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When the Authorities Tell You to Dissent

The University of Melbourne advertises itself as Australia’s best university—the first and only member of the Australian Ivy League. This isn’t an unreasonable claim. The Times Higher Education World University Rankings for 2019 put the University of Melbourne 32nd in the world, 17 spots ahead of Australian National University, its nearest Australian rival. Numerous other figures seem to demonstrate the school’s excellence at preparing students for prosperous employment and at developing their critical thinking skills.

Naturally, I was pleased and even proud to have been accepted into the University of Melbourne’s 2017 Master of Journalism program. I believed, without really thinking about it, that I was in for a challenging year and a half at a school far more rigorous than the one from which I received my baccalaureate. (The University of Oklahoma consistently lands somewhere in the 400s on the Times Higher Education index.)

Of course, I was aware of the complaints directed at Australian universities—that the integrity of their curricula had gradually been compromised to appease social justice activists. Ubiquitous Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson expresses these concerns somewhat apocalyptically:

You may not realize it, but you are currently funding some dangerous people. They are indoctrinating young minds throughout the West with their resentment-ridden ideology… They produce the mobs that violently shut down campus speakers, the language police who enshrine into law use of fabricated gender pronouns and the deans whose livelihoods depend on madly rooting out discrimination where little or none exists… And now we rack up education-related debt, not so that our children learn to think critically, write clearly or speak properly, but so they can model their mentors’ destructive agenda.

It’s natural that these denunciations should sound wildly hyperbolic—a bit like Joseph McCarthy’s claim that there were 81 Communists lurking in the State Department. Who but a political cultist would be willing to believe something like that without seeing it for himself?

The first indication I received that something had gone awry at Australia’s best university was in a criminology class titled “Violence, Trauma, and Reconciliation.” According to the University of Melbourne handbook, this class “considers the forms of trauma people experience as a response to… forms of violence and explores how this trauma propels calls for apologies, truth commissions, retribution, and torture.”

The instructor, Dr. Juliet Rogers, devoted a lecture to female genital mutilation—a natural enough topic for a class on trauma. In Rogers’s view, however, the true source of trauma was not the practice of FGM itself, but the “violence” of anti-FGM laws. After all, Western societies pressure women into body modification in the form of ear piercings—so who are we to pass judgment on those who practice clitorectomies and infibulations on children? And isn’t it true that legislators’ supposed concern with FGM is actually motivated by “Islamophobia”?

In the article “The First Case Addressing Female Genital Mutilation in Australia: Where is the Harm?” Rogers takes issue with Australian “prejudice” against the practice of clitoral “nicking”:

For each claim that a woman’s sexual health is impacted, there is a study which suggests it is not, and others which suggest it is enhanced. For each claim of trauma, there is another which claims empowerment. However, it is the violent images which are played and replayed, on airport shelves, in documentaries and in fiction that form opinion. These, “through repetition” have come in Obermeyer’s terms again “to gain authority as truth.” Similarly, in the FLC’s [Family Law Court’s] Report the image of violence is only presented and then repeated, with the name “female genital mutilation” always attached. There is no discussion of the benefits of the practices, the increases in sexual enjoyment that women report, the cultural empowerment that women experience, the desires of many to undergo the practices or the rage that many women have at being called ‘mutilated’ when so many clearly feel that they are not.

While working with the US Peace Corps in rural Gambia, I encountered the practice of female genital mutilation firsthand. The empowering effect of having one’s clitoris razored off was not readily apparent.

It was clear from the tone of Rogers’s lecture that she regarded these ideas as quite subversive and challenging. However, most of the room nodded along quite comfortably. If we didn’t actually find these ideas challenging, we could at least derive some satisfaction from the thought of how challenged a less enlightened third party might be.

Another peculiar class was Terror, Law, and War, ostensibly a survey of legal and military responses to terrorism. In practice, the class focused almost exclusively on American, European, and Israeli misbehavior, and on the perceived ridiculousness of Australian anti-terrorism measures. Islamist terrorism was left unconsidered except as a hallucination of xenophobic Westerners. As if to drive the point home, one presentation on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict referred to Palestinian suicide bombings as “terrorism,” in scare quotes.

We spent a period discussing a televised interview with Wassim Doureihi, spokesman for the Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir. During the interview, Lateline host Emma Alberici took a combative stance, demanding that Doureihi either clearly denounce the Islamic State’s tactics or admit that he condoned them. Doureihi refused to cooperate, instead pushing the conversation toward Australian mistreatment of Muslims.

The subsequent class discussion became something like a rally: we unanimously acclaimed Doureihi’s dignity and courage and took turns mocking Alberici’s hypocrisy and ill-concealed racism. The teaching assistant declared with apparent pride that she was friends with Doureihi and that he had confided in her that the interview was a trying experience, but necessary. Some of the students who rose to voice their support for Doureihi were so agitated that their voices shook. Somehow, throughout this bacchanal of self-righteousness, the fact that Hizb ut-Tahrir is an explicitly anti-democratic organization that supports the killing of apostates and whose leaders describe Jews as “the most evil creatures of Allah” escaped mention. Evidently, one can’t take sides between liberalism and totalitarianism without knowing the pigmentations of those involved.

To hear Australia’s most privileged youth praise a theocrat like Doureihi was unsettling, but classes equally often took a turn for the comical. On one occasion, Rogers interrupted a Violence, Trauma and Reconciliation lecture to tell us about Lego’s “criminal” figure (right). The figure is about what you might expect: a child-friendly depiction of a burglar, sporting a sinister grin, a stocking cap and a black-and-white-striped prison uniform. What this piece of Lego has to do with either violence, trauma or reconciliation may not be immediately obvious: the criminal, you see, is depicted with visible chest hair. This chest hair is a coded indication that the criminal is nonwhite, thereby implying that people of color are criminals and terrorists. Oddly enough, another of my instructors also brought up this Lego figure and its racist chest hair during her own class. I suppose it had been doing the rounds among the faculty.

Students were always instructed to question their assumptions rather than acquiescing mindlessly to the status quo. At the University of Melbourne, however, the assumption that racial identification is of paramount significance, that Western societies are uniquely malignant and oppressive, that Islamist theocrats are victims and not perpetrators, et cetera, is the status quo. What does it signify when the authorities tell you to dissent?

In some classes, the frantic obsession with demographics was spearheaded by the students, against the apparent wishes of their instructors. In one nonfiction writing class, discussion of Gay Talese’s influential 1966 profile of Frank Sinatra centered not on Talese’s quippy yet unhurried scene-setting, or on his vivid portraiture of a subject he’d never actually interviewed, but on Talese’s misogyny. (One student said that Talese’s description of two Sinatra groupies as “attractive but fading blondes” was “chilling.”) David Foster Wallace’s essay “Tense Present” was subjected to a similarly myopic “discussion” of Wallace’s whiteness and his failure to acknowledge English as an “imperial language.” Any technical lessons we might have taken from Talese or Wallace were lost altogether—instead, we enumerated the things they might have learned from us.

During these Two Minutes Hate sessions, the instructor often stood back, grimacing uncomfortably and sometimes trying to steer the discussion back toward the piece of writing at hand. He was a gentle man with a clear love for long-form journalism, and I suspect he sometimes wondered why his class discussions had grown so frenzied.

What if I’d heard about this from someone else? I asked myself from time to time. What if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes? I knew the answer—I wouldn’t have believed a word of it. I would have assumed the narrator of these outlandish events to be a right-wing doomsayer ready to contort the truth however necessary to vilify his opponents. Can I reasonably expect more charity from you, the reader of this article? Hard to say.

Perhaps the most unexpected part of life at the University of Melbourne was how easy the actual work was. In Terror, Law and War, the essays I submitted consisted of structureless, deliberately turgid summaries of class readings, enlivened with the odd anti-Western cliché and handed in without proofreading or revision. This seemed to be the level of seriousness appropriate to the class. My diploma is proof that this material, produced almost without conscious effort, was up to the standards of Australia’s top university.

During one and a half years attending journalism classes, I was exposed to surprisingly little information on the actual craft of journalism. Recipients of the University of Melbourne’s Master of Journalism degree will know about the inverted pyramid model and other basic concepts. Deeper questions, however, are left mostly unexamined. When should an interviewer rely on a list of questions and when should he improvise? How does one efficiently cut a news story down to 125 words?  How does news writing differ from other prose in grammar and punctuation? It is possible to obtain a 150-point journalism degree from the University of Melbourne without learning the answers to these questions. Of course, who has time for such trivialities when there’s a revolution on? University of Melbourne students may matriculate unprepared to produce clear and accurate news articles, but they will understand their political objectives.

