Heaven forfend anyone criticizing the University of Wisconsin’s flagship Madison campus. To cross that Rubicon is to brand oneself as a philistine, a rube —Vandals at the gates, Trump voters.
The knee-jerk reaction from our … acquaintances is to defend the Leninist re-education camps our college campuses have become with high-minded prattle. Instead of encouraging intellectual inquiry they demand stifling conformity. Their particular sciences are settled. Their wisdom is received, not discovered. If you don’t get “The Problem of Whiteness,” then you are suffering from implicit bias. You are exercising your white privilege. You are engaging in hate speech. Get played the race card.
State Sen. Steve Nass, R-Whitewater, has long suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous blowback for daring to question the Closing of American Minds in our institutions of Higher Political Correctness. He is now joined by State Rep. Daniel Murphy, R-Greenville, chairman of the Assembly’s Committee on Colleges and Universities.
Nass identified another example of junk science: a six-week program open only to “men-identified students” in a “national liberal effort to rid male students of their ‘toxic masculinity.”
“Preaching, not teaching,” says Mike Mikalsen, a spokesman for Nass. Mike notes that UW is coming to taxpayers for an extra $42 million this budget “and we can’t comment?”
For ‘men-identified’ students only
The “UW Men’s Project” is yet another example of how academia has fallen hook, line, and sinker (to coin a phrase) for the Marxist concept of identity determines politics. Listen to this mumbo jumbo from the university’s own course description:
“A key element of the program is intersectionality. There isn’t just one masculinity, there are many,” says Sam Johnson, a violence prevention specialist. [We used to think that described police but we digress.] … She [she!] explained that other components of one’s identity—including religion, sexual orientation, and race—all contribute to individual perceptions and experiences of masculinity. … By encouraging that kind of dialogue among a men-identified cohort, the goal is to create a sense of security in vulnerability … The program operates on a transformative model of social justice allyship.
“Security in vulnerability.” Backward reels the mind, Mr. Orwell.
Fact is our university campuses — from Madison to Missoula — have been No Fly Zones for conservatives for the last 50 years. Recall the University of Missouri communications (!) professor ordering, “We need a little muscle here!” to shut down speech.
Chancellor Rebecca Blank spouts the usual boilerplate: “A university’s commitment to academic freedom and free speech is a commitment that allows all ideas to be presented and discussed.” Yadda, yadda.
Tell that to the BLM protestors who attempted to shut down conservative campus speaker Ben Shapiro. Tell that to the School of Education, which invites only teachers union advocates but not school choice reformers. Tell that to the sociology department’s annual summer School for Radicals.
Oh, for the UW equivalent of Stanford’s Hoover Institution. (Feast your eyes on this line-up!)
Conservatives are not disrupting speakers. They do not demand conformity. They are asking for diversity.
Diversity of skin color but not of thought
Of all people, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof seems to get it.
“We progressives believe in diversity, and we want women, blacks, Latinos, gays and Muslims at the table — er, so long as they aren’t conservatives. … We’re fine with people who don’t look like us, as long as they think like us.”
In A Confession of Liberal Intolerance, Kristof records the paucity of conservatives in academia. “It’s easier to find a Marxist in some disciplines than a Republican.”
Indeed, identity politics IS Marxist — and racist. It posits that people are not causative agents but are determined by societal externalities. Ultimately, the UW-Madison, with its arrogance and condescension (that’s when you talk down to people), helped elect Donald Trump here in Wisconsin. Not because the president-elect is particularly conservative (he ain’t) but because the man is so damned politically incorrect. Grab ‘em by the … , indeed!
For extra credit — Bookmark Heterodox Academy, where a renegade academic at New York University plumbs the data showing conservatives in academia are increasingly an endangered species. The money quote:
“Universities are unlike other institutions in that they absolutely require that people challenge each other so that the truth can emerge from limited, biased, flawed individuals,” he says. “If they lose intellectual diversity, or if they develop norms of ‘safety’ that trump challenge, they die. And this is what has been happening since the 1990s.”
For further reading — The College Fix, reports from the campus front lines by college students themselves.