Ethical Quote Of The Month, And Ethical Acceptance Letter Of The Decade: The University of Chicago

acceptance_letter

This is all over the web, but as an ethics site, Ethics Alarms can hardly not join the throng.

The tragedy is that we have to regard anything in this letter as the least bit remarkable. I now eagerly await the wave criticism of the message, condemning it  as insensitive and racist.They have already started. Grand View University professor Kevin Gannon argued in a blog post,

Students ought to be challenged, even made uncomfortable, in order to learn in deep and meaningful ways. And, of course, collegiate education is where students must encounter perspectives different from their own… and that’s what this Dean and the anti-trigger-warnings, no-safe-spaces crowd are counting on-that the surface veneer of reasonableness in these admonitions to the Class of 2020 will obscure the rotten pedagogy and logical fallacies that infest this entire screed…Displaying empathy for the different experiences our students bring to the classroom is not a threat to our academic freedom. Allowing for a diversity of perspectives to flourish, even when that diversity might challenge the very structure of our course and its material, is not a threat but an opportunity.

Slate calls the letter “strange” and notes..

[T]he letter’s author, John Ellison, betrays a common misunderstanding of “trigger warnings” and “safe spaces”—both of which exist for the exact purpose of “building a campus that welcomes people of all backgrounds.” Trigger warnings are not intended to shield students from controversial material; they’re intended to warn students about disturbing content so that they won’t be shocked by it.

You know, like what happens in real life: we get an early warning before anything happens that might upset or “shock” us. Ellison understands perfectly: trigger warnings and safe spaces are part of a strategy to marginzlize individuals, groups and ideas by stigmatizing them as “controversial,” “disturbing,” and “shocking.”

I’ll also be watching to see if the university administrators will stand behind their bold words.

Maybe this will serve as a splash of ice water in the faces of Dean Ellison’s spineless and feckless colleagues around the country, like those in the University of Missouri, whose capitulation to campus race-baiters and grievance bullies has cost the school over 2,000 students. It may also be the final gasp of truly liberal higher education in the U.S.

We shall see….

87 Comments

Filed under Education, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Heroes, Leadership, U.S. Society

87 responses to “Ethical Quote Of The Month, And Ethical Acceptance Letter Of The Decade: The University of Chicago

  1. This Dean from the University of Chicago is setting the barre exactly where it belongs.

    This Dean has directly challenged ignorant illiberals. Ignorant illiberals like professor Kevin Gannon will emerge from their safe places spewing vengeance as their breath because someone had the gall to challenge them and intentionally trip their trigger, some will certainly demand his “head”.

    This takes guts!!!

    The fallout will be great.

    I hope Mr. Ellison’s family is ready for the onslaught.

  2. charlesgreen

    One of the big supporters of the University of Chicago’s approach has been Jonathan Haidt, of NYU, author of The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Argue about Politics and Religion. He’s a thought leader in this area, not easily categorizable into the traditional right/left labels, but a fierce defender of intellectual freedom.

    See a number of pieces on his site
    http://heterodoxacademy.org/

  3. “Trigger warnings are not intended to shield students from controversial material; they’re intended to warn students about disturbing content so that they won’t be shocked by it.”

    I can never tell if the people writing things like this are writing from a place of actual knowledge, extreme ignorance, or a combination of both.

    IS that actually what trigger warnings are intended to do? Maybe. But they sure aren’t being used that way by the population at large… So either they know what they’re talking about, and precious few other people do, or they have no idea what they’re writing about, and the squealing masses are right.

    I mean… This entire conversation centred around “trigger warnings” and “safe spaces” in conjunction, and when you look at the two ideas together, it’s hard to reconcile that statement from Slate with reality. “Triggered” students are being encouraged to retreat to safe spaces, often outfitted with pillows, blankets, colouring books and sometimes even animals like puppies (I shit you not). That’s not warning students so as not to be shocked, and then challenging them… That’s infantilizing them by not even encouraging them to attempt to be challenged. You can’t get there from here.

    • JutGory

      What flashed through my mind was not that they were being infantalized, but was the more familiar indictment of “the soft bigotry of low expectations.”
      -Jut

  4. Chris

    ““Triggered” students are being encouraged to retreat to safe spaces, often outfitted with pillows, blankets, colouring books and sometimes even animals like puppies (I shit you not).”

    I trust that you are not, actually, shitting us, but I’m interested in where you’ve heard this from. That sounds absolutely ridiculous. Which schools are doing this?

    When I was in college (a few years ago) “trigger warnings” just meant a general warning that a text or discussion might involve aspects that could be legitimately triggering for people who have experienced some kind of trauma. The concept of “triggers” goes back at least to the Vietnam War. It seems sensible to me that descriptions of rape could be triggering for students who have experienced rape, just as descriptions of war could be triggering for some soldiers with PTSD. Usually these warnings would be given out the class before, or on the syllabus. Students who felt they might be triggered were encouraged to talk to or e-mail the professor beforehand, and I assume they were just given an alternate assignment. But this was rare, and I think it was only one professor who did this. More commonly I’ve seen trigger warnings used before blog posts dealing with rape. Anyone who doesn’t want to read it can see that and move on, and it’s no inconvenience to anyone who does want to read it.

    Obviously this concept can be taken to extremes. I don’t believe a white guy saying something clueless about race is a “trigger” for most African-Americans; experiencing racism doesn’t automatically give someone PTSD, yet some activists’ demands have implied that it does just that. But pillow rooms? Puppy rooms? That does seem infantilizing. Though I suppose it could be therapeutic for some; are these students going to an actual therapist/counselor to get to the pillow/puppy room?

    • Rusty Rebar

      Which schools are doing this?

      I have heard about these kinds of things several times. Here are some sources:

      http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/22/opinion/sunday/judith-shulevitz-hiding-from-scary-ideas.html

      “The safe space, Ms. Byron explained, was intended to give people who might find comments “troubling” or “triggering,” a place to recuperate. The room was equipped with cookies, coloring books, bubbles, Play-Doh, calming music, pillows, blankets and a video of frolicking puppies, as well as students and staff members trained to deal with trauma”

      You can even buy Safe Space pillows:

      http://www.redbubble.com/shop/safe+space+throw-pillows

    • Come ON. And who decides what trauma is worthy of a trigger warning? A mention of child abuse? Cruelty? Generalized violence? How about a divorce? How about a scene that someone sees as rape, or typifying rape culture, like Rhett’s “ravishing” of Scarlett—or a Greek myth when Zeus visits nymphs as swans and bulls? If my father was killed in WWII–he was, in fact, crippled—shouldn’t I be warned about any mention of war? Shooting? Grenades? Germans? Who draws the lines?

