Recent events such as gay marriage activists forcing a grovelling apology from Coopers Brewers, or a number of Australian CEOs (including Heather Ridout who has never been a CEO of any company), or the attacks on Bjorn Lomborg or Ayaan Hirsi Ali show a growing intolerance of anyone who doesn’t toe the line of so-called ‘progressive’ thought. That we can no longer have civil debates without protesters howling down what they consider ‘heretical’ thinking is not only Orwellian but shows that western civilisation is sadly in decline.
No longer are we allowed to be proud of the achievements of our Greek/Roman/Judeo-Christian / Renaissance / Enlightenment / Industrial Revolution past (yes coal is ‘evil). Yet the technology we enjoy and the standards of living we enjoy are fruits of that illustrious past. Even those in non-western countries who hate the west quickly embrace our way of living, much as barbarians in the Roman era adopted practices such as baths and used our roads and aqueducts.
Once a society starts to doubt its foundation or doubt its fundamental rightness it is on the way out, as mine discovered in 476 AD when the Western Roman Empire was finally ushered out.
Kay Hymowitz has an excellent but disturbing article in today’s Australian about the outrageous and violent protests at universities, particularly in the United States. These are not protesters, these are animals.
How to reverse this slide? Perhaps it has something to do with the growth in second-rate mindless “disciplines” at universities and the enrollment of students incapable of sophisticated intellectual thought. There is little doubt that there are many students who should not attend university and a lot of so-called academics who have low IQ and resort to violence and chanting rather than rational argument to push a case. Jake Lynch is such a person. In a just world he would be classed as an unskilled labourer.
Students who engage in such chanting and violent demonstrations should be permanently denied a taxpayer-subsidised place at university. Their behaviour is proof they do not have the intellectual capacity for rational thinking and have no place at an institution of higher learning. While we’re at it, the government should remove all funding for second-rate disciplines that also have no place at universities. A university is where philosophy should be openly debated, where mathematics, physics, chemistry, history, economics and so forth get taught and discussed. Media studies and gender studies are examples of subjects that are derivative and can be safely shunted off to technical colleges or ignored.
To be a university student or university lecturer one should not only demonstrate high intellectual capacity, but a fundamental respect and openness to new ideas and learning; always challenging orthodoxy and listening as much as debating confronting ideas. For that is what a university should be and used to be. How can you challenge your prejudices and biases without actively listening and engaging with people who challenge those prejudices and biases?
If we allow our universities to further slide into bastions of orthodox and politically correct thinking we will surely hasten the west’s decline.