This is beyond parody. Harvard decided that it would be a grand idea to give students talking points for the holidays so that they could follow the politically correct line on various topics.
Harvard has advised students to lecture their non-Ivy-League relatives on liberal values in a bizarre set of holiday placemats to take home over Christmas.
The laminated cards raise some likely hot topics that lesser-educated family members may raise at the dinner table, then offers a suggested response.
Covering such complex issues as police brutality, racial divisions, and the Syrian war, one of the sections tells students to say: ‘Racial justice includes welcoming Syrian refugees.’
One question to be braced for is: ‘Why are black students complaining? Shouldn’t they be happy to be in college?’
In response, the worldly scholars should ‘calmly’ explain: ‘When I hear students expressing their experiences on campus I don’t hear complaining.’
Students are also told what side to take on the issue of murdered black teenager Tamir Rice in 2014 – an issue which continues to divide the country.
To make it through the spate of pesky questions, Harvard advised, students should ‘breathe’ and ‘listen mindfully’.
After a furor was raised about it, Harvard made “a sorry we were caught” response:
Thomas Dingman, dean of freshmen, and Stephen Lassoed, dean of student life, said in a letter to students on Wednesday: ‘We write to acknowledge that the placemat distributed in some of your dining halls this week failed to account for the many viewpoints that exist on our campus on some of the most complex issues we confront as a community and society today.
‘Our goal was to provide a framework for you to engage in conversations with peers and family members as you return home for the winter break, however, it was not effectively presented and it ultimately caused confusion in our community.’ Continue reading
“Quos Deus vult perdere, prius dementat“
My favorite living historian Victor Davis Hanson has a brilliant post on the rot that infects the West:
Sanctuary cities illustrate how progressive doctrine can by itself nullify the rule of law. In the new West, breaking statutes is backed or ignored by the state if it is branded with race, class, or gender advocacy. By that I mean that if a solitary U.S. citizen seeks to leave and then reenter America without a passport, he will likely be either arrested or turned back, whereas if an illegal alien manages to cross our border, he is unlikely to be sent back as long as he has claims on victimhood of the type that are sanctioned by the Western liberal state. Do we really enjoy free speech in the West any more? If you think we do, try to use vocabulary that is precise and not pejorative, but does not serve the current engine of social advocacy — terms such as “Islamic terrorist,” “illegal alien,” or “transvestite.” I doubt that a writer for a major newspaper or a politician could use those terms, which were common currency just four or five years ago, without incurring, privately or publicly, the sort of censure that we might associate with the thought police of the former Soviet Union.
Faithful readers of this blog will recall a recent post about low morale in the Army. Go here to read about it. Now we have this story which succinctly demonstrates why the morale is plummeting.
On Monday, Army ROTC cadets at an Arizona State University campus were reportedly pressured into participating in an event allegedly designed to promote awareness of sexual violence against women, the Washington Times reported. The event, according to reports, required cadets to walk around campus wearing red high heel shoes.
Last year, the Times said, the Army encouraged cadets to voluntarily participate in what was billed as “Walk A Mile in Her Shoes.” This year, however, cadets weren’t given much of a choice, according to many reports. Visitors to Temple University Army ROTC’s Facebook page and other social media sites made it clear the event wasn’t exactly voluntary.
“They were threatened with negative counselling (sic) statements and OERs if they didn’t participate,” one person said on Facebook. “It was pretty much ‘do this or we’ll kill your career before it even starts.’”
“Attendance is mandatory and if we miss it we get a negative counseling and a ‘does not support the battalion sharp/EO mission’ on our CDT OER for getting the branch we want,” one cadet said on social media. “So I just spent $16 on a pair of high heels that I have to spray paint red later on only to throw them in the trash after about 300 of us embarrass the U.S. Army tomorrow.” Continue reading
Well this is interesting. Jonathan Chait, uberliberal, writes an article for New York Magazine decrying political correctness:
But it would be a mistake to categorize today’s p.c. culture as only an academic phenomenon. Political correctness is a style of politics in which the more radical members of the left attempt to regulate political discourse by defining opposing views as bigoted and illegitimate. Two decades ago, the only communities where the left could exert such hegemonic control lay within academia, which gave it an influence on intellectual life far out of proportion to its numeric size. Today’s political correctness flourishes most consequentially on social media, where it enjoys a frisson of cool and vast new cultural reach. And since social media is also now the milieu that hosts most political debate, the new p.c. has attained an influence over mainstream journalism and commentary beyond that of the old.
