An education in ethics 5

“I want the entire world to burn until the last cop is strangled with the intestines of the last capitalist, who is strangled in turn with the intestines of the last politician.”

Thus Nathan Jun, Professor of Philosophy, now teaching a course in Ethics at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas.

(We quote an article by Johnathan Jones at the Western Journal.)

Some who read that statement by the professor reacted – he claims – by sending him death threats and vandalizing his home.

He complained:

There’s no way that I can make those sorts of expressions publicly around here without this kind of thing happening again and again and again and again. I’m just tired of it.”

But he is not easily intimidated. He will bravely adhere to his principles and continue to spread his teaching.

He feels obligated by his job to “speak out fearlessly and unapologetically on matters of public concern according to the dictates of my conscience.”

He has noble aspirations:

I do long to live in a world in which we no longer have cops, which we no longer have capitalists and which we no longer have politicians. Because those are my political beliefs and I own them and I make no apologies for those beliefs.”

He said this in an interview on KFDX-TV. As he spoke he was wearing a shirt advertising Antifa, and he claimed affiliation with the murderous Marxist organization Black Live Matter.

The University defended his right to say what he did on grounds of upholding the right of free speech. It is doubtful that the University would allow a defender of capitalism, law and order,  and conservative political principles to speak on its campus. What it was really defending was the idea of “burning the entire world until the last cop is strangled with the intestines of the last capitalist, who is strangled in turn with the intestines of the last politician”.

Most universities in the “free West” would take the same position. Those are the ethics of our culture now. Professor Nathan Jun speaks for the professoriate of America.

Posted under education, Ethics by Jillian Becker on Sunday, October 4, 2020

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FYE on you! 5

You want to become a scientist, an engineer, a mathematician, a doctor? Okay, but you have first to become a racist, and if you’re white, a penitent, and if you’re black, a victim.

The re-education camps of America, aka the universities, have a name for their introductory course of indoctrination for newcomers: the First-Year Experience, commonly referred to as FYE.

John Tierney reports and comments at City Journal:

The programs often start with a “common read”, a book sent to everyone the summer before school starts, and proceed with lectures, discussion groups, seminars, courses, exercises, field trips, art projects, local activism, and whatever else the schools will fund. The programs are typically run not by professors but by “cocurricular professionals”—administrators lacking scholarly credentials who operate outside the regular curriculum. They don’t need to master an academic discipline or impart an established body of knowledge. They create a cocurriculum of what they want students to learn, which usually involves a great deal of talk about “diversity” and “inclusion”.

These professionals seem to lean even further left than the faculty, and in some ways they have more influence. They get to the students early, before classes begin, and they’re inescapable. By choosing your courses carefully, you can avoid the progressive sermonizing that passes for scholarship in some departments, but everyone has to undergo the orientation and first-year programs. You may have come to study computer science or literature or biochemistry, but first you’ll have to learn about social justice, environmental sustainability, gender pronouns, and microaggressions. You may have been planning to succeed by hard work, but first you’ll have to acknowledge your privilege or discover your victimhood. If you arrived at college hoping to broaden your intellectual horizons, you’ll quickly be instructed which ideas are off-limits. …

When administrators of these first-year programs convened this year, they chose to be addressed by author Julie Lythcott-Haims.

As an undergraduate at Stanford, she had been required to take a course called “Western Culture”, but she and other students succeeded in eliminating the requirement by joining with Jesse Jackson in protests where they chanted, “Hey-hey, ho-ho. Western Culture’s got to go!”

In Africa the doctrine is known as Boko Haram.

She went on to Harvard Law School and a brief career in corporate law before returning to Stanford as the dean of freshmen, which enabled her to put her cultural philosophy into practice.

As dean of freshmen, she insisted on choosing books that “fostered a sense of community and belonging”. And now, after leaving academia, she has written just such a book herself, Real American, which she calls “a post-poetry memoir”.

She said in her address:

Mine is a memoir of being black and biracial in a country where black lives weren’t meant to matter. … I am privileged. I have privilege that I’m aware of and more privilege that I don’t even know.

The daughter of a white British immigrant and black American doctor who was once assistant surgeon general of the United States, she grew up in good neighborhoods and thrived at school academically and socially. In high school, she was a cheerleader and president of her class as well as the student council. But despite those successes, despite the degrees from Stanford and Harvard, despite the well-paying jobs and a bestseller she published on how to raise children, her memoir is a saga of oppression.

She has discovered the awful cloud behind all those silver linings by dredging up an incident from her high school days. The great pivot point of the book, the moment that would haunt her for decades, was her discovery of graffiti on a birthday card that a friend had taped to her locker. Someone, presumably a classmate jealous of her achievements, had defaced the card by scrawling the N-word, misspelled as “Niger”. 

This is the story of how despite all that privilege and opportunity, America made me loathe my black self, my brown skin …

… she tells the audience. It’s not clear why one semiliterate teenage bigot should represent America, but Lythcott-Haims quickly segues into denunciations of the police, Donald Trump, Sarah Palin, and whites in general, to repeated applause from the (mostly white) audience. She explains why she has left a wide margin on each page of the book (“As a black woman I do not have access to the full page”) and reads a passage: “You think your whiteness makes you better than the rest of us. You make us your scapegoat. Your excuse for your violent rage.”

What violent rage, we ask rhetorically, would that be?

In her memoir, the well-meaning liberal whites are continually guilty of unintentional slights. Don’t try suggesting that she overlook them, because she classifies “Get over it” as yet another microaggression. The nonliberals in the book are simply evil. When Peter Thiel and other classmates of hers launched the conservative Stanford Review, she is “scared to death of these unhooded whites printing their disdain for our existence”. When she sees Clint Eastwood speak to an empty chair representing President Obama at the Republican National Convention, she believes that it “symbolizes the chair underneath the Black man about to be hanged from a Southern tree”. 

Yes, it’s all part of her mission to “foster a sense of community and belonging”, as long as the community doesn’t include any Republicans.

The writing is dreadful, but you have to give her credit for knowing her audience. The first-year administrators give her a standing ovation, and afterward they wonder to one another what she charges for a campus speech. The intercollegiate competition for black authors has driven up their speaking fees …

Last year, when the University of Oregon assigned Between the World and Me for the common read, it paid Ta-Nehisi Coates $41,500 for a campus appearance (while also meeting his contractual requirement to be supplied with Nature Valley Oats and Dark Chocolate granola bars), and afterward students complained that the university hadn’t gotten its money’s worth. Coates was scheduled for a speech and question-and-answer session lasting 75 minutes, but he left the stage after 40 minutes without taking questions. Somehow, it didn’t feel very inclusive.

