Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

How schools of social work stifle conservative views in the name of diversity

Here’s a great story from The Weekly Standard. It’s hard for me to slice it up so I can make the point of the article, but I’ll try, and if you like it, you go read the whole thing.

The author Devorah Goldman says this:

“I can’t have you participate in class anymore.”

I was on my way out of class when my social welfare and policy professor casually called me over to tell me this. The friendliness of her tone did not match her words, and I attempted a shocked, confused apology. It was my first semester at the Hunter College School of Social Work, and I was as yet unfamiliar with the consistent, underlying threat that characterized much of the school’s policy and atmosphere. This professor was simply more open and direct than most.

I asked if I had said or done anything inappropriate or disrespectful, and she was quick to assure me that it was not my behavior that was the problem. No: It was my opinions. Or, as she put it, “I have to give over this information as is.”

I spent the rest of that semester mostly quiet, frustrated, and missing my undergraduate days, when my professors encouraged intellectual diversity and give-and-take. I attempted to take my case to a higher-up at school, an extremely nice, fair professor who insisted that it was in my own best interest not to rock the boat. I was doing well in his class, and I believed him when he told me he wanted me to continue doing well. He explained to me that people who were viewed as too conservative had had problems graduating in the past, and he didn’t want that to happen to me. I thought he was joking .  .  . until I realized he wasn’t.

[…]Two hundred thirty-five master’s programs in the United States are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), which requires schools to “advocate for human rights and social and economic justice” and to “engage in practices that advance social and economic justice” as part of their curricula. As Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), points out, the CSWE standards act as “an invitation for schools to discriminate against students with dissenting views.”

Lukianoff discovered the abusive culture fostered by CSWE after several students complained about their treatment in social work programs. Emily Brooker, a Christian student at Missouri State University’s School of Social Work in 2006, was asked by her professor to sign a letter to the Missouri legislature in favor of homosexual adoption. When she explained that doing so would violate her religious beliefs and requested a different assignment, she was subjected to a two-and-a-half-hour interrogation by an ethics committee and charged with a “Level Three Grievance” (the most severe kind). Brooker was not permitted to have an advocate or a tape recorder with her at the ethics meeting, during which she was told to sign a contract promising that she would “close the gap” between her religious beliefs and the values of the social work profession. At the risk of having her degree withheld, Brooker acquiesced.

Bill Felkner, a student at Rhode Island College’s School of Social Work, was instructed to lobby the Rhode Island legislature for several policies he did not support. In addition, RIC’s policy internship requirements for graduate students included forcing students to advance policies that would further “progressive social change.” When Felkner accepted an internship in the policy department of Republican Rhode Island governor Don Carcieri’s office, he received a letter from Lenore Olsen, chair of the Social Work Department, informing him that he had violated their requirements and could no longer pursue a master’s degree in social work policy.

[…]And so I sat, zombie-like, through the strange and sad reality that is groupthink for two long years. In a publicly funded school in America’s greatest city, I was censored, threatened, and despised by my teachers. I left school after graduation feeling that something had been stolen from me. I wanted to go back and argue with my teachers some more, ask them, for example, whether a description of Reagan’s economic policies as “nightmarish” in a textbook could be considered unbiased in any context. I wished I had stood up more often for my white male friends in class, asked people if they really believed that Band-Aids that were not exactly fair and not exactly dark in color were racist. Realizing that I had been awarded a diploma in part because I kept my opinions to myself was deeply unsatisfying.

Conservative students need to be aware that they are likely to face discrimination in social work programs on campus, and probably in many other programs as well. They will either have to silence themselves or change their views to be in compliance with secular leftist ideology. What’s even scarier, though, is when students who are raised in traditional evangelical homes go off to college and swallow secular leftist values uncritically. It always shocks me a little when I meet students who were raised in a married home with two evangelical parents and they tell me that they vote for Democrats. I just had a conversation this week with a young woman who claimed to be pro-life and pro-marriage who voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012. She is studying journalism, and I would bet that there are no conservative professors in her program. She told me that she voted for Obama because of environmentalism and Obamacare. She also expressed preference for big government over small government.

It’s definitely something to be aware of – the lack of critical thinking and respectful dialog in some of these programs. I’m going to be giving her a list of conservative news sites to read, like The Stream, The Weekly Standard, The Daily Signal, and so on. I wonder if she has ever read a conservative economist or journalist before… I’ll find out.