It also makes money. Every media company knows that stories about race and gender bias draw huge audiences, making identity politics a reliable profit center in a media industry beset by insecurity. A year ago, for instance, a photographer compiled images of Fordham students displaying signs recounting “an instance of racial microaggression they have faced.” The stories ranged from uncomfortable (“No, where are you really from?”) to relatively innocuous (“ ‘Can you read this?’ He showed me a Japanese character on his phone”). BuzzFeed published part of her project, and it has since received more than 2 million views. This is not an anomaly.
In a short period of time, the p.c. movement has assumed a towering presence in the psychic space of politically active people in general and the left in particular. “All over social media, there dwell armies of unpaid but widely read commentators, ready to launch hashtag campaigns and circulate Change.org petitions in response to the slightest of identity-politics missteps,” Rebecca Traister wrote recently in The New Republic.
Two and a half years ago, Hanna Rosin, a liberal journalist and longtime friend, wrote a book called The End of Men, which argued that a confluence of social and economic changes left women in a better position going forward than men, who were struggling to adapt to a new postindustrial order. Rosin, a self-identified feminist, has found herself unexpectedly assailed by feminist critics, who found her message of long-term female empowerment complacent and insufficiently concerned with the continuing reality of sexism. One Twitter hashtag, “#RIPpatriarchy,” became a label for critics to lampoon her thesis. Every new continuing demonstration of gender discrimination — a survey showing Americans still prefer male bosses; a person noticing a man on the subway occupying a seat and a half — would be tweeted out along with a mocking #RIPpatriarchy.
Her response since then has been to avoid committing a provocation, especially on Twitter. “If you tweet something straightforwardly feminist, you immediately get a wave of love and favorites, but if you tweet something in a cranky feminist mode then the opposite happens,” she told me. “The price is too high; you feel like there might be banishment waiting for you.” Social media, where swarms of jeering critics can materialize in an instant, paradoxically creates this feeling of isolation. “You do immediately get the sense that it’s one against millions, even though it’s not.” Subjects of these massed attacks often describe an impulse to withdraw. Continue reading
They began by controlling books of cartoons and then detective books and, of course, films, one way or another, one group or another, political bias, religious prejudice, union pressures; there was always a minority afraid of something, and a great majority afraid of the dark, afraid of the future, afraid of the past, afraid of the present, afraid of themselves and shadows of themselves.
Ray Bradbury, Usher II (1950)
John C. Wright, Science Fiction author and a convert to Catholicism, laments the ruin wreaked on Science Fiction by leftist ideologies and pathologies:
Establishment SF is Politically Correct SF, in that it pays slavish homage to all the tired tropes and foolish dogmas of Political Correctness. With its emphasis on collective rights, victimology, and radical egalitarianism, there is no place in the PC SF universe for things like heroes, adventures, inventors, exotic locations, space princesses, or technology portrayed as beneficial.
Politically Correct SF is astonishingly parochial, because it is always assumed that the society of the future will be caught in the grip of the selfsame political controversies as the Victorian Age, which is the age when this worldview was first formulated by Marx. Hence, for all other SF stories, the future differs from the present. For PC SF, the future is just like the past, and nothing changes.
One of my more cherished photos is of my three kids when they were little riding a camel. The kids had a great time and the camel was gentle, obviously well cared for and very patient with the kids. My bride and I had taught them about camels and they loved being able to ride on one. It was therefore with some interest that I glanced at the latest example of moronic political correctness on campus:
Students at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota have cancelled an event to celebrate the end of the year after complaints that bringing a camel on campus could offend those of Middle Eastern cultures.
The “Hump Day” event, put on by the Residence Hall Association (RHA), was supposed to be “a petting zoo type of atmosphere” in which students could hang out and take photos with a live camel. According to Aaron Macke, the group’s advisor, the camel is owned by a local vendor and trained for special events.
But the event was subsequently cancelled after students took to Facebook to proclaim their concerns. The students said they were concerned about the money spent on bringing the camel to campus—around $500—and the implication that it would be racially insensitive to Middle Eastern cultures.
