Britain’s students will become the wokest generation
Don't expect them to abandon illiberalism
A survey from the respected, Left-leaning Higher Education Policy Institute (Hepi) shows that British undergraduates have caught up with the craziness of their North American counterparts. If policymakers don’t act quickly, Britain is likely to become a substantially less free society.
The Hepi report finds that 61% of British students think that “when in doubt” their university “should ensure all students are protected from discrimination rather than allow unlimited free speech”. Just 17% back the free speech position. This 61-17 slant represents a big change from the already illiberal 37-27 margin recorded in 2016.
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Among the other findings:
- The proportion of students who think academics should be fired if they “teach material that heavily offends some students” is 36% (over double the 15% in 2016), with just 32% opposed
- 39% believe student unions ‘should ban all speakers that cause offence to some students’ (more than double the 16% figure in 2016), with just 31% opposed
- 76% think universities should “get rid of” memorials of potentially controversial figures
- 77% think there should be “mandatory training for all university staff” on “understanding other cultures” (up from 55% in 2016)
- 64% think universities should “consult special interest groups” such as religious or gender societies before holding campus events (up from 40% in 2016)
- 86% support trigger warnings and 62% back safe spaces
This is nothing short of revolutionary, but it echoes findings from the United States which reveal a similar generational earthquake. Even when controlling for younger people’s Left-wing leanings, Gen-Z and younger Millennials are substantially more in favour of speech restrictions than older cohorts. That is, young Leftists are considerably more woke than older Leftists.
High culture’s dominant ideology is what I have termed cultural socialism or “social justice”. Resting on the “care/harm” and “fairness” moral foundations, it is defined by the desire to protect historically marginalised race, gender and sexuality groups from psychological harm, and to eliminate “systemic” power differentials between these identity groups. Its religious form is known as wokeness. For cultural socialists, social justice aims take precedence over cultural liberalism, which I define as freedom of expression, equal treatment of individuals under the law, scientific truth, merit and due process.
Universities are distinctive in bringing together two of the most culturally socialist groups in society, students and academics. Academics in Britain have a 5:1 Left to Right tilt, rising to 9:1 in the social sciences and humanities (SSH). Students lean Left by around 3:1, with a higher ratio in SSH subjects. The two come together in a campus environment where “social justice” concerns around equity, diversity and inclusion heavily dominate over classical liberal themes.
Will these young people grow out of their progressive illiberalism? It’s unlikely. Researchers used to find that younger and university-educated people were more tolerant of all kinds of speakers, from militarists and gays to communists and racists, compared to non-graduates and older people. This is no longer true.
Meanwhile, other researchers find that young graduates who once were more morally relativist than non-graduates are now more morally absolutist. One study compared Smith College students on a set of free speech questions in 2000 and 2016, and found a major shift toward the illiberal, culturally-socialist position. Generation, not age, explains the difference — which is why we should not expect today’s young people to grow out of their wokeness.
“…university-educated people were more tolerant of all kinds of speakers…”, that’s because university educated people used to be of a higher calibre than they are now. Let’s be honest, when 50% of your people go to university it’s not a very high bar. At 10% you can feel confident they can actually do the hard thinking, at 50%… well, you’re barely above average.
When Hayek wrote The Road to Serfdom, he feared that freedom-loving democracies might arrive at that destination by accident, the unintended and unforeseen effect of adopting socialist policies. He didn’t imagine that they might actually choose serfdom.
I’d argue that 40 years of neoliberal economics, with its stagnant wages and soaring asset prices along with ever expanding inequality has done more to take us back to serfdom than the left leaning economics it replaced. When you have full time workers whose entire pay packets go towards basic living costs, who need government assistance simply to pay the bills and who have been priced out of ownership of a family home (the main source for most of ever owning capital) then I believe we’re closer to serfdom than we have been for many generations
The thing with Wokedom is that it’s not coming from the poor and down-trodden but the rich and well-connected. It’s a method of control imposed from above upon the working poor. Anti-racism was not set up to combat racism; it was in fact designed to exacerbate racial tensions between groups. It’s basically a divide-and-conquer tactic cynically employed by those who were worried about Occupy Wall Street.