      Where do you think this censorship of speech on campus is coming from, where students claim that a conservative speaker attacking feminists makes them feel unsafe? Like all such things, this is a power play: we will bend you to our will, and it’s only the beginning.

      • Spartan

        I think trigger warnings have gone too far, but I do appreciate them when I’m listening to the radio in the car with my kids. I definitely turn the channel if they are going to reporting on items that I know will be upsetting to them.

        • You mean like “the following images may be disturbing to some viewers”? I think that’s a media exception, or with language, radio. I don’t call it a trigger warning until it extends to higher educational settings. Are movie ratings trigger warnings, or truth in labeling? I’d argue they are the latter.

          • Spartan

            Hmmm. But why do we need a media exception before certain shows? The news makes sense to me, because it airs during the day when kids are around, but prime time shows? Game of Thrones always contains a warning about sexual violence, but only adults are (or should be) watching that show anyway.

            • “Game of Thrones always contains a warning about sexual violence, but only adults are (or should be) watching that show anyway.”

              Right… But HBO doesn’t really get to control or verify that. Just like porn sites don’t get to control or verify who clicks on the “Yes, I am 18 button”. I don’t think these “warnings” are actual warnings of disturbing content so much as they’re legal ‘cover-your-ass’s.

            • Spartan

              But if a class is going to discuss sexual violence against women — and perhaps contain graphic detail and images, wouldn’t the same trigger warning be appropriate?

              I don’t think there is a magical “now I’m 18 and shouldn’t be offended by such things” rule.

              I personally get upset at stories of animal and child abuse. I try and avoid literature and film that explores these topics. (I turned off an NPR story last night about bobcat trapping for the fur trade.) I don’t think I would have to leave a class if it were being discussed, but I certainly would actively avoid any classes seeking to discuss those topics.

              • Spartan said, “I personally get upset at stories of animal and child abuse. I try and avoid literature and film that explores these topics. (I turned off an NPR story last night about bobcat trapping for the fur trade.) I don’t think I would have to leave a class if it were being discussed, but I certainly would actively avoid any classes seeking to discuss those topics.”

                I put in bold the part I’m talking about.

                Beth, I’m curious why would you “actively avoid any classes seeking to discuss those topics”?

                • Spartan

                  Projectile vomiting good enough for you?

                  I used to handle (pro bono) cases for abused or neglected children. I had to stop because I didn’t have the constitution for it. It was making me depressed and my husband begged me to stop.

              • Nullifidian

                I don’t think I would have to leave a class if it were being discussed, but I certainly would actively avoid any classes seeking to discuss [child and animal abuse].

                But here you already have all the tools you need to decide if that’s what the course will cover: the course description in the catalog and the syllabus for the individual instructor’s course. Instructors are nice people. If it’s not their first time teaching, they will happily email syllabi to potential students who want to find out if there’s anything that could possibly be (to use the contentious term) “triggering” for them. And those instructors who are new to the course will happily, I’ve found, address students’ concerns about class content even if they don’t have a syllabus yet written. With a little bit of student initiative, the issue of “trigger warnings” becomes moot.

                I say this as someone who was physically, emotionally, and verbally abused throughout my childhood and has been diagnosed with PTSD as well as major depressive disorder as a result of it. And I have been triggered, although never by mere words on a page because the processing of text is less immediate than images, sounds, or smells. In genuine cases of PTSD, it’s impossible to predict what will be triggering, but as a general rule what isn’t triggering is text, which is what is being singled out for “trigger warnings” most of the time in university. If a psychology or child development class were to show the Robert Duvall film The Great Santini, that might be triggering for students who have suffered child abuse, as it was to me (I didn’t see it in class, though). But to read of, say, Fagin’s mistreatment of the children in Oliver Twist in treeware format doesn’t bother me because printed text just doesn’t register with the same visceral immediacy of an image, sound, or smell. Certainly I feel sympathy for them, and feel outraged and hurt on their behalf, but that’s exactly why Dickens wrote the book! So much of what is called “triggering” by the flurry of special snowflakes on campus really represents their discomfort with not being shielded from their own depth of feeling.

                “Trigger warnings” are largely ineffective for genuine PTSD sufferers, and at the university level they’re not used for their benefit, but rather to press home a political agenda. Just take Oberlin’s proposed trigger warning policy: “Triggers are not only relevant to sexual misconduct, but also to anything that might cause trauma. Be aware of racism, classism, sexism, heterosexism, cissexism, ableism, and other issues of privilege and oppression.” Aside from “sexual misconduct”, they’re missing out child abuse, combat, car and airplane accidents, and so on, which are actual known causes of PTSD. Instead, they’ve given us a litany of politicized “-isms” to worry about shielding students from, which clearly indicates that the “trigger warning” debate isn’t for those of us who are actually likely to be “triggered” by something, but for those who want to enforce a very narrow zone of approved opinion on the university.

          • Chris

            “I don’t call it a trigger warning until it extends to higher educational settings. ”

            Why not? They serve the same basic purpose–to alert audiences that there will be content they might rather not want to deal with, so they can make an appropriate judgment. There is nothing about a trigger warning that shuts down speech–it’s a statement that difficult concepts *are* going to be discussed.

            • Why? Because entertainment is for one’s pleasure and relaxation, so if one is concerned about children or are oneself such a delicate flower that some sights and sounds will cause physio-psychological damage (or imagined such), a prior warning is only slightly obnoxious (ME: do your own god damned research, don’t expect the artist to telegraph surprises). Education, on the other hand, is not for mere comfort and pleasure, and includes required/ forced exposure to new ideas, unpleasant concepts and uncomfortable truths.

              The trigger warning concept, which comes almost exclusively from the doctrinaire left, essentially ensures bubbles, cant and echo chambers. Wrong. It is one of many reasons society is polarized politically.

              • Chris

                “The trigger warning concept, which comes almost exclusively from the doctrinaire left, essentially ensures bubbles, cant and echo chambers.”

                …Not really, though? Most people I’ve seen who appreciate trigger warnings say that they like them because some days they just don’t want to engage with material that discusses their trauma. It’s not that they’ll never engage with such material; trigger warnings just give them the opportunity to decide when and where they will do so.

                “It is one of many reasons society is polarized politically.”

