Category Archive 'Liberal Intolerance'
12 Oct 2021
Richard Hanania explains why both the social and legal system keep ratcheting up stricter and more totalitarian standards of Wokeness and punishment for Wrong Speech.
[F]ew regulators and lawmakers responsible for the state of civil rights law intended to create a world where schools are teaching that punctuality and hard work are racist. But by getting government into the field of social engineering and making hurt feelings a matter of law, they set us on the path to modern wokeness. … Read the rest of this entry »
02 Oct 2021
Recent Harvard grad Carine Hajjar has bad news and some intelligent observations on the deplorable state of universities today, including in particular the most prestigious.
Before the Cold War, universities were run by faculty: “From the perspective of 100 years ago,” says Goldstein, “the idea that a faculty member would have his speech suppressed by the university was difficult to conceptualize.” During the Cold War, higher education was laden with research grants, one of the factors leading to the bureaucratization of the modern university. From 2007 to 2018, public degree-granting postsecondary schools in the U.S. generated a revenue of $671 billion. “The amount of money involved in higher education in the U.S. was slightly more than all the software we sell and electricity combined,” notes Goldstein. The result? “Universities don’t reflect the interest of the faculty anymore, they have the priorities of a corporation.”
The idea of university corporatism as an impetus for illiberalism is not new. In 2015, Fredrik deBoer, who had just completed a Ph.D. at Purdue, wrote a piece for the New York Times on the pernicious effects of corporatism on campus, stating that “a constantly expanding layer of university administrative jobs now exists at an increasing remove from the actual academic enterprise.”
Academic freedom is not optimal for market share. “Tranquility and profitability tend to win out over truth and inquiry,” says Goldstein. Controversial views (even if factually accurate) can disturb the corporate equilibrium. This may be one of the reasons why universities are increasingly dedicated to a new concept: “safetyism,” a term coined by FIRE’s founders, Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt in their book The Coddling of the American Mind. Educators’ telos is no longer only knowledge; it’s ensuring that students feel “safe.”
But what is “safe”? Goldstein deals with cases where students claim to feel “unsafe” when presented with certain arguments in class. But can one really equate words — statements, claims, hypotheses — to physical safety? “It isn’t as if somebody saying words will make you explode into a fine mist,” as Goldstein says.
“Safe” in modern parlance seems to be about being on the “correct” side of an issue. That side is no longer simply the one on the left. Pinker shared a story with me about a hiring process he was involved in. The candidate, in Pinker’s words, “was a kind of middle-of-the-road liberal Democrat.” His political orientation did not matter; he violated a pillar of the orthodoxy. “He was skeptical about affirmative action,” which got him “branded as an extreme right-winger.” I asked if this was the reason the candidate was not hired. “It went into it,” among other factors.
Larry Summers, former president of Harvard, told me that certain topics demand more homogeneity than others: “We’re comfortable accepting a fairly wide range of views on U.S.–China foreign policy but we’re not comfortable accepting a wide range of views on affirmative action.” Other taboos include certain positions on race, gender, and colonialism. Summers shared a hypothetical: “If someone did research that showed that it’s better for children to spend more time with their mothers during the first six years of their life during the day, you’d have to be an extraordinarily brave person to do that on Harvard’s campus.”
How did we get here? Wasn’t the once-whimsical soft Marxism of college enough? Pinker offered a psychological explanation, mentioning the work of his former postdoctoral student, Peter DiScioli, on the human creation of groups. Humans have a propensity to compete for prestige as well as a fear of being in the “more vulnerable coalition.” So they join the mob lest they be the target of the mob. It’s a phenomenon that occurs in witch hunts, cultural revolutions, and political purges: “Anyone can be a victim if they themselves don’t join the ‘denouncers.’” This can be extrapolated to universities-turned-corporations, which, seeking to avoid controversy, are happy to oblige denouncers.
Ironically, the hippie-student-against-the-man crowd is driving this whole corporate tilt. “It’s easiest for [administrators] if they cave. . . . No skin off their nose if the universities are less able to investigate questions of truth and falsity and explanation,” said Pinker. They’re more worried about appeasing the “left-leaning students protesting outside their office.”