The Facebook group called “Protest Hump DAAAAAAY!” had more than 100 RSVP’d attendees before it was deleted on Wednesday.
“RHA’s goal in programming is to bring residents together in a fun and safe environment where all people can enjoy themselves,” RHA president Lindsay Goodwin said in a statement on RHA’s Facebook page. “It appears however, this program is dividing people and would make for an uncomfortable and possibly unsafe environment for everyone attending or providing the program. As a result, RHA has decided to cancel the event.” Continue reading
Nothing is so unworthy of a civilised nation as allowing itself to be governed without opposition by an irresponsible clique that has yielded to base instinct.
From a White Rose resistance pamphlet (1942)
I am happy that Dale Price is back to blogging on a fairly regular basis since it gives me a renewed opportunity to
steal borrow blogging ideas from him. He turns his attention at his blog Dyspeptic Mutterings to the insane purge going on within science fiction fandom of anyone who has political beliefs that do not coincide with the politically correct bromides du jour:
Orwellian group-think comes to real-world science fiction writing.
The farce that is the courtmartial of mass killer Major Nidal Hasan is wending on its way with the military judge restricting evidence of Hasan’s jihadi motives:
Prosecutors will not be allowed to enter evidence that Nidal Hasan intended to commit jihad in his mass murder spree at Fort Hood nearly four years ago, the judge in the court-martial ruled yesterday. Col. Tara Osborn also struck from evidence the correspondence between Hasan and al-Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki, although she did allow prosecutors to use records of Hasan’s Internet usage and search histories at the time of the shooting.
For my sins no doubt, I have spent the last 31 years as an attorney. I have done more than my fair share of criminal defense during that time. I cannot express adequately just how ridiculous this ruling of the court is. Hasan has already admitted in open court that he was the shooter and that his motivation was jihad. I can only assume that the true motivation behind the court’s absurd ruling was the same motivation that caused the administration to classify Hasan’s multiple murders as being workplace violence.
This courtmartial circus is merely the culmination of Hasan’s entire involvement with the Army during which he may as well have been wearing a sign saying “ENEMY COMBATANT”. His superiors knew that Hasan was at best deranged and at worst a soldier for the jihadis. The soldiers that Hasan murdered did not die because Hasan made any attempt to conceal what he was and is, a jihadist, but because his superiors cravenly did not wish to stand up against him for fear of harming their own careers and being accused of anti-Islamic bias.
NPR of all places has an excellent report showing that before he was assigned to Fort Hood from Walter Reed, that his superiors knew that Hasan was a likely threat:
When a group of key officials gathered in the spring of 2008 for their monthly meeting in a Bethesda, Md., office, one of the leading — and most perplexing — items on their agenda was: What should we do about Hasan?
Hasan had been a trouble spot on officials’ radar since he started training at Walter Reed, six years earlier. Several officials confirm that supervisors had repeatedly given him poor evaluations and warned him that he was doing substandard work.
Both fellow students and faculty were deeply troubled by Hasan’s behavior — which they variously called disconnected, aloof, paranoid, belligerent, and schizoid. The officials say he antagonized some students and faculty by espousing what they perceived to be extremist Islamic views. His supervisors at Walter Reed had even reprimanded him for telling at least one patient that “Islam can save your soul.”
Participants in the spring meeting and in subsequent conversations about Hasan reportedly included John Bradley, chief of psychiatry at Walter Reed; Robert Ursano, chairman of the Psychiatry Department at USUHS; Charles Engel, assistant chair of the Psychiatry Department and director of Hasan’s psychiatry fellowship; Dr. David Benedek, another assistant chairman of psychiatry at USUHS; psychiatrist Carroll J. Diebold; and Scott Moran, director of the psychiatric residency program at Walter Reed, according to colleagues and other sources who monitor the meetings.
But psychiatrists and officials who are familiar with the conversations, which continued into the spring of 2009, say they took a remarkable turn: Is it possible, some mused, that Hasan was mentally unstable and unfit to be an Army psychiatrist?