If you insist on going to programs that are more ideology than marketable skills, then expect to have to keep your mouth shut all the way through in order to graduate. And then after you graduate, whenever you get the chance, vote for smaller government, lower taxes, and more academic freedom laws that protect a diversity of views in the classroom. I also recommend donating to legal groups who defend basic liberties, such as Alliance Defending Freedom.

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Why is it so hard to reason with college-educated millenials about spiritual things?

Why is it hard to reason with students?

Why is it hard to reason with students?

The first article today is from lesbian feminist Camille Paglia. She is a university professor, but liberal (in the classical sense) in her outlook.

An hour-long interview is posted at Reason, and there’s a transcript.

Camille says:

reason: Clarify what’s the difference between a legitimate gripe and whining?

Paglia: Well, in my point of view, no college administration should be taking any interest whatever in the social lives of the students. None! If a crime’s committed on campus, it should always be reported to the police. I absolutely do not agree with any committees investigating any charge of sexual assault. Either it’s a real crime, or it’s not a real crime. Get the hell out. So you get this expansion of the campus bureaucracy with this Stalinist oversight. But the students have been raised with helicopter parents. They want it. The students of today—they’re utterly uninformed, not necessarily at my school, the art school, I’m talking about the elite schools.

reason: So it’s those kids over at that other school.

Paglia: It’s the grade grubbers, the bright overachievers. I’m not at that kind of school [here at University of the Arts in Philadelphia] . I’m at a school of arts and communication where people already have a vocational trend. To be admitted here, you have to already have demonstrated a vocational aptitude. I’m talking about the Ivy League. Now, I’ve encountered these graduates of Harvard, Yale, the University of Pennsylvania, and Princeton, I’ve encountered them in the media, and people in their 30s now, some of them, their minds are like Jell-O. They know nothing! They’ve not been trained in history. They have absolutely no structure to their minds. Their emotions are unfixed. The banality of contemporary cultural criticism, of academe, the absolute collapse of any kind of intellectual discourse in the U.S. is the result of these colleges, which should have been the best, have produced the finest minds, instead having retracted into caretaking. The whole thing is about approved social positions in a kind of misty, love of humanity without any direct knowledge of history or economics or anthropology.

reason: Maybe the university is not the place where that sort of stuff is happening anymore. So, for instance, you have think tanks that do a lot of economic or policy work. You have popular historians who are not academic. Fiction and poetry, even as there’s been a rise in for decades now of creative writing programs and what not. Nobody looks to the university to be cutting edge on almost anything really, so maybe it’s just that you picked the wrong hors. Maybe you should have followed the campus radicals’ suggestion and not gone into academia?

Paglia: [As a] writer of cultural criticism, I find that I’m happiest when I’m writing for the British press, and I write quite a bit for The Sunday Times magazine in London. I find that the general sense of cultural awareness means that I can have an authentic discourse about ideas with international journalists from Brazil or Germany or Italy or Norway or Canada even—somewhat, but they have a P.C. problem themselves. I can feel the vacuum and the nothingness of American cultural criticism at the present time. It is impossible—any journalist today, an American journalist, you cannot have any kind of deep discussion of ideas.

The students at the Ivy league universities are so insulated from “vocation” (working for money) and so indoctrinated in political correctness, that they cannot have a civil conversation about ideas. All they can do is state their own views, and if you disagree with them, then they call you names then retreat to “safe spaces”, where all unpleasant communication is blocked . They can’t even explain why they hold their own views except they have been taught to believe that all smart people believe them. They are traumatized by dissent, and they are not able to critically assess arguments and evidence.

Here’s a second article by Eleanor Taylor writing in the ultra-leftist New York Times.

She writes:

KATHERINE BYRON, a senior at Brown University and a member of its Sexual Assault Task Force, considers it her duty to make Brown a safe place for rape victims, free from anything that might prompt memories of trauma.

So when she heard last fall that a student group had organized a debate about campus sexual assault between Jessica Valenti, the founder of feministing.com, and Wendy McElroy, a libertarian, and that Ms. McElroy was likely to criticize the term “rape culture,” Ms. Byron was alarmed. “Bringing in a speaker like that could serve to invalidate people’s experiences,” she told me. It could be “damaging.”

Ms. Byron and some fellow task force members secured a meeting with administrators. Not long after, Brown’s president, Christina H. Paxson, announced that the university would hold a simultaneous, competing talk to provide “research and facts” about “the role of culture in sexual assault.” Meanwhile, student volunteers put up posters advertising that a “safe space” would be available for anyone who found the debate too upsetting.