For colleges that can’t afford Coates, the first-year conference is a chance to scout for cheaper alternatives. Besides Lythcott-Haims, there’s another autobiographer, Patrisse Khan-Cullors, who gets a warm reception for her book When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir.

The administrators pack another ballroom to hear about All American Boys, a novel written to protest the deaths of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown. The protagonist is an amalgam of the two martyrs, with a few details changed. Instead of pounding a white man’s head against the sidewalk, as Martin did, or shoplifting and then assaulting a police officer, as Brown did, this young African-American man is a peaceful, law-abiding customer at a convenience store, wrongly accused of shoplifting by a white police officer who slams his head against the pavement. The novel’s coauthors, one white and one black, extol their collaboration as a model for how the races can learn to communicate with each other—or at least communicate in one direction, as the white author, Brendan Kiely, tells the audience. “The most important thing I can do as a white man is listen, listen, listen to the truth coming from communities of color across the country,” he says. “I especially want to reckon with whiteness. Because as a white person I can’t talk about racism or dismantle the system that supports it or eradicate racism itself without first grappling with whiteness. It is whiteness that perpetuates racism.”

How does a white person “reckon with whiteness”? What must he do to “grapple with whiteness”? Presumably, that’s what FYE teaches you.

Clearly, since “whiteness” is what “perpetuates racism”, and since white people cannot be anything but white, the only way to bring about the elimination of racism is by extinguishing the white race.

The disadvantage of the social surgery would be the loss of the most important academic subject, the laying off of thousands of “diversity” officers, the obsolescence of hundreds of books, and – well, what do you do when your enemy vanishes? Whom shall you hate for all your frustrations? Whom blame for your failures?

While the days of hate last, while accusation, shame, guilt, obsequiousness can still be freely indulged, enjoy the presence of whiteness while ye may! Carpe diem.

The crowd applauds and listens raptly as Kiely sketches the possibilities for using this book on campus. “We should be talking about race consciousness in all our disciplines of higher learning,” he tells the administrators. “You can talk about it in your math classes. You can talk about in your education classes. You can talk about it in your humanities classes.”

He doesn’t explain the connection between calculus and Trayvon Martin, but then, he doesn’t have to. This audience knows that racism is the all-consuming topic in higher education. It has been the most popular theme for common-read books for the last three years, according to the National Association of Scholars (NAS), which has tracked these programs across the country for the past decade. The latest report by the NAS, a group dedicated to reviving traditional liberal arts education (and a haven for non-progressives in academia), analyzes some 350 schools’ common-read books and finds a “continuing obsession with race” as well as an “infantilization of students”.

The obsession depends on the infantilization.

Can real education ever be resurrected? Will a deeply humiliating defeat of the race-obsessed Left in the forthcoming elections restore common sense to the institutions of learning – and save the white race?

White math 8

Students at the Claremont McKenna Colleges argued that objective truth is a social construct devised by “white supremacists” to “attempt to silence oppressed peoples” in a letter to the Pomona College president. …

So Tom Ciccotta reports at Breitbart.

These atavists say in their letter:

Historically, white supremacy has venerated the idea of objectivity, and wielded a dichotomy of “subjectivity vs. objectivity” as a means of silencing oppressed peoples. The idea that there is a single truth – “the Truth” – is a construct of the Euro-West that is deeply rooted in the Enlightenment …

Yes, the idea is “rooted in the Enlightenment” (and ancient Greece). And it is True.

Contrary to these silly claims now prevalent in almost all Western academies – lost as they are to the earthly powers of darkness – there are objective facts. Though science owes everything to Socratean doubt, and though we ourselves favor the motto “Scio nescio”, we acknowledge that there is objective truth, and it is worth seeking, however elusive it may be philosophically.

As we once heard a real scientist say: “The blood does circulate.”

Who dares believe it when the Leftist bullies want it denied?

We do.

Another report at Breitbart, by the same writer, tells us more about this nonsense going on in the great intellectual power-houses of the nation:

Brooklyn College Professor of Math Education Laurie Rubel argued this week on Twitter that the mathematical equation 2+2=4 “reeks of white supremacist patriarchy”. Rubel’s tweet was retweeted and promoted by several academics at universities and colleges around the nation. …

The tweets are part of a larger trend in recent scholarship by American academics, many of which have argued that “objective truth” is a social construct. …

Harvard Ph.D. candidate Kareem Carr suggested that math should be reevaluated because it was primarily developed by white men. …

A few academics have pushed back. James Lindsay, one of the academics behind a series of hoax papers that were published in “social justice” journals, reminded Rubel and her peers that mathematical truths are objective.

“It’s certainly the case, and the Woke need to be held firmly to the point, that feats of engineering like space travel and rocketry utterly depend upon accepting stable meanings of mathematical statements like 2+2=4 as objectively true, not mere accidents of culture,” Lindsay tweeted.

Okay, call it White Math (although it owes much to eastern cultures, particularly to India). Thing is, it works.

White Math works, and any other math (if it exists) not in agreement with White Math can’t work, won’t work.

So White Math is supreme. Like it, Professors Rubel and PH.D candidate Carr, or lump it.

Posted under education, Leftism, Race, Science, United States by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, August 11, 2020

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Free thought as heresy again 9

The Left has captured the culture. That’s well known and oft repeated. Education is now religiously Leftist from kindergarten to doctorate. The entertainment industry – stage, film, television –  faithfully carries the sacred messages. The media, both “mainstream” and “social”, are packed with acolytes.

Not only the guardians of the culture have converted en masse to the Church of Marx. Big panjandrums of our capitalist economy are dropping their checks for hundred of millions of dollars into the collection boxes of the Left’s terrorist curates – buying time, they foolishly hope. That would be more surprising if we didn’t have Vladimir Lenin’s (possibly apocryphal but highly plausible) prophecy that “the capitalist will sell you the rope you’ll hang him with”.

And now it is all too horrifyingly possible that the Left will re-capture the legislative and executive branches of the US government. As for the judicial branch, seven of the Supreme Court  justices – all nine of whom were formerly Jewish or Catholic which was not harmful to determinations of law – are dancing arm-in-arm leftwards through a side door into the C. of M., where doctrinal orthodoxy is strictly enforced. Could SCOTUS become the tribunal of the next Inquisition?

A dark age lies ahead. But need we despair? There is consolation to be found in the records of the fast fading era of free thought (roughly 1700-2000), that will still be available to us in books.

Or will they?

Oh, oh! It seems that books by or about the great  – mostly white – scientists, inventors, discoverers, philosophers, visionaries, economists, historians, educators whose ideas debunk the doctrines of the C. of M., are to be removed from libraries, bookshops, even probably our private rooms, and destroyed. Blotted out of human memory. They will not be published  again; or if published by some rogue publisher, not advertised;  or if advertised by some mischance, not sold; or if sold on a black market market of color, confiscated and destroyed.

