David Thompson
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July 03, 2011

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Sam

Just ordered 'Indoctrinate u'. Thanks for the pointer.

David

Sam,

I recommend it. It’s easy to forget that, given leverage over others, absurd people can be quite sinister.

Ted S., Catskills, NY

David:

I'm sure you saw the Samizdata piece linking to this hilarious opinion piece on how awful it is that tax monies aren't going to rock bands:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2011/jul/02/failure-fund-help-bands

The comments are great.

David

Ted,

“The comments are great.”

Blimey. It’s hard to parody that level of obliviousness.

Presumably this was another glorious achievement of New Labour. But surely it would save a lot of time to just use taxpayers’ money as landfill?

mlrosty

To put it another way, the government would have to take every penny earned in the United Kingdom from January 1 to June 30 – a full six months – in order to balance the books for the year at current levels of spending.

Funny how the BBC ignores Tax Freedom Day...

Shouldn't it be a national holiday?

Col. Milquetoast

Re: the FIRE video. "How come you're so two-faced?" and the mob's cheers for shouting out an insult that is also a loaded question really highlights its mob-ness. Among the other things being yelled by the crowd are likely other insults so I am left with the impression that they cheer because it was a loaded question. Who needs logic and reason if you have a mob?

Col. Milquetoast

Culture, Ideas and Comic Books

I think my contribution to elsewhere covers the bases :
http://colmilquetoast.blogspot.com/2011/07/pie-of-slavery.html

David

Col. Milquetoast,

“…and the mob’s cheers for shouting out an insult that is also a loaded question…”

That scene from Indoctrinate U is particularly revealing. By daring to disagree with racial favouritism, i.e., racial condescension, Ward Connerly has apparently become an “inauthentic” black man. That a black man should hold views of his own – views at odds with leftist orthodoxy - is clearly inexcusable. And so he must be punished by a mob of students who howl about how compassionate and caring they are. As so often, the preferred tactic of these would-be intellectuals isn’t to debate the issue, but to make sure that speakers who disagree can’t be heard at all.

Col. Milquetoast

Yet, at least in the confines of that day and that place, Connerly couldn't even finish his sentence. The mob worked.

I recall a Firing Line debate where a half dozen protesters started yelling and chanting something unintelligible and the moderator Michael Kinsley calmly said something along the lines of "excuse me, you're being totalitarian brownshirts." The disrupters did stop after a few minutes but I think they stopped due to their own boredom and an unawareness of what their next step should be rather than responding to reason. If they'd been more dedicated or more populous then they could have shut down the debate.

I suppose we should all shout people down at any occasion. After all, it works. Sit-ins, direct actions, comparing people to Hitler, requiring the terms of debate be in a heads I win tails you lose fashion, demanding to have your way, and perhaps even throwing an occasional fire extinguisher off a roof is something everyone should be doing everyday. After all, it works. What could go wrong?

Col. Milquetoast

In school, some of my more radical friends had me to read Rules for Radicals and Steal This Book and my main reaction was "What if everyone did that?" but I was assured that only lefties could use them because of their superior moral position and anyone else using them would be an asshole.

I know you've disparaged Rules for Radicals before but I think it is an insightful book for understanding where the weaknesses in democracy are and what techniques to watch out for. In contrast, Abbie Hoffman just seems like a complete douchebag.

David

Col. Milquetoast,

“After all, it works.”

Absolutely, and it’s used increasingly often. A great many students have been encouraged to believe that arguments are won with decibels and physical intimidation. Which is exactly what one hopes for in an aspiring intellectual. And this totalitarian mindset is also found among some faculty – for instance, Dana Cloud and Altha Cravey, both of whom declare their own default righteousness. And if the disruption, screaming and insults about the speaker’s children aren’t enough, well, just start smashing windows.

And again, those doing these things in the name of “progress” seem oblivious to – or indifferent to – the precedents for such behaviour and what it tells us about them. When David Horowitz tried to speak at UW Madison, it soon became apparent that his views were quite different from those that had been presumed by the protestors - and much more difficult to refute. Between interruptions, Horowitz tried to explain that the readiness to label anyone who disagrees as “fascist,” “racist,” “haters,” etc, has serious consequences for free enquiry. At which point the protestors laughed dismissively then, along with a member of staff, resumed their chanting and heckling, thereby avoiding any risk of having to rethink their own position.

Which, on reflection, may be a feature not a bug.

Bart

"That scene from Indoctrinate U is particularly revealing."

The most revealing scene for me was the treatment of Sukhmani Khalsa's case.

the fact that a leftist student a) felt it was perfectly safe to send a group email to the rest of the Issues Committee calling Sukhmani a raghead terrorist who should be shot in the fucking face and b) was correct in the fact that none of his fellow leftists would take issue at his blatant racism and violent threats against a minority student, c) nobody in faculty wanted to know when it was made public and d) he faced only the most token of rebukes and only because conservatives wouldn't let it go shows, for all the fanaticism and mob mentality consistently displayed by the left, how ultimately hollow and vacuous leftism ultimately is.

One would have thought that people who were so outraged when students held a satirical affirmative action bake sale or who forced a year long court case on a student because he put up a flyer with the word "plantation" in it would be mortified by a minority being called a raghead terrorist who should be shot in the face. If one was naive enough to think they were sincere, at any rate.

TDK

Regarding the comment about government funded rock

I was at a party last summer. Someone's 50th birthday. Most of the people there were in the 40 to 60 range. One was a youth coordinator, which meant that they were paid by the council to organise "relevant" activities for "young adults". In this case he encouraged the kids to be in bands and helped fund concerts. He imagined himself to be radical and anti-establishment. He was completely bemused by the suggestion that contra, he was the establishment and that far from challenging the status quo he was upholding it. To the comment that the Rolling Stones and the Sex Pistols didn't need subsidies to exist drew the response that things were worse now.

Ersatz rebellion!

Henry

Indoctrinate U: very scary. One wonders whether UK unis will go the same way in a few years. I know of at least one small university and one or two academic cliques who have their own thought police.

One of the ways in which freedom of speech is thrown overboard is this attitude (very popular with leftists, I think) that old institutions and ways of doing things equate to cronyism, chauvinism, old-boys networks, Empire etc and so we need to throw it all out and start from scratch (possibly with Marx/Chomsky/Greer as our new bibles)

The truth is, of course, that systems and institutions evolve over centuries, so it can be very dangerous to just obliterate them.

David

Regarding the tendency to label those who disagree as “haters,” etc, it’s worth noting the fuss surrounding the cancellation of Lee Hall’s “community opera,” Beached, which was to be performed by 400 children. It’s a relatively mild example of the phenomenon discussed above, but revealing nonetheless.

Mr Hall is apparently “astounded” that the parents of primary school children, some as young as four, may not wish to have their offspring performing in an opera with adult language and which makes reference to homosexuality and drug use. Hall, along with several luvvies, bloggers and activists, promptly wailed about “discrimination” and “silencing gay people,” claiming that dark forces are “wiping them out” of his drama. Inevitably, almost everyone involved – the school, parents, the LEA, Opera North and its director – has been accused of homophobia.

Ironically, one of the stated objections was to Hall’s use of the word “queer,” which the school and several parents viewed as “homophobic.” The lesson to be drawn, I think, is that no matter how carefully PC one is, and no matter how much “diversity” is preached, some people will nonetheless take any opportunity to cry victimhood.

Pete

Charlotte Young's film has been made private over at Vimeo. Any idea why? It was there yesterday.

David

Pete,

Can’t find an explanation for that. You could always enquire via Ms Young’s blog.

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