I agree with you, it’s been embraced by these large companies because it’s no threat to them.
Hanging a couple of rainbow flags up costs them nothing, whereas paying their workers enough to live on means they wouldn’t be able to afford that second Aston Martin they so desperately need
In some respects, the ‘abortion’ issue is the same. In the USA, dozens of companies are offering thousands of dollars to accommodate abortions – transportation, services etc – everything to keep the employee at work. Many don’t offer the same for women who choose to have children…a tad creepy, if in fact this is their MO.
It also keeps the race relations industry (RRI) in business. With President Obama there was talk of ‘post-racial’ America – which would have bankrupted the RRI. So it had to proclaim ‘critical racial theory’ to keep itself going. Now that white racism is officially ineradicable, the institutional anti-racism of the RRI is a permanent fixture, offering lifetime careers in lucrative virtue-signalling.
If it was cynically employed it would be easier to combat.
The problem is that it’s not usually cynical, but based on being a True Believer, in which the mind is corrupted by self interest in the name of compassion.
It’s this which makes it impenetrable and far more dangerous than simple cynicism.
It’s like arguing with people wedded to the idea that the victim must be bled in order to cure it, and insist, after the patient is long dead, that the problem was that he was not bled enough.
I think there’s truth to what you’re saying. I believe it to be a combination. It’s definitely not bad for business unlike traditional left, so there’s immense value in guiding leftists towards cultural issues. But take the trans issue. If you believe that affirming response is saving lives, then encouraging children to hormone therapy/surgery is helping them. If you don’t believe, then you’re doing irreversible damage to children and mutilating them at an early age. You can see woke parents (e.g. US journalists) talk about their trans children. This would be hard to sustain without being a true believer given the stakes.
Yes, I confirm that many upper-class Americans are contemptuous of the working class (white) who they have often never met, except in the pages of the New York Times or on CNN where they are routinely sneered at or demonized.
If you’re a parent, you must quite simply refuse to finance your kids’ degree course. It’s not as if they learn anything useful now.
The prospect of going to war over this with our own children and grandchildren is not something I want to contemplate. Better to cede and let them go their own way on this, as we oldies slowly fade away. If they want to create a hell on earth of their own making while simultaneously putting the blame on us as climate and earth wreckers (which they undoubtedly will do), I’m not at all sure we should be the ones to stop them.
You’re a Liberal capitulator and coward, and part of the problem.
No I think that’s a pragmatic stance as a parent. But I can see there’s also a sense of…well I’ll be dead and gone. Also, what if your child is also out of sympathy with the times?
Respectfully disagree, Prashant. As a parent who has made countless mistakes with some pretty dopey thinking in the past,i feel obligated that my kids not do the same. The younger generation is begging for guidance and all we’ve heard is silence from the oldies. There still exists a wisdom from older people that seems to be missing.
I work at a university and would consider it a failure on my part as a parent if my son goes to university. There are other more enlightened universities appearing, but I think we need a shake up, and soon. If we could figure out how to loosen the grip of credentialism, we might be able to let these now rotten corporate teaching bodies bleed out.
My daughter had a happy and successful time at university, graduating five years ago just as the present insanity was taking root. I wouldn’t want her to go now, and am very glad my son decided not to.
Perhaps solace can or may be gained from the statistical evidence that graduates become wage slave, obedient careerists who need to be employed by someone else, and entrepreneurs who own the wealth, as has always been the case, often leave school at 16 and create the vision, and are not graduates…. and how many radical woke solicitors, and accountants does one actually hear of ( not, in my case meet, as Thank God I do not know any!)
This is extremely depressing to read. I was at university from 2010 – 2013 and our lecturers by contrast encouraged us to debate and challenge our classmates and themselves so long as you weren’t being deliberately racist, anti-religion, sexist, homophobic etc. Even if you said something that could be interpreted as such, you could withdraw it unless you clarified your point.