On the other hand, books supporting the doctrine of the C. of M. (chiefly concerning anti-racism and the evil of being White) will abound. Vast libraries will be built to contain them. There’ll be at least one in every hotel bedside drawer. There’ll be cutely illustrated versions of some on the shelves of kindergartens; thousands to be checked out by students in all grades or else; and subterranean university bookstores will be chockfull of them.

Bruce Bawer, observing the trend, writes at Front Page:

Of America’s most powerful and prominent cultural institutions, it’s quick work naming those that aren’t entirely left-wing satrapies. TV? Fox News, although things are looking less and less encouraging there. Colleges? Hillsdale, I guess, though how many Ivy League faculty members would ever admit to having heard of it? Newspapers? The New York Post (sometimes), Wall Street Journal (kind of)and perhaps one or two others from sea to shining sea. Silicon Valley? Nothing. Hollywood? ¡Nada! Big business? Hmm: what is there, nowadays, honestly, other than that My Pillow guy?

One field in which there’s at least a soupçon of ideological diversity is the book trade. Yes, staffers at the major publishing houses are overwhelmingly on the left. Ditto bookstore employees. Plus the people who give out the major book awards. Not to mention that the heftiest advances for political books go to Democrats. Since the turn of the century, the biggest nonfiction book deal, amounting to at least $65 million, was for Michelle Obama’s Becoming (2018) and for an as-yet-unpublished opus by Barack; second – raking in $15 million – was Bill Clinton’s My Life (2004); third – at $14 million – was Hillary’s Hard Choices (2014).

One more thing about the reflexive leftism of the book scene. Thanks to today’s lethal cancel culture, even classics are at risk. Recently, in an article for the School Library Journal headlined “Little House, Big Problem: What To Do with ‘Classic’ Books That Are Also Racist”, Marva Hinton identified both Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird as racist. No, she didn’t just say that they contained racist language, which would have been fair enough; she asserted that these two books – both of them key texts in the history of the American struggle against racism – are in fact racist.

Hinton quoted Julia E. Torres, a Denver school librarian, as saying that when she’s consulted by teachers who want to assign Harper Lee’s novel to their student, she often suggests replacing it with Samira Ahmed’s dystopic novel Internment, “about a teen sent to a U.S. internment camp for Muslim American people”. Alternatively, Torres “suggests they teach To Kill a Mockingbird using excerpts or through a critical consciousness lens, which would include lessons on white saviorism and the weaponization of white women’s tears”. Check, please!

I’m not familiar with the novel Internment – just out in paperback from Little, Brown – but it’s part of a full-court press by the book business to normalize Islam and demonize “Islamophobia”.  Also in on this effort are the major pre-pub reviewing outlets, all of which gave Internment starred reviews that were short on praise for aesthetic values and long on PC drivel. (“Taking on Islamophobia and racism in a Trump-like America…” – Kirkus.  “A very real, very frank picture of hatred and ignorance…” – Booklist. “An unsettling and important book for our times.” – Publishers Weekly.)

In 2006 I published a highly critical book about Islam. Even then, it was savaged by bien pensant book-world types. But criticizing Islam has become so verboten on the left that I doubt any major publisher today would touch a book like While Europe Slept – even though the problems described therein have grown far, far worse.

Meanwhile, to peruse the latest catalogues from those same publishers is to discover a blizzard of dreary-sounding new or forthcoming novels that, judging from the plot summaries, are drenched in identity politics. (Two quick examples from Knopf, perhaps the most respected of literary publishers: Burning by Megha Majumdar, about an Indian girl who’s falsely accused of terrorism and turns for help to a trans woman; My Mother’s House by Francesca Momplaisir, a novel that takes on “the legacy of colonialism” and “the abuse of male power”. …

Amazon’s current list of top ten bestsellers includes several far-left books on racism: Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility, Ibram X. Kendi’s How to Be an Antiracist and Stamped from the Beginning, Ijeoma Oluo’s So You Want to Talk about Race, and Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Between the World and Me. You might think there’s a market for at least one book criticizing these authors’ views; but I’ve been assured by industry insiders that no major New York house would even consider publishing such a book.

Even in book publishing, then, the left is way ahead. But this isn’t good enough for Alex Shephard, a young staff writer at the New Republic, who in a recent article maintained that the book industry is “overdue” for a major “reckoning”. Here’s his article’s subhead (italics mine):

The industry is facing demands to live up to its stated values. That might mean ditching writers like Donald Trump Jr.

And later there’s this (italics again mine):

…these publishing houses are, like many corporations in the country, being asked by their employees and customers to live up to a set of values. And that would seem to be impossible while also publishing the likes of Tucker Carlson…

What does Shephard mean by “stated values”? Simple: left-wing ideological purity. In his view, conservative books are, with exceedingly few exceptions, “valueless”. (Shephard implies that “quality control” alone would eliminate most conservative titles.) Also by definition, they’re awash in “factual inaccuracies”. Because of course you can’t possibly mount a convincing non-leftist argument for anything without radically distorting the truth. (As Shephard puts it: “Being forced to tell the truth is not an existential issue for most of publishing; it is for conservative imprints.”)

Hence, if book publishers began to be serious about fact-checking, it would, argues Shephard, “make it impossible to publish a great many conservative books”. Indeed, even the “more ‘respectable’ side of conservative publishing”, as represented for Shephard by Jonah Goldberg’s 2008 bestseller Liberal Fascism (note, however, those scare quotes around the word respectable), would be challenged by a responsible fact-checking apparatus.

According to Shephard, another attribute of many conservative books is that their authors aren’t serious. He quotes Kimberly Burns, a book publicist: “I’m OK with books being published from different political viewpoints – in fact, it’s necessary for debate and being able to see a whole picture … The problem is when authors write things only to get themselves attention or to make news, instead of to enhance a dialogue…” Apparently this isn’t a problem with left-wing books.

Bottom line: Shephard really likes censorship of his ideological opponents. And he really admires his fellow “woke” types who put pressure on publishers to cancel books. He notes with obvious satisfaction that Henry Holt, the publishing house, “drew fire for its decision to continue publishing Bill O’Reilly after multiple accusations of sexual harassment were made against him”. (There’s no indication that Shephard believes multiple accusations of sexual harassment should affect Bill Clinton’s publishing career.)

Shephard approvingly mentions Simon & Schuster’s 2016 decision to drop the book Dangerous by Milo Yiannopoulos, whom he identifies as “a troll known for shallow publicity stunts”. And he tells us that he’s spoken to employees at another publishing house, Hachette, who “expressed discomfort about the company’s conservative imprint, Center Street, which publishes Donald Trump Jr., among others”.

