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Spilling Out Our Lives
For The Wisdom of Crowds, FAIR Advisor Shadi Hamid makes the case for having fewer opinions.
As I’ve gotten older, and as I look upon “the youth” with an uneasy mix of dismay and panic, it seems to me that their positions are held intensely but shallowly—they seem strong but have no roots in anything real. I feel like the model has been reversed: people, increasingly, adopt positions on specific culture or identity-related topics and then extend outward to more general, first premises. They decide what the right positions are on a particular issue and then they adopt whatever worldview accommodates those good or right positions most effectively with as little friction as possible. If you’re in an urban, elite environment, you don’t even really have to decide what positions to take. Deciding suggests a conscious process of careful consideration among competing options. But the “right” opinions often arrive fully-formed, almost as if they are pre-political. They are in the air you breathe and it might not even occur to you that there are alternatives to be considered.
Advice for Students Entering College
For National Review, FAIR Advisor Robert P. George gives advice for students entering college who might hold beliefs which place them squarely in the minority.
Remember: As a college or university student, you are one of the luckiest — most privileged — people on planet earth. Do not think of yourself as a victim. Do not build an identity for yourself around grievances, despite the double standards, and even if you experience some injustices. You can and should work to set things right without descending into grievance identitarianism.
Thinking is not something that can be outsourced. You have to do it for yourself. Don’t let your professors tell you what to think. Don’t let popular opinion on campus dictate your convictions. If a professor tries to indoctrinate you, resist. His or her job is to educate you. Indoctrination is the antithesis of education. If there is groupthink on campus, the response it should trigger in you is a desire to probe and question. “What is to be said on the other side? Are there thinkers and writers who doubt or deny the ‘consensus’?” If so, read and carefully consider what they have to say. Make up your own mind. Think for yourself.
Guest Post: “My Body Is a Puberty Blocker”
For FAIR advisory board member Lisa Selin Davis’ Substack, BROADVIEW, James Linehan writes about his concerns about the gender-affirming care model in light of his own life experience dealing with a pituitary gland condition that essentially blocked his puberty at a young age.
I've been on this therapy for 40 years. My life has been riddled with health challenges. Each year, my insurance company has to handle $33,000 in claims. Despite these challenges, I've been fortunate enough to receive outstanding care because of my pituitary gland condition. The thought of what lies ahead for adolescents taking Lupron and cross-sex hormones for the rest of their lives deeply saddens me, as I have a clear understanding of the potential serious health complications. If you give a child with gender dysphoria puberty blockers, that’s a whole other endocrine disease you just added to their list of problems.
We know very little about the long-term consequences of puberty blockers, especially as part of the gender-affirming protocol. But we can look to people with my condition—a kind of inborn puberty blocker—for clues. And those clues should make us cautious, and deeply concerned.
How China is suppressing free speech on US college campuses
For the Washington Examiner, Sarah McLaughlin writes about transnational repression as one of the many free speech fights America finds itself embroiled in.
Though they spiked last year, acts of censorship and threats of violence on U.S. campuses have long predated the most recent round of widespread protests in China. At Cornell University, a student from Hong Kong was assaulted last summer after posting flyers, which were frequently torn down, supporting victims of human rights abuses in China. Peers of a Purdue University student who spoke openly about the Tiananmen Square massacre threatened to report him to authorities back home in China. Ministry of State Security officials visited the student’s parents, who warned him to stay silent. At campuses including the University of Chicago , Johns Hopkins University , and Brandeis University , students have attempted to cancel or disrupt events featuring critics of the Chinese government.
At times, administrators have even pitched in to aid the censors, such as when George Washington University’s president temporarily threatened to unmask student critics of the CCP ahead of the Beijing Olympics, and a Harvard Law vice dean interfered with an event about human rights in China to protect the university’s relationship with the country.
Indoctrination Has No Place in Education
For the Wall Street Journal, William A. Galston writes about how the way to make good democratic citizens is to teach students to think for themselves.
The question isn’t whether civic education is necessary, but whether regime-specific instruction should be the task of higher education. One thing is clear: Aristotle didn’t think so. His famous Lyceum was a center of what we now call liberal education, in which important questions in all subjects were freely debated and in which students were asked to conduct research that added to the store of human knowledge in subjects ranging from biology to political science.
Free inquiry of this nature isn’t the sole function of the modern university in free societies. For example, technical education provides the knowledge and skills students need to succeed in specific professions. But contrary to what Mr. Rufo suggests, free inquiry is still the most important function.
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