Be Careful What You Wish For.

Or, be careful for what you wish! You might just get it.

First of all, read this: I’m a Liberal Professor and My Liberal Students Terrify Me, by Edward Schlosser – on Vox.

I’m going to quote some of the article here:

Herein lies the folly of oversimplified identity politics: while identity concerns obviously warrant analysis, focusing on them too exclusively draws our attention so far inward that none of our analyses can lead to action.  Rebecca Reilly Cooper, a political philosopher at the University of Warwick, worries about the effectiveness of a politics in which “particular experiences can never legitimately speak for any one other than ourselves, and personal narrative and testimony are elevated to such a degree that there can be no objective standpoint from which to examine their veracity.” Personal experience and feelings aren’t just a salient touchstone of contemporary identity politics; they are the entirety of these politics. In such an environment, it’s no wonder that students are so prone to elevate minor slights to protestable offenses.

***

The press for actionability, or even for comprehensive analyses that go beyond personal testimony, is hereby considered redundant, since all we need to do to fix the world’s problems is adjust the feelings attached to them and open up the floor for various identity groups to have their say. All the old, enlightened means of discussion and analysis —from due process to scientific method — are dismissed as being blind to emotional concerns and therefore unfairly skewed toward the interest of straight white males. All that matters is that people are allowed to speak, that their narratives are accepted without question, and that the bad feelings go away.

So it’s not just that students refuse to countenance uncomfortable ideas — they refuse to engage them, period. Engagement is considered unnecessary, as the immediate, emotional reactions of students contain all the analysis and judgment that sensitive issues demand. As Judith Shulevitz wrote in the New York Times, these refusals can shut down discussion in genuinely contentious areas, such as when Oxford canceled an abortion debate. More often, they affect surprisingly minor matters, as when Hampshire College disinvited an Afrobeat band because their lineup had too many white people in it.”

Here’s another article: Columbia Students Triggered By Old Books Are the Ones Who Need Them Most.

C. S. Lewis:

“Every age has it’s own outlook. It is specially good at seeing certain truths and specially liable to make certain mistakes. We all, therefore, need the books that will correct the characteristic mistakes of our own period. And that means old books.”

My god, kids need to grow the hell up! Parents, if I could give you one piece of advice, it’s this – Do not spare your children all unpleasantness. Challenges help us develop into real mature responsible responsive empathetic adults.

Much as we wish it were so, life ain’t a bed of roses.

It ain’t about ‘the narrative’. It’s about the truth. Truth may be personal, but it is not relative. Consider this– if everything is relative then Mother Theresa is no better than Jeffrey Dahmer.

 

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16 thoughts on “Be Careful What You Wish For.

  1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt

    I dunno. My young adult children discuss everything and anything with their friends.

    This sounds like the Young Communist and Young Nazi effects on the impressionable minds – and how those whose orthodoxy the Party approved of were given power (like ISIS and Iran religious police and other incarnations in the present) over ‘ordinary people.’

    I hope it wears off – there ARE injustices in our world – duh! – but we aren’t going to solve them by fiat. Or ANY one-party system (which is unsustainable, anyway).

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    1. juliabarrett Post author

      Cute photo, Alicia! Hey, my kids are fine too, love a good discussion and they respect differences. I think it’s this helicopter parenting thing that began when my youngest was maybe five or six. I think we’re seeing the results now.

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      1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt

        It’s the media’s fault: you used to hear only the few bad things that happened in your neighborhood – and might affect your own children, so you watched, and had a good talk with them.

        Now, you hear of every bad thing that happens to ANY child, ANYWHERE – and it gives you the false perception that the world is dangerous everywhere and all the time, and you MUST keep your own safe.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. anny cook

    I am so tired of political correctness. Some folks think it demonstrates tolerance when the truth is far, far from it. Instead of tolerance of differences, we now demand everyone thinks the same. No one dares to admit to believing something other than the majority. I’m pretty sure we aren’t better off now than we were before.

