November 19, 2021

"There are students and faculty who complain that they don’t want to express centrist or right-wing views because they fear being criticized or stigmatized."

"They may not see themselves as hypersensitive, but they do crave some protection from students and colleagues whom they perceive as demanding leftist ideological conformity. Those who complain of such conformity should recognize that their fear isn’t the fault of anyone’s wokeness or hostility toward free expression. It is a sign that they need more courage — for it requires courage for students, or anyone, to stay engaged with difference. Whatever your political position, embracing intellectual diversity means being brave enough to consider ideas and practices that might challenge your own beliefs or cause you to change your views, or even your life.... In the current climate of political pessimism and manufactured outrage, we can work with students to reject the tired tropes of the past and embrace what many in the older generations have forgotten: how to engage with and, yes, debate people who have a variety of points of view and who imagine the future with a mix of hopes sometimes very different from their own."

From "Anxiety About Wokeness Is Intellectual Weakness" by Michael S. Roth (NYT).  Roth, the president of Wesleyan University, wrote a book called “Safe Enough Spaces: A Pragmatist’s Approach to Inclusion, Free Speech, and Political Correctness on College Campuses.”

This is the top-rated comment (from a reader in NYC):
When my daughter was in high school, the teacher and the students of color in her psychology class all agreed that there is no such thing as free will for young black men. That when young black men commit crimes, it is out of the desperation brought on by lack opportunity compounded over generations. My 16 year old daughter argued that individuals always have a choice and the opportunity to exert free will. She was loudly called a racist. The teacher allowed that comment and encouraged discussion of her racism. How much more courageous should she have been? How many more similar stories does this author need to hear before they're no longer dismissed as "anecdotal,["] and instead seen a portrayal of life in "progressive" institutions?

ADDED: Lots of other comments over there — the highest ranking ones all disagreeing with the op-ed. I'll give you a bunch of them:

From Northinsouth (in the Deep South): 

It's not about the debate of ideas nor the brittleness of faculty egos. It's about the genuine fear of professional retaliation and lack of institutional support when it comes to genuine issues of academic freedom and expression. The fact that the president of a university is speaking about professors (of which I am one) and their concerns with such a pie-in-the-sky attitude is borderline offensive. Student dissent is not the professor's enemy. It's lack of institutional support and administrative backbone that is.

From Stuck on a mountain (in New England):

What would happen to a Wesleyan student who stood on a soapbox and said, for example: 

"Biological sex is real." 

"There are average differences, among different populations, in various traits including intelligence." 

"Climate change is not an economic calamity and solutions such as geoengineering and nuclear should be pursued." 

"All lives matter." 

"The Second Amendment was correctly interpreted by the Supreme Court to affirm a personal right to own and keep guns for self defense." 

"MTF transgender athletes should not be allowed to participate in women's sports where their physiology provides unfair advantages." 

"Roe v. Wade and progeny were wrongly decided and the Supreme Court should now affirm there is no federal constitutional right to abortion and leave the issue to state legislatures." 

"There is no systemic racism." 

"The college admission process as well as hiring and advancement in the working world disadvantage straight white males because of what is now reverse discrimination in favor of other groups." 

"Whites are not inherently racist or oppressive." 

"An important reason for the relative underperformance of some minority groups lack of an intact family." 

The list could go on and on. Each of these statements is a perfectly valid topic for discussion and debate. But we all know the answer. 

None of these topics can be discussed openly at Wesleyan or pretty much any other college or university

From Lynne (in New England):

My husband is a dean at an Ivy League university. Woke is so out of control on campus that the term “existential crisis” is being used without hyperbole by faulty leadership. In one week my husband had to deal with students who wanted other students to be “forced” to have half of every STEM lecture devoted to the racism and oppression caused by science. These woke students felt “traumatized” because “native ways of knowing” weren’t being taught in math classes. 

Later that week, woke faculty circulated a petition filled with lies and rumors, decrying a program to foster the free exchange of all viewpoints that Mr. Roth champions. They [were] concerned that conservative viewpoints might be expressed. 

Mr. Roth is right in that campuses need free speech and exchange of all ideas. He is wrong that the woke student (and professor) is a myth. They’re real, and they want to cancel anything other than their increasingly zealous agenda. 

For the record: I’m as liberal as they come, and I’m appalled that anyone at a university is trying to cancel ANY viewpoint.

 From JL (in Boston):

While I agree that the “woke student” is a conveniently manufactured scapegoat, I don’t agree that centrists or right-leaning students and faculty were simply lacking courage when they fear to speak up in liberal institutions. Elite universities have clearly signaled, at least in rhetoric, that it is aligned with a particular way of seeing and talking about equity. 

For example, college diversity and equity statements often lead with racial and gender identities (fair), but pushing social class to the back (elite colleges are packed with upper class kids), eager to call out white privilege but failing to mention educational privileges (which most share at the colleges), hiding concerns for poor whites in terms like “rural” (if included at all), and including Asian students as people of color when needed and omitting them in charts and graphs because their data takes extra effort to explain (because many Asian students share educational and class privileges). 

In this context, do we honestly expect a rural conservative white student to speak up, even if they get admitted to such an elite school? We talk so much about creating safe space for students. I don’t think we have thought intentionally about creating safe space for people who lack both class and educational privileges but are on the inconvenient side of politics. Such echo chamber ultimately hurts our students’ learning and development as communicators for positive social change.

 From M (in Seattle):

I’m not sure if this comment will get published or if anyone will even read it, but here goes. 

I graduated recently from a college which is a left-leaning institution. However, for a few of my classes, I didn’t feel comfortable expressing some of my views, partly because certain professors were very strong in their opinion about the “correct” viewpoint, and when every other student toes the line…well it is difficult to be the only one disagreeing. 

Maybe it is a lack of courage, but it is not easy to be the lone person in a classroom who disagrees. One class in particular was about diversity, equity, etc. (I was required to take). I didn’t like the class because it felt a bit like indoctrination…it claimed all white people are racist, and if you deny this it means it is proof of your racism. 

We had to watch an interview with the White Fragility author. We also had to take an intersectionality test about our levels of privilege. (Yes, from CRT). I wanted to disagree, but felt that if I did I would be labeled a racist or maybe get a bad grade. I should have been more courageous. You are right. 