Why is this woke crowd powerful enough to dictate university incentives? Humans, in general, want to be on the “right” side of history. “We’re all moralistic animals,” said Pinker. But that doesn’t mean objective morality: “Moralistic efforts are those that attempt to claim superiority and demonize opponents.” We go for what is perceived as moral. The Harper’s open letter touched on this: There’s a “vogue for public shaming” and a “tendency to dissolve complex policy issues in a blinding moral certainty.”
So long as this “vogue” continues, profit-seeking entities will comply. Safetyism and moralism go hand in hand: Universities can avoid controversy by tolerating mob mentality. It’s similar to the virtue-signaling you’re seeing in corporate America (think woke Coke). It’s trendy, it’s safe, and it sells.
After all, what’s more corporate than appearing moral?
20 Jan 2020
Jessica Custodio, at Campus Reform, reports:
While Yale University has been pushing for an increased diversity of staff based on race, gender, and sexual orientation, some faculty members are speaking out about the lack of political diversity.
The Yale Daily News spoke with professors at the Ivy League institution for their perspectives on data from the schoolâ€™s Office of Institutional Research showing that faculty diversity is on the rise when it comes to gender and culture.
Many criticized what they claimed to be a lack of effort to have a faculty body surrounding the current political ideology seen throughout the nation. The publication referenced a 2017 survey revealing that close to 75 percent of Yale professors self-identify as liberal with less than 10 percent identifying as conservative.
â€œYale talks a lot of diversity, but basically all that diversity means here is skin colorâ€¦ thereâ€™s definitely no diversity here when it comes to politics,â€ said history professor Carlos Eire.â€
â€œThe liberal point of view is taken to be objective-not an opinion, not a set of beliefs, said Eire, adding that his own views are nonpartisan, â€œThereâ€™s an assumption that goes unquestioned that if youâ€™re not part of the herd groupthink thereâ€™s something wrong with you.â€
â€œ[Itâ€™s] not helpful if you want to have an open society with creative and productive political dialogueâ€¦ if everything you say is immediately invalid because you are not virtuous then thereâ€™s no dialogue,â€ Eire added.
Computer science professor David Gelernter agreed with his colleague, saying that the political diversity at Yale is â€œ0 percentâ€ and that there are â€œfew conservatives, including prominent ones.â€
â€œOf course, not many conservatives exist in most academic fields. But thereâ€™s no competition to get them either,â€ Gelernter added.
English professor Mark Oppenheimer spoke of his experience attending Yale as a student and compared it to the state of affairs today.
â€œMy sense today is that the social cost that one would pay for having certain conservative views is very strongâ€¦ and that effectively is a form of censorship, because to say people can say what they want, but they might pay for it by having far fewer friends, or being shunned, is not really to say that they can say what they want.â€
04 Sep 2019
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors.
When the liberal American establishment sets a new record in craziness, it’s usually in California.
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed a resolution on Tuesday declaring that the National Rifle Association is a domestic terrorist organization. The officials also urged other cities, states and the federal government to follow suit.
District 2 Supervisor Catherine Stefani wrote the resolution and shared her thoughts on the NRA with KTVU. “The NRA has it coming to them,” she said. “And I will do everything I possibly can to call them out on what they are, which is a domestic terrorist organization.”
After citing some statistics about gun violence in the United States â€“ like that there’s been more than one mass shooting per day in the country in 2019 â€“ Stefani got local with how gun violence has impact the Bay Area.
She cited the shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival on July 28, referencing Stephen Romero, Keyla Salazar and Trevor Irby, who were killed by gunman Santino William Legan in what she called a “senseless act of gun violence that day.”
Later in the resolution, which the board passed unanimously, the NRA is blamed for causing gun violence. “The National Rifle Association musters its considerable wealth and organizational strength to promote gun ownership and incite gun owners to acts of violence,” the resolution reads.
The resolution also claims that the NRA “spreads propaganda,” “promotes extremist positions,” and has “through its advocacy has armed those individuals who would and have committed acts of terrorism.”
