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Political Correctness Gone Mad

Ausage

Cricketer Of The Year
I'm really loving this thought experiment.

I suspect that getting a job would be much, much easier. The market for liberal professors is absolutely saturated, but the market for conservative professors is fairly untapped. I suspect demand for an education respected in conservative circles is about to go through the roof. Chicago is making a big play for the always-lucrative conservative buck, and getting serious media coverage for it: University Of Chicago Sends The Acceptance Letter Every College Should.

I don't really know if I would be excluded from intellectual society in the sense you describe. I work in a business school, and business schools already have loads of conservatives. I'd be excluded from a lot of history departments, but my work is probably already too right-wing for those. A lot of people doing my kind of work are now in Econ departments when 15-20 years ago it would have been done in liberal arts schools.

Maybe that's the answer to your question. The center of knowledge won't shift from universities to somewhere else, it'll just shift from one area of academia to another- different departments, different universities.
Doesn't the bold tie into the reasons you're unlikely to ever be no-platformed? The people who are in danger of having the mob set on them are the ones in disciplines that wouldn't welcome someone branded as a hate figure.

I agree with the overall point regarding markets. Any seismic shift on the position of the university as society's premier knowledge institution will likely be just as attributable to the absurdity of charging kids tens of thousands of dollars for knowledge that's freely available online. Accreditation will be an issue and it's only a matter of time before someone makes that inexpensive for disciplines that require it, but the rest? Relegated to the internet where we struggle to make sense of even the most basic facts, let alone things like the keys to the human condition or whether the elites are soul sucking vampires who want to drag humanity to take the place of a being struggling to rise up from a lower dimension.
 

Uppercut

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Doesn't the bold tie into the reasons you're unlikely to ever be no-platformed? The people who are in danger of having the mob set on them are the ones in disciplines that wouldn't welcome someone branded as a hate figure.
Ehh, maybe. There are directions I could plausibly branch into that would risk stepping on some toes. Gregory Clark has major hate-figure potential.

I agree with the overall point regarding markets. Any seismic shift on the position of the university as society's premier knowledge institution will likely be just as attributable to the absurdity of charging kids tens of thousands of dollars for knowledge that's freely available online. Accreditation will be an issue and it's only a matter of time before someone makes that inexpensive for disciplines that require it, but the rest? Relegated to the internet where we struggle to make sense of even the most basic facts, let alone things like the keys to the human condition or whether the elites are soul sucking vampires who want to drag humanity to take the place of a being struggling to rise up from a lower dimension.
Yeah it's pretty absurd. University is getting less and less about learning and more about signalling to the world that you're clever.

I'd say it's in a bubble but it's hard to see how it would burst exactly. There would need to be a cheaper, reliable way to signal your cleverness, and I can't think of one. Online courses won't do it. They're too easy to cheat at.
 

Top_Cat

Request Your Custom Title Now!
What the **** is 'no-platforming'? SI Units only, pls. Agree on the bubble being unlikely to burst any time soon, uni is pretty easy to cheat at these days but online courses are exponentially easier. What's really becoming the way in which you prove your credibility is stuff like presentation skills, public speaking and networks are becoming a bigger factor I've noticed. Forget speaking intelligently, if you're able to get up in front of people and speak specifically about your given topic, you're ahead. If you can also speak intelligently, you're getting the job. If you're bringing collaborations and nice people with you, keys to the building. Of course they've always been big but in a world where it's so easy to fake quals...

I think there are two different things that are both called 'political correctness'. One is the blackballing of academics whose research contradicts the political agenda of students. Obviously I completely disagree with it. But I find it hard to get worked up about it it's so hilariously self-defeating. Nobody cared at all about these guys until protesters started trying to suppress them.
Yup but I'd guess that's why they're bashing him, even if they sincerely believe in the cause. Assuming he's tenured, he's in a position of power at the uni so basically untouchable, calling for him to lose his job won't hurt him but will definitely help them draw attention so he's an attractive target to go yell at. Problem is, whilst they're busy baying for blood, they're burning bridges with a bloke who was and probably still is an ally.

In other words, they need to grow up a bit and I'm guessing that's why he's reacting so calmly to all this. Good teachers will try to make this a, y'know, teachable moment. This'll all go away soon. Sucks he has to go through it at all, of course.

