News stories over the past couple of weeks have reported many remarkable events on campus. Yale has "decolonized" its English Department. Milton is out; Ngugi wa Thiong’o is in. It’s less dramatic than it sounds. Majors had to take Readings in English Poetry 1 and 2, but now may substitute Readings in American Literature or Readings in Comparative World English Literature for one of them.
The University of Arkansas considers changing the rules of tenure to allow professors to be fired for "unwillingness to work productively with colleagues." Translation? Toe the party line or else. “It’s Okay to be White" signs appear on various campuses. They are immediately denounced as racist.
Evidently most university administrators believe that it is not okay to be white.
Are you white? Is your family intact? Do you want what’s best for your children? Then you’re a white supremacist, says a sociology professor at The City University of New York (CUNY). If you’re white, don’t marry a white person. If you do, don’t have children. If you have white children, don’t love them. If you do, the least you can do to atone is to cut them out of your will and give everything you have, including your house, to someone who isn’t white. Don’t wait; do it now.
Posters appear on the University of Toronto campus denouncing psychologist Jordan Peterson as an alt-right neo-Nazi. Surely his fellow faculty members have defended him against these outrageous charges? Hah! They have demanded action against him for planning to list courses with "postmodern, neo-Marxian" orientations. Letting students know they are about to be indoctrinated spoils the game.
Law professor William Jacobson travels to Vassar to speak on freedom of speech only to find himself victim of a malicious campaign of lies accusing him of inciting white supremacist violence. Those who most need to hear what he has to say do their best to prevent him from saying it.
Brandeis University cancels a play about a fictional debate on free speech on campus. Who would have predicted that, in one generation, Lenny Bruce would go from being a Leftist hero to one who cannot be named, even in fiction?
Columbia University’s student government has reported the College Republicans to the Student Conduct Office, demanding defunding of the organization for the crime of hosting conservative speakers. College Republicans inviting Republicans to speak? Outrageous!
A Cambridge University professor who told his students to work hard and avoid partying is under attack for "frightening impressionable undergraduates," his e-mail "could be extremely damaging to the mental well-being of the students concerned, and potentially others as well."
An Occidental College sociology professor urges suspicion of "males who strongly identify as men." Can’t have that — it’s "toxic." Pajama boys, unite! You have nothing to lose but your testosterone. You have social justice to win! (Sociology? Why is it always sociology?)
Even leftist professors are calling for their institutions to battle extremism, finding their own speech increasingly under attack. That’s not surprising; they’re the ones talking about controversial issues and in greatest danger of saying the wrong thing—according to this week’s new and updated edition of "Index Cogitatorum Prohibitorum." (Fortunately for analytic philosophers like me, we are not yet at the stage at which "Socrates is Snub-Nosed," "Callias is White," "The Present King of France is Bald," "The Cat is on The Mat," and "Gavagai!" are denounced as lookist, racist, classist, cis-normative, speciesist, and white supremacist, but it can’t be far away. And let’s not even get started on the prisoner’s dilemma.)
A former UCLA professor exposes dirty tricks used to fire conservatives.
Two philosophers urge in print that professional journals lower their standards for publication.
A professor at the University of North Dakota resigns when the university refuses to fund a lecture series on the Dakota Access Pipeline protests. Leftists are outraged. They have a right to public money!
Universities are still using the Title IX procedures demanded by the Obama administration, even though they never had the force of law, have been renounced by the Trump administration, and have led to legions of lawsuits. Meanwhile, they’re hiring hundreds of diversity and inclusion officials to enforce them.
A national survey finds that only about one college in 50 offers a substantial core curriculum. Most of those who do are explicitly Christian.
The Kent State Socialist Collective "jokes" that dissenters be sent to concentration camps. Don’t worry, they assure us. When has that ever happened?
One more. I lecture on Stalin’s totalitarianism. Not one of my 250 students had known about forced collectivization, the show trials, the Holodomor, or the Great Terror. A student comes up after class to thank me. Why, he asks, have I never heard about any of this before? Why, indeed?
Daniel Bonevac is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin. Author of five books, most recently, "Ideas of the Twentieth Century," and editor or co-editor of four others, he has published over 60 articles in professional journals. He has also written for The Washington Post, The Critique, and The American Spectator. His massively open online course, "Ideas of the Twentieth Century," has enrolled over 50,000 students. He is co-founder of BriefLogic, a marketing communication firm. He is also a contemporary Christian musician and songwriter; you can hear his music on his daughter’s debut album, "Transfiguration." To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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