Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

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.

Filed under: Commentary, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Muslim student wants to censor showing of “American Sniper” on campus

Muslim student Farah ElJayyousi

Muslim student Farah El-Jayyousi

This is from The College Fix.

It says:

[A] Muslim student activist who declared showing the film on campus would make her feel “unsafe” and demanded an “apology and explanation” as to how and why the movie was even selected for Mizzou audiences.

The uproar was taken quite seriously, and prompted the student government to conduct a meeting to determine whether the flick should be shown.

“This film is blatant racist, colonialist propaganda that should not be shown under any circumstances and especially not endorsed by a branch of student government that purports to represent me and have my best interests in mind,” student Farah El-Jayyousi had stated.

She made the comments in a letter to the editor to the campus newspaper earlier this month, denouncing the decision to show the blockbuster – the highest grossing film of 2014. El-Jayyousi accused the movie of dehumanizing Muslims and glorifying the murder of Iraqis, and referred to Chris Kyle, the Navy SEAL featured in the film, as “a killer with no regard for human life.”

What do you think she is studying to have such blindness to the violence and anti-woman discrimination in the Middle East? She is double-majoring in psychology and women’s and gender studies. Of course!

Let’s just see what sort of violence happens in the Middle East.

This is from the leftist BBC about the conflict in Syria:

Some 6,000 women have been raped since the start of the conflict in March 2011, the Euro Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN) says.

A spokeswoman for the group said these women were then socially stigmatised, and often forced to flee their homes.

Women are being targeted by snipers and used as human shields, often with their children, the report also says.

Violence against Women, a Bleeding Wound in the Syrian Conflict is based on interviews with victims and medical staff in the first half of 2013.

The report describes how hundreds of Syrian women have been subjected to arbitrary arrests and enforced disappearances and have undergone various forms of torture, in state detention facilities.

[…]The report also says the kidnapping of women has also become a strategy of exchanging prisoners and exacting revenge, and that the nature of the crimes – rape and gang-rape – leaves many women isolated.

That’s not a concern to our Muslim student. She is more concerned about soldiers who go to the Middle East to try to liberate women from the rule of regimes that genitally mutilate them, honor-murder them, keep them illiterate, stone them, rape them, imprison them and “marry” them when they are still children. And so on. That’s what she is learning to parrot at an American university. And of course she learns that sex-selection abortions are the height of women’s rights, too.

Imagine if a Christian student went to a Muslim university (is there one that accepts women in Afghanistan? Oh right, there isn’t) and wrote a similar article, but against the practice of genital mutilation in Mali, for example. What would happen to her, do you think? Exactly. But that’s not a concern to our intrepid Muslim student. It must take some powerful self-deluding to be this self-contradictory, but that’s why we have non-STEM departments in universities, isn’t it?

Filed under: News, , , , , , ,

Navy chaplain removed from unit for teaching Biblical views on sex and marriage

This is from the Daily Signal.

Excerpt:

A former Marine and current Navy chaplain has been removed from his unit after sharing the teachings of his faith tradition in private, pastoral settings.

Lt. Cmdr. Wes Modder, a chaplain at the Base Chapel Naval Weapons Station at Joint Base in South Carolina, is an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God.

According to his legal team, a “handful” of individuals complained about his views on issues like atheism, homosexuality and sexual relationships outside of marriage.

According to Military Times, after the complaints, Modder’s commanding officer wrote in a “detachment for cause” letter that states Modder is “unable to function in the diverse and pluralistic environment” of the United States Navy.

It’s such a diverse environment that if you disagree with the secular leftist view of sex and marriage, then you can’t say anything. And we are paying taxes to pay for these people to violate the basic human rights of Christian employees. It’s not just happening to Christian business owners who refuse to celebrate gay marriage, now. It’s just regular Christians workers, too.

More:

His commanding officer has requested that Modder be removed from the promotion list (despite his ranking as “Early Promote,” the highest rating), separated from his unit, and brought before a Board of Inquiry.

The same commanding officer previously wrote in Modder’s fitness report in October of 2014 that Modder was the “best of the best” and recommended him for promotion.

The board could force Modder, who previously served as a Marine in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, out of the Navy. His case is currently under review.