I graduated in December 2018, amidst rallies against “fascism on campus.” (Given that, in 18 months on campus, I encountered no fascists, these rallies seem to have been very effective.) Behaving compliantly throughout these peculiar antics was a mistake. The most I can do after the fact is relay my observations without inventing a heroic role for myself.

Was pursuing a degree at Australia’s top university a waste of time? Not necessarily. The name of an institution whose superiority is supported by so many statistics surely helps beautify my résumé. And I was granted the chance to dip into a strange emerging culture, one whose existence I probably would not have accepted if I hadn’t seen it for myself. It seems the doomsayers are sometimes correct.

 

Zachary Snowdon Smith’s writing has appeared in the Herald SunAreo, and Beat music magazine. He previously headed Chess For The Gambia, a youth development project.

Photo by Fabian Mardi on Unsplash

150 Comments

  1. MF says

    “…the criminal, you see, is depicted with visible chest hair. This chest hair is a coded indication that the criminal is nonwhite…”

    I didn’t realize having chest hair made me non-white. That’s a new one. Just as I think we’ve reached the bottom of the infinite abyss of insanity, we just plumb to new depths of madness.

    • Mike says

      @MF

      As a hairy beast of European descent, I am [sarcasm alert] deeply personally traumatized by this professor’s ridiculous RACIAL PURITY STANDARDS and VIOLENCE against my cultural identity!

      • MICHAEL says

        I have self-identified with not having either chest hair or colour blindness so now I can go to the Vatican and the site of the Hairy See…

    • Toni Pereira says

      There are always new nadirs to reach, dontchaknow?

      • chrisbarclay6296 says

        ‘Nadirs’? That sounds like Arabic? Associating non-whites with lows? a very racist concept. Don’t use the word.

        • P-Fo says

          If “nadirs” sounds Arabic, [sarcasm alert] doesn’t that make the use of it cultural appropriation? Shame on you.

    • Johnny Appleseed says

      Well southern euorpeans do have more and darker chest hair and Italians do have have higher criminality rates. So maybe the nutters are onto something even if it’s the opposite of what they intended.

      • Johnny Appleseed says

        As a former heroin addict whos spent a fair amount of time in and out of jail it’s pretty rare to see blonde haired whites in jail.

        • Dick Gezinya says

          @Johhny Appleseed are you butt buddies with E Olson? He’s into all that “nordics are whiter than other white peoples” bullshit, too.

    • LukeReeshus says

      Do Australians not have chest hair? Do they only grow it after they move to the US, a la Hugh Jackman as Wolverine? Hmmm…

      These are the mysteries the author’s degree could have illuminated, but didn’t. What a waste.

      • Weasels Ripped My Flesh says

        Or Robin Williams (RIP)

        Or this one law partner of mine whose body hair passes through his shirt sleeves.

    • John Ashton says

      Me too, I shall now embrace my new-found non-whiteness.

    • old geezer says

      post modernist communist brain washing

      a culture too stupid to survive won’t

    • Luke M says

      Im white with Chest hair, did I cultural appropriate this hair?
      I’m so confused

      • Mark H says

        I too have a carpet of chest hair that would rival that lego figurine, does that make me a “person of colour” then?

        Having graduated from the University of Melbourne almost 2 decades ago, it is apparent that it has continued the decline into madness that was/should have been apparent to me when I was there. I studied a STEM field, but had to do 12.5 points in “The Arts” for my undergraduate degree. I still remember the notice boards in the Old Arts building being plastered with notices of meeting of various Marxist organisations. My Philosophy of Science lecturer was an open Marxist too.

        Luckily, at that stage, the rot had not yet spread to the more technical fields. I would imagine that it is quite entrenched by now though.

        Not sure that I would personally call it an Ivy League establishment, but that’s just based on my personal experience. My degree left me with a good grounding if I wanted to become a lecturer in my area (Computer Science), but very little in terms of skills that would prove useful in the real world.

        Perhaps these institutions can be re-built, but I fear that much of them will need to be (figuratively) burned out to clear out the dead wood and rot that currently infests them.

    • Ray Andrews says

      @MF

      Congratulations! You’re not white tho you may have thought you were. You should get a certificate certifying this however just in case someone mis-races you.

    • I disagreed with that point, slightly, because I also have chest hair. That said, pointing out one sentence in the whole article that no other point hinges on…is a needless cheap shot. The article isn’t about chest hair

    • Leah The Cow Who Jumped Over The Moon. says

      Speaking of chest hair, armpit hair, beards, and sweating bodies too, you may not know that while Tarzan who lived out there in the jungle far away from civilization and was supposedly protecting and/or helping/rescuing the “heathen savages” was always clean shaven and had a hairless chest.
      Did he ever kiss Jane of embrace her passionately, or even tell her that he loved her!
      At the same time, as far as I know there was an unwritten code whereby hairy white bodies were not to be shown on TV or in the movies. So too with sweating chests, and maybe even hairy armpits

      • Doug F says

        wow, I am fairly hairy chested and I had no idea all this time that I have been so mis-used.

    • Pedro RTG says

      I am a Spanish (from Spain) white man, and my chest hair, abundant, is going from black to white. Can any expert here tell me if I should feel victimized about the lego figure? I am a little lost now.

  2. Respek Wahmen says

    Speaking of chess (author’s bio), how has the patriarchy managed to achieve such dominance in chess? Last I heard the top 99/100 are male.

    It’s probably just a coincidence that universities are getting crazier as female enrollment increases. 57% at Melbourne. Some have 70%? Crazy is competitive.

    • Johnny Appleseed says

      Eh interesting hyothesis but I think youve got the causation wrong. This anti masculine culture that’s emerged has indirectly created a crap ton of disillusioned young men who fail to meet life milestones. That’s probably a large part of falllibg percentages of boys in college, but the same driving factor that led to decreased male enrollment is probably whats leading to the increased crazy “SJW” professors and admins.

      Young men need voices like Jordan Peterson to push them in the right direction, but even I’ll admit JP goes a little over the top from time to time.

  3. Sanford Smith says

    The weird thing is few minorities are known for being especially hairy-chested. Black men aren’t usually all that hairy. Neither Aborigines nor Pacific Islanders are known for hairy chests. The only substantially hairy-chested minority is Middle-Easterners, and that lego figurine is obviously not intended to be Middle-Eastern. (and there’s no stereotype of a Middle-Eastern burglar!)

  4. Kathleen Lowrey says

    The academic left has become so ludicrous that — and I say this as an entrenched feminist cat lady — I sometimes am tempted to advocate a combination of monarchism and ultramontanism just in hope of having an interesting conversation with somebody.

    • Rick says

      @KathleenLowrey I hear you. I am often tempted to say “outrageous” things just to break out of my own self censorship and to see if anyone can have a discussion.

    • scribblerg says

      How sad for you. Hint: Anything beyond equity feminism is political agitprop. Butler, even going back to Friedan, all were hopelessly deluded by privilege and bizarre fantasies about the world. McKinnon, Dworkin – all peddled BS. Get that. None of their ideas are even impressive. Take Butler – gender is “performative”. No, in fact we know that’s nowhere near entirely true. As well, it’s not a newsflash that culture informs each of us how to “be” male or female. It seems that these idiotic women believe every human is a blank slate and can write and imagine their own identities without regards to reality. No – that’s not a good way to live. We need culture and structure and a world that makes sense to us. The idea that gender roles are axiomatically oppressive is nonsense. None of these ideas should have gotten beyond undergraduate essays. 2nd and 3rd wave feminism are built upon an epistemology of nonsense. How can any thinking person subscribe to such banal and debunked ideas? I’m not being hyperbolic – I’m serious. And if you are miserable, as most feminists are, consider that having an ideology about the world that doesn’t comport with reality will always make a person unhappy and cause problems. It’s not too far a stretch to say that taking 3rd wave feminism seriously can derange a person.

      You seem aware that there is something wrong with your value/belief system given your admission that you are an “entrenched feminist cate lady”. Did you think that was funny or cute? It sounds quite sad and messed up. I can’t imagine how a human being could identify themselves this way, it’s odd.

    • I thoroughly enjoyed imagining a society based on monarchism and ultramontanism (after I looked up montanism). Or perhaps an academic methodology based on these. It would have more concrete outcomes than all the waft currently coming out of the Arts. I will attempt to emulate this approach to the academic left instead of the intense and combative irritation I was using previously.

      Also, that chap scribblerg is sooooo undergraduate.