Just what exactly happened where we have ended up where we are within a decade of this? We need to understand why and how this has happened so we can save future generations from this madness.
I would like to see a differentiation by subject. Are the arts the same as, say engineering or medicine?
I can confirm that things are in a bad way in the Sciences. I was asked to complete a survey of gender equality in Mathematics recently. I absolutely support gender equality in Mathematics (and all areas of life). But in order not to offend certain groups, “prefer not to say” was one of the survey options for the respondent’s gender. How can we address gender inequality with such an incomplete survey? Indeed, as biological sex (childbirth, childrearing, caring, etc.) is the driver of most if not all workplace gender inequality, the initiative is doomed if biological sex is off-limits for analysis and discussion.
I am not sure I agree. “Prefer not to say” is not the same as “none of the above” or “other”. Quite often when I am asked to complete the ethnic background questionnaire I reply “prefer not to say” (primarily because I don’t understand the questions).
In your example maybe someone thought that some respondents might find the sex question meaningless or demeaning (like, why should I be judged according to my sex?). In this context “prefer not to say” is an acceptable answer.
On a slightly related topic, this morning I was trying to access my GP’s online booking system and I was asked for my sex*.
When you clicked on the * a pop up window would open explaining that they wanted your sex at birth. I wonder how much flak they got for it 😀
Well, in a survey about gender equality (for mathematicians), the idea that you could not state your gender and still participate in the survey is not very logical.
Indeed, there were five possibilities for a the respondent’s gender in the survey, including “prefer not to say”. To which one of the young graduates referenced in the article might say, “Only five possibilities, I am outraged…” Meanwhile, a very senior Irish politician has invited ridicule by testifying to the Scottish Parliament that there are now nine genders in Ireland (not 10 or 8, but 9, precisely).
Hahahaha, I have read about the senator.
So what were the 5 possibilities? And, more to the point, what happened to the other 4?
Some mistake, surely?
“BBC staff have been told there are more than 150 genders, and to develop their “trans brand” by declaring their pronouns on email signoffs.” (According to the Telegraph.)
If gender is the outward social expression of our biological maleness or femaleness, then there are at least 7 billion genders. So a truly accurate form about gender and gender identity ought to be very long indeed.
‘prefer not to say’ is also another way of saying ‘none of your business.’ Hence its my normal response, not only to questions regarding gender or ethnicity, but to pretty much everything.
If you want to remove the ability of diversity officers to do their job, just put prefer not to say on questionnaires. I rememeber watching a parliamentary committee session where it was implied that it only takes about 20% of respondents doing this to render the stats collected pretty meaningless for ‘equity’ considerations.
If it’s a handwritten survey, just scrawl the words “ZERO WOKE TOLERANCE” across the page in biro.
I don’t trust that any data I choose to provide on my gender will be used correctly. Too many organisations use the data selectively and/or represent these data as “failures of achieving equity”.
I just refuse to feed the monster ….
How come the longer they stay in education, the more stupid they become?
I think the taxpayer needs their money back!
Speaking anecdotally from my experiences of being a college lecturer, tertiary education now seems to merely extend childhood. Couple with this the new psycho-sexual warfare being waged on young children and what you see happening are young adults trapped in a state of arrested development. This is further exacerbated by university administrators whose job is to ensure that students have a satisfactory educational experience i.e. pander to students’ egos and remove obstacles that prevent them from graduating smoothly.
I’ve recently left higher education and am busy setting up my own HR consultation agency.
“Some ideas are so stupid that only intellectuals believe them” – George Orwell.
Two thoughts, unfortunately contradictory:
• Might the Woke, like the ‘soixante-huitards’ famously did before them, settle down, start work, have kids and gradually lose their fire?
• Or has society, Gramsci-style, actually created a class of social justice warriors who will carry the torch into the future?
Perhaps those positions are not even so mutually contradictory. I’m thinking of the ferment of ideas that led, eventually, to the Reformation in all its forms (and they were myriad; legion, if you prefer) and the Counter-Reformation, which was, despite Protestant propaganda, never just reactionary.
