19 Comments
Jan 11, 2023Liked by Amna Khalid

Great article! Everyone, please join FIRE's email campaign here for this very issue: https://p2a.co/gw8pumy

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Thanks for your eloquent defense of free speech on campus.

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Jan 11, 2023Liked by Amna Khalid

Fully agree; when will colleges finally stand up to these absurdly fragile students ; she even pre warned them but this student stayed. Disgraceful

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Jan 11, 2023Liked by Amna Khalid

Thank you.

As a former university academic, it saddens and sickens me that the current crop of administrators see their job as protecting the most fragile rather than encouraging open inquiry. I consistently received outstanding student evaluations from the vast majority of my students with a few terrible ones every semester. Now, the malcontents would be encouraged to invent an excuse to have me fired and undoubtedly cowardly administrators would agree.

I’m so glad I am no longer in academia, but now I don’t know if I want my grandchildren to pursue higher education.

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“David Everett, associate vice president for inclusive excellence”

Orwellian little eff I am sure. But this stuff is promoted and sanctioned by the Democrats and the corporatist Uniparty Propaganda Cabal (MSM), so little David is just being a good compliant comrade of the collective.

Why would anyone with talent want to be a professor today?

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Jan 11, 2023·edited Jan 11, 2023

Sir, I am a registered Democrat for complex reasons irrelevant to this discussion, and I disagree with purist thought in academia and society at large, including the characterisation of me, as a Democrat, that you posted above. We are not all the same, just as all Muslims are not the same. I found labeling and name-calling unpersuasive in the second grade when the Protestant kids told me that the Catholics were all intent on taking over America with the guns we kept in the basements of our churches, and I find such tactics even more unpersuasive 60 years later.

"All or Nothing At All" is a lovely Frank Sinatra love song, but it's no philosophy of life. I shudder to think that we may approach the stupid place where it is frowned upon for Yo-yo Ma to play Bach because Mr. Ma is not German and therefore would offend a German by daring to interpret Bach.

I do agree that it takes a certain type of talented person to be a professor. It must have something to do with delight in sharing knowledge. It certainly can't be the money.

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Sir, your political party, and the average voter that supports it, has moved far away from the core ideological principles that sustained it. It is not favorable to the working class. It is not supportive of liberal principles. I live in a liberal college town... 82% voted for Joe Biden in the last election. About the same ratio voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016. I have lived here 40+ years and count many liberal Democrats as friends. You might just be the exception to what they have become, but they tacitly and explicitly support the identity politics agenda. And although they claim to wring their hands over cancel culture, they don't really oppose it because they know it benefits their politics.

There is not enough direct opposition and outrage coming from the Democrats to get my agreement that we should consider them "not all the same". The party moves as a collective.

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This got kind of long. Apologies for the length, but not for the thoughts.

Well, I see one common point between us: I live in a place represented by a man who was present at the Capitol riot and was involved in trying to get a slate of "alternate" electors together for the last Presidential election. There are lots of pro-life people around here, unless the life is a fully realized human female rather than an embryo with no forebrain. And yet, many people around here are my friends, or are at least friendly and polite. So I know what it's like to live surrounded by people who disagree with me. Uncomfortable, isn't it?

I don't think of them as all cut from the same cloth because of my grandfather, who was a World War I vet and a union member with an 8th grade education and a devotion to Shakespeare, who was a Father Coughlin fan but also voted for JFK and taught me to read when I was 3. People are complicated. You are, I am, Grandpa was, and so are all your friends and my neighbors. You do yourself a disservice when you don't work at remembering that. Sometimes I forget. I'm always sorry afterwards.

One of my library colleagues was confronted by a woman at our polling place who said to her, "Your library has more witch books than any library in the county!" (This was not true: the library is small, and has a preponderance of books about Christianity, as its service area is populated by Christians.) My colleague replied, "Perhaps you found lots of books about witches because that's what you were looking for." If you are seeing Democrats as all the same, perhaps that's what you're looking for.

You live in a college town. How many of your friends work at the college? Do you understand the effect of shunning, and of unemployment? Can they afford outrage?

We had a workshop, just before I retired, about diversity. One individual claimed that nothing had changed for Black people since the 1950s. Silence. Since I had been alive in the 1950s and he clearly had not, I pointed out all the progress that had been made, including the fact that we were even having this conversation and we were all eating together. Once there was an opening, other people started to talk, and it made it OK for me to point out to a guy at the other extreme that race-based violence was still a serious problem without caving in to Mr. 1950's position. It became less about victims and more about problems. Problems have solutions. The reason I could speak was that I had nothing to lose. Can you say the same about your friends? So you don't see heroes. Must they therefore be the Borg?