Boy, I’ll bet they did. Since Shephard’s article appeared, Hachette staffers – largely lower-level Gen-Z brats – have said that they won’t work on J.K. Rowling’s forthcoming book because she’s criticized transgender ideology. Hachette is the same house that, in response to workers outraged over unproven quarter-century-old sex-abuse allegations, canceled Woody Allen’s about-to-be-published memoirs in March. Allen was never charged with any crime, let alone found guilty of one; years later he was permitted to adopt two children. Yet thanks to those junior Jacobins – every one of whom should’ve been fired – Allen was unceremoniously cut adrift.

And Shephard fully approves. He actually calls Allen a “pariah”. The ease with which this smug punk swats away the legendary writer-director is chilling. No matter what you may think of Allen or his films, the whole ugly spectacle is just too reminiscent of the way things worked under Stalin and Mao. And it’s all too representative, alas, of the atrocious attitudes of the rising generation of lockstep cancel-culture creeps who, like it or not, are well on their way to becoming our nation’s official cultural gatekeepers.

The DIE plan 3

If we lose science – real science, not social, Communist, Muslim, climate or Christian “science” – we may as well grow tails and live in trees.

And we are threatened with its loss.

Professor Jordan Peterson writes at National Review:

I have watched the universities of the Western world devour themselves in a myriad of fatal errors over the last two decades, and take little pleasure in observing the inevitable unfold. It is a failing of human reason, with all its limitations, ego, and pretensions, to serve as Cassandra; to derive a certain satisfaction in watching the ship whose demise was foretold breach its hull on rocks hidden from all other observers. The self-righteous pleasure of “I told you so,” is, however, of little comfort when the icy water wends its way around ankle, knee and thigh, threatening to swamp everything still retaining its incalculable and unlikely value, even if it simultaneously makes short shrift of the ignorance and willful blindness that is frequently part and parcel of the death of something once great.

Italics ours. That must the most mixed metaphor so far this century. But we get what he’s meaning to say, and we like the points he is trying to make, so we’ll just laugh amiably and move on.

He relates what has happened to certain STEM academics whose importance to science has been found unimportant when weighed against politically correct opinion.

He cites the case of the highly distinguished Professor of Chemistry, Dr. Tomáš Hudlický, of Brock University (Canada), who submitted an essay to the extremely eclectic journal Angewandte Chemie, “a prestigious place of scientific publication among chemists”. It was accepted and published. It memorialized and updated “a piece written thirty years ago, which has been widely recognized as powerfully influencing the direction of the chemistry subfield in question (organic synthesis)”. Then all hell broke over the author’s head. Some sentences in the (approximately) 4,000 word essay “raised the ire of a Twitter mob” – of “about a dozen” in number – “howling about ‘academic feudalism’ and calling it an ‘anti-diversity screed’”.

At once the editor of the journal snapped to attention, removed the essay from the journal’s website, condemned it as “unfair, untrustworthy and lacking in “social awareness”, apologized abjectly for having published it, and declared the author and two of his editors to be “discriminatory, unjust, and inequitable”. He fired the two editors.

Hudlický himself went on being punished. The journal Synthesis was about to dedicate an entire issue to him to celebrate his 70th birthday, but upon hearing that he lacked social awareness, was unfair, untrustworthy, unjust, discriminatory and inequitable, cancelled the project. Another journal, Highlights in Chemistry expunged all mention of him and his work. A European chemical society (name not as yet made public) objected to other researchers in his field collaborating with him. And his professional colleagues at Brock University turned against him.

Whatever had the professor said that amounted to such frightful sinning against political correctness?

According to Dr. Greg Finn, Provost and VP Academic at Brock, the essay “’contains descriptions of the graduate supervisor-graduate student relationship that connote disrespect and subservience. These statements could be alarming to students and others who have the reasonable expectation of respectful and supportive mentorship’”. He cringingly begged for mercy on the University for having such a disgusting human being on its staff, pleading that the offending statements “’do not reflect the principles of inclusivity, diversity and equity included in the University’s mission, vision and values as approved by our Senate and Board of Trustees’”. [To risk being appalled or merely mystified by the actual statements, go here.]

The story makes glaringly clear the fact that, Professor Peterson writes, “research prowess is no longer as important as willingness to mouth the appalling commonplaces of political correctness in the hallowed corridors of academe”. 

He further proves his case:

A highly cited professor of physics, whom I cannot name, at a university I cannot name either (suffice it to say that the former has garnered 100+ publications and 7000+ citations in a highly technical field) had his standard Canadian Federal grant application rejected because he had failed to sufficiently detail his plans to ensure diversity, inclusivity and equity (DIE) practices while conducting his scientific inquiry. It is now standard practice for university hiring boards to insist that their faculty job applicants submit a DIE plan with their curriculum vitae — a terribly dangerous occurrence of its own.

Ah, there is one thing we can praise! The acronym of the plan’s name could not be more suitable. DIE. Die the institution of the university. Die morality. Die science. Die the human race. 

Do not be afraid that it will be a protracted process of dying. Western medical science is to be replaced by Native American healing practices. And – politically incorrect though it is to say so – those practices have been found less effective than the wicked white man’s methods.

For a while you will have a choice. To start with, the “Indigenous knowledge” of medicine will be reckoned “equally valid to Western science”. That’s obviously insufficiently respectful of “Indigenous knowledge”. In time the replacement will happen. We can all rest easy on that score.

I believe that the fundamental reason such plans are required, particularly of those who practice in the so-called “hard” STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) is so that those who could not hope to assess the quality of research endeavors in those specialties as a consequence of their own inability or ignorance, can be made into judges by enforcing the adoption of standards of attitude and behavior that have nothing to do with the fields in question.

Consider this, in addition: a group of three professors at Concordia were awarded a New Frontiers in Research Grant (announced in late 2019) aimed at “engaging Indigenous understanding and involving Indigenous communities in the co-creation of knowledge, the project aims to decolonize contemporary physics research and attract Indigenous students.” The head researcher, Dr. Tanja Tajmel, “questioned the colonial assumptions made in the way Western science evaluates light and what it considers knowledge.” Dr. Louellyn White [whose name surely requires additional self-abasement – ed], associate professor in First Peoples Studies, added that “Indigenous ways of knowing have been suppressed and marginalized throughout academic history and we are finally gaining momentum in elevating Indigenous knowledges as equally valid to Western science… If we, as an institution, do not embody the Territorial Acknowledgement by recognizing and affirming the expertise of our Elders as Knowledge Keepers, the acknowledgement becomes nothing but empty platitudes.” Dr. Ingo Salzmann, the last of the three principal investigators to whom the funds were awarded, says, “The culture of physics certainly changes with diverse people involved.” He argues, “Therefore, decolonizing science involves challenging the underlying hierarchies.”