What I did in the end, when we had to write anonymous reviews of the class, was write a long essay about how I felt we were only taught one viewpoint and how there are many people who disagree, including myself, with many of these new ideas surrounding race or privilege, and that I hoped, in the future, the class would teach alternate viewpoints, and encourage healthy debate.

From sbrian2 (Berkeley, Calif.):
Mr. Roth, I went to Wesleyan, and I'm sitting here dumbfounded at your myopia. How many examples do you need before you admit that higher education has a problem? Did what happened to Nikolas Christakis and his wife at Yale not disturb you? How about the recently cancelled lecture of Dorian Abbot at MIT? Outside academia, political data scientist David Shor lost his job for merely tweeting a summary of a report that concluded that violent civil rights protests end in a backlash against civil rights—no joke. Nothing to see here? 
There are countless other similar examples, from both public and private universities and schools—and, increasingly, corporations—from across the country. 
Wesleyan still hasn't signed the Chicago Statement, even after students attacked the student newspaper for publishing a (mild!) critique of the BLM movement. I'd call that a lack of courage.

99 comments:

rhhardin said...

You only get truth from retired people today.

Amy said...

Student disciplined and suspended from high school football team for a text exchange in which he asserted his belief that there are only 2 genders. We are asking these teens to be courageous? This is insanity: https://hotair.com/jazz-shaw/2021/11/16/new-hampshire-student-suspended-for-saying-there-are-only-two-genders-n429582

Owen said...

rhhardin: bingo. Or maybe only from childless retirees with offshore accounts and carry permits.

Fernandinande said...

"They may not see themselves as hypersensitive, but they do crave some protection from students and colleagues whom they perceive as demanding leftist ideological conformity.

They might "perceive" that many universities are requiring statements of support for CRT, DIE, etc, before even being considered for hiring, e.g.:

"Finally, below is a recent ad for a physical chemist at San Diego State University. It is overwhelmingly about the candidate’s ability to address diversity, with very little about their academic qualifications. Click on the screenshot to read the whole thing.
(LINK to ad) **
Do read the whole ad. It’s 764 words long. Of these, 251 words are about diversity statements and 85 about the diversity-promoting nature of the college, for a total of 336 words (44.7%). Only 86 words are used to describe the academic requirements of the job (research, teaching, funding, etc.); that’s 11.2%. The rest of the words deal with various policies of the university."

** "We are seeking applicants with demonstrated experience in and/or commitment to teaching and working effectively with individuals from diverse backgrounds and members of underrepresented groups. Candidates must satisfy three or more of the eight Building on Inclusive Excellence (BIE) criteria."

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

It's not "right-wing" to have views that go against the radical left ethos.

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

Speak your mind - the left will call you a WHITE SUPREMACIST &/or an Insurrectionist.
.. after they run to mommy and threaten to have you doxxed and canceled.

the left think this is courageous.

Achilles said...

I hope they keep up with that lack of courage angle. People everywhere are waking up.

And the first totalitarians to get the blow back will not be the leftists. They are at least honest about being authoritarian shit heads.

It will be the "conservative" and "independent" traitors that are counseling "moderation" and "reaching across the aisle."

They know what is going on. They never condemn the authoritarians and are turning into the most vocal fascists now that the masks are coming off.

They are on the other side.

We see you.

Luke Lea said...

rhhardin said...
"You only get truth from retired people today."

How true! Until the Federal government starts cancelling our Social Security benefits, and if we don't mind losing a lot of our friends, we retirees (along with independent bloggers like Steve Sailer) are perfectly free to speak our minds. Does that mean we old Baby Boomers are the last, best hope for the future of our liberal institutions? Maybe we can redeem ourselves yet!

The Vault Dweller said...

By and large it isn't that the right is winning over converts, it is that the left is driving people away.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

And yet there are so many conservative leaders who are graduates of these elite institutions.

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

Take away: It's getting harder for woke student to witch hunt non-woke students because non-woke students keep their mouths shut. This means that woke students now witch hunt professors and administrators. Non-woke students must show more "courage" and sacrifice themselves to save the careers of professors and administrators.

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...

Perfectly presented Althouse and experience gives the lie to his “willing to engage and debate” bullshit. Leftists don’t “engage” or “debate” ideas. They shout down and call names, just like the top comment said. Free Speech would be a wonderful change of pace for colleges! That’s not how they roll. And they want to do for corporations exactly what they have done to ruin universities.

Leland said...

The concern for free speech wasn't much of a problem when a side was simply expressing a difference of opinion, but I'd say it is exactly the fault of hostility toward free expression that is the problem.

retail lawyer said...

I wonder if academia can even self-correct at this point. Maybe elite schools will be recognized as having produced performative rancor specialists employable only as DEI scolds and the torch will be passed to new schools or foreign schools.

MadisonMan said...

One gets the idea that Liberal readers of the NYTimes are starting to fear they will reap what they have sown.

MadisonMan said...

One gets the idea that Liberal readers of the NYTimes are starting to fear they will reap what they have sown.

Original Mike said...

"Those who complain of such conformity should recognize that their fear isn’t the fault of anyone’s wokeness or hostility toward free expression."

The hell it's not. It's exactly about the mob's hostility toward free expression.

"It is a sign that they need more courage"

That's rich coming from someone with no risk exposure. rhhardin is right. If I were a student or early career I would shut the hell up, not because I am a coward, but because I have priorities for myself and family that do not include tilting at windmills.

Achilles said...

Left Bank of the Charles said...

And yet there are so many conservative leaders who are graduates of these elite institutions.

And this makes the fascist angry that they somehow snuck through.

The Vault Dweller said...

Well as Breitbart said, "Politics is downstream of culture." And the fact that lots of the comments and the most highly rated ones, on a NYT's article, are decrying woke culture on campuses, is probably a strong sign that the culture has now moved into strong dislike of wokeness. The Virginia elections are probably good evidence of that as well. There was a dramatic swing in polls after the Loudon county school board started getting more play in alternative media, also McAuliffe's comment regarding him not thinking parents should get to decided what is taught in schools hurt a lot too. Critical Race Theory has become an absolutely radioactive term. I know this because whenever it is discussed on NPR whatever host and at least a majority of the guests are adamant that it isn't taught in schools.

rcocean said...