If so, and we believe that there is something precious in preserving Enlightenment values, how do we fight back?
Unfortunately, your first notion isn’t proving correct. It’s where the Wokedom in companies comes from – not from outside pressure, from Twitter etc. (though it’s still a component), but from inside the company. These people are out in the world and still have the same ideological outlooks.
Gramsci’s ‘Long March’ is reaching fruition.
Come now, folks. Forget Gramsci and Red Rudi. They had no power. And forget socio-economic causation. Those underlying strata have not changed in any significant measure.
Look at the time frames — this is all social media induced group-think.
And it is driven by immigration-accelerated white guilt.
The young respondents are eye-locked onto screens which feed them fantasies of a perfect inner self waiting to be freed, as opposed to your pseudo-universal culture that lacks the confidence in itself to even take its own side in a argument.
When you promote autonomous individualism — and social media does so by its very nature — the results must be both libertarian individuals and a totalitarian government to protect all those beautiful eccentric spirits whom “society,” or the church or “institutional racism” want to marginalize.
Do you want to change this? Then go after the laws which permit social media to monetize your and your children’s very existences.
“When you promote autonomous individualism — and social media does so by its very nature — the results must be both libertarian individuals and a totalitarian government to protect all those beautiful eccentric spirits whom “society,” or the church or “institutional racism” want to marginalize.”
I see this as the exact opposite of the truth. If you are under any impression that ‘social media’ promote ‘individualism’ I merely conclude that you are deluded.
I disagree, Arnold. Socail media drives “social” competition; all of the kids desperate for their lives to appear more interesting and glamorous than anyone else’s when they know behind the screen is someone they feel is worthless in comparison to all of the other glamorous profiles proclaiming their wonderful lives. It drives marcissistic behaviours but undermines confidence. The reason we see WOKE so widely adopted is that it provides a common cause for the millions of youths who feel isolated by their inadequacies when compared to the other fantasy worlds displayed by their peers, and who believe their resulting fragile egos should be protected from “harmful” views and opinions. Like smoking, all social media sites should have a splash page at login that warns social media will damage your health, both mental and physical as it so often leads to isolation.
This is interesting, because it implies something very disturbing: that even if you take groupings of people across time and space, and feed them conditions that at a high level of granularity are very similar (high levels of education, material prosperity, etc), you don’t get values sets in the population at the aggregate level which are similar. The proof is the current young generations in some western countries, who are literally reinventing themselves as a precursor to a dystopian theocracy in front of our eyes. It is possible that diving into different levels of granularity of the environment in which the generations grow up will yield an answer, but somehow I doubt it. I suspect the answers lie in a different space, not directly to do with causal effects.
I’m afraid I don’t understand what you’re talking about. What is “diving into different levels of granularity of the environment in which the generations grow up”?
I mean by that a bunch of metrics at a more subtle level other than just high level measures like prosperity and training. I guess I’m asking the question: what creates resilience, robustness, strength of character to go against the grain (and against the mob) and so on, that differentiates societies at that level.
Example, a few decades ago, German companies set up factories in Turkey and other places where both quality of output and productivity levels were much lower than their German factories, despite applying exactly the same principles, processes and trainings for the workforce. Then, they grafted people from those other factories into German factories, and lo and behold, both quality and productivity at both individual and aggregate levels improved such that the output of the non German workers was indistinguishable from German workers. So clearly something was different, even if difficult to pin down. This phenomenon was a thing, and I used to try and find whatever I could find about it, but I never saw anyone reach definitive conclusions.
I am interested in that ‘something’ because societies and nations go through streaks when they become spectacularly innovative, or productive or even just plain lucky, and this coincides with periods when they produce one or more generations that throw up bunches of ‘great souls’ all grouped together – and then it all stops. This article kind of indicates, those societies get to the point where they suddenly throw up one or more generations that activity and diliberately reject their own past and kill their own winning streak. I am interested in what causes that, and if we are witnessing just such a period in front of our very eyes in the West.
