Education

Through the Looking Glass at Concordia University

It was in a class called Representations of Minorities in Documentary Film, the last elective I needed to receive my BA at Concordia University in Montreal, that I first realized something was very wrong. The class had just watched Sound and Fury, a 2000 Oscar-nominated documentary about deaf culture. The film follows a 6-year-old deaf girl named Heather and her family (several members of whom also are deaf) as they go back and forth on the issue of cochlear implants, a then-new technology that allows some deaf people to hear.

Heather wants cochlear implants so she can talk to people and hear lions. Her mother, too, opts for the implants. But when she discovers the implant will not be as effective for her, she changes her mind, and, without consulting her daughter, decrees that neither of them will be undergoing the procedure.

After the film ended, our professor asked students for their thoughts. When called on, I said that parents should try to make their children’s lives easier. If I remember my words correctly, I added: “They shouldn’t hold their children back from something that will help them grow.”

“You just feel that way because you’re white, cisgendered, abled, and privileged,” came the snarl from somewhere below. I looked down a few aisles to the front of the dark screening room. I saw the back of a mostly shaved head, with a lock of hair tied on top. I had never seen the back of this head before. And I never saw the front of it either, because the responder didn’t bother to look at me.

You don’t know me, I thought. What gives you the right to comment on who I am? My inner monologue started racing in my privileged Cape Breton accent. Ya, I’m right some privileged, b’y. I was abandoned by my mother, y’arse! I never knew my father. I grew up under a staircase, like Harry Potter. My hand shot up so I could respond. The professor ignored it. I kept it up and locked eyes with him, agitated. He looked away. The last few minutes of the class rolled on, with others talking about things I can’t even remember. The attack on my identity just hung there over the space, unchallenged, floating, settling into the upholstery of the chairs. Then the class was dismissed.

I walked out of the screening room feeling kind of shell-shocked. What was I to take from this? What were the other students to take from this? That the attack on my character warranted no rebuttal? That my race, my gender, and my sexual identity had all disqualified me from participating? The lesson seemed clear. My status as a mother of two young girls—unimportant. My opinions—unwanted. I learned the lesson so well that I did not again participate in that class for the rest of the semester.

My experience in that undergraduate film class was just a taste, an appetizer if you will, for the full-fledged graduate feast I was to consume at Concordia once my undergrad was finished.

Students at just about any other university can recite similar stories. Universities are in a state of crisis, but this crisis did not emerge overnight. It required an hospitable environment to take root. Some journalists and professors have dismissed the phenomenon as a form of moral panic, invented by right-wing provocateurs. They cite studies and statistics to reassure us that The Kids Are Alright. Well, that kid in the front row was not alright. And I am not a right-wing provocateur. My politics are progressive. Nor am I a professor or a journalist, nor have I conducted long-range longitudinal studies that ask students to self-report on their beliefs about free speech on campus. All I have is my own experience and the experiences of those fellow students with whom I have discussed the matter, and I can assure the reader that the crisis is real.  

During a professional development seminar, my program director appeared before our class and proudly announced that he had abandoned the entire field of philosophy, once his full-time calling. It was all “racist old white men,” he proclaimed. The class laughed. It was a laugh of recognition; they had heard this jazz riff before. In my department, it was normal and expected to mock and dismiss all white male thinkers as inveterate racists and misogynists. It did not matter how long ago they had lived, or how enlightened they had been compared to their contemporaries. Their opinions, their ideas, their entire contributions to world knowledge—all null and void. Aristotle? Gone. Kant? Gone. Hume? Gone. It was like a book-burning.

My program director was only playing to the crowd here, I realized, and the students loved it. It affirmed their beliefs. Plato and Hegel might as well have been Weinstein and Spacey—gone.

Men are not the only ones, mind you, who found their names, and their ideas, on the chopping block in that department. It happens to women, too—especially if they are white and hold the “wrong” opinions. To mention the name of the renowned author and feminist Margaret Atwood in a Concordia Media Studies class is to invite outrage. Atwood had picked the wrong side in 2015, when she insisted on due process for fellow author Steven Galloway after he was widely accused (falsely, it turns out) of sexual assault at the University of British Columbia.

Atwood is a bad feminist, I was sternly told in one session. She is bad for women. The discussion was over. The author of The Handmaid’s Tale—gone.

During another seminar of this type, aimed at helping us plan our careers, we were presented with the trajectories of three professors who taught in our department. The last of the trio began by describing her immigration to the Toronto exurb of Brampton as a child. Her first complaint was that all her classmates were white. She did not elaborate. She then suggested that white university professors are not capable of teaching sociology courses on the subject of race—just as I had been deemed incapable of having an opinion on deaf children.

Then, to howls of laughter from her student audience, she stood up, swung her arm out, and accused the entire Department of Sociology at McMasters in Ontario, past and present, of being “white racists.” All of them. For all time. The Sociology Department at McMasters—gone. The students loved it. They laughed and nodded.

Often, these moments got really strange. One afternoon, we were tasked with sitting in small groups to discuss a series of articles about the internet, one of which was called Taming the Golem: Challenges of Ethical Algorithmic Decision Making. As soon as we pushed our desks together, one of the group members instantly asserted that the article was “disgusting.” We waited for elaboration. There was none. She treated the assertion as self-evident.

The article contained many offensive words, she finally explained after much prodding. “Like…what?” I asked, genuinely confused.

“Cleansing,” she said. As in, “cleansing algorithms.”

I thought she was joking. She wasn’t. “Data cleansing” is a well-established practice in statistical analysis whereby redundant or inaccurate data is corrected. And in this case, the article, published in 2017 in the North Carolina Journal of Law and Technology, was authored by two academics who were concerned with the problem of bias being injected into automated decision-making algorithms, such as the type used to select the kind of content we see on Facebook. Algorithmic cleansing, in other words, has nothing whatever to do with ethnic genocide, the basis for the student’s complaint.

Two other members of the group jumped in on cue, though, nodding vigorously in agreement. They cringed at the word “cleansing.” Their shoulders tightened. They shook their heads. I tried to point out the article’s arguments, asking them if they disagreed with any of the actual content. They would not engage. “But don’t you agree with its recommendations?” I asked. They made faces. They acted as if my line of questioning was inherently problematic. To give this article’s authors a hearing, to grapple in the slightest with the ideas therein, was repugnant to them. It would give the authors a platform, give them legitimacy, and make us all complicit in their moral decrepitude, their language crime. I gave up. What could I do? The article remained undiscussed.

We were once assigned an article by Penn State professor Eric Hayot, called Academic Writing, I Love You. Really, I Do. It contained several short snippets of writing advice from famous people, such as this one from Kurt Vonnegut:

Do not use semicolons.
They are transvestite hermaphrodites representing absolutely nothing.
All they do is show you’ve been to college.

A female student immediately spoke up. She berated the professor, in front of the class. Vonnegut’s joke was so offensive, she said, that she could not understand how such an article had been assigned. It was unacceptable, the whole article. The professor, it was clear, had been unprepared for this line of attack. He shouldn’t have been. Know thy cohort. Amazingly, this was the same program director who, just months previously, had dismissed all of philosophy for its whiteness and maleness, and here he was falling victim to the very climate of repudiation he had helped to create. Hoisted by his own petard.

In his defense, he did try to open this question up for discussion, but the students weren’t having it. “We can talk about this, right?” the director asked, nervous, a bit shaky as if he were about to be shot. He was sweating. The student had him.

“You shouldn’t have assigned this,” the student condescended to inform the program director. The rest of the class sat in dumb silence. I was gobsmacked. And I saw it in the professor’s eyes right away—he would never be assigning this article again. Vonnegut, one of the greatest modern critics of our inhumanity—gone. Hayot—gone. The dignity and authority of the program director—gone. So it goes.

When it came time for me to propose a subject for my own graduate research at Concordia, I felt like Alice finally arriving at the Queen of Hearts’ garden. My research, funded by a Canadian federal agency called the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, focused on a Montreal-based satirical website called The True North Times, which set out to humiliate nine candidates running for Parliament in Canada’s 2015 federal election. The site had scraped candidates’ social media histories and publicized problematic comments, jokes, and opinions (often wildly out of context). The central question of my research was whether or not this had been the political equivalent of a witch hunt.

Following my presentation to a committee of peers and professors, the floor was opened to discussion. Without missing a beat, a fellow student demanded: “How do you justify using the term ‘witch hunt’?” I was caught off-guard. Justify? Lord tunderin’ Jaysus! What did she mean justify? This was a completely common term, rooted in a well-known period of history, and used often in political theory and news broadcasts in precisely the way I was using it. But apparently, because it was gendered language, it was deemed inappropriate.

My academic supervisor was looking at me as if the answer to this question was important. Those are the right words, I thought. No other words communicated precisely the meaning I intended. My choice of that term had not been cosmetic or arbitrary; political witch hunts were my central theoretical framework, undergirding the entirety of my research plan. Would I have to do a cleansing of my witch hunt?

My words were being taken away from me. My supervisor suggested I use an alternative term. No doubt, he was trying to be helpful. But it didn’t matter. At that moment, the rest of my research didn’t feel like it mattered. The point had been made: witch hunt, my essential theory, was an offensive term, not to be uttered. I had to be stopped. They could not get past it. All persons over a mile high must leave the court.

*   *   *

What I am providing here are small glimpses into what my existence at Concordia was like. My first, grueling year of graduate school was not marked by a solitary dramatic event. It was a sequence, a pattern, what I eventually realized was an epidemic. In almost every class, I found myself brushing up against what I had come to think of as the moral gatekeepers of the academy. By acting, or failing to act, by sustaining an arena where students—young, unformed, knowing not what they do—were encouraged to run wild and roughshod over all standards of fairness, openness, and intellectual inquiry, the professors had allowed the institution to transform into something of a madhouse. Select identities, authors, voices, words, and thoughts were permitted at the table; the rest were cast out or barred, without question, as though everything had already been decided. Any pursuit of truth, or dialectic of ideas, was cut off at the knees before it even got started, as the participants expended their energies policing language and asserting their moral virtue. It didn’t even matter if the students making the complaints were in the minority—all it took was one. Instead of a widening of horizons at university, I experienced there a strange sort of thinning, a constriction of the known world and all of reality into a single, narrow, idiosyncratic and firmly imposed set of perceptions and thoughts, an orthodoxy, a faith.

The academy, it seems to me now, has reverted in some ways to its old role as a religious institute, as in the days before Newton, a place of enforced consensus and theological purity. Percy Shelley was famously expelled from Oxford for atheism, for daring to question the orthodoxy of the University, and I see no evidence that he would fare much better today.          

For readers, Alice’s journey in Wonderland is amusing. But to be Alice is something altogether different. The experience is hard to pin down with words. With few exceptions, no one on campus is officially censored. But the culture itself exerts power. One feels constantly judged. One is always on-edge. To perceive nuance, to be skeptical, to ask questions, gets one quickly accused of moral deficiency. The students are zealous, the professors often unprepared, fearful, or complicit.

Through the looking glass and what Alice found there (1902). Illustration by Peter Newell

And make no mistake—to be told unendingly that the whiteness of one’s skin is disqualifying, one’s morals questionable, one’s words offensive, one’s opinions invalid, has a significant cumulative psychological effect. It causes anxiety. It caused me serious depression. I agree with the goals of the academic left: equity, diversity, the inclusion of new voices, and an open canon. It’s the methods of the left that I came to revile.

Now that I have completed the first year of my Master’s degree, I have had time to play these and other related events over in my mind. Was there anything I could have done differently?

One problem I faced was that I was older than most of my classmates. Like at least one other mature student in my program, I was made to feel that my concerns were simply generational. When I told the Chair how I was feeling and what I was witnessing, he was kind and sympathetic. But by the time the conversation was over, I would feel worse, as if it were something I just had to get used to. Sharing my stories with students outside of my program helped. Discovering that these problems exist in other fields of study, too, and on other campuses, showed me that my viewpoint is widespread, even if articulating it appears to be taboo.

What ultimately got me through the year was my realization that there is another world outside of those classrooms and offices, a real world in which we have free rein to think, to joke, to play with ideas, and to work things out, without feeling we have hands on our throats. If things are to get better on campus, students and professors alike need to remember that nobody is perfect. We are all human beings, even Kurt Vonnegut. And the only way for us imperfect beings to arrive at greater truth is to allow one another to communicate our thoughts in good faith, using the language we have available to us. This is not an attempt to turn back the clock. This is not an attempt to remove anyone’s hard-earned rights. This is not a secret plot to invite neo-Nazis or white supremacists to campuses to poison the minds of the young.

This is just a call for sanity. I am a left-leaning progressive. I am an ally to progressive causes. But I can certainly tell you this: one does not sway hearts and souls through the policing of language, the policing of thoughts, the silencing of voices, and the dismissal of viewpoints. That way lies madness. And unlike Alice, we do not have the luxury of waking up from this madness on the riverbank, brushing ourselves off and going in for tea. We have to stay here and make this work. If we care at all about improving society, then we need to take a good, hard look at how university classrooms are currently functioning, and think deeply about how they got this way.

 

Terry Newman is currently an MA student in the Media Studies Department at Concordia University in Montreal. Her SSHRC-funded research is on the candidate controversies that took place during the 2015 Canadian federal election. She is also a Teaching Assistant in Concordia’s Engineering Department. She tweets from @tlnewmanmtl

 

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200 Comments

  1. Koos Kleurvol says

    This is merely the revolution eating its own. You make explicit virtue statements about how you are of the left. Why is this relevant to your argument, surely the phenomena is independent of the observer?

    Also more important is you state the that you share ideology with with these people.