The problem isn't stalinist style repression and the punishment of "incorrect speech" the problem is "Cowardly center-rightists". Somehow, the Liberal/left adminstrators are NEVER wroing. They NEVER have to change. Its always their critics.

Orwell in his parody of Leftist totalitarianism couldn't have done better.

Drago said...

Left Bank of the Charles: "And yet there are so many conservative leaders who are graduates of these elite institutions."

#LeftBankLogic: There are many conservatives who graduated in years past from currently quite "woke" universities, therefore there is no real current problem with leftist cancel culture on campus today.

This is par for the course for Left Bank as well as other Althouse lefties.

rehajm said...

There’s an unambiguous proclamation for academic freedom and free speech on campus at Stanford and other institutions. I’m o. a plane and won’t risk the hyper link but john cochrane’s link to his comments on it are below.

Here’s the way out of the disaster…

https://johnhcochrane.blogspot.com/2021/11/academic-freedom-at-stanford-commentary.html?m=1

Big Mike said...

You only get truth from retired people today.

Truth!

Jamie said...

Left Bank says:

And yet there are so many conservative leaders who are graduates of these elite institutions.

Explain to me how this is different from the oft-cited tendency of some on the Right to point to specific examples of successful black people, women, etc., to counter the Left's claim of systemic racism, sexism, etc.

The proper perspective, on both sides, is not to say, "But look at Oprah!" or, "But look at Ben Shapiro!" (or some other Ivy League graduate who is now influential on the Right - I know, lots on the Right hate the fast-talking little guy, but he's the only conservative I know offhand who is also a Harvard grad). It's, instead, to look at how the trends are moving. How many conservatives, or black people, or women, are influential at the NYT? In the big agencies of the government? In tech? In big law firms? In banking?

And which direction is the trend line moving, and what has changed since those numbers and trends were the reverse of what they are now? What barriers existed in the past to the success of the identified cohort, and do those barriers still demonstrably exist, based on those trend lines? Or, if the cohort is now facing barriers to success at levels it previously enjoyed, are those barriers anything other than increased competition for limited spots for CEO, COB, Managing Director, Secretary of Whatever?

Limited spots and more competition - that's a legit reason for (for instance) white men's prior proportions in these areas to be trending downward. Artificial elevation of less qualified candidates and artificial removal of (for instance) white men from the candidate pool because of their white maleness is not.

And as a person with two white sons, I feel I have some skin in this game.

RNB said...

The roll-out of this week's 'woke' rhetorical trope: Conservative Fragility.

Joe Smith said...

Liberals turn everything to shit.

But I am for reparations for blacks (Native Americans already have casinos) and am even up for giving them a big chunk of land for them to voluntarily live in.

If they think they can do a better job and create a society free of racism then good for them.

But if anyone takes a single dime, they must disavow all affirmative action programs and preferences f o r e v e r.

Btw, this is not new but it is on steroids at this point. I had a raging anti-Reagan asshole professor in college. I pushed back quite a bit actually. Good thing I was so fucking brilliant it didn't affect my grade...

Yancey Ward said...

NorthOfTheOneOhOne is probably right- this essay is a plea for non-woke students to stand up and take the abuse the administrators are now receiving.

Left Bank, those graduates graduated, mostly, over 2 decades ago.

The only hope is for the natural contrariness of teenagers and very young adults to reassert itself and stand up to "The Man" rather than become his street bitches.

Amexpat said...

By and large it isn't that the right is winning over converts, it is that the left is driving people away.

Spot on!

mccullough said...

Colleges and universities have become an asylum for fanatics.

All their mottoes are Ad Majorem DEI (Diversity Equity and Inclusion) Gloriam.

60% of students are female.

Higher Education is a rotten industry. It attracts administrators who are cowards appeasing faculty who are mental degenerates. All supported by students going into debt to the federal government.

And that industry has spread its rot throughout the country.

Someday China will conquer the US and put us out of our misery.










Assistant Village Idiot said...

President of Wesleyan. Easy to translate: this is always your fault, never ours. After all, we have thought about this and had Important Meetings and nodded our heads, stroked our chines, and tented our fingers. Don't you fools recognise that as the signs of people smarter than you?

JPS said...

Here's an example.

Speaking very broadly, I strongly support the stated goals of my university's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion program.

I also believe their methods are useless at best and counterproductive at worst. I believe their rhetoric is a bunch of self-serving, self-congratulating left-wing dogma. The absolute worst thing that could happen to those it purports to help is that they all buy into it. Because all it does is guarantee that they'll never stand on their own professionally, and always need someone to fight! for them.

If I tone that down and make my best case, using examples of minority researchers I have worked alongside or mentored, my activist colleagues will say, Wow. I hadn't thought of it that way. Well, I strongly disagree, but I can see that you've thought a lot about this, and you too have worked to make sure minorities have a fair shake. Glad we don't all think alike here.

I'm kidding, of course. What would happen is that I'd never be promoted again. I'd have a hell of a hard time getting outside funding, which would justify the continued lack of promotion. Wouldn't ever get an offer from another school, once the word got out. And none of it would ever be provable.

There is an orthodoxy, and if you disagree with it from the left, those who uphold it will sincerely thank you for challenging their preconceptions. If you disagree from the right, they will hate you and never forgive you, and they will make it their mission to purify their field of you.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

@ Left Bank - false reasoning. There are those who are able to stand up under the pressure, and likely it is good for them. Not everyone is, nor should everyone be expected to be a crusader. You also don't mention that the children on the left don't seem to have to face this in college. Which is it going to be? Who? Whom?

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

shorter Left Bank: 'Stop your whining - conservative leaders went to Yale 53 years ago.'

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

NorthOfTheOneOhOne, you have that exactly right. It's possible for a student to just say nothing; it's much more difficult when you a professor who basically talks for a living, or an administrator who is forced to make some species of statement about whatever controversy is on this week. Plus, of course, to the woke students, professors and administrators are bigger game.

Bruce Hayden said...