The refusal of the research grant application specifically requesting funding for what must now apparently be regarded as “colonialized physics” and the success of the application that had the magical mention of “indigenous knowledge” should alert us to the fact that with the increasingly successful politicization of the university the STEM fields comprise the next frontier for occupation by the politically correct.

Qualified and expert researchers in such fields are already in great danger of being pushed aside by activists of the proper opinion. The rest of us will pay in the longer run, when we no longer have the will or the capacity to make use of the rare talents that make people highly competent and productive as scientists, technological innovators, engineers or mathematicians [or doctors]. Wake up, STEM denizens: your famous immunity to political concerns will not protect you against what is headed your way fast over the next five or so years.

Everyone must wake up to the plan to undo the achievements of our civilization. The DIE plan.

What, if anything, can be done about it?

Posted under education, Science by Jillian Becker on Sunday, July 5, 2020

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Aspiring to prison 1

American parents are having their children educated, at enormous expense, to become bank robbers and murderers. 

There are 20 million students in US universities. Of course not all of them will succeed in becoming criminals. A fair number will disappoint their professors, deans and principals, by becoming scientists, doctors, engineers, mathematicians, businessmen.

Such delinquents simply lack the capacity to benefit from higher education.

Here’s a glimpse of what they are taught, and what some fail to master:

Meira Svirsky explains at Clarion Project:

Protesters over the last few weeks have taught us, among other lessons, there is little room for dialogue or voicing of dissenting opinions in our body politic anymore.

In fact, many principled or simply well-meaning professionals, celebs and even business owners have been destroyed by what is now known as the “cancel culture”.

The question is, how are the protesters — by and large a group of twenty-somethings — driving the entire society?

The answer is that they are not alone. They are first and foremost being driven by their educators – public school teachers, college professors and those who have risen in the hierarchical ladder to become university administrators. Many are extremist ideologues who (rightly) figured out that if you want to change society, you have to influence the youth.

Take the case of the prestigious Stanford University. Its dean of students, Monica Hicks, recently sent out an email to students in which she effusively quoted Assata Shakur, a fugitive on the FBI’s most-wanted terrorists list.

In 1973, Shakur (born Joanne Chesimard) and two accomplices shot two police officers, killing one “execution-style” after being pulled over for committing a bank robbery.

Shakur was arrested, convicted and sent to prison in 1977. She escaped in 1979 when other domestic terrorists broke in to rescue her. She now resides in Cuba.

Dean Hicks’s email was a friendly missive wishing students well and safety – both from COVID-19 and violence — as they engage in the current protests.

Providing them encouragement and strength of heart (she herself was planning to “shelter-in-place”), she added what she called a “loving refrain” from Shakur at the end of her letter to the students.

Extract from the report in The College Fix about the Dean’s email:

She concluded the email by stating she appreciated the messages of support she has received and that, as a black woman, “I am also struggling to make meaning in our world today, but your humanity gives me hope — your energy, your education, your truth, and your purpose. … It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains.

Meira Svirsky comments:

Quoting Shakur is particularly egregious considering that the protests are directed against police and the fact that at least two police officers have been killed by them and close to 400 wounded.

She continues:

Another case worth mentioning is that of San Francisco State University’s (SFSU) Rabab Abdulhadi.

Abdulhadi was recently given the American Association of University Professors’ (AAUP) Georgina M. Smith Award in recognition of “her commitment to global scholarship that builds mutual understanding … evident in the collaborations she has initiated”.

Those “collaborations” include “cultivating ties with Hamas-dominated universities, trivializing the kidnapping and murder of Israeli high-schoolers and endorsing hate speech”, according to Canary Mission, a group that monitors and exposes antisemitism in academia.

While leading a mission to “Palestine” (which was funded by SFSU), Abdulhadi also “collaborated” with Leila Khaled and Sheikh Raed Salah, both of whom are affiliated with U.S.-designated terrorist organizations.

Abdulhadi, a founding member of the antisemitic Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) Movement against Israel also believes that Jews who favor the existence of Israel should not be allowed at the university at all.

Teachers who do not keep up with the New Violence movement in education are not wanted in the profession:

Those that don’t adhere to the current cancel culture’s strict rules of what constitutes acceptable behavior have found their heads on the chopping blocks.

UCLA just launched an investigation into a lecturer [W. Ajax Peris] for reading to his class Martin Luther King’s famous Letter from Birmingham Jail and showing a documentary that included a description of lynching. …

After students complained that the reading of the letter and the description of lynching caused them distress, Peris was swiftly condemned by the chair of the political science department as well as two other department heads. His case has already been referred to the university’s Discrimination Prevention Office, which urged students to come forward with more complaints.

Bowing to the mob, Peris issued both written and video apologies, which did nothing to stop calls for his firing.

Another UCLA professor, Gordon Klein, is now living under police protection after he rejected a request by a black student to postpone the final exam for minority students. Klein, who has been teaching at UCLA for decades, told the student that such a policy a would not follow principles of equality (and rather, would be racist in itself).

For having such an opinion, Klein received death threats on social media, credible enough that he is now living under police protection. In the meantime, he has been removed from teaching and is being investigated by the dean for his “troubling” behavior.

UCLA apologized to Klein’s students for his “inexcusable” and “very hurtful sentiments”.

Cases like these have abounded over recent years.

Many more examples could be given, but you get the idea.

Parents: don’t think of prison as a dead-end career, even if a prestigious one. Your graduate cum laude will soon be released, have the right to vote for Democrats, and will almost certainly be offered a job in a prestigious university from where xir can send out more bright young felons into the revolutionized world that was once the federal republic of the USA.

Advancing menace 15

The American Left, to our joy, is dashing itself to pieces on the rocks of its own nonsense.

But the biggest strongest menace will continue to advance from the Left. From the farthest Left. From Communist China. 

In addition to its inimical trade practices – which President Trump is actively combating – China uses multifarious means against us.

The johnny-come-lately to the Democratic line-up of presidential candidates, former mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg, shills for China. We wouldn’t be surprised to learn that his billions have been augmented by generous emoluments from the Chinese communist regime.

China indoctrinates Americans through our own educational institutions and undermines our scientific and technological superiority with our own inventions and discoveries.

Professor Walter Williams writes at Townhall:

Charles Lieber, former chairman of the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard, was arrested earlier this year on accusations that he made a materially false, fictitious and fraudulent statement about work he did for a program run by the Chinese government that seeks to lure American talent to China. He was paid $50,000 a month and up to $158,000 in living expenses for his work, which involved cultivating young teachers and students, according to court documents. According to the Department of Justice, Lieber helped China “cultivate high-level scientific talent in furtherance of China’s scientific development, economic prosperity and national security“.

