Schools of social work are silencing conservatives. Apr 6, 2015, Vol. 20, No. 29 • By DEVORAH GOLDMAN
"I can’t have you participate in class anymore.”
I was on my way out of class when my social welfare and policy professor casually called me over to tell me this. The friendliness of her