The safe space, Ms. Byron explained, was intended to give people who might find comments “troubling” or “triggering,” a place to recuperate. The room was equipped with cookies, coloring books, bubbles, Play-Doh, calming music, pillows, blankets and a video of frolicking puppies, as well as students and staff members trained to deal with trauma. Emma Hall, a junior, rape survivor and “sexual assault peer educator” who helped set up the room and worked in it during the debate, estimates that a couple of dozen people used it. At one point she went to the lecture hall — it was packed — but after a while, she had to return to the safe space. “I was feeling bombarded by a lot of viewpoints that really go against my dearly and closely held beliefs,” Ms. Hall said.

Safe spaces are an expression of the conviction, increasingly prevalent among college students, that their schools should keep them from being “bombarded” by discomfiting or distressing viewpoints. Think of the safe space as the live-action version of the better-known trigger warning, a notice put on top of a syllabus or an assigned reading to alert students to the presence of potentially disturbing material.

I have had the opportunity to interact with people who went through the college system in non-STEM programs. The combination of binge-drinking, hooking-up, co-habitating, and indoctrination in secular leftist ideologies like feminism, postmodernism, moral relativism really seems to break down their ability to reason calmly with someone who disagrees with them. They become very brittle and defensive when their indoctrinated views are confronted with critical thinking. I think the indoctrinated views were accepted largely because of emotions, intuitions and peer-pressure, so any kind of questioning using reason, evidence, wisdom and experience are met with this fight-or-flight response. People who are wiser and more experienced aren’t allowed to speak in the “safe space”.

There are two ways I see this playing out. On the one hand, any attempt to lead the thinking of an indoctrinated person is going to be met with insults. For example, trying to teach basic economics is going to be called “manipulation”. Or, trying to tell them to that they have an obligation to behave a certain way towards others is going to be dismissed because others have to take “personal responsibility”. These are just smokescreens that cover the fact that indoctrinated millenials cannot be reasoned with, cannot be led, cannot be told to do the right thing. When challenged, they block all communication and retreat to a “safe space” where their similarly indoctrinated friends are there to reassure them. Unfortunately for them, reality has a way of breaking through the illusions in the long run.

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E-mails: Hillary Clinton’s top aides knew in minutes that Benghazi was a terrorist attack

National Review reports on released e-mails from a FOIA request by Judicial Watch.

He says:

From the very first moments of the terrorist attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi on September 11, 2012, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her top aides were advised that the compound was under a terrorist attack. In fact, less than two hours into the attack, they were told that the al-Qaeda affiliate in Libya, Ansar al-Sharia, had claimed responsibility.

These revelations and others are disclosed by a trove of e-mails and other documents pried from the State Department by Judicial Watch in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. The FOIA litigation focuses on Mrs. Clinton’s involvement in the government actions before, during, and after the Benghazi attack, in which Christopher Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, was murdered by terrorists. Also killed in the attack were State Department information management officer Sean Smith, and two former Navy SEALs, Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty, who were contract security employees and who had fought heroically, saving numerous American lives. At least ten other Americans were wounded, some quite seriously.

At 4:07 p.m., just minutes after the terrorist attack began, Cheryl Mills, Secretary Clinton’s chief-of-staff, and Joseph McManus, Mrs. Clinton’s executive assistant, received an e-mail from the State Department’s operations center (forwarded to her by Maria Sand, a special assistant to Secretary Clinton). It contained a report from the State Department’s regional security officer (RSO), entitled “U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi is Under Attack.” The e-mail explained that approximately 20 armed people had fired shots at the diplomatic mission, that explosions had been heard as well, and that Ambassador Stevens was believed to be in the compound with at least four other State Department officials.

About a half-hour later, another e-mail — this one from Scott Bultrowicz, then director of diplomatic security (DSCC) — related:

15 armed individuals were attacking the compound and trying to gain entrance. The Ambassador is present in Benghazi and currently is barricaded within the compound. There are no injuries at this time and it is unknown what the intent of the attackers is. At approximately 1600 [4 p.m.] DSCC received word from Benghazi that individuals had entered the compound. At 1614 [4:14 p.m.] RSO advised the Libyans had set fire to various buildings in the area, possibly the building that houses the Ambassador [REDACTED] is responding and taking fire.

