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Thread: Why the Left Turns on Its Own

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    Why the Left Turns on Its Own

    You could be forgiven for thinking that Mr. Weinstein, who identifies himself as “deeply progressive,” is just the kind of teacher that students at one of the most left-wing colleges in the country would admire. Instead, he has become a victim of an increasingly widespread campaign by leftist students against anyone who dares challenge ideological orthodoxy on campus.

    This professor’s crime? He had the gall to challenge a day of racial segregation.

    A bit of background: The “Day of Absence” is an Evergreen tradition that stretches back to the 1970s. As Mr. Weinstein explained on Wednesday in The Wall Street Journal, “in previous years students and faculty of color organized a day on which they met off campus — a symbolic act based on the Douglas Turner Ward play in which all the black residents of a Southern town fail to show up one morning.” This year, the script was flipped: “White students, staff and faculty will be invited to leave campus for the day’s activities,” reported the student newspaper on the change. The decision was made after students of color “voiced concern over feeling as if they are unwelcome on campus, following the 2016 election.”

    Mr. Weinstein thought this was wrong. The biology professor said as much in a letter to Rashida Love, the school’s Director of First Peoples Multicultural Advising Services. “There is a huge difference between a group or coalition deciding to voluntarily absent themselves from a shared space in order to highlight their vital and under-appreciated roles,” he wrote, “and a group or coalition encouraging another group to go away.” The first instance, he argued, “is a forceful call to consciousness.” The second “is a show of force, and an act of oppression in and of itself.” In other words, what purported to be a request for white students and professors to leave campus was something more than that. It was an act of moral bullying — to stay on campus as a white person would mean to be tarred as a racist.
    For expressing his view, Mr. Weinstein was confronted outside his classroom last week by a group of some 50 students insisting he was a racist. The video of that exchange — “You’re supporting white supremacy” is one of the more milquetoast quotes — must be seen to be believed. It will make anyone who believes in the liberalizing promise of higher education quickly lose heart. When a calm Mr. Weinstein tries to explain that his only agenda is “the truth,” the students chortle.

    Following the protest, college police, ordered by Evergreen’s president to stand down, told Mr. Weinstein they couldn’t guarantee his safety on campus. In the end, Mr. Weinstein held his biology class in a public park. Meantime, photographs and names of his students were circulated online. “Fire Bret” graffiti showed up on campus buildings. What was that about safe spaces?
    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/01/o...n-its-own.html

    --

    This is something Dave and I have talked about a lot off the forum, but it's worth having a conversation here, too. The Left is simply eating itself anymore. There's an awful, self-defeating purity test that seems to be applied to only one side of the political spectrum that literally no one is pure enogh to pass, which causes the movement(s) to eat itself, turning on it's own in the process.

    I don't think I'd survive on a college campus today. The level of self-censorship is absurd.
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    a bunch of viral videos have been coming up from Evergreen College and I gotta say I'm embarrassed to be on the same side of the political spectrum as they are
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    My take is that this is more of an internet problem than an far left social consciousness one. Are there people with an extreme victim mentality on college campuses who are charismatic enough to drive small, vocal followings? Yes. Absolutely. But they are in the vast minority. And lets not confuse those who ask questions or inquire about potential social injustices, looking to create a back and fourth dialogue on some of these topics, with the extreme fringe.

    I say this is an internet problem, because these instances, which are very few, and very far between, get magnified, shared and dissected to the nth degree. That elevates the appearance that this is an epidemic. It is not. There are currently around 4,000 colleges in the US with over 17 million students. These occasions are an insignificant statistical blip.

    Use them as a cautionary tale of social justice run amuck if you like. But the only people painting these as the norm on college campuses are those who have an agenda which this false narrative fills or props up. Right and alt-right media, and folks like Phil who imagine that movements trend towards the extreme fringe. They don't. They typically quietly hover around center, not stepping on anyone's toes.

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    My worry has always been and still is, with this specific issue, the chill effect it produces. Even if these are the fringe and are minorities within the minority, they can have a lasting chill effect that applies outward beyond what you would assume their reach to be.

    For example, if conservative speakers are shouted down and not permitted to speak, that process can and will stop some number of others from speaking out against something they disagree with in the future. Out of fear of being slandered a racist and a misogynist and a whatever-phobe. Which makes the path for bad ideas smoother than it needs to be. If you routinely silence dissenting opinion, you develop social hive mind. That can have disastrous effects when the wrong ideas are propped up in place of better ones that people feared to even speak about.


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    "Don't take refuge in the false security of consensus, and the feeling that whatever
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    - Christopher Hitchens

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    As a conservative headed back to college for grad school, this is the type of thing that concerns me. If I decided to go to an Ivy League and 'out' myself as a conservative, would I be harrassed? Would I be insulted and shouted down? Would be career be affected? Policing speech is dangerous, and while we expect certain codes of conduct due to social norms, if people say unpleasant things or voice different ideological opinions, they should be able to without fear for their safety or livelihood.

    Liberals of this stripe seem to believe that there is a moral corruption associated with conservatism or even those that deviate from the identity politics crusade.

    See the reaction to Professor Mark Lilla of Columbia for his article on ending identity politics in the NYTimes. His colleague (!) calls him a supporter of white supremacy while he is a liberal!