“Student disciplined and suspended from high school football team for a text exchange in which he asserted his belief that there are only 2 genders. We are asking these teens to be courageous? This is insanity: https://hotair.com/jazz-shaw/2021/11/16/new-hampshire-student-suspended-for-saying-there-are-only-two-genders-n429582”

One thing to keep in mind here is when professors bring wokeness into the classroom, it very often affects their grading. Courage is fine, but this college president is suggesting that these students sacrifice future earnings and advancement in order to show this courage (something that woke leftists don’t have to worry about). Professors do and will downgrade students at the college level if they cross them. I had several experiences of that. I corrected the calculus being used by an Econometrics prof in B School (I had a degree in math, and he did not), and got a C for my troubles. Got an F for questioning a Marxist Econ prof (luckily, I could wipe that out by retaking the class with another prof, where I got an easy A). My pledge son got an F in a class in grad school after he got himself pushed by his prof to debunk his prof’s dissertation. Moral - don’t read your prof’s PhD dissertation, at least until you have finished their class. He never did graduate, and this was a big part of it. Cs in an MBA program aren’t supposed to happen, so that one slip, on my part, where I couldn’t keep my mouth shut, probably cost me job opportunities. And it has only gotten worse over the last half century. At least back then, there were only two fenders, and racism meant inequality of opportunity, and not inequality of results. The emperor is wearing no clothes, and if you mention it in the wrong class, expect your college career to be damaged as a result.

M Jordan said...

rhhardin said...
You only get truth from retired people today.

How true this is. If we retired people understood it we could regain the veneration of age, we could change the world. Somehow I think we are anyway.

Mr Wibble said...

And yet there are so many conservative leaders who are graduates of these elite institutions.

Yes, and a lot of conservatives, especially among the younger alternative right, have been critical of it.

Rit said...

Roth clearly believes he's on the side of the angels. What fools like him seem to believe is that the angels actually have a side. One day he find himself on the "wrong" side and it will be interesting to see what kind of courage he exhibits then.

Andrew said...

In the room the women come and go
Talking of DiAngelo.

Owen said...

Whoever can rewrite Alinsky’s handbook to help non-Woke people put the hurt on the Woke, will make serious bank and earn the thanks of a grateful nation.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

There are students and faculty who complain that they don’t want to express centrist or right-wing views...

So those are the non-left-leaning options: centrist or right-wing? Nothing in between? Did any of the people complaining describe the views they didn't want to express as right-wing, or is that just Roth's attempt to (literally) marginalize them?

JK Brown said...

I know this sounds bad and it is is bad. If you trapped yourself into an academic career, with no other prospect, it is horrible. Universities change so slowly, in 40 or so years, assuming too many younger professors aren't like those doing this, there will be change.

But take heart. The universities are not the real world. And as much as is written about them, they are producing an inferior product. They simply have control of the chattering class and bureaucrats so their control seems outsized.

The idea that college-educated means "better". That those who work with their hands to create useful thing (versus intrinsic "art) are somehow inferior to those who use words and chatter on, and on. This idea is breaking. And Twitter is doing a big part of the work by letting professors reveal themselves and their institutions through confession.


In the 17th century, the universities were technophobic, but those who escaped them transformed human existence. Not ironic that is the students of universities who now pine so hard for a world before the Industrial Revolution, without oil, gas, steam power.


=====
"Newcomen's religion had consequences greater than absence from a local census.  Dissenters, including Baptists, Presbyterians, and others, were as a class, excluded from universities after 1660, and either apprenticed, or learned their science from dissenting academies."

"At the same time that he chartered the world's first scientific society, Charles II had created an entire generation of dissenting intellectuals uncontrolled by his kingdom's ever more technophobic universities."

p29, Rosen, Willam, 'The Most Powerful Idea in the World'

walk don't run said...

Denial is not a river in Egypt. You need a hashtag #denialbullshit

walk don't run said...

Denial is not a river in Egypt. You need a hashtag #denialbullshit. Its first cousin to #civilitybullshit!

Drago said...

Lets expand on #LeftBankLogic:

WWII could not have been that deadly for soldiers at the front because lots of them came home.

Two-eyed Jack said...

Demanding courage from those who might wish to speak their minds is not support of free speech but its opposite. Support for free speech is holding back retaliation through other avenues than speech. No one should be asked to ruin their life in order to add intellectual balance to discussions in some required Freshman diversity class taught by a vindictive ideologue.

daskol said...

Wesleyan alum here, and the best thing I can say about the place is that the campus of the early 90s prepared me well for the world. When I started there critical theory was predominant in the humanities and increasingly driving the social sciences, although not yet predominant. I was able to change my major from the College of Letters to Economics and for the most part escape the intellectual drudgery of critical theory indoctrination. Yet the college prepared me well because now there’s nowhere one can escape this bullshit. The ensuing decades have empowered in effect the most stridently stupid and annoying people from those seminars I was so eager to escape, and enshrined the ‘ideas’ that by the 90s were already an ideological pandemic ravaging the academy. The parasite had largely consumed the host by the time Roth arrived as president. The most galling thing about the man is that he signals his virtuous defense of free speech and intellectual diversity and exchange, he’s made a name for himself as some sort of champion for these values, even as he oversaw the mop up operation on campus when the culture war winners went around shooting what few survivors remained from the other side (fraternity bans, etc). Fuck him and fuck Wesleyan. We’d be better off without it.

Sebastian said...

"Anxiety About Wokeness Is Intellectual Weakness"

Of course, neither he nor anyone else would speak of woke anxiety about deplorability that way. But unless Roth promises to stand by deplorable deviants against the woke mob, this is just a form of ideological slut-shaming: sure the mob's coming after you, but you shoulda been braver! you should fight back!

At Yale Salovey didn't stand by the Christakises, one of them a renowned liberal professor, and the students who vilified them won awards. Students and non-woke faculty got the message.

Wilbur said...

New York Times commenters thus demonstrate the old adage that a conservative is a liberal who has just been mugged.

Rollo said...

Roth wouldn't like it much if dissidents became as "courageous," determined, and unwavering as the wokeness warriors.

Still, I do appreciate the reminder that I never got around to reading his book on French interpretations on Hegel.

PM said...