At 6:06 p.m., another e-mail that went to top State Department officials explained that the local al-Qaeda affiliate had claimed responsibility for the attack:

Ansar al-Sharia Claims Responsibility for Benghazi Attack (SBU):  “(SBU) Embassy Tripoli reports the group claimed responsibility on Facebook and Twitter and call for an attack on Embassy Tripoli”

Despite this evidence that her top staffers were informed from the start that a terrorist attack was underway and that an al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group had claimed credit for it, Secretary Clinton issued an official statement claiming the assault may have been in “response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet.”

Here she is lying to the American people on camera about the nature and cause of the attack:

You’ll remember that she repeated the lie again to the family of the victims.

Should we elect a liar to be President in 2016?

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Hillary Clinton’s fake Bosnia gunfire story and her abortion award

What difference does foreign policy make?

What difference does foreign policy make? I married Bill. It’s my turn!

First story has to do with this strange habit that people on the left have to lie about their life experiences to make themselves seem more accomplished and interesting.

From Investors Business Daily:

Investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson reminds us the secretary of state who blamed Benghazi on a video once made up a story about courage under fire in Bosnia. Maybe Brian Williams can be her 2016 running mate.

‘Nothing in life,” Winston Churchill once famously said, “is so exhilarating as to be shot at without result,” except perhaps in the minds of network anchors like NBC’s Brian Williams and political candidates such as Hillary Clinton, who also claimed a brush with death in a war zone on her resume. Perhaps they can swap war stories.

Former CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson reminded the world of Hillary’s tale of heroism in an interview with CBS Philadelphia affiliate WPHT morning host Chris Stigall last November, a tale told by the former first lady in her 2008 run against one Barack Obama.

“I had come home from an overseas trip vacation, and my husband says, ‘When you went to Bosnia 12 years ago with the first lady, were you shot at?,’ and I’m like, ‘No, I think I would know if I were shot at,'” Attkisson told Stigall of the 1996 trip to Bosnia with Hillary, first daughter Chelsea and celebrities Sinbad and Sheryl Crow.

Candidate Clinton claimed in a 2008 speech in Washington and several subsequent interviews that she and Chelsea were forced to run for cover under hostile fire shortly after landing in Tuzla, Bosnia.

“I remember landing under sniper fire,” Clinton said. “There was supposed to be some kind of greeting ceremony at the airport, but instead we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base.”

Her harrowing tale never happened, and Mrs. Clinton’s faulty memory also forgot that there was a reporter on the trip who was taking notes and had a video of the event.

“The video showed,” Attkisson said, “and I thought this was a pretty good way to explain it — I put her in a box saying, ‘We got off the plane and had to duck and run for cover and there was sniper fire’ and then I show the video of what was really happening, and she’s getting off the plane and she’s waving, shaking hands with a little school girl.”

Second story from Life News.

They write:

As if we needed any more evidence that potential 2016 presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is not a moderate, it was announced today that EMILY’s List, an extreme pro-abortion organization, will be honoring her with one of their most cherished awards:

EMILY’s List, which works to elect Democratic women who support abortion rights, said Tuesday that Clinton would appear at its 30th anniversary awards gala in Washington on March 3. The former secretary of state will receive the group’s We Are EMILY Award to honor her leadership “as a fighter for women and families,” said Stephanie Schriock, the group’s president.

[…]Clinton’s pro-abortion agenda goes beyond accepting awards. In 1993, when she was attempting to transform the health care industry, she said that under her plan, abortion services “would be widely available.” Then, in 1999, she delivered a speech to NARAL, the National Abortion Rights Action League, in Washington, D.C., stating her goal of “keeping abortion safe, legal and rare into the next century.”

I’ll be featuring lots of stories about her through 2015 and 2016, so we can all learn all about her.

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Obama says that 99.9% of Muslims worldwide reject radical Islam, is he right?

That video is from The Weekly Standard, here’s the text:

President Obama told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria that 99.9 percent of Muslims reject radical Islam. He made the comments in response to a question about the White House avoiding using the phrase “Islamic terrorists.”

“You know, I think that the way to understand this is there is an element growing out of Muslim communities in certain parts of the world that have perverted the religion, have embraced a nihilistic, violent, almost medieval interpretation of Islam, and they’re doing damage in a lot of countries around the world,” said Obama.

“But it is absolutely true that I reject a notion that somehow that creates a religious war because the overwhelming majority of Muslims reject that interpretation of Islam. They don’t even recognize it as being Islam, and I think that for us to be successful in fighting this scourge, it’s very important for us to align ourselves with the 99.9 percent of Muslims who are looking for the same thing we’re looking for–order, peace, prosperity.”