I thought this was useful to see what pressures authentic Christians face as they try to earn the money they ned to provide for their families in an increasingly secular environment:

Mike Berry, the senior counsel and director of military affairs at the Liberty Institute, is handing Modder’s case.

[…]“He’s in a catch-22 between his faith and his career,” said Berry.

Berry said that Modder offered everyone who sought his guidance a “disclaimer” that he was speaking to them as an ordained Christian minister, stressing that Modder offered “spiritual advice” and “Biblical truth” according to his faith tradition in “private” sessions, not merely “unsolicited opinions.”

But after the complaints of a “handful” of individuals, Modder’s future in the Navy is in jeopardy.

[…]Modder is also approaching his 20-year anniversary of military service. If his case is not resolved by Sept. 1, his pension and retirement benefits could also be in jeopardy.

Seems like he was very careful, but that did not protect him from the complaints of a handful of individuals who wanted to get rid of him for disagreeing with them. And of course Modder’s commanding officer has to deal harshly with him, or he will not be promoted. This is the new secular Inquisition.

Now, try to think with me about how many people are teaching their views on sex and marriage, and using taxpayer dollars to do it. Public school teachers, Planned Parenthood… Heck, in Ontario, Canada, the Liberty Party’s sex education curriculum was developed by a convicted child pornographer. And yet Christian chaplains are the ones who have to face discrimination for stating their views.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , ,

Are secular leftists on campus interested in discussing different viewpoints?

A few stories that lead me to think that they are not.

First, Campus Reform writes:

A female student was threatened by feminist and LGBT organizations at the University of North Carolina – Wilmington after she invited them to attend a pro-life event.

Madison Marston sent personal email invitations to UNCW’s National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (NARAL), PRIDE, and the Women’s and Gender Studies Student Association (WSSA), to extend an invitation to Ratio Christi’s “Abortion and Human Equality: A Pro Life Defense of the Unborn” discussion. The three organizations collectively declined while threatening Marston for sending the invitation.

“Each of the leaders of PRIDE, NARAL and WSSA ask that you no longer contact us directly,” the email, obtained by Campus Reform said. “As a student organization, your events are on the CAIC calendar, part of Hawk e-News, and disseminated in a variety of other ways, which is sufficient for us to be aware of them. We do not need, nor want, these invitations. If you continue to attempt to contact any of us, we will take further action.”

In the email, the organizations said they already had a separate event scheduled for that same date but also said they will not participate in any debates with the Christian apologetics organization as they do not share the same beliefs when it comes to abortion and LGBT issues.

“As such, we have no desire to debate them with you or your organization,” the organizations said in the email.

[…]“We have no desire to attend any event sponsored by your organization and its narrow beliefs steeped in religious bigotry and intolerance.”

[…]Ratio Christi’s event, scheduled for Feb., 26, will host Adams, an outspoken conservative professor at UNCW, “to present a scientific and philosophical argument on the topic of abortion,” according to the event’s press release obtained by Campus Reform.

The free event has a Q&A portion concluding Adams’ talk, during which Marston, a biology and chemistry major, was hoping the other student organizations could participate.

“I had naively thought UNCW’s pro-choice student organizations would jump at any and every opportunity to participate in events on the topic of abortion,” Marston told Campus Reform in an interview. “Or at least, I thought they would be somewhat interested in having a platform to defend their views. If they believe so strongly that abortion is a woman’s right—why are they afraid to defend their belief?”

[…]UNCW’s College Democrats also declined the invitation to attend the event as “our party’s views do not align with the views of the speaker.”

I think the pro-abortion folks, the LGBT folks and the Democrats are not so much interested in debate as they are in coercing anyone who disagrees with them.

Next article is from Fox News.

They write:

Students at Acalanes High School were given a handout with LGBT terminology – including words like pan-sexual, demi-boy and gray gender.

Teenagers at a California high school were publicly shamed for disagreeing with speakers allowed to push an LGBT agenda during an English class, according to several upset parents.

The Queer Straight Alliance at Acalanes High School, in Lafayette, lectured students in several ninth-grade English classes on Jan. 29 about LGBT issues, according to Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute, which is representing the parents.

During the class, the students, ages 14 and 15, were instructed to stand in a circle. Then, they were grilled about their personal beliefs and their parents’ beliefs on homosexuality, PJI alleges.