Amy @9:05:
As of this typing, how things are 'organized':
According to the infallible WHO, there are two SEXES, male and female, plus that which is 'assigned' at birth. Whatever that means.
As to GENDER, there are as many genders as can be construed by the immensity of the human mind.
The two words no longer have any relation to each other. And to confuse them, apparently, is to viciously launch a hurtful microaggression.

TheOne Who Is Not Obeyed said...

"Whatever your political position, embracing intellectual diversity means being brave enough to consider ideas and practices that might challenge your own beliefs or cause you to change your views, or even your life."

And here's where his argument falls flat. He pretends that those on the left "embrace intellectual diversity". They don't. They shun it. They insist that those who don't "embrace" their Leftist cant must be destroyed. The only thing they embrace is Leftist, totalitarian conformity.

Peter Spieker said...

“for it requires courage for students, or anyone, to stay engaged with difference”.

Is that what members of the dominant leftist culture are doing? To an outsider, it sure looks like they are trying pretty hard to avoid engaging with difference. He calls for conservatives (and centrists!) to have the courage to speak, but what about asking leftists to have the courage to listen?

daskol said...

Mind, I was a socialism sympathizing, punk and hip-hop loving, anti war lefty when I started, and it was the rigid indoctrination, co-receive and sanctimonious groupthink and stubborn, boring sameness of the analytical lens that began to open my mind to new ideas, and there were even occasionally professors who challenged the students who (inevitably hadn’t done the reading) recited the trite race/class/gender angle on the material most professors were actively looking for. I really hope my kids don’t go there.

Gabriel said...

@Left Bank of the Charles:

And yet there are so many conservative leaders who are graduates of these elite institutions.

Anyone who can prosper in such a hostile environment probably has a lot of remarkable qualities suitable for leadership; and today's leaders didn't graduate yesterday, but 10 - 50 years ago, when it wasn't quite as bad.

stlcdr said...

People are losing their jobs, their retirement, receiving death threats for literally expressing a view. People are being arrested and going to jail for sociopolitical infractions.

MikeR said...

"Lack of courage". Wow. Try that on a sexual harassment case with my hospital's HR department. "These ladies don't need a safe environment free of harassment, they need more courage to speak up if it gets out of hand."
Used to be the Old Boys Network saying this kind of stuff. Don't know what to call it now.

traditionalguy said...

The network TV programming was once accurately called a vast wasteland . Now our colleges have overnight become a vast wasteland. Thanks Obama/Soros.

Critter said...

Few beliefs are as racist as black men have no control over their actions. That subjugates them as sub-human, or a lower class of Homo sapiens. The left’s attempts to excuse black men behavior has always been racist. Then the left commits blood libel on white men for doing nothing racist but just for existing. This sort of thinking is a mental health problem and should be treated as such.

Wa St Blogger said...

Hasn't anyone taken note of the pushback from the readership for the NY frickin' Times? Highest rated comments are people saying that the problem is real? That is the story, here.

Ceciliahere said...

Elite colleges and universities in this country have turned into training programs for future revolutionaries. The far-left has a stranglehold on these institutions and it is very difficult for an 18 year old kid to disagree with the mob at school. The higher the tuition, the more woke the school. Conservatives are a rare breed at any of these colleges. Wesleyan was woke before woke was ever heard of. It is one of the best schools if you want your kid to be indoctrinated into becoming a socialist. Having nephews who attended W. I refused to have my daughter even apply. Radical students are more popular (cool) among their peers and become student leaders. I’m so relieved that I’m passed sending a kid to college. It was bad enough in the late ‘90’s when I was paying tuition and then have my daughter come home and try to “re-educate” us. When it came time for graduate school, she paid for it herself…I refused. Next is my sweet little granddaughter to be thrown to the woke wolves. Nothing I can do about that. The good news for me is that I’ll be dead and not around to see what happens. I just hope for the best.

Narr said...

I spent my life on campus and ended up as an emeritus professor--of libraries, the scut-workers of academe. Never went away to college or grad school (they were within a short bike ride), never lived in a dorm, never joined a frat, was not in the yearbooks, didn't and don't care about the sports, was never a teaching- or research-assistant despite three bouts of grad school, and always listened more than I spoke.

I took jobs in the library, where the books and maps and manuscripts and photos were, and always quoted Shelby Foote: a university is a collection of buildings surrounding a large library. (Good ole never-graduated Shelby Foote--he was a master gamesman and a sly guy.)

I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of faculty parties I attended, and on both hands the hours I spent in anything called a faculty lounge. Unlike teaching fac, we didn't have the option of summers off, but we were obligated to every onerous task and responsibility they were, and then some.

And in my case, managing a small department of six full time and part-time staff. By the time I got out in mid 2015, about 30% of my time was taken up with justifying hiring, promotion, firing, and evaluation decisions on the basis of DIE (though it wasn't put so starkly, of course). Not worth it.

Over the fifty years I was there, the place doubled in size and prestige (though it's still a mediocre Southern state school, it has gone up a lot in funding and visibility lately) but the biggest change has been the metastasis of the RaceClassGender cancer into every cranny and nook.

My son and heir--a smart, good-looking, artistic, blue-eyed straight male (uh-oh)-- pretended to be a college student for too long. I told him there was a big world out there, and absent some specific reason or reasons for putting himself through that ideological grinder he should find something better to do.

They recently hired a straight white man to succeed another SWM as president, and so far the usual suspects have been quiet. A portent, perhaps. But of what?



Richard Dolan said...

Universities, especially elite ones, are in the credentialing business -- that's what you get if you stay the course. If you want the credential, you have to toe the line -- and, no doubt, most students figure that out long before they get to those places, and know perfectly well the biases dominating the institution as well as the topics and views best left unexpressed if the student wants the promised credential. That applies even more strongly to anyone attending those institutions who aspires to honors, awards, fellowships and the like. And it's obvious that the students who get into those institutions (and families behind them) greatly value the credential, and being smart and rational, will do what they need to do to get it.

So, in the face of an overwhelmingly unsupportive monoculture in these institutions, the idea that what's needed is 'courage' to speak up, is nuts, to say the least. Very few people are going to pay tens of thousands of dollars to attend a place like Wesleyan in search of the magic credential, and when they get there commit social and academic suicide instead.