(Would totally buy your book, ftr)
 
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FaaipDeOiad

Hall of Fame Member
The problem with the phrase "political correctness" is really just a lack of specificity in its use. That's always been an issue really, most people who talk about "political correctness" are just worried about being judged for being racist or whatever, but over-sensitivity is a legitimate issue that causes dumb problems. The euphemism treadmill is a good example of the silliness of "political correctness", where a term comes into use because it's a more sensitive version of a previous, insensitive term, and as people use the new term more, it too becomes insensitive. See terms like "idiot", "moron" etc getting replaced with two longer words beginning with S and R that apparently I can't use on this forum, which basically shows the point, in turn getting replaced with "special needs" etc, which is both pointless and gradually dilutes the actual usefulness of the terms, since special needs includes not only people with low cognitive function but also like... people who are deaf or only have one arm. But that's not new really, and it doesn't have particularly nasty consequences in most cases, though I do think it's important not to be so sensitive to offence that people can't have functional conversations about issues that are worth talking about. Like people being afraid to discuss race or gender identity at all for fear of using the wrong term.

What concerns me more is basically just changing values across different political factions. Politics is cyclical I guess and there's a push and pull to every long-term debate, but I definitely feel like I've seen a noticeable shift between "free expression" being a left/liberal value to being a more complex or even a slightly conservative one during my lifetime. I had a conversation recently with some younger, leftist activist type people about this who basically agreed that when they hear someone talk about "free speech" they think that person is a right-winger by default, which is the exact opposite response I'd have had say 15 years ago. That's a value that actually matters I think, and I'm eager for the left to acknowledge that speech isn't violence, and reaffirm a commitment to people's right to hold controversial views, protest in confrontational ways etc. Violence also isn't speech of course, which thankfully is still something I think the vast majority of people on the left realise. But it goes both ways.

Overall it's a bizarre scenario to feel like quoting John Stuart Mill on the right to hold dissenting views makes me a conservative.
 

Ausage

Cricketer Of The Year
The euphemism treadmill is a good example of the silliness of "political correctness", where a term comes into use because it's a more sensitive version of a previous, insensitive term, and as people use the new term more, it too becomes insensitive. See terms like "idiot", "moron" etc getting replaced with two longer words beginning with S and R that apparently I can't use on this forum, which basically shows the point, in turn getting replaced with "special needs" etc, which is both pointless and gradually dilutes the actual usefulness of the terms, since special needs includes not only people with low cognitive function but also like... people who are deaf or only have one arm.
Great post! All I could think about when reading this paragraph was...

 

Ikki

Hall of Fame Member
The problem with political correctness or any idealised purity standard is that eventually you start eating your own because no one is really that pure. As a consequence of such dire reasoning to begin with, you also end up with dire logic that folds up on itself. That's when you stop getting discussions and start getting riots and vilification.

If you've been paying attention this has been in the works for a long time now. You could have an entire thread devoted to nothing but examples of political correctness gone full ******.

Also, the problem is governments are funding people to study useless things like gender studies. Not only are you not likely to get any kind of consistent employment, you actually get dumber listening to their nonsense.
 
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Ikki

Hall of Fame Member
The problem with the phrase "political correctness" is really just a lack of specificity in its use. That's always been an issue really, most people who talk about "political correctness" are just worried about being judged for being racist or whatever, but over-sensitivity is a legitimate issue that causes dumb problems. The euphemism treadmill is a good example of the silliness of "political correctness", where a term comes into use because it's a more sensitive version of a previous, insensitive term, and as people use the new term more, it too becomes insensitive. See terms like "idiot", "moron" etc getting replaced with two longer words beginning with S and R that apparently I can't use on this forum, which basically shows the point, in turn getting replaced with "special needs" etc, which is both pointless and gradually dilutes the actual usefulness of the terms, since special needs includes not only people with low cognitive function but also like... people who are deaf or only have one arm. But that's not new really, and it doesn't have particularly nasty consequences in most cases, though I do think it's important not to be so sensitive to offence that people can't have functional conversations about issues that are worth talking about. Like people being afraid to discuss race or gender identity at all for fear of using the wrong term.

