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E-Pluribus | September 29, 2022
The community-ideology chicken-and-egg question, one college's growing DEI bureaucracy (surprise!) doesn't seem to be improving the school, and a punter punts on his tweet after offending the woke.
A round-up of the latest and best writing and musings on the rise of illiberalism in the public discourse:
David French: Community, Ideology, and Cancel Culture
While polarization is generally used pejoratively, those who believe their ideology is important are likely to always have those who find their views repugnant on a planet with billions of individuals. However, David French, writing for The Dispatch, says that this disagreement doesn’t need to be eliminated in order to make progress in national healing; rather, there must be an effort to expand our communities by emphasizing the values we share as well as the ones on which we differ.
I can respect ideological decisions, even when I disagree with the ideology. A pluralistic republic should be marked by robust disagreement and competing ideologies. A nation this diverse is simply not going to produce an ideological monoculture. Nor should we wish for it. Truth is just too difficult to discern to believe that any given strand of human thought is going to produce undiluted wisdom.
Yet I have a much harder time respecting peer pressure, and the highlighted segments above indicate that [documentary filmmaker Meg] Smaker didn’t lose a debate. She faced something much more akin to a high school-style exercise in group shaming. When enough of the group’s leaders decided Smaker’s film problematic, the group went along. Attacking Smaker became a relational necessity more than an ideological act, and when that happened Smaker’s fate was sealed.
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How do we fix this problem? While criticizing “tightly knit” communities from the outside is often necessary, it frequently compounds the problem. Left-wing radicals often take pride in opposition from their right (just as right-wing radicals glory in attempted cancellations from the left). The only sure route to reform is from the inside. Courageous voices inside the community have to choose to open up the community, to welcome dissenting voices. Open up the community, and you will open up the ideology. It’s inevitable.
Read the whole thing.
Charles Hilu: The DEI Bureaucracy Is Failing, Even on Its Own Terms
Even by today’s standards, the size of the University of Michigan’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion office is enormous, numbering 167 in 2021. As Charles Hilu reports for National Review, however, one thing the DEI office does not seem to be accomplishing is improving the college experience of the school’s students, whose satisfaction with UM continues to fall.
On Tuesday, the [University of Michigan] administration partially released the results of the university’s 2021 Campus Climate Survey, which follows up on a similar survey conducted in 2016. Considering that the University’s DEI staff grew exponentially during the period between the two surveys, the results are devastating. “Overall, 2021 sample respondents experience the general university climate and their own personal experiences less positively than the 2016 sample,” the university announced at a presentation Tuesday. Though the complete results are not yet public, Chief Diversity Officer Tabbye Chavous did outline some of the most striking datapoints. In 2016, around 70 percent of students, faculty, and staff expressed satisfaction with the overall climate of the university. Now, less than 60 percent of students and staff, and under 50 percent of faculty, feel satisfied. All three groups also felt markedly less valued at the university than their predecessors in 2016.
Although it is practically impossible to draw a causal relationship between the growth of the DEI bureaucracy at Michigan and lower satisfaction rates — the Covid-19 pandemic and the racial unrest of 2020 were also detrimental to campus life, for example — we can conclude that hiring almost 100 additional DEI bureaucrats certainly did not help matters.
In the long run, no amount of money or new hires will fix the problem with U-M’s DEI department, which is fundamentally an ill-conceived effort. And while its failure is multifaceted, one look at the values guiding the university may provide more than enough evidence as to what its problem may be. This goal-setting guide, for example, defines diversity as “the goal of creating an environment that reflects racial, generational, gender, educational, socioeconomic and religious differences, among many others.” Notably missing, of course, is the category of intellectual diversity.
Read it all.
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Mark Harris: Nebraska Punter Caves To The Woke Mob; Apologizes For Positive Tweet About Incoming Italian Prime Minister
For many (at least those who don’t wish to jump to conclusions before they learn more about her), the jury’s still out on Italy’s new prime minister Giorgia Meloni, a relative unknown in the states. A Nebraska football player, however, found out the hard way what happens when you express any agreement with someone the woke crowd finds distasteful, reports Mark Harris at Outkick.
Nebraska punter Brian Buschini shared a tweet showing support for the new Prime Minster of Italy, Giorgia Meloni. Given that the Prime Minister is not a liberal and shares Christian, family-centered values, some people were upset about Buschini’s tweet therefore he deleted it and felt the need to apologize to the woke mob.
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The tweet that Buschini felt the need to apologize for – or was perhaps told to apologize for – was simple and far from controversial. All the young man did was quote tweet the video professing his faith.
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All Meloni did throughout her speech was accurately predict the future and promote family values. People have become consumers of certain ideologies promoted within their own governments and media while other views and values have been shunned as fascist, racist, and wrong.
[ . . . ]
[W]hen it comes to the Nebraska punter apology, we’ve seen this story hundreds of times over the last few years. An athlete, celebrity, or even just a regular person tweets something that doesn’t align with the politics of annoyingly vocal Twitter users and they bend the knee and apologize, which in the end is just surrendering and giving up on your own morals.
Read it all here.
Excerpts from an Arthur Brooks thread based on his new column on technology and relationships:
Glenn Loury has provided three clips of his recent show hosting University of Southern California Law professor Lara Bazelon regarding Title IX enforcement on college campuses:
And finally, a long thread on the Lizzo-James Madison flute kerfuffle, but if you’re just up for some beautiful flute music, click play below: