College Snitches

by EDWARD CLINE May 19, 2017

The National Review ran a short piece, which, at first, I thought was a satirical piece by Katherine Timpf in the spirit of the Harvard Crimson, “U-Arizona is hiring-students-to tattle on others for ‘bias-incidents.’”

The University of Arizona is hiring students to be “social-justice activists,” [SJAs] and the job description demands that they “report any bias incidents or claims to appropriate Residence Life staff.”

In other words: These kids are being paid to tattle on other kids for anything they might consider to be a microaggression, and any students who gets these jobs should probably identify themselves so that other students will know to never invite them to their parties.

According to the university’s website, the official title of the position is “social-justice activist,” and it pays $10 per hour. They can expect to work about 15 hours per week, which, as the Daily Caller notes, means that they will be making roughly $600 per month to behave like self-righteous, meddling nightmares.

Before I blinked twice and realized Miss Timpf was reporting a fact, and wasn’t trying to be humorous, I wondered if the $600 a month stipend would go to reducing a student’s federal and/or state college loan, which will typically run in the tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of dollars, depending on the campus.

But, no, Miss Timpf was dead serious.

The SJA would not act as an ombudsman to negotiate resolutions between triggered emotionally hurt students and steely-eyed truth tellers. Nor would he act as a blockwart, which was a Nazi rank below gauleiter. He would be, frankly, a paid, contemptible snitch.  His job would be to turn in and stamp out individuals, not whole populations.

The University website, “Social Justice Advocates Recruitment Information,” informs us:

The Social Justice Advocates (SJA) Position is one that is grounded in the multicultural competency framework and allows student staff to gain the awareness, knowledge, and skills necessary to work effectively with students and residents across cultures and identities. The position calls for an understanding of social identity groups, experiences, histories, and practices as it relates to everyday life and life at the University of Arizona.

The position also aims to increase understanding of one’s own self through critical reflection of power and privilege, identity and intersectionality, systems of socialization, cultural competency and allyship as they pertain to the acknowledgement, understanding and acceptance of differences. Finally, this position intends to increase a student staff member’s ability to openly lead conversations, discuss differences and confront diversely insensitive behavior. 

The position also requires in a student an eagerness to accumulate brownie points in correct socialization in all spheres of human encounters, especially in those that wield political clout. In short, it asks the job applicant to become an informant, a spy, a back-stabber. It would also demand a requisite taste for instilling in fellow students a quantum of fear for having said something like “You guys!” instead of “You humanoids!” To instill fear in others, is to taste totalitarian power.

And this is something in rigid lockstep with the perilous and frightening trend on American campuses to discourage and suppress freedom of speech. The Europeans are veterans of the snitching rule which we Americans are getting accustomed to it. In Germany, France, Sweden, Britain, Austria, the Netherlands, and now even in Canada, a citizen can be hauled before a “human rights” commission or a magistrate or some other kangaroo court and charged with “hate speech” if his words have been reported to the “authorities” by politically correct “fingermen.” Mark Steyn’s Canadian experience is a teachable one. He can be assessed a hefty fine or taken to jail or both in addition to racking up a fortune in legal fees. It’s either that or the authorities will search for “fingerable” words spoken in a coffee shop or on the Internet. Totalitarian, bureaucratic drudges must find something to do to justify their salaries.

Daniel Greenfield on May `12th penned a first-class article on how the miasma of speech codes and “permissible” speech is turning universities into totalitarian indoctrination camps (and expensive ones, too), “The College Blueprint for a Totalitarian America.”

On campus, as in prison, there is safety in an identity group. Only the group has the power to protect you. But even within the group there is never any true sense of security. Intersectional tribalism is always being negotiated and renegotiated. The microaggression you condemn might very well turn out to be your own. No matter how oppressed you are, someone is always more oppressed.

The wrong joke, costume, idea, inference or even lack of eye contact can make you a criminal.

Innocence is not an option. The very concept of white privilege indicts you for crimes that you had no idea you were even committing. At worst, your very existence is an affront. And ignorance is no excuse. Whiteness, masculinity, femininity, heterosexuality and even Americanism are pre-existing crimes that require an endless process of atonement which by its very nature will always be incomplete.

You oppress by existing. To defend yourself is to further oppress your accusers by rejecting their pain. As in all totalitarian systems, your claims to innocence only deepen your guilt by challenging the moral authority of your accusers. The safest response is to confess and learn to love Big Intersectionality.

For the longest time, I was ignorant of the meaning of the term “intersectionality.” It was a bizarre neologism that meant little to me, except that perhaps it meant “transgenderism” to identify whether or not  one thought one was male or female or any one of fifty-odd other “genders.” But I found its loaded, top-heavy postmodern meaning on Wikipedia and wasn’t too surprised to learn that:

Intersectionality is a term coined by American civil rights advocate Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw to describe overlapping or intersecting social identities and related systems of oppression, domination, or discrimination. Intersectionality is the idea that multiple identities intersect to create a whole that is different from the component identities. These identities that can intersect include gender, race, social class, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, religion, age, mental disability, physical disability, mental illness, and physical illness as well as other forms of identity. These aspects of identity are not "unitary, mutually exclusive entities, but rather...reciprocally constructing phenomena." The theory proposes that individuals think of each element or trait of a person as inextricably linked with all of the other elements in order to fully understand one's identity.