    Your situation is equivalent to a member of the Socialist Revolutionary party during the Russian Revolution . You share a similar outlook to the Bolsheviks. However Bolsheviks carried your shared ideology to its logical conclusion and you are surprised that the blowback affects you personally. Yet your experience is not enough to make you doubt the ideology, only the methods.

    The Gulags are making you doubt the Bolsheviks and not communism. Enjoy your equity and diversity, its a long time till Glasnost.

    Regards
    The great great grandson of Edmund Burke

    • 莫龍山 says

      I can’t tell if signing off as “The great great grandson of Edmund Burke” is ironical or just clueless.

      She mentions her political affiliation because it speaks to motive: She isn’t a conservative who is threatened by progressive ideals and afraid of black people; (sorry, Kurt) she appreciates the vision but not the path chosen to get there by some of the “new left”.

      • Mcgill students says

        I agree with “The great great grandson of Edmund Burke”. What the author experienced is exactly what those revolutionaries purged by Stalin and Mao experienced. It is bizarre but logical. The Marxism (progressivism) ideology divides the society into two groups, the haves and the have-nots . Have-nots are being told that they are the victims of exploitation and they are locked in a power struggle of good vs evil against the haves. While the definition of have-nots may change from the original industrial workers in Germany and England to peasants in China and Russia to today various “protected classes” in western societies, the structure of the ideology remains the same. And just like in its first incarnation, an ideology obsessed with power and exploitation is extraordinarily successful in gaining power and influence. But, success is not accepted, for this is an ideology for the victims. The revolution must continues; the struggle is permanent; new “haves” must be invented; old revolutionaries became the new obstacles to reach that utopia and must be treated as the old vanquished foes. Until it exhausts itself, of course.

        Judged by what I see, white woman and asians are now the new targets of identity politics, because the old “haves”, white man has been pretty much completely emasculated . The author probably wouldn’t hesitate a moment in her denunciation of the patriarchy, even though herself, like a lot of “cis-gender white women” in general, are starting to feel the heat of identity politics. Maybe she will eventually realize the folly of an ideology based on grievance and victimology and returns to real liberalism, the liberalism of Edmund Burke and other enlightenment thinkers of 19th centuries.

        • Frank says

          This is the bizarre world of identity politics that the progressive movement wanted. The demand from identity politics is that we should respect not just the person qua person but also his or her beliefs. It’s a demand that undermines individual autonomy, both by constraining the right of people to criticize others’ beliefs and by insisting that individuals who hold those beliefs are too weak or vulnerable to stand up to criticism, satire or abuse. Far from according them respect, the politics of identity treats people less as autonomous beings than as vulnerable victims needing special protection.

          The real value of free speech, in other words, is not to those who possess power, but to those who want to challenge them. And the real value of censorship is to those who do not wish their authority to be challenged. The right to subject each others fundamental beliefs to criticism’ is the bedrock of an open, intellectually diverse society. Once we give up such a right in the name of ‘tolerance’ or ‘respect’, we constrain our ability to challenge those in power, and therefore to challenge injustice.

      • Chris Geary says

        I’m with Burke on this one. You’re right that she mentioned her politics simply to show that her motive is pure, but that’s precisely the problem! “It’s okay to consider my opinions because I’m a good progressive” is just a different way of saying “It’s not okay to consider other’s opinions if they are not good progressives”. It’s supposed to be about the ideas, not the speaker.

        • Bill says

          So you mean she fell into the Kafka trap the Right experiences non-stop. You’re a racist! No, I have black friends/gay friends/jewish friends. Ah HA! That you had to say that PROVES you are a racist!

          • Christian says

            When you have an opinion/thought that does no follow suit, then you have to be labeled something. Bigot/racist/sexist. It makes it easier to not have to defend their own thoughts/opinions.

        • sue knight says

          Chris. Yes. That is precisely the problem. And given the horrors perpetrated by both Left and Right, where is the moral high ground anyway?

          Why is “progressive” seen as superior? Surely it would depend on where you are progressing to?

          Our Creator, Jehovah, the God of Abraham, teaches us to be “no part” of the world, to stay out of its divisive politics and its cruel wars, and to trust in Him with all our heart.

          Already the Kingdom of God, the heavenly government for whose coming Jesus taught us to pray, is teaching millions of us, from “every tribe and nation and tongue” to live in peace as the brothers and sisters we truly are.

          Have you ever talked to us – Jehovah’s Witnesses – as we call at your door? We have something so wonderful to tell you, if you will let us.

        • I disagree. Although I see your point, stating your starting assumptions makes it easier for people to understand the rest of the comment. I tend to lean right of center and many of my posts begin “I don’t like Trump, but…” (then I defend some conservative or classical liberal idea or policy). It’s just a way of avoiding undeserved criticism.

        • Ben says

          It didn’t seem like that at all to me. More like, “hey I’m a left wing progressive, and despite this, the actions of the director and fellow students are ridiculous, and I find myself alienated from them.” I don’t think the author is intending to peacock her virtues or anything of that ilk.

      • That you would you try to insult a conservative by saying we are afraid of black people shows you to not be a serious person to listen to at all. Its always the same things with you progs. I know plenty of conservatives and none of them are racist.

      • Nick Ender says

        Conservatives are afraid of black people?

        • John McCormick says

          That’s a core belief of the ideology and necessary to propound their noble lie. Please see Malcolm X on “white liberal deceit” or “white conservatives vs. white liberals”.

    • Kris Wallis says

      It’s a big leap to suggest that all left wingers share the same ideology, if I was to compare the business leaders that supported hitler were all dedicated fascists you’d be right to think it a poor comparison

      • Koos kleurvol says

        The point of my original post is about the fate of fellow travellers of revolutionaries. I compare the author’s fate with the SR, mensheviks, trade unionists fellow travellers of the Bolsheviks. They all shared BROADLY the same principles and objectives as the Bolsheviks , but not the same ideology . Ultimately they fell victim to the revolution, but they never saw it as the natural outcome of their principles.

        The purists carry the principles of the revolution to its logical extremity. The fellow travellers agree with principle and objectives , but they suddenly become repulsed at the outcomes as the revolution proceeds. They then only quarrel about methods. However the methods are merely the implementation of the principle. They don’t question whether the basic principle leads to the method.

        She doesn’t say a single word about the individual, merit or competition. No, the author wants diversity and equity but is shocked to discover the consequences of pursuing these things as the primary objective.

        Equity and diversity implemented thoroughly leads to “middle class white woman with a nuclear family keep quite”, “the lesbian black aborigines in wheelchairs have the floor”. It is no surprise !

        • @ Koos kleurvol

          You are being disingenuous.

          “The purists carry the principles of the revolution to its logical extremity.”

          Or that all ideologies can be distorted or taken to extremes. This is exactly the same with whatever your political beliefs are. I am supposing you are a conservative. So are the far right types who descend into white nationalism just purists taking your viewpoint to its logical conclusions?

          “She doesn’t say a single word about the individual, merit or competition. No, the author wants diversity and equity but is shocked to discover the consequences of pursuing these things as the primary objective.”

          There is nothing much wrong with either diversity and equity and yes it is the methods of how it is applied that matter.

          “Equity and diversity implemented thoroughly leads to “middle class white woman with a nuclear family keep quite”, “the lesbian black aborigines in wheelchairs have the floor”.”

          No it doesn’t. Poor logic Why should it? Because else you are saying the exact opposite. That people banging on about such issue are 100% right and without it:

          “middle class white woman with a nuclear family = ruler”

          “the lesbian black aborigines in wheelchairs = oppressed”

          Try thinking things through rather than going off on one.

          • Peter from Oz says

            ”ANd you would say that being a dickhead and and an arsehole of the first order” is what I would have shouted back at the loser who called you a CIS white women.
            You have to frame the argument and throw it back at these bastards and keep hitting them.
            You see they have worked out that if they are rude and nasty, they will get what they want, which is total ignrance of anything beautiful and interesting. So the only way to defeat them is to be a little nasty and ruder back to themk. Sudden;ly you will find that the powers that be will respect you a lot more, because the vacuous lefty is impressed more by violence of thopught than by reason. That’s why they love illegal immigrants and radical muslims. “He just killed 43 people, that must prove that he is really oppressed by America”

        • Domeone58 says

          I get what you are saying, but it’s not helpful to claim that the writer brought the shittiness unto herself by the mere fact of being a ‘progressive’, in the classical sense.

          We could say, as an example, that Bret Weinstein is decidedly progressive in his orientation, while also noting that his views do not prevent him from engaging with other members of the ‘Intellectual Dark Web’ who are certainly not ‘progressive’ in outlook – such as Ben Shapiro or Dave Rubin. It’s the way that you engage with the world that matters, not just the beliefs you have.

          We don’t want to go around barring people who hold leftist views (or profess to hold them) from entering the dialogue. That would make us weak, like the SJW’s are weak, in their hermetically sealed, unrealistic echo chambers. They’re pathetic, and anyone can see that now.

    • peanut gallery says

      The archipelago was full of “Party Members”

    • sceptical says

      I think this comment misconstrues both the writer’s intent in stating her left-wing credentials and the value of her doing so for any possible readers of her article. I don’t think that she was virtue-signalling (i.e. saying “Ha I am a good person! Unlike you!”) but saying that all her virtue-signalling had made no difference; there was always someone who could upend it. And the value of this for readers is that perhaps even some who share her left-wing views may begin to grasp that this form of moral posturing is not only frustrating and confusing, but is killing the possibility of thought.

      • Peter says

        Your sentence “I don’t think she was virtue-signalling, but that all her virtue-signalling made no difference.” Well then, she was virtue-signalling and, in fact, the whole piece is virtue-signalling.

    • One of the author’s points is that students actually refused to engage with the actual content of arguments or offer specific refutations. You seem to have done the same. Please respomd to specific points with a counterpoint, otherwise, you are simply proving the thesis of the article. Ideas deserve debate with specific disagreements not statements that are so so vague as to be incapable of arguing either for or against.

    • Correct! The student who denounced her was enforcing the Party Line, same Modus Operandi since Ayn Rand described it in “We The Living.” Would not work unless professor was afraid of being denounced himself…administration must contain fellow-travelers and/or cell members…Author might familiarize herself with basics of communist organization to understand inevitable result of Bolshevik principles applied to university environment…

    • Sevan Claig says

      My apologies for being so late to the party here. I sincerely wish I had read the last two paragraphs on the 4th, when they were written.

    • Chris Martin says

      I just finished reading Pipes’ “A Concise History of the Russian Revolution” a few days ago and this is actually a spot on analogy. The SRs wanted the same things as the Bolsheviks, they just didn’t like their methods.

  2. This behaviour will change when the basis of evaluation changes, at all levels of the university. Seminar participation marks, like those in moot court in law classes, need to be evaluated based on the quality of arguments and evidence—not on putative absolute truth criteria. Virtue signalling, extraneous ad hominems and other forms of intellectually lazy, time-wasting verbal diarrhea in class need to result in significant marks docked. A good chunk of profs’ comp needs to be tied to research quality as evaluated along the same general lines (i.e. rigorousness of empirical methods employed in their publications).

    University board members need to correct these festering problems now or resign. They have been allowing the grass to grow beneath their feet at many institutions for far too long.

    • Domeone58 says

      Yes, those that are ‘in charge’ need to act like they’re ‘in charge’ instead of letting the students set the agenda.

      But then, this is what you get if academic administrations adopt a ‘customer is always right’ approach. They know they are over charging the students to begin with, and this makes their pandering even more craven.

  3. martti_s says

    People become just as evil as you let them. The ideals of freedom and justice require a certain amount of adult authoritarians to function. If not, it is the Lord of the Flies over and over again.

  4. dirk says

    It reminds me of the great Cultural Revolution of Mao. It did a lot of harm, to millions of well meaning and innocent people, but it yielded some very good literature, afterwards. Good that there is Quillette, a good place to complain, and find comfort. But it would be nice to hear the other side of the story. Alas, idle hope of course, it will not happen.

    • Chester Draws says

      There are whole departments of the other side Dirk. Read any women’s studies journal, for example.

      Much of it is beyond satire, if you can make it past the jargon, and repulsed the majority of people. But to argue that the politically correct are silenced is bizarre.

      • dirk says

        But that’s exactly my point, the discussion points are never countered on one blog, even the links are just only those that agree with ones point. That’s a very very large difference with a past without internet, and real discussions. Nevertheless, I feel certainly compassion with Terry. But it would have been so much stronger with some countering.

        • derek says

          The counter would be why was this behaviour tolerated? Not by the institution, but personally? A personal insult meant to demean is a constant; the places have descended into feral patterns. Not nice, but wait till you are dealing with an obstreperous client that intends to rip you off.

          The witch hunt anecdote is instructive. There was a feral reaction to a word. The objector likely was profoundly ignorant of where the term came from. I suspect the author was as well. A deep understanding of the dynamics of the witch hunt and knowledge of instances where it happened would have turned that situation into something positive. Not necessarily for the objector, but for others.

          My experience with these institutions are that 95% of the people there shouldn’t be and are wasting their and other’s time. Be in the top 5% ignore the idiots, and don’t let them define your experience.

          • Bill says

            Derek, I think the answer to your opening question is simply conflict avoidance. The behavior of the students/Left and their name calling/shaming is allowed to fester because the alternative is conflict which brings about further issues and conflict. Consider Charlottesville. You had heinous members of both extremes present and inciting violence/encouraging violence. I’m sure the neo’s there were looking to scrap as they did in that parking deck. Likewise, the Antifas were looking to scrap as shown from the LEO intel (that we found out after the fact) where they discussed fentanyl laced projectiles to use against LEOs and neos along with their bricks, coke cans filled with concrete, and the usual urine/feces. But lawdy lawdy, if you point out that bad people on both sides were there and good people as well (both for and against the statues for various reasons) like Trump did…conflict escalation which rarely has a positive outcome. Principle of Least Effort/Lazy User Theory gives you that answer…”not worth the fight, just nod and walk away.”

    • TarsTarkas says

      The death of millions and the ruination of the lives of countless others is a poor trade-off for those stores that depict the terrible events of that time. ‘For the greater good’ has to be one of the most horrible rallying cries ever uttered, for it justifies any deed, no matter how terrible.

      • Shenme Shihou says

        @ TarsTarkas

        Hell, the stories were not even that good. Much of post-cultural revolution Scar literature is a bunch of party-line conforming propaganda that blaims the Cultural Revolution on everyone but the person who started it: Mao Zedong.

  5. Matt says

    Where are we headed?

    The current path means things will continue getting worse. More on the Left will get eaten. More on the Left will #WalkAway.

    (1) #WalkAway Campaign- WHY I LEFT LIBERALISM & THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY – YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Pjs7uoOkag

    Ideological Subversion in America
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bX3EZCVj2XA

    As the shock of what is happening sets in with Leftists, they will protest and suffer the wrath of their previous friends.

  6. Mike Walsh says

    My former academic colleagues in the PRC -even the Party members- might be astonished to see that such militantly ignorant, vicious, petty Red Guard behavior thrives on American university campuses. They had been inoculated against it, having experience the original first hand.

  7. Paul Scrivener says

    In the front of Czeslaw Milosz book ‘The Captive Mind’ there is a quote from ‘An old Jew of Galicia’

    ‘When someone is honestly 55% right, that’s very good and there’s no use wrangling. And if someone is 60% right it’s wonderful, it’s great luck, and let him thank God. But what’s to be said about 75% right? Wise people say this is suspicious. Well, and what about 100% right? Whoever says he’s 100% right is a fanatic, a thug, and the worst kind of rascal.

  8. Paul Ellis says

    “Terry Newman is currently an MA student in the Media Studies Department…”

    Well, what did you expect? Self-inflicted.

    “One problem I faced was that I was older than most of my classmates.”

    Yes. I have also noticed the vituperative, reflexive ageism of SJWs, which seems to correlate directly to their lack of life experience and your acquisition of it. It’s a dead giveaway of those who insist their world view is faultless and its triumph inevitable, and yet seem compelled aggressively to defend and promote it at every turn.

    Of course, SJWs are not the only offenders at this game.

    • @ Paul Ellis

      There are some silly people who needlessly and thoughtlessly attack such programs as “Media Studies”. It is actually – taught properly and all that – extremely useful subject, especially in this day and age. Having said that though, it is not necessarily an academic subject but more of a technical one.

      • Paul Ellis says

        On the principle of Yin and Yang (i.e. that there are no absolutes, only tendencies, no matter how extreme, and therefore there is no such thing as absolute good or bad) I agree that Media Studies have merit. My ‘self-inflicted’ comment was to point out that Media Studies departments seem to be known to attract people who behave in the way of which the author complains. They have certain preconceptions about society, power, race and the rest, and go looking for courses of study that are likely to reinforce and aggravate those preconceptions rather than challenge them. Of course, Media Studies departments are not alone in this.

        As I understand it, hard science departments are less known for attracting students who think and behave in this way. If the experience of my friend’s son who has just graduated in Chemistry from Pembroke College, Cambridge is anything to go by, they’re all too busy bursting their brains absorbing hard information to reject discussing a report because it contains the word ‘cleansing’.

        This reminds me of an incident in Portsmouth some years back, during a paedophilia scare, when a mob surrounded the house of a local… paediatrician. I’m also, of course, reminded of The People’s Front of Judea.

  9. KD says

    Lee Kuan Yew recounts that it was a Japanese soldier slapping him in the face which pushed him into Communist resistance–to take his homeland back from the foreign occupiers. But many people are happy to be colonized, slapped in the face by their “superiors” and then go like dogs seeking to lick the hand that slaps them. What is it in the hearts of men that drives the few to become leaders and permits the others to be content as thralls?

  10. Luke Hulm says

    You need to come further to the right. I was also uber progressive once.. until I took 4 years away from my high paying corporate life, travelled all over the world, finished my masters, meditated, read, listened and came to a startling conclusion. Nature does not make (lasting) mistakes, nature is evolution, the purpose of life is evolution and that will be satisfied. Now we can see that both progressives & conservatives exist. These are not related to ENDS as much as progressives think they are, they are orientations e.g. progressivism is not an orientation towards achieving set principles of justice but about change. If today’s leftists were granted endless power to build progressive utopia having built what they originally intended they would never stop.. new dissatisfactions would arise, never cared about before that they needed to change and fix URGENTLY. Back to nature.. this has purpose, conservatism without progressivism is stasis. Progressivism drives change. Excess progressivism however leads to (Systems Theory) tyranny, breakdown and collapse, as when ascendant change accelerates (less force present to put brakes on it), and in a complex system (human society/a nation) facing rapid and increasing change will ALWAYS tend to collapse. There is science regarding this. For nature it is okay, success or failure evolution ultimately advanced but pause to think of individual consequences during systemic collapses.. horrific! History does not throw up a SINGLE successful advanced or large progressive society that lasted even a century.. why? Progressives believe it is because their ideas are new, but as you have seen it is not about ideas but orientation.. and that orientation has always been there. No, progressive led societies have occurred many times (they follow a pattern beginning conservative of strive>success>progressive>die), and are always failures (back to Systems Theory – complexity). Reasons? One is not free to experiment or allow progressive dominance until conservative a conservative led people are wallowing in wealth, and so full of feeling that taking risks is not risky. (Eg introduce identity policitics what could go wrong right? – your great grandma feared what could go wrong!)

    Where does that take us? Slow gradual change is the most stable.. when does this occur? In conservative led societies with a fringe but vocal progressive voice leading society forward but having their ideas slowed down and vetted by more numerous & powerful conservative voices. This ying/yang relationship sustainably works. Norway not Venezuela.

    Now if you are progressive because you are caring and want genuine lasting progress, but that is best achieved with more weight behind conservatism than it currently has (we live in conservative economic, progressive social times) what are you to do?

    You walk the see-saw until the sides have their proper balance, which means some progressives have to come willingly or convert when the paradise they think they were creating falls on their heads. Better to head this off beforehand no? Better for humanity.. why this ex-liberal walked away to become conservative clothed about 6 years ago.

    Conservatives are not all “muh tradition, muh religion” but increasingly can mount sound & serious arguments to back their positions.. after all, the whole world of literature & science is there for us to put our arms around while modern progressives put their arms around a tiny subset.

    Science backs majority conservatism as does nature. It is in the science of sustainability, population, evolutionary psychology, systems theory and played out empirically today and throughout history.

    Join us because you are wise, not because you have abandoned your principles but because you want to SUsTAINABLY realise them, even if it takes centuries rather than years. Better that than going so far backwards the Taliban looks like good times right?

    • Paul Ellis says

      @Luke Hulm

      “Now if you are progressive because you are caring and want genuine lasting progress, but that is best achieved with more weight behind conservatism than it currently has (we live in conservative economic, progressive social times) what are you to do?”

      Grow older. Unless you have lived your entire life coddled by the welfare of academia, the public sector, or corporations, your accumulated life experience will do the job for you. If you’re one of the coddled you’ll have to put a bit of effort into acquiring alternative life experience, as you clearly did.

      Becoming a parent and having to navigate the maze of contemporary social services and state education also helps with this process, in that it pits the urge actually to do the best for your child (and preserve the integrity of your family) against your fondly-held bien pensant delusions. That’s what happened to me, and I wasn’t even in a corporate cocoon.

      I can cynically laugh, but actually I have a good deal of sympathy for Millennials. One day they’ll wake up to discover that they were the future once, just as we did, but their digital cocoons and extended adolescences will make them even less prepared to deal with the consequences than we were.

      If you’re looking for a sound career, I think the future looks bright for most forms of psychotherapy and counselling. I foresee booming demand. Sadly, an MA in Media Studies is not necessarily the best grounding for this, but at least being somewhat older than her fellow students, and also being a mother of two, has started Terry Newman along the path towards individuation. The scales can now start to drop from her eyes.

      • Luke Hulm says

        I agree with what you say.. adding to this progressive birthrates are well under 1.5 children per women (and that is just the hetero women not including trans/gay etc) while conservatives are at or above replacement.

        That is a lot of cranky crazy young people growing increasingly crazy and unhinged without any of the family support to help them as they age or any of the learning that comes from parenting.

        Leftism/progressivism is a self-defeating ideology. It delivers below replacement birth-rates and collapse and diverts its attention to fighting those that are sustainable & healthy. In the end, desperate to maintain its numeric base to project power it needs to steal the babies of the non-progressive either literally or via indoctrination (which of course we see in schooling & media today) or for a time replacing them from outside (until they find out these people are actually not as progressive as themselves but in it for the good life & “stuff”).

        In the end conservatives fight for freedom and they win it, either by taking control before collapse or after when people have no time for the luxuries of progressive ignorance of the importance of sustainability.

        All modern progressives build today is future harm, for the stronger they are now & the longer they put off the inevitable the harder the fall in the end.

        • Rick Bradford says

          The rise of “progressivism” is the triumph of the herbivores over the carnivores.

      • Just Me says

        “the future looks bright for most forms of psychotherapy and counselling.”

        I dunno, it’s actually probably a pretty dangerous field now, what with gender identity crises being on the rise, etc….

    • “Science backs majority conservatism as does nature.”

      This is just confirmation bias and nothing more. I doubt you have the knowledge or the skills or the brainpower to actually write a coherent argument for your position.

      “Norway not Venezuela.”

      Norway – home of progressiveness. Eh?

  11. Joe says

    There needs to be a strong and sustained pushback against political correctness. The lunacy must be rooted out.

    • Joe, I agree. It was a good article but the ending disappointed me; it was a call to thought instead of a call to action, or pushback.

      The examples that the author provided were missed opportunities to provide her perspective on the path that the left should take. The trajectory of any mass movement is the sum of all the influences, large and small, of its members. The student that snarled ““You just feel that way because you’re white, cisgendered, abled, and privileged” influenced the movement. She did not.

      Progressives are shooting themselves in the foot with those type of actions; his/her intolerant comment did the left more harm than good. Her silence did the left more harm than good.

  12. KDM says

    @Luke Hulm
    Re: Conservativism

    “A conservative is someone who stands athwart history, yelling Stop, at a time when no one is inclined to do so, or to have much patience with those who so urge it.”

    “The largest cultural menace in America is the conformity of the intellectual cliques which, in education as well as the arts, are out to impose upon the nation their modish fads and fallacies, and have nearly succeeded in doing so. ….We are, without reservations, on the side of excellence (rather than “newness”) and of honest intellectual combat (rather than conformity).
    “Our Mission Statement” in National Review (19 November 1955).

    -William F. Buckley

    “In the matter of reforming things, as distinct from deforming them, there is one plain and simple principle; a principle which will probably be called a paradox. There exists in such a case a certain institution or law; let us say, for the sake of simplicity, a fence or gate erected across a road. The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, “I don’t see the use of this; let us clear it away.” To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: “If you don’t see the use of it, I certainly won’t let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it.”

    -G.K. Chesterton

    You were wise to come around to what true conservatism is. Without the conservation of the ideas and institutions that has allowed society to evolve to where it is today then we are pretty much like a runaway train who will inevitably careen off the tracks in a fiery explosion. Boom! There goes another civilization down and darn it that one showed so much promise! Sigh, I guess we’ll have to start all over.

    • Chesterton quote – I love it!

      So much this – I honestly feel most conservatives could write a 15 page essay not missing or mistaking a single point of the progressive argument (we have heard it so often) on any issue, scored on accuracy an A+ and indistinguishable from a genuine progressive paper.

      Now in reverse if a progressive was tasked with writing out in full the arguments of conservatives I am without doubt that we would get less than a half page caricature of our arguments, but only as the media mis-represents them, that actually coincide almost zero with the genuine conservative philosophies and arguments that support conservative positions.

      “you ra’cis..”

      My feeling – if you can’t understand your enemies arguments or their reasons for having them (other than them being hateful & bigoted people so much lesser than you, or fearful, anxious, ignorant etc) you probably don’t have a good understanding of the issue at all.

  13. derek says

    This is a pretty classic dilemma; you invest time and money to get something, in this case a degree, an accreditation, and in return you have to bite your tongue, stay under the radar and ignore the ridiculous nonsense around you.

    Not uncommon, in fact in most situations it is part of the price.

    The problem comes when the piece of paper you get at the end isn’t worth anything because of the corruption to the core of the institution.

    All these stories are about a desperate and vicious desire to remain ignorant. The only appropriate response to the witch hunt objection is to ask whether the complainant knows about the historical events in Salem, and the equivalent characteristics of the Maoists? Do you know what happened there, what it looked like, and why ‘witch hunt’ is a shorthand to describe the process of condemnation that occurred?

    I doubt that they knew, and worse, they even care.

    These people should not be sucking up the time and resources of an institution of learning if they don’t intend to learn.

    I train people in a complex technical trade. The first thing they learn, are forced to learn, and i mean forced to learn is that they know nothing. If you make an error of equivalent magnitude as the white slur on what we do you may not survive the day. Literally. The only protection is being aware of your ignorance. Then you can first survive, and then figure it out.

    It seems that nothing matters either to the administration, the professors. The problem is that these ill educated fools will be running government departments.

  14. TimRules says

    Sadly, I suspect that this experience is common at deeply-radicalized institutions like Concordia (it has been going-on for a long time now).

    Robespierre, too, went to the guillotine: that the radical Left’s implosion is inevitable, so too is it certain that they will take many of us with them. And at the same time, the more moderate Left seems to be unable (or unwilling) to recognize that they are paving the way for the radicals.

    • Michel Hudon says

      Your comment that “the more moderate Left seems to be unable (or unwilling) to recognize that they are paving the way for the radical” could also apply to any moderate political trend or ideology.
      If it was true, it would mean that you cannot be a moderate in any area because you pave the way for the radicals in that area.
      I would except religion because religion is basically idiotic. Sam Harris is right in saying that moderate Muslims pave the way to islamic extremists. Indeed, if you abandon reason in favor of dogmatism, then you are part of the problem of extremism.

  15. Stuart Chambers says

    Quillette has become famous for taking one student’s personal experience and having the public think that this is a trend. As Terry Newman says, “The academy, it seems to me now, has reverted in some ways to its old role as a religious institute.” The words “it seems to me now” are not exactly scientific. An experience is not an argument.

        • TimRules says

          It’s about what is permitted on university campuses, not about causality suggested by limited, short-term studies in another country.

          The issue is that free speech, and by extension, freedom of thought, is not being protected or encouraged by administration/faculty, but rather thwarted by them.

          • Stuart Chambers says

            The point is, to what degree is free speech thwarted? In ten years, I have taught 42 university courses, and only in one course did I experience limitations on my speech, and that was by students–once only! The studies are clear: most students leave university and college more open-minded and less dogmatic. The author in question had a bad experience, but I would suggest that it is a minority view. Most faculty/students are too busy working to come up with devious plans to thwart free speech. Of the thousands of students I have taught, almost all stay on topic, use critical thinking when observing phemomena, and act maturely toward faculty and their fellow students. The author is question overstates her case because she is relying on her own anecdotal experience.

    • dirk says

      But it’s a start, and a personal one I always appreciate. I said something similar earlier on, but would like to know, is this really a trend on universities in the US and Canada? If I may believe Peterson, it is. But what the hell has happened then since I was on university? I don’t recognize anything of the sort! We just listened to the professors, noted everything down what they said (they could know best, because were elected for being the best in their field) and on exams you repeated it as well as possible (the professor examined himself, so you were always nervous), hoping to pass it with good notes. If you had passed all, you were free to go your own way. It was as simple as that!

      • Paul Ellis says

        @Stuart Chambers

        We’re seeing Pareto in action. The ‘activists’ might be few in number but they have a disproportionate effect, and end up dictating policy. This process has been described somewhat leadenly in a Quillette article, and rather more concisely and entertainingly in the Spectator:

        https://quillette.com/2018/07/02/political-moderates-are-lying/

        https://www.spectator.co.uk/2016/02/the-5-per-cent-of-people-who-decide-everything-and-how-to-be-one-of-them/

        You say: “The author is question overstates her case because she is relying on her own anecdotal experience.” Actually, so do you, and to the same extent.

        • Stuart Chambers says

          Well Paul, I cannot speak for all universities, but at the University of Ottawa, activists dictate nothing–not syllabi, not class debates, not professor-student discussions, and not student outcomes. These are the biggest influences on a student’s mindset, and it goes unnoticed because it is not controversial. It’s called hard work and dedication to studies. Rarely would a speaker ever get barred from campus. I have never had one barred in a decade nor have my colleagues. That’s because we would never invite the likes of Ann Coulter. Those who speak are invited based on merit, not whether they can turn hate speech into performance art (sorry Milo). 🙂

          • Paul Ellis says

            @Stuart Chambers

            “Well Paul, I cannot speak for all universities, but at the University of Ottawa, activists dictate nothing–not syllabi, not class debates, not professor-student discussions, and not student outcomes.”

            I am very glad to hear this, and long may it continue. Which subject do you teach?

          • Susan says

            Please define “hate” speech for me so I will be able to recognize it.

          • LAW says

            @Stuart Chambers – you seem to be missing the point of all this – almost *everyone* thinks they’re tolerant except for “hate speech”. The problem being the ever-expanding definition of “hate speech”.

            In general, the vast majority of invocations of “hate speech” come because someone has chosen to shut down speech he or she simply doesn’t like.

          • Stuart, I disagree with your approach. I don’t think the answer is to not invite anyone controversial. In a negotiation that’s called pre-caving and usually has bad outcomes.

          • Stuart Chambers says

            LAW, Ann Coulter is not qualified ot speak on Islam. Merit is decided on qualifications. She has none on religion or Islam and, therefore, is not qualified. Her track record paints her as a dishonest deliberator and a serial liar. That’s why she belongs on Fox News, not on a campus. Same with Milo and his ilk.

          • Susan says

            How about Ann Coulter or Milo on Free Speech and the blasphemy laws that permeate European and Canadian law and are soon coming to a USA near you if The New York Times is correct? The UK is about to up the penalty for a mean post about Islam to six years in jail and there are now at least 85 Sharia courts in the UK. If you get some edgy humor with those presentations, then lucky you. Or you could just not go to the speech. But no, you want to prevent everyone from going.
            Speaking of Islam, how about inviting Armin Navabi, Ali Rizvi or any of the other dozens of ex-Muslims who alert the citizenry to the misogyny and human rights abuses in the ideology (e.g. child marriage, forced marriage, death penalties for homosexuality and apostasy)? And yes, I have read the Koran.

          • Stuart Chambers says

            Shenme, Milo and Coulter are evil people who have nothing to say except that they want to get paid to spread hate. If that is your thing, good luck with life.

          • Stuart Chambers says

            Susan, for some reason, you think “less is more.” On average, people with only a high school degree (dropouts from postsecondary) are not capable of discussing intellectually complex issues. That is because they did not finish that process, which takes hard work. I would not invite Milo or his ilk to discuss any issue because he is a fraud to the core. He turns hate speech into performance art and thinks that’s cool. I see him as a permanent adolescent. So yes, I am a gatekeeper for my class, meaning only the most qualified guests–those with a reputation of being honest deliberators over a long period of time and with the relevant credentials–can be invited to speak. I base my choices on merit, not popularity. As for George W. Bush, his decisions, as well and Cheney and the neocons, led to an illegal war that killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, so Bush only qualifies for prison.

        • Stuart Chambers says

          I teach Social Sciences, and students are, by and large, a fairly conservative lot, meaning they are too busy studying, travelling and working to rock the boat. Activism is a luxury.

          • Paul Ellis says

            Thank you. We’ll bear this in mind when choosing universities.

          • Stuart Chambers says

            Susan, LAW, KenFrom Ottawa, if the subject matter concerns Islam, would the students learn more from an Islamic scholar or Ann Coulter? If you cannot speak Arabic, have not travelled throughout the Middle East, and know nothing about Islamic teachings, why would you be invited to speak on the subject matter? I suppose you could invite Ann Coulter to be “controversial,” but merit is the key ingredient to any invited speaker. Otherwise, why not invite a Holocaust denier just for fun? It’s a waste of time to invite those who never earned that invitation based on merit. See below for a good read on the subject from a respected scholar: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/25/opinion/free-speech-just-access.html [The Ignorant Do Not Have a Right to an Audience; Bryan W. Van Norden]

          • LAW says

            @Stuart Chambers But who decides merit? Ann Coulter, like her or not, is a very successful political author. Do the people who bought these books (not me, FWIW) not get a vote on her “merit”? How did a committee of academics get on some committee that vets which voices get to be heard? And more importantly, are you prepared for people you disagree with to eventually run that committee for some period of time?

          • Just Me says

            Stuart,

            If Coulter had been invited to tach a course on Islam, you would have a point. But she is invited as an outside speaker.
            Are only academics which are experts on a particular topic to be invited to speak at universities? No laypeople of any kind, no politicians, no activists, etc.?

            And that NYT article got demolished, rightly, in the comments. It was a ridiculous argument.

          • Stuart Chambers says

            JustMe, the NYT’s article was quite persuasive, and the professor’s resume is incredible (i.e, he is qualified to speak). Merit is the key for any speaker–even an outside speaker. Ironically, conservatives are the biggest advocates of the merit principle when it comes to hiring, but when discussing issues on campus, merit is somehow not as important. They key is to have speakers discuss what they know and have expertise in. Ann Coulter and Jordan Peterson know as much about Islam as you or I know about astrophysics–in other words, not much. Why would anyone want to profess about subject matter they have never studied or published in? If they do, it’s just an uninformed opinion. You may as well pull someone off the street randomly and tell them to make it up as they go along.

      • cacambo says

        “Exactly” meaning I agree with Stuart Chambers.

      • Stuart, I certainly agree that speakers should have expertise in the topic they are presenting, but that does not address the scenario of a respected speaker on a controversial topic. In your environment, would you invite Jordan Peterson to speak on his view of the world? Would you invite a respected Islamic scholar to speak on why Islam is not a religion of peace? Would you invite a legal scholar to speak on why removing the second amendment would do more harm than good?

        Those are the types of talks that seem to me to cause conflicts on campus. It is the subject, not the speaker.

        • Stuart Chambers says

          KenFrom Ottawa, if the speaker is controversial, s/he still needs to be qualified in the area under discussion. They cannot be invited because they rant well or thought of saying some random nonsense out of anger or frustration. Ranters are now making a living on doing just that–ranting about life. Jordan Peterson would only be invited to speak on psychology, which is all he is qualified to do. He has no background in the legal history fo free speech, Islam, or philosophy, so he tends to dance around issues he is not well versed in. For instance, he called Islamophobia a “corrupt term.” Why? He has no background in religious studies or Islam, so how would he know? Learning on the fly does not count. As to your second point, Islam is a religion of peace, as are all the major religions when understood in a nuanced way. I did invite an Islamic scholar to speak on what Islam means at its root and how it has been corrupted by the likes of ISIS, but no scholar worth his or her salt would make a blanket statement like “Islam is not a religion of peace.” Imagine saying this about Christianity or Buddhism. As for the second amendment, bring in a legal expert to describe the second amendment’s history. Has it ever been distorted from its original meaning? If so, how? Subject and speaker go hand in hand. One must be qualified (i.e., have the credentials) to speak on an area of expertise. Why invite Milo to a campus, a guy who is a college/university dropout? He is only qualified to discuss dropping out (i.e., failing at school). The group inviting Milo is the real fraud. They paid money to listen to a guy who belongs on Jerry Springer. Do you think Peterson would ever be honest with his class about what I wrote below? http://princearthurherald.com/en/culture-2/misconceptions-anti-postmodernists

          • Shenme Shihou says

            I went to a Liberal Arts University with a Humanities program specifically designed to bring in outside, non-“expert”, opinions on various topics. We had Drama teachers who taught classes on the Cold War. We had Business Management professors teach us about Vladmir Lenin. And yes, we had professors with no professional work on Islam teach about Islam. (Of course, he was pretty pro-Islam). We had several non-math professors teach on New Math (with sweat upon their brows).

            My History of Religious Texts class regularly featured not religious scholars, but regular people who belonged to the particular religions.

            Outside speakers are typically invited by student organization to provide a different take and open a dialogue. Or simply to talk about personal stories.

            This is why Milo and Coulter are invited. What you think of their merit is irrelevant (although they both have plenty of merit to talk about news topics and speech censorship, since they have personally been involved in both). Not that you actually care about that. You just don’t like what they have to say, if you have even listened. Which is doubtful, since it is quite ridiculous to call bragging about interracial gay sex “hate speech.”

          • Susan says

            @Stuart Chambers
            So glad that there are gatekeepers like you around to decide who the public should pay money to hear, to decide who is qualified and to decide “who is worth his salt.” If not, I might have to laugh at a joke from a fraud.
            Milo “is only qualified to discuss dropping out” says the dude using technology largely developed by college dropouts. We all know how valuable a college degree is in determining the quality of a person’s mind.
            You do know that the first person to state that “Islam is a religion of peace” was George Bush six days after 9-11.
            You have a high opinion of religions in general. I, for one, will gladly say that Christianity and Buddhism have not consistently been religions of peace – uh, the Spanish inquisition. Since an Islamic scholar is your go-to guy on Islam, I will gladly refer the Mormon missionaries to you for nuanced discussions of this theology. You will probably hear as much about the “p” word (polygamy) and gay rights as your class did from the Islamic scholar.
            Not to rant or anything.

          • Stuart. I appreciate the additional context that you have provided, but it reconfirms my initial concern, that you are pre-censoring your discussion topics. I provided three examples of respected speaker/controversial subject. In each case you countered with a proposal in the same area but that was less controversial, implying that my proposals were unacceptable.

            I think that my three proposals (and indeed your counter-proposals) are worthy topics to present at a University. The fact that you don’t is discouraging, made more so by the fact that my proposals weren’t even particularly controversial. You are acting like a gatekeeper, not a role that I associate with universities. If a university won’t present controversial topics, who will?

        • Stuart Chambers says

          KenFrom Ottawa, of course I am pre-censoring my speakers. If I have only two speakers per course to invite, I am going to invite those most qualified and who are honest deliberators over time. I want them to make my class think critically, not just be “controversial” or flashy. That is why pop stars are never invited (i.e., Coulter, Milo, etc.). I do not consider them to be critical thinkers. They are just mean-spirited and not worth anyone’s time. There are too many talented people out there to choose, so I cannot waste time with known frauds or dishonest deliberators. The decision is like an art. It takes time, patience, and nuance. Some speakers are average, some good, and some are special. I choose the last kind.

