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One small step for free speech This week's Cambridge victory will do little to stop the march through the institutions

One of England's great universities, along with Oxford and Hull. Photo: JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images

One of England's great universities, along with Oxford and Hull. Photo: JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images


December 11, 2020   5 mins

On Wednesday, there seemed to be some good news in the free speech wars, when the governing body of Cambridge University rejected a new set of speech codes. The rules, proposed by the university council, would have mandated that academics and students at the university should be “respectful” of the views of others.

Of course there was an air of flagrant hypocrisy about such a speech code, since the university was hardly respectful to the views of Noah Carl and Jordan Peterson. So one doesn’t have to be a huge cynic or pessimist to fear that a “respect” clause might, therefore, be used in a highly political or one-sided manner. “Respect” is easily-demanded but begrudgingly given, especially by those who feel they are occupying the moral high ground; and as one of the academics who objected to the proposals, Arif Ahmed, explained to UnHerd, “respect” is also a very weak basis on which to build free speech.

Must a scientist, or anyone else at Cambridge for that matter, “respect” a flat-earther? Or someone who believes it is turtles all the way down? Lost though much of academia is in over-specialisation or specialisation in non-specialisms, this instruction could only further the university’s troubles, creating the situation where absolutely everyone feels entitled to “respect”.

As Prof Ahmed and others suggested, a much better guideline is that “staff, students and visitors” at Cambridge should “be tolerant of the differing opinions of others”. And so on Wednesday this amendment was voted upon and passed with an overwhelming majority.

This was presented as a great win in the free-speech battles both on campuses and in wider society — and of course in some ways it obviously is. But it is also a sharp lesson in how the “diversity, inclusion and equalities” agenda never sleeps, and every small victory is just a momentary skirmish in an endless battle to stop further encroachment.

Because only a day after the vote went against the university council, all employees in the School of Arts and Humanities at Cambridge were treated to an email informing them that their university is “committed to ensuring an inclusive culture of mutual respect and tolerance”. And as with all such statements, the very blandness of the language masks the relentless advancement of a political agenda that is the opposite of tolerance.

One of the first rules of logic I was taught — by a Cambridge-trained philosopher, as it happens — is that you should never utter a sentence the opposite of which would only be uttered by a madman.

Alas the people who now instruct Cambridge’s academics in how to think do not have the rigour of previous generations. It is hard to imagine a sane person instructing an academic body of distinctly intelligent people that their university is “committed to ensuring a hostile culture of mutual antipathy and intolerance”. There may have been certain colleges at certain points where that appeared to be the aim, but nobody would ever state it as such. So why say — why bother even to type out — this verbiage about respect and tolerance? Why waste the time of intelligent people with such drivel?

The answer is that of course the drivel is part of the guiding theology of the time. Just as the university ethos might once have lingered over transubstantiation or the nature of the Trinity, so in our time ancient foundations such as Cambridge have dedicated themselves to belief in these wide and shallow concepts, rolled out by people who are shallow in turn. They are enforced by people who imagine that what they are saying is not just profound, but necessary, and who construct their dogmas in order to try to make them impossible to oppose.

And of course they now have whole armies of bureacrats on their side. People whose sole job — generally remunerated at a level noticeably higher than that of an academic setting off on their career — is to enforce the “diversity and inclusion” agenda. The high priests of this faith may have the odd setback in their battles (such as Wednesday’s vote) but they will not be diverted from their mission for long. For their souls depend on it. Their salaries depend on it. Their pensions depend on it. And they presumably feel some sense of moral distinction from enforcing these edicts.

The email sent to faculty after Wednesday’s vote waffled on about the need to “treat each other with respect, courtesy and consideration” informing them that their employer is “in the process of setting up an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) forum” which would “take forward work in this area” (as opposed to taking work in this area backwards, which would actually — on this occasion — be the recommendation of a sane man).

The Cambridge academics are also told that all staff must “undertake the following Equality and Diversity Training” which includes “Equality and Diversity Essentials” and “Understanding implicit bias”. The university has also apparently agreed that all staff should attend sessions on “Race awareness” and “Respect at work”.

Professor Chris Young, whose signature shamefully signs off this letter, tells his colleagues that “the School would like to see all staff attend these training sessions wherever possible by the end of 2021 and statistics on uptake of the training will be monitored via the School Council”. And if that is not a covert threat from an employer to their employees, it is hard to see what is.

Similar training courses have sprung up at universities across the country, without discussion or consulation, with even well-established academics cowed into attending for fear of damaging their careers. It doesn’t matter how irrelevant their subject should be to the religion of anti-racism — for the new ideology, nothing is outside politics. Many academics are privately very unhappy about the state of affairs, but of course they keep quiet; no one would “respect” their views if they objected.

And thus Cambridge’s best will be subjected to sessions such as “Race Awareness: Whiteness and being a White Anti-Racist Ally”. During this two-part seminar one Dr Joanna Jasiewicz will help Cambridge academics develop “practical tools to become a white ally” and provide “an opportunity for us to speak about race and challenging racism”.

I wonder what conclusions these sessions will come to? Or what presumptions it might make in advance? The fact that implicit bias training has long been comprehensively debunked is apparently not so serious a problem that it should deter Cambridge University from forcing all of its faculty members to undergo it.