That covers just about every class of contemporary “victimhood” but that of the multi-sexed lunar icecap-man. But if you are white and also are mentally disabled or mentally ill or have a speech impediment, then you’re excluded from the global “includability” class. And then you may be berated, sneered at, harassed, lambasted, or beaten up by an Intersectional Creature or by an Illegal Alien from Titan.

Greenfield goes on:

Microaggressions, safe spaces, tone-policing, identity caste systems, no platforming and the end of truth aren’t just some silly campus nonsense. They are the blueprint for the future of the United States.

Violence against free speech migrated from the campus to the city street. The rejection of truth and facts climaxed with rejecting the outcome of a presidential election. 

Imagine what tomorrow’s leaders would be like if they all got an education in North Korea. That’s the crisis we face today. The leaders of tomorrow are coming of age in the totalitarian campus states of today. When one of those polls emerge showing that 7 out of 10 college students want to ban offensive speech, it’s not a generational phenomenon so much as it is environmental indoctrination.

The left’s experiment in college totalitarianism has normalized an environment in which free speech and individual rights don’t exist, in which truth and facts were invented by imperialists, and in which a single cultural misstep can have shattering consequences for anyone who isn’t part of the right identity clique.

But is it campus nonsense? The injection of speech controls and identity politics into campus life is not nonsense; it is deadly serious, and intended, savored, and promoted by the Marxist postmodernists in schools and in academia to prepare young minds to obey and parrot and refrain from “triggering” anyone by opening his mouth about reality. It is introducing a constant neurosis of fear as a normal element of existence in daily life. The mind- and speech-managers want students whose minds have been made “right.” A student who would want to be an SJA is one whose mind has already been made “right,” by his grade and high school teachers.

Aristotle wrote that all men are born tabula rasa, that is, with minds that are blank slates until the man or his teachers write what is on the slate, from infancy through adulthood. The minds of modern American students have been scratched on or filled up by his collectivist teachers, with the main themes being contempt for rationality together with a necessity and desire to “belong.” Belong to what? To the group, to the collective, to the herd, whose mind would be a kind of gestalt, with no mind standing alone and separate from all others.

John Locke, the English philosopher, elaborated in Aristotle’s observation. Britannica writes:

A new and revolutionary emphasis on the tabula rasa occurred late in the 17th century, when the English empiricist John Locke, in An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1689), argued for the mind’s initial resemblance to “white paper, void of all characters,” with “all the materials of reason and knowledge” derived from experience.

Those 7 out of 10 college students who don’t want to ban “offensive speech” mentioned by Greenfield are exceptions to the rule today. They are, by the new campus standards, “fascists,” or “racists” or some other deplorable species of human being to be despised, ostracized, physically attacked, and even sneered at and punished by their teachers. They will be the principal targets of the SJAs.

Melanie Phillips writes of her experiences trying to speak at American and British universities in “Universities have caved in to dogma and thuggery.”

According to a survey by Spiked magazine, more than nine out of ten British universities restrict free speech in some way, clamping down on ideas, literature or guest speakers that fall foul of one shibboleth or another. The Wall Street Journal reported that in a survey of 800 US college students, 51 per cent supported speech codes. Dozens of people invited to speak on campus have had their invitations withdrawn or their presentations disrupted, while university staff have been harassed with accusations of racism, micro-aggression or cultural insensitivity.

Overall responsibility for this anarchy rests with faculty members and university authorities. Many universities have stopped being crucibles of reason and knowledge and turned instead into ideological battlegrounds on which protected groups promoting the demonization of white society or other presumed “oppressors” suppress any challenge to their dogma.

University authorities have actively assisted the culture of zero tolerance for opposing views. Lecturers have been disciplined for teaching ideas that fall foul of prevailing orthodoxies. Universities have cravenly given in to violence and intimidation. On many US campuses students are limited to small “free speech zones” in which to exercise the right to express their views. Failure to observe the limits of such zones can result in disciplinary action and even arrest….

In their book The Shadow University: the Betrayal of Liberty on America’s Campuses, Alan Kors and Harvey Silverglate write that the “shadow university” hands students a “moral agenda upon arrival” and subjects them to “mandatory political re-education”. Free and unfettered debate has been replaced by “censorship, indoctrination, intimidation, official group identity and group-think”.

The universities have steadily replaced education by the enforcement of dogma and then washed their hands of the intolerant results. The loss of freedom on campus is nothing less than the eclipse of reason, intellectual integrity and moral spine.

The U. of Arizona SJA should, as a successful applicant, fit right into the eclipse of reason, and, as a bright young thing, do well enough to be promoted to a position of directing that eclipse on campus and composing his own “moral agenda” to hand to freshmen. He’s got nothing to lose by being so obedient and eager, because there is no longer anything there to lose.

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Edward Cline is the author of the Sparrowhawk novels set in England and Virginia in the pre-Revolutionary period, of several detective and suspense novels, and three collections of his commentaries and columns, all available on Amazon Books. His essays, book reviews, and other articles have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, the Journal of Information Ethics and other publications. He is a frequent contributor to Rule of Reason, Family Security Matters, Capitalism Magazine and other Web publications.     


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