    • Andrew Roddy says

      ‘An experience is not an argument’.
      “As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.” Nelson Mandela

    • Centrist Gal says

      @ Stuart Chamber

      You’re wrong. It’s not ‘one person’s experience’. It’s many. I’ve been following this closely for two years after encountering similar issues. Her experience is common. Have you not seen any of the footage from Middlebury, Evergreen, Wilfred Laurier etc? Have you not heard of the student at Bristol University (I think) who was ejected from his social work course because, as a Christian, he didn’t support gay marriage (ascertained via his Facebook)? Have you seen FIRE’s data on no-platforming requests, and where they’re coming from? There were a couple of conservative students on TV here who told of the bullying they had encountered from students AND teachers. They said they learned to ‘fly under the radar’. Works were marked down or proposals rejected if they were not politically ‘correct’. One told of a tutor telling her that her work was ‘worrying’ (incorrect viewpoint) and failed it. It had to be reviewed by somebody else, and then passed. Another recounted a lecturer informing the class that if he did his job correctly, 90% of them would be Marxists by the end of the course. My nephew (in the UK) had the same story; keep quiet and keep your head down, don’t contradict the tutor or other students during lectures and tutorials. An art student was called a ‘fascist’ for suggesting that there should be some standards in art. Look at the website “Film Your Marxist Professors” to see a female lecturer humiliating a male student who asks a question, as well as another inciting violence and spouting anti-American sentiment. He actually instructs the students to break the law. An Australian university recently published in the student magazine (funded by ALL students) a list of who will be killed first, during the revolution (conservatives or any Labor traitors to the cause). The Vice Chancellor said it was a ‘satire’. Yet at a Queensland university, when a student merely asked the question “fighting segregation with segregation?” in a private Facebook post, regarding an Indigenous-only computer lab, he was hauled up before the Human Rights Commission and spent years fighting the case at great financial and legal cost. This is serious stuff. People need to WAKE UP!!!!

        • Centrist Gal says

          @ Stuart Chambers

          It’s amazing that you can’t see the irony of your initial complaint about relying on one person’s anecdote, yet we are asked to believe yours! I have been following this for two years, reading extensively, including the many, many anecdotes online, reading newspapers and magazine articles, reading the published literature etc. The main point is probably this: Why should there be, in the universities of Western liberal democracies, ANY incidents where students or teachers feel too intimidated to express opinions and ask questions or challenge texts in tutorials and lecture theatres? Should there be ANY instances where students feel pressured to modify their work for political/ideological reasons to avoid being marked down? (BTW Queensland University has just informed students that their work will be marked down if they used ‘gendered’ language such as ‘mankind’. Last time I looked, ‘mankind’ was still in the Oxford dictionary, and a perfectly correct and valid use of English that encompasses all humanity. Oooops, I mean all ‘hupersonity’). Should ANY academics be scared to publish works or risk having their work rejected because it doesn’t fit with a certain world view, not because of quality issues? Is there be ANY justification for student magazines talking about killing people? Any justification for any physically threatening behaviour towards teachers and other students? Even one incidence would be cause for concern, let alone numerous incidences. The fact that you brush this of indicates to me that you are part of the problem. Just another apologist. If you don’t see it, or it doesn’t affect you personally, it’s not a problem???

          • Stuart Chambers says

            Centrist Gal, welcome to life! It’s messy, and it needs to get worked out. Different people compete fro different agendas, but for the most part, it works. My university has 40,000 students, and incidents of the kind you list are rare. On my campus, professors have total freedom to design their own syllabi and say what they want. Activists do not tell them what to do or how to think. What you are reading are anecdotes. These instances make the papers, but over a period of a year, universities run pretty smoothly and predictably. In a university with 40,000 students, how often do extreme incidents occur? Rarely. Criminal threats are a different matter. There would be charges laid immediately at my university. Hate to break it to you, but “one instance” is not cause for concern.

          • Centrist Gal says

            @ Stuart Chambers

            ‘Rational thought trumps lies’ in theory, but not in practice, as the 20th Century showed us. That really is the whole point of people’s concern. The left are pointing to Trump as epitomizing lies and irrationality, but as I said earlier, it seems a far greater number of people are starting to look at the left and seeing the lies and irrationality and divisiveness there. (Which, as I said previously, is not to say it doesn’t also exist on the right). And when postmodernists themselves undermine concepts of objective facts and realities, how can they then be sensitive to accusations directed at them for irrationality and lying (for what is a lie in the postmodern/critical theorist’s mind, if there are no ‘truths’)?

            This video provides a good indication of irrational thought and academic theorizing escaping into the real world and affecting real people’s lives. The doctor involved was dismissed, the video was banned in Canada, but if you care to listen to him, he is circumspect, rational and calls for a cautionary approach (the precautionary principle so beloved of the left re climate change seems to fly out the window with regard to this sensitive and personal issue). They on the other hand, in true police state fashion, want to take children away from their parents.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xmbk33TM-kc

          • Stuart Chambers says

            The “world” is a big place. There are thousands of universities with tens of thousands of students in each one. In some cases, universities are the size of small cities. You cannot police every instance. That said, studies show that students on average are more tolerant, not less. I am not too worried about radicals invading my campus and telling professors (or other students) what to think or what to say. Most just do not have the time because they are too busy working.

            As the author of the Areo article says, “Reasonable people everywhere, in the academy and out, need to stand up and support the slow rousting of the defenders of reason, evidence, and the existence of truths in the hope that this will be sufficient to stem the rising tide of unreason and intolerance.”

            I agree. Let’s start by exposing the fraudulent claims of Jordan Peterson.

            https://www.universityaffairs.ca/opinion/in-my-opinion/jordan-petersons-personal-crusade-postmodern-left/

        • CentristGal says

          There are multiple interpretations of postmodernism; the ambiguity is built into the philosophy. I’ve read that article before. Academic defences of ‘what postmodernism is’ and how JP gets it wrong, simply don’t stack up. Postmodernism is far more than the article makes it out to be; as it’s described there, the concept is essentially digestible in about five seconds, and is really no different to the fundamentals of Kuhn’s philosophy of science. It is far more complicated than that, it does posit victim/oppressor categories and there are definitely links through critical theory to Marxism (although Marxists denounce PM). Regardless, however one might construe the original intention of the various postmodernists, the way that it has developed and mutated is very much as JP describes. It HAS ended in some ludicrous claims that DO negate objective realities and which do invert or negate hierarchies of knowledge. (I read a ‘peer reviewed’ paper by an academic who identifies as a hippopotamus). Postmodernism DOES say that there is no objective reality, and it DOES translate into legislation and policies. .

          https://twitter.com/FeministRoar/status/1015355403713089536

        • Centrist Gal says

          @ Stuart Chambers

          “science’s authority derives from an even higher source: the power of discourse to make sense of the world and get things done. It’s never final, and never immune from challenge.”

          I do feel I am talking to a wall. That was simply a political diatribe. It highlights the very issue that Peterson is trying to address, but assumes that the problem lies on the right! Yet is is largely the left who is shutting down debate, as the original article correctly stated. You need to familiarize yourself with the #Walk Away campaign. Many people have been subjected to the sort of treatment she describes, whether on campus on online. Debate is often shut down with irrational and vitriolic personal slurs (fascist, bigot, homophobe, etc). There has been a break down of civility and diversity of thought, largely due to the undermining of a belief in objectivity, which is a key tenet of social studies such as gender theory, race and class theory; the idea being that ‘rational thought’ is “Western male concept”. Of course both the left and the right play with the ‘truth’ for political ends. Of course there are vile people on the far right. The difference is that most ‘normal’ moderate people, who identified with the left, and who would denounce the far right, have discovered that ‘the left’ is not what they thought it was. The ‘social justice’ PC warriors are neither compassionate nor rational people. Of course getting to the ‘truth’ has subjective, cultural and political impediments. This is why Jonathan Haidt established the Heterodox Academy, recognising the need for intellectual diversity and challenge to get as close as we can to the ‘truth’.

          The article mentions ‘climate deniers’. It’s funny in an article calling for rational scientific discourse to even use that heavily loaded, religious-like term! Climate deniers, many of whom are eminent scientists (bet you don’t know that) have been vilified for challenging the science of AGW. Yet the fundamental principle of scientific enquiry IS challenge and falsification. The idea that ‘the science is settled’ is a dangerous one. I guess I fall into the ‘denier’ category. I used to be a ‘believer’. I have some scientific training and I have really gone very deep into the epistemology of the theory (it doesn’t stack up), as well as reviewed the actual data (falsifies the theory) and been shocked to see the irrefutablee evidence of political corruption and ideological motives behind it all. The strategy of making ‘deniers’ personae non gratae has worked well’; it prevents people from even challenging the dogma, yet with not too much research and a bit of plain old reason and logic, even lay people can discover that the AGW is a theory, that’s all, and one in which all predictions have so far failed. There is NO empirical evidence for it.

          • Stuart Chambers says

            With all this healthy skepticism, you are sounding like a postmodernist by the minute! The entire history of any discipline demands that truth is never finalized. It needs to be constantly challenged in order for truth to gain credibility. In terms of free speech, Jordan Peterson does not always practise what he preaches. Notice the long list of departments he wants to shut down because of their so-called dangerous messages. For instance, he wanted a website built that would reduce enrolment in university classes he calls “indoctrination cults.” Basically, that means eliminating every department except his own. Notice the blanket statements offered with no studies to back them up, or as you say, NO empirical evidence offered for his assertations. In his words: “Women’s studies, and all the ethnic studies and racial studies groups . . . have to go and the faster they go the better. It would have been better if they had never been part of the university to begin with . . . Sociology, that’s corrupt. Anthropology, that’s corrupt. English literature, that’s corrupt. Maybe the worst offenders are the faculties of education.”

            Some free speech advocate, eh? For good old JP, speech is fine as long as it does not upset him too much. Then he starts to sound like a petulent child.

            http://www.cbc.ca/radio/asithappens/as-it-happens-friday-edition-1.4396970/u-of-t-profs-alarmed-by-jordan-peterson-s-plan-to-target-classes-he-calls-indoctrination-cults-1.4396974

          • Centrist Gal says

            Healthy skepticism a la Kuhn and Popper is not postmodernism as it plays out today, so you’re being a bit cheeky there. It’s really a matter of degrees. As I said previously, the central idea that absolute truth is not discernible, but we can certainly try to get as close to it as possible, is different to the proposition that there IS no truth, and that individual versions of truth may all be equally valid. I am not a non-critical fan of JP, but I do think he is an important voice, and has identified a real and important problem. He did back away from the proposal to create the list you mentioned, for the very reasons that you stated. In some ways JP’s insistence on the individual as the bedrock of society, the ultimate unit of rights and responsibilities, creates the same sort of problem of hyper-individualism that postmodernism and capitalism does. The idea of creating your own identity, your own ‘truth’; the idea that you can identify as a hippopotamus or invent your own gender, is very similar to advertising and branding. People should be able to identify as whatever they wish; the caveat is that you mustn’t expect society to recognise that choice, or modify social norms. That’s why I think the transgender issue is a central one, because it affects everyone. The argument is not over whether someone should or shouldn’t be allowed to live their life in peace as the opposite gender; the battleground is over the statement that a transwoman IS a woman, and the degree to which everybody else must accommodate that belief. And as shown in the video, the issues regarding children’s choices. What’s happening in sport is interesting and illustrates well why some feminists are not happy (now branded as TERFS). Fundamentally, it seems the conversation is about the balance between individual/collective identity and rights/responsibilities and trying to regain that centre ground of compromise and rational, civil discussion.

          • Stuart Chambers says

            You keep repeating JP’s main message in a paranoid fashion: “the proposition that there IS no truth (moral nihilism), and that individual versions of truth may all be equally valid (strong relativism). But no postmodern philosopher promotes this, certainly not Gianni Vattimo, Richard Rorty, or Stanley Fish, three of the most influential speakers on the topic in the late 20th-21st century. And it’s not taught that way in philosophy classes, religious studies classes, history classes, or sociology classes, so I do not understand why you think this is a reality. Radical views can be picked up in numerous ways. Some of it comes from blind activism on the left, and some from nationalism, patriotism or religious fervency on the right. But most of these people have never read a book on postmodernism, which is more likely taught in graduate school. Some of the readings are so difficult to understand that undergrads cannot get past the diction.

            It is also odd that you put so much emphasis on the “danger” of trangender identity, but you talk so little about far more important issues, like how truth was made into a pretzel during the illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003, which resulted in half a million dead Iraqis or that fact that Fox News lies for a living and influences the minds of millions of Americans. On a scale, which do you think is more importnat in terms of truth telling and its impact on the world, transgender identity or illegal invasions? And you cannot tell me that charlatans like Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld read Rorty or Vattimo and then made up truth as they went along. Neoliberalism (unfettered capitalism) and neoconservatism (moral certitude) created an American nightmare that allow followers to bend truth anyway they feel. The fraction of a percent of transgender individuals out there are the least of your worries.

