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I wonder if Generation Z's attraction to wokism is connected to the fact that they were born into a post-9/11 world. It strikes me how much leftists' reaction to George Floyd's murder parallels conservatives' reaction to 9/11. You have the same Pure Good versus Pure Evil worldview. The same insistence that anything short of blind unquestioning support is siding with the enemy. The same assumption that everyone in the perpetrator's "tribe" (Muslims then, whites now) shares in the guilt. The same condescending contempt for basic democratic decencies. The same surrender of the media. The same way too many liberals who should have known better got sucked in. (For just one example of how The West Wing went full neocon after 9/11, check out Toby's "They'll like us when we win!" diatribe.)

That attitude was supposed to give us (to use a term that's a favorite of both Sean Hannity and AOC) "moral clarity". Instead it gave us the pettiness of "freedom fries", the disaster of "We have to stop Saddam from giving weapons he doesn't have to terrorists he doesn't support", the evil of "enhanced interrogation techniques". Wokism could be leading us down a similar road, while insisting that there's no moral equivalence because they're the good guys. Which would be another parallel.

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I dunno about the parallels, M. Karol, but You NAILED the woke to their pitard. TY.

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These are sane and smart ideas however, unless phones and other machines with recording technology were banned in the classrooms, students will still be afraid that their statements, if they offend the sensibilities of another, will be recorded and shared on social media.

Silencing, not only of students but of our neighbors, etc.. , will not recede until we do not penalize others by posting videos--recorded without the speaker's permission--in attempt to publicly shame.

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It's good that you're able to create real debate inside the classroom, but you're missing the futility factor. You say debate is necessary for "democracy". Unfortunately debate and choice have exactly zero effect. In every "election" we hear fake "choices" during the campaign, followed instantly by broken promises as all politicians converge to the same agenda. What is this "democracy" that we supposedly need to preserve? It's just a word.

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I'm old enough to know that "Democracy" is NOT just a word, although I may be in a distinct minority these days. Now, in the OLD days, Democracy was the spirit of a people who attempted to resolve conflicts that all nations run into at some point in their lifecycle.

Granted, unless a course change is initiated by steps like above, it could be towards the end of the lifecycle for American Democracy.

All that to say... If You don't see muchuva difference in agenda THESE days, I would recommend You look a little deeper below the surface. But that's just me.

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I agree with the caveat expressed by @thepassionatereader, but I'd go further: Without extirpating some of their most fundamental ideas, it seems unlikely that you will get discussion that pushes the Overton window to the right and not have anybody fink. The kids have been taught that these ideas are not merely evil, but π‘‘π‘Žπ‘›π‘”π‘’π‘Ÿπ‘œπ‘’π‘ . Violent. Physically harmful. It'd be their civic duty to fink.

I hope I'm wrong, but I'm guessing that if this hasn't happened yet it's because the ideas expressed haven't strayed too far from the progressive consensus -- at least as far as anything that really matters. Meaning, I can imagine people giving a hearing to an antivaxxer or a gun enthusiast and simply pitying the benighted individual, but somebody who favors the Texas abortion bill? Or who believes that sex is binary and immutable? Or that there's no burning need to do anything about racism in the US? I can't the see the other students restraining themselves.

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It's not a matter of moving the Overton window to the right; the ideas that are a problem are not leftist -- or, said slightly differently, it's not the leftist character of the ideas that is the problem. The harm comes from the stifling of alternative viewpoints; that is not left or right. That's what those in power do, whether they be racists in a Jim Crow south, or liberals refusing to allow a neo-nazi rally in their town in the 70s, or liberals "deplatforming" those who disagree with their most precious ideas.

We don't need to extirpate the ideas of defund the police or sex is a social construction; these are merely run of the mill ideas we can respond to with contrary better ideas as long as we address the core problem: the idea that contrary and heterodox ideas should not be allowed. *THAT* is the idea that needs to be defeated first, and it is a separate idea from all of the ideas that it protects.

That seems to be the aim of the pedagogy advocated in this article. Its two key points (first, the classroom is a laboratory for minds and ideas and as such it must be safe to try on weird ideas, and second, ensure one is familiar with, and arguing against, the strongest claim that opposes one's ideas) seem to directly target the direst issue that prevents normal liberal discourse from functioning.

I'm not naive enough to believe this one class will make a difference; but if more classes follow suit, it can.

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Perhaps I was unclear. I didn't imply that the current intolerance is inherently of the Left, but that is the way things have fallen out at this point in history. That's why the ideas that are likely to be stifled are to the Right. And the ideas that need to be extirpated are not "defund the police" or "sex is a social construct" -- those are the ideas that should be discussed. What needs extirpation are the ideas that it's dangerous to discuss them, that words are violence, or silence is violence, or people who don't believe as we do are evil.

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Thanks for your response. I may be guilty of reading too much into the Overton window aspect of your post.

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What if the idea of the paper in which students define both sides were expanded into class debate modeled on the public forum method of high school debate (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_forum_debate)? Students would have to research all the arguments for and against an issue and then be randomly assigned to debate them in class? Better yet, what if debate were a class required or, at the very least, offered to all?

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Sounds like a good idea, but I think the format is less important than the distance one can get the students to stray from their fixed opinions.

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TY (thank You). Both of You for both this essay and Your enlightened views on teaching. TYTY. :)

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Straw women; steel women?

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