But this is the problem with the whole “equalities” system of belief. It is an agenda that never sleeps because it involves an industry paid to stay awake. And not just to stay awake, but to advance. It may lose the odd battle, and be exposed in the odd national publication. Its foundations may be shown to be shallow and its conclusions demonstrated to be false. Yet on it will march, through the faculties and over the schools, around the traditions of an ancient institution and beneath the dignity of the people it forces to submit to it.

Its opponents may be encouraged by the small victories along the way, but in doing so they risk forgetting that every victory on these terms is not a victory — it is merely the slowing down of the advance of this misguided ideology.

Cambridge University’s response to the vote this week is a fine demonstration of this. Yes. the ideology suffered a setback, when faced with an actual vote. But onwards it intends to march, and however wrong it proves still it intends to take its “work in this area” forward, not backwards, to a future of greater stupidity and mental sloppiness. It cannot stop, and it never will — unless it is made to.

An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that the University Vice-Chancellor, Stephen Toope, proposed the new speech code; it was the governing council.


Douglas Murray is an author and journalist.

DouglasKMurray

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Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

There’s too many people who make careers out of the diversity and race awareness industry for them to ever quit trying to foist their ideology onto the public. Think how many people would be unemployed if it all just went away and we stopped dividing people up by race. It’s all about money now, ideology is secondary.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago

I’m pretty sure that many of these “woke job” holders in industry are well aware that most of their activities are pointless and non-value add, but will happily “take the token”.

Hard not to conclude that they are either idiots or thieves, so best to avoid (or ridicule) them.

It’s going to be hard to weed them out of the public sector, but the private sector will get rid of them the minute it no longer gives them a marketing edge.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Yes, I’d agree that some of the job holders must know it’s a boondoggle but sometimes they aren’t actually trained to do anything else. And often these jobs pay very well, not much is expected of the job holder and they are jobs reserved for people of specific race and/or sex.

I disagree though that having these pointless positions gives private or public companies a marketing edge. It’s usually more a form of bribery, intended to ward off progressive criticism/boycotts/bullying. It doesn’t help with marketing with people who find these positions ridiculous. They simply know that it raises the cost of products and services. It certainly raises the cost of university education, at least in the US.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago

Generally agree, but there are a load of people out there who will fall for CSR messaging without realising the add-ons to the pricing.

Sadly the modern university educated may be the most gullible of all.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

The university educated have been indoctrinated to believe that companies and universities must have these boondoggle positions. That it’s well and good. Plus they may be okay with paying more for products and services with this lard added to the cost. And they usually can afford to pay more.

But the average person knows better and understands quite well that they add to the cost without adding value.

Wilfred Davis
Wilfred Davis
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Yes, marketing edge is undoubtedly part of it. This became obvious to me around 2000 when I read an internal memo at an American organisation that I was working for (in the UK). They were panicking that they would lose their marketing edge as a result of the changing demographics in the USA.

Part – but only part – of the resistance to the imposition of the new religion is to make it clear to firms that such a marketing edge is a blade that can cut the owner if used without care. Boycott the goods and services, protest to the management of the companies.

Stephen Crossley
Stephen Crossley
3 years ago

Much as it pains me to help the Tabs out of their pickle may I humbly suggest that any dons who object to this kind of mandatory re-education unite to send a letter to the university hierarchy stating that they will not submit to such brainwashing and will not be attending the proposed indoctrination sessions.

The ensuing standoff would raise much needed public awareness of this odious practice and set a precedent that could help staff resist this tide in the hundreds of companies that have already adopted these draconian HR policies.

As Douglas points out, the bulldozer will continue until it meets meaningful resistance from the man and woman in the street.

Carl Goulding
Carl Goulding
3 years ago

Good idea but what are the chances of the MSM reporting the ensuing standoff in a fair and honest way? Pretty slim I would say.

Mike Spoors
Mike Spoors
3 years ago
Reply to  Carl Goulding

I don’t think the MSM are the issue. It’s the liberal media that are stoking most of this and they will not be too sympathetic to this stand against taking the intellectual knee.

Pierre Brute
Pierre Brute
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Spoors

They are one and the same. Despite the rise of sites and media such as this one, if you can’t get your views heard via the traditional channels you’re at a massive disadvantage.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

Yes, of course, you may suggest that. Anyone could suggest it, in fact, not only you.

The interesting thing in your post though is that you seem to be assuming that the public in general is unaware of mandatory diversity and racial awareness training at companies, universities, etc. What evidence do you base this assumption on?

Pamela Watson-Bateman
Pamela Watson-Bateman
3 years ago

Do you reckon I’d keep my job if I did?

Charles Rense
Charles Rense
3 years ago

I have, at last, a solution that satisfies everyone’s needs: reparations in the form of forcing highly-paid woke HR administrators to serve as personal slaves to historically oppressed minorities.

This plan rectifies past injustices in a very eye-for-an-eye way, eliminates the need to find new careers for these beurocrats, lowers the overhead of their institutions by eliminating their positions (passing the savings on to the student and/or consumer), and best of all, if the administrators refuse we can just call them racists!

