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Reply to LS Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Working Group

Reply to LS Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Working Group by Michael Rectenwald | 06 Feb 2017 | First, I would like to say how deplorable I think it was that an apparently official committee of NYU's Liberal Studies Program responded to my interview and criticized my Twitter account as it did. The alacrity with which this committee rendered its guilty verdict served to validate my suspicions regarding the peril of openly opposing politically correct authoritarianism on campus...As for the kinds of campus policies and mechanisms that have been put in place over the past few years at NYU and elsewhere, I argue that they are not merely silly but also pernicious. Under the influence of Social Justice Warrior ideology, we now encounter demands for safe spaces to protect students from ideas that may disturb or trigger them. There is an expectation of deference to special identities wherever they go. We see the incursion of trigger warnings, which have the potential to scare students from particular materials; slippery slope that they are, trigger warnings may even undermine curricula, potentially banishing classic works of literature and art to the dustbin of history. We have Halloween costume surveillance under which students are not only shamed into compliance, but at one university – Tufts – could even face campus police arrest for donning an offensive costume. We have bias reporting lines, which turn the university and its surrounding environs into a veritable panopticon, with every one of its members acting as a sentinel of surveillance. So much like the terrorism reporting that many leftists scorn, the explicit rule amounts to the subway and train imperative: “If you see something, say something"...Finally, my contention is that SJW ideology is not limited to campus SJWs themselves. Rather, it is now a dominant ideology. Powerful institutions, including the institutions of the academy but also mass media, social media, corporate America and government, wield it as a weapon. As numerous cases make clear, SJW ideology serves as a rationale and means to discipline and punish its subjects. And worse, SJW ideology serves to legitimate the status quo. It is now one of the primary means by which the capitalist order justifies itself: by pretending to a kind of radical egalitarianism under the banner of diversity, equity and inclusion, SJW ideology actually serves to legitimize real material and social inequity.