A selection of some of our best articles of 2016:
Disagreement Is Not Violence
This brilliant piece by Robin Gilbert-Jones touched on one of the seminal issues of our time: political difference and how to tolerate it. Too often, a mere divergence of opinion is characterized as “violence” by moral absolutists who seek to shut down discussion and avoid opposition.
Quote: “In subsequent years we have seen this word often stretched so etymologically thin as to be stripped of all meaning. It is quite a feat to achieve that with a word as concretely rooted in physical action, cause and effect as “violence”. This is often achieved by prefixing it with some silly adjective like “socioeconomic” or “rhetorical”. The reason this is inherently dangerous is that if you can redefine anything you don’t like as being a form of violence, it justifies pretty much any disproportionate response. Violence is usually considered the last straw, the point at which all bets are off and any means necessary can be justified in defence. It also risks stripping real violence of any intrinsic meaning and blurring the usually very distinct line between violent and non-violent actions.” Read More…
I didn’t go to university to have my preconceptions challenged, or to open myself to weird knowledge and dangerous ideas. I wasn’t seeking to push my personal boundaries or take intellectual risks. It’s not that I don’t think those are valuable experiences, it’s just that such things can be done by anyone, anywhere, without the empty validation of a reading list and a final exam.
University life wasn’t that far removed from not-university life anyway—sure, there were a few misanthropic left-radicals who were angry and judgmental, but they were an avoidable fringe. Not many people were trying to force your worldview, show off about correcting social justice or, even worse, blame you for social injustice. If there were people like that, they were easily ignored from the depths of the SU bar.
Which is why the current state of politically correct academic culture is so troubling. Ideological fanatics, with the backing of fully complicit college authorities, are fostering a campus environment that looks far removed from the norms of everyday life. In this sealed-off, Lord of the Flies echo chamber irrational ideas are being allowed to exert control, and it’s all been officially signed off at the top. Read More…