No Minister

The Struggle Sessions

Early in 2019 former Bush speechwriter and now columnist Peggy Noonan, wrote a piece in the WSJ titled, Get Ready for the Struggle Sessions, in which she described what Mao Zedong did during the Cultural Revolution (1966-76). Aside from forcing intellectuals out into the countryside to cut wood and plant crops there was a method of mentally controlling them via the use of jeering crowds, both large and small:

Dunce caps, sometimes wastebaskets, were placed on the victims’ heads, and placards stipulating their crimes hung from their necks. The victims were accused, berated, assaulted. Many falsely confessed in the vain hope of mercy.

She observed that the same thing – sans the physical blows – seemed to be happening now in the USA.

Social media is full of swarming political and ideological mobs. In an interesting departure from democratic tradition, they don’t try to win the other side over. They only condemn and attempt to silence.

And of course it’s been happening long before 2019 and in other parts of the West, as that clip from London in 2017 showed (The right to discuss ideas must be defended).

In the same year, half a world away, there were the Jacobin mobs at Evergreen State College in Washington state who basically hunted down and intimidated Bret Weinstein and anybody who supported him. Weinstein was a professor of biology and a flaming Liberal. But one who refused to support the idea of banning Whites from the Campus for a day. I strongly urge you to watch the three-part documentary (30 mins per episode) here, or a distilled version here.

This may have looked astounding in 2017 but it’s standard procedure for the Far Left now. Weinstein eventually quit and the college roll has dropped a lot.

Noonan intended her article as a warning but I don’t think she could have imagined that Evergreen would explode out into the everyday world. Few did. It was dismissed as nothing more than the usual university nuttiness seen off and on since the late 1960’s. But as Andrew Sullivan stated in a New York Magazine column a year before Noonan’s: We all live on campus now.

Over the last year, the most common rebuttal to my intermittent coverage of campus culture has been: Why does it matter? These are students, after all. They’ll grow up once they leave their cloistered, neo-Marxist safe spaces. The real world isn’t like that. You’re exaggerating anyway. And so on…

The reason I don’t agree with this is because I believe ideas matter. When elite universities shift their entire worldview away from liberal education as we have long known it toward the imperatives of an identity-based “social justice” movement, the broader culture is in danger of drifting away from liberal democracy as well. If elites believe that the core truth of our society is a system of interlocking and oppressive power structures based around immutable characteristics like race or sex or sexual orientation, then sooner rather than later, this will be reflected in our culture at large. 

And so it has increasingly come to pass. It’s out in the community, spreading fast and destroying people, including people like Bret Weinstein and other Lefties who never imagined they’d find themselves in the path of the storm.

His comment about ideas mattering reminded me of a famous quote from the eminent 19th century Scottish essayist and philosopher, Thomas Carlyle, who was once scolded at a dinner party for always talking about books: “Ideas, Mr Carlyle, ideas, nothing but ideas“. To which Carlyle responded:

“There once was a man called Rousseau who wrote a book containing nothing but ideas.

The second edition was bound in the skins of those who laughed at the first.”

Written by Tom Hunter

August 22, 2020 at 12:42 pm

14 Responses

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  1. Thanks, will watch that 3 part series soon…seeing as I have lots of time on my hands. 😂

    Gate-crashed a Facebook discussion recently among a bunch of liberal Grey Lynn lawyers and other luvvies recently, about the guy who brought the recent legal challenge of the constitutionality of Ardern’s initial lockdown…and who won on certain points. For daring to do so he as denounced in a hatefest as ego-driven and despicable. Like who needs legal safeguards or to know where the lines and limits of state power lie at any time, including when there is a…health crisis?! Not sure how they passed “Introduction to the Legal System”, but I think “Hanoi” Jane Kelsey lectured in that at Auckland Uni for a while, so explains a lot.