Wesleyan's president doesn't understand the realities of his own institution. More's the pity. And if the students at Wesleyan want an education, well, that's something they will have to acquire for themselves.

Lem said...

From the school of thought that gave us “speech is violence“, restraint is the wise course of inaction.

J. Farmer said...

Moral panic about leftwing indoctrination on college campuses is a foundational (and perennial) concern of contemporary American conservatism. William F. Buckley wrote God and Man at Yale: The Superstitions of "Academic Freedom" in 1951. The college group Young Americans for Freedom was started in 1960. Future SCOTUS justice Lewis F. Powell Jr wrote his secret memorandum to the US chamber of commerce in 1971. Allan Bloom wrote The Closing of the American Mind in 1987, followed by Roger Kimball's Tenured Radicals in 1990 and Dinesh D'Souza's Illiberal Education: The Politics of Race and Sex on Campus in 1991. In 1992, the Schiller Institute, a Lyndon LaRouche organization, kicked off the whole Cultural Marxism/Frankfurt School canard with the essay The New Dark Age - The Frankfurt School And Political Correctness". The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) was founded in 1999. David Horowitz started Students for Academic Freedom in 2001, and in 2006 published The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America. Charlie Kirk started Turning Point USA in 2012 for the "advocacy of conservatism on education campuses." The Atlantic published Lukianoff and Haidt's essay The Coddling of the American Mind in 2015. Since then, we have witnessed a parade of anti-woke media celebrities (e.g. Jordan Peterson, Ben Shapiro, Dave Rubin, Brett Weinstein, Bari Weiss, etc.).

Now that we're up to date, why have I called this indoctrination consternation a "moral panic"? The political views of faculty have little to no effect on the political views of students, which have a much closer relationship to the level of political engagement of the family and the general view of their peer group. Professors have a difficult enough time imparting factual knowledge and understanding of a subject matter let alone inculcating political values and a worldview.

There are also broad demographic forces at play, such as rates of urbanization, levels of college education, and professional employment.

Temujin said...

rhhardin said: "You only get truth from retired people today."

Absolutely true. And I confess I fall into that category. I cringed regularly just reading posts on Linkedin from people in my old industry and so wanted to comment. (can you imagine me not having something to say?), but I didn't. I did not want to jeopardize my business or the brand I represented. And I don't think the industry was populated by one sided minds, but in a key segment- those people I actually presented and sold to- they were typically younger designers, or major corporation dweebs, both of whom most certainly went through the proper brain training. One wrong comment and doors would have been shut to me. So I cringed and said nothing. At trade shows, among peers at industry gatherings...I just...smiled, nodded, and walked away when I had to stop myself from calling someone an embarrassing moron.

It irked me every day for the last few years. Since retirement I've felt and worked much more freely. Even my Althouse name, Temujin, was originally used...just in case people in my old industry read Althouse (it could happen). My actual name is Farwell 'Hiya Kid' Funkstone.

I'm Not Sure said...

"I know this because whenever it [CRT] is discussed on NPR whatever host and at least a majority of the guests are adamant that it isn't taught in schools."

And if you dare insist that it not be taught, you're a racist.

farmgirl said...

The environmental scene is similar- only the friendly to climate change POVs need apply.

Mark Stoler said...

President Roth knows perfectly well what he is doing. This is his version of Mao's "Let a Hundred Flowers Bloom" campaign from the 1950s. Encourage the few remaining non-progressive students and academics to speak up and expose themselves and then purge them.

TreeJoe said...

So many thoughts come to mind, but a few that are forefront reading over this:

1. Why do so many treat this as a grassroots cultural revolution and not an engineered effort to indoctrinate and divide? I realize many of the foundational pieces have been present for awhile but the speed at which they've become mainstream thinking within weak-minded ivy league cultures indicates to me coordinated effort.

2. The Right, which I tend to lean towards in my policy beliefs, has fundamentally failed to offer a platform to urban citizens. There are tens (hundreds?) of millions of citizens who live in overly expensive, over taxed, corrupted-police, crime centers dominated for generations by democratic representation with very poor socio-economic mobility. They tend to be heavily black/heavily minority areas with poor family stability too. What exactly has the Right actually sought to do - IN POLICY - to help these citizens except to blame them for continuing to vote democrat and to point out how republican run cities are doing better? At a certain point, schadenfreude is alienating and obvious.

3. The entire woke culture and belief system is based upon eliminating meritocratic thinking and results-based assessment, and instead focusing on selection and promotion of ideas and actions tied to the persons background and interests. This is a fundamentally broken way of thinking that will destroy entire societies. It can't flourish in the real world, though it is today taking it's toll across our society.

GRW3 said...

None of this is new, just amplified to hysterical levels, most likely because the jig is close to being up. In the fall of 1974 I took a logic class at the University of Houston. From the start of the semester through the first week in November we had to listen to her go through why the only logical thing to do was vote for George McGovern. Everybody knew her points were BS but nobody challenged her because we were just trying to notch a required course. After the election we got more straight teaching on logic.

Freeman Hunt said...

A close friend's son spoke up, and the private college he was attending forced him out. So much for courage.

wild chicken said...

I was lucky to go back to school in the early 80s when the antiwar stuff had died down and PC for All was in the future.

Still, I had at least two out-and-proud lefty professors who loved to provoke, and I think they were disappointed that they didn't get more pushback. They *wanted* to argue.

I don't suppose that's the case now?

Chris Lopes said...

"Now that we're up to date, why have I called this indoctrination consternation a "moral panic"?"


Because you have the magic ability to ignore the cancel culture we are in the middle of. Your list just proves the process has been going on for a long time. The results are here whether you want to see them or not. The FBI is in fact looking into parents who complain about CRT. College professors are losing their jobs for suggesting there are only 2 sexes. The culture war is real and it is claiming victims.

Narayanan said...

I'm Not Sure said...
"I know this because whenever it [CRT] is discussed on NPR whatever host and at least a majority of the guests are adamant that it isn't taught in schools."

And if you dare insist that it not be taught, you're a racist.
------------
wrong move to insist not be taught - showing your hand too soon. Keep THEM TALKING - right move would be to ask : is that a good thing or bad thing that it is not taught

Mark said...

the students of color in her psychology class all agreed that there is no such thing as free will for young black men. That when young black men commit crimes, it is out of the desperation brought on by lack opportunity compounded over generations.

