, there is. As the man says, it has started.

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