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Theresa May: Campus PC Is Bad for Britain

The Puritans left Britain for the United States in the 17th century, but their 21st-century secular successors have a growing influence back in the motherland, and the Prime Minister is concerned. Inside Higher Education reports on Theresa May’s comments condemning the influence of PC campus purists:

Britain’s prime minister on Wednesday criticized “safe spaces” in universities, saying she finds the concept “quite extraordinary,” The Guardian reported.

“We want our universities not just to be places of learning but places where there is open debate which is challenged and people can get involved in that,” Theresa May said during a weekly session in which the prime minister answers questions from members of parliament. “I think everybody is finding this concept of safe spaces quite extraordinary, frankly. We want to see that innovation of thought taking place in our universities.”

“That’s how we develop as a country, as a society, and as an economy, and I absolutely agree with my honorable friend,” May said in response to a question posed by a conservative member of parliament, Victoria Atkins.

American universities have played a larger role in developing the new PC ideology and vocabulary than British ones. But cultural globalization has ensured that there are now young academic activists demanding trigger warnings and safe spaces across the Anglosphere.

Kudos to the Prime Minister for repudiating this destructive tendency to quash free debate. Ideological stigmas and taboos should be the domain of the church, not the Ivory Tower.

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  • Jim__L

    Now there’s a pleasant surprise — Europeans pushing back against the American Left!

    Pity about the gratuitous slam against religion at the end. Are there still some interns who aren’t housebroken yet?

    • Observe&Report

      I second that.

      However, I would point out that organised religion has a much longer history of suppressing ideological dissent than does the secular left, an unsavoury track record continued by Islam up to the present day.

      • Jim__L

        Only because the secular Left (including the likes of Lenin) has a shorter history.

        But not that much shorter. Let me share with you some history of what happened when Islam decided to secularize over a millennium ago. A group that decided that the Koran should be seen as the word of men instead of the word of Allah, thought that the best way to do proselytize was to torture and kill anyone who did not agree with them. This effort was known as “Al Mihna”, and the group was known as the “Mutazilim”, and has given religious (or, indeed humane or self-interested) Muslims about as much of a taste for secularization as Enlightenment philosophers had for the Spanish Inquisition.

        I’ve pointed out before, I suspect that religious Muslims will make peace with secularization (like al Mihna) about the same time as atheists make peace with the Catholic Church — on the grounds that those crimes happened centuries ago, and the various players aren’t actually calling for a return to those policies.

      • Frank Natoli

        True, when organized religion had temporal power, which has not been the case for Christianity in centuries and for Judaism in millennia. But there is one organized religion which in the present wield substantial temporal power.

  • FriendlyGoat

    I have to wonder why in the world ideological stigmas and taboos would be good for a church it they are presumed to not be good for a university.

  • Beauceron

    They are about a decade behind the US– mainly because the US, in that age bracket, is about half non-white, while Europe is still largely European.

    But that will change. There were conservatives who raised the alarm as the Left marched their way through our institutions. They were denounced as racists and bigots. The same will happen in the UK.

    • f1b0nacc1

      May I suggest you enjoy Peter Hitchens (brother of Christopher) brilliant (and quite depressing) book “The Abolition of Britain”?
      The Brits have been suffering from this disfiguring disease for quite a long time, as it happens…

      • Beauceron

        Yes, perhaps. But you are far behind the US. You must change even more rapidly and more dramatically.

        Look at the US. In 1985 we were 83% white. That has dropped an incredible 20% in just over 30 years and we are now 63% white. In another 30 years we will drop another 20% to 45% white.

        The UK still has a shockingly high white population. I mean, it’s like 88% or something. Diversity is strength. If you don’t change you’re racist.