“I am interested in that ‘something’ because societies and nations go through streaks when they become spectacularly innovative, or productive or even just plain lucky, and this coincides with periods when they produce one or more generations that throw up bunches of ‘great souls’ all grouped together – and then it all stops. This article kind of indicates, those societies get to the point where they suddenly throw up one or more generations that activity and diliberately reject their own past and kill their own winning streak. I am interested in what causes that, and if we are witnessing just such a period in front of our very eyes in the West.”
That’s a very interesting question, and I think part of the answer might be opportunity. For example, the Victorian era saw many important scientific and technical breakthroughs that spurred further innovation and opened new opportunities. It was also a time of colonialism which is now decried but which, viewed objectively as a process, provided much opportunity to citizens of the colonizing powers. Great souls appeared because they had great issues to work on: the reordering of a more prosperous society, the development of new technologies, the development and management of expanding global trade, a philosophical underpinning for how to structure a growing society based on all these changes.
Today we live in a period of stagnation. So many young people lack significant career opportunities if they do not possess the aptitude for STEM or finance. Western countries are overcrowded and the earth has been thoroughly explored, colonized, and now decolonized. There is, in a real sense, nowhere for the young to go. So they reject the society that appears to be rejecting them, and the dominant philosophy is one of nihilism.
That’s my 2 cents for what it’s worth.
I certainly agree the Gen-Zees are under psychological pressure, which appears to have led to some form of collective mass anxiety complex (eg the obsession with safety both physical and emotional). It also has to be admitted that various strata amongst us older generations are the ones responsible for creating narratives of climate and earth resources doom, which they have bought into, and is perhaps what has generated that nihilistic atmosphere. What the younger generations appear not to have noticed, is that the pushing of those narratives amongst older generations (like the cabal of left-leaning professors and academics) is essentially a cynical game played out over years, to bring about political change.
“Great souls appeared because they had great issues to work on: the reordering of a more prosperous society, the development of new technologies, the development and management of expanding global trade, a philosophical underpinning for how to structure a growing society based on all these changes.”
As neat a description of Fascism as I’ve ever heard. And you think this is a positive? Good grief.
Fascism is anti-democratic militarised state-worship. I don’t see much indication of this in the paragraph you quote.
I’ve felt this somewhat too, and it’s strange. It calls into question the degree to which it could be possible to set up a fairly stable political culture.
Maybe it’s just the inevitable degradation of matter over time?
This is the 51st state.
The BBC wants to be MSNBC and make programs for the woke Anglosphere not license-payers, Oxbridge apes the Ivy League and critical theory is widely adopted along with the neo-racist texts by Robin DiAngelo and Ibram X Kendi, and our actors and pop artists copy US performers, weighing in on Supreme Court, proving they don’t understand the issues.
So why are we still subsidising them?