And they say that critical race theory is not endemic in our schools.

Wilbur said...

Wa St Blogger said...
Hasn't anyone taken note of the pushback from the readership for the NY frickin' Times? Highest rated comments are people saying that the problem is real? That is the story, here.
.....................................................................

I agree. That was the point I was sorta' making, however obliquely.

Rollo said...

Gaslighting is a standard bureaucratic tactic. Before politicians could get away with it, college officials had raised it to a high art.

The point isn't that students directly get their ideas from professors. It's that academic discourse shapes education departments and the media. By the time students reach the university they have already been baptized and learned their catechism, so students are initiated before they even leave high school. College is where they are confirmed in the faith, and graduate school is where they are ordained as ministers.

Rollo said...

Broad demographic forces make students Democrats and progressives. Academic discourse has a lot to do -- indirectly as well as directly -- with the kind of Democrats they become and what their progressivism consists of.

effinayright said...

The Smartest Man in the Room said:

"he political views of faculty have little to no effect on the political views of students, which have a much closer relationship to the level of political engagement of the family and the general view of their peer group."
***********

Malarkey. It is an oft-reported complaint that students who do not toe the line of their leftist professors, especially in their so-called liberal arts classes, suffer at grade time.

Suppose we have an English professor who teaches classics entirely through the lenses of "woke" ideology? Or a History or Economics professors who offers only a Marxist professors.

You do know, don't you, that these things happen in virtually all universities today, and the Course Catalog offers innocuous descriptions that don't report up-front the biases of the professors who will be teaching them?

You wanna tell us that students who do answer exams questioning those ideologies get good grades?

You wanna tell us that conservative students are free to assert their disagreement with their fellow "woke" students. Just what IS the color of cotton candy on your world?

And would you like to deny that the process of indoctrinating grade school kids with CRT-based "woke" courses are confusing them, and making some kids come home to accuse their parents of being "white oppressors". And that they themselves are irredeemably evil?

Pfft

walter said...

" One class in particular was about diversity, equity, etc. (I was required to take)."

James Graham said...

Do what I did in my school years: don't argue, hide your opinion ... and, once graduated, never vote for a Democrat.

Caligula said...

“it claimed all white people are racist, and if you deny this it means it is proof of your racism.”

If you agree then you’re racist and if you disagree you’re racist. Is the author actually unable to see that “logic” of this sort (that starts with the answer and then insists there can be no disagreement, for all disagreement has been defined as agreement) should be subject to a vast and robust ridicule? And that “educators” feel free to offer such “logic” to support their views (with no apparent fear of that vast. robust, and well-deserved ridicule) can only be because they are either fools or bullies (or both)?

Why should such a debased organization receive coerced support (in the form of indirect taxpayer subsidies) let alone be permitted to be sole gatekeeper to accredited degrees, and thus many types of employment?

effinayright said...

Everyone needs to focus on that word "equity". What it means essentially is that going forward, whites must take a back seat to "oppressed minorities" and give them precedence in hiring and welfare, free passes in law enforcement, and gobs of money to them and to organizations whose purported charter is to "help" their "underserved communities.

All to redress the wrongs Whitey did and is still doing to them.

It's just another word for reparations.



Greg The Class Traitor said...

"There are students and faculty who complain that they don’t want to express centrist or right-wing views because they fear being criticized or stigmatized."
"They may not see themselves as hypersensitive, but they do crave some protection from students and colleagues whom they perceive as demanding leftist ideological conformity. Those who complain of such conformity should recognize that their fear isn’t the fault of anyone’s wokeness or hostility toward free expression. It is a sign that they need more courage


Typical leftist scumbag, beating up strawmen rather than engaging with the actual argument.

They don't want to express those views because they don't want their grades trashed, or to be fired, for engaging in thoughtcrime.

They "crave some protection" from fascist thugs who are empowered by scum like Michael S. Roth. Because you do not have a "free exchange of ideas" when you can have your life destroyed for expressing the "wrong" idea.

It is laughable, getting a lecture on "courage" from an intellectual lightweight so afraid of hte opposition's ideas that he's not even willing to try to actually address them, but only willing to beat up the straw men

Josephbleau said...

"Those who complain of such conformity should recognize that their fear isn’t the fault of anyone’s wokeness or hostility toward free expression. It is a sign that they need more courage "

The bully is innocent, the victim should have fought more effectively.

Bunkypotatohead said...

The commenters over there are wasting their time. The "march through the institutions" is 95% complete and the monetary contributions to the democrat party proves it.
The only thing likely to happen in the next decade is for them to chase out the remaining 5% of nonconformists.

gpm said...

>>All their mottoes are Ad Majorem DEI (Diversity Equity and Inclusion) Gloriam.

Not Dave Begley, but some Imany?) may not get that you're riffing on the Jesuit motto Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam: To the greater glory of God.

--gpm

J. Farmer said...

@effinayright:

"It is an oft-reported complaint that students"..."Suppose we have an English professor"..."happen in virtually all universities today"..."students who do answer exams questioning those ideologies get good grades"..."indoctrinating grade school kids."

So instead of talking about generalized, amorphous "students" and "universities" and hypothetical professors, give us some actual names and references. And of those actual students, are any of them now left-wing social justice activists? If not, how did they escape indoctrination?

Malarkey. Pfft

Incredulous scoffing isn't a rebuttal.

@Rollo:

Academic discourse has a lot to do -- indirectly as well as directly -- with the kind of Democrats they become and what their progressivism consists of.

How could you possibly know this? What is the causal chain from "academic discourse" to "the kind of Democrats they become and what their progressivism consists of"?

@Chris Lopes:

Because you have the magic ability to ignore the cancel culture we are in the middle of.

So, when was there no "cancel culture" in America? When was this period of American history that Americans could express any opinion they chose without fear of social, financial, or political reprisal?

Your list just proves the process has been going on for a long time.

Consider the trajectory of American politics over the last 50 years: trade liberalization, deregulation of capital markets, more flexible labor markets, weakening of labor unions, privatization, and reduction in top marginal tax rates, and widening wealth and income inequality.

Rollo said...