        • f1b0nacc1

          By the way, I am an American…living here in Kansas City…
          I don’t fetishize diversity, but I don’t see ethnic diversity as harmful in and of itself as long as it is accompanied by assimilation. Where we as Americans have failed is that we have jettisoned assimilation while embracing diversity for its own sake. This was in fact why I recommended Hitchens book (aside from it being a cracking good read, if you haven’t read it, you owe yourself the pleasure), he identified the roots of the problem in a way that I think you would find very close to your own analysis.

          There is a wonderful quote that I will paraphrase here (I don’t know the source, would cite it if I did): “You can have multiculturalism, liberal immigration, or democracy….pick any two”

          • Beauceron

            You are not even allowed to use the word “assimilation” anymore. It’s racist.
            So, since we cannot even talk of assimilation or integration anymore, we are certainly not going to have get people actually assimilating.
            You have to change for them. They do not have to change for you. Those are the rules, and we all know them.
            I live in Manhattan, so I am on the front lines a bit more than you are in KC.
            We must change for them. That’s just the way it is.

          • f1b0nacc1

            Manhattan isn’t too far away….oh, you mean that one on the East Coast?….

          • Jim__L

            We should use the word assimilation as much as possible, to get it back into the parlance. Ignoring the shrill accusation of racism is essential to rational discussion these days.

            I’m in Silicon Valley. I seldom open conversations with a challenge; but it’s surprising how often those challenges can be worked into conversation once some common ground is established.

          • Beauceron

            Yeah– you are in an even more Leftwing place than me!

          • Jim__L

            It’s odd, but being in such an ideologically uniform place — so far behind enemy lines, as it were — can sometimes make it easier to have substantive discussions with people who aren’t zealots (which is to say, most people). “Since we’re all far Left, we’re all reasonable people here, right? There’s no one from the basket of horribles around, right? If a person is reasonable around here that means they believe all the proper Shibboleths, right? Therefore every thought here is goodthink.” So go the assumptions.

            If you present a reasonable argument in a reasonable tone — at least, an argument that only indirectly challenges ideological orthodoxy, preferably by building logically off of another established line of reasoning — you can make a lot of progress among most people.

            Sometimes, in a low-traction situations, gradual erosion of kooky Left-wing ideas is as much progress as you can make. Pointing out the flaws in their solutions, the inconsistencies in their reasoning, the way that their priorities would actually be better met by something other than Leftist orthodoxy — all these have a great deal of value.

            There are a whole lot of latent “Oh-my-God-we’re” Republicans, even in the most Left-wing places. It’s more than enough to give a person hope for the future. =)

          • Jim__L

            Interesting note about assimilation — many immigrants (even those from a Muslim background) are FOR it.

            I was talking with a young woman from that part of the world recently, and the subject got onto race relations — specifically, between Muslim migrants and their host countries. She was, quite naturally, very concerned about governments adopting harsh actions against Muslims.

            It seemed like a good time to bring up, “Well, people are concerned about events like the New Years’ Day sexual assaults against women in the town square of Cologne — they’re especially concerned that their governments are covering these things up, and are completely unwilling to protect women because they don’t want to inflame anti-migrant sentiment.” (Earlier, the conversation had touched on the Peresky case, so punishing sexual assault was well-established as a good thing. She’s also a little slip of a thing that, considering her usual attire, doesn’t have anyplace to conceal a weapon — she needs society to stop these things before they start.)

            Her response was very natural, logical, and positive — “Host countries should teach migrants what is and isn’t acceptable.” So our job is almost done, if we can just get the Leftists to shut up for a few minutes.

            But, in the interests of letting her know what the problems really are, I said, “Well, assimilation has gotten a bad name in this country. A century or so ago people who supported assimilation used to do things like take Native American children away from their families to try to make them more Americanized, which people today figure was an a**hole move.”

            The conversation went on to (what to me is) the obvious resolution — that it’s possible to assimilate immigrants without such extreme measures, and this would be good public policy.

            But, the Multicult extremists are dead set against it, because they get votes for stoking fear in the hearts and minds of immigrants. It’s disgusting.

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