          • CentristGal says

            @ Stuart Chambers

            You cannot see the difference between lying and moral relativism for political or financial gain, and the issues surrounding transgenderism? People have always lied, they have always bent the truth, and they always will. But we still maintain concepts of ‘truth’ and ‘lies’. Transgenderism goes to the fundamental question of what it is to be human; what defines us. It challenges all our social norms, our history, (and all our past literature, if they start to retrospectively neutrally gender everything). It posits a separation between mind and body; where identity is something separate from a physical body. (You should read the article on transhumanism in this publication). Positing a difference between biological sex and the social construction of gender leads potentially down the rabbit hole. If we can separate out our biology from who we identify as, who we are, then why stop at sex? If our DNA need not limit who or what we define as, and who or what we expect others to recognise us as, why not self-define as different species? How would affirmative action programs work for diversity? Why couldn’t a white man identify as a black woman, and then claim discrimination if this was not duly recognised by others? The transgenderism concept is fatally flawed from the outset. It relies on the stability of the gender stereotypes it challenges. It requires an ‘ideal’, a conception of an innate femininity or masculinity. If there are no social norms of dress or innate behaviours pertaining to each sex, what is the point of transgenderism? In order to transition from one thing to another, those two things need to be fundamentally different. Again, you presume that your understanding of postmodern theory is what is being taught and what is being practised. You must have heard of the famous Ingaray paper where she argued that E=MC2 is a sexed equation? and that Newton’s Principia is a ‘rape manual’? Or the Alan Sokal hoax? I showed you a leaflet that states that there is no such thing as male and female anatomy, something they are teaching to children. And you don’t think there is cause for concern, at least in terms of the attack that constitutes on science and rationality? In the UK for Pap smear tests they can’t say ‘women’ they must say “people who have a cervix” and midwives must refer to “pregnant people”. No problem?

          • Stuart Chambers says

            Centrist Gal, your fatal flaw is that you overstate your concerns. Since I teach in a university setting and talk to dozens of professors from different departments worldwide, I get an in-depth understanding not only how postmodernism is generally taught, but also how other subject matter is generally taught. Not a professor I talk to shares your concerns. It’s not even on the radar of a university. When students take an undergraduate degree and finish after four years, they do not come out as paranoid as you are. They come out more tolerant and better at critical thinking. You identify the most extreme examples of minor policy changes by know-nothings, but the practical reality is, few really care about these crazy statements because it’s all small potatoes compared to the bigger issues. For example, statements like “E=MC2 is a sexist equation” or “Newton’s Principia is ‘rape manual'” are not taken seriously by anyone except a raving ideologue and a gossip. That someone believes this does not mean it will have any lasting effect or carry any weight. The reason: people are, by and large, practical, and do not have time for such nonsense. They are too busy working on more important matters. This so-called “attack” on science and rationality is, as I have noted before, overblown. Most students I teach (and I teach in Health Sciences also) would laugh this off as amateur hour. They are too busy trying to become medical doctors, and they cannot be bothered to become sidetracked by faddish statements. Sound advice for you, perhaps?

  16. dangainor says

    So why not switch schools? Because there are still good colleges. Just not this one.

  17. Miss Newman is still living in Wonderland. Has she not considered the possibility that the ends she praises, while reviling the means, are themselves means? But the “inclusion of new voices” does sound so, so nice to a sweet little Alice, in whose mouth butter would not melt.

    In any case, we should not let this little pink Alice get away with acting so surprised when the red queen orders her beheaded. Cutesy consternation at the totalitarian methods of the left is a tired old shtick. If Miss Newman wants cake, she should know the consequences of eating it, and I trust other sensible Quillette commenters (like the one above) will agree with me that Miss Newman appears in this piece a towering child.

    Let us hope, one day, that she wakes up from her dream.

  18. DB says

    I sympathize with much of the experience, but I do agree that determining whether that event was a “witchhunt” is a poor academic question.

    I could see that being with scope for a student of journalism, but such charged terminology hinders objective study. You seem predetermined to find in the affirmative even before studying the topic in depth. And a negative finding would be unremarkable and uninteresting.

    Charitably, I have to give your advisors the benefit of the doubt that they were trying to steer you to more relevant academic study: perhaps investigating how such tactics emerged or have shaped trends in modern politics.

  19. Progressives eating there own is not a new phenomenon at all. Its the ideology that makes them this way its just not a case of bad behavior by a few people here. Progressives think they are on the side of the angels, not that many of them believe in God, and if you stray from any progressive orthodoxy they will bring the hammer down on you. If your right on everything and everyone is maliciously wrong in your opinion why wouldnt you lash out at them in righteous fury? Progressive the intolerant “tolerant” people.

    • To be fair, this isn’t unique to progressivism, it’s a characteristic of all extremist movements. For example, the Night of the Long Knives. The left’s implosion is just the prominent instance at this point in time.

      • TarsTarkas says

        A bad example IMO as the Nazis were only rightist compared to the Communists. Better examples would be the Zealots during the Siege of Jerusalem, the pogroms, both theologic and actual, conducted by the ‘Catholic’ Christians of the Late Roman Empire against their less established rivals such as the Arians and Monophysites, Savonarola’s reign in Renaissance Florence, and the vicious infighting between Hussite factions in Bohemia. Come to think of it, I can’t really think of any ‘rightist’ extremist movement eating their own,. Usually it seems they direct their purifying wrath against outsiders (mainly foreigners, leftists, and their perennial favorite, Jews).

  20. Kessler says

    I hope writing this article wouldn’t adversely impact author’s life.

  21. Greatest Band Name says

    Thank you for the excellent essay. I did undergraduate work in a Science department about ten years ago at Concordia University. Most of the students there were intelligent and hard-working, as were the professors. I got some exposure to what was going on in the Arts departments by reading campus newspapers, however, and it was pretty disturbing. It sounds like the situation has deteriorated since then.

  22. c young says

    Can we stop calling ideas ‘problematic’?

    ‘Problematic’ is a euphemism used by relativists when they want to say ‘false’, ‘wrong’ or ‘immoral’.

    Using it is a symptom of the disease deplored by the author.

    • NomNom says

      I agree that the word ‘problematic’ is intellectually lazy. We ought to be precise with our language. ‘Problematic’ is imprecise and begs the question – what does the person mean by ‘problematic’? Do they mean ‘false’, ‘wrong’ or ‘immoral’? All ‘problematic’ means is that “I have a problem with what you said.” But it never seems be elaborated on. It seems that declaring something ‘problematic’ is evidence itself that what was said shouldn’t have been said.

  23. AC Harper says

    Perhaps we could deploy the Jordan Peterson ju-jitsu debate move when accused of privilege (or racism, or sexism or any combination of -isms). Immediately say “Can you quantify that?”.

    Because if the accuser cannot say how much privilege the individual has, and justify it, then they are basing their accusation on a category stereotype. They have nothing but arm waving.

    • AA says

      Ah, but the fact that you would ask others to support their arguments with reasons and logical justification just proves you are a western patriarchal oppressor.

      On a less sarcastic note: JP made a great point in the debate.

      Assuming white privilege exists and assuming it is an inherently bad thing, that would make it an injustice. Having succeeded in identifying an injustice, the next step is to rectify it. However, in order to do this one must first determine how they are going to measure or quantify the injustice. If the injustice cannot be quantified, then there is no way to determine whether or when justice has been served. By this logic, all white people could be reduced to chattel slavery or entirely exterminated, and there still would be no way of determining if the injustice of white privilege had been rectified.

      This is why movements based on group resentment are so dangerous. They identify historical grievances and injustices, the rectification of which has no logical or rational standard by which to judge whether or not justice has been achieved. if SJWs were being honest with themselves, they would admit that these forms of ‘injustice’ are really rooted in the desire for revenge, not a desire for justice.

      • AC Harper says

        You make a good point – I’d use the word ‘vendetta’ instead of ‘revenge’ though as it carries more of a carelessly targetted meaning.

  24. Sylv says

    “It didn’t even matter if the students making the complaints were in the minority—all it took was one. ”

    This is the problem that desperately wants a solution. This same dynamic is in play in nearly all online interactions and has now metastized to offline interactions. One Chinese American on Twitter declares that nobody of non-Chinese descent may wear a qipao, and a billion Chinese citizens saying “I think it’s nice!” can’t contravene that judgment. Since there is no mechanism to challenge any item’s addition to the Bad List, no mechanism for removing items from the Bad List once they’ve been added, and everybody is encouraged to add items to the Bad List as diligently as possible, the obvious result is that soon the Bad List will soon contain just about everything.

    What’s more, since adding things to the Bad List is considered the great moral project of our times, and since failing to participate is grounds for suspicion, there is a powerful incentive to seize the initiative by proactively seeking out new things to condemn. Assidious condemners earn virtue points that can be traded for social status. Non-participants risk being themselves added to the Bad List. So the race is on to find persons and things to condemn, with no end in sight.

    This problem stands apart from the politics to which it’s applied — how can one accept that some grievances are legitimate without going down a slippery slope that ends with “all grievances are legitimate” and ultimately “only grievances are legitimate?”

  25. Terry I feel for you but you need to grow a pair. You should have called out the mouthy misfit in the front row, rather than wait for some weasly beta male prof to come to the rescue. Life is hard and there are miserable people everywhere waiting for a chance to ruin your day. Don’t let them get away with it.

    • TarsTarkas says

      I wouldn’t have used that particular phrase, especially on a woman (I prefer to say ‘toughen up’ or ‘grow some skin’), but she should have immediately demanded why did they find the term ‘witch hunt’ so objectionable and to back up their assertion. Then there would have been a debate of ideas. Instead she just cowered as though his objection was valid. The attitude seems to be that ‘j’accuse’ is the same as a conviction for a crime.

  26. ccscientist says

    The logical implementation of identity politics is exactly what she experienced, not an aberration. The focus on victims and feelings leads to insanity, like someone getting fired for using the word “niggardly” or defacing a statue of Joan of Arc in New Orleans, or reviling Lincoln because he wasn’t “woke” enough, or saying wood paneling made people feel unsafe. Her example of people shutting down a discussion of algorithms because “data cleansing” sounds like ethnic cleansing is precisely a form of insanity, an inability to think even like a child never mind like an educated person.

  27. Tom Scharf says

    The ultimate conclusion of this ideology in academia is to lose the war by winning all the battles. Given a choice the voters will elect to shutoff public funding of institutions that no longer represent their interests, or even pretend to. A voter referendum on public funding of the social sciences would generate commentary from academia with epic cognitive dissonance that would provide endless entertainment. I would particularly look forward to the long and eloquently worded diatribes on the importance of free speech from the social sciences.

    • Robert Paulson says

      I sure hope so, but I think there are a lot of normal people that don’t understand what is going on inside the universities and why its important. And “conservative” parties in the West, especially those in North America, are still fighting yesterday’s battles and would be content to dish out tax cuts for big business and leave the culture to the Left like they’ve gone for the last 40 years. I almost have less respect for Conservatism, Inc. than I do for the Left. At least the Left is willing to fight for what it believes.

      • Frank says

        People are ultimately unwilling to pay for the spreading of a philosophy with which they disagree. The Left and many academic institutions are moving towards the point where they will be totally left to their own devises to generate enough revenue to continue their academic folly. George Soros doesn’t have enough money to continue his subsidy forever.

  28. Rene says

    The article is great, good work by the author and Quillette. I can’t get past the part where she has been so rudely questioned and frankly insulted, and is left to sit there with her hand up, powerless. If ever there was a time to stand up and interrupt without being called on by the prof, that was it. Documenting the insanity is necessary and helpful, but I wish some part of the article was about how the author stood up for herself and began to fight back.

  29. Postmodernist liberals say that truth varies according to culture, class, ethnicity, race, gender, and that apparently includes handicapped status. Thus it is considered intolerant, hateful, bigoted, xenophobic and even racist for someone to criticize anyone else in a different culture, class, ethnicity, gender and level of handicap. Just as good liberals are expected to show tolerance and indulgence of atrocities committed by those of another culture as Obama admonished us not to get on our “high horse” about ISIS burning people alive, so we’re not supposed to suggest that handicapped parents should not limit their children’s ability to rise from their handicaps.

    • @ Jim Austin

      “Just as good liberals are expected to show tolerance and indulgence of atrocities committed by those of another culture as Obama admonished us not to get on our “high horse” about ISIS burning people alive”

      Where did he do that? Reference please.

      • TarsTarkas says

        To answer your question, here is the excerpt from President Obama’s famous moral equivalency speech at the National Prayer Breakfast in February 2015.

        “And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ.’

        https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/obama-criticised-for-telling-christians-to-get-off-high-horse-over-islamic-extremism-10030790.html

        • Frank says

          After Barack Obama described his opponents’ clinging to “God and guns” as a characteristic of inferior Americans, he justified himself by pointing out he had said “what everybody knows is true.” Confident “knowledge” that “some of us, the ones who matter,” have grasped truths that the common herd cannot, truths that direct us, truths the grasping of which entitles us to discount what the ruled say and to presume what they mean, made our Progressives into a ruling class long before they took power.

  30. John says

    Using words as weapons rather than as a means of communication.
    The end justifies the means.
    Consequentialism.
    Godhood.

  31. Carl says

    This is a great, honest, and well-written article. We might all like to think we would speak up boldly under the circumstances the author describes, but how many of us really would? Not many – google the Asch social conformity experiments for example.

    As Jordan Peterson has pointed out, we need honest discussion between people of good faith on both the left and the right for a well functioning society. Attacking the author for mentioning that she is a progressive is unhelpful – it does nothing to encourage a broad range of peope to contribute to Quillette.

    Thanks Terry for writing this.

  32. Alexandre says

    There are at least two reactions (or lack of) to this kind of experience/article that I find interesting: 1) if it was something with one of the traditional “victims”, man what a national commotion it would be, with hashtags, viral videos and everything; but since it is not, it’s just someone complaining about her own, particular, isolated experience that does not happen anywhere else. 2) There are always people saying that things are not like that in the university, that students, faculty, etc are working and studying properly. But if I have learned something with sociology is that the dominant and privileged ones are never aware of their own power and hegemony. Critical theory and other ideological devices are good as long as they “unmask” the others. (That doesn’t mean that I saw those reactions here).

  33. Michael says

    All humanity pseudo sciences should be banned once and for all. These so called professors are nothing but waste of space. All they can ‘teach’ is a post modernistic rubbish which helps them to disguise they own biases into so called scientific knowledge. Don’t waxte your time and money on this crap.

  34. Susan says

    @Stuart Chambers: “Rarely would a speaker ever get barred from campus. I have never had one barred in a decade nor have my colleagues. That’s because we would never invite the likes of Ann Coulter. Those who speak are invited based on merit, not whether they can turn hate speech into performance art (sorry Milo). ”
    Is this ironic? If not, your reference to “hate” speech tells me more about you than it does about Ann Coulter or Milo or free speech.

    • Frank says

      Of course, a commitment to freedom of speech does not mean endorsement of the views of others. As Voltaire observed, and as summarized by Evelyn Beatrice Hall in her biography of the great thinker, “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” That is the essence of a true commitment to freedom of expression.

      Faced even with speech we find to be odious, obnoxious, and offensive, the only response a commitment to freedom of expression leaves us is not suppression, but more speech — speech that says “You are wrong, you are an idiot, and here is why!” As Justice Louis Brandeis explained almost a century ago, in a system of free expression, the proper response to bad speech is not censorship, but good speech.

  35. marms says

    Galloway was not “falsely accused”, in spite of the belief of some Quillette members who seem to have this selective functional illiteracy rabbit hole which renders them incapable of understanding the difference between not-able-to-prove and innocent. (They do manage to get this re the two native men shot to death by white landowners, however). Galloway was justifiably accused by a woman who says he raped her. This has not been disproven. The fact that he’s posing so prettily and sadly all over MSM doesn’t change what happened to her.

    If you can’t read the differnce, you’re wasting your money on tuition. I don’t think Quillette can help you.

    • Curmudgeon says

      “Galloway was justifiably accused by a woman who says he raped her. This has not been disproven. The fact that he’s posing so prettily and sadly all over MSM doesn’t change what happened to her.”

      This is probably not the thread to discuss this subject, but you use the word ‘justifiably’. Why? It implies that the act actually happened, and that Galloway simply got away with it because it could not be proven. Your last statement – ‘…doesn’t change what happened to her’ – makes clear your belief that the act *did* happen. Yet it remains unproven.

      On what basis do you found your belief? Because there are only two people who know the truth of the matter: Galloway and ‘MC’. Are you certain that MC has not, post hoc, convinced herself that what was in truth a consensual act at the time, was not? And if you are certain, why?

      • Curmudgeon says

        A further thought. Upthread, Jim Austin says: ‘Postmodernist liberals say that truth varies according to culture, class, ethnicity, race, gender, and that apparently includes handicapped status. Thus it is considered intolerant, hateful, bigoted, xenophobic and even racist for someone to criticize anyone else in a different culture, class, ethnicity, gender and level of handicap.’

        If this is an accurate summary, then middle-class, middle-aged, white male Galloway has his own ‘truth’ – ‘consensual act’ – whereas (probably) middle-class, (possibly) middle-aged, unknown ethnicity female MC’s ‘truth’ says ‘rape’. However, under the behavioural codes of postmodernism it is forbidden to criticise a ‘truth’ held by a member of a different identity group. Logically, then, it is impossible to claim that Galloway realised he was committing rape, if indeed he was, because that does not correspond with his ‘truth’ that the act was consensual.

        The only recourse then is to the hierarchy of victimhood, of which Galloway is obviously at the bottom. But this is a general, not specific, hierarchy. It cannot be used to *prove* a specific example of contested behaviour when no witnesses are available.

        Complicated, isn’t it? Perhaps we’re better off sticking with the old-fashioned ‘innocent until proven guilty’ principle, especially for criminal acts. Nothing is perfect and there are always exceptions, but often they prove the rule. This one has stood the test of time pretty well, and it seems to me is a good heuristic for minimising injustice.

    • TarsTarkas says

      If a man accused you of trying to kill him, should he be automatically disbelieved, regardless of videotape, eyewitnesses, smoking gun, blood, knife wounds, etc.? If a woman makes an accusation that a Martian kidnapped her babies, should the actual presence of said babies in her arms be ignored in favor of her claim? Do you comprehend what your standard of believability is doing to actual rape and abuse victims? Do you understand the parable of the boy who cried wolf?

  36. Susan says

    Did any students in the seminar ask if all “racist old white men” were not taught in a philosophy class who would be taught? Just interested–

    • TarsTarkas says

      dead white male Marxist philosophers exempted, of course, since they are ex post de facto identified by their worshipers as ‘People of Color’.

    • Only African writers, eg Augustine, Plato, Aristotle..
      . I think it’s time to bring back the Afrocentric claims of the 70s and 80s.😉

  37. Baron Von Plow says

    “…there is another world outside of those classrooms and offices, a real world in which we have free rein to think, to joke, to play with ideas, and to work things out, without feeling we have hands on our throats.”

    These things you want are the enemy of progressivism, which will snuff out all expression of human spirit given the power—just look at the very environment you describe, which is wholly owned by progressives.

    By supporting progressivism, you are supporting the death of everything you claim to want to return to. I don’t know why leftists are still confused about this.

  38. Unfortuantely, a totally believalbe and sad story. However, you did such a good job that I think you could write a movie script based on it. This is what movies are for, not the junk that is clogging the channels now. Seriously, make a movie proposal and send it out. Thanks for sharing and taking the risk to do so.

  39. Steve says

    “I agree with the goals of the academic left: equity, diversity, the inclusion of new voices, and an open canon. It’s the methods of the left that I came to revile.”

    Well dat dere’s yer problem right dere, Terry b’y.

    “Equity”, “diversity”, “inclusion”, “open canon” are all more or less totemic expressions that mean roughly the opposite of their conventional connotation.

    You need to distance yourself from the hard Left. Become a (classical, not American-style) liberal.

  40. Brent Nyitray says

    These students are in for a rude awakening in the real world. They will probably try and flaunt their SJW bona fides in the interview, which will more or less tattoo “pain in the ass” on their foreheads..

    Aside from academia and the media, these people are more or less useless…

    • Jom says

      Brent, it depends. Some companies love this crap. The big tech company I worked for has tons of SJWs. Many of our leaders are hyper SJW.

      It’s okay to be openly contemptuous to white males.

      Someone suggested we pay POCs more than whites. After it was pointed out this is illegal, the person suggested we get some smart people in a room to figure out a workaround.

      We have safe spaces.

      I held the door open for a woman that was walking behind me. She said go ahead, I don’t need you to hold the door for me.

      We talk about diversity this or that in almost every meeting.

      Someone asked how many females we should expect to hire since only about 20% get CS degrees. The leader said we should expect to hire 60% females since 60% of university grads are female.

      A trans person had a fit that our onsite health clinic wouldn’t prescribe hormone treatments for They. The company is going to hire an endocrinologist so They will be taken care of. I’m serious. Not making this up.

      • LAW says

        This is infuriating. The only ray of hope for a situation like this is that Big Tech Company has created a corporate structure in which it will lose out on top talent. And eventually, Big Tech Company will lose and become Smaller Tech Company, because someone else will hire those top people and beat them. It’s the same logic that applies to companies that are racist, who will eventually lose in the end as well.

        Unfortunately, this atrophy is a slow process, with lots of pain for good people in the interim.

      • Jane says

        So this is why men don’t often hold the door for me anymore! I miss chivalry.

        • LAW says

          Yes, there is a loud minority who will shame you for simply holding a door. Much better to just never do it. Feminism: solving the important problems in life!

  41. Ian says

    I’m happy to say my post grad experience is quite different and possibly because of the way I chose where to study. One of the reasons I chose to study at the University of New England was their ranking in a free speech on campus audit.
    I found there was a certain way of thinking in most of the papers we were assigned to read but discussion was open, lively and everyone was encouraged to freely express their opinions. The lecturer who moderated these forums did so with a light hand. A challenging subject became quite enjoyable and though I dislike most post modernist theory I’ll continue to read around the subject to further my understanding of this area.

  42. Bill says

    The second to last paragraph made me laugh. Hate to break it to you, there isn’t a world outside of academia where you can express and joke and discuss. The left eating its own is simply subjecting heretic members of the left to what right-of-center has experienced since the 2007 election cycle where anyone not voting for/agreeing with Obama = a racist.

    See, in the world outside of academia, if you express or joke or discuss then someone who doesn’t like you can take that to HR or social media or even law enforcement resulting in lost employment, friends, opportunities, and potentially even freedom (in places like the UK where even a joke with a dog uploaded to YouTube gets one charged and convicted of a crime)

  43. A good article, quite authentic and genuine. However, the last paragraph is a bit off. ‘I am a left-leaning progressive. I am an ally to progressive causes.’ This is just a label, and a bad one. To me, after writing this article, you are no longer a ‘progressive’. Besides, if you studied a history of a socialist revolution (i.e. Russian or Cuban), you would learn they executed quite a few ‘progressive comrades’ shortly after they gain power.

    Perhaps you consider yourself ‘progressive’ because you want poor and ‘underprivileged’ people to get better in this life. You probably feel some guilt – therefore you kept your mouth shut when that shaved head silenced you. Wrong move! With such attitudes unchecked, these mentally poor people will stay locked in poverty and hatred – for the rest of their lives. The lack of education and negative view of the world will make them unemployable. And you and the coward instructors will be part of the reason for their failure. Because no one confronted them, including you.

    Finally, keep in mind, if you lived through the of Russian revolution, that shaved headed student could well end up your personal torturer or executioner.

    • dirk says

      Don’t exaggerate now Andrei, this man(woman?) just wanted to impress and show that he/she is just a little bit more “progressive” than the average, quite normal for a young adult. Did he mean what he said? Or was he just playing around? We will never know, because no confrontation resulted, what one would have expected. And what is that progressive in fact, maybe just a fashion, a hype, an ulster that has to ripen and then again dissolutes. Is compassion with victimhood the core of progressive? Is Yuval Harari progressive? Maybe Peterson is the progressive (judged by then)of the 2020s and later.The problem in such schools is the teacher, the professor. Cowards! Misfits! Maybe some of this has been said already before, the comments list is becoming too long to read.

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  45. dirk says

    I wonder whether being the only one noticing this, but the “j’accuse”, and the “you just feel that way because….you are privileged” of the shaven-head-with-lock (provocative?) for me is not unlike the Orientalism of Edward Said in a recent thread -Unfabling the East”, but the book of course was blown up into a real case, and a real, worldwide influential book.
    Also, this book was a blow and strike at the right time and the right place, but lateron was facing a lot of criticism from sound minds, but, these sound, healthy, critical minds of course never could boast on the same readership and influence as the book!

    The first strike is always worth the dollar.

  46. The scariest thing to me about this piece was not in the article itself, but in the byline. She is a Teaching Assistant in the College of Engineering. I had hoped sciences and engineering were somewhat insulated from the progressives. But if Media Studies students are TA’s in the College of Engineering, that means the progressives are infecting – yes, infecting – other departments than the social “sciences.” Yes, “sciences” because from what I can tell, true science has been all but abandoned in these fields. If they are truly spreading into the hard sciences and engineering, I fear for the bridges and skyscrapers n 20 years after our scientists and engineers are taught that physics and mathematics are products of the cis-white racist patriarchy and can be ignored for “your truth.”

    • dirk says

      And that, Stephen, would also be the end of the empire of the US, Europe and other Western Human Rights nations. Nothing special of course, all empires (of the few dozens there were in the last 5000 years) have vanished in the end. Der Untergang des Abendlandes finally accomplished. Happily, China and other Eastern nations are there to take over the torch, they have been influenced in no small means by that West, but don’t even know (very good) what POMO or post modernism stands for. They have had their own philosophers and teachers. So, there is still hope.

    • Paul Ellis says

      @Stephen Wilcox

      Let me ask you this, please. Would you fly in an airliner designed by someone who believes that ‘physics and mathematics are products of the cis-white racist patriarchy and can be ignored for “your truth.”’? And perhaps more to the point, would they?

      Perhaps it’s a non-question. Would it even fly? Would it ever make it out of the workshop?

      Not to worry. The Chinese are now making airliners.

  47. Doug says

    Well written, well said. I left the U of A a few years ago for these very same reasons. I decided I had no desire to be “Indoctrinated.”

  48. I would be curious what a conservatives experience is like on this campus. Do you remember meeting any? Do you remember them being included in any discussions? Or would they simply avoid this place like the bubonic plague? Or are they in the engineering school and just keeping a low profile?

  49. Jennifer Temple says

    This paper is about the deterioration of education and the institutions that are supposed to promote education! Many of the comments here are really disturbing in that they are not reviewing the content but the character of the author. I never designated my self as to any particular group think. I defined myself! I always thought, all people should be treated equitably. I love living in a multicultural society. I will never own my “White, CIS, Privilege. I will read from any thoughtful person. I have read a great deal in my life, starting at age 4 and continued right up to this, my 61st year. I can tell you, even those I most vehemently disagreed with had something to teach me. I developed my own philosophy by cherry picking only those thoughts I agreed with. I tried to always understand why the authors thought the way they did. I don’t know what anyone could call me, it would be like trying to nail jelly to a wall! What we need to think about is how to resolve the problems in education. Personally, I think the answer lies in a Socratic method of parenting. It was parents that bubble wrapped these young people protecting them so well as to be “Triggered” at any idea foreign to them and in need of “Safe Spaces” to hide in lest a new idea cause them to need to use their brain. The whole game is Leftest mentors keep their young students weak and dependent on the group for protection. They are much against autonomy, assertiveness and empowerment. Their power and wealth depends on maintaining the victim-hood! Now, they are leaving Universities and the insanity is spreading into the whole of society. We are in real trouble, here!