                I’d wager 95% of Americans have never sat in a class that gave trigger warnings, nor have they ever read a blog post that contained one, nor have they even experienced the term outside of the (somewhat hysterical) media coverage. Most people have never heard of them, and fewer have an idea of what they are. You are giving a concept that has a very limited audience an awful lot of power.

                • That’s not the point. The point is people increasingly thinking it is rational to stick their fingers in their ears and hum when someone is making arguments they would rather nor hear.

      • Chris

        “Come ON. And who decides what trauma is worthy of a trigger warning? A mention of child abuse? Cruelty? Generalized violence? How about a divorce? How about a scene that someone sees as rape, or typifying rape culture, like Rhett’s “ravishing” of Scarlett—or a Greek myth when Zeus visits nymphs as swans and bulls? If my father was killed in WWII–he was, in fact, crippled—shouldn’t I be warned about any mention of war? Shooting? Grenades? Germans? Who draws the lines?”

        The professor, one assumes.

        “Where do you think this censorship of speech on campus is coming from”

        Are you suggesting that trigger warnings are a form of censorship? They’re not.

        • They slide right into censorship. The slope: 1) students have a right to be warned before any thoughts or ideas that might upset them are uttered. 2) students have a right to avoid such expressions and ideas. 3) students have a right to exercise prior restraint on the speakers.

          • Chris

            “They slide right into censorship. The slope: 1) students have a right to be warned before any thoughts or ideas that might upset them are uttered. 2) students have a right to avoid such expressions and ideas. 3) students have a right to exercise prior restraint on the speakers.”

            For me, that slope should stop right at number 1; no such “right” exists. Trigger warnings are a courtesy, not a right. But I’m sure other SJWs would disagree, and that’s a problem.

        • “The professor, one assumes.”

          After being intimidated and attacked for being “insensitive” if he/she chooses “poorly.”

          Good plan.

          • Chris

            Are there examples of professors who have been attacked for not providing trigger warnings? Not professors who declare “I shall never coddle my students in such a way, for I Believe In Free Speech,” but professors who have actually been attacked for not providing trigger warnings?

            • Sure…look at the EA post about the professor who had to grovel an apology for insensitively using Ferguson in a law exam question. One of many incidents, but it only takes one well-publicized one to terrorize the weenies…

              • Chris

                That’s certainly ridiculous, but it doesn’t look like the students were asking for a trigger warning before the question was posed; it looks like they were demanding the question not be posed at all. That’s stupid–it was a great question–but it has little to do with trigger warnings.

                • Of course it does. Professors are expected to anticipate the trigger, or be labeled as insensitive, racist, exist..etc.

                  • Chris

                    That’s not an argument against trigger warnings as a concept, though. It’s an argument against over sensitive crybabies abusing the concept. But there’s nothing inherent in the concept of trigger warnings that requires students to behave this way.

                    (I also don’t believe the question was a legitimate “trigger.” Unless a close relative of the deceased was in the class, it’s not plausible that any student was traumatized by the incident. Angry? Upset? Emotional? Sure, but that’s not “triggered.” Trigger warnings can be overused, but that doesn’t invalidate their existence.)

    • The real test will be when instead of using the term ‘clueless’ to describe comments which you don’t like and don’t understand (about race and many other things), that you instead show willingness to examine the structure of ideas that are presented, and willingess to engage with and not to shun and belittle the one speaking of those things.

      It could be race, or identitarianism, or gender issues, or sexuality, or questions about Jewishness and Christianity or nationalism (whole blocks of established idea-edifices which are central to our thinking), or questionings of and comments about ‘the tenets of the American civic religion’, or about the validity of the desire of ethnic groups that seek to defend themselves from a modernist ‘multiculturalist ideology’. In fact a great array of difficult and challenging ideas which appear so very wrong to you and to many others (I really mean *you* as a generality).

      Even to those who seem to identify as ‘conservative’.

      It is one thing to begrudgingly allow ideas to flow (except when they become thratening and one feels ‘morally justified’ to shut them down and out) and quite another to really participate in the debates.

      I think it has to be openly stated, as a given, that in America right now there is a huge group of ideas that are undiscussable. What is the force that maintains that? is the question that has captured me. You know: the parameters of thinkable thought that are self-policed.

      What makes over-sensitive and infantile college students want to go hug a puppy and rock back and forth clutching neurotically a pillow to their breast is a parody of the difficulty of challenging ideas that are coming to the surface now, and will continue to make themselves known.

      • Captain Sarcasm

        The real test will be when instead of using the term ‘clueless’ to describe comments which you don’t like and don’t understand

        I have a list of alternatives that I’m virtually certain you would like even less…

        • Such terms are substitues for argument. And only sound argument can win over anyone.

          • Captain Sarcasm

            People desirous of “safe spaces” and “trigger warning” cannot be swayed from their infantile mindset, and are not worth the effort to do so, even if they could be persuaded.

            They wish to live in a fantasy land of make-believe, and should be mocked for it.

            • I understand your sentiment and disagree with it completely. I have to start with general statements: We appear to be living in a time of such radical imposition of the PC mindset, and the ‘success’ of controlling modes of thought, that such a thing as a ‘safe space’ for the emotionally battered has come to exist. There are teddy bears and warm herbal drinks and soothing music and you can even get a hug there and sob a little at how life has become such a terrorist and is doing you real HARM.

              I think we can fairly say that whatever this intense sentimentalism is, this creation of weak and weepy feminized people — like that girl on a campus somewhere who ‘screeched’ at her dorm captain because she did not feel he was offering her a ‘safe space’ and it got put on YouTube — it definitely has roots in the leftist/liberal/progressive camp. I would say that it is part of a devious toolbox though. Because under all that weepy teary complaining is a fierce will, a terrifying violence in fact. Its the hurt animal that when you approach it it leaps up and tears your face up.

              So far so good? Well then, from my perspective, and dealing with some folks who say that are ‘conservative’, I humbly and respectfully suggest that I notice a similar (not the same but similar) reaction to challenging ideas. I cannot quite figure it out but I’m trying. So, to my view, I would repeat your phrase:

              ‘People desirous of safe ideas, the stuff of their indoctrination, ideas which they are familiar with and within which they have built a little safe home with fuzziness and warmth, cannot be swayed from their infantile mindset, and are not worth the effort to do so, even if they could be persuaded’.

              So though I understand the frustration I do not agree that 1) they cannot be persuaded and 2) that they are not worth the effort. In fact — and again in my own view — it is totally unethical NOT to make an effort to formulate good arguments that can convince and influence, and fail to make the effort while simultaneously beliving in the ‘power of truth to convince’.

              We are dealing with ethical imperatives of the first order.

