Monday, May 20, 2019

The Chicago Statement

The problem with our current age of polarization is that there are no creature comforts to be found— from an ideological point of view at least. If you think that Trump is going to disappear like the L. Frank Baum’s Wizard and all of a sudden you’re going to find comfort in the pandemonium of Democratic identity politics, then you may find yourself facing an unpleasant surprise. It’s like the divorcee who wakes up to find she’s remarried the same man—a not too uncommon occurrence. The New Criterion which can be tendentious and repetitive in its insistent walking to the beat of a different drummer (with the exception of a wonderful writer named Dominic Green and the great stalwarts of conservative thinking like Adam Smith and Edmund Burke who the journal champions) can have its moments and here they are in their Notes and Comments section (January 2019) on the desecration of debate on the American campus. Commenting on “the Chicago Statement,” which emanated from the University of the same name in defense of free speech they remark, “Everywhere from Yale to Berkeley, coddled students clamor to be protected from 'offensive' ideas—that is, from ideas that challenge their taken-for-granted pieties about the world. It used be that higher education was about expanding one’s horizons and learning new things. More and more these days, it is about donning the ideological blinders so that no idea not certified to reinforce one’s prejudices slips through to unsettle one’s complacency.” Don’t get too comfortable with the folks at The New Criterion however since you’re very likely to read something else in the famously right leaning journal and wake feeling you’ve again married the wrong person.

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