  50. Mark says

    I’m a bit disappointed Quillette published this piece. If any publication with a different angle said something like the following I’m sure your editors would scoff and roll their eyes:

    “They cite studies and statistics to reassure us that The Kids Are Alright. Well, that kid in the front row was not alright. And I am not a right-wing provocateur. My politics are progressive. Nor am I a professor or a journalist, nor have I conducted long-range longitudinal studies that ask students to self-report on their beliefs about free speech on campus. All I have is my own experience and the experiences of those fellow students with whom I have discussed the matter, and I can assure the reader that the crisis is real.”

    This is just “lived experience”. It’s good to be a platform for free thought, but at Quillette that usually comes with a strong precondition of rationalism and respect for evidence. That went out the window here.

    I worry that Quillette is basically just becoming part of its own little tribe. Calling it the “intellectual” dark web doesn’t mitigate the tendency towards bias, outrage and tunnel vision that comes with tribalism. I hope you guys also consider publishing more countervailing opinions. It’s not like the far right isn’t also anti-science, anti-liberalism, and anti-evidence. That would ensure that you stay a platform for free thought.

    • Just Me says

      Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

      We keep getting told this isn’t really happening except in the mind of alt-right Fox watchers.

      Good on Quilette to give a platform to individuals who can testify to the fact it is happening, right now, right here.

      This took a lot of courage, this woman is risking her career. Kudos to her!

  51. robohobo2014 says

    All of this “othering” is just a prelude and warm up for white genocide. That is their desired end state.

  52. Adam Pierce says

    It’s not good enough to sound the alarm bell but stand by the ideology. What ideas do they actually have wrong? How can you change the ideology to avoid this issue without abandoning it entirely? (Or, perhaps should you abandon it entirely)

  53. Meerkat says

    The professor who moved to Brampton as a child was either north of forty or lying. There is just no way that you could have a class in Brampton composed entirely of whites at any point in the last two or three decades.

    Try to imagine for a second what the reaction would be if a white professor recounted moving to Mumbai and complained about being the only white child in a class otherwise composed entirely of Indian children. It would be like a nuclear bomb going off. The same would apply to a white person complaining about moving to Lagos or Beijing. It’s an idiotic complaint to make. It’s like buying a ticket to a World Cup game and then bitching about being surrounded by football fans. But for some weird reason, being the only non-white in a class full of whites is a trauma, no further comments needed.

    Maybe this woman should have asked her parents at some point why they felt it necessary to put their child through such a horrific ordeal. Maybe because Canada, a country full of white people, offered better opportunities, greater safety and more freedom than their native land, especially for their daughter. It’s also worth noting that nation-states whose populations are of western European stock are the only ones in history to throw open their doors to people from every corner of the globe, regardless of ethnicity. Perhaps this woman had to overcome the horror of being surrounded by white children in Brampton because South Korea and Israel would never have let her parents enter.

    As a final remark, it’s worth noting that in 2018, you’d be hard pressed to find more than one or two white children in your average Brampton classroom. I wonder if in a few decades it will be acceptable for such white children to publicly express their anguish at having grown up in such a situation. I wouldn’t bet on it.

  54. Rb says

    Terry I loved your article, but I agree with others that your progressive virtue signaling is not needed to make your point. if you happen to be a conservative, are your observations no longer valid? I highly recommend you listen to Jordan Peterson on joe Rogan’s latest podcast. He gives a great explanation about why liberals and conservatives are both needed in a healthy functioning society….. (don’t worry we won’t tell anyone when you discover you love him.) As a former leftist I realized what you are just now discovering… the left eats its own. Being a liberal is not the same thing as being a leftist. Terry it is time to swallow the red pill and go down the rabbit hole…the left is not what it seems.

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  56. Andrew Roddy says

    Terry, I have sympathy for your programme director who declared he had ‘abandoned the entire field of philosophy’. Indeed, I think it is due for it’s bi-millennial, root-and-branch review.
    Your experience has clearly not broken you. Fuck them. ‘Yes, I said witch-hunt. Have you got a problem with that? Grow up!.’

  57. evilhippo says

    I was going to observe how the Left devours itself but others have eloquently made that point, with all the same analogies to communists ending up in gulags that also occurred to me. So all I will rather unkindly add is: you’d need a heart of stone not to laugh.

  58. Hey idiot, I happen to be friends with the “professor” in question (a homosexual who wouldn’t let this shit stand) and he recalls this incident and says it didn’t remotely go down the way you elaborately laid it out. You are faking outrage and I am sorry to say an awful fucking writer. While there’s plenty of things to be mad about at Concordia, this ain’t one. Go find a real story, stupid.

    • Just Me says

      Your language says it all. It isn’t enough to say that the professor has a different recollection of the event, and to say what that is, you have to use childish insults impugning her character and intellect.

      You just added to the evidence she presented of the climate of intimidation towards anyone who sees things differently.

      At least Trudeau finally had the decency to recognize people may experience things differently:

      “Trudeau said that while he is confident he did not do anything wrong, he acknowledged that the woman in question may not see it that way.

      “Part of this awakening we’re having as a society, a long awaited realization, is that it’s not just one side of the story that matters,” he said. “That the same interactions can be experienced very differently from one person to the next.

      “I am not going to speak for the woman in question. I would never presume to speak for her. But I know that there is an awful lot of reflection to be had as we move forward as a society on how people perceive different interactions.”

      https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/trudeau-groping-confident-not-inappropriately-1.4735661

  59. yasqueen says

    Wasn’t it Huck Finn’s father who was envious and angered when his son surpassed him by learning how to read? Lessons lost now apparently.
    As for the Handmaids Tale, interesting to note how the left now fixates on this story as if it had any relevance for their current plight, which is mass sterility. I guess its flattering for them to imagine they’d be forced to breed, 50 shades of patriarchy, you know its true.

  60. Bob C says

    “I agree with the goals of the academic left: equity, diversity, the inclusion of new voices, and an open canon. It’s the methods of the left that I came to revile.”

    But the goals of equity and diversity require the very methods you revile. Those same methods were used by the Communist societies of the 20th Century, which had similar goals. All those projects followed the logic of Wonderland, and all ended disastrously. If you follow the same path you are bound to end up in the same place. Are you really sure you want us to go there?

    Excellent article, by the way.

  61. Kindred says

    Jesus fuck Terry… Who are your readers here?! Lol

    Your piece is extremely well written and correct. You know I’ve been through worse oppression than you at Concordia but one technique that helps is to recognize that Marxists are fear-driven, hermetically-sealed idealogues that have extreme pain-aversion anxiety which motivates all of their ideas and actions.

    The Left is not “progressive”, and is instead part of a linear-thinking, two-dimensional, non-introspectively conscious section of society that includes most other people. Having met you it is clear that you are a three-dimensional dynamic and dialectic discursive thinker – you don’t fit on that linear spectrum of Left-Center-Right.

    Your best bet has always been to take your superior rationality to other institutions whether it means transferring or simply focusing on collaboration and mentorship outside of Concordia.

    Remember that what people like us are going through at the moment is the same as what Galileo experienced with the RC Church. I think you should allow ambitious lawyers to take on the fight of wiping out toxic Marxist religion from the academy. In time they will have to.

    And I never told you this but now seems appropriate – I have been attacked on four separate occasions at Concordia by radical Marxist and feminist shocktroopers and all of those individuals and groups have set back their cause greatly while identifying themselves as problem characters.

    The Ombuds office has a ton of documentation regarding toxic Marxism and feminism at Concordia and students who think that they are sheepdogs for the institute are actually fucking themselves.

    I was also attacked in my Masters and undergraduate program by different radicals at different times – not Concordia. Interesting to note is that I have followed up tabs on these people and they are all struggling today and far behind their colleagues and especially me.

    I am a strong believer in the “writing cure” and I can imagine publishing this has been cathartic but recognize poor intellect in the comments section and in your classes and don’t engage with it. Don’t be mistaken, you are intellectually superior to them and therefore they haven’t earned a debate. In professional pugilism whether it be MMA or boxing, you can see endless examples of deluded morons trying to pick fights with champions at bars or on the street. The champion knows that fighting someone who thinks they are prepared but is clearly not is a cruel practice and in the end the champ who is baited looks like a bully and loses respect of fans and opponents. Afterward no one notices or remembers the ignorant moron who started the problems.

    Don’t think two-dimensionally but also don’t address those people directly – they wouldn’t understand your world anyway. They see the sphere coming down into their limited worldview and at best to them it is a circle when most complete. Imagine the absurdity of trying to help people like that.

    We live in a strange time for this… So close to the Intellectual Revolution and so close to most humans naturally evolving their consciousness. In fifty years or so all of this Marxist and feminist nonsense will be over. Once AI are integrated seamlessly into our society people will experience a psychological imperative to accept being on a lower level consciously and will move up to a more recursive mode of thinking. At that moment, people will naturally evolve into three-dimensional thinkers and they will see collectivist ideology as folly… Which it is.

    You can’t love anyone else properly until you love yourself. That means individualism and rationality first. Ideas must be constructed from ideal subject positions first to hold any truth. Kant and Hume have more clout than you are giving credit for and their knowledge persists beyond the modest impediments to truth that a generation of hypocritical malcontents have wrought. I feel for you but there’s more than one way to skin a cat. I have impressed the Hell out of those in power in the institution by not engaging directly with the crazy left. The crazy left thinks that everything is two dimensional… Therefore if you disagree with them you must be alt-this or right-that. It’s idiotic… A childish world for underdeveloped and oppressed intellect. Your privileged intellect shouldn’t waste time with that rubbish.

  62. This is a wonderful, heartfelt and truthful article. Thank you, Terry Newman.
    The ideology of fascist-feminism bears little resemblance with liberation-feminism which grew out of the anti-fascist resistance in World War II, although you can certainly see the seeds of it in early 1930s Hollywood with movies starring Marlene Dietrich, Greta Garbo, Barbara Stanwyck, and the too cute for words, eternal gold-digger with a heart of gold, Joan Blondell.
    Liberation-feminism is women desiring men as social equals, while fascist-feminism is women wanting to replace men with women.
    What is it with capitalists still thinking that Karl Marx is the devil from hell because he wanted public schools to educate all children and a central banking system to give everybody credit?

  63. KEKE says

    If this wasn’t a cry for sympathy, why write an article for a news source where the majority of it’s audience is going to agree with you?

    If this wasn’t an attempt to whine and get sympathy and you truly wanted the people who you’re talking about to see this, you should have wrote to a source where they’d actually see this.
    Your examples weren’t that great either, you disregard the fact that a lot of the people who aren’t easily accepting of your ideas weren’t allowed to have opinions in these spaces, let alone be allowed into these spaces before recently. Sure, some of them inaccurately called out problematic behavior but you writing this is doing the same. If we hold of on critiquing people just for the sole fact that they did a few “great” things then where is the progress going to come from?

    Also, if you go into University to not have your ideas challenged you’re in the wrong place Terry.

    • Just Me says

      That’s rich.

      Why here and not elsewhere? Who else would have published it? Have you read the critical comments dismissing it as not representative of anything, and most likely false, because this doesn’t happen?

      And you totally missed the point. Which is that those people weren’t “challenging” Terry’s ideas, that would have meant actually engaging with them, they weren’t interested in any intellectual discussion, that’s what dismissing and no-platforming means.

      This is an attempt at indoctrination, period. Luckily, on smart people, it doesn’t actually work, it just alienates them.

    • dirk says

      Exactly keke, I just read here in my newspaper what the sovjet dissident Sacharov wrote about that:
      – really relevant thoughts only appear where there is confrontation in discussions, even if that means coming with wrong thoughts or conclusions (hate speech?). Intellectual freedom and progression, better state systems: they thrive by such freedom. Avoid salt in the wounds?(as is happening so often now in the time of identities and fear of hurting feelings) It won’t bring you much further! Jordan Peterson says the same. Nice is nice, but not progressive.

  64. Mike van Lammeren says

    I commend the author’s intuitive realization that there was something wrong, when her comments, after watching a documentary, were dismissed by a slur on her identity. It is hard for someone to understand how much has been lost if she has no experience of university in years past. Which is probably why I had a different reaction to that anecdote: You watch movies in class?

    My reaction to the author’s biography blurb following the article: How does a Media Studies major become a TA for Engineers?

  65. Well, if you, after all, agree with the “theological purity” of equality and diversity, don’t complain when that hits you on the head. Unfortunately, you missed the lesson of the 70s, when tens of millions were killed in China while inebriated western students marched on the streets waving Mao’s red book; alas, many didn’t regret and now teach in the University, angry for their failed ideals.
    Wake up: the monsters are not outside the leftist camp, and they can devour your life.

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  67. NomNom says

    “I agree with the goals of the academic left: equity, diversity, the inclusion of new voices, and an open canon. It’s the methods of the left that I came to revile.”

    The problem is, the only way to achieve enforced equity and racial diversity is to silence opposing views and take away freedom from the individual. The methods are built into the goals. So, your blind support for your unachievable goals is being manifested in your own discrimination. The fact that you can’t see that is the true tragedy of this article.

  68. I wonder whether misunderstanding ‘cleansing’ to mean ‘genocide’ rather than ‘debugging’ constitutes a novel kind of fallacy, the argumentum ad homonym.

  69. Timothy Konig says

    You may find that the left is much farther along the road to madness than anyone suspects. You are right to call for people taking a stand. Politically, academically, emotionally, there is no good end to the course we are on now. Good article.

  70. augustine says

    “I agree with the goals of the academic left: equity, diversity, the inclusion of new voices, and an open canon. It’s the methods of the left that I came to revile.”

    None of those things are the goals of the academic Left. In postmodernist terminology, their goals are about power and the most effective route to it. Any good faith discussion with others is abandoned, or walloped, in the process.

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