    Liked by 2 people

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    1. juliabarrett Post author

      I agree, Anny. If there’s one thing I appreciate it’s differences. How boring to think alike! The only way to achieve group think is by brutal enforcement. I’m against group think.

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    2. Roberta

      It would be one thing, anny, if these young college students held majority views. Often time they do not. What they apparently want is for their belief system be adopted by everyone else…..and if you don’t they will find other ways to silence you.

      Liked by 1 person

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  3. Marylin Warner

    We were in Kansas several weeks ago. When I can’t sleep in my mom’s apartment, I watch the college educational channel with courses through Wichita State U. and Friends U., and I listened to an entire panel discussing this very topic, Julia. They included both the Oxford and Columbia issues as examples. One panel member was an elementary school teacher and sports coach–holding her own against full tenured professors–and she spoke eloquently about the danger of giving trophies and medals and awards for participation only, in order to make children feel good about themselves.

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. juliabarrett Post author

      Timely, Marylin. I agree with her. Yes, we all want children to feel good about themselves. We do. We love our children. But achievement that goes above and beyond must be recognized. Otherwise, what is the point of anything? If equality in all things is the point then we should eliminate all sporting competitions, amateur and professional. No tournaments, no World Series, no Superbowl, no Stanley Cup. Nothing. If we are all equal, why offer scholarships for any reason? Why should some people, deserving or not, be able to feel better about themselves than others? Why should poor students receive more aid than rich students?
      Kids have heroes. They like to emulate their heroes. Sometimes a dad or a mom is a hero. That’s a good thing, not a bad thing.

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    2. Sandra

      We should reward our outstanding achievers, but I’m a big believer in that you don’t fail unless you don’t try. That just entering the race deserves recognition.

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      1. juliabarrett Post author

        I do agree, Sandra. Trying absolutely deserves recognition. However winning is important. Even in the Special Olympics people are rewarded, for trying and for winning and coming in second and third.
        I played sports, as do all my children. When you make that extra effort, if you win, you win. Effort is its own reward of course, but if you compete and you win there’s no way around it. You win.

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  4. Roberta

    I am in agreement with you, Julia.

    There appears to be a movement afoot to silence anyone who does not meet the beliefs of a sub-section of American people; or the Speech Police as I call them. Most of them also belong to the Food Police.

    Free speech is not divisible. You either have it or you don’t. Even the Supremes agree with that giving wide berth to all manner of freedom of speech.

    The little cupcakes who can’t deal with the ups and downs of life, nor can deal with people who do not agree with them, and who think they know it all and try to stop my free speech have no sway on me. They ought to be happy I am not President of any of their colleges cause I would not have dis-invited an accomplished woman like Condoleeza Rice from speaking at a college just because they disagreed with her.

    As Paul Linde used to say, “Oh grow up!!!” He was the comedian who said that, wasn’t he???

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. juliabarrett Post author

      It’s frustrating, Roberta. I’d love to ignore them but they influence culture far beyond their numbers. I’m afraid they will wise up too late.

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    1. juliabarrett Post author

      Sometimes I get scared that something awful is gonna happen to make them grow up. I know you know what I mean.

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  5. Diana Stevan

    Great discussion here, Julia. We are living in interesting times. In some ways, there is more tolerance, if you look at what’s happened with the gay movement, but in another way, those with entrenched views fight back even harder. Maybe with social media, we are just more aware of all those differences and how too many can’t accept the greys that are there.

    I watch Bill Maher’s Politically Incorrect show. He preaches through his comedy about the intolerance of Christians, and yet, he, as an atheist, is extremely intolerant. So, what’s up with that? Rather than move forward and embrace all our differences and celebrate them, we end up fighting one another instead of listening to one another’s views and learning from those debates.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. juliabarrett Post author

      Exactly, Diana. I love differences. Provided we aren’t teaching hatred. Yeah, basically intolerance seems to rule the decade.

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