“The QSA had students step forward to demonstrate whether they believed that being gay was a choice and whether their parents would be accepting if they came out as gay,” PJI attorney Matthew McReynolds said. “Students who did not step forward were ridiculed and humiliated.”

PJI is a law firm that specializes in religious liberty cases. They are representing several families who had children in the freshman classes — some of whom also are angry because there was no parental notification of the LGBT lecture.

“Singling out students for ridicule based on their moral or political beliefs is a Marxist tactic that should have no place in the United States of America,” Dacus said.

Yes, and Christian parents are paying for it by force – there is no school choice. You are forced to pay for this, whether you use it or not.

And finally, an essay on the bullying of Christians and conservatives that happens in schools, from ISI Review.

Excerpt:

“The new intolerance” is shorthand for the chilled public atmosphere in which religious believers now operate. Many people of faith face unique burdens that would have been unthinkable even a couple of decades ago: burdens of ostracism, of losing the good opinion of their neighbors, of being trash-talked in the public square. Some even face the loss of livelihood or the constant threat and reality of litigation; for a primer, see the hounding last spring of Mozilla CEO Brandon Eich for his donation years earlier on behalf of traditional marriage.

Although this new intolerance has begun to attract attention and debate, the connection between that phenomenon and the rise in unbelief among twenty-somethings remains to be explored. And the scrutiny is overdue. It is well known, and well documented by social science, that many students, not only in America but all over, lose their religion in college. The interesting question is why.

[…]Students, like any other human beings, cannot help being sensitive to atmospherics. Let’s think again of the new force that drives a CEO out of his post for having donated to defend traditional marriage. If the new intolerance can penalize an “alpha” like him so dramatically, how much more menacing must it be to people just starting out, whose futures and livelihoods depend so heavily on the opinion of their peers?

[…]It’s time to air the idea that college students do not stay out of church or synagogue because their education leads them to enlightened conclusions about the big questions. No, the more likely dynamic is that thanks to the new intolerance, the social and other costs of being a known believer in the public square mount by the year—and students take note. Hence intimidation on the quad, multiplied over many years and campuses, is an unseen engine of secularization.

This intimidation didn’t work on me, but I have met Christian women who were very sensitive to peer approval when they got to college. They went from Bible verse memorization to shacking up to abortion to divorce. They started to drift because of the peer-shaming and the professor-shaming, and then it is cemented by the repeated experiences of binge-drinking, hooking up and shacking up. The repeated experience of putting aside God and moral boundaries in order to have fun forms a new worldview at a deep level, and it continues as they age.

Even if they come back to the Christian faith at a superficial (emotional, devotional) level, the underlying worldview is hard to fix. Attempts to re-orient them towards an effective Christian life that addresses the real problems that Christians are facing today in the culture will not be accepted. The self-centered life-plan that was formed in college remains intact, with just a veneer of piety on top to justify it when it’s called into question.

Filed under: Commentary, , , , , ,

Can we trust Democrats to take national security and foreign policy seriously?

First part of the clip is here on The Weekly Standard:

Q I just want to go back to your statement about the extremists want to incite a religious war against Islam and they failed. There have been a lot of questions raised about why you have chosen not to associate yourself with the language that was used by the French President when he said we’re at war with radical Islam, and instead you have chosen a formulation where you say you want to capture individuals who commit violence based on their warped view of Islam. Is the reason you don’t want to call it “radical Islam” or use the word “war” because you’re afraid of playing into the extremists’ desires to incite a religious war on Islam? Is that the reason you’ve gone to great lengths to come up with this different formulation?

MR. EARNEST: Well, Mara, there certainly — it does seem clear that these terrorists — let’s call them what they are — these terrorists are individuals who would like to cloak themselves in the veil of a particular religion. But based on the fact that the religious leaders of that religion have roundly condemned their actions, those religious leaders have indicated that their actions are entirely inconsistent with Islam. I think the fact that the majority of victims of terror attacks that are carried out by al Qaeda and adherents to their particular brand of violence, that the majority of them are Muslim I think is a pretty clear indication that this is not a matter of the world being at war with Islam. The world and the United States — as we’ve discussed before in the context of ISIL — is at war with these individuals, these violent extremists who carry out these acts of terror and try to justify it by invoking this religion.

