Paul Kelly got a stern rebuke from Keith Windschuttle this month regarding our national identity and what the different waves of newcomers have offered. More about that later. Today he is sounding off about the three lies that are about the place. He might have done more to avert the situation in previous years if he had only woken up earlier instead of being a left/ALP showpony.
I was going to cut and paste for people who are locked out and Old Ozzie has done it in the comments. Thanks:) I won’t bother with an indented and italicised block quote.
The Haidt-Lukianoff book is based on the “three great untruths” in our cultural and university life now spilling into politics. The starting lie or untruth is that disputes and differences today are a battle between good and evil, between the oppressed (the virtuous victims) and the oppressors (evil tyrants of the status quo.)
This turns the mundane injustices of everyday life into a moral contest. Yet it is a contest based on distorted morality. There are many illustrations: if you don’t support radical action to curb climate change you are a moral threat to society and betraying your friends. In short, your support for the status quo marks you as a bad person no matter how many charities you support.
The second great lie or untruth from the Haidt-Lukianoff analysis is people will be weaker by being challenged in their ideas and preconceptions. They need to be protected and made safe. This is the notion of a fragile society. It was given focus last year in the campaign against the same-sex marriage plebiscite when politicians and mental health experts united against a democratic vote and debate because its extremes would damage too many people.
Because identity politics relates to the personal, it becomes dangerous. It is not just your political views being threatened, it is your identity. That makes it a health issue. Female students in the US have refused to hear lectures denying America is a rape culture because it threatens to invalidate their own identity and experience.
The third lie the authors nominate is “the untruth of emotional reasoning”, the false nostrum you must “always trust your feelings”. Much of our political and media debate now revolves around displays of emotions to prove you care. Be unemotional and you are uncaring. The oppressor-oppressed mentality largely thrives on emotion at the cost of reason.
“In an age of social media, cyber trolls and fake news it is a global crisis that people so readily follow their feelings to embrace outlandish stories about their enemies,” Haidt and Lukianoff state. They quote Hanna Holborn Gray, president of the University of Chicago from 1978 to 1993: “Education should not be intended to make people comfortable; it is meant to make them think.”