Saturday, May 20, 2017

Curing the Campus PC Pox by ROBERT WEISSBERG

Today’s college campuses are hotbeds of anti-intellectual insanity—a world of micro- aggressions, trigger warnings, safe spaces, speech codes, cultural appropriations and mandatory sensitivity training where the slightest impolite utterance, regardless of intent or heartfelt apologies can result in harsh punishment. Can this be reversed? The answer is “yes” but this will require a devious pathway that begins by seemingly encouraging the opposite—yet more PC to, eventually, kill the beast. Let me explain.
Analyzing the PC distemper invariably focuses on a reign of terror by snowflakes, cupcakes and social justice warriors seeking to punish anything (“hate”) that might possibly offend anybody but particularly members of certain privileged categories.
Not true though it is absolutely correct insofar as these misguided airheads are the ones doing the actual damage.
What really drives this insanity is the absence of clear-cut rules regarding the PC-cosmology. Anarchy, not malevolence is the core of the problem, since nobody in advance knows that is hateful, let alone its punishment. Today’s campus PC disaster is the classic illustration of life without the rule of law. How can a Goodthinkprofessor escape the little Torquemadas if he has no idea of what they consider “offensive”? Life thus abounds with ever-changing wooly-headed rules, many invented on the spot with Kafkaesque variations. We obviously need a clear PC code that defines offensiveness and stipulates its punishment.
The solution requires each campus to create an assembly of students, administrators, professors and activists to formulate a “PC Code.” Now, unlike the American Constitutional Convention dominated by White Protestant Males (including 25 who owned enslaved persons), this Assembly of Social Justice Warriors (ASJW) will be a truly representative law-making body. The school will also pay students members generously and benefits will include free meals, trips and conferences. We cannot foresee its exact composition and final size (at least 500, hopefully), but it will certainly include representatives from multiple communities of color, the LGBTQIA community and practitioners of other erotic predilections such as S & M as well as those previously marginalized, stigmatized and voiceless, those associated with indigenous peoples (particularly if negatively impacted by climate change), and where feasible, delegates from the currently incarcerated community.
Then there are the Assembly’s procedural rules, for example, can a single delegate, thanks to intersectionality, represent more than one perspective. Might a disabled lesbian of color be counted as three votes? Voting rules are particularly important. Will each community vote en bloc or will members freely pick their unique identity per vote so our black disabled lesbian might align with fellow blacks on issue “A” but and with the disabled community on issue “B”?
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