              Today in the Times there is an article on Hillary Clinton’s now more open attack on Donald Trump for his dangerous views. I was amazed by it for a couple of reasons. One, she is employing terms which the so-called ‘alt-right’ has been fighting for quite some years now to see introduced: racialism as opposed to racism; identitatianism as a term to reveal what ‘white identity’ refers to; and even of course ‘alt/right’ which might supercede or at least contribute to newer meanings and understandings that were formally those of ‘conservatism’ (which has been ridiculed to ‘cuckservative’: a fake, empty conservative posture).

              http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/26/us/politics/hillary-clinton-speech.html?smprod=nytcore-iphone&smid=nytcore-iphone-share

              The ‘alt/right’ is not in ANY SENSE a monolith nor is it a set position. It is at its base a grouping or a federation of philosophically-based perspectives. It is essentially an interpretive project of numerous facets.

              But the most amazing thing is, and the thing I want to say, is how this group of philosophical ideas, of ethical ideas, of ideas that deal on infusions of new interpretation of the present — new tools, new perspectives — functions as a disruption to the crybaby house of American politics; that ‘safe space’ of whimpering, headstrong, indoctrinated, fiercely violent and in this particular instance AMERICAN opinionators.

              I say this — borrowing your ‘irony’ and mocking their ‘make-believe’ and their insistance that they stay locked up in it and no one is allowed to bother them — because I am attempting to develop a eurocentric position which challenges ‘America’ to see how it has become antagonistic to what I would describe as ‘the European Project’. I follow Guillaume Faye in my understanding that America with its multicultural and anti-ethnic stance is Europe’s adversary now (but not her enemy). America thinks it can *impose* its multicultural blending project on Europe and the whole world, and America is actually aligned with the Muslim world against European identity in significant ways. But what I really want to say is that America has holed itself up in its own form of ‘safe-space’ where certain things very clearly cannot be said or THOUGHT. And I further suggest tthat there is pretty clear evidence of this among some of the thinkers on this blog.

              I suppose that in her way, according to her own lights, Hillary Clinton feels she is serving ethics and righteousness and the ‘truth’ by revealing how nasty and horrible is this demonic ‘alt-right’ of identitarians and nationalists and opposers of multiculturalism and ‘globalization’ according the the American design. It is like slipping into a comfortable, warm and fuzzy and very known overcoat: all you need are a few key words (‘racist’ ‘fringe’ ‘hate’) and with those terms you have framed things in such a way that you will surely win. The Enemy has to leap over all those terms and deal with them, and once embroiled there cannot really develop its own presentation of ideas.

              And that is how your terms of ridicule would similarly function.

              • Democratic-Progressive Poetry!

                “The paranoid fringe now calls itself ‘alt-right’
                But the hate burns just as bright…”

                The fellow who wrote that I hope will get a bonus.

            • Captain Sarcasm said, “People desirous of “safe spaces” and “trigger warning” cannot be swayed from their infantile mindset, and are not worth the effort to do so, even if they could be persuaded.”

              Not worth the effort to confront their “infantile mindset”? I consider that a cowardly cop out.

              These ignorant people need to have their “infantile mindset” publicly confronted and put in the spotlight of reality, or they will never change! Do you avoid teaching your children the difference between right and wrong, what’s safe and what’s not safe, etc, because you have to confront them in a confrontational manner?

              I’m gonna tell you the same damn thing I’ve told a couple of past commanders I’ve had; get a “pair” and do what’s right, Captain.

              • Captain Sarcasm

                Perhaps you have infinite time to spend on pointless exercises, but most of us do not.

                • Captain Sarcasm said, “Perhaps you have infinite time to spend on pointless exercises, but most of us do not.”

                  “Pointless exercises”???

                  I’m really, really curious; what part of that do you think is a pointless exercise? Answering “all of it” is an unacceptable answer; be specific and please consider telling me why you think any part of that is pointless.

      • Chris

        “The real test will be when instead of using the term ‘clueless’ to describe comments which you don’t like and don’t understand (about race and many other things), that you instead show willingness to examine the structure of ideas that are presented, and willingess to engage with and not to shun and belittle the one speaking of those things.”

        As soon as you present arguments which are not worthy of being shunned and belittled, I’ll get right on that. But that would require you to stop making blatantly racist, anti-Semitic, and bigoted arguments, or to at least code them better so the dogwhistles aren’t obvious.

        Get this straight, though: your arguments don’t “challenge” anybody here. It’s not like racism is this cool new theory that no one has tried before. Your arguments are rejected out of hand because people actually spent centuries repelling them, and replacing them with something better.

        And if you’re going to pretend the alt-right isn’t the most oversensitive bunch of crybabies in existence, maybe don’t like to websites that complain about the new Ghostbusters and Star Wars movies destroying America with their women-and-black-people cooties.

    • “When I was in college (a few years ago) “trigger warnings” just meant a general warning that a text or discussion might involve aspects that could be legitimately triggering for people who have experienced some kind of trauma.”

      This is assuming that avoidance of all things that could potentially remind a person of their trauma is the best way to deal with it. From what I’ve read, at least some well known psychologist would disagree.

      In the Telegraph, Prof Metin Basoglu, a psychologist internationally recognised for his trauma research, said “The media should actually – quite the contrary… Instead of encouraging a culture of avoidance, they should be encouraging exposure.”

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/11106670/Trigger-warnings-more-harm-than-good.html

      • Chris

        “This is assuming that avoidance of all things that could potentially remind a person of their trauma is the best way to deal with it.”

        No, it isn’t assuming that at all. It assumes people with trauma should be able to make that decision on their own.

    • Examples (and if you need more, just google “Therapy dog, safe spaces):

      UNLV: http://redalertpolitics.com/2015/12/04/fluffy-safe-space-unlv-brings-therapy-dogs-students-finals/

      Oberlin: http://soopermexican.com/2015/04/26/panicked-feminists-and-a-dog-ran-to-a-safe-space-when-threatened-by-libertarian-speech-on-campus-assault/

      Brown: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/22/opinion/sunday/judith-shulevitz-hiding-from-scary-ideas.html?_r=0

      UNB: http://www.therebel.media/university_of_new_brunswick_gives_students_safe_space_dogs_to_deal_with_scary_exams

      “It seems sensible to me that descriptions of rape could be triggering for students who have experienced rape,” “I assume they were just given an alternate assignment.”