It’s not just Harvard professors. Newly found court records reveal that Emory University neuroscientist Li Xiao-Jiang was fired in late 2019 after being charged with lying about his own ties to China. Li was part of the same Chinese program as Lieber. A jury found a University of California, Los Angeles, professor guilty of exporting stolen U.S. military technology to China. Newsweek reported that he was convicted June 26 on 18 federal charges. Meanwhile, NBC reported that federal prosecutors say that University of Texas professor Bo Mao attempted to steal U.S. technology by using his position as a professor to obtain access to protected circuitry and then handing it over to the Chinese telecommunications giant, Huawei.

China is steadily building up its military power.

And even that is not all or the worst of it. China harms the world without firing a single missile. Because it is a badly governed country, it can do nothing effective about epidemics of disease that break out among its own vast population and spread over every inhabited continent – as is happening now with the coronavirus.

Communist government – cruel and oppressive though it is – is not even efficient government. Marxism, collectivism, socialism, communism – call it what you will – is too often spoken of, written about, thought of as ensuring security. At the price of freedom, yes. Given that choice, many, it is said, would choose security over freedom.

Nothing could be plainer now than that Communism does not guarantee security.

To the contrary. All it guarantees is enslavement, poverty, sorrow, sickness and mass death.

Progress to extinction continued 16

We ended the post immediately below with this: 

It is not only “hard to imagine where universities go after peak progressivism”, or where the networks can “go after that”; it is impossible to see a destination for the Left itself, in America or anywhere else in the world.

Except to extinction.

Seems there is at least a section of Left opinion in academia, among the climate alarmists, that sets extinction as its goal; not just the extinction of the Left itself, and certainly not the extinction of the planet, but the total extinction of the human race.

Breitbart reports:

Giving birth to a child is “the worst thing you can do” to the climate, says philosophy professor Patricia MacCormack of Anglia Ruskin University.

The professor, author of The Ahuman Manifesto: Activism for the End of the Anthropocene who describes herself as an “old school goth,” says that the only way to save the planet is to stop having children and allow humans to become extinct. …

Due to global overpopulation, giving birth is the worst thing you can do to the planet, MacCormack [maintains], while insisting that she is not advocating wiping out the existing population but rather letting it die off.

“Far from advocating mass death, genocide or eugenics, my manifesto is antinatalist,” says MacCormack. “It boycotts human reproduction due to the damage humans have perpetrated on the Earth and its other inhabitants.”

“The manifesto simply asks that humans no longer reproduce – no life is lost, no being is mourned,” she states. “If we no longer reproduce, we can care for all inhabitants already here, human and non-human, as well as care for the Earth itself by mitigating the damage already caused. It’s an activism of care.”

Care for all those other inhabitants? They need us for that? Are you sure, Madam Professor? I mean – in that case, won’t they miss us when we’re gone?

A native Australian, MacCormack says her opinions have been manipulated and misunderstood.

“I simply propose people not reproduce, and it automatically translated into acts of violence,” she has said.

“So, somehow, I want to kill children, which is ridiculous. Somehow, I’m proposing eugenics or some kind of ethnic population control,” she declares, “and I think that what that shows is there is an anthropocentric — or a human — impulse to read acts of grace as, automatically, acts of violence.” …

So she visualizes the human species going very gently into obliteration.

Along with her opinions regarding the human population, MacCormack advocates overcoming “human privilege” through what she calls “abolitionist veganism,” or the notion that no sentient being should be treated as property of another.

Her prescription for stopping lions, tigers, crocodiles, snakes, eagles, bears, wolves, sharks treating their prey as their property to kill and eat, is not reported.

According to MacCormack, her manifesto “questions the value of human exceptionalism, asking are humans really the ‘best’ forms of life, or should we dismantle our understanding of life as a hierarchy for a more ecological, interconnected scheme of living things?”

In no way are we human beings superior to any other form of life! What arrogance to suppose we are!

Among other climate action groups, MacCormack says that those like the protest group Extinction Rebellion have the right idea but are not going far enough.

“Even Extinction Rebellion only focus on the effect this will have on human life, when climate change is something that will affect every living being on the planet,” she states.

Anglia Ruskin University holds up MacCormack’s ideas on climate, but also underscores her expertise in feminism, queer theory, posthuman ethics, animal studies, and horror films.

Posthuman ethics.

Now there’s something to think about – while there’s anybody left to think at all.

Feminist Witch/University Professor Patricia MacCormack

Posted under Climate, Demography, education, Environmentalism, Feminism, genocide, Leftism, Philosophy, Progressivism by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, February 19, 2020

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Revolution? 4

Is America in the throes of a revolution? Are we sliding unstoppably into totalitarian communism?

Angelo Codevilla writes at American Greatness:

Some conservatives, rejoicing that impeachment turned into yet another of #TheResistance’s political train wrecks and that President Trump is likely to be reelected by a bigger margin than in 2016, expect that a chastened ruling class will return to respecting the rest of us. They are mistaken.

Trump’s reelection, by itself, cannot protect us. The ruling class’s intolerance of the 2016 election’s results was intolerance of us.

Nor was their intolerance so much a choice as it was the expression of its growing sense of its own separate identity, of power and of entitlement to power. The halfhearted defenses with which the offensives of the ruling class have been met already advertise the fact that it need not and will not accept the outcome of any presidential election it does not win. Trump notwithstanding, this class will rule henceforth as it has in the past three years. So long as its hold on American institutions continues to grow, and they retain millions of clients, elections won’t really matter.

Our country is in a state of revolution, irreversibly, because society’s most influential people have retreated into moral autarchy, …

Autarchy, or autocracy, is rule by a dictator. Has any Democrat proclaimed a desire for a dictator, or to be a dictator? If so, we missed it. The Democrats want absolute power in their own hands, but have’t yet wished up a Stalin or a Mao. It’s highly likely that Bernie Sanders would like to be an American Stalin, but has he admitted it?

Besides which, there is not a single Democratic candidate for the presidency of the United States who could run a poll in Iowa, let alone the country. 

Moral autarchy? Not sure what that means. But okay, let’s accept the term in order to follow the writer’s argument.

… have seceded from America’s constitutional order, and because they browbeat their socio-political adversaries instead of trying to persuade them. Theirs is not a choice that can be reversed. It is a change in the character of millions of people.

Does character change? Does the character of a people – a nation – change? What characterizes any nation must by definition be what does not change about it. For a country to change its character it would have to have its population replaced by a different population – as is happening rapidly in Sweden, France, Spain, and Germany.  The Democrats seem to like the idea of America becoming more “Hispanic” than “Anglo”, but it hasn’t happened yet, and might never happen.

There has been a change in America over the last 70 years or so. It is not a change of character. In all their variety, Americans are recognizably the same as they were 100 years ago. What has changed in America are ideas about values and morals, about what matters and what doesn’t.