In addition to calling the NRA a domestic terrorist organization, the Board of Supervisors called on the city and county of San Francisco to “take every reasonable step to limit … entities who do business with the City and County of San Francisco from doing business” with the NRA.
How about that, boys and girls? We’ve got around five million (the NRA’s membership) terrorists at large in America these days. Me, I’m a Life Terrorist. And we can boast of nine US President terrorists: Ulysses Grant, Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and Donald Trump.
Well, if the NRA was a real terrorist organization, we know that SF Board of Supervisors would be out there defending it and kissing its ass.
My father used to shake his head and say, when he read this kind of news of major left-wing lunacy emanating from the Left Coast: “The continent slants, and all the fruits and nuts roll out to California.”
28 Apr 2019
Kate Smith statue outside Xfinity live!.
Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.
–George Orwell, “1984”
01 Apr 2019
Yale Law School
After the Yale Federalist Society invited an attorney from Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a prominent Christian legal group, to speak about the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, conservative students faced backlash. Outlaws, the law schoolâ€™s LGBTQ group, demanded that Yale Law School â€œclarifyâ€ its admissions policies for students who support ADFâ€™s positions. Additionally, Outlaws insisted that students who work for religious or conservative public interest organizations such as ADF during their summers should not receive financial support from the law school.
On March 25, one month after the controversy, Yale Law School announced via email that it was extending its nondiscrimination policy to summer public interest fellowships, postgraduate public interest fellowships, and loan forgiveness for public interest careers. The school will no longer provide financial support for students and graduates who work at organizations that discriminate on the basis of â€œsexual orientation and gender identity and expression.â€
Yale based its decision on a unanimous recommendation from the schoolâ€™s Public Interest Committee. The committee explained: â€œThe logic of our broader recommendation is that Yale Law School does not and should not support discrimination against its own students, financially or otherwise. Obviously, the Law School cannot prohibit a student from working for an employer who discriminates, but that is not a reason why Yale Law School should bear any obligation to fund that work, particularly if that organization does not give equal employment opportunity to all of our students.â€
The law school also thanked Outlaws for raising this issue.
Discriminating against Christians and Conservatives who do not accept the Party Line on Gender and Sexual Orientation Equality, on the other hand, is morally obligatory.
05 Oct 2018
Joel Kaplan sat at the left, two rows back, during the Kavanaugh hearing.
The NY Times reports that a Facebook VP being a friend of Brett Kavanaugh’s has led to outrage at the California company.
â€œI want to apologize,â€ the Facebook executive wrote last Friday in a note to staff. â€œI recognize this moment is a deeply painful one â€” internally and externally.â€
The apology came from Joel Kaplan, Facebookâ€™s vice president for global public policy. A day earlier, Mr. Kaplan had sat behind his friend, Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, President Trumpâ€™s nominee for the Supreme Court, when the judge testified in Congress about allegations he had sexually assaulted Christine Blasey Ford in high school. Mr. Kaplanâ€™s surprise appearance prompted anger and shock among many Facebook employees, some of whom said they took his action as a tacit show of support for Judge Kavanaugh â€” as if it were an endorsement from Facebook itself.
The unrest quickly spilled over onto Facebookâ€™s internal message boards, where hundreds of workers have since posted about their concerns, according to current and former employees. To quell the hubbub, Facebookâ€™s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, last Friday explained in a widely attended staff meeting that Mr. Kaplan was a close friend of Judge Kavanaughâ€™s and had broken no company rules, these people said.
Yet the disquiet within the company has not subsided. This week, Facebook employees kept flooding internal forums with comments about Mr. Kaplanâ€™s appearance at the hearing. In a post on Wednesday, Andrew Bosworth, a Facebook executive, appeared to dismiss the concerns when he wrote to employees that â€œit is your responsibility to choose a path, not that of the company you work for.â€ Facebook plans to hold another staff meeting on Friday to contain the damage, said the current and former employees. …
The internal turmoil at Facebook â€” described by six current and former employees and a review of internal posts â€” illustrates how divisions over Judge Kavanaughâ€™s nomination to the Supreme Court have cascaded into unexpected places and split one of the worldâ€™s biggest tech companies.