      Sure. And maybe the warning would be polite. But how do you feel about the Harvard Law students who refused to take the module on rape law because it was triggering? Trigger warnings and safe spaces might not be MEANT to shelter people from distasteful reality…. But it’s how they’re being used that really matters. The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

  5. Wayne

    This is excellent! Finally a Dean of Students telling the wimpy progressives millennials that whining about hurt feelings and microagressions is not the name of the game at this university.

  6. It is very good to hear that intellectual freedom and an intellectual atmosphere that encourages exploring difficult, unaccepted or popular ideas is held up as a value and that people rally to support a clear declaration of the defense of it.

    I feel very ‘safe’ all of a sudden.

    • dragin_dragon

      For once, I am at a loss…I don’t remember who said “There was never an issue so weighty that it could not stand the light of open debate”. For good or evil, that is the way the real world works.

    • Alizia Tyler said, “It is very good to hear that intellectual freedom and an intellectual atmosphere that encourages exploring difficult, unaccepted or popular ideas is held up as a value and that people rally to support a clear declaration of the defense of it.

      I feel very ‘safe’ all of a sudden.”

      Do I detect sarcasm?

      • It Would be better described as irony. A far less ironic statement can be found on this thread, posted at 8:05 am to Captain Sarcasm.

        Sarcasm is disrespectful, overall, and tends to break-down communication. Irony is a more acceptable form, in my view.

        • Alizia said, “It Would be better described as irony.”, “Sarcasm is disrespectful, overall, and tends to break-down communication.”

          So your conclusion statement “I feel very ‘safe’ all of a sudden” was irony not sarcasm; I’m not buying it Alizia.

          • “In sarcasm, ridicule or mockery is used harshly, often crudely and contemptuously, for destructive purposes.”
            ____________________

            Since the distinction is important to you, and it is a pretty interesting distinction, and it does have to do with ethics and respect for the interlocutor, I will enage with you on this one.

            What do you gain by describing my comment as ‘sarcastic’ and not ‘ironic’? And what do I lose?

            Here is an interesting page discussing the contrast, as well as the simularity, between Irony and Sarcasm.

            http://english.stackexchange.com/questions/26621/what-are-the-similarities-and-differences-between-irony-and-sarcasm
            ____________________
            sarcasm
            1. mocking, contemptuous, or ironic language intended to convey scorn or insult
            2. the use or tone of such language
            [C16: from Late Latin sarcasmus, from Greek sarkasmos, from sarkazein to rend the flesh, from sarx flesh]

            irony
            1. the humorous or mildly sarcastic use of words to imply the opposite of what they normally mean
            2. an instance of this, used to draw attention to some incongruity or irrationality
            3. incongruity between what is expected to be and what actually is, or a situation or result showing such incongruity
            4. (Theatre) See dramatic irony
            5. (Philosophy) philosophy See Socratic irony
            [C16: from Latin ironia, from Greek eirōneia, from eirōn dissembler, from eirein to speak]
            _____________________

            I did not know that ‘sarcasm’ came out of the Greeκ σαρκάζειν (sarkazein) and that it refers to ‘to tear flesh, bite the lip in rage, sneer’. Sarcasm then is a pretty aggressive form of speech.

            Irony on the other hand is more delicate, more intelligent. However, a skilled ironist can actually bite and tear and rip just as well as a simple sarcastic.

            I’d say that in these and all conversations we are better off avoiding a ‘rending & tearing’ of our opponents, but that irony is permissible if it is not ridicule, mockery and undue harshness.

  7. And in Chicago, of all places, to boot. Hardly a bastion of Conservative thought. It’s good to see a university embrace learning for a change – I thought the entire higher education system was dead to the idea by this point. The corpse is still twitching, apparently.

  8. Other Bill

    If you want to be horrified, go to a website called Rate My Professor. College kids get to anonymously comment on their college teachers. Many comments are reasonable while others are almost illiterate and horrifying. But here’s one I ran across while researching a piano program in LA. This is a review of a woman who teaches a basic music appreciation class, you know, standard fare classical music, probably from plainsong to the Twentieth Century. You know, the western European musical canon, mostly Germanic.

    “Despite the facade she puts on, [the professor] is a bigoted white europhile. Just Listen to her and read between the lines folks, she hates everyone in the class and will talk to black kids in a condescending tone like they are 5 years old. If you take this class, watch how akward her tone and body language gets around blacks. she is bigoted.”

    Authentic Frontier Gibberish. Needless to say, there are other reviews saying she’s perfectly fine.

    • I do not think her statement is gibberish at all. It is completely lucid and as an attacking narrative it is clear, precise and deadly. Just to say ‘white’ and ‘bigoted’ and ‘europhile’ is to make use of, and put into motion, a whole critical apparatus that does most of the work for you. You need to do nothing else. The terms are not gibberish but coherent and they have connections to very clear discourses.

      These are successful and established perspectives in fact. It is I think impossible to defend or even to explain ‘whiteness’ in any popular format. Most people do not think in terms that would allow for ‘europhile’ to be used in any part of their discourse, and if they did so (in public, on TV, on the radio, on the Internet) they would be hounded down and mauled. You have to go to the truly ‘radical fringe’ where I reside and gnaw bones to be able to use such retrograde nomenclature (and though I gnaw bones I have a lute nearby).

      To dismantle what this person is saying though requires a simultaneous RECONSTRUCTION and a redefinition of value. Who can do this? Who does it?

      This is pretty simple stuff: To honor and to value the musical forms the Professor appreciates is necessarily to take a position against other musical forms, because on is connected to Idealism and the other to physical Emotionalism (to put it in concrete and general terms). To refer to a white/eurocentric position and to oppose it to primitive African forms requires a critical position, and sets of declarations of value. The student seems pretty aware what he/she is saying, and why.

      What is coming out into the open is not incoherence but radical difference in internal structure, in value, and it appears to take the form of an attack on cultivated European forms in opposition to primitive ‘barbarian’ forms. Think of Siddartha and Harry Haller’s criticisms of jazz. The student who wrote her critical blurb sees and understands exactly what is at stake and indicates where she stands.

      • Sorry, not ‘Siddartha’ but ‘Steppenwolf’ (Hermann Hesse).

        • Other Bill

          Sorry, AT. I’m not buying what the student or you are selling.

          • Other Bill

            Jazz is incredibly complex. I don’t understand jazz although I really like to listen to bebop. How can you treat jazz intelligently in an introductory music course? And why was Fats Waller’s favorite composer J.S. Bach? The student’s comment is just leftist claptrap.

            • If you were really interested in this conversation — I am not sure that you are in fact — it is surely a very interesting one. I will share with you my view or understanding though I am not sure that you care to hear it or will value it.