And that is what the article under discussion is really about.

The sooner conservatives realize that the Republic established between 1776 and 1789—the America we knew and loved—cannot return, the more fruitfully we will be able to manage the revolution’s clear and present challenges to ourselves. How are we to deal with a ruling class that insists on ruling—elections and generally applicable rules notwithstanding—because it regards us as lesser beings?

The resistance that reached its public peaks in the Brett Kavanaugh hearings and the impeachment imbroglio should have left no doubt about the socio-political arbitrariness that flows from the ruling class’s moral autarchy, about the socio-political power of the ruling class we’re forced to confront, or of its immediate threat to our freedom of speech.

Chief Justice John Roberts, presiding over the Senate’s impeachment trial, was as clear an example as any of that moral autarchy and its grip on institutions.

Pursuant to Senate rules, Senator Rand Paul sent a written question through Roberts to House Manager Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) regarding the extent of collaboration between Schiff’s staffer Sean Misko and his longtime fellow partisan, CIA officer Eric Ciaramella in starting the charges that led to impeachment. Roberts, having read the question to himself, declared: “The presiding officer declines to read the question as submitted.”

The chief justice of the United States, freedom of speech’s guardian-in-chief, gave no reason for declining to read Paul’s question. The question was relevant to the proceedings. It violated no laws, no regulations. The names of the two persons were known to every member of the House and Senate, as well as to everyone around the globe who had followed news reports over the previous months. But the Democratic Party had been campaigning to drive from public discussion that this impeachment stemmed from the partisan collaboration between a CIA officer and a Democratic staffer.

“Collaboration” is the polite term for it; “conspiracy” the more accurate one.

Accordingly, the mainstream media had informally but totally banned discussion of this fact, supremely relevant but supremely embarrassing to Schiff in particular and to Democrats in general. Now, Paul was asking Schiff officially to comment on the relationship. Schiff could have explained it, or refused to explain it. But Roberts saved him the embarrassment and trouble—and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) spared senators the problem of voting on a challenge to Roberts’s  ruling. The curtain of official concealment, what the Mafia calls the omertà, remained intact. Why no reason?

Just as no dog wags his tail without a reason, neither did Roberts wag his without reason. Neither the laws of the United States nor the rules of the Senate told the presiding officer to suppress the senator’s question. Why was Roberts pleased to please those he pleased and to displease those he displeased? In short, why did this impartial presiding officer act as a man partial to one side against the other?

This professional judge could hardly have been impressed by the ruling class’s chosen instrument, Adam Schiff, or by Schiff’s superior regard for legal procedure. Since Schiff’s prosecution featured hiding the identity of the original accuser—after promising to feature his testimony—and since it featured secret depositions, blocked any cross-examination of its own witnesses, and prevented the defense from calling any of their own, it would have been strange if Chief Justice Roberts’s bias was a professional one.

Is it possible that Roberts favored the substance of the ruling class claim that neither President Trump nor any of his defenders have any right to focus public attention on the Biden family’s use of public office to obtain money in exchange for influence? That, after all, is what Washington is largely about. Could Roberts also love corruption so much as to help conceal it? No.

Roberts’s professional and ethical instincts incline him the other way. Nevertheless, he sustained the ruling class’s arbitrariness. Whose side did he take? His dinner companions’ side? The media’s? His wife’s? Roberts’s behavior—contrary as it was to his profession, to his morals, and to his political provenance—shows how great is the ruling class’s centripetal force.

The sad but inescapable consequence of this force is that conservatives have no choice but to follow the partisan logic of revolution—fully conscious of the danger that partisanship can make us as ridiculously dishonest as Adam Schiff or CNN’s talking heads, into rank-pullers like John Roberts, and into profiteers as much as any member of the Biden family.

Do conservatives have no choice but to go along with “the revolution”, with the abandonment of the values that inspired the Constitution, with corruption as a matter of indisputable but unchangeable fact?

The writer then seems to change his mind. He suggests there is a choice:

And yet, revolution is war, the proximate objective of which is to hurt the other side until it loses the capacity and the will to do us harm. That means treating institutions and people from the standpoint of our own adversarial interest: controlling what we can either for our own use or for bargaining purposes, discrediting and abandoning what we cannot take from our enemies.

Opposing them by the means they choose, the weapons they use? That – so the writer suggests – is our best recourse?

Unlike our enemies, our ultimate objective is, as Lincoln said, “peace among ourselves and with all nations”. But what kind of peace we may get depends on the extent to which we may compel our enemies to leave us in peace. And for that, we must do unto them more and before they do unto us.

Which is true? Do we have no choice but to join “the revolution” – a change from a free open society of self-reliant individuals into a government-controlled, race and sex obsessed, doom prophesying, totally organized community? Or are we still in control of our destiny? And if we fight our revolutionary enemy, must it be with their weapons, or ours? On their terms, or ours?

We do not see that there has been a revolution – though the Obama administration tried to make one. We do not think the only way to save America from totalitarian one-party rule is by following the rules laid down by the Gramsci-Alinsky school of sedition and the Cloward-Piven blueprint for chaos. (See here and here and here and here.)

By great good luck we have President Trump leading us in another direction, showing us another way, prioritizing better (characteristic) values: freedom, individual enterprise, innovation, industry, competence, patriotism, strength, ambition, self-confidence, prosperity. For a few more years at least. During which the Left revolutionaries may, in the fury of their frustration, stamp themselves into the ground.

The most important liberty 6

The Third Jillian Becker Annual Lecture is being delivered in London today, February 3, 2020, under the auspices of The Freedom Association, this year by our fellow atheist conservative Professor Simon Heffer of the University of Buckingham. He is an historian, author, and political commentator. He writes a regular column in the Sunday Telegraph, and is an active and influential Brexiteer.

We will post the YouTube video of the lecture when it becomes available.

Meanwhile, here are extracts from the lecture. The examples Professor Heffer cites to illustrate the points he makes are from Britain, but the lessons to be taken from them apply equally to America.

If any of you imagines we live in a country where freedom of speech still pertains, I fear that what I am about to say in the next 40 minutes or so may be the final act of disabusing you of that notion. Some of what I am about to tell you in support of this contention will be familiar; but some of what is familiar is so shocking that it bears repeating; and what is truly shocking is that such damage to our freedom of speech is allowed to happen, and is well-known, and yet too few people with the power to do so wish to raise a finger to stop it, thereby becoming complicit in the erosion of perhaps our most important liberty. And it must be stressed that, while some in public life and in high positions have more power than most to reverse what has become a disturbing trend, we all have a part to play in ensuring that discourse in our society is not closed down. For discourse is, in the end, the means by which rational and civilised people arrive at the truth. …

Few dare to teach history in a way that does not apply the values of a liberal elite in the 21st century to the questions of the past; and anyone who attempts to look at historical questions in their own context, to evaluate why what happened at the time happened, is regarded as a reactionary. By their behaviour they override the fundamental principle of learning, which is to arrive at the truth. But they also, by creating an atmosphere within academia of hostility and hatred, make an important part of the expansion of knowledge nearly impossible, by restricting civilised discussion between those of differing views.