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Charles Rense

I like the idea and it would be easy to make work but I’d start with just the diversity type jobs, as HR has a purpose other than to divide people by race. Look how easily perfectly free men and women were made to kneel on command of BLM.

sharon johnson
sharon johnson
3 years ago

Diversity of thought or diversity of skin color? If it’s thought, then these directives are redundant. If it’s skin color, then these directives are race-based which is a mighty narrow way of thinking.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  sharon johnson

Diversity of though is strictly verboten within all these institutions.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago
Reply to  sharon johnson

Being open and honest about the reality of it being “race-based” is presumably illegal, with the result that this will never be admitted, discussed and rightly intellectually rejected.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  sharon johnson

think of it as multi-hued group think. Of course, it’s narrow thinking. That’s why its advocates want to chill speech to the greatest extent possible. “Shut up, they explained” is this crew’s standard response to those who dare challenge the dogma.

Tony Loorparg
Tony Loorparg
3 years ago
Reply to  sharon johnson

And only skin deep!

D Ward
D Ward
3 years ago

Ouch. What a beautifully acerbic article. One of your best, Mr Murray (and there are many to chose from).

Peter Scott
Peter Scott
3 years ago

E M Forster remarks in one of his Commonplace Book entries: ‘Resentment is a weed which needs to be crowded out by healthier growths’.

This is true of whole cultures.

All the trends which Douglas Murray rightly deplores have sprung up – inevitably – from our now living in a society which has no sense of direction, meaning in life, no ultimate hopes and goals.

The absolutely core, key, crucial statement about our era was made by T S Eliot in his pamphlet ‘Thoughts after Lambeth’ of 1931: –

‘The World is trying the experiment of attempting to form a civilized but non-Christian mentality. The experiment will fail; but we must be very patient awaiting its collapse; meanwhile redeeming the time: so that the Faith may be preserved alive through the dark ages before us; to renew and rebuild civilization, and save the World from suicide.’

tiffeyekno
tiffeyekno
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Scott

Rather than relying on Forster, Eliot and the sainted Murray, why dont you express what you think will give us the sense of direction, life meaning and the ultimate hope that you think we lack? Are you suggesting that only a return to , or a new form of, mono Christianity will save us from the trends that have sprung up? It is precisely the dogma of religion from time immemorial that provided and still provides the model for todays denial of free speech and thought. The wonderful Eliot was wrong, it was not an experiment but the ongoing process of mankind seeking real freedom.

Alan Thorpe
Alan Thorpe
3 years ago
Reply to  tiffeyekno

The question you ask is valid, but obviously you don’t have the answer to the question either, and nor do I. I have seen a view that says we no longer have philosophers seeking the truth, but only sophists who will lie about anything if it suits them. One good example is how the fake science of humans controlling the climate has taken over the minds of billions of people.

Peter Scott
Peter Scott
3 years ago
Reply to  tiffeyekno

I sympathise – really – but what you are asking for is like requiring a sage to come up with a blueprint for a bicycle which can have square wheels.

Square wheels simply won’t work, at least in the sense of getting the machine to make relatively smooth and rapid forward progress.

There is a physical universe and concurrently with it a spiritual one, and Reality cannot be adapted to the wishes (however understandable) of beings who don’t like the Whole Truth About Everything.

A snake in the grass here is your use of the word ‘dogma’.

It suggests a sense of the churches over the centuries seeking to impose bullying on the rest of humankind.

Of course, there has been that kind of bullying; but the few people on Earth currently who are genuinely following the Christ’s prescription for becoming totally alive, fully individuated, absolutely fulfilled and ideally happy and meaningful (for ever), don’t see traditional Christian doctrine – embodied in things like the Nicene Creed – as strokes laid on their backs like a ferrule administered by a damaged inadequate schoolmaster who enjoys beating his pupils.

They see the doctrines as part of a rescue plan which makes more and more sense the more they cooperate with it.

We become entirely free, in every regard, when we become children of God. He wants us to grow up into being adult gods, unique, irreplaceable, infinitely valuable, glorious – and each of us sui generis.

I have joined this programme and from time to time have such accessions of relief, healing, homecoming flooding through my being – I keep shedding all sorts of bondage and misery – that I simply weep.

The experience does not feel like dogma. It feels like a man riddled with cancer and imprisoned in a cruel jail, being both organically cured through and through, and emancipated from his incarceration.

David George
David George
3 years ago
Reply to  tiffeyekno

The “dogma of religion” has been replaced by other dogmas and ideologies that brook no question as Alan says. Critical theory for example.
The path forward is the same as it always was:
“We must each adopt as much responsibility as possible for individual life, society and the world. We must each tell the truth and repair what is in disrepair and break down and recreate what is old and outdated. It is in this manner that we can and must reduce the suffering that poisons the world. It’s asking a lot. It’s asking for everything.”
“‱ Jordan B. Peterson, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos

Wilfred Davis
Wilfred Davis
3 years ago
Reply to  David George

The “dogma of religion” has been replaced by other dogmas and ideologies that brook no question.

This has been clear for some time now. Although the Woke may be at least partly motivated by good intentions, they are devotees of a secular religion.

All who seek to reason with this religion are to be anathematised and forced into submission, or annihilated as members of society.

Pamela Watson-Bateman
Pamela Watson-Bateman
3 years ago
Reply to  tiffeyekno

Much of what I have read suggests that while organised Christianity may no longer be the answer, we need some sort of institutional values to keep our society cohesive. The issues that we are suffering from are a result of a lack of central values.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago

it’s interesting how one of the defining characteristics of the diversity/inclusion crowd is purposeful exclusion. When you are lecturing people that they’re terrible solely on the basis of their skin color, you are exactly what you claim to despise. And when free speech requires an affirmative defense, that’s the opposite of inclusiveness.