Mr. Kaplanâ€™s show of support for Judge Kavanaugh hits a particularly sensitive spot for Facebook. It has been weathering claims from conservatives and Mr. Trump that Facebook is biased against right-wing websites and opinions. The company has denied this, saying it is a neutral platform that welcomes all perspectives. By showing up at Judge Kavanaughâ€™s side, Mr. Kaplan essentially appeared to choose a political side that goes against the views of Facebookâ€™s largely liberal work force.
Many employees also viewed it as a statement: Mr. Kaplan believed Mr. Kavanaughâ€™s side of the story rather than Dr. Blaseyâ€™s testimony. That felt especially hurtful to Facebook employees who were also sexual assault survivors, many of whom began sharing their own #MeToo stories internally.
The tensions add to a litany of other issues that have sapped employee morale. In the past few weeks alone, the company, based in Silicon Valley, has grappled with the departures of the co-founders of Instagram, the photo-sharing app owned by Facebook, plus the disclosure of its largest-ever data breach and continued scrutiny of disinformation across its network before the midterm elections.
â€œOur leadership team recognizes that theyâ€™ve made mistakes handling the events of the last week and weâ€™re grateful for all the feedback from our employees,â€ Roberta Thomson, a Facebook spokeswoman, said in a statement on Thursday.
Western Society has reached the interesting point at which fashionable class solidarity within capitalist organizations will punish ideological deviationism with as much alacrity as last century’s totalitarian regimes.
21 Apr 2018
Kevin Williamson discusses his short career at The Atlantic.
In early March, I met up with Jeffrey Goldberg, the editor in chief of the Atlantic, at an event sponsored by the magazine at the South by Southwest conference in Austin. He had just hired me away from National Review, the venerable conservative magazine where Iâ€™d been a writer and editor for 10 years.
â€œYou know, the campaign to have me fired will begin 11 seconds after you announce that youâ€™ve hired me,â€ I told him. He scoffed. â€œIt wonâ€™t be that bad,â€ he said. â€œThe Atlantic isnâ€™t the New York Times. It isnâ€™t high church for liberals.â€
My first piece appeared in the Atlantic on April 2. I was fired on April 5.
The purported reason for our â€œparting ways,â€ as Mr. Goldberg put it in his announcement, had nothing to do with what Iâ€™d written in my inaugural piece. The problem was a six-word, four-year-old tweet on abortion and capital punishment and a discussion of that tweet in a subsequent podcast. I had responded to a familiar pro-abortion argument: that pro-lifers should not be taken seriously in our claim that abortion is the willful taking of an innocent human life unless we are ready to punish women who get abortions with long prison sentences. Itâ€™s a silly argument, so I responded with these words: â€œI have hanging more in mind.â€
Trollish and hostile? Iâ€™ll cop to that, though as the subsequent conversation online and on the podcast indicatedâ€”to say nothing of the few million words of my published writing available to the reading publicâ€”I am generally opposed to capital punishment. I was making a point about the sloppy rhetoric of the abortion debate, not a public-policy recommendation. Such provocations can sometimes clarify the terms of a debate, but in this case, I obscured the more meaningful questions about abortion and sparked the sort of hysteria Iâ€™d meant to point out and mock.
07 Apr 2018
I think Jonah Goldberg did the best job of putting Kevin Williamson’s rapid firing by The Atlantic (after a single editorial) in the appropriate perspective.
Michael Anton, who penned â€œThe Flight 93 Electionâ€ back when he was hiding behind a pen-name, articulated very well in an exchange with me what millions of conservatives believe to be true:
The old American ideal of judging individuals and not groups, content-of-character-not-color-of-skin, is dead, dead, dead. Dead as a matter of politics, policy and culture. The left plays by new rules. The right still plays by the old rules. The left laughs at us for it â€” but also demands that we keep to that rulebook. They donâ€™t even bother to cheat. They proclaim outright that â€œthese rules donâ€™t apply to our side.â€
I disagree with Antonâ€™s prescription â€” to surrender to identity politics and cheat the way our â€œenemiesâ€ do â€” but I cannot argue much with this description of a widespread mindset. Many on the right are surrendering to the logic of the mob because they are sick of double standards. Again, I disagree with the decision to surrender, but I certainly empathize with the temptation. The Left and the mainstream media canâ€™t even see how they donâ€™t want to simply win, they want to force people to celebrate their victories (â€œYou will be made to care!â€). It isnâ€™t forced conversion at the tip of a sword, but at the blunt edge of a virtual mob.