Now, let’s take a look at apostasy and blasphemy laws in Muslim countries, with some help from the left-leaning Pew Research.

They write:

In 10 of 20 countries where there are adequate samples for analysis, at least half of Muslims who favor making sharia the law of the land also favor stoning unfaithful spouses.

Some of the highest support for stoning is found in South Asia and the Middle East-North Africa region. In Pakistan (89%) and Afghanistan (85%), more than eight-in-ten Muslims who want Islamic law as their country’s official law say adulterers should be stoned, while nearly as many say the same in the Palestinian territories (84%) and Egypt (81%). A majority also support stoning as a penalty for the unfaithful in Jordan (67%), Iraq (58%). However, support is significantly lower in Lebanon (46%) and Tunisia (44%), where less than half of those who support sharia as the official law of the land believe that adulterers should be stoned.

In Southeast Asia, six-in-ten Muslims in Malaysia consider stoning an appropriate penalty for adultery. About half hold this view in Thailand (51%) and Indonesia (48%).

Muslims in Central Asia as well as Southern and Eastern Europe are generally less likely to support stoning adulterers. Among those who favor Islamic law as the official law of the land, only in Tajikistan do about half (51%) support this form of punishment. Elsewhere in the two regions, fewer than four-in-ten favor this type of punishment, including roughly a quarter or fewer across the countries surveyed in Southern and Eastern Europe.

And:

Compared with attitudes toward applying sharia in the domestic or criminal spheres, Muslims in the countries surveyed are significantly less supportive of the death penalty for converts. Nevertheless, in six of the 20 countries where there are adequate samples for analysis, at least half of those who favor making Islamic law the official law also support executing apostates.

Taking the life of those who abandon Islam is most widely supported in Egypt (86%) and Jordan (82%). Roughly two-thirds who want sharia to be the law of the land also back this penalty in the Palestinian territories (66%). In the other countries surveyed in the Middle East-North Africa region, fewer than half take this view.

In the South Asian countries of Afghanistan and Pakistan, strong majorities of those who favor making Islamic law the official law of the land also approve of executing apostates (79% and 76%, respectively). However, in Bangladesh far fewer (44%) share this view.

A majority of Malaysian Muslims (62%) who want to see sharia as their country’s official law also support taking the lives of those who convert to other faiths. But fewer take this position in neighboring Thailand (27%) and Indonesia (18%).

In Central Asia as well as Southern and Eastern Europe, only in Tajikistan (22%) do more than a fifth of Muslims who want sharia as the official law of the land also condone the execution of apostates. Support for killing converts to other faiths falls below one-in-ten in Albania (8%) and Kazakhstan (4%).

Now there is one little problem with this Pew Research data that causes them to understate the real numbers who favor adultery-stonings and apostasy-killings.

Andrew McCarthy explains in National Review:

But what is striking is that the depressing state of affairs is manifest despite Pew’s best efforts to make things seem better than they are. Principally, the survey is about Muslim views about sharia, Islam’s legal system and framework for society. It is intimated that Pew’s study is exhaustive, involving interviews with 38,000 Muslims across 39 countries. But, as my friend Andy Bostom pointed out to me this morning, guess which countries are not included in the survey? That would be Saudi Arabia, Iran and Sudan — perhaps the three most sharia compliant countries in the world, home cumulatively to nearly 150 million Muslims.

[…]In point of fact, sharia is the law of Saudi Arabia and Iran. These countries profess themselves as reflections of the true Islam (Saudi Arabia from the Sunni perspective, Iran from the Shiite) in which no law but sharia is necessary and no departures from sharia are permissible. Sudan (a Sunni Muslim country) is already close to the Saudis and Iranians in this regard and is sure to be more so when it finally adopts a new constitution (which it has been threatening to do for several years).

Iran has about 87 million people, Sudan has about 42 million people, and Saudi Arabia has about 31 million people. These are strict Islamic countries and they were left out of the survey.

So, what are we to make of Obama’s comments now? Are Democrats like Barack Obama, John Kerry and Hillary Clinton accurate enough in their beliefs about the world that we should have confidence in their foreign policy? If they really believe these obvious false assertions, and they are making decisions based on these delusions, then how much does that set back the causes of freedom and democracy in the world? It seems to me that the first rule of protecting the good and fighting against evil is to be able to identify which is which.

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