Mr. 1950 didn't talk to me again. His loss, mine too. I expect he is complicated. The guy at the other extreme still talks to me. I expect it's because, even though he knows we disagree, I didn't treat him like a mindless member of the collective.

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Good post. Thanks.

First, your grandfather that sounds like a conservative Democrat from the Greatest Generation would not today, or at least should not today, support the Democrat party as it is.

Democrats today rarely step out of the party line. Unanimous voting in the House for Hakeem Jeffries even though he had been a blatant and vocal election denier. I get this constant criticism from my left friends for generalizing, yet they vote party line every time. And today that party line is connected to the globalist corporatist uniparty and the radical social justice agenda. They say they reject cancel culture, and yet vote for the politicians that promote it. They say they reject war, yet vote for the politicians that get us involved in wars. They say they reject authoritarianism, yet vote for the politicians that implement the most authoritarian and draconian policies. They say they are for the poor and working class, yet vote for the politicians that implement policies that hurt the poor and working class. They say they are for law and order, yet vote for the politicians that dismantle law and order. They say they are for supporting children, yet vote for politicians that push policies that are terrible for children.

I just don't find any truly moderate Democrats today that vote in any way that backs their claim of being moderate.

You can see the polls on opinion s of Democrats on topics like freedom of speech, and other topics and all of it has drifted way left radical and away from the traditional views of Democrats.

"You live in a college town. How many of your friends work at the college? Do you understand the effect of shunning, and of unemployment? Can they afford outrage?"

I don't understand these questions. The town is about 70k people. It is filled with old retirees of the university and students. The old retirees block significant new development with a city ordinance that requires a majority vote. The cost of housing is very high. The university pay and benefits are best in the region. Many of the academics and administrators that retire are millionaires. But they are progressive in that they have adopted the the modern Democrat platform of social justice excess, global warming cult hysteria, COVID hysteria, support for war, support for globalism, support for open borders, support for policies that destroy small business at the benefit of the large corporations, etc... They are nothing like your grandfather.

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A couple of things, to clarify:

Grandpa was a Republican, like his trust-busting hero, Teddy Roosevelt, who became President when Grandpa was 13 years old. Not the Greatest Generation, but the Lost Generation. My parents were part of the GI (Greatest) Generation.

The questions you didn't understand were asked based on a mistaken assumption on my part, that is, that at least some of the people in the college town actually work at the college. The culture of a community's major employer, and this goes for industry too, will frequently pressure employees who don't share every last jot and tittle into silence, based on fear of isolation or unemployment. And thus we return to the original topic of this thread: intimidation of the individual by powerful, organized interests.

If retirees espouse policies that inflate housing prices, shame on them. I have adult children who need places to live for their young families. That retirees retired as millionaires, well, I can't gripe about that. I saved my whole life, and invested those savings, so as not to have to scrape by on Social Security and Medicare. Getting old in this country is not for the faint-hearted. My savings have to last me 20 or 30 years.

You can talk about Covid hysteria because you're alive to scoff. My husband had leukemia during that time. No scoffing in our house. And we've all learned the value of hand washing now, haven't we?

Complicated!

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Thanks for the clarification. The TR time was interesting related to the GOP... another candidate that split the party like Trump. Resulted in a terrible 8 years of Wilson. Then again Perot gave us the terrible 8 years of Clinton... and it was all down hill from there.

These university employees are state workers with pensions and healthcare covered. They retire in their early 60s generally... some in their late 50s. Yes, they are a tyranny of the majority in my town.

But they all move the same politically. They don't opine nor vote out of line from the Democrat collective.

I have lymphoma and so I can scoff at Covid hysteria. Immune compromised while in treatment, caught COVID after being jabbed and boosted. Like most people that caught it, I got the sniffles for a few days and was fine. Everybody is entitled to their own fear and fear response, just not projecting it on others... especially when it damages the lives of young and healthy people. I don't know how people feel entitled telling other people how to live their lives in fear of a virus.

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Regarding this:

"But this stuff is promoted and sanctioned by the Democrats and the corporatist Uniparty Propaganda Cabal (MSM)"

Any assertion that "the Democrats" support the kind of thing that just happened at Hamline University is absurd.

That's similar to stating that all Republicans approve of the crowd that staged an insurrection at the Capital building.

Any such assertions are reductive, and as such they do more to confuse than to clarify the complex reality that we actually live in.

Can you, in fact, name even one prominent democrat leader, politician, or columnist who has expressed support for the admin at Hamline University? Conservatives and Liberals alike (from the NYT, to the WP, the Atlantic, Reason, Slate, Chronicle of Higher Education, PEN, and even the uber left dailykos) have near universally condemned Hamline's actions in this case.