What concerns me more is basically just changing values across different political factions. Politics is cyclical I guess and there's a push and pull to every long-term debate, but I definitely feel like I've seen a noticeable shift between "free expression" being a left/liberal value to being a more complex or even a slightly conservative one during my lifetime. I had a conversation recently with some younger, leftist activist type people about this who basically agreed that when they hear someone talk about "free speech" they think that person is a right-winger by default, which is the exact opposite response I'd have had say 15 years ago. That's a value that actually matters I think, and I'm eager for the left to acknowledge that speech isn't violence, and reaffirm a commitment to people's right to hold controversial views, protest in confrontational ways etc. Violence also isn't speech of course, which thankfully is still something I think the vast majority of people on the left realise. But it goes both ways.

Overall it's a bizarre scenario to feel like quoting John Stuart Mill on the right to hold dissenting views makes me a conservative.
I've been calling it for a while now: people are moving away from the left because the left is leaving them behind.

 

Spark

Global Moderator
The problem with the phrase "political correctness" is really just a lack of specificity in its use. That's always been an issue really, most people who talk about "political correctness" are just worried about being judged for being racist or whatever, but over-sensitivity is a legitimate issue that causes dumb problems. The euphemism treadmill is a good example of the silliness of "political correctness", where a term comes into use because it's a more sensitive version of a previous, insensitive term, and as people use the new term more, it too becomes insensitive. See terms like "idiot", "moron" etc getting replaced with two longer words beginning with S and R that apparently I can't use on this forum, which basically shows the point, in turn getting replaced with "special needs" etc, which is both pointless and gradually dilutes the actual usefulness of the terms, since special needs includes not only people with low cognitive function but also like... people who are deaf or only have one arm. But that's not new really, and it doesn't have particularly nasty consequences in most cases, though I do think it's important not to be so sensitive to offence that people can't have functional conversations about issues that are worth talking about. Like people being afraid to discuss race or gender identity at all for fear of using the wrong term.

What concerns me more is basically just changing values across different political factions. Politics is cyclical I guess and there's a push and pull to every long-term debate, but I definitely feel like I've seen a noticeable shift between "free expression" being a left/liberal value to being a more complex or even a slightly conservative one during my lifetime. I had a conversation recently with some younger, leftist activist type people about this who basically agreed that when they hear someone talk about "free speech" they think that person is a right-winger by default, which is the exact opposite response I'd have had say 15 years ago. That's a value that actually matters I think, and I'm eager for the left to acknowledge that speech isn't violence, and reaffirm a commitment to people's right to hold controversial views, protest in confrontational ways etc. Violence also isn't speech of course, which thankfully is still something I think the vast majority of people on the left realise. But it goes both ways.

Overall it's a bizarre scenario to feel like quoting John Stuart Mill on the right to hold dissenting views makes me a conservative.
A good post, and I think—though I wouldn't class it as political correctness per se—the academisation of language and injection of huge amounts of jargon into social justice discussions has been one of the biggest impediments to good, honest discussions about these topics and, frankly, convincing people.
 

Flem274*

123/5
Reading you guys discuss the language wars just reminds me of the girlfriend of an old flatmate who posted on facebook in great detail about how black people can be discriminatory towards white people, but not racist towards them.

Attempts from her friends to tell her the majority of laymen use those terms interchangeably with the other inevitably fell on deaf ears. My greatest struggle was not telling her what her boyfriend comes out with when she's not around.
 

Spark

Global Moderator
Reading you guys discuss the language wars just reminds me of the girlfriend of an old flatmate who posted on facebook in great detail about how black people can be discriminatory towards white people, but not racist towards them.

Attempts from her friends to tell her the majority of laymen use those terms interchangeably with the other inevitably fell on deaf ears. My greatest struggle was not telling her what her boyfriend comes out with when she's not around.
Like there was a paper that went around the conservative media circles recently attracting widespread ridicule for claiming something nastily illiberal (something like "truth" or "science" is a racial construct or s/t, I can't recall) but when I went to read the actual paper in question, I found it so utterly incomprehensible that I'm impressed that they managed to divine any actual meaning from it at all.