Michael Whittock
Michael Whittock
3 years ago

As the Vice Chancellor was roundly defeated by the Faculty over a matter with which he is identified it is to be hoped he will do the decent thing and resign. Of course he won’t but he would be doing the University of Cambridge a great favour if he did. It would give an opportunity for a more careful appointment to be made. This situation highlights the fundamental importance of leadership in our institutions.

Charles Rense
Charles Rense
3 years ago

A university committed to fostering an environment of hostility and mutual antipathy sounds strangely intriguing. What are the admissions requirements?

Teo
Teo
3 years ago
Reply to  Charles Rense

What are the admissions requirements?

That you sign up to being “committed to ensuring an inclusive culture of mutual respect and tolerance” a statement that actually means fostering an environment of hostility and mutual antipathy.

Charles Rense
Charles Rense
3 years ago
Reply to  Teo

Touche.

Mark Gourley
Mark Gourley
3 years ago
Reply to  Charles Rense

Sounds like Peterhouse, Cambridge, in the good old days.

Benedict Waterson
Benedict Waterson
3 years ago

Ultimately faith in ‘progress’ is a hollow & meaningless faith, without some clear definition of conditions you hope to progress towards. It’s also worth wondering whether there is an optimum point for ‘Liberalization’ in liberal societies, after which pursuit of values surrounding freedom & autonomy alone becomes destructive and divisive — after which underlying social foundations have been corroded, & the time-old binding conditions of social capital and traditional meaning in those societies have been eaten away and hollowed out. Then the void underneath might begin to show, & hollow ideology bubble up to fill in the gaps.

David George
David George
3 years ago

Perhaps it’s an inherent flaw in post modern liberalism itself, a liberalism without limits, that tolerates or endorses even plainly mad ideas.
Not only shorn of it’s roots in Christianity and reason but openly hostile to them it’s a loose cannon, adrift and dangerous.

a b
a b
3 years ago
Reply to  David George

It’s hard to think of two less likely bedfellows than “…
Christianity and reason” in the same phrase.

Claire D
Claire D
3 years ago
Reply to  a b

And yet the two together created our legal and political systems, our schools, colleges and universities (which were pretty fine up until the 1980s), our hospitals, civil society and culture.
Funny that.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

Reason (logos) predates Christian by many centuries.

Claire D
Claire D
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

Indeed, it goes back to the Greeks, at least.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

It is pretty convincing – read Tom Holland – that Christianity together with some Greek thought – was a formative influence on the Western mind and culture. Which doesn’t mean of course that it is literally true. No other civilisation developed quite in the same way. It is pretty unlikely that Chinese or Islamic culture would put individual ‘feelings’ centre stage as we do. Unfortunately it does seem that ‘woke’ is a dysfunctional b*****d daughter of this tradition.

Claire D
Claire D
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

“some Greek thought” ? !
Seriously, from the 11th century onwards, as previously lost (after the fall of Rome) Classical – Greek and Roman, texts, began to filter into Europe, they were translated and shared by mainly monk and nun scholars in monasteries all over Europe, but particularly Spain (from arabic translations), France and England.

The classics became the bedrock of the education of children, who had to translate and learn Latin texts, including translations from the Greek, for several hours a day until it could be both written and spoken fluently. Does that still happen at all anywhere ?

So Classical Humanism (not the same as the modern sort) had a profound effect on our society and was hand in glove with the Church.

opn
opn
3 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

What you say applies to Aristotle. You underestimate earlier mediaeval awareness (not least through the work of Ss. Augustine and Ambrose) of ancient ideas, not to mention the capacity of earlier mediaeval authors to think for themselves – Fides quaerens intellectum, as S. Anselm put it.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

Spot on with your final sentence.

I disagree with Holland’s hypothesis. The Hellenes brought far, far more to the party than the somewhat exclusive Semites with their weird, neurotic ‘desert’ culture.

Just look at the extraordinary Semitic horror of nudity, sex, and even the human image,
compared to the ideas of the Hellenes for example, let alone any comparison of philosophical ideas and thought. Does the Bible really compare to the works of Socrates,Plato, and Aristotle?

It is more a case of an opportunistic pygmy clambering onto the shoulders of a Colossus.

Paul Booth
Paul Booth
3 years ago
Reply to  a b

Have you ever read Aquinas?

stephen f.
stephen f.
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Booth

No, he has not-but he is a great believer in “diversity” and “tolerance”, apparently…

David George
David George
3 years ago
Reply to  a b

We’re driven by feelings and emotions we often don’t fully understand and that are beyond reason alone. None of us are completely “masters of our own house” (to quote JP) , our lives are too short for one thing. We need both reason and religion to inform and guide us.
I say, specifically, Christianity because it’s primacy of the Truth and the sovereignty and divinity of the individual are the basis of the Enlightenment, the age of reason and the modern liberalism that sprang from them.
The unbordered, unreasonable and irreligious monstrosity that is post modern liberalism is a real danger to the culture that gave rise to it.

David George
David George
3 years ago
Reply to  a b

I recalled reading a very good essay on this a b: “Liberalism’s Christian Roots” on National Review. Found it, it might help with some of the apparent paradoxes between Christianity/reason and liberalism.
Excerpt:
“Siedentop, an emeritus Oxford fellow, argues that liberalism, secularism, human equality and natural rights, the social contract, and the shielding of the private from the public and of society from the state should not be treated as innovations of modernity in either of these ways. Instead we should understand these essential features of the modern West as products of Christianity itself.

