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Monday, December 22, 2014

Steven Pinker vs. Microaggression


 ...Pinker was right in opposing the suddenly fashionable thought that what’s wrong with Harvard and other Ivies is that those  institutions don’t facilitate students in their construction of their personal souls or whatever. Harvard hires specialists in various academic fields; they are chosen according to their potential for making contributions in said fields, not for their skill or competency in soul development. Students, Pinker claims, should work on their souls, if they believe they have them, on their own time...

...Pinker is getting more vocal and resolute about speaking out against everything at Harvard that trivializes, infantilizes, or plain represses intellectual life on campus. Here’s a noble and eloquent excerpt from a letter he wrote yesterday about Israel BDS (boycott, divest, sanctions) movement at Harvard, where the presence of a SodaStream sparkling-water machine made by an Israeli-based company is alleged to be a “microaggression” that has to be purged from the university community.
Equally foreign to the mission of a university is the idea that students are to be protected from “discomfort” or so-called “microaggression” when they are exposed to beliefs that differ from theirs, or when the university does not accede to demands that it prosecute their moral and political crusades. Discomfort is another word for tolerance. It is the price we pay for living in a democracy and participating in the open exchange of ideas...
Plus more HERE

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Equally foreign to the mission of a university is the idea that students are to be protected from “discomfort” or so-called “microaggression” when they are exposed to beliefs that differ from theirs,"

So you're saying universities should ignore it when students complain that Israeli Apartheid Week makes them "uncomfortable"?

Richard K said...

Obviously you haven't been paying attention. Universities DO ignore it when students complain Israeli Apartheid Week makes them uncomfortable. It's only the incessantly whining lefties that expect to always get to shut down anything they don't like when they're offended.