Ignorance kills the life of the mind.
But ignorance is only a symptom of what ails Middlebury, not the disease. Homophobe, misogynist, xenophobe, Islamophobe, sexist: These are but a few of the titles Middlebury students and professors bestowed on me. And the list is far from complete. Contemporary discourse has many more: transphobic, binarist, Eurocentric, ageist, logocentrist, white supremacist, and many others of which I lost track a long time ago. The result is that the space in which the human mind may safely roam gets smaller and smaller.
One is constantly in danger of crossing the red line. More and more topics are dangerous territory.
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A reflection, an insight, a clarification, or an argument may be taken for a criticism—which is not allowed. One cannot express even the mildest doubts about, say, feminism or homosexuality, without being accused of grave transgressions against political morality, so grave that the most humiliating apologies will not atone for them. The policing of thoughtcrimes is deadly to the intellect in another way as well: It corrupts the language in which we communicate with each other about reality. Take the statement issued by the Middlebury protesters after the incident:.
Yet there is method in this gibberish. A m I exaggerating? Am I unjust to the students and their faculty mentors, people who may be misguided but are sincere in their desire for a better world? Let us see what their better world would look like. I learned from this statement that Middlebury has two offices at least to monitor diversity, equity, and inclusion at the college. Student activists seem to find it an undue burden to have to do the work of policing invited speakers.
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They insist that the institution do their bidding. And Middlebury is not an anomaly. Similar bodies are everywhere, at every college, university, and corporation in the U. The growing power of these offices would not be possible without the corruption of language. Diversity, equity, and inclusion have ceased to mean what they always meant and now mean the opposite. They now mean rigidity, dogmatism, conformity, intimidation, control, arbitrariness, and censorship. At Middlebury, diversity is monopoly, equity bias, and inclusion censorship.
The corruption of language, the omnipresence of stifling ideology, and the triumph of power over reason are not exclusive to this otherwise charming town in Vermont, but have infiltrated public spaces throughout the West. But I would not like to finish on a pessimistic note. Having experienced life under totalitarianism, I know that change begins when people cease to fear the system. Perhaps their stand will mark the beginning of the end of our present Dark Age, which has for too long kept too many in intellectual and moral subjection.
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Video Podcasts. They write: We recognize that students worked hard and transparently to plan a non-disruptive event that would remain within the bounds of our protest policy. We planned to create a non-disruptive, respectful counter-space to create a place of healing and inclusivity in the face of prejudice. Here is one of the demands that the SGA Student Government Association at Middlebury made after the incident: Any organization or academic department that invites a speaker to campus will be required to fill out a due diligence form created by the Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in coordination with the SGA Institutional Diversity Committee.
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