      Stay cool. xx

  5. AJ says

    As a disgustingly pallid person I had despaired that all of my achievements were the result of male and white privilige rather than my own hard work or abilities. Now I know, thanks to my chest hair, that my achievements were despite racists discrimination aganist me and my achievements are therefore my own and all the greater for being against a discriminatory environment.

  6. E Taph says

    White people don’t have chest hair?! This is perhaps the most shocking “revelation” of the piece to me.

    • Shatterface says

      I suspect those who think white men are hairless are more used to watching them on Pornhub than sharing a changing room with them.

      Sean Connery’s Bond was famously prepared to tint his skin and change the shape of his eyes to pass as Japanese but he drew the line at shaving his chest.

      Most of us are proud to spirt a chest as hairy as Jonathan Yaniv’s ball-sack.

    • Farris says

      “White people don’t have chest hair?! This is perhaps the most shocking “revelation” of the piece to me.”

      Grass don’t grow on a playground.

  7. Heike says

    “A Veteran in College: The Problem With Identity Theories”, a piece that appeared in Areo Magazine, also states that university courses do not teach, or when they do attempt to teach they teach material known to be discredited. The writer received training in psyops and recognized exactly what was going on from his experience dealing with people in the Middle East and Africa: https://areomagazine.com/2019/05/07/a-veteran-in-college-the-problem-with-identity-theories/

    During my first semester, I began noticing underlying themes in several of the classes, and, by my second semester, I realized that this was not localized to a single course or field. These underlying themes formed the groundwork of every course throughout the college of liberal arts. The new ideas of racism and power were very confusing to me. I took in all the information about identity and race and culture that was directly contradictory to everything I had learned by studying culture across continents for over a decade. I lost months of sleep attempting to understand where all of this was coming from. After dissecting all the theoretical approaches to identity, intersectionality and postmodernism, I began to realize just how fundamentally flawed the research methodologies and interpretations were. Using subjective surveys, racial categorization and mass generalization, these disciplines are attempting to explain the world by putting it into neatly defined boxes, when in actuality they are conducting localized cultural studies, at best.

    These categories, which are now being defined by universities as identities, are nothing more than symbolic representations of what people are like underneath. The categories themselves do not hold any attitudes towards any specific ways of life. They do not keep people away from certain areas of town, and they do not cause people to kill other human beings. In fact, the underlying factors that they represent do not stay the same when applied to different areas of the world. They are only relative to the specific area in which they are being studied. It should come as no surprise that replicability is the primary problem when trying to equate human behavior with scientific fact. Attempting to explain the underlying motives of a person based on identity categories is barely coherent at the theoretical level, and, in practical application, falls apart completely.

    I was not overly concerned at first, because I assumed the young adults in these classes would just dismiss this as nonsense—just as kids often ignore half of high school. Then I began to notice that the ideas were actually sinking in. While attending a class on comedy theory, I played a clip from a stand-up comedian, and opened up a discussion about whether this clip could be considered to be in support of equality. The class’s answer was overwhelmingly no—the reason being that the comedian was a heterosexual, white male, therefore his opinion was invalid. The liberal arts students no longer had the ability to interpret any statement without first filtering it through the race and sex of the person who said it. They had officially been indoctrinated into the ideology of these identity theories.

    • old geezer says

      as i understand it, post modernism was derived from followers of the frankfurt school, communists

      western universities are simply teaching cultural suicide

      the results are quite obvious in what used to be europe

  8. E. Olson says

    Thank you for sharing your scary story that confirms what we see from so many so called “journalists”. Without know better, it is hard to imagine how a graduate program in Journalism from a top school would not spend any significant time teaching students how to write stories, investigate stories, question subjects, or provide any substantive knowledge about polling, statistics, economics, history, religion, criminality, or science that are likely to be relevant for journalists. Even scarier is we can’t blame it all on crazy Leftist faculty, as the bulk of the students seem to be at least as crazy, and to think this is taxpayer subsidized.

    • Emma says

      I made a similar observation. Now we know why journalisms suck at their jobs, to put it mildly.

      Now, I don’t blame the students so much as the professors. Remember some of these students have been indoctrinated into leftist ideology for so long that it’s become commonplace. It’s worse now, what with the politicization of absolutely goddamned everything. I used to be a progressive, but my boyfriend challenged me with logic, and I was able to identify fallacies and cognitive dissonance in my thinking. I didn’t know why I held some of my views; I just knew them to be “right.” I guess you could say he aroused the conservative in me out of slumber.

      I will concede that a large number of students refuse to entertain any common sense arguments. They refuse to consider voices inconsistent with their worldview, so they run to their safe spaces. I find your opinion incredibly insightful, and maybe you could shed light on this: has the critical thinking of university students been corroded by the introduction of leftist ideology, or are people simply not as smart as they claim to be? What do you think?

      Looking forward to reading your reply.

      • Old geezer says

        i would humbly suggest for you to familiarize with the frankfurt school of social research
        also learn just a little about antonio gramsci
        then follow the resulting course of western universities leading to something called post modernism

        the crud you are witnessing is not random

        this is a quick article that should turn on just a few light bulbs
        https://gatesofvienna.net/2018/11/altiero-spinelli-and-the-communist-origins-of-the-european-union/

        i love the part about bananas
        https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=zeMZGGQ0ERk

        i don’t think people are any dumber, perhaps lazier

        i know next to nothing of the ancients, but this saying really resonated with me

        Those The Gods Would Destroy They First Make Mad

        Your boyfriend is a lucky man, his gal can think : )

        • Emma says

          Oh, I am familiar with post-modernism. I was an English major in college, so post-modernism was the norm. I am also familiar with the Frankfurt School, but I haven’t read an extensive analysis of its history.

          And, yes, I know this is not random, but I am always interested to hear what other people think. I’ve had long discussions with people about the past and future of higher education. Unfortunately, I am more or less “educated” in this communist/progressive/post-modern crap.

          I will gladly check out the links you posted.

          • old geezer says

            my complements, you are decades ahead of me. i went the engineering route, cal poly class of ‘86. only after i stumbled upon these phenomena did i have a “ blueprint “ for the nonsense.

            now, what is to be done ? the era of compromise is over. never give another micron, ever. also, the best revenge to fools is to live life well.

      • E. Olson says

        Emma – Thank you for the kind words, and congratulations on your return to sanity that comes from your willingness to listen to other points of view (your boy friend’s), which is a quality sadly lacking among most Leftists (otherwise they wouldn’t stay Leftists). And you are correct that the students aren’t to blame, because it is hard to not be sucked into the Leftist sphere when K to PhD education is almost entirely swamped by is Leftist teachers and administration.

        Humans in general don’t like to change their minds, especially about viewpoints/beliefs that they strongly believe in, but the problem with Leftism (as you discovered) is that it doesn’t hold up very well to practical or logical critique. Thus if someone has been strongly indoctrinated into Leftism at school or home over many years, to hear logical, reasonable, and factual critiques is very upsetting to most people, especially when they have few counterpoints to offer, which means they often start name-calling (i.e. racist, sexist, Islamophobic, etc.) or attempt to shut down the “opposition” platforms to keep from hearing “bad words”.

        As for intelligence, it might come into play due to the lowered standards of universities. Most research suggests that only about 33% of the general population has the IQ and motivation to succeed in true university level study, but upwards to 70% of high school graduates start at college. Thus a large portion of the university student population can’t handle the work, but one solution is for them to choose less intellectually rigorous programs of study such as education, journalism, and various victim studies programs (including sociology and psychology), which are unfortunately often also taught by less bright faculty members whose own study struggles and inability to critically think make them susceptible to the “victim” narrative. Thus you have a self-perpetuating cycle of somewhat dim Leftist faculty teaching somewhat dim Leftist indoctrinated students who never allow their viewpoints to be challenged, and go on to wreak havoc as future teachers, NGO and government employees, journalists, social workers, school administrators, and HR employees, until the system collapses.

        • Emma says

          Coincidentally, my boyfriend and I discussed this very same topic late last night. His response, and my thinking, coincides with yours, but I suppose I am still holding out hope that indoctrination is mostly responsible for, as you said, intellectual dimness.

          My boyfriend shared with me the case of a faculty member (I am hazy on the details) who was spewing anti-9/11 propaganda — he said the victims were all Nazis. Well, he was hired on the faculty of a top-tier university. It was discovered years later, however, that this “professor” had lied about his academic pedigree — he didn’t have any. He had never bothered to pursue a tertiary education, and much of his publication was not scholarly research, but his own political writings. The university issued an statement expressing regret over its decision to fire him. Really? It is not a difficult decision to fire a fraudulent professor intent on proselytizing poisonous and erroneous ideas. Just incredibly. This buttresses your claim (indeed accurate) that dim leftist faculty teach equally intellectually lazy students.