    Anyway, then some bright spark mentions, “this is not at all like ‘Fitzgerald vs Muldoon, 1976”, because unlike now, there was much constitutional and other merit then in forcing a post-facto decision that the “unethical” Muldoon who had a “politically controversial agenda”, had acted illegally.

    At that point I come back and mentioned it may have been illegal to stop by executive order the compulsory contributions of the out-going Labour Government. However even though the choice between Muldoon’s proposed Universal scheme and Labour’s existing scheme had been controversial, that had changed as soon as the 1975 election had occurred. After Muldoon’s landslide and overwhelming mandate, everyone, including those who voted against Muldoon, especially the Parliamentary Labour Party accepted the verdict and knew the status quo would change. To that extent Muldoon’s only “agenda” was to implement that which the voters had been promised, which is highly ethical. Even more ethical was the argument that it was bureaucratic foolishness to take money out of workers’ pay packets, especially if they were low-waged, when they might need it now, and the existing contributory scheme would soon be repealed.

    So what’s the difference between Muldoon and Ardern? If anything, Muldoon’s decision was less-controversial as practically no one at the time thought Muldoon couldn’t and wouldn’t repeal the existing legislation, whereas there are still nay sayers about the merits of the lockdown.

    But then, as per your post, some people are just a whole lot easier to jeer at, indeed hate/despise as followers of Emmanuel Goldstein. For the modern left – and neo-Liberal right for that matter – Muldoon is one of those, whereas Jacinda is marvellous. Welcome to the world of the radical left, where a rules-based approach in spite of your station, identity or popularity is rejected, and which nurtures and steers the human capacity for self righteous tribalism in all sorts of directions.

    And as you suggest, if you continue carrying through it is only a matter of time before the current heroes of the left are being transported too in a tumbrel towards the town square to await their proverbial appointment with the National Razor.

    Kimbo

    August 22, 2020 at 1:44 pm

  2. @Anne Tiffa

    You seem to be struggling with the concept of staying on the topic of any given post. And as part of your anti-Trump trolling you seem to be just scattering this stuff around on whatever is the latest post – probably for fear of dumping it on a slightly older, more appropriate post.

    For example, what you just dumped here seems appropriate for my posts on Biden and the latest one on Harris, and then only barely.

    I realise that you demand we all just stick with your debate framing and topics of choice but in that case get your own blog. Either that or wait until there’s a Trump post where you can freak out.

    Tom Hunter

    August 22, 2020 at 1:53 pm

  3. Just watched the first instalment. Yep, a predictable and inevitable clash between two mutually exclusive and irreconcilable paradigms of understanding, classical liberal “objectivism” and radical critical dialectics.

    Just love the smooth talking rehashed variations on the 1960s radical-chic, “if you ain’t part of the solution, you’re part of the problem”. And corporations have nothing on academics when it comes to using language that is using a steel fist in a velvet glove.

    Kimbo

    August 22, 2020 at 2:37 pm

  4. Universities now produce more cult than ideas. The multi-cult has poisoned the wine, like a pippet drop of sewage in the vast oak barrel, all ruined. Best cast down the drains. The thing is they forget that truth is a great leveller. Without truth all the flashy theories of being will fail. Truth is the hard concrete at the end of a 20 foot jump. Unless you get it your legs are gunna break. This is why AI is nothing to be feared. Without truth it will not work. The censorship in media, social media, YouTube, universities, is a slow suicide. Doesn’t matter. The best thing for university would be to close them.

    Brett Weinstein and his dark spider buddies thought they were clever enough to play the intersectional game, but the game ate them up. Jordan Peterson played at god for a bit but Zarathustra’s fire dog swallowed him up too, signifying nothing.

    I blame Bloody Luther and his horny sect of revolutionaries. In 1517 they opened a demonic gateway to the underworld. Rousseau saw everyone in chains, but was jealous. He wanted to be the jailer and dispenser of chains, enslaving the people. “Man is born free, but everywhere he is in chains.”