I saw the present-day form of cancel culture getting started on campus 30 years ago. How can you not see a connection between what was talked about on campuses years ago and what is happening now? That was still Ronald Reagan's America, and woke equity diversity culture had no foothold anywhere else. It wasn't invented by 20 year-olds on their own.

In general, I don't buy the theory that our present agitation and upheaval are the fault of academic theorists like the Frankfurt School. Groups with grievances were since Adorno was in high school and even before, but the particular form -- the language of diversity, equity, and inclusion, the talk of systemic racism -- came out of the universities, or if you like, what radicals were talking about in previous generations was preserved, cultivated and passed on in academia. Not so much because professors convert their students, but because the influence of woke academia has been percolating into high schools and the media to the extent that no Damascus Road conversions are necessary.

You aren't being honest or aren't thinking things through, or maybe you are just trolling. You want to blame corporations and neoliberalism, but where do HR departments get their ideas from? Where did the diversity industry get its Start? I admit that there may be other sources as well, but the universities played a major role in shaping conditions and concepts. You can say it's bigger than that, but there's no mistaking that the universities have been involved in more than a trivial way.

Critter said...

Tree Joe said:

The right…has fundamentally failed to offer to offer a platform to urban citizens.

I disagree. Almost all Republican support stronger policing and criminal justice for the minority of bad actors who commit almost all violent crimes in urban settings. Donald Trump was working on an economic empowerment program for inner cities that included tax incentives, steps to encourage entrepreneurs and growth of small business, and support for charter schools.

I believe the right needs to push vouchers and development of alternatives to failing public schools. Nothing will change in inner cities without delivering an education equivalent to suburban schools for inner city students who want it.

effinayright said...



Smartest Man in the Room wrote:
Malarkey. Pfft

Incredulous scoffing isn't a rebuttal.

**************

the stuff**before** was the rebuttal..

And why the fuck should I offer details and examples, when YOU originally made the claim.

It's on YOU to provide supporting evidence when YOU make the claim.

effinayright said...

Smartest Man in the Room wrote:

"So, when was there no "cancel culture" in America? When was this period of American history that Americans could express any opinion they chose without fear of social, financial, or political reprisal?"
********************
What disingenuous bullshit.

There have always been laws against slander, libel and defamation.

Ditto for candidates and politicians being brought down for their public scandals or political stances. But it's ridiculous to claim those are examples of "cancel culture".

Until the universal use of the internet and platforms with millions of users, there's never been a MEANS to launch effective NATIONAL campaigns to have people's lives ruined for merely expressing their LAWFUL opinions.

NO more bullshit about newspapers, please: barrelfuls of ink have always been used for such purposes. And even in those instances, slander and libel helped keep false charges at bay (Until Times v. Sullivan).

No. With "cancel culture" we're talking about millions of Americans across the country urging destruction of people they disagree with, urging destruction of people they simply disagree with.

You claim it's always been otherwise.

So.. stand and deliver. Give us pre-internet examples. Not LOCAL. NATIONAL.


J. Farmer said...

@effinayright:

No. With "cancel culture" we're talking about millions of Americans across the country urging destruction of people they disagree with, urging destruction of people they simply disagree with.

We did even more than that. We used imprisonment and mob violence. Anti-Catholicism is probably the oldest example. The first amendment's free speech protections did not even apply to state governments until their incorporation in the 1920s. People were thrown in jail for expressing dissent against the First World War. The Red Scare of the 1920s targeted disloyalty and labor organizing. The era of McCarthyism. The FBI's illegal COINTELPRO effort. The crusade against obscene material.

Outside of government efforts, you have organizations like the Anti Defamation League, Southern Poverty Law Center, Simon Wiesenthal Center, Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. Norm MacDonald made this "Weekend Update" joke in 1996: "Earlier this week, Marlon Brando met with Jewish leaders to apologize for comments he made on Larry King Live, among them that 'Hollywood is run by Jews.' The Jewish leaders accepted the actor’s apology and announced that Brando is now free to work again."

effinayright said...

@ J. Farmer:

None of that addresses my point re "cancel CULTURE".

People everywhere have been discriminated against during the entire history of the world. It's not an American phenomenon. Does the word "pogrom" strike a familiar note? Do the Inquisitions? How about the kulak genocides, or the Tutsi and Hutus?

"cancel culture" is a new phenomenon that arrived only after the Internet gave millions of people the ability to act anonymously "as one" (or a few to pretend they act as "many") to get **individual** people they disagree with fired, immiserated, and cast into social/political darkness, AND to deprive them of platforms for responding.

THAT's new and different from garden-variety racial, ethnic and religious discrimination, which are as old as dirt.

The Crack Emcee said...

This is true, but no less for the 13% of blacks to take on the rest of this nation.

It takes courage.

Narr said...

Leave aside the question of whether or not the students are empty vessels waiting to be filled, the CRT and CRT-adjacent social constructs permeate everything in academe and WASTE TIME.

That's enough to condemn the whole enterprise.

J. Farmer, as usual, can bring the bibliographies, and I for one appreciate it. OTOH, it's easy to see that the futures predicted by the cranky curmudgeons (including the Brit greats like Amis who pointed out that when it comes to higher ed, "More will mean worse") turned out to be closer to the reality than the utopic fantasies of the progressives and neoliberals, who can only demand more of worse.

J. Farmer said...

@effinayright:

"cancel culture" is a new phenomenon that arrived only after the Internet gave millions of people the ability to act anonymously "as one" (or a few to pretend they act as "many") to get **individual** people they disagree with fired, immiserated, and cast into social/political darkness, AND to deprive them of platforms for responding.

THAT's new and different from garden-variety racial, ethnic and religious discrimination, which are as old as dirt.


In the past, it took far fewer than "millions." Political dissenters were fired, blacklisted, blackballed, imprisoned, subject to mob violence, and covertly and overtly attacked by armed agents of the state. You think this is less egregious than the current situation?

As for today, can you give me a single example of someone "fired, immiserated, and cast into social/political darkness" by cancel culture?

Ben said...

The real question is what did Mrs. Althouse do as a Faculty to stem the tide of this chickenshit Neo-Marxist claptrap at UW-Madison.

First pass guess, nothing.