              Jazz music, for the most part, has to do with an immediacy of experience. You can find a hundred different visuals to support this idea, but take one: Gene Krupa:

              The inclination, and the desire, to ‘return to the body’ and to inhabit the body, and in another sense to get perversely complicit with the body, or to give in to ‘voluptuousness’ and to resist ‘asceticism’ is a very strong trend in modernity. On one hand it is healthy and necessary, and on the other a dangerous path with many footfalls.

              Jazz is a physical invitation to experience sound and rhythm at a visceral level. It captures the body. It is essentially ‘sexual’ and this is of course why it has so much power and why it and other related forms *seduce*. In order to understand one very important, and very large, aspect of our present, one has to understand the influence of musical forms such as Jazz. They are linked pretty clearly with rebelliousness and the use of power to disrupt.

              OTOH, when one considers the musical forms of the Occident, and by that I mean of course classical forms, one is dealing with a very different animal (or entity). It is much more connected with ‘higher ideation’, ‘idealism’, and also particular religious sentiments as well as religious romanticism. It can of course, and it does, involve the physical self but not ever in the way that is illustrated by the images of Krupa.

              The student’s opinion is an opinion rooted in a specific view of the present. A limited view, a misunderstanding, but also one that (likely) will favor the more ‘immediate’ musical forms such as Jazz, Rock, and of course Rap.

              When musical forms change, society and ethics and morals change. It is a socratic idea and an interesting one.

              • Really???

                So now you two have deflected away from the real topic and you’re now talking about Jazz instead of talking about the accusations of bigotry that an ignorant student made based on assumptions, reading between the lines, vocal tone, and body language?

                Have y’all noticed that almost every little sub-thread that Alizia participates in the conversation deflects away from the major topics.

                • The ‘real topic’ you say? The real topic is I think the willingness to deal on difficult topics, difficult ideas, and to do so in an up-front and honest manner. That’s the real topic. And it is the topic of the thread. And it is why I am interested in the thread.

                  A secondary topic, related to the first, is the capacity to be able to have conversation. That is, some preparation in argumentation.

                  Thirdly, when one is dealing on all of the questions and problems that are faced on this blog and with the question of ethics, one is dealing with so much more than what meets the eye. That is my view. It is not one you have to adopt but it is my view.

                  Therefor, to speak about how the student reasons, and what he or she refers to (his or her readings and influences), and the social context in which s/he makes those statements, is certainly relevant.

                  It is not at all irrelevant that musical forms are spoken of, because part of the topic has to do with immediate gratification, and also sentimental relationship to ideas, and things of that sort.

                  If one really wanted to understand what is going on in the mind, heart and spirit of these university students I think that one could undertake a intelligent and thoughtful examination of what has created them.

                  At the same time I do not see you as necessarily separate from *them*. You Zoltar seem to suffer from a whole range of intellectual and possibly spiritual problems of a similar order. Thus, and as I say and imply, you are not separate from the problem but rather a part of it.

                  In any case, right or wrong, this is my present approach to you. I see you as lacking integrity.

                  • Alizia Tyler said, “You Zoltar seem to suffer from a whole range of intellectual and possibly spiritual problems”

                    Personally attacking the messenger; how “unique”.

                    You just earned yourself a stern F O Troll.

                    • It is not a ‘personal’ attack. My present line of argument, as is clearly expressed in all my posts in this thread, is that I think that many here, and many in other settings, engage in something quite similar to what the safe-space seeking student does. I have expressed this clearly, fairly, directly and non-sarcastically. I explain exactly what I am up to and why.

                      That is fair argumentation.

                      It seems like I am attacking you if I refer to intellectual and spiritual problems, or that I am exclusively focussed on you, but this is not so. I am interested in and involved in larger projects of analysis. So, just as you might analyse the student’s attitude, I do the same thing, and I extend it to *you*.

                      I want to understand what this problem is; how it arises; and what is its cure. You are not the subject nor the topic.

                    • Alizia Tyler said, “It is not a ‘personal’ attack.”

                      That’s bull shit Alizia, utter bull shit!

                      Alizia Tyler said, “That is fair argumentation”

                      It’s only fair argumentation if there is truth to the argument.

                      Since you are linking me directly to this behavior you’re talking about, I’m going to challenge you directly to explain (please do it clearly and briefly) exactly how the things I have stated in this thread show that I am “engaging in something quite similar to what the safe-space seeking student does”. Don’t make assumptions or read between the lines; use my words.

                    • Well truth is usually a subjective arena. I don’t claim to have ‘absolute truth’ but only my subjective experience of truth. And in regard to that I seek to argue fairly.

                      In the posts that I have written today I have made general statements that support my position. A person of moderate intelligence — such as yourself — could read them and get a good sense of what I mean. If after reading what I have written you still do not get it, there is nothing I can do to help you further.

                      My impression is that you shut down your mind to receiving difficult ideas and ones that are unfamiliar to you. I base this not only on your reception of me and some of my ideas, but a general reception I have received here.

                      I got to thinking about this in more detail during my recent ‘exit’ and now I am back to continue working out my ideas.

                      I will do this in an up-front way, free of ‘sarcasm’ and desire to hurt or to ‘rip’ the ‘sarz’ (flesh), and only because it is fun and interesting to do so.

                      You are requested to run along now and find others to Zeus upon. I am sure we will be seeing ech other again soon. 😉

                    • About Alizia’s reply above…

                      It was exactly what I expected from a troll; she couldn’t use facts to prove this so-called “truth” she pompously talks about, so she deflects and intentionally insults again.

                      She just earned herself another stern F O Troll.

                      Alizia stated that she “seeks” to “argue fairly”; well about that, seeking and actually accomplishing down that path are two entirely different things. I seek to loose weight but yet I don’t actively do things that will turn that seeking into something showing that it’s more than just a passing phrase.

                      We’re done here.

                • Chris

                  Good god, Alizia’s racism against blacks now extends as far as hating Jazz music. Someone help this woman.

                  • Please notice how your cookie-cutter mind-machinations force you to erroneous conclusions. I listen very often to John Coltrane, Horace Silver, Kenny Burrell, Milt Jackson, Cal Tjader (not a Black). As well as Blues, Rock, Salsa, and many other forms.

                    It is impossible for you to hear … for all that you have ears.

                    This is what thought-control and indoctrination do to us, and this is why it has to be dismantled. Then, I suppose, we have to learn how to think all over again. You think I am insulting you but this is a vital and important truth.