One official involved in the conversations had reportedly told colleagues that he worried that if Hasan deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, he might leak secret military information to Islamic extremists. Another official reportedly wondered aloud to colleagues whether Hasan might be capable of committing fratricide, like the Muslim U.S. Army sergeant who, in 2003, killed two fellow soldiers and injured 14 others by setting off grenades at a base in Kuwait. Continue reading
But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews indeed a stumblingblock, and unto the Gentiles foolishness:
Saint Paul: 1 Corinthians 1:23
The current administration has certainly emboldened bigots. Case in point:
Audrey Jarvis, 19, a liberal arts major at the northern California university, said she had no choice but to seek a “religious accommodation” in order to wear the cross. Her lawyer said she deserves an apology, and the school seems ready to oblige.
“It’s amazing in this day of diversity and tolerance on university campuses that a university official would engage in this type of obvious religious discrimination,” said Hiram Sasser, an attorney with Liberty Institute, which is representing Jarvis.
Jarvis was working for the university’s Associated Students Productions at a June 27 student orientation fair for incoming freshmen when her supervisor told her to remove the two-inch-long cross necklace, according to Sasser.
Sasser said the supervisor told her that the chancellor had a policy against wearing religious items and further explained “that she could not wear her cross necklace because it might offend others, it might make incoming students feel unwelcome, or it might cause incoming students to feel that ASP was not an organization they should join.”
“My initial reaction was one of complete shock,” Jarvis told Fox News. “I was thrown for a loop.”
Jarvis said she is a devout Catholic and she wears the cross as a symbol of her faith in Christ.
“I was offended because I believe as a Christian woman it is my prerogative to display my faith any way I like so long as it is not harming anyone else,” she said. “I was very hurt and felt as if the university’s mission statement – which includes tolerance and inclusivity to all – was violated.” Continue reading
There is an old saying in the military: once is an accident; twice is carelessness; third time is enemy action. Faithful readers of this blog will recall this post here about an Army briefing which labeled Christians, including Catholics, as extremists. Another incident has arisen this week.
An officer at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, where my brother was stationed when he was an Armor officer in the Army, recently sent out a 14 page e-mail to subordinates which makes for interesting reading. Here is the e-mail from Lieutenant Colonel Jack Rich:
Subject: Domestic “Hate Groups” (UNCLASSIFIED)
Many events have been taking place across the country – just want to ensure everyone is somewhat educated on some of the groups out there that do not share our Army Values.
When we see behaviors that are inconsistent with Army Values – don’t just walk by – do the right thing and address the concern before it becomes a problem.
We need to make sure that we maintain our standards – starting with reception and integration. Continue reading
Horace Walpole once famously observed that the world is a comedy to those who think and a tragedy to those who feel. The times in which we live certainly gives support to the sometime accuracy of that maxim. My favorite living historian, Victor Davis Hanson, helps buttress the point:
What explains these contradictions in our wide-open but prudish society? Decades after the rise of feminism, popular culture still seems confused by it. If women should be able to approach sexuality like men, does it follow that commentary about sex should follow the same gender-neutral rules? Yet wearing provocative or inappropriate clothing is often considered less offensive than remarking upon it. Calling a near-nude Madonna onstage a “hussy” or “tart” would be considered crude in a way that her mock crucifixion and simulated sex acts are not.
Criminal sexual activity is sometimes not as professionally injurious as politically incorrect thoughts about sex and gender. Former New York governor Eliot Spitzer — found to have hired prostitutes on a number of occasions during his time in office — was given a CNN news show despite the scandal. But when former Miss California Carrie Prejean was asked in the Miss USA pageant whether she endorsed gay marriage, she said no — and thereby earned nearly as much popular condemnation for her candid defense of traditional marriage as Spitzer had for his purchased affairs.
Critics were outraged that talk-show host Rush Limbaugh grossly insulted birth-control activist Sandra Fluke. Amid the attention, Fluke was canonized for her position that federal health-care plans should pay for the contraceptive costs of all women. Yet in comparison to Fluke’s well-publicized victimhood, there has been a veritable news blackout for the trial of the macabre Dr. Kermit Gosnell, charged with killing and mutilating in gruesome fashion seven babies during a long career of conducting sometimes illegal late-term abortions. Had Gosnell’s aborted victims been canines instead of humans — compare the minimal coverage of the Gosnell trial with the widespread media condemnation of dog-killing quarterback Michael Vick — perhaps the doctor’s mayhem likewise would have been front-page news outside of Philadelphia.