    Pb

    August 22, 2020 at 3:24 pm

    • He, he. Luther is the problem? There is wanting to preserve worthwhile traditions and then there is pig-headed conservatism another. Especially as Luther was a reluctant revolutionary (indeed he denounced the Peasants War in the strongest terms), who initially thought he was being a good Catholic doing nothing more than highlighting the abomination of the sale of indulgences. Until he found out that a particularly corrupt papacy was in no mood to end a lucrative source of income to fund their late-Renaissance art projects.

      But fair point about Bret Weinstein. If you are going to teach at a college like Evergreen State, founded in the late 1960s as an experimental college:

      https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evergreen_State_College

      …don’t be surprised if the “experiment” heads in a direction that is antithetical to your academic career.

      Kimbo

      August 22, 2020 at 4:18 pm

    • The Weinstein’s are clever sure, but at one level they are retards. At the level of actuality. Kicked out of their fake world, they failed. All their clever tactics have been turned on themselves. The left seems dominated by clever tactics that empower losers. Effective in the short term, but a bust in reality. The ultimate test of intelligence is reality. Is the Mensa chess hero actually successful, or a borderline psychopath? Most of these intellectual talkers seem like retards. The only way for this insanity to be removed is the reset. You are seeing it in many burning American cities now, including New York. Complete reset. We shall see what rises from the ashes. As Luther’s Germany went after 500 years of endless revolutions, burnt ideologies and a broken people, will America go. Liberalism is one of the root problems, not the solution. God knows what the solution is, but it isn’t endless sexual and societal freedom.

      pb

      August 23, 2020 at 8:27 pm

  5. Yep, just watched part II and Weinstein’s colleague gets it: classic liberalism, in both the hard sciences and liberal arts posits there is an “objective reality”, which scholarship attempts to discover, but radical dialectics is discordant and incompatible with that academic tradition. Popper’s insights into the paradox of toleration (ie, we should not tolerate ideologies or people that are ultimately working to undermine and end tolerance)

    But she is wrong, just as Jordan Peterson is wrong to point the ideological finger at “post modernism”. Instead, post modern anti-objectivity is just a useful tool that the thugs of the radical left use to undermine the Intellectual authority of their targets.

    Then once they seize power, or have it acquiesced in a cowardly fashion, objectivity rules for practical purposes in that the new order they are implementing is self-evident truth. Until such time as a Robespierre, Stalin or Mao decides that it’s time to play the musical chairs of perpetual revolution by denouncing, re-educating or liquidating the “useful fools” or “traitors of the revolution”. Then the next round of the fun really begins!

    Kimbo

    August 22, 2020 at 3:44 pm

  6. It’s OK when the Religious Reich do it, eh Tommy Boy?

    The Global Gag rule, also known as the Mexico City policy, prevents foreign organizations from receiving U.S. aid if they even provide information about abortions.

    The “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” rule prohibited U.S. military members from disclosing their sexual orientation if it was not heterosexual… seems like a free speech restriction to me?

    In 2018, a Supreme Court ruling “affirmed the right to restrict language on abortion in faith-based clinics even when they receive public funding.

    Let’s say it again, once and for all: Free speech doesn’t mean that you get to say whatever you want, wherever you want, without consequence. Freedom of speech is not freedom from criticism, and whether your opinion is bad, boring, or brilliant — no one is required to listen to it, or to give you a platform.

    I make this clarification because while police across the country are violently attacking peaceful protesters — actual state suppression of speech — powerful people are working hard to characterize disinterest or criticism as some kind of horrific rights violation.

    (…)

    Here’s just one example: There were no frenzied columns on “safe spaces” when a Republican legislator suggested jailing librarians who carry books deemed sexually suggestive — but when The Atlantic rescinded a job offer to a man who called for women who had abortions to be executed, conservatives decried the “censorship.”