          • Oh no, not ‘selling’, but attempting to understand and to explain. If I understand where that person is ‘coming from’ I am in a better position to comprehend how he or she formulated her ideas, and if I can do that I am in a better position to resist what she is attempting.

            My understanding is that it is possible and easy to locate a ‘discourse’ which attacks and does harm to Occidental forms, and these are forms I wish to defend and also to explain. And because I defend them against an *attack* on them, I have to understand who is attacking, why, and through what argument. That is, what structure of ideas.

            If I cannot do either I cannot really say that I am ‘dealing with the ideas’ at the level of ideas.

            Ideas have consequences. Therefor, we have to gain some mastery over ideation.

            It is pretty simple stuff and is not a bauble being ‘sold’.

            • Other Bill

              I am a firm believer in the famous P.D.Q. Bach’s trenchant observation and belief that “all musics are created equal” (as well as “it don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that certain je ne se quoi). How is competently teaching the western tradition of classical music an assault on any other music, AT? It’s an introductory course. I bet there are all kinds of upper level courses in all kinds of music. If classical music is so oppressive and hegemonic, why is it so studiously undertaken in the Americas (Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela?), Japan and China?

              Zoltar, I agree there’s tons of stuff to chew on in this student’s dismissal of this teacher. I just think the underlying B.S. about “western music BAD!” is at the root of this particular manifestation of inanity.

              • Other Bill said, “I agree there’s tons of stuff to chew on in this student’s dismissal of this teacher. I just think the underlying B.S. about “western music BAD!” is at the root of this particular manifestation of inanity.”

                You got…

                ” “western music BAD!” is at the root of this particular manifestation of inanity”

                …out of…

                “Despite the facade she puts on, [the professor] is a bigoted white europhile. Just Listen to her and read between the lines folks, she hates everyone in the class and will talk to black kids in a condescending tone like they are 5 years old. If you take this class, watch how akward her tone and body language gets around blacks. she is bigoted.”

                Forgive me, but I’m really not getting the connection between the two, I just got that the ignorant student was doing everything she could to trash the professor by playing the race card. Honestly, what did I miss?

                • Other Bill

                  Z. I think the “thing you missed” was the student’s use of the Authentic Frontier Gibberish as the key to sliming the teacher. Terms like “europhile” tip it off for me. And of course the jack-of-all trades “bigot.” The teacher is being denounced for, you know (as Hillary Clinton is so fond of yammering) teaching the course she was hired to teach and being competent regarding the content. THAT’s what drove me up the wall.

                  Of course the student then went on to essentially call the woman a honkey, but it was the diversity crap that gave the student her bogus starting point.

              • What I have noticed, Other Bill, is that we don’t have enough familiarity with each other’s thinking and general stance to understand each other well. I will briefly try to encapsulate what I was getting at. The student is not criticizing so much the teacher as the traditions of the West. In my investigations, and especially of the Sixties movement, one notices the beginning of a critical stance which soon becomes hatred and contempt. I notice this in what this student writes.

                When I said that her position is lucid and clear, and that it is expressed in existing discourses, I did not mean to imply that I accept his criticism, but rather that I fully understand it.

                I lookd up PDQ Bach and am not sure what to make of your comment. Am I to take it seriously? Do you think that ‘all musics are created equal’? If you do, you must I think extend that to all things. All spirituality is equal. All religion is equal. All philosophy is equal. Isn’t that a classic liberal tenet? You see here I do not understand what you are trying to say. I fear I am misunderstanding you.

                In my view, which is related to my philsophical position and much else, I do not regard musics as being equal, or anything necessarily being equal to anything else. Nor even as having ‘equal rights’. Is it possible that we touch here a true difference in perspectives? I do not regard people as being ‘equal’, nor cultures, nor regions, nor genders. I do not believe in egalitarianism as a political doctrine, nor the effects of this doctrine in politics and in many other spheres of life.

                I made no statement about teaching music. And I have no dispute with anything in that paragraph. You have misunderstood me.

                Yet I would not ever put classical European music on the same level as, say, Rap or Blues or Samba or Reggae. I would work to clearly and carefully define difference, and I would certainly place one in a superior position. That is because I allow myself to hierarchize values. This is obviously why I can say, without irony, that I am a Eurocentric.

                For the student to say ‘Western music — bad!’ is connected to ‘the grammar of self-intolerance’ and the branches and roots of this can be traced back to their origins. What culture turns against itself, devours itself, or turns its contempt against itself and does not end up destroying itself or allowing itself to be destroyed?

                To reconstruct a grammer of self-respect is what interests me.

                • Chris

                  “Yet I would not ever put classical European music on the same level as, say, Rap or Blues or Samba or Reggae. I would work to clearly and carefully define difference, and I would certainly place one in a superior position. That is because I allow myself to hierarchize values.”

                  No, it’s because you’re a racist. Your values were destroyed and replaced by better values–most of them Western!–because they were bad values. You have no respect for Western values of freedom, tolerance, equality, and respect for difference. You are an authoritarian, and you believe whites have a natural right to dominate others in every aspect of life–even in music!

                  In conclusion, get bent.

                  • This is another example Chris of *hearing* what is being said but then *radically reformulating* it. What you have done though is not to encapsulate what I think or what moves and inspires me, but to twist through a strange interpretive apparatus and then expel from it a statement that *utterly condemns*. As I have said now three times is a technique and a tactic that seems to me a primary one of the Progressive-Left camp.

                    The technique is effective, this I admit, because if you are Successful in framing an issue, question, event, statement, or problem, you can effectively control the discourse, or in any event keep it from getting anywhere. The other aspect is that you cause your opponent to have to stop, deconstruct the ‘calumny’ as it were, rephrase your outrageous accusations, etc.

                    I can see fairly clearly that you likely do not have enough background to be able to understand or to appreciate how hierarchy of value actually functions. So if I make a statement and say that I believe that classical forms of music stand in a higher position to more basic forms, you can only *hear* that I am making a criminal statement of condemnation and ‘bigotry’. But what you end up doing is giving life to sentiments and ideas that originate in you and then ascribing them to your opponent.

                    What happens here — this is what I think needs to happen in order to recover a capacity to think clearly — is that one is called upon to enter into your (that is ‘progressive’) thinking sort of like a mechanic enters into a malfunctioning machinery and attempt to get the cogs and the wheels back into a certain order. An imperfect metaphor perhaps but it is a telling one. What I try to understand, and what I wish to explore, is what is and what should be a base for conservative thinking. What is it? On what basis shall one construct one’s thinking? And on what basis shall one construct one’s perception?

