Sunday, April 22, 2018

Social Justice Bullies

We were happy to see that New York University had found a constructive way to shut down campus social justice bullies. Administrators called their parents and told them that if they continued to disrupt the school’s educational mission, they would be suspended and would lose their financial aid. End of protest.

And yet, NYU is the exception to the rule. George Leef explained in National Review (via Maggie’s Farm) that victimhood culture has infested universities because administrators are too weak to oppose it. And far too weak to shut it down. Does this have anything to do with the fact that these schools have all become effective or actual matriarchies?

Witness Reed College, previously a beacon of liberal arts education in Oregon, of all places. The school has just caved to the pressure administered by social justice bullies. The Wall Street Journal editorialized on the conflict over a Humanities course, called Humanities 101:

For more than 70 years the 1,500-student private liberal arts school in Portland, Oregon, has required every freshman to take a yearlong course covering the Judeo-Christian and Greco-Roman canon (Humanities 110). Through these texts, students explore “issues of continuing relevance pertaining to ideals of truth, beauty, virtue, justice, happiness and freedom, as well as challenges posed by social inequality, war, power and prejudice,” according to the course description. 

The course introduces students to the major thinkers in Western civilization, from Aristotle and Plato to Western religious leaders. As it happened, all of these thinkers were white. Thus, the course made non-white students feel inadequate. The course had to be shut down.

So, like the Red Guards of yore, the social justice bullies invaded classrooms and held sit-ins, making it impossible for other students to learn anything:

But activists calling themselves Reedies Against Racism denounced the course as “oppressive” and “Caucasoid,” claiming too many of the writers were white men. You know, like that lame Aristotle dude. Last spring they demanded that their peers participate in sit-ins, and last fall the bullying grew worse.

This meant that:

Protesters shouted down lecturers, forcibly grabbed microphones, and shut down class. The faculty finally voted to prohibit protestors from attending the class, and the college had to issue no-contact orders to stop them from harassing staff.

When a Reed parent dared to criticize the tactics and methods of the social justice bullies, they attacked the parent's employer:

When a parent complained online about the disruptions, a Reedies Against Racism participant “tagged the parent’s employer in a post,” the Atlantic newssite reported. English professor Lucía Martínez Valdivia said protesters were so intimidating that she suffered “physical anxiety—lack of sleep, nausea, loss of appetite, inability to focus—in the weeks leading up to my lecture.”

You might believe that the university defended the course. Certainly, it did not threaten the student bullies with suspension. It is far too woke for either of those actions. Instead, it decided that it needed to change the reading list of Humanities 101:

Reed College now says it will scrap some of the traditional texts and focus half the course on Mexico City and Harlem. Reedies Against Racism still isn’t satisfied. In a statement on Facebook last week, the activists called for faculty to cut more “white” texts from the curriculum “as reparations for Humanities 110’s history of erasing the histories of people of color, especially black people.”

Give them an inch and they want to take a mile. It serves the Reed faculty and administrators right. They are paying a price for their weak-kneed lily-livered cowardice.

Just case you were wondering whether there is a hidden agenda here, I suspect that there is. I suspect that the social justice bullies who are spending their time militating are simply avoiding classroom work, especially challenging classroom work. Why are they avoiding the classroom work? Could it be because they are not smart enough to grasp the material? Could it be that classroom discussion exposes their ignorance? Could it be that when reading Plato or Aristotle they see how little they know? Undoubtedly they prefer cultural products that do not require so much hard work.

One suspects that these social justice bullies were admitted under diversity quotas and cannot compete with students who were not. I know you will find it hard to believe, but the thought naturally wafts through one’s consciousness.

The net effect is that Reed College is dumbing down its curriculum to allow students who were admitted for diversity to feel better about themselves. You see, it’s all about therapy. And about self-esteem. And about perpetuating the fiction that students who were admitted with vastly different qualifications are really all equal. And about perpetuating the other fiction, namely that all cultures are of equal value, that all thinkers are equally proficient, that all literary text are of equal merit. Why study Plato when you can mull over cartoons?

So, Reed College joins those schools who have caved in to pressure from social justice bullies and is turning its students into imbeciles. Politically correct imbeciles, if you like, but imbeciles no less. Obviously, the students who do not find the dumbed down curriculum challenging will bear an unstated resentment toward those students who are forcing them to waste their time.

But, it’s worse. A recent study suggests that dumbing down the curriculum makes students depressed. John Ellis reports on it for Pajamas Media:

… if students attend a college where the classes are less academically challenging than they're used to and where their peers are less academically focused than their high school classmates, the risk for depression rises substantially.

If a student’s high school courses were more difficult and if a student’s high school classmates were more intelligent, that student, upon entering a place like Reed College is more likely to get depressed. For not being challenged, for not learning anything, for feeling like they are wasting their time, students become depressed. Who knew?

No one emphasizes this angle, so it is worth noting. No one seems to care about what happens to the students who attended excellent high schools when they arrive at supposedly prestigious institutions of higher learning and discover that their minds are being left to stagnate, that they are not learning from the great minds of Western civilization but must waste their time pondering the half-truths of mediocre thinkers. And thus, end up dumber when they leave than when they arrived.


Sam L. said...

My daughter is a friend of a Reed graduate of a few years back. Reed is known to be a rather liberal college. I am not surprised to hear they've caved before the onslaught of the crazies.

Ares Olympus said...

Stuart: I suspect that the social justice bullies who are spending their time militating are simply avoiding classroom work...

Do SJW get lower grades? I'm sure some do. It probably feels exciting to become a "warrior" and you can redirect all your personal insecurities and rage into a scapegoat. Psychology prof Jordan Peterson has allowed himself to become a lightning rod for the whole world to see, like this video he stays as calm against their provocations, lets them expose their blind hatred. Perhaps he should ask them individually about their grades or aspirations after college? McMaster U. Meltdown - SJW insanity vs Jordan Peterson's monk-like calm

Peterson was asked why he doesn't call out the extremists on the right, and he said they're too small to worry him, while those SJW who graduate with a victimhood ideology will try to carry this SJW views into coercive social institutions for decades to come.