Q Right. But the leader of France, your ally in this effort, has put a name on this ideology, which he calls “radical Islam.” You have bent over backwards to not ever say that. There must be a reason.

MR. EARNEST: I think the reason is twofold. One is I certainly wouldn’t want to be in a position where I’m repeating the justification that they have cited that I think is completely illegitimate, right? That they have invoked Islam to try to justify their attacks.

Transcript for the second part of the clip is from Fox News:

MACCALLUM: You know, every time we see this exchange, it seems like the answer is so tortured like it’s so difficult to say what everybody around the world seems to feel so clearly it is and what the leaders have said in Canada and Australia and Paris where they have felt it so potently and personally. They’ve all said quite clearly that the battle is against Islamic extremism. Why is it so hard to say?

HARF: Well, it’s not hard to say, but it’s not the only kind of extremism we face. I would recommend to folks looking at this administration’s counterterrorism record, I would remind people that more terrorists who claim to — to do acts of violence in the name of Islam has been taken off the battlefield in this administration than under any previous one because of our counterterrorism operations and our efforts that we put in place.

But that’s not the only way that you counter this kind of extremism. Much of it Islamic, you’re absolutely right, but some of it not. So we’re gonna focus on all the different kinds of extremism with a heavy focus on people who do this in the name of Islam, we would say falsely in the name of Islam, but there are other forms of extremism.

(CROSSTALK)

MACCALLUM: Let me ask you this —

HARF: — that are also important.

MACCALLUM: — tell me, what other forms of extremism are particularly troubling and compelling to you right now?

HARF: Well, look, there are people out there who want to kill other people in the name of a variety of causes. Of course, Martha, we are most focused on people doing this in the name of Islam. As we’ve talked about with ISIL, part of our strategy to counter this extremism is to have other moderate Muslim voices to stand up and say, they don’t represent our religion. They speak for their religion more than we do certainly, and we need those voices to stand up in addition to all the other efforts we’re undertaking.

MACCALLUM: All right. I just think a lot of other countries probably listen to the way we’re talking about this and scratch their heads and wonder why it’s so hard to spit it out in a lot of these — these conversations.

Mike McCaul — Chairman Mike McCaul said we — we don’t see a lead agency. There’s no line item in the budget. There are no metrics to measure success. I don’t think we have a strategy. We don’t have a common definition for what this is. And, you know, obviously he’s a critic, but there are people even former administration officials who say we’ve been working on this for a long time but we — we’re not sure whether or not we’re getting anywhere.

HARF: Well, I think when you hear the president who’s talked about our counterterrorism operations, as has people liked John Brennan, the director of the CIA,  the director of National Intelligence, they very clearly said that we have had some success against Al Qaeda core, naming specific leaders we’ve taken off the battlefield, against AQAP, naming specific leaders we’ve taken off the battlefield. But more broadly speaking, it’s bigger than that.

So, talking about how you counter this extremist narrative, that’s a tougher challenge but it’s one we’re committed to certainly, and I think other countries around the world look at the U.S. and the success we have had and how aggressive we have been and they know how committed we are to it.

MACCALLUM: But I think the world is looking for a leader, you know, someone in the van of Winston Churchill or FDR who says, “Look, we know what we’re facing here. This is a global war. This is, you know, girls taken by Boko Haram. This is 132 students massacred in Pakistan. This is people who are going out for coffee in Australia. This is people who were come — just showing up for work in Paris.”

And there’s a common thread here of radical Islamic extremism and until President Obama or John Kerry or someone else in their position stands up and says, “Look, we know we’re facing a global threat of radical Islamic extremism. We must band together and we must fight it.” That’s what everybody is longing to hear, it appears, Marie. Where is that message?

HARF: Well, I — I — I think all of these leaders have made very clear the serious threats we face. If you look at the president’s speech at West Point, if you look at the things Secretary Kerry has said. It’s not as easy as — as defining at the way you just did. We have to look at each threat individually. All of those threats you just mentioned are from different groups and different places.

We voted for left-wing ideologues and they are going to get us killed because they are afraid to offend our enemies. God help us all.

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