For Siedentop, “Christian moral beliefs emerge as the ultimate source of the social revolution that has made the West what it is.” The peculiar insights and commitments of Christianity took many centuries of development to unfold in all their dimensions. But it is notable that Siedentop draws his story to a close with the 15th century: The foundations of liberalism were in place before the Renaissance and Reformation, before Machiavelli, Hobbes, and Locke, before the Enlightenment and the revolutions of the 18th century. Rarely does a revisionist history topple so many pillars of conventional understanding.”

“We would do well to remember whence we really came, to recover our own story, and to tell it all over again.”

Peter Dunn
Peter Dunn
3 years ago
Reply to  a b

You could always try thinking a bit more.

Wilfred Davis
Wilfred Davis
3 years ago
Reply to  a b

I’m not taking a position on that statement, but for anyone interested in the question, there’s plenty of literature out there. For example Science and Religion by Alister E McGrath (an Oxford Professor in religion and a science DPhil), and Science vs Religion by Elaine Howard Ecklund.

Michael Whittock
Michael Whittock
3 years ago
Reply to  a b

Reason is a creation of God who at a particular time in history became a man in Jesus Christ. Read John’s Gospel 1. 1- 14. The Word refers to Christ. The Greek word for Word is Logos and has several meanings including Reason. New Testament originally written in Greek.

Tim Knight
Tim Knight
3 years ago
Reply to  a b

Yawn.

Claire D
Claire D
3 years ago

Douglas, thank you for this reminder, it is grim.
Organisation is one answer I think, the Free Speech Union was a good start. If only academics would pull together more they might be able to refuse en masse to take part in this sinister nonsense, but perhaps that’s easier said than done.

Pamela Watson-Bateman
Pamela Watson-Bateman
3 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

If my university imposes this sort of thing I’ll have Douglas and Toby Young onto it quick smart!

Michael Whittock
Michael Whittock
3 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

I agree, but they need some moral strength and guts. And let’s get this in perspective they are mainly up against screeching kids just out of school.

a b
a b
3 years ago

A short time ago, in a universe not far from here, the term “multicultural” was shoehorned into discourse as a euphemism for “multiracial” when western societies were scarcely a generation from a war based on racism.
The credo, “all cultures are equal“, is demonstrably untrue.
IF (discuss,) it behooves the tolerant to tolerate the intolerant, on what grounds may they object to the intolerable, such as …insert abuse…?

Suttee? FGM? Anchoress?

Free Trade as Exploitation?
Have we gone so far down this rabbit hole as to be unable to climb back to fresh untainted air?
Or do we have to go through the whole ‘drink-me‘ trial & blunder routine?

Judy Englander
Judy Englander
3 years ago
Reply to  a b

The linguistic change went from multiracial (70s) to multi-ethnic (80s) to multicultural (90s), gradually eliding race into culture. I believe the ‘problem’ for those presiding over the change was that racial sub-groups were, generally, assimilating. It’s easy to forget that even Pakistani-origin immigrants were more culturally British than many today.

There was a need to construct and preserve new parameters of difference to keep the race-baiting industry alive, and also to deconstruct what had been a culturally unified nation. Assimilation is now a dirty word.

Al Tinonint
Al Tinonint
3 years ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

The reality appears to be less multicultural, than multiple-cultures, usually, and perhaps understandably, seeking their own enclaves in which to perpetuate their own culture, rather than integrate.

This is just as true of the natives.

.

Al Tinonint
Al Tinonint
3 years ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

P.S. I recall listening to an interesting radio programme about the Windrush generation.

So many of them stated that, having struggled against prejudice to integrate as much as possible, and having adjusted to, and embraced, a new, more free culture, without so many of the restrictions they had grown up with.

Then so many aunts and uncles, from an older generation, hearing about their progress, decided to follow them for what they believed to be an easier life, but on their arrival tried to perpetuate the culture they had left, and to re-impose all the restrictions the young pathfinders had come to escape, which they greatly resented.

.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  a b

one of the great ironies of the times in the US is how the same people who tout the wonders of multi cultural society are the very people who scream “appropriation” when the predictable consequence of multi-culturalism arises.

Al Tinonint
Al Tinonint
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

An excellent point.

Pamela Watson-Bateman
Pamela Watson-Bateman
3 years ago
Reply to  a b

“Multiculturalism” works better in some places than others. After WWII Australia took many displaced persons from all over Europe, including my sister-in-law. A scheme called the Good Neighbour Movement matched up immigrant families with local families. As Catholics, we were matched with a Polish family, and when I was born the Polish couple became my God-parents. They learned how to fit into Australian life, we all learned an awful lot about European culture too.

Most foreign born Aussies refer to themselves by their country of origin and their Australianess (Eg. Italian Australian, Chinese Australian etc). But they are always Australian first. On Australia Day (26 January) neighbours all get together and share their different foods and drinks, but they celebrate being Australian.

That doesn’t happen in the UK. Many ethnic communities keep entirely to themselves and don’t mix. A masters student of mine conducted research into buying habits of members of her ethnic community and found that even to the third generation, people still only dealt with people from their own community.

Peter Ian Staker
Peter Ian Staker
3 years ago

‘Yes. the ideology suffered a setback, when faced with an actual vote.’

And no doubt many of them regret allowing a democratic vote to take place, they would rather stay in their bubbles, assuming they are speaking common sense, for the majority. This is the difference between democracy and minority rule, by people with vested interests.