                    I remind you again of your *essential* and core tool: *hearing*, *interpreting* and *restating*. I suggest that this manoeuvre occurs not in a rational or structured manner but *emotionally*. The intepretive mill is an emotional mill. So, one of the first orders of business is to see that and attempt to push the emotions back into their place so that *clear thinking* can occur.

                    I am aware though that for you — and other folks too — to hear such a thing from an upstart like me only pushes combustibles into the chamber of emotions. It is like uttering the gravest of all grave insults. I is logical then that you end as you begin: “Get bent!”

                    You are factually wrong when you imply that I am not concerned about, or don’t appreciate, the values of toleration or the core ideas that are part of the Occidental traditions. You simply do not know, and you have no interest either in discovering, the paths of thinking I have moved on. You notice a deviation though — it is one I am highly conscious of and also include as part of my discourse (that I am aware I am dealing in forbidden themes, etc.) — and you attack the deviation because more than anything you are involved in a coercive thought-project. You have been coerced — that means indoctrinated in essence — and you fight to be sure that others remain indoctrinated in the same way. Yet you cannot even loosely entertain this as a possibility. It in itself is ‘unthinkable thought’ for you. To think this thought is to endanger the edifice of your thinking process, and again I call to your attention that it is one of hearing according to you own will; wildly interpreting it according to emotional impulse; and then spitting it out as something quite literally wicked and evil. Anti-humanist. Cruel.

                    This is the essential structure of hyper-liberal and ‘progressive’ thought-processes, and it is an infection that spreads beyond itself to also infect other, so-called conservative, modes of thinking. That is how hysteria and social infection passes from one to the other. Contagion.

                    What I assert, and I base this on numerous years of close reading, study and conversation, is that a New Right is emerging in Europe. One aspect of what fuels it is just exactly the reaction that you got here from me: A desire, a deep need in fact, to get back to clear bases of solid, sane, rational thinking about *our world*, about culture, about value, about identity, and a great deal else. I attempt therefor to become your *corrective*. It is obvioulsy so much more than *you* and your monotonous, shallow intepretation and vision. It is something much more profound and yet very real, very responsible.

                    It is in *that* that I seek to locate myself and to embody that has many implications and ramifications.

                • Other Bill

                  AT: I think there’s one thing missing from your writing: discipline. Everyone commenting here has all sorts of ideas bubbling around in their heads. But as they write their comments they marshal their ideas and formulate a comprehensible statement. Please give this some thought. There’s something called “effective” writing. It’s a wonderful human invention.

  9. Normally I might devote a post to dissecting The Daily Beast’s virtual progressive cant parody of a rebuttal of the U of C’s dead-on letter, but I’m tired and depressed, and sick of doing battle with people like author Jay Michaelson, because lately i find myself asking as I read this cynical, smug junk: How did he GET this way? Who slanted his logic and common sense like this?

    Jay’s whole shtick is deliberately confusing cause and effect, while making accountability the equivalent of greed. You see, U of C didn’t tell incoming students that they weren’t going to be coddled by trigger warning and safe spaces because colleges aren’t supposed to protect delicate ears and eyes from ideas they may disagree with, or isolate them from people they might not like because doing otherwise is irresponsible educating, but because “rich, white men” will stop giving the college money if they didn’t. No, you smug, bigoted, SJW jerk, the donors in other schools stopped giving because they didn’t want to give millions to support divisive, biases, ideologically poisonous and antidemocratic nonsense, or a school supporting segregation, anti-white racism and hostility to academic freedom.

    Hell, I’ve written too much about this garbage already. Here: go crazy…
    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/08/26/university-of-chicago-s-p-c-crackdown-is-really-about-keeping-right-wing-donors-happy.html?utm_source=fark&utm_medium=website&utm_content=link&ICID=ref_fark

  10. FIRE has just pointed out that, contrary to the assumptions of some commenters here, there are schools that DO require professors to issue trigger warnings, and the trend is growing: https://www.thefire.org/think-trigger-warnings-are-never-mandatory-on-campus-think-again/

  11. Jack wrote: “How did he GET this way? Who slanted his logic and common sense like this?”

    Sometime back when I was reading Judge Bork’s book ‘Slouching Toward Gomorrah’ I somehow was directed to Albert Ginsberg’s poem ‘Howl’. I could not help but to remember the line which stuck in my mind, similar to your plaint:

    ‘What sphinx of cement and aluminum bashed open their skulls and ate up their brains and imagination?’

    It is a bizarre but captivating poem that appeals, through hysteria, to rabid religious sentiments. I’d suggest — I don’t know how to present the idea and it is beyond my understanding to explain well — that what has ‘got’ things to such a point is a continuation of the same hysterial/emotional infection. Surely it has infected the Academy (and eveywhere else).

    With every post here I seem to become only that much more *hated* and ridiculed and though it affects me in certain ways (like now, I feel apprehension just to make this comment) I resolve to push on no matter what the consequences, and I mean that of course in relation to the project of — please allow me to express it dramatically — ‘smashing cultural Marxism’.

    I will achieve my goal of pushing forward against all the tricks and strategies, emotional, sentimental, sophistical, to be able to *see and describe things as they really are* and to be free of controlling limitations (that have ‘bashed open my skull and carved out my discriminating and reasoning faculties’).

    I began my own *interpretive* project of The Present with no, with zero, clear sense what anything meant, and wading into the issues the first thing that came clear to me is ‘Everyone is lying’, and around important, and decisive, issues there will always be a wall of spin very thick and impenetrable. Around the important questions there are established barriers to understanding and something like a force-field to hold people’s ideas to a certain track. But then, if that is true, What is ‘the truth’? and How can one get to it?

    That is the problem. Just to be able to get to a point or a place where one can pose the right question is the larger part of the problem. My present theory is that most everyone, and even those who *should* not fail in the project, because they have so much of the tools necessary for proper analysis, fail the project because, in various degrees, they are locked in to PC modes of thinking. (The ‘sphinx’ has cracked them open and robbed them of some important perception-talent, and I say this ironically, simply to work off of the poem).

    Turn against the Common Assumptions and they’ll come at you with knives. I notice it all the time.

    Determined thinking = coerced thinking. Even to be able to define what that is and how it is determined, by what processes, is a task requiring a great deal of discriminating power. Who can do it? Who is doing it?

    Novus rerum nascitur ordo. ‘A new world opens before me’. There are new ways, and new tools available, to see, describe and to react to the present. That’s how I see things. The future will be a series of tumults.

    Smash Cultural Marxism.

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