I could go on for another 2,000 words about all of the double standards I have in mind. But letâ€™s stick with the subject at hand: Kevin Williamsonâ€™s views on abortion put him outside the mainstream. And he was fired from The Atlantic merely for refusing to recant them.
Meanwhile, extreme views on the left are simply hot takes or even signs of genius. Take the philosopher Peter Singer. He has at least as extreme views on a host of issues, and he is feted and celebrated for them. He is the author of the Encyclopedia Britannicaâ€™s entry on â€œEthics.â€ He holds an endowed chair at Princeton. He writes regularly for leading publications. And he argues that sometimes itâ€™s okay to kill babies, as in his essay â€œKilling Babies Isnâ€™t Always Wrong.â€ â€œNewborn human babies,â€ he writes, â€œhave no sense of their own existence over time. So killing a newborn baby is never equivalent to killing a person, that is, a being who wants to go on living.â€ He cutely asks whether people should cease to exist. (He ultimately and grudgingly answers â€œNo.â€) Oh, he also argues in favor of bestiality.
And heâ€™s been profiled favorably in the pages of The Atlantic.
And thatâ€™s okay. I canâ€™t stand his utilitarian logic-chopping and nihilistic view of humanity, but at least going by Nockâ€™s Ark of the Covenant rules, he should be free to make his arguments anywhere willing editors want to publish them. We have a right to be wrong.
But thatâ€™s not the point: Singerâ€™s work does not render him anathema in elite circles, it earns awards, praise, and celebration for its ruthless consistency and edgy provocation. He is not fired for what he writes never mind what he thinks. I have no doubt some people donâ€™t think this is a perfect example of a double standard, and I could come up with some objections to it myself. But if you canâ€™t see why some people â€” fellow American citizens â€” see it as a glaring double standard, you are part of the problem.
Kevin was hired by The Atlantic because he is among the best of the homeless conservatives in the Trump Era. Thatâ€™s why Bret Stephens went to the New York Times, and itâ€™s probably why Iâ€™ve gotten my share of strange new respect from some liberals. But what Goldberg â€” or his boss â€” and countless others fail to appreciate, I think, is that the Trump Era is merely one facet of the larger age of tribalism that we live in. In an age when evangelical Christians and constitutional conservatives can overlook the sins of a Roy Moore, itâ€™s easy to see how people could mistake a Trump critic as a useful voice in their chorus. But Kevin isnâ€™t one of them. He sings from his own hymnal and he stands athwart the tribalisms of Trumpism and the tribalisms that gave us Trump. He is in The Remnant (which Nock described in, of all places, The Atlantic). And I am honored to be a happy warrior by his side, hopefully at National Review once again.
It seems to me that The Atlantic disgraced and embarrassed itself so badly that it really did far more damage to itself than to Kevin Williamson.
01 Apr 2018
John Gray is dismayed at the way the politics of identity has replaced Liberalism with intolerant and totalitarian hyper-liberalism.
It would be easy to say that liberalism has now been abandoned. Practices of toleration that used to be seen as essential to freedom are being deconstructed and dismissed as structures of repression, and any ideas or beliefs that stand in the way of this process banned from public discourse. Judged by old-fashioned standards, this is the opposite of what liberals have stood for. But what has happened in higher education is not that liberalism has been supplanted by some other ruling philosÂophy. Instead, a hyper-liberal ideology has developed that aims to purge society of any trace of other views of the world. If a regime of censorship prevails in universities, it is because they have become vehicles for this project. When students from China study in Western countries one of the lessons they learn is that the enforcement of intellectual orthodoxy does not require an authoritarian govÂernment. In institutions that proclaim their commitment to critical inquiry, censorship is most effective when it is self-imposed. A defining feature of tyranny, the policing of opinion is now established practice in societies that believe themselves to be freer than they have ever been.
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