Isla C
Isla C
3 years ago

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) forum.. why do those words now make me shudder?

barrywall
barrywall
3 years ago
Reply to  Isla C

Because they will plonk themselves between funding and progress in STEM..

Judy Englander
Judy Englander
3 years ago
Reply to  Isla C

Because when you rearrange the order to Diversity, Inclusion and Equality (or Equity) you get DIE. Appropriate, no?

Benjamin Jones
Benjamin Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

Because it’s reminding you of ….. “War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.”

peterdebarra
peterdebarra
3 years ago
Reply to  Isla C

… because they are reminiscent of a chilling phrase writ in iron, arched over a Continental gateway, somewhere …

stephen f.
stephen f.
3 years ago
Reply to  peterdebarra

Yes…good one.

Bronwen Saunders
Bronwen Saunders
3 years ago

The proposed course is premised on the idea that there has been a breakdown of common decency and that racism and bigotry are being allowed to spread unchecked. Hence the need for remedial action. If I were a Cambridge employee, I would take exception to this. After all, the importance of politeness, of overcoming our baser instincts, of treating others with the respect and courtesy due to them as fellow human beings is something we learn in childhood and at school ““ along with personal hygiene and table manners. Imputing to mature adults an inability to behave properly is actually quite insulting and should be vigorously challenged.

Wilfred Davis
Wilfred Davis
3 years ago

Yes, it’s the extraordinary belief that they are the people who actually invented the idea of decency or fairness.

If you try even to suggest how tolerant and reasonable this country (UK) is compared with most places in the world, they simply conclude that you are some kind of moral imbecile or monster.

Dan Martin
Dan Martin
3 years ago

The Cambridge academics are also told that all staff must “undertake the following Equality and Diversity Training” which includes “Equality and Diversity Essentials” and “Understanding implicit bias”. The university has also apparently agreed that all staff should attend sessions on “Race awareness” and “Respect at work”.

These banalities were adopted by American corporations 10 years ago. It is nice to know that one of the most prestigious academic institutions in the world has finally caught up with Walmart.

Hammer Klavier
Hammer Klavier
3 years ago

“If you do not attend our training on “inclusiveness”, on which you are not allowed to express any disagreement, then we will exclude you from the University. (PS – But only if you are white, of course.)”

That pretty much sums it up, I think.

Al Tinonint
Al Tinonint
3 years ago

People whose sole job ” generally remunerated at a level noticeably
higher than that of an academic setting off on their career ” is to
enforce the “diversity and inclusion” agenda.

And Lo!

The Trussell Trust, doing great works with so little since 1997, running food banks all over the country for people who truly are in need, now feels the need, after manageing over 20 years without one, to blow a salary of £62,000 p.a., plus all the associated employment costs, on a Director of Diversity and Inclusion.

Yea verily, those whom the Gods wish to destroy, they first make mad.

.

Jonathan Oldbuck
Jonathan Oldbuck
3 years ago

All too true. Such is the deluge of degrading Newspeak emanating from CU each day that Douglas forgot to mention Toope’s despicable statement after the vote in which he – who has made it his mission to erode academic freedom – had the gall to celebrate the upholding of free speech with a straight face.

Alison Houston
Alison Houston
3 years ago

Here, in the comments section,
We are committed to ensuring
A culture of mutual antipathy and intolerance
Most hostile,
Every day we shall make a selection
Of remarks our fellows have made
And pour on them scorn and rejection
Because there’s nothing half so enduring
And guaranteed to make one smile,
As the feeling of satisfaction
One gets from being vile.

Isla C
Isla C
3 years ago
Reply to  Alison Houston

Having read some of your own previous posts, pot kettle black comes to mind.

stephen f.
stephen f.
3 years ago
Reply to  Isla C

-not to mention this post…

Michael Hobson
Michael Hobson
3 years ago
Reply to  Alison Houston

Yes, it’s particularly ironic in the comments section of a free speech campaigner, isn’t it? Opinionated carping doesn’t help that cause at all.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Alison Houston

Was it a Saluki, who invaded your video
or just a Whippet who tried to nick it,
in any event they stole the show,
and left us all in a bit of a thicket.

Andy Clark
Andy Clark
3 years ago
Reply to  Alison Houston

In the battle of ideas we may be intellectually the size of ants, but that is no reason to prevent is from being combat-ants.

As some fine fellows once purported :

M: I came here for a good argument!
O: AH, no you didn’t, you came here for an argument!
M: An argument isn’t just contradiction.
O: Well! it CAN be!
M: No it can’t!
M: An argument is a connected series of statements intended to establish a
proposition.
O: No it isn’t!
M: Yes it is! ’tisn’t just contradiction.
O: Look, if I *argue* with you, I must take up a contrary position!
M: Yes but it isn’t just saying ‘no it isn’t’.
O: Yes it is!
M: No it isn’t!
O: Yes it is!
M: No it isn’t!
O: Yes it is!
M: No it ISN’T! Argument is an intellectual process. Contradiction is just the automatic gainsaying of anything the other person says.
O: It is NOT!
M: It is!
O: Not at all!
M: It is!

(The Arguer hits a bell on his desk and stops.)

Daniel Björkman
Daniel Björkman
3 years ago

So why say ” why bother even to type out ” this verbiage about respect and tolerance? Why waste the time of intelligent people with such drivel?