EDIT: http://minnesotareview.dukejournals...ract?sid=6c008678-5316-45a1-a56d-487972b24c08 Here's the one. I don't want to be unfair, it's possible that there's something very interesting being said here (note interesting =/= comfortable or correct) but if it is, it's beyond my ability to interpret.

But to be clear, this isn't a "lol gender studies" post. I just think their causes would be better served by writing in a way that people outside of the academic bubble can understand.
 
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Shri

Cricket Web: All-Time Legend
The problem with the phrase "political correctness" is really just a lack of specificity in its use. That's always been an issue really, most people who talk about "political correctness" are just worried about being judged for being racist or whatever, but over-sensitivity is a legitimate issue that causes dumb problems. The euphemism treadmill is a good example of the silliness of "political correctness", where a term comes into use because it's a more sensitive version of a previous, insensitive term, and as people use the new term more, it too becomes insensitive. See terms like "idiot", "moron" etc getting replaced with two longer words beginning with S and R that apparently I can't use on this forum, which basically shows the point, in turn getting replaced with "special needs" etc, which is both pointless and gradually dilutes the actual usefulness of the terms, since special needs includes not only people with low cognitive function but also like... people who are deaf or only have one arm. But that's not new really, and it doesn't have particularly nasty consequences in most cases, though I do think it's important not to be so sensitive to offence that people can't have functional conversations about issues that are worth talking about. Like people being afraid to discuss race or gender identity at all for fear of using the wrong term.

What concerns me more is basically just changing values across different political factions. Politics is cyclical I guess and there's a push and pull to every long-term debate, but I definitely feel like I've seen a noticeable shift between "free expression" being a left/liberal value to being a more complex or even a slightly conservative one during my lifetime. I had a conversation recently with some younger, leftist activist type people about this who basically agreed that when they hear someone talk about "free speech" they think that person is a right-winger by default, which is the exact opposite response I'd have had say 15 years ago. That's a value that actually matters I think, and I'm eager for the left to acknowledge that speech isn't violence, and reaffirm a commitment to people's right to hold controversial views, protest in confrontational ways etc. Violence also isn't speech of course, which thankfully is still something I think the vast majority of people on the left realise. But it goes both ways.

Overall it's a bizarre scenario to feel like quoting John Stuart Mill on the right to hold dissenting views makes me a conservative.
 

StephenZA

International Coach
Edit: Gee I disagree with so much of what he says here
I find myself agreeing with just about everything Fry says here, however he is trying to simplify some of the discussion which makes it lose some of the nuance...... I'm not a big fan of the Rubins report though.
 

Shri

Cricket Web: All-Time Legend
My recent thoughts about the whole political correctness thing are that we always have to play to the least common denominator in these things. When smart people discuss this they can talk about all the little details and where they are coming from and how they reached their ideas but idiotic racist pricks screaming "Islam is not a race!" to justify their ideology without having any of the other values that thinking people have will hijack the whole thing to give it an orange coat of paint.
 

S.Kennedy

International Vice-Captain
Political Correctness is an awful doctrine branded by hatchet faced humourless apparatchiks.
 

Spark

Global Moderator
What do people think about this case about the woman convicted for sending texts encouraging her (ex?)-boyfriend to commit suicide?
 

Ausage

Cricketer Of The Year
My recent thoughts about the whole political correctness thing are that we always have to play to the least common denominator in these things. When smart people discuss this they can talk about all the little details and where they are coming from and how they reached their ideas but idiotic racist pricks screaming "Islam is not a race!" to justify their ideology without having any of the other values that thinking people have will hijack the whole thing to give it an orange coat of paint.
This approach only works if you're able to divine people's motivations on the basis of limited conversations. For example I agree pretty strongly with being critical of Islam on the basis of the bold. I have several thousand posts here that (hopefully) show that I'm not simply dressing up racism in justifiable terms. But if my first post on CW was about this topic? What if the discussion was on Twitter where there is a character limit? I'd probably be dismissed in the way you describe above despite my motivations not being any different. The problem with playing the man instead of the ball when it comes to speech is it changes the game into one that's based on politics (in group vs other) or the presentation of the argument rather than the philosophies that underpin an idea.

That said my comment only applies when you don't have an extended history to point out an argument being made in bad faith. Someone like Pauline Hanson deserves no such leeway.
 

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