The 20th anniversary of 9/11 is a time for heroes. They arise unexpectedly, in times of extreme duress. One such hero is a professor from Portland State University, situated in the belly of that totalitarian city in Oregon. His name is Peter Boghossian. He did not lay down his life as the firefighters did in NYC. But he did give up his tenured career to fight an insidious foe: the death of intellectual curiosity. Felled by the new Woke conformity that silences dissent.
Which begs the question: Did Osama bin Laden win, after all?
‘My university sacrificed ideas for ideology. So today I quit.’
‘The more I spoke out against the illiberalism that has swallowed Portland State University, the more retaliation I faced.’
— Peter Boghossian
I never once believed — nor do I now — that the purpose of instruction was to lead my students to a particular conclusion. Rather, I sought to create the conditions for rigorous thought; to help them gain the tools to hunt and furrow for their own conclusions. …
But brick by brick, the university has made this kind of intellectual exploration impossible. It has transformed a bastion of free inquiry into a Social Justice factory whose only inputs were race, gender, and victimhood and whose only outputs were grievance and division.
Students at Portland State are not being taught to think. Rather, they are being trained to mimic the moral certainty of ideologues. Faculty and administrators have abdicated the university’s truth-seeking mission and instead drive intolerance of divergent beliefs and opinions. This has created a culture of offense where students are now afraid to speak openly and honestly. …
So, in 2017, I co-published an intentionally garbled peer-reviewed paper that took aim at the new orthodoxy. Its title:
This example of pseudo-scholarship, which was published in Cogent Social Sciences, argued that penises were products of the human mind and responsible for climate change. Immediately thereafter, I revealed the article as a hoax designed to shed light on the flaws of the peer-review and academic publishing systems. … I continued to believe, perhaps naively, that if I exposed the flawed thinking on which Portland State’s new values were based, I could shake the university from its madness.
Shortly thereafter, swastikas in the bathroom with my name under them began appearing in two bathrooms near the philosophy department. … in one instance accompanied by bags of feces.
Blaska’s Bottom Line: Educators at UW-Madison, Edgewood College, and the Madison public schools — do not let Prof. Boghossian quit in vain. Speak out against the madness that exiles a 42-ton rock from campus in the name of “Equity.”