    Crazy!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil in Absentia View Post
    My worry has always been and still is, with this specific issue, the chill effect it produces. Even if these are the fringe and are minorities within the minority, they can have a lasting chill effect that applies outward beyond what you would assume their reach to be.

    For example, if conservative speakers are shouted down and not permitted to speak, that process can and will stop some number of others from speaking out against something they disagree with in the future. Out of fear of being slandered a racist and a misogynist and a whatever-phobe. Which makes the path for bad ideas smoother than it needs to be. If you routinely silence dissenting opinion, you develop social hive mind. That can have disastrous effects when the wrong ideas are propped up in place of better ones that people feared to even speak about.


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    Sure. But again, this is not a routine shouting down. We liked to point to Milo as a prime example of this. He did a hundred college shows for every one that got shouted down. And the shouting down only emboldened him.

    I can agree that it might influence the casual centrists on a particular side. Someone who might think twice about a comment in mixed company or online for fear of reprisal.

    There has been no chill effect at large though. All this has created there is the false narrative that colleges are a hotbed for this activity. And again I'll point to the numbers. If 10% acted this way, that would be 12 million students protesting events or shouting down professors. It's just not happening.
    “Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” ― Neil Gaiman,

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    Why the Left Turns on Its Own

    Not yet. There might be the longer this goes unchecked.

    This is a similar argument to the not all Muslims one. While factually correct it doesn't make the actual number (or the estimated actual number) any more comforting.

    You're also judging this by the worst of its offenses as though there aren't lesser degree ones occurring that don't get as much press, which I don't believe is the case. There was one a year or two ago where a black student chastised a white student with dreadlocks for "cultural appropriation". There were no riots or protests, but the end result is the same general principle I'm talking about. Imagine being a white student around that. Are you going to say anything? Probably not. For fear of "supporting white supremacy". Chill effect at work.

    Let's not forget, too, that racist is the kind of term that's hard to shake once you've been branded one. Like rapist. The burden of proof actually shifts to you to prove you're not one. Absurd as that may be. We're seeing the same thing happen with all the other Leftist buzzwords designed to silence dissent like "misogynist", "Islamaphobe", and "ableist".


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    - Christopher Hitchens

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    I can't be interested in hypotheticals. The slippery slope argument fails here because the "oppressors" have no real power. I'd be much more concerned if professors were exhibiting this sort of behavior.

    Instead this is children playing at politics using their youthful enthusiasms to prop up their limited world view. They will grow and learn.

    Again, this is an internet problem propping up the fringe. That won't go away unless you fundamentally change the internet to stifle this.

    So you are tilting at windmills in my opinion.
    “Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” ― Neil Gaiman,

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    Pretty poignant thread considering Bill Maher is about to get shit-canned.

    It really goes back to what I said awhile ago. There is no end to progressisvism, there is no finish line. It will be destroyed or we'll all be working communal farms.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AmericanJesus View Post
    I can't be interested in hypotheticals. The slippery slope argument fails here because the "oppressors" have no real power. I'd be much more concerned if professors were exhibiting this sort of behavior.

    Instead this is children playing at politics using their youthful enthusiasms to prop up their limited world view. They will grow and learn.

    Again, this is an internet problem propping up the fringe. That won't go away unless you fundamentally change the internet to stifle this.

    So you are tilting at windmills in my opinion.
    Yes, and what damage will be done in that process, and what to what end is their to that damage as they continue to influence new crops of students to behave in the same manner? You can call it a slippery slope, but I'd call it reinforced belief.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dunny View Post
    Pretty poignant thread considering Bill Maher is about to get shit-canned.

    It really goes back to what I said awhile ago. There is no end to progressisvism, there is no finish line. It will be destroyed or we'll all be working communal farms.
    I doubt that.
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    - Christopher Hitchens

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by AmericanJesus View Post
    My take is that this is more of an internet problem than an far left social consciousness one. Are there people with an extreme victim mentality on college campuses who are charismatic enough to drive small, vocal followings? Yes. Absolutely. But they are in the vast minority. And lets not confuse those who ask questions or inquire about potential social injustices, looking to create a back and fourth dialogue on some of these topics, with the extreme fringe.

    I say this is an internet problem, because these instances, which are very few, and very far between, get magnified, shared and dissected to the nth degree. That elevates the appearance that this is an epidemic. It is not. There are currently around 4,000 colleges in the US with over 17 million students. These occasions are an insignificant statistical blip.

    Use them as a cautionary tale of social justice run amuck if you like. But the only people painting these as the norm on college campuses are those who have an agenda which this false narrative fills or props up. Right and alt-right media, and folks like Phil who imagine that movements trend towards the extreme fringe. They don't. They typically quietly hover around center, not stepping on anyone's toes.
    Instances that are few and far between, but get magnified? That's a fair very assessment, and an excellent way at approaching things. Lets use the same theory when there's a police shooting. I'm not sure how many police departments in this country, or total policemen for that matter. I'm also not sure how many people get arrested on a daily basis country wide. My guess would be that it's a pretty big number, and the bad shoots are the ones that get magnified. Are there bad shoots and bad cops? No doubt. Do they represent every department and officer? Absolutely not.
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