and to think that these extremists will filter into the judiciary, via the legal profession: one only has to look at the names of the published lists of those passing Bar finals to get an idea of who is dominating…. Can’t say more than that as I will be arrested for hate crime…
I don’t believe the author knows about Chile’s University Student protest movement. Nothing critical is written in English about the miracle of South America’s nose-dive into wokism that precipitated the global trend. The catchcry of the cultural revolution, launched with the arson attack on 20 Metro stations in 6 hours on 18 October 2019, is “ït’s not 30 pesos ( the 4c public transport fare rise), it’s 30 years” of Neoliberalism dictatorship. Two events had precipitated the unprecedented violence and destruction unleashed on this day. The University Student lead May Feminist Rebellion in 2018 that gave birth to the toxic transfeminist’s global anthem El Violador en Tu Camino (a rapist in your path) and the Secondary School Student EVADE campaign that peaked 14-18 October 2019. The “civil disobedience” of the mass secondary school students’ ambush of Metro Stations, tearing down Metro gates, ticket machines, and turnstiles to throw on the tracks, was first seen in the 2006 Penguin Revolution, named after their school uniforms. The Manga animation by the same name and released in the same year would have to wait until 2019 to appear in Plaza Baquedano, Santiago de Chile, with Molotov in hand. Plaza Baquedano was also the 2019 setting for the global release of The Rapist in Your Path. In the order of this singalong chorus, this choreographed mass performance for a global audience, pointed directly to the Police, the Judges, the State and the President assembled in the line-up for this metaphoric firing squad. When the former President of the Chilean College of Architects, Sebastian Gray said in 2020 that President Piñera should be taken to Plaza de Armas and guillotined, he was also speaking metaphorically in ACAB, the Newspeak of 21C. But this was not the best performance in Plaza Baquedano. It was the university student’s allegation of the Police having a torture centre in Metro Baquedano, proven to be timely on 21 October during the State of Emergency and proven false through proper legal procedure 7 months later. On 21 October, the Metro Entrance was turned into a dump for ransacked barricade material, a pyre to purify the public place, and then a quarry to make missiles for the ongoing cultural war in the streets, focussed on Plaza Baquedano and its surrounds now called Ground Zero. The best sexual preference performance went to the University student who was arrested while looting a supermarket during the State of Emergency and alleged he was raped by Police in a Police cell. It turned out the evidence of sexual penetration had been consensual, before the looting and the university student couldn’t identify the police station of the alleged rape. The bridge of this was in January 2020 when the next generation of secondary school student Penguins launched the “Boycott” of the university entrance exam with burning barricades, fueled with exam papers and violently intimidating and student who wanted to sit the exam. This was the first time in Chile’s history the exam was postponed and it was during the height of the urban insurrection begun on 18 October, 2019. Then COVID. ACAB Newspeak is intergenerational and universal, transfeminist friendly and easy to learn. It is taught in universities and written in history books as the current democracy is a continuation of the Dictatorship (1973-1989). Chile returned to democracy in 1990 and the current generation was the main supporters of the protest for just social causes 2019-2022. This is the highest educated generation in Chile’s history. University education quadrupled since 1990 and 70% of the places are taken by students who are the first members of their family to enter higher learning. 60% of the poorest students are on scholarships. The unprecedented violence and destruction unleashed on 18 October 2019 extorted the November 15 2019 Peace Accord and New Constitution. On International Women’s Day 2021, as the sisterhood gathered around the Monument to General Baquedano, two full body and head covered, jumpsuit wearing males tried to cut the statue down with angle grinders. The National Council of Monuments removed the 1928 monument the following week. When 1000 rioters destroyed the protective shield around this emptied plinth and the tomb of the Unknown Soldier at its base on the second anniversary of the urban insurrection 18 October 2021, the National Council of Monuments exhumed the Unknown Soldiers remains to protect them for National posterity. The referendum for the new Constitution, to be held on 4 September 2022, will decide whether the new Constitution, drafted with the aforementioned hate and envy will be adopted. It is the first vote to be compulsory since 2012. The draft new Constitution’s first article states that Chile is Plurinational. Transfeminism’s non-gender education is a main objective of the newly elected Boric Government together with on-demand, free, safe abortion which some of his supporters want up until 9 months. Boric supports the new Constitution even if he’s not allowed to say and launched the Constitutional Civic Education campaign that his Government named “We Make History”. Boric’s demonstrable historic achievement was having more than 50% of his cabinet and ministers, female. Touch this topic and you will be publicly lynched. He cannot claim anything untouchable about his first 100 days. There has been no critical analysis of Chile’s triple A-normality. I cannot put this down to the language barrier. Boric was named in the TIME 100 most influential people for 2022. Lastesis and the Rapists in Your Path were named in the 2021 list.
It’s the perfect storm in Chile of a University Student Protest Leader (who never graduated with his law degree specialising in Human Rights) becoming President after unprecedented violence and destruction he supported and extorted a new Consitution which his student lead cultural revolution depends upon to succeed. Two months out from the vote, the vote to reject is growing and just topped 50% and rising. Common sense through democratic processes may yet save the day.
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