To play devil’s advocate here: for the same reason Old Testament prophets kept saying that the Israelites needed to follow God’s laws, even though I find it hard to imagine anyone was saying that atheism was the way to go? Stating uncontroversial things is less about arguing their true/false status and more about declaring them to be priorities. Wokism, from the most charitable perspective, is the belief that we should actually do all those things that, for the past half a century, everyone has basically agreed that we ought to do but that we never seem to get around to doing very much of.

And before anyone jumps down my throat, I just yesterday got into a Facebook argument about that damn stupid Neil Gaiman quote about how political correctness = treating people with respect. I hate that damn motte-and-bailey crap too, okay? But when someone asks a question that’s supposed to be rhetorical but actually demonstrates a failure to understand the situation, I try to offer an explanation. Isn’t that what free speech is for?

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
3 years ago

Maybe because of the timing which was so cynical and designed to counter the decision on free speech immediately it was made. So yes, while they are entitled to free speech, any person can shoot holes through the motive and the agenda, which is to defend their jobs come what may. It is so reminiscent of the beginning of the control of HR in so many corporates – creating work to create an empire to create power and control in order to justify continued existence of the department.

barrywall
barrywall
3 years ago

So true

Al Tinonint
Al Tinonint
3 years ago

the belief thatwe should actually do all those things
Quite.

But why is it so often white people in positions of the greatest privilege who tell everyone else they’re privileged, but who never actually do anything like stand down from their privileged positions and hand them over to those they believe have been the victims of their privilege, but just go on posing and preaching sanctimoniously?

.

Michael Hobson
Michael Hobson
3 years ago

The lecturers’ and teachers’ unions should be speaking up about this. A tool is being handed to management to use against its work force. Either directly because of some asinine ‘wrongspeak’ or indirectly as perceived political incorrectness. The latter might adversely effect hopes of tenure or promotion, or might otherwise feed into some separate capability or disciplinary consideration.

vince porter
vince porter
3 years ago

We can only respect one’s right to hold an idea while the idea itself must be exposed to criticism, even ridicule. We can, of course, PRETEND to respect almost anything, including riding winged horses and transforming bread wafers into long dead bodies, but, snickering while doing so may minimize the respect. Is snickering on Professor Toope’s radar?

Alan Thorpe
Alan Thorpe
3 years ago

If the students think attitude is worth paying for it will continue. The only way I can see this changing if new, private universities can be set up that believe in free speech.

Basil Chamberlain
Basil Chamberlain
3 years ago
Reply to  Alan Thorpe

Why set up new universities when the shortest and simplest path is to reform and redeem the old ones? The ancient universities of Krakow and Prague survived the Communist era, after all.

William Cameron
William Cameron
3 years ago

Curious – that those who sell Diversity – promote the absolute opposite- only one view is right.

Peter Dunn
Peter Dunn
3 years ago

Words that leap out of this incisive&brilliant article include..”theyre paid to stay awake” .
Im so very glad to know Douglas Murray is out there thinking..

Peter KE
Peter KE
3 years ago

Good article. The government needs to tackle this issue head on by deleting the Equalities legislation, disbanding EHRC Quango, prescribing what is meant by the free speech requirements for universities and stop funding these areas of universities that are not pro-free speech and driven by the woke thug agenda.

The approach needs to be robust and this nonsense stopped. The woke should be driven out.

Jonathan Story
Jonathan Story
3 years ago

I agree 100%. Stopping it means mulling legislation from the books, especially the 1998 legislation derived from the MacPherson report.

Al Tinonint
Al Tinonint
3 years ago

Mr. Toope wants to ensure inclusion and diversity, as do so many of his ‘persuasion’. So I wonder how many BAME Vice-Chancellors have held the post before Mr. Toope.

The Guardian, September 2018
“UK universities making slow progress on equality, data shows
“There were 25 black women and 90 black men among 19,000 professors in 2016-17. Only a small fraction of UK university professors are black or minority ethnic”

(For further proof, see also:
Keeping the Ivory Tower White: Discourses of Racial Domination
Published online by Cambridge University Press: 18 July 2014)

So that’s around 0.6% of all male professors & 0.5% of all female professors being BAME, as opposed to around 14% in the population as a whole. The Ivory Towers appear to be a bastion of great white privilege.

As Mr. Toope is so concerned about his white privilege, will he do the decent thing and step down from his privileged position, insisting that a member of the BAME community take it over? Surely his conscience will not allow him to do anything other.

I await Mr. Toope’s leadership with baited breath.

.

R Perspectives
R Perspectives
3 years ago
Reply to  Al Tinonint

Are you statistics correct?

Table 1a Representation by ethnicity (All academic staff)
White 84%
Black 2%
Asian 10%
Other 4%

Table 1c: Percentage of academic staff that are professors by ethnicity:
White 11%
Black 3%
Asian 7%
Other 7%

Source: HESA (Higher Education Statistics Agency) staff record 2017/18

An article by Doug Stokes* (Professor in International Security and Strategy) quotes figures (for 2017/18) from the statistical reports done by the university quango ‘Advance UK’ (who use the data from HESA) which are very different to the ones you present; and which don’t signify such a major disparity.

And why should there, in any case, necessarily be equal outcomes according to the demographic proportions of different groups or categories of people in society?

