What’s happened to the university?

What’s happened to the university? By Jeremy Sammut.

What has struck me is that the ideological agendas being promoted aim to shape, set and enforce the boundaries of acceptable — as opposed to offensive racist, patriarchial or homo- or transphobic thought and speech.

This has brought home to me the extent to which the precepts of postmodernism — which were taking hold in universities when I was an undergraduate — have entered mainstream society.

The postmodernism revolves around the idea that language used by the dominant culture or discourse creates social reality and oppresses certain victim groups. It follows that marginalised groups are liberated by restricting or regulating freedom of thought and speech around a range of issues that are simply no longer up for debate and discussion and dissent.

Yet debate discussion and dissent are the foundations of the freedom of enquiry that universities should stand for as bastions of intellectual freedom — but not in the postmodern academy.

They aim to control your thoughts and actions by policing language, and by enforcing boundaries on what data and ideas can be expressed. Free speech is a casualty, obviously, as are the old ideas of race- and gender-blind policies, and individualism.

It reminds me of slower and milder version of the French Revolution. Certain things are outlawed and ruthlessly punished in order to stamp them out. But under the pressure of leftist competition to display the most virtue, the rules keep changing, becoming ever more extreme. Increasingly the leftists turn on each other in their accelerating craziness. After a few years, the French public welcomed the relative sanity of Napoleon.

hat-tip Stephen Neil