Wednesday, November 25, 2015

America's Indoctrination Mills

If you think college is bad, wait until to find out what is going on in America’s elite high schools. The mania over political correctness and victim culture does not begin in college. It begins, as Prof. Jonathan Haidt discovered, in the indoctrination mills that prepare children for college. It’s a bit much to say that they are schools at all.

Parents are clearly worried about the abuse that is systematically visited on boys. They are surely also worried about the way that their daughters are being turned into a revolutionary vanguard. Whatever you think about helicopter parenting, you might consider that parents might very well want to protect their children from the leftist culture that prevails in high school.

Haidt describes a high school assembly that he had addressed in an upscale suburban high school. After his talk, he was denounced and attacked by female students while all the male students, save one male feminist, kept quiet.

Later, he spoke to an adult audience, comprised of parents of many of the children he had spoken to earlier:

So if these teenagers are coming into political consciousness inside of a “moral matrix” that is uniformly leftist, there will always be anger directed at those who disrupt that consensus.

That night, after I gave a different talk to an adult audience, there was a reception at which I spoke with some of the parents. Several came up to me to tell me that their sons had told them about the day’s events. The boys finally had a way to express and explain their feelings of discouragement. Their parents were angry to learn about how their sons were being treated and… there’s no other word for it, bullied into submission by the girls, with the blessing of the teachers.

No more teaching. Incipient feminists bully the boys and the boys have no right to say anything about it, lest they be denounced to the thought police.

Haidt found the same atmosphere at a top New England prep school:

Last summer I had a conversation with some boys who attend one of the nation’s top prep schools, in New England. They reported the same thing: as white males, they are constantly on eggshells, afraid to speak up on any remotely controversial topic lest they be sent to the “equality police” (that was their term for the multicultural center). I probed to see if their fear extended  beyond the classroom. I asked them what they would do if there was a new student at their school, from, say Yemen. Would they feel free to ask the student questions about his or her country? No, they said, it’s too risky, a question could be perceived as offensive.

It’s as though it isn’t enough to give poor grades to any student who offers  a dissenting opinion. He must also be punished by having to undergo thought reform.

One must note that the feminist victory is pyrrhic. These empowered girls will go off to college and will hook up with boys who will mistreat them. When these girls decide go looking for relationships with boys, the boys they have been beating down throughout their school years might not be interested in anything more than using them for sex. When these liberated girls sext pictures of their private parts to wanna-be boyfriends, the boys will probably not feel a gentlemanly concern with keeping the images private. They will more likely pass them around the locker room.

Perhaps it is payback for the high school classes and assemblies in which the boys were forced into silence. 

Haidt continues:

And then… they go off to college and learn new ways to gain status by expressing collective anger at those who disagree. They curse professors and spit on visiting speakers at Yale. They shut down newspapers at Wesleyan. They torment a dean who was trying to help them at Claremont McKenna. They threaten and torment fellow students at Dartmouth. And in all cases, they demand that adults in power DO SOMETHING to punish those whose words and views offend them. Their high schools have thoroughly socialized them into what sociologists call victimhood culture, which weakens students by turning them into “moral dependents” who cannot deal with problems on their own. They must get adult authorities to validate their victim status.

So they issue ultimatums to college presidents, and, as we saw at Yale, the college presidents meet their deadlines, give them much of what they demanded, commit their schools to an ever tighter embrace of victimhood culture, and say nothing to criticize the bullying, threats, and intimidation tactics that have created a culture of intense fear for anyone who might even consider questioning the prevailing moral matrix. 

One needs to ask whether these children are being prepared for the real world, whether they are being taught what they need to know to succeed.

Haidt has more than a few doubts:

As long as many of our elite prep schools are turning out students who have only known eggshells and anger, whose social cognition is limited to a single dimension of victims and victimizers, and who demand safe spaces and trigger warnings, it’s hard to imagine how any university can open students’ minds and prepare them to converse respectfully with people who don’t share their values. Especially when there are no adults around who don’t share their values.

 They used to be called high schools. Now they seem to be nothing more than indoctrination mills.


Ares Olympus said...

Jonathan Haidt's article is certainly damming, and we can't even blame public schools on his examples.