Modern society also resorts to empty, symbolic moral action when it cannot deal with real problems. So-called assault weapons account for less than 1 percent of gun deaths in America. But the country whips itself into a frenzy to ban them, apparently to prove that at least it can do something, instead of wading into polarized racial and class controversies by going after illegal urban handguns, the real source of the nation’s high gun-related body count.
Not since the late-19th-century juxtaposition of the Wild West with the Victorian East has popular morality been so unbridled and yet so uptight. In short, we have become a nation of promiscuous prudes. Continue reading
Eliana Johnson at National Review Online helps explain why college costs a gazillion dollars:
A construction crew working on the campus of Ohio’s Sinclair Community College was forced to halt work until it removed a “Men Working” sign that was deemed “sexist” by a college administrator. A spokesman for the college told National Review Online that the incident, which occurred on November 21, stemmed from the school’s “deep commitment to diversity,” and that it takes that commitment “very seriously.” Continue reading
Recently I followed the twitter feed of the National Institute of Marriage (NOM), an organization that is fighting efforts to permit gay marriage. There is another twitterer with the blog handle Ifollowhate, and he (or she, or maybe they) follows every person who follows the NOM account, and promptly tweets to said person, “why do you follow a hate group?” I thought little of it and didn’t bother to respond, so I just blocked this account. Then I thought about this. There is a person (again, maybe more than one person is attached to the account) who spends their entire day parked on twitter, seeing who follows another twitter user, ready to pounce on any individual who dares follow this group. (NOTE: Not exactly – see comments. This is an automated program, though the Ifollowhate twitter account does followup with other twitter users.)
What a sad existence. Imagine if your entire life was spent devoted to nothing more than harassing people you disagree with politically, accusing them of being (or following) a hate group. Yet the mentality that drives such a person (or group) is more and more common.
Hattip to Matt Archbold at Creative Minority Report. The United States Army has a long and proud history of defending this country, often engaged in combat in the most deadly situations imaginable against very tough adversaries. I was proud in my misspent youth to wear Army green for a few years. Today the Army finds itself facing severe financial cuts from the Obama administration, troop strength is at its lowest ebb since the Fifties, and it is entirely possible that a war with Iran might occur anytime this year. Not to worry! The Army has time for this:
This week, 14 noncommissioned officers at Camp Zama took turns wearing the “pregnancy simulators” as they stretched, twisted and exercised during a three-day class that teaches them to serve as fitness instructors for pregnant soldiers and new mothers.
Army enlisted leaders all over the world are being ordered to take the Pregnancy Postpartum Physical Training Exercise Leaders Course, or PPPT, according to U.S. Army Medical Activity Japan health promotion educator Jana York.
Nothing I could possibly say is half so apropos as what was said by Hilaire Belloc long ago: Continue reading
During his press statement last week, President Obama said that in dealing with the recent oil spill in the Gulf, he was “examining every recommendation, every idea that’s out there, and making our best judgment as to whether these are the right steps to take, based on the best experts that we know of.”
That, however, is not entirely true:
A St. Louis scientist who was among a select group picked by the Obama administration to pursue a solution to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has been removed from the group because of writings on his website, the U.S. Energy Department confirmed Wednesday.
Washington University physics professor Jonathan Katz was one of five top scientists chosen by the Department of Energy and attended meetings in Houston last week.
Though considered a leading scientist, Katz’s website postings often touch on social issues. Some of those writings have stirred anger in the past and include postings defending homophobia and questioning the value of racial diversity efforts.
The cowards at Comedy Central who censored South Park after receiving death threats from Jihadists, as I detailed here and here, now show their “courage” by announcing a new show mocking Christ. My friend Jay Anderson at Pro Ecclesia gives us the details:
“Fresh off of heavily editing a depiction of Mohammad in “South Park” following threats from practitioners of the “Religion of Peace”, the “edgy” comedy network, Comedy Central, shows its artistic “courage” in announcing a new series blaspheming Jesus Christ:
Comedy Central might censor every image of the Prophet Muhammad on “South Park,” yet the network is developing a whole animated series around Jesus Christ.