    (…)

    No one is owed a national stage for their opinion — no matter how powerful they are, and no matter how many people may believe it right alongside them. And despite protestations from mostly white-male media leadership and conservative pundits, denying someone a platform does not quash their speech, it just declines to elevate it.

    We are witnessing actual speech suppression every day: members of the press beaten and arrested and peaceful protesters gassed on American streets. Those are the violations worth fighting.

    Not All Opinions Matter.

    Gustavo Frink

    August 22, 2020 at 4:06 pm

    • But Bret Weinstein was owed a platform in his college due to the academic freedom that is meant to be guaranteed by a system that is the same as tenure:

      https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2017/05/30/escalating-debate-race-evergreen-state-students-demand-firing-professor

      However, as per the videos, he was effectively de-platformed there for his academic views that some students and other scholars deemed unacceptable.

      And I note that the other academic interviewed with him to whom I referred elsewhere, is also his wife, Heather Heying.

      Kimbo

      August 22, 2020 at 4:32 pm

    • It takes a particular strain of whataboutism and obtuseness to read a post about the Far Left cancelling perfectly ordinary Lefties and turn that into a debate about the Right’s efforts at censorship, past and present.

      Let me put it this way: the likes of Sullivan, Weinstein and other Lefties are not worried about the “Religious Reich” (Boom-tish, hyuk, hyuk, yuk).

      They’re worried about Far Left assholes like you.

      And they’re right to be, judging from your past and the way you carry on here.

      … “but when The Atlantic rescinded a job offer to a man who called for women who had abortions to be executed, conservatives decried the “censorship.”

      You’re talking about NR writer Kevin Williamson and a debate that was had about whether – if he truly believed that abortion was murder – he would thus support the death penalty for woman who had abortions, which he acknowledged was a logical outcome of such an extreme stance. A classic debate in other words. And the objection was not to the censorship but the double standards that saw the Atlantic continuing to employ people who play with equally horrible ideas.

      So what rule do you want to live by Gustavo? Because if you want me to play by your rules I can just start “de-platforming” your ass from my blog right now.

      Tom Hunter

      August 22, 2020 at 4:48 pm

    • Sorry, Tom, I forgot that YOU ARE THE AUTHOR OF THIS BLOG.

      You’re also the Coward of the Blog, incapable of accepting you lost.

      Gustavo Frink

      August 22, 2020 at 5:40 pm

    • I forgot that YOU ARE THE AUTHOR OF THIS BLOG.

      You seem to have difficulty grasping this point but I’ll try to re-emphasise it:

      There are multiple authors here and EACH ONE HAS HIS OWN BLOG, with the resulting “My Blog, My Rules” applied by each author.

      You’re also the Coward of the Blog, incapable of accepting you lost.

      Ooooooo – small hurty words (sniff).

      Come on chum, as a veteran of many a Vietnam protest couldn’t you at least produce some chant about getting “Tommy” off this blog site? Here – I’ll give you a hint:

      One, Two Three, Four, We don’t want Biden’s Wars

      Tom Hunter

      August 22, 2020 at 5:46 pm

  7. And into Part III

    “Didn’t you all educate us to do shit like this?”

    BOOM!! 😂

    Don’t you wish now you hadn’t included a faculty of Grievance Theory, including and especially a Professor or “Whiteness Studies”?! As before, Popper had it right- don’t afford toleration to those who intend to use that toleration as a means of ending toleration.

    Kimbo

    August 22, 2020 at 4:46 pm

  8. On reflection the Professor of Whiteness Studies reminds me very much of a particularly amoral goal-oriented boss I once had. Smooth assurances notwithstanding, you understand what it means that otherwise very ordinary people could and did end up as extermination camp guards.

    And not very surprising that despite their misgivings of where the “canoe” was heading, Bret Weinstein’s colleagues chose job security over truth. In that respect Academics are no better, no worse and no different to everyone else.

    Kimbo

    August 23, 2020 at 6:31 pm


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