          And, yes, my journey to the world of sanity has been quite arduous. As I mentioned above, although I didn’t know why I thought the way I did, I was convinced that my views made me a more compassionate person. To illustrate my point, a few years ago, during the Syrian refugee crisis, progressive writer Elizabeth Gilbert (she wrote Eat, Pray, Love) and other feminist writers were raising money to buy supplies for refugees. They asked their fans on social media to donate and hoped to reach their goal of $1 million. Well, despite the fact that I was an unemployed student at the time, I donated my last $5 to the cause. (yes, the minimum was $5.) I figured anything was better than nothing. Even then I was aware of how stupid my decision had been, but I dismissed it as “insensitive” and “cruel.”

          Another time I thoughtlessly spent the last $20 I had to get home on a homeless man who claimed to be hungry. We went into a market that sold prepared food, and he piled so much food on his takeout box that the total came out to $20. I instantly regretted my decision, but, once again, I dismissed it as “cruel thinking.” I attributed homelessness to an unfair and oppressive hierarchical system. Of course, I was just regurgitating what my professors repeatedly hammered into me. One of them actually stressed the importance of activism, and by distributing what little “wealth” I had, I became what she termed an “upstander” (as opposed to a bystander). Again, I sided with progressivism because I told myself it was rooted in compassion, empathy, and inclusivity.

          In retrospect, the “voice” in my head, similar to Socrate’s voice, often reprimanded me for actions I deemed benevolent. I concluded my voice was evil, and therefore I was evil. I’d be lying if I said I did not fear the mob, and so I adapted my thinking to fit that of the status quo. Even then, I had the sneaking suspicious I had compromised my self-reliance (think Emerson). I consider abortion to be a great moral evil, and I’ve always been against it (even when I was a progressive), but I adopted a lukewarm attitude toward it to deflect the rage of the majority. I’d say something along the lines of, “I am pro-life, but what you do with your body is your business.” That’s totally not how I’d approach the subject now. Anyway, the point is that I’ve been reteaching myself everything I learned and once thought to be true. I realized much history now is revisionist history. English has been politicized, and great texts denounced as “oppressive” and “inherently evil” because they were written by “privileged” white men. I remember one professor condemned Rudyard Kipling as racist and imperialist. A classmate said Petrarch was egocentric because he praised and wrote about himself. In a “Letter to Posterity,” which is part autobiography and obituary, she implied Petrarch’s experience and advice was irrelevant because he was wealthy and white. Of course, she forgot the little fact that Petrarch was also a humanist, and, as such, he’s at the center of the universe. Anyway, it’s disheartening to see the decline of the humanities. Much is ignored for the sake of political correctness. Critical thinking is hampered because we’re taught what to think as opposed to how to think. Lately, I’ve been looking to the ancients, those good pagans, in hopes I too will catch a glimmer of the truth.

          Sorry this is so long, but if you never went through this, consider yourself lucky. I have spent 22 years in school only to realize I know absolutely nothing. I must start anew, which I am okay with, so long as I am finally exposed to truth.

          P.S. Disregard any spelling errors. I needed to get my thoughts out. I am looking forward to engaging in further discussion with you.

          • E. Olson says

            Emma – Leftism is built on compassion and good intentions, which are fine qualities when used in moderation and with skepticism. The world is unfair and unequal, and that drives Leftists crazy, but their solutions to change the world almost never make the world more fair or more equal, but rather more often make inequality worse and/or create new problems.

            In contrast, those on the Right tend to believe the world may be unfair or unequal, but are more hesitant to make big change and instead wish to conserve most of the current structures of life. In large part this desire to conserve is due to the belief that things are the way they are because they work better for more people than alternatives, even if current structures are far from perfect in terms of fairness or equality. Thus someone on the Right will almost always ask for some evidence that a proposed change will actually fix the problem, and indeed whether the problem can actually be fixed at all by human intervention.

            Education provides a nice way to contrast the two points of view. Evidence suggests that college graduates are more likely to find well paid work and have other better life outcomes such as better health and more successful marriages. The Left looks at this information and says the obvious solution to many societal problems is to make sure everyone gets a college education, and because some people are financially poor or bad students, this will require the government to provide student aid and mandate affirmative action to make sure that everyone can get into college. The Right will look at the same information more skeptically and ask why college would give people advantages in life, and examine whether it is the knowledge that college gives students or whether college simply selects people more likely to have the skills and talents to succeed in life. The Right might also question whether lowering admission standards will lead to good outcomes for bad students who haven’t even mastered K-12 material, or whether subsidizing college might lead to inflation and higher tuition prices, and whether higher college participation might lower the value of a college education.

            Another big difference between Left and Right is the Left typically wants to ban, silence or destroy the Right, because the Right are so often an obstacle to the changes the Left wants to make to current structures in life, as they ask silly and inconvenient questions such as how effective the proposed change is likely to be in solving a problem, and how much will the change cost? In contrast, the Right rarely seeks to ban, silence, or destroy Leftists, because the Right understands that absolute power is ultimately corrupting, which requires an opposition, and because sometimes change to current structures is a good thing and worth the inevitable costs.

    • jratb says

      The two subjects were electives – not part of the journalism course but of criminology’s master’s programme. The journalism programme has a practical training stream. The author didn’t need to take these two subjects, could easily have taken something else more to their political liking, and could’ve got their qualification without them. It was disingenuous to suggest that these were a core part of the training. Without concrete evidence of the syllabus, much of the commentary here is speculative and, therefor, ill informed. This piece was looks like a bit of dog whistling by a wannabe cultural warrior.

  9. Princess Underlove says

    You poor, poor thing, you had to listen to progressive opinions, oh the horror! the humanity! Excuse me while I play the world’s smallest violin.

    You start by quoting an insane conspiracy theory by Mr Lobster, then your horrifying tale of what convinced you he was right all along turned out to be… one lady complaining about a lego figurine. You conservaturds are in desperate need for a reality check, y’all have the gall to call minorities “snowflakes” for complaining about real grievances like being disproportionately jailed, if not murdered, by the police but oh no, the REAL grievance is when a person of color complains about a lego figurine, the real grievance is when they tell you that maybe you shouldn’t be so racist.

    Here’s an idea for the right-wingers out there: if diverse and inclusive environments are so scary to you, maybe it’s because you’re a bigoted dipshit. Shocking, I know.

    • derek says

      Come on, you can do a better sell job than that!

      For $50,000 a year in tuition, you can play with lego dolls all the while justifying it with a two page report. Don’t worry, no one will read it.

    • Heike says

      What an awful, hate-filled comment. If you want compassion from the world learn how to put it into the world. If you can’t, you can’t expect it.

      If you’re uncomfortable reading Quillette, It’s because your influence and presence makes other members of the community feel unwelcome, and here we prioritize being inclusive, and a place for everyone.

    • Denny Sinnoh says

      The dipshit in this picture is wearing your underwear right now.

      Ha ha.
      Pikachu, take a break, she’s worthless.

    • Klaus C. says

      Support for FGM is not progessive, Princess. Opposition to such barbaric practices is progressive.

      Support for Islamist theocracy (and all the insane misogyny, homophobia, superstition, violence and terror it entails) is not progressive – opposition to it is progressive.

      As for the faculty and their Lego character, that was just funny and rather pathetic.

      But I speak as a left-of-centre progressive liberal, not an authoritarian, pseudo-left, bigoted identity-politics dipshit.

      • Princess Underlove says

        @Klaus

        I love stories from totally-legit “””centre””” leftists because they are always like “I used to believe in climate science but then someone asked me to call them ‘they’ and now I think the holocaust never happened”.

        And you call yourself “centre” as if that’s in any way good, “oh look at me, the reasonable one taking a middle stance between human rights and white supremacy, aren’t I cool?”. You far-right dipshits would be hilarious if only you were fictional, but no such luck for the world.

        • Pinkot says

          Centrism doesn’t mean one takes the center position on everything. A centrist is one who incorporates aspects of right wing ideas and left wing ideas into their thinking. It’s quite frankly very telling that to YOU all who don’t toe YOUR view of what people should think, are basically fascists to you. That is the logic behind every political genocide, and it is precisely why I have moved from the left more to the center. If your people haf the ultimate power, I would get the bullet too for being a heretic on some issue or the other. “My” left has been infected by cultists, and we need to work with the more center-right people to restore sanity.

