I wrote earlier of how we’re being bombarded with false “facts” so obviously wrong that there’s little choice but for rational people to start considering what the fake media refers to as “alternative facts.”
What happened to us as a people that we no longer can agree on even the most basic of concepts, like the meaning of the word “fact”?
“We’re just one murder away from utopia!”
–the unofficial Leftist motto. There are swaths of the population that honestly believe that Stalin, Mao, and others of their ilk failed because they just weren’t willing to kill enough people. I’ve met them. They’re real. And they’re mostly on campus. Mostly.
It’s clear that what happened here started in the schools, that the falsehoods taken to be truth were instilled in childhood. Childhood is a great time to present lies as truth. Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny are fine enough I suppose…but we stop reinforcing those lies after a certain point. Without the reinforcement, as the children get older they think things through and realize the toys and treats which appear on certain days are coming from the parents and not from supernatural creatures.
Other lies get near constant reinforcement. I remember being taught “a little inflation is good for the economy” and “Democrats are the party of the working people” in high school, among other “facts” that are clearly rubbish, and these ideas were reinforced at least a little in college.
In my day, such reinforcement was somewhat scattered (granted, I focused on mathematics coursework, so my opinion might be skewed), but now Marx is the most common author in college, dominating a variety of coursework. A student could literally be forced to read Marx four or more times even if his degree wasn’t in “Terrible things people thought of in the 19th century.”
For all its faults, the only country to embrace capitalism in the 19th century managed to achieve a standard of living far beyond everywhere else in the world, despite the fact the rest of the world basically had a 2,000 year head start. And yet, in the face of this fact, our students are constantly told capitalism is terrible, and the best thing to do would be to follow Marxist ideas, and on top of that our students are forced to ignore the fact of just how much death Marxism causes.
With such heavy reinforcement of lies, it’s only natural for our students to get the wrong idea about how facts work: they’re constantly being told that you can ignore facts just by saying whatever you want. It’s pure insanity, but unsurprising from students fed a steady diet of madness in their classes.
After outgoing Pomona College President David Oxtoby sent a school-wide email rebuking the actions of violent protesters attempting to shut down conservative journalist Heather Mac Donald’s speech, three self-identified “Black students” triggered by the pro-First Amendment stance penned a letter to Oxtoby, condemning his words, and, yes, openly labeling “truth” a racist “myth.”
Before going further, I really want to point out another reason our campuses are going bonkers: spineless administration. The Poo Bah above had ample opportunity to speak out against the madness before now, and was in a position of absolute power. He could have restored sanity, but waited until he was out the door to denounce the violence against free speech. If our other Poo Bahs would speak in unison, right now, against violence, and remove those who use it to prevent free speech on campus, it’d be at least a start towards restoring sanity in higher education. Instead they foolishly speak out against Trump. We really need to change how our leadership is selected, starting with picking stewards instead of leaders, but that’s for another post.
The letter being referenced is well-written in terms of grammar, but rather weird in terms of logic:
Historically, white supremacy has venerated the idea of objectivity, …
I presume the authors are against white supremacy, but venerating objectivity is actually a good thing, right? The logic is difficult to follow here, but nevertheless highlights the incoherence of the ideology, and where it inevitably leads.
Without the concept of objectivity, how are we to determine right and wrong, or what is good and what is bad? Presumably, we’ll start with long shouting matches, but empirical evidence tells how this will end: mass murder. If we actually use “objectivity” as some sort of epithet, then the inevitable conclusion to resolve the shouting (and rioting) will be “just one more murder, and then utopia!”
The letter continues to explain its point of view:
The idea that there is a single truth–’the Truth’–is a construct of the Euro-West that is deeply rooted in the Enlightenment, which was a movement that also described Black and Brown people as both subhuman and impervious to pain.
This isn’t gibberish, at least, but ignores the fact that those people of the past, those seekers of objectivity, when confronted with the unpopular idea that “other” people were in fact human, didn’t respond with violence like kids on campus today.
Instead, we realized that, yeah, the color of your skin doesn’t annihilate your humanity. That’s how it works, you see…you talk about things, you allow people to discuss their ideas, even if those ideas seem bizarre. It’s better than rioting and simply killing people with disagreeable ideas, honest.
The idea that the search for this truth involves entertaining Heather Mac Donald’s hate speech is illogical.
I don’t even know this person so don’t know what her speech entails, but, yes, the search for truth means a willingness to look, and listen to things that might be uncomfortable to hear. There really was a time when it was radical to say slavery was an evil institution, but the culture these students are railing against allowed people to speak out against slavery.
And these kids have been given the “fact” that the culture that freed them is evil and thus all the ideas of that culture must be wrong. On how many levels is wrong?
Then comes the usual litany of slurs:
Heather Mac Donald is a fascist, a white supremacist, a warhawk, a transphobe, a queerphobe, a classist,
Look, in the past, it was fact that slathering people with these names would hurt them, but now that basically everyone who dares to speak out against this ideology of hate gets called the same names…it doesn’t work. Facts can change, but not simply by yelling or killing whoever disagrees with you.
Advocating for white supremacy and giving white supremacists platforms wherefrom their toxic and deadly illogic…
In addition to the ridiculous name-calling, the cry of “illogic” seems to come up often. These poor kids haven’t been trained in logic, but they do realize the word makes them sound more adult. Logic isn’t resolved by shouting or name-calling, you see, there are very precise rules for logic. If there was illogic, they could, if they understood logic, simply identify the error.
As an aside, a grad student pointed out I was being illogical just a few weeks ago. I responded in the rational way (“Where exactly am I being illogical”), and she showed where I improperly took the contrapositive of a complex conditional. Hey, I made a mistake, it happens—I teach mathematics, not gender studies, I don’t punish students for telling me I’m wrong. I acknowledged the mistake, and then asked for a counter-example to further reinforce how I was wrong. She couldn’t do it, but I could after a few minutes. But that’s how logic works, if you’re wrong, it’s perfectly simple and unarguable to demonstrate as much.
But we’re teaching our kids that you can shout at something as being illogical, and by some weird magic, it will become illogical. We really need to focus less on ideology on our campuses, and put more time into learning how to think rationally.
The letter continues, but is fairly summarized as “we don’t like what you’re saying, therefore it is a fact you are illogical and wrong. And racist.”
It’s a shame the Poo Bah didn’t have the courage to do what needs to be done to help these kids while he was on campus, but maybe the next Poo Bah will put some effort into telling these kids “Facts aren’t racist. Go study something besides ideology.”