Also, even if it was thought to be necessary/just etc, are other variables considered e.g.has the average age of the different demographic groups in society been compared? – there is a significant difference and this alone would likely to have a significant impact on representation in universities and at particular levels.

The last census, done in 2011, had the following average age by broad ethnic categories:
White = 41yrs
Black = 30
Asian = 29
Mixed = 18

* See The Critic September 2020
issue https://thecritic.co.uk/issues/september-2020/the-campus-grievance-i

Al Tinonint
Al Tinonint
3 years ago
Reply to  R Perspectives

Thank you for your response.

The figures I quote were from Advance HE, formerly known as the Equality Challenge Unit for 2016/17.

I’d be glad to post a link, but whenever I do, the post fails to be published, so I’m intrigued to know how you managed to do so. However you did it, I’m grateful for the link.

Addemdum: I’ve just tried, but can’t get the link to work. I don’t doubt it’s existence, as I, too, am a reader of The Critic, though didn’t see this article and would like to digest the figures in more detail.

.

Al Tinonint
Al Tinonint
3 years ago
Reply to  R Perspectives

And why should there, in any case, necessarily be equal outcomes
according to the demographic proportions of different groups or
categories of people in society?

My point is that Mr. Toope and his companions would presumably (I should never presume) argue that such a disparity is evidence of white privilege.

My suggestion is that if his belief is earnestly held, he can do something to help rectify such a situation.

But, then, I find it difficult to believe that you do not divine that point.

R Perspectives
R Perspectives
3 years ago
Reply to  Al Tinonint

Yes, of course (it was just the stats part).
—-

And, if you look at the composition of the senior management teams of Advance UK and Universities UK as far as I can see they don’t seem to reflect that well on what they advocate….. for others….

Nikki Hayes
Nikki Hayes
3 years ago

As my husband just said – these people will accept any kind of diversity other than diversity of opinion. I cannot understand how we got to this point of extreme intolerance to pretty much everything – and I weep for the future of the UK if we do not get a grip on the “woke” minority.

Andrew Halpenny
Andrew Halpenny
3 years ago

If it’s free, it has no value. So, demanding respect without more is non-sensical. Respect must be earned, not demanded: that was beaten into my young Army officer’s head by senior officers very early in my long career. It served me well.

Gary Cole
Gary Cole
3 years ago

‘Tolerance’ is an objective and universal value, the limits of which are only proscribed by the laws of the land. ‘Respect’ on the other hand is down to the one choosing to show it. If free speech is limited to that which subjectively deserves ‘respect’, then it’s very easy to gain control of the moral narrative. This is why the Cambridge result caused such hatred and gnashing of teeth in certain quarters – the ‘intolerant’ demanding respect appeared very quickly – but as Douglas says, the victory for free speech will be short lived.

Margaret Tudeau-Clayton
Margaret Tudeau-Clayton
3 years ago

For those who read French I recommend “L’Imposture décoloniale. Science imaginaire et pseudo-antiracism by Pierre-Andre Taguieff” a real wake up call to academics and intellectuals who are sleepwalking into this madness.

Andy Duncan
Andy Duncan
3 years ago

Is that translated?

Margaret Tudeau-Clayton
Margaret Tudeau-Clayton
3 years ago
Reply to  Andy Duncan

Not as far as I know. I wish someone woudl do a translation!! (It came out in October this year.)

Judy Simpson
Judy Simpson
3 years ago
Reply to  Andy Duncan

DeepL is a translation app that does a decent job – better than any other I’ve used.

Andy Duncan
Andy Duncan
3 years ago

Is this not just the same old same old faced by thinkers and those of independent mind for millennia? Hegel’s completion of the process by wedding his philosophies of good, true and right to the bureaucratic beginnings of the nation state has simply solidified this as a form, from which humanity seems unable to escape. All opposition having been incorporated into a universal system of knowledge. Political power likes to control knowledge and who gets to speak about what. Complaining that there is a state ideology interfering with institutions of knowledge, threatening to curtail free speech, whatever than is, is not far off complaining that water is wet.

Brigitte Lechner
Brigitte Lechner
3 years ago

Every conscious body is smarting under the wokeist yoke. It is driven by useful idiots directed by woke academics. Perhaps CU could grasp the postmodern nettle and deliver our culture from captivity.

Cynthia Neville
Cynthia Neville
3 years ago

Well written.

Sholto Douglas
Sholto Douglas
3 years ago

Being constantly berated for my covert racism is inexorably pushing me towards the overt kind. What do I have to lose?

Alan Girling
Alan Girling
3 years ago

Just over 20 years ago, I had a colleague who declared she was quitting our profession and going into ‘diversity’. At the time, I didn’t know what the hell she was talking about. What kind of career path is ‘diversity’? She got a job at the University of British Columbia, the same one Stephen Toope hails from. It all makes sense now.

David Jory
David Jory
3 years ago

A free market requires open competition to succeed. At present there is a monopoly in the market place and only Diversity and Inclusion are taught and paid for.
To achieve a proper market there should be Free Speech course and training paid for at the same rate
However, in the end it would better and cheaper to stop all excessive spending and cancel the lot.

VĂłreios ParatiritĂ­s
VĂłreios ParatiritĂ­s
3 years ago

We can only be free if we have the right to be unequal and the right to offend.

stevewhitehouse62
stevewhitehouse62
3 years ago

I will never give respect due to my service when u were supposed to respect a rank above u just because they had been given it..Anybody worth their salt earns respect. it is not given it is earnt..