          • Princess Underlove says

            @Pinkot

            Oh that is SO much more reasonable: “look at me, I incorporate a little bit of progressive values into my worldview and also some racist bigotry and white supremacy, aren’t I cool?”.

            I hate to break it to you, but it turns out you’re not cool at all, because there is no acceptable compromise between good and evil, a compromise between peaceful coexistence and genocide would still be murder, this is the same thing. Being adjacent or sympathetic to white supremacists makes you no better than white supremacists themselves. There is no “centre left”, there is progressives, then there is overt bigots and covert bigots, you just happen to be of the covert variety.

          • Pinkot says

            @Princess Underlove
            You must be trolling, but I’ll bite. Where did I say anything about incorporating racism into my thinking? I oppose racism, but I also oppose the kind of “transgressive” anti-racism that is so “progressive” that it starts seeing genital mutilation as just another acceptable form of cultural difference. I also oppose many other ideas and concepts the #woke people have, such as “white fragility”, because it’s basically just a tool to shame people into silence. I also oppose the witch hunting mentality you manifest here. Everyone who doesn’t think exactly as progressively as you want them to, are basically nazis. That’s moronic, I’m sorry to say. That is not progressive, that is reggressive, and it’s coming from the left. I won’t have anything to do with that.

        • Klaus C. says

          Being “left-of-centre” merely means I’m a very far distance from your obvious pseudo-left fascist allegiances, Princess.

        • Defenstrator says

          Again with the projection. You have got to stop pushing your own dip shit self into other people.

    • Shatterface says

      What’s progressive about FGM?

      Would you give up your clitoris for the cause?

      (Not that anyone calling theirself ‘Princess’ in 2019 would necessarily be familiar with the clitoris).

    • Farris says

      Rage Monkey

      Rage at the wind and it will pass you by, construct a barrier and you will impede its progress.

      Moral: Be constructive.

      • Farris, isn’t funny how they always prove the article to be correct with their moral posturing?

        • Farris says

          @Susanna

          It’s all about the rage. Literally a rage measuring game. Rage is used to supplant doing something useful. I don’t need to do anything constructive, I was sufficiently outraged.
          I realize this poster is mostly likely a troll, hungry for any type of attention or comments. However it does appear a reasonably accurate parody of the conduct and attitudes of SJWs.

    • Blue Lobster says

      Your opinions do seem very progressive…

    • LukeReeshus says

      You seem triggered. Are you okay?

      No, seriously, are you okay?

      • But, Don't Quit Your Day Job Just Yet says

        Princess Underlove – you are an awesome troll. they all fall for it each time. If only there was a way to financially compensate you for each additional comment you generate.

        • CTE says

          I can’t tell if he/she (assuming her) is serious or not, but I think you are right to assume a troll. It’s so funny that people can’t seem to help themselves in responding to her comments. Regardless of sincerity, it’s obvious that she wants the reaction and not a measured debate.

          Don’t feed the troll people! Instead of getting the fleeting satisfaction of your overly reactive response you may just feel a little wiser in your refrain.

    • Defenstrator says

      As usual you mistake scorn of far left positions as coming from “right wingers”. I’m a liberally and find this anti intellectual teaching to be a disgrace.

    • Nakatomi Plaza says

      I love you, Princess Underlove.

      And you guys couldn’t ignore her if your fucking lives depended on it. You’re all a veritable keystone cops of hypocrisy and bullshit trying to defend yourselves from her criticism. It’s like a grown-up just walked into your playhouse and you don’t know what to do so you start screeching like confused monkeys.

      • jakesbrain says

        Buddy, if you think that’s what a grownup looks like, you have bigger problems than we “confused monkeys” do.

    • Anon says

      Princess, he is not claiming to be victimized by the university, but arguing that parts of it are run by political hacks with no academic standards. I hope you can see how the victimology complex was injected into his words by your own filters.

      • Princess Underlove says

        @Pete Smyth

        And a few months after I posted that comment, the Christchurch shooter began his massacre saying “subscribe to PewDiePie”. Turns out I was right.

    • @Princess.
      1. So what do you think about having your clitoris cut off against your will? Is it ok if it’s done to brown and black people, and/or done by brown and black people–as long as white Westerners are not involved?
      2. What do you think about Islamic terrorism? Agencies that support it? Is it ok as long as the targets are not you and your friends? Or if the perpetrators are brown?
      3. Do you think English is an ‘imperialist language” and if so, why? And why not all the other imperialist nations who speak other languages?

      I could go on. I’m just asking you what you think of the essay’s main points, since you pretend it was simply about Jordan Peterson and a lego figure.

      Extra credit: Answer without using childish ugly insults, without accusing me of being ‘far right’ – which seems to mean “anyone who does not espouse the progressive litany and who is not of the faith” – and by using reasoning and facts.

    • Daniel says

      Your comment is a perfect example of the flaws in the identity politics you espouse. Your sympathy for minorities displays itself in the claim that they are disproportionately jailed, and that this represents injustice.
      However, in recent years minority youngsters have been jailed less for criminal behavior than others, per crime. The problem is disgruntled minority youth commit a disproportionate share of crimes. Most of their victims are minorities, and their behavior does great harm to minority communities. Thus your sympathy and actions to protect minority criminals from police actually harm the communities you wish to help and support.
      Your good intentions backfire and cause harm specifically to those who really need your help.
      The same is true for most policies that the left supports. Affirmative action, for example, by making minority students compete against those with better preparation, has a negative effect including discouragement and sometimes failure, when the same students would have done much better among those with similar preparation, and enjoyed rather than hated their educational experiences.

  10. Morgan Foster says

    “Was pursuing a degree at Australia’s top university a waste of time?”

    Well, the only thing it’s good for is gaining a competitive advantage over other applicants for your first job in journalism, so that’s worth something, anyway.

    Why an intelligent young man would want to enter such an unsavory profession in the first place is entirely different matter.

    • Just Me says

      Morgan Foster –

      But he’s blown his cover with this article…good luck to him getting a job in any major newspaper or magazine.

      He’ll be restricted to minor, “right-wing” outlets like Quillette.

  11. Morgan Foster says

    “I was exposed to surprisingly little information on the actual craft of journalism.”

    She’ll be right on the night, mate.

  12. Aerth says

    So, academic teachers working for best Australian university seems to believe white people don’t have chest hair?

    Well, I am white and certainly have them, so either I am freak of nature or they are idiots who should get a job more fitting of their intelectual abilities. Like toilet cleaners.

    • E. Olson says

      There are just so many ways to be offended by the Lego criminal figure. I assume the chest hairs are to indicate the criminal is a male, but why does Lego not consider that females can also be criminals or have chest hair? Is Lego sexist in thinking females can’t also aspire to be criminals, and close the criminal gender gap, and what about transgender males who don’t have chest hair – why are they being left out of the criminal world? Furthermore, the “hands” of the criminal look like hooks, so why does Lego assume that criminals are handicapped – isn’t that creating an ugly stereotype that might be used to discriminate against the handicapped? On the other hand, perhaps the handicapped are forced by society’s indifference to their plight to seek a life of crime in order to survive, and thus Lego’s depiction of handicapped criminals is trivializing the hardships endured by the handicapped.

      I could go on and one in finding ways to be offended – doesn’t he look a little fat? and short? What does Lego have against fat and short people…

      • Gordon the Gopher says

        I am genuinely a short, fat person with a hairy chest and a beanie hat. Now I’m horribly offended.

  13. Kevin Herman says

    And some people wonder why journalism is so bad and just another appendage of the far left for the most part. Just look at the craziness peddled on a daily basis at one of the world’s top journalism programs.

  14. Gary Gavegan says

    Our tax dollars should not be supporting this shit. It is shear insanity. I know, begging the question. How dreary to have to waste good brain time dismantling shit that has no place in a higher (so called) place of learning in the first place.

  15. Weasels Ripped My Flesh says

    “How does one efficiently cut a news story down to 125 words?”

    Easy. Say you started at 250 words. Delete every other one. Starting at 500 words?? No problem. Delete every 3 out of 4 words.

    I should be teaching this writing stuff, but I have upper chest hair (and yellow skin complexion, cup shaped hands, killer sideburns and a sinister sneer) ….

  16. Cynical Old Biologist says

    The university rankings are influenced strongly by research output but are used to recruit the bulk of foreign students mostly into the non-scientific, less research-oriented areas.