I found this illuminating - seeing it comes from a need for status that encourages this hidden bullying.
Haidt: And then… they go off to college and learn new ways to gain status by expressing collective anger at those who disagree.

For public school, a neighboring school district to me is going to have a special election in December to replace a school board member who was forced to resign, apparently after someone got a hold of his phone and texted antimuslim slurs.

The 16-year old's quote (below) is so preposterous, dismissing his peace offering as JUST trying to "save face". Its not enough that they forced him to resign, but that it took the bullying of an "entire" community to force this.

Forcing someone to apologize for things he didn't do would seem to be the jackpot of high status. And if you could believe such self-righteous victims could be satiated after "first blood", perhaps it would be a worthy trade, but we all know addiction to a strategy is the easy path, so unless a person falls into a hypocrisy trap they're forced to face, they have little hope to free themselves.

Pretty much ANYONE's career can be ended by tactics like this, at least in such closed circles.
At a news conference ahead of Tuesday night's school board meeting, Nichols said he refused to quit at first because he didn't write the offensive post and didn't feel he should be punished for it.

He blames a co-worker who got hold of his phone. But Nichols said he takes responsibility for the comment and said he's stepping down because it caused so much anger and division in Columbia Heights.

"It's affecting our community and our city. And that, I don't like to see, so I wanted this turmoil done with. And if it takes me to end it, then that's what needs to happen," he said.

As Nichols spoke to reporters, three Twin Cities Muslim leaders stood beside him. All said it's time to move forward, and they believe Nichols' assertion that he was not the author of the post.

Shah Khan, president of the Islamic Center of Minnesota, said Nichols made a sacrifice in stepping down, something that should be applauded.

"Who else would understand better than the people of an Abrahamic faith the importance of sacrifice?" he said. "What he has sacrificed today he should be proud of, his family should be proud of. He is creating a new era, and creating an example in the community of Minnesota where people can look back to this day and say that we have achieved something."

Ayan Jama, a 16-year-old Columbia Heights High School sophomore, said she doubts Nichols' sincerity. Jama also said Muslim leaders shouldn't praise Nichols for resigning.

"He's like, 'let me save face and do it now,' when he could have done it last week or the week before or even when he got called out for the comments," she said. "He's just saying it now just to save face."

Ares Olympus said...

p.s. There's a link to another article from Haidt on his speech (and 30 minute video), and one longer comment there.

It again makes me ask: How do you find your way out of victim ideology once it captures you? I see how any ideology is like a religious cult to the degree that it attempts to be the only "right" way to think.
The Independent Whig | October 6, 2015 at 8:29 pm
The psychology of vindictive protectiveness has existed since the French Revolution. Its means have adapted to the cultural norms of the time and place in which it has existed, but its ends have always been the same.
When most of the evolved psychological mechanisms of social perception and understanding are unavailable to both kinds of one’s thinking – Kahneman’s Fast and Slow thinking, aka Haidt’s rider/press secretary and elephant – one is left with virtually no logical alternative but to conclude that people who think differently must be, can only be, socially, psychologically, or cognitively dysfunctional.

And when one knows that people who think differently are sick in this way it’s only natural for one to feel not merely rationally justified but also morally obligated to prevent them and their ideas from participating in social discourse.
Haidt himself, with his doctorate level Ivy-League education (in psychology, no less!!) admits to never having been exposed to actual conservative thought until he reached is forties, and even then only when he actively sought it out.

Exurban Bourbon said...

I'm reminded of Michel Houellebecq's new novel "Submission", where a future France transforms into an Islamic state. The transformation comes when the establishment parties, fearing the victory of Le Pen's Front National, form a coalition, selecting as candidate for Prime Minister the head of a small Muslim party. Under the victorious coalition's agreement, the Islamist requests control of only one department: Education.

Anonymous said...

During the Korean War, we learned about Communist brain washing of our POWs in North Korea. Some of the same techniques were used on Vietnam POWs. They didn't work all that well on POWs, few were converted and even fewer were affected after returning to a free society. The Gramscian march through academia is bearing fruit, and the fruit is poisoned. What is to be done? Possibly the cure is in the sickness. These young Frankenstein monsters are now turning on their inventors. Must the academy reform to preserve itself? Let's hope so.