Historian David Starkey likes to speak truth to men. Sometimes he insults them but he is usually right. In what I believe is known as a “forthright interview” with The Daily Telegraph he tells it how it is – how this election campaign is a complete farce as no party is willing to take on the big issues such as reforming the NHS, education, the welfare state, and overseas aid.
Starkey also rightly calls out the victim industry. He tells us: “I find it very, very sad the way there is now this perpetual procession of people – group after group – wanting to assume the status of victim. It’s catastrophic.”
Nowhere is this more prominent than in the academic world where Starkey once worked. This desire to be a victim is reaching fever pitch on the US campus, where a professor was fired for various ‘microaggression’ crimes including, correcting a capital I to an i, in the word indigenous, in a student’s essay.
When professor emeritus Val Rust did this, he was denying this student his rightful place as a victim so was fired. I am not making this up, and you can read the full account here.
This collapse into the victimhood is having a very real impact on universities.
Here is a summary of the nonsense that the victimhood industry generates:
In these safe spaces certain ideas are banned. Any argument that makes a student feel unsafe, and it certainly does not have to be in a physical sense, is prohibited. So any discussion of the value of the nuclear family is out. To speak in this way could make a student from a non-traditional family feel ‘unsafe’. As such any discussion of the evidence that shows children usually do better raised by their own parents is irrelevant.
Similar to above, these codes – in place all over the US – target mainly conservative ideas. It means that the liberal left do not have to advance any substantive arguments against an idea. They just have to point out how their opponent has breached a ‘speech code’ and that is the end of the debate. Game over.
We have discussed this before. If you think political correctness is civility gone mad, then microagression is where the lunatics are put in charge of the asylum (this phrase would be both microaggressive, violate a speech code, and make a student feel ‘unsafe’.)
The offender can commit the crime of microagression by a mere look or touch. What matters is not what the offender did, but how the victim felt.
If ‘the victim’ feels he has been put upon or discriminated against on the now many grounds of his status (race, sexuality, gender etc), then he has been discriminated against. No evidence of actual discrimination is needed.
These infantile warnings are needed to protect people from recalling a violent or emotionally difficult or distressing moment from their past. They are appearing at the beginning of lectures and on some great works of literature.
Books which have been named by students as potentially requiring “trigger warnings” include Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald, Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf, and The Merchant of Venice.
These books are meant to arouse challenging emotions and thoughts. They are not intended to leave you feeling comfortable.
To keep abreast of all of the above and of course the Equality and Diversity creed, universities must have ever bigger and ever more expensive bureaucracies. It is the student and the tax-payer who picks up the bill.
Waste of time and energy and the end of Western civilisation
When people want to be a victim because they feel the heterosexual norm impinges on their asexuality then they are less likely to get on with their microbiology degree. Feeding your victimhood takes time and energy. It is, as Starkey has said, a catastrophe both for the student themselves and Western civilisation, which was built on striving for excellence not wallowing in your own misfortune.
Students historically went to university to learn something; to acquire great knowledge; and, if they were good enough, to eventually add to the store of human knowledge and discovery themselves.
No doubt many students, the majority I hope, still want this. But there is a critical minority, a vociferous minority, who treat university and indeed civil society as a place of vicious aggression and discrimination.
These elite students in elite universities believe they are the ones who have the bleak futures. Not those on the housing estates of Britain who must compete with ever-greater numbers of immigrants for minimum wage jobs. No it is I, who live in the campus ‘rape culture’, who has the odds stacked against me. It is ludicrous.