  17. Mitch says

    Glad to see it’s effecting Melbourne more than Sydney 😛

  18. Emma says

    “I wouldn’t have believed a word of it. I would have assumed the narrator of these outlandish events to be a right-wing doomsayer ready to contort the truth however necessary to vilify his opponents. Can I reasonably expect more charity from you, the reader of this article? Hard to say.”

    I am surprised that Snowdon Smith is so shocked by the culture war. Of course I would’ve believed because instances such as the ones illustrated unfold across American universities frequently. I went to a state university, which is yet not so radical, and I encountered a similar perversion of the actual history of the West and its values. For instance, while we were learning about nomadic tribes in one anthropology class (which I was required to take), my professor commented on the still-practiced custom of FMG among the Bedouins. I raised my hand and asked her why feminists don’t denounce what is essentially a barbaric ritual. Her response? We should not call cultures we do not understand barbaric because it’s ethnocentric. She didn’t shout me down, and I did challenge a lot of her assumptions (i.e., race and gender are sexual constructs), which, I noticed, unsettled her greatly. I guess she is not used to students questioning so bluntly.

    Again, this is not exclusive to Australian universities. It seems to have become prevalent all across the West. Any mention of the backwardness of some of these cultures, the evil perpetrated by certain religions, or the fact that Western civilization is the best civilization is perceived as “Othering.” It is another way of saying that we are creating a sense of victimization for minority groups. This is not true.

    Similarly to the author, my university had low academic standards, and I still graduated. It appears that many universities do. As many have remarked of top-tier universities, it’s harder to get in, but once you’re in, the sailing is smooth. Well, this is true of too many universities. In some cases, it’s easier to get in and even easier to graduate. The challenge is not there anymore. It’s a shame that Smith spent a year learning so little about his profession. At least he’s honest enough to admit it, unlike the vast array of journalists who profess to be objective but devote themselves to churning out just garbage news.

    • Just Me says

      Emma –

      I was with you until “the backwardness of some of these cultures” and ” the fact that Western civilization is the best civilization”. I think that kind of thinking is just as simplistic as the Progressive Left’s and not acceptable in an academic discussion.

      As someone who has studied anthropology and history, etc., I also butted heads with the Postmodernists decades ago when they were starting to take over, but in a nutshell, I would say while we should be proud of the accomplishments of western civilisation in many regards, particularly the status of women, science, etc., it is silly and unacademic to engage in pissing contests as to which civilisation is superior overall.

      Other civilisations have had their own glorious accomplishments, and all have their good points and bad points. which you value most should be debatable, and secondary.

      What is destructive to academic research is the need to turn everything into a moral issue first and foremost.

      There are so many more interesting questions to ask about history and the evolution of humankind, than “who are the good guys and who are the bad guys here?” That attitude is emotionally exhausting and intellectually destructive.

      I’d rather ask questions like, “what conditions led to that particular situation? who benefited and who was disadvantaged and why?” etc.

  19. IainC of The Ponds says

    I’m white and I don’t have any chest hair – the premise must be true!
    On a more serious note, it should be revealed that, every Easter, the UoM hosts a conference on Marxism, in which invited Marxist speakers regale loyal comrades about….well, who knows. The point is, a vicious ideology that has destroyed whole continents and murdered tens of millions happily and safely, without protest and with the smug sanction of the University Administration, merrily spews out its virulent muck and no-one at the place cares. I wrote to the Vice Chancellor some years ago in protest, and was politely told that there was no issue or concern from his perspective. When hard-core fascists (funny that those anti-fascist protestors didn’t notice them on campus) are allowed free reign, is it any wonder that the hidden ideological meanings of hairy chested Lego toys are taken seriously?
    When paradigms like those described in the article are so obviously infantile, anti-reality and nonsensical, how is it that the Right can possibly be losing the culture wars? How can we be so incompetent as to not defeat this dross in our sleep? It’s embarrassing. (IainC of The Ponds)

  20. Dick Gezinya says

    @Princess Underlove You go girl! Tell those conservaturds wussup. Matter of fact, you know what you should do? Move to Africa and get your clit chopped off! Then you could write from firsthand experience about how liberating it is! You could also join ISIS and write about that, too! Drop some serious knowledge on these dumbass cis het bros dudes!

    Stay woke!

  21. The author chose journalism as a major… there’s your problem right there.

  22. Nakatomi Plaza says

    How many times are you guys going to publish the exact same article? Yes, college campuses can be preoccupied with social issues. Yes, there are some unbearably self-righteous jerk-offs on college campuses. Is it as bad as these articles make it seem? God no, of course not. You’ve got these people publishing here hell-bent on seeing what they want to see, so that’s all they see. I don’t believe for a second that this writer didn’t get the opportunity to learn about the craft of journalism, but I do believe he was determined to be bothered every time his precious little heart was disappointed or offended. This guy is trying to publish articles suitable for a right-wing audience, so guess what? He’s serving up some right-wing bullshit, but this is only a sliver of the truth.

    In the end, you’re all no different that the SJW who can’t help but be offended by everything and can’t ever just shut up about it and learn something.

    • Emma says

      Where is the right-wing bullshit? He’s reporting what he experienced in higher education. Or are you going to undermine his experiences? How sexist of you.

      Of course anyone with still intact critical thinking skills would be bothered by what is an attempt at indoctrination. I relate to the author since I’ve had similar incidents at university.

      It seems to me you’re more offended by the publication of another article “suitable for a right-wing audience” than the other way around. If you don’t like what Quillette has to offer, and it clearly riles you up to an extent, why are you here?

      • jakesbrain says

        If you don’t like what Quillette has to offer, and it clearly riles you up to an extent, why are you here?

        Because it regularly gives him an excuse to spray the rest of us with vitriol, and he clearly enjoys doing so.

    • NP's mom says

      “How many times are you guys going to publish the exact same article?”

      How many times are you going to read the exact same articles and then spew your usual rage induced nonsense?

    • Just Me says

      So different people all report similar experiences at different universities and in different programs, and your conclusion is that it actually isn’t that bad because it’s “all the same article”?

    • @Nakatomi, how many times are you going to publish the exact same response?
      You take issue with this article but your post does literally zero to refute it. Your illogical arguments are:
      1. The author has observed the same things others here have observed. Therefore, I can dismiss what they all say.
      2. Though colleges campuses can be ‘preoccupied’ with social issues, it is not nearly as bad as these authors make it seem. You offer literally zero proof of this. You simply assert it.
      3. Personal insults (yawn).
      4. This is “right wing bullshit,” also with literally zero proof, and zero efforts at defining what precisely is ‘right wing’ or ‘bullshit’ about what the author is saying. (This is so you can dismiss whatever he says.)

      You conclude by saying we have to “shut up” and ‘learn something.”

      Ah yes. You’ve convinced me! I love being told to “shut up” so I can ‘learn something” that is–what?

      I guess I’ll leave with this, @Nakatomi: Why is it that the collectivist “progressives” like you refuse to defend literally any of their beliefs but instead, as here, immediately a) deny there’s a problem, b) insult anyone who disagrees c) call anyone right of far left, a “far right” person, implying they’re all racists etc and can be ignored, d) and then threaten or bully (‘shut up’).

      Ask yourself why you do this.
      Why do you deny, obfuscate, and attack, as opposed to simply stating your case or engaging?
      Why do you feel the need to do this?
      I challenge you next time to respond with logic, facts, reasoning, truth, and no name calling.

    • S Snell says

      @ Nakatomi
      While I take exception to your tone, you definitely have a point. It has been well established that colleges are hotbeds of social-justice activism. OK, got it. Why go there again and again?

      However, the fact that many observers are reporting similar experiences refutes the right-wing bullshit charge, and suggests that it is more than a “sliver” of the truth.

      I know right wing when I see it, and Quillette ain’t it. This is a pretty highbrow joint. The articles lean conservative, but are well-written, scholarly, and topical. The comments shimmer with wit and intelligence, something you do not see on Fox or Breitbart, and are generally models of civility. Yours are a rare exception.

  23. jimhaz says

    Modern virtue signalling (mainly female and LGBwhatever generated) reminds me a little of the one-upsmanship in the old Monty Python – Four Yorkshire Men skit (and the I want to be a woman skit that follows)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1by0-nkKOTs

  24. David of Sydney says

    I studied Criminology at another, much less prestigious Australian University, and had a similar experience. I naively enrolled in a course titled “Gender and Crime” which I thought would be about the different mechanisms of deviant behaviour and criminal outcomes between the sexes.

    Unfortunately, it was a course in radical feminism and how men are to blame, even when it is a female offender.

    The first lecture I was introduced to concepts of gender having no relation to biology, patriarchy, gender pay gap, male oppression, hegemonic masculinity and equity.

    What shocked me most of all was that no students challenged any of this.

    So I jumped in with both feet.

    For the rest of the semester I was the sole voice arguing against the Social Constructionist perspective. I was alone in Bizarro world, and this in itself was overly stressful. I was surprised at just how much energy was required to fight against Bizarro world and it gave me greater respects for those that are willing to take on this fight in the media.

    Every piece of evidence I would identify that disproved their worldview was simply dismissed without any thought. I asked dozens of questions which were ignored or never directly addressed.
    For example, in regard to sexual attraction being a social construct, I raise that science has shown the Hip to Waist Ratio of 0.7 being somewhat of a universal ideal. I showed a dozen peer reviewed papers which stated the same. But the last paper I raised a study of congenitally blind men using mannequins, which found that even blind men found the 0.7 HWR most desirable. This was dismissed with a simple “well blind people can be socialised as well”.

    I asked if we live in a binary society, then how are there any more than 2 genders? That is all our society is constructing and reinforcing. So how are these other genders being socially constructed in a society only “constructing” the binary? This was dismissed with a simple, it doesn’t work that way.

    No shit Sherlock!!

    These people are anti-science idiots, so for the last half of the course I just spent it trolling.

    We had a well-known beta male guest lecturer for one class, and afterwards I was asked my opinion by the regular lecturer. I told them that I thought he was a virtue signaling crank who was anti-science and tried to use opinion as “fact”. Lastly, I told them I was most surprised when he accused the University of both gender and racial discrimination (due to patriarchy and white privilege). That’s when they lost their shit at me telling me what an expert this Dr was.

    The only good things to come out of it was, it was timed with the rise of Jordan Peterson, the IDW and Quillette so I got to witness that first-hand….

    My final discussion was on the “existence” of non-binary as a gender. They said why do I even care since it will never affect me. I said what if I refuse to hire a non-binary because I think they are delusional? They said that would be illegal.

    My point made, I left our discussions there.

    These ideas are permeating all Universities and workplaces and will have long reaching effects.

    Welcome to Bizarro world.

    • I’ve recently started another degree… because I must be crazy. There is a certain amount of filler in the course that I’m not impressed with. One of these was an intercultural communications course which from the outset tried so hard to appear deep and meaningful but in the end was a surface appraisal of how to get politically correct in 10 easy steps. Every paper I had to read was either vaguely Marxist or a personal story by a victim of something. I got higher marks when I said how great a particular person of colour was in relation to myself or lower marks when I had to actually tell the class how the law works in the West and why it does.

      Every topic was an exercise in contrariness , borders are bad, passports are evil , refugees are all saints, cultural appropriation wasn’t spelt out but as the class tried to out woke each other it became an issue. It was so obvious what they were doing . At one point a lecturer delivered a sermon on diversity.

      She didn’t like it when I asked her if she as a white middle class woman in her 50s was prepared to give up her job to a non white poor person in the interest of diversity.

      At the end of the day the course was just stupid and shallow and in no way comparable to actual hard degrees like law, medicine and nursing. But I had to suffer through it to get to bits I signed up for.

    • AJ says

      The way that social constructionism completely ignores all of the science, common sense and every day observations is to me quite frightening. The implication is that any amount of evidence will be overuled by ideology bearing this in mind think about what would happen if as a man you were every accused of an offense by a woman if you were to be judged by such people. Very very frightening.

      Your example of sexual attraction being a social construct is paticualrily bizarre. It is not just all the obvious contrary evidence and common sense arguments based on biology but this cannot account for homosexuality in historic periods and is completely against their own ideology that homosexuality is innate and not a matter of choice or outside influence.

      Again quite frigthening even ideology plus evidence cannot overrule ideology once they have made their mind up.

  25. Peter says

    The high ranking of U of Melbourne is almost surely due to research output in STEM subjects, biomedicine etc. Other departments likely just enjoy the free ride.

  26. Barney Doran says

    Australia’s Ivy League sounds a lot like the U.S original version. My advice to prospective students: stick with the # 400 U. Of Oklahomas and actually receive an education as opposed to an indoctrination. It will gain you more and cost you a lot less, and maybe, just maybe, the scales will eventually begin to tip toward sanity in higher education.

  27. James says

    So the thrust of this article is about chest hair then?

    • Respek Wahmen says

      Your phallocentrism has been noted, James. We see you. Fascist.

  28. Owen says

    This is a fantastic article. People need to realise that there genuinely is more nonsense than sense going on in the western world and that those who resist it aren’t conspiracy theorists or cutters. Scary stuff…

  29. scribblerg says

    The author doesn’t realize just how deep this “rabbit hole” goes. He cites McCarthyism and it doesn’t even occur to him that perhaps that was also a leftist driven lie and political campaign? Fyi, all the people on McCarthy’s list were later confirmed to be Soviet agents. There is a great book on this, Blacklisted by History by M. Stanton Evans, a very serious historian.

    International communism, funded by the Soviets, penetrated U.S. society and the West in general via Soviet intelligence services beginning in the 1930s. The founders of the EU and the U.N. were all socialists, some communists and some were Soviet agents of influence.

    This history has been hidden and shamed and destroyed very intentionally by leftist scholars and activists. It’s so far gone, you’ll likely instead determine I’m crazy or paranoid. But I’m not. Read M. Stanton Evans book, I dare you.

    If you do, you will actually understand exactly where we are and why. None of this will surprise you. But be prepared, you will become incredibly pessimistic about the future of classical liberalism and Western civilization.

    • Emma says

      I recently bought an American history book that also confirms this. There are FBI documents that corroborate McCarthy’s accusations. Here’s the kicker: McCarthy was a few years late. By the time he started revealing the identity of actual communists, the network of communist spies had disbanded because of a female member. I guess she had some sort of mental breakdown.

      Unfortunately, this revisionist history is what’s taught in schools.

      • scribblerg says

        500 Soviet agents were confirmed, and those who said it also say we “didn’t know that half of it”. These are well known facts for anyone who researches.

        Funniest, I heard a right wing “expert” on a show the other day denounsing McCarthy and the ‘House Committee on UnAmerican Activities’ – he was a senator, not a congressmen. HUAC was started in the House by Martin Dyze in the ’30s. And he was right too. Many of the early anti-communists were buried by FDR and the communist goons he surrounded himself with.

        But even FDR couldn’t avoid the facts. When Dyze’s committee came up with real proof, he stated, “But some of my closest friends are communists”.

        We lost the Cold War and don’t even know it…

    • JillOz says

      Yes I was very surprised by the author’s dismissal of Communists in the US administration, shows he arrived at uni already infected.

  30. Frances says

    Utterly depressing – and I say that as someone who studied both Law and Criminology at U of Melbourne.Standards were rigorous, and the Criminology Department especially enjoyed a fine reputation for both research and teaching. What happened?!
    This is the kind of article alumni dread to read – but it also hardens my determination never to donate a single cent to the alma mater until it cleans up its act and gets back to doing its job. Education not indoctrination.

    • Morgan Foster says

      @Frances

      I hope you will convey that same message to other alumni. I try to do it at every opportunity.

      • Frances says

        @MF
        Yes, I do. Some of them find it hard to believe at first that things are so bad – because they were so good in our time there. But I’m making headway. This sort of article helps.
        Withholding when they come knocking for money is one of the few ways we can exert any pressure. All alumni should give it some thought. I think it’s more of an American thing – but it’s catching on.

  31. Daniel V says

    Found the blurb about the pro FGM professor’s background interesting. Specifically her work in the empirical study of marginalized communities. To me that seems to suggest she’s worked to quantify their suffering and oppression so targets can then been made to action it.

    I just don’t see how that can be a thing that can be done. It reminds me of my stoner friends talking about cigarettes increasing your high by 10 percent or more. 10 percent of what? You can’t objectively and empirically define a subjective experience like being high then accurately show a cigarette increases it by a set amount. When I brought this up to my stoner friends they were quick to agree it was dumb. Somehow I don’t think the professor would do the same.

    It’s what leads to articles that make statements like toxic masculinity costs 15 billion (or more!) a year. Even an uneducated slob like myself can see that’s a problematic statement to make. It’s worth noting they’re calculating this number based on factors like missed economic activity resulting from violent crimes perpetuated by men. No consideration the crimes might the result of poverty, lack of education, or even inherited mental illness. No the problem is obviously toxic masculinity so let’s focus on that and flag any other attempt to explain it as mysoginistc.