Of course, this hijacking of academic disciplines for the purposes of thought-policing and the propagation of leftist tropes is not restricted to the discipline of history. English literature has long been given similar treatment, though some of the texts that have to be read are now, famously, issued with ‘trigger warnings’, because there so much in Shakespeare … that could upset the sensibilities of the average member of what is cruelly called ‘the snowflake generation’….

It is little wonder that, in their spare time, the students who endure what passes for this sort of teaching now try to close down expressions of opinion with which they disagree, usually for the preposterous reason that those expressions might cause offence, as if being offended is, to use another unfortunate modern expression, a hate crime – which many people think causing offence seriously is. We have lived with this for years. I recall an attempt at Cambridge when I was an undergraduate to ban a Conservative cabinet minister from speaking in the university by a group whose motto was ‘No Platform for Racists and Fascists’. For many of them, simply serving in the Thatcher government was sufficient to earn the label of a racist or a fascist …

Five years ago … [the feminist] Germaine Greer was no-platformed at Cardiff University because she wished to state her opinion that just because a man had had a series of operations to turn him into a woman did not make him like someone who had been female from birth. The University ordered the students to let the meeting go ahead, but said it would not condone ‘discriminatory language’. Professor Greer retorted that this stand by the university was ‘weak as piss’; she was not discriminating against anyone, merely hurting their feelings. Well, she said, her feelings were hurt all the time, and she just got on with it; but she refused to speak in an atmosphere of such unpleasantness, and cancelled her meeting altogether.

Then another celebrated ‘reactionary’, Peter Tatchell – one of the most principled men I have ever met, I hasten to add, principles he demonstrated in his repeated and courageous demonstrations against the aforementioned vicious tyrant, Robert Mugabe – was no-platformed at Canterbury Christ Church University for speaking out in defence of Professor Greer. For defending her right to express her views openly, Mr Tatchell was denounced as ‘racist’ – the catch-all chant for every bigot these days – and ‘transphobic’.

But then there are now many views that it is simply unacceptable to hold in our society today. The Church of England – possibly miraculously – sticks to the view that same-sex couples cannot be married in church because of what many senior clergy feel is the direct opposition such an act would present to scriptural teachings. I think the church is right, and I do so, again, from the point of view of an atheist.

I have a number of homosexual friends who go further even than that, and think the idea of same-sex marriage is patronising to them, and little more than a stunt. Try arguing this in one of our universities today and you would be shouted down, and would be likely to be the victim of a no-platforming campaign, with accusations of homophobia cast at you. The case, like that of Professor Greer stating what she believes to be an obvious fact about men who have sex changes, is an example of the failure by too many half-educated young people in our universities refusing, wilfully and often with the connivance of their teachers who should know better, to acknowledge a distinction between expressing a sincerely held belief, supported by factual evidence, and inciting others to commit some ghastly crime against those you are talking about. Professor Greer was inciting no-one to persecute transgender people; therefore Mr Tatchell was not defending a right for her to incite such people, for no such right exists or can exist in a civilised society; and saying one has a philosophical objection to the notion of same sex marriage is nothing like saying you dislike homosexual people, let alone that others ought to go out and make their lives a misery.

But these are the murky waters into which discourse in our universities has slipped, and, as one distinguished victim of such a process said to me last year, it has been allowed to slip there because of the refusal of heads of institutions or heads of faculties to law down the law with students who engage in this deliberate destruction of freedom of speech under the pretence of it being offensive to the closed minds of their students, and who do so because, in the end, they are afraid of those students.

It is little wonder that, in their spare time, the students who endure what passes for this sort of teaching now try to close down expressions of opinion with which they disagree, usually for the preposterous reason that those expressions might cause offence, as if being offended is, to use another unfortunate modern expression, a hate crime – which many people think causing offence seriously is. …

There is also one other current in some of our universities that I want to refer to, because it is a harbinger of a very unpleasant future unless we do something to check it. … Chinese money has helped develop facilities in some of our universities, but has from time to time occasioned the benefactors to seek to influence aspects of the curriculum. I believe those latter attempts have largely been resisted; but I hope any Chinese student in Britain who is put under pressure about his or her own activities should be able to tell his university authorities, and the authorities should give their full support. Sometimes students may feel their families back in China are at threat if they don’t conform. Universities have to think very carefully before they accept Chinese money about what they might be expected to do, or not do, in return.

Perhaps because the extremism of no platforming has been going on for so long now, many adults are now just as bad. Nearly 15 years ago I wrote an article for The Daily Telegraph about the death penalty. I said – and for what it is worth it is a belief I cling to today – that I felt some murders represented such an act of premeditated wickedness, whether the motive was financial gain or sexual gratification, that the only appropriate punishment given the enormity of the crime was a sentence of death; and that instead of the sentence being mandatory, as it had been for certain murders before abolition, it should be available to the jury, if convicting, to recommend to the judge before he passed sentence. The paper had a year or two before, in an attempt to appeal to that elusive younger reader, hired a right-on, or as we would now say, ‘woke’ comedian to write an arts column every week. He suddenly resigned, saying he could not continue to work for a newspaper that had another columnist (me) who believed in the death penalty, and would publish such a piece. It was my first, but not my last, direct confrontation with the phenomenon that does more to undermine freedom of speech than any other in our society: the professed and overt liberal who is completely intolerant of any opinion other than his or her own. Rather than engage in debate, they simply prefer to close it down. By treating another person, whose only crime is to have professed such an opinion, with the sort of disdain one would normally reserve for a paedophile or mass murderer, they hope to intimidate him or her, and anybody else who might be thinking of transgressing in such a way, into keeping their mouth shut in future, or, possibly, into making a full recantation. …

People have to understand that there is a difference between expressing a strong opinion that may cause offence to those who think entirely differently – such as a feminist arguing against another’s interpretation of transgender rights might – and someone who is inciting violence or hatred against the group they are criticising. In a free society, we just have to put up with the first; but we can never tolerate the second. Most of us are sufficiently mature to make a distinction between a point of view we find offensive – which to some on the left will include almost everything I am saying here today – and something that encourages people to act violently … To things that merely cause offence, all we should say is: grow up, get over it, and move on. We must as a culture stop putting out into adult life former students who have grown up thinking it is normal that people with the temerity to disagree with them should be silenced.

Posted under education, liberty by Jillian Becker on Monday, February 3, 2020

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