Friday, December 25, 2020

Dissident Women's Studies Ph.D. Speaks

It's Samantha Jones (not her real name, to protect against leftist death threats, apparently), at New Discourses, "A Dissident Women's Studies Ph.D. Speaks Out."

It's the second half of her piece that's most interesting, for example:
One of the most urgent needs is the development of a grassroots movement for intellectual diversity on campus, spearheaded by students, alumni, parents, and concerned citizens. I hope that existing conservative, centrist, or libertarian organizations can help to facilitate this movement by providing organizational and logistical support at campuses throughout the country. Everyone should take a close look at their state’s public universities’ Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity initiatives to see if intellectual diversity is included. If it is not, then the obvious first step is to advocate for the inclusion of intellectual diversity. Concerned taxpayers, students, parents, and alumni, working with the elected officials in those university districts, if necessary, need to ensure that universities have intellectual diversity in humanities and social sciences course offerings. If intellectual diversity is included in the Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity initiative (in my experience, most of these initiatives include at least a brief reference to intellectual diversity), then work can be done to survey students to see if they feel that intellectual diversity is represented, particularly in their humanities and social sciences courses. Heterodox Academy has published relevant survey data on the dearth of intellectual diversity in these fields.

If America has any chance of continuing the classical liberal values upon which it was founded, then students who have a commitment to these values have to enter the teaching profession—as doctoral students in education, as administrators, and as public school teachers. Critical pedagogy, and more specifically critical race theory, are the dominant discourses controlling all levels in American schools of education, so students need to tread lightly and assent, at least outwardly, to Critical Social Justice ideology. Once in the classroom, however, teachers should reject all pressures to teach Critical Social Justice, and especially critical race theory, because it is an inherently racist ideology and because it instantiates the problem—racism—that it purports to solve. Critical race theory also needs to be resisted because it, as its own proponents assert, “questions the very foundations of the liberal order, including equality theory, legal reasoning, Enlightenment rationalism, and neutral principles of constitutional law.” (Delgado and Stefancic, Critical Race Theory: An Introduction). Teachers should take a stand for fighting racism within liberalism, not by adopting critical race theory. If there is not already a nonprofit organization devoted to assisting non-woke students to enter the teaching profession—again, at all levels, as professors of education, as administrators, and as public school teachers—then one should be organized immediately. This could also be a special project for existing right- or libertarian-leaning organizations.

Another important project should be the revival of Western civilization and Great Books courses, at all levels of education, but most critically in the universities. In 1964, 15 of the 50 premier universities in America required students to take a survey of Western civilization. All 50 offered the course, and nearly all of them (41) offered it as a way to satisfy some requirement. (Source: New York Post, by Ashley Thorne “The drive to put Western civ back in the college curriculum,” March 29, 2016). But since 1987, when Jesse Jackson led 500 students around Stanford University protesting the requirement that undergraduates take a course in Western Civilization, which they denounced as Eurocentric, white-male indoctrination, most colleges have eliminated Western civ courses for diversity or multiethnic course requirements. An excellent example of a Western civ curriculum can be found in the James Madison program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University, which is dedicated to “exploring enduring questions of American constitutional law and Western political thought.” Another avenue is to look into funding institutes for education in Western civilization as a new department at extant colleges and universities.

I would love to see crowd-sourced funds used to construct a beautiful classical building adjacent to one of the ugliest college campuses in the country, preferably one composed entirely of postwar Brutalist buildings. I imagine that students whose spirits are continually depressed by attending classes in the midst of such hideous architecture would feel intrigued to enter such a beautiful building. Once inside, they might learn that there is, in fact, such a thing as beauty; that it matters, and that Critical Social Justice ideology can never build anything beautiful; it can never, in fact, build anything at all—it can only destroy. Once inside that building, students might become interested in registering for a course on Western civilization, a course in which all thought is permitted, in which no one is threatened with cancellation: a microcosm of what a university environment used to be. In this way, we might plant and nurture the seed of resistance to the increasing totalitarianism of Critical Social Justice.

In the long term, it is going to be necessary to create more universities devoted to classical education, not indoctrination into Critical Social Justice ideology, as well as more K-12 private and charter schools in the classical tradition because university schools of education have been training “social justice” educators for decades now, so Critical Social Justice ideology is now in the K-12 public schools. At a policy level on this problem, we need avenues for teacher certification outside of the existing teacher colleges, which are wholly committed to critical pedagogy and other failed approaches. Forcing every licensed teacher (usually for state jobs) to undergo ideological training to gain licensure is not only a problem but should be illegal. At the personal level, my advice to everyone with kids who can afford to do so is to pull your kids out of the public schools immediately and enroll them in private schools, or home school. Although home schooling has already begun to come under attack, it is still a viable option—at least for now. In the future, homeschooling will come under increased scrutiny and I believe there will be attempts to render it illegal. I realize that not everyone can afford to home school or send their kids to private schools (many of which are not safe from Critical Social Justice, either). I strongly recommend that all parents emphasize the value of vocational training programs for their children as avenues to career paths that pay well and offer a great deal of autonomy.

My hope is that new immigrants to America will increasingly speak out against Critical Social Justice ideology as an American instantiation of what is called, in other contexts, tribalism—a form of corruption that has damaged many countries. Far from being a bastion of white supremacy, America’s liberal values are what have attracted people from all countries to undergo great hardship to come here, precisely because this is one of the few places in which ordinary people can exercise their talents to achieve a standard of living that is impossible in most of the world. It is my fervent hope that more American college students—especially the “woke” who rail against their own country as evil—would be required to spend a semester abroad in a developing country in order to gain some much-needed perspective on the struggles people face who were not fortunate enough to be born into such an “oppressive” place as America.

Lastly, I have focused mostly on academia and education because this is the sector I know best, but I strongly urge everyone, from all walks of life, to embrace your sense of humor (a quality that is conspicuously absent in woke culture). Wokeness should continue to relentlessly mocked and parodied through meme culture (Andrew Doyle’s Titania McGrath is a great example). Just as important: Be courageous. Stand up for the beliefs that have made America a great country. If you hear people treating others as members of groups, articulate the importance of treating people as individuals. As Jordan Peterson put it, “The smallest minority is the individual.” If you encounter people treating others badly because of their gender or skin color, say that this behavior is morally wrong. If you see people attempting to “cancel” others, articulate why this is a terrible way to treat others. If you witness attacks on freedom of speech and advocacy of censorship, or if you meet people who are in favor of “hate speech” laws, or laws to combat “misinformation” (a code word for non-leftist ideas), articulate why freedom of speech is an absolutely essential and non-negotiable value. If you hear people discussing why they think socialism is great, take a stand for free markets and the prosperity they have produced. If you hear people calling for retributive justice and political violence, push against it and discuss why violence is never acceptable. If you encounter attacks on meritocracy, make a case for why merit is essential to the advancement of individuals and societies. I think a lot of liberals, like me, generally, if not naively, assumed that the liberal values underpinning America would simply continue throughout our lives, but these values are under attack and they need to be vigorously and unapologetically defended. Our civilization is at stake and the hour is late.