    This is not the left I grew up identifying as a part of at all. We used to be the ones arguing against a single root cause and fighting for nuance. Yes, toxic masculinity plays a negative role, but there are dozens of questions arising from that. Why does it play a role? Where does it come from? Why are some cultures more toxic while others are not? Why does America seem more masculine than Canada? Why is it so prominent in Brazil and other Latin countries? Why isn’t it so prominent in Nordic countries? How does religion and economics relate?

    These people seem more suited for the right than the left where you would expect because God explanations.

    • Just Me says

      Daniel V-

      Yes, those questions are the right ones, the really interesting ones which would provide useful answers.

      The constant moralizing about who are the good guy victims and who are the bad guy oppressors gets us nowhere.

      Looking at everything with a moralizing, virtue vs evil lens was what the Left criticized about the Right, now the tables have turned.

  32. TJR says

    Nobody dislikes all this stuff more than us academics in maths, science, technology, engineering etc. Not just for all the reasons above, but also because it brings the rest of us into disrepute, guilt by association.

    Unfortunately Universities are heavily stovepiped so it is very difficult to do anything about the corruption of subjects other than your own.

    There is a real job to be done in properly estimating how common this is, and how far the rot has set in. Are we just cherry-picking unrepresentative examples? Of course you can always find somewhere an example of racism, sexism or political correctness gone mad.

    • Just Me says

      TJR-

      One problem with this is that the different disciplines all routinely diss each other, and have been doing it since long before this extreme episode.

      The hard sciences look down on the soft ones, economics looks down on sociology, the stats sociologists on the qualitative ones, behaviorists and cognitive scientists duked it out, etc., so the social scientists long ago became defensive and dismissive of the physical scientists, and administrators learned to take the internecine fighting with a grain of salt.

      And there was the problem of the ultra-specialisation that makes every discipline a silo, with even more specialised silos within it, all competing for scarce resources instead of seeing themselves as engaged in a common enterprise.

      As a grad student 3 decades ago, I had to sit around and listen to anthro grad students complain they got no resources and no respect because it all went to physicists with their million-dollar equipment like particle colliders, when that was just a useless waste of money because who cares…? Lots of resentment there.

      But I also had to listen to physicists, computer scientists and economists demonstrating their total ignorance and contempt for other disciplines like sociology, religious studies, history, etc. because they are “too subjective”.

      But I believe that before the activists and POMOs started taking over in the late 80s, the social scientists and historians were doing a pretty good job of asking the right questions, and that you need all the different complementary approaches to get a good grip on a complex reality. (See Jordan Peterson).

      But that was before the takeover of the humanities and social scientists by people who don’t believe in facts and objective reality…not sure much of it is salvageable now.

      See what Niall Ferguson has to say about history…

      https://youtu.be/VKkNIOkGtnQ?t=1253

      • Morgan Foster says

        @Just Me

        “…. people who don’t believe in facts and objective reality…not sure much of it is salvageable now.”

        Nothing, if speaking reasonably and rationally to people who don’t believe in facts and objective reality is the best that we can do.

        So far as public universities are concerned, if you want to change what’s wrong you have to follow the rot upward and then work back down again.

        Identify a professor. Who does he answer to? Who does that person answer to? All the way to the top. And where’s the top, you may ask?

        Government, of course. Identify the government agency that supervises the public university. Fire everyone who works there. Withhold funds from the university while you purge the board of governors (or whatever you might call them). Install a new board of governors who then fire the university president. Then fire the deans under the president. Then remove the department heads and then remove the professor.

        Note I said “fired”, not “convince” or “persuade”. With tenured faculty you’ll still have to pay them but you can “fire”, or remove, them from their positions.

        Oh, and let’s not forget the students. Dismantle their student organizations, take away their grants and lock the doors of whatever facilities they’ve been using. “Fire” them from whatever committees they’ve been allowed to join.

        Then, when you have run out of people to fire, let the survivors on the faculty stew in terror while sanity is imposed from without.

        Imposed by whom? The people, of course. The taxpayers. The parents. Through their elected representatives.

        We don’t have to destroy the public universities to save them, but we do have to destroy the careers and livelihoods of those people who have been wrecking them.

        It’s the only way to stop them. Reason will never work.

        • Just Me says

          Morgan oster –

          Oh, please. Replacing one reign of revolutionary terror and censorship with another is not the answer.

          Intellectual movements come and go as they are replaced with another wave reacting to it.

          This one is in power now because it has been politically smart and the opposition was naive and passive, but that has changed as brave new intellectual leaders have appeared.

          The answer is to build a movement that counters this one with facts and reason, as Quillette, Aero, Medium, the Atlantic, the Heterodox Academy, and the IDW are doing.

          The real Resistance is this, and the Left is starting to panic at this new development, with good reason. It has had no real competition until now for the hearts and minds of young intellectuals, but now is being given a run for its money.

  33. Aristodemus says

    This article underscores the most laughable pretense of Intersectionality: that there’s anything rebellious about it. To the contrary, if you want a degree from an elite university you better learn to kowtow to its idols. If you don’t want to risk losing your job in tech, you better not disrespect them openly. Careerists and conformists sound just like Intersectionalists. They offer the path of least resistance and call it rebellion.

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  35. Sadie Slays says

    I’m not surprised that effeminate Leftists aren’t aware that white men also have chest hair.

  36. Aristodemus says

    @Sadie Slays: Aren’t Caucasians said to have MORE body hair than other phenotypes?

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  38. jmt says

    “During one and a half years attending journalism classes, I was exposed to surprisingly little information on the actual craft of journalism.”

    As someone who conducts interviews with people with technical degrees, let me assure you, we’ve noticed that universities are failing to produce graduates who know things.

    There is literally nothing a university degree tells me. A Ph.D. in computer science means that the holder has a somewhat higher probability of being able to program or understand the properties of basic algorithms or data structure but it is no guarantee. A Ph.D. in electrical engineering means the hold may have a somewhat larger chance of knowing basic signal processing but not much.

    If I need someone with these skills, looking to their education is not just a mistake – it’s foolish. The assurance that you degree offers is nothing. Nothing.

    I must quiz every candidate on the basics. I must be completely uncompromising. If the candidate shows the slightest evidence that they are not well versed in the basics up to and including high school math, their degree offers no counter-evidence.

    I honestly don’t know what a college degree guarantees these days. If I need someone who can add fractions and you show me a candidate with a college degree, I will still quiz them.

    Universities have failed miserably at the most basic job they have. And they charge upwards of 100k for it.

  39. Respek Wahmen says

    Intersectionality is merely an historical term with no significance, per se. It marks the moment when wahmen realized that you could chain adjectives together. Guys noticed long ago that a thing can have multiple, possibly interactive properties.

    I hope this clears up some confusion.

    • Just Me says

      “Intersectionality” in itself is just common sense, it means there are all kinds of different factors that affect someone’s life situation.

      The problem is trying to rank people’s moral worth based on which of these different factors are at play in their life.

  40. Shona says

    I see you obsessing about female genital mutilation but not about far more common practice of male genital mutilation. Why is that, pretty boy?

    • Morgan Foster says

      @Shona

      Yeah, who cares if a black girl’s clitoris is cut off with a razor blade?

      Not white feminists.

  41. Bab says

    Clitoral nicking generally refers to the removal of the clitoral hood (hoodectomy) and/or the ritual nicking of the labia majora. It is essentially equivalent to male circumcision, because the clitoral hood is analogous to the male foreskin. It is also a legitimate surgical treatment for clitoral phimosis and occasionally, female anorgasmia.

    There are some benefits to the procedure. The clitoral hood does not produce as much smegma as the foreskin, but the resultant smell is still offputting enough for some. Also, the foreskin and clitoral hood contain Langerhans cells with HIV- receptors; therefore the removal of either results in a small but significant reduction in the risk of HIV transmission.

    The side-effects of the procedure, just like male circumcision, are fairly low. It can sometimes result in excessive sensitivity of the clitoris, but just like in male circumcision, this generally reduces with time. I suppose what I am saying is that its difficult to characterise this as “mutilation” while regarding male circumcision as perfectly okay.

    • David of Sydney says

      I’m not sure anyone has an issue with a consenting adult freely choosing this type of body modification. Do whatever you want and use any type of basic chicanery to justify doing it.

      Just don’t force this practise onto children and those that do not/cannot consent.

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  43. xyz and such says

    I thought a harry chest was a quality of most men? Also, what about all of the women criminals… why aren’t they being represented?

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