Op-ed

Universities aren’t for intellectuals anymore; they’re just leftist echo chambers

Alexander Somoskey/TheBlaze

If you want a snippet of what it's like to live in George Orwell's "1984" fiction novel, try challenging progressive ideologies on college campuses.

Many who do will find themselves in academic purgatory where the only holiness that can summon you back to heaven's gate is obedience.

In Orwell's "1984" novel it's called Newspeak. In 2019, it's called "political correctness" and if you fail to abide by it in the pious halls of academia, you risk becoming an "unperson" disrobed of any social and/or job status you thought was merited.

For those entering college in a student or professor role in 2019, be prepared to be baptized in leftism or castigated into affliction.

In a recent op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, two Catholic college professors criticized the Orwellian tactics being systematically put in place by campus administrators to coerce professors into adopting progressive ideals in their classrooms.

Colleen A. Sheehan, a professor of politics, and James Matthew Wilson, an associate professor of religion and literature at Villanova University, described how students are now "being asked to rate professors according to their perceived agreement with progressive political opinion on bias and identity" and to "comment on the instructor's sensitivity to the diversity of the students in the class."

To ensure professors hold up this end of the deal, the university will reportedly monitor the evaluations filled out by the students.

The framing of the questions, however, are inherently lopsided and only adhere to those who subscribe to progressive doctrines.

For example, one question asked students to rate the professor's sensitivity to a student's biological sex, disability, and gender identity.

The term "gender identity" — now called gender dysphoria — was coined by Dr. John Money, a psychologist and sexologist who theorized that a person's identity in regard to gender is solely based on one's personal sense instead of biology.

Conservatives have, for the most part, rejected the notion of gender identity and are almost immediately labeled bigots for choosing to acknowledge that sex is determined by biology instead of a person's subjective sense.

So if a professor were to disagree with the idea of gender identity, misgender, or deadname (call someone by their old name prior to their transition) someone in their classroom, they'd not only be labeled a bigot or insensitive but that mark would remain on their faculty record permanently.

Jordan Peterson, a psychology professor at the University of Toronto, received worldwide attention for making a YouTube video strongly condemning political correctness and the Canadian government's decision to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act.

The new law made it a federal crime to discriminate on the basis of "gender identity and expression" which Peterson argued would have severe implications for free speech and could potentially subject many Canadians to be prosecuted for mistakenly misidentifying another's preferred pronouns.

Of course, Peterson's criticisms drew the ire of transgender groups and faculty who accused him of fostering a climate of hate and protests on campus ensued.

In an op-ed for the National Post, titled, "The right to be politically incorrect," Peterson explained why he'd refuse to use the pronouns: "These words are at the vanguard of a post-modern, radical leftist ideology that I detest, and which is, in my professional opinion, frighteningly similar to the Marxist doctrines that killed at least 100 million people in the 20th century."

Classrooms that were once seen as a lighthouse for ideas, honest debate, and healthy skepticism are now old hollowed out versions of themselves where professors are afraid of challenging the intellect of their students in sincere ways.

What happened to an Evergreen State College professor is another textbook example of this.

In 2017, the Evergreen State College administration completely caved to mob rule when Bret Weinstein — a beloved biologist and evolutionary theorist who wasn't a conservative by any means — penned an open letter to campus administrators criticizing the school's annual "Day of Absence."

"Day of Absence" written by Douglas Turner Ward is based on a 1965 play in which all blacks in a Southern town disappear for one day. Their absence is meant to emphasize the roles they play in a white society, which quickly crumbles resulting in white people begging for them to return.

At Evergreen, minority students were typically asked to stay home so that their white peers could reflect on the contributions they've made, but the roles had been reversed.

White students were asked to stay home instead.

As a Jew, Weinstein took issue with one group absenting another group from a shared space.

He explained his reasoning for his letter of dissent in a podcast with Joe Rogan, saying that "there was all the difference in the world between a population deciding to absent themselves from a shared space in order to highlight their role and a population deciding to absent another population from a shared space" which Weinstein said he found "unacceptable as a person devoted to the gains of the Civil Rights movement."

Protests erupted over his criticism after his letter was made public by the school's newspaper and students quickly branded Weinstein a racist even though he describes himself as an "anti-racist" progressive.

Evergreen State warned Weinstein not to return to campus and refused to allow law enforcement to quash the apoplectic drove of students.

The intimidation at Evergreen State started ideological then turned physical and we're currently witnessing an uptick of contempt for dissenters manifest itself into more physical forms.

Just last month, Hayden Williams was punched in the face during an argument at UC Berkeley while he was recruiting students for a conservative campus organization.

Peyton Lofton, a libertarian activist, had his room door set on fire at Tulane University in New Orleans.

"It's a sad day in America when radical activists are lighting dorm room doors on fire because they disagree with you politically," wrote Young Americans for Liberty, the campus organization Lofton is associated with.

Just this week, it was also reported that a student at Michigan State University was reported by his dorm roommate to a bias reporting system for watching a video by conservative commentator and Daily Wire editor in chief, Ben Shapiro.

In the report, the student claimed that "Ben Shapiro is known for his inflammatory speech that criticizes and attacks the African American community" and that he "thought hate had no place on MSU's campus yet MSU has roomed me with someone who supports hate speach [sic]."

Shapiro can't step foot on a college campus to speak without an expensive security detail and many other controversial speakers are now experiencing the same ideological intimidation promulgated by leftists.

This week, Matt Walsh, a popular conservative writer and commentator for the Daily Wire, also kicked up controversy at Baylor University for spreading Christian values — at a Christian school.

The early stages of purging defectors began rearing its macabre head when college professors at their pulpits began teaching a debased and atoning version of American history.

This "woke" interpretation surmises that America's success can only be attributed to racism, greed, colonialism, and exploitation by way of capitalism which leaves us with only one option: to repent.

Soon, students began believing, repeating, and internalizing this restricted tableau of American history. Then, we witnessed changes to our language when the left's Frankenstein that is "political correctness" was introduced and self-victimization became a tug-of-war.

How do students interpret history correctly when only 18 percent of high school kids in America are proficient in it and top tier universities such as Stanford no longer require that students take Western Civilization courses?

The poor understanding of our history allowed PC culture to take root at the expense of reason, honest debate, and intellectual curiosity.

The only one's who remain untouched are the ones who fall in line with their dogmas.

It's telling when today's campus leftists make a self-described progressives look conservative as we witnessed at Evergreen.

That intense displeasure at ideas that don't align with their own is magnified when rage-filled, 18- to 21-year-olds rationalize their own intolerance under the guise of critical mass "wokeness" at the expense of a truly liberal (and expensive) education.

Leftists accomplish nothing by shutting down speech that makes them uncomfortable by deeming it "hate speech."

When administrators are complacent and much worse, when they endorse their maniacal demands, we all lose.

One last thing…
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