I think it takes an unshakably pre-conceived notion to in any way take actual note of what's going on right now and then somehow come away saying that the sad events at Hamline are supported by Democrats.

Nevertheless, I acknowledge that we do not really have a sufficient political/cultural vocabulary to more accurately describe those administrators at Hamline. Some terms that might apply: ideologues, Leftists, Far Left extremists, or perhaps even identitarians.

But "Democrats" in general? That is simply an absurd assertion.

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I fully agree. The despicable statement and actions of the administration are appalling on many levels. They would not think for a second (rightly) to give Christian students veto power over everything that gets shown in art class, not even something like Piss Christ, as the author notes. That alone is grounds for a class action law suit against the university. How inconvenient for the woke that their double standards run directly afoul of civil rights law.

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I am not sure that being offended occasionally is a bad thing especially in college where individuals are presumed to be adults. It can be a valuable learning experience for the individuals involved. For example being able to judge whether the action was intended to be offensive and then responding accordingly. In this instance, however, Hamline University still has a lot to learn.

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Jan 11, 2023·edited Jan 11, 2023

Thanks for an enlightening essay.

My understanding of free speech, including that protection against being offended is not part of it, has not changed. What your essay has done for me is to point out the limiting effects of colonialism on our ways of thinking about the many facets of culture.

In my former line of work in public libraries, there was a saying: "Some books are mirrors, some books are windows", that is, the light they transmit helps us to see ourselves more clearly, and to see into other spaces we don't inhabit. You have helped me to understand the value of the prism in this light metaphor: full and honest education illuminates all the facets of culture, and shows us all its components, as a prism shows us all the colors in light. I may not like a particular color, but I would have a wrong and sadly limited view of the world if it were banished because I don't like it.

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Jan 12, 2023·edited Jan 12, 2023

It is not simply the blatant disregard for the principle of free speech (which is common to all mindsets driven by religious thought -- be it faith-based or secular ideology based, it does not matter). It is that the arguments on which the ban rests, like Professor Khalid points out, are deeply, obscenely DISCRIMINATORY.

It is not just a logical fallacy to assume that one subset of a group represents the whole: it implies the concept best expressed as: "All of them are the same". It imposes on the group a reductive identity determined by the prejudices of the authority that pronounces the statement, whether or not reinforced by vocal advocates of specific interests within the same group.

Racism is the mental attitude that attributes the same character to large groups of people based on vague phenotypes: is racist to assume that all black/coloured/white people (and subcategories thereof) think, feel and behave the same. It is racist whatever the colour of the skin of the speaker.

Religious intolerance is the mental attitude that considers religious beliefs different from one's own evil and to be eliminated, and discriminates people on this basis. Part of the discrimination is the assumption that the very same beliefs are embraced fully by any adherent of said religion.

In the specific case, what Hamline University has done is painting all Muslims with a broad brush, which is shockingly dismissive of Islam while pretending to be respectful. (I am highly critic of Islam -- as well as of Christianity, Judaism, and every other religion Abrahamic or not -- but even when you consider an attitude to be negative, it is a wise course to know and understand it).

Specific interest groups within these wider groups push, loudly, for their own purposes... it is a struggle for of power, and Critical <Name> Theory folks should have read their Foucault better (if even they know where their power rigmaroles come from). Groups are painted with very broad brushes, but who reaps the (temporary) victory are not the broad groups, but individual activists or subgroups that push their own agendas.

The entire Human Rights established regulations are being increasingly hijacked by groups that are bent on silencing dissent using the vague concept of "harm", discrimination and "-phobia".

From many parts they are also deeply conservative and illiberal groups, which happens mostly outside of the West but increasingly here as well, pointedly starting with religion.

Make no mistake. All of these are strategies, conscious or not, that go in the direction of an illiberal society where undesired thought is suppressed. It is not a matter of Left or Right -- this tendency has always existed in both camps. It is a matter of dreaming a society where what is different is NOT allowed to exist. Dreams of this kind are always built on good intentions, a sense of guilt and a sense that what is other than you diminishes what you are.

Let us all look at ourselves and count the number of unwarranted generalisation we make every day, driven by anger. ALL OF THEM, we say. ALL OF THEM. EVIL. WRONG. ENEMY.

And with this attitude, we all go to hell. All together.

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If you think this is bad, witness what is happening with Jordan Peterson and the Canadian College of Psychology.

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It's very odd. The very people that think it's fine to introduce elementary children to complex sexual and gender ideas believe university students should have "safe spaces" and trigger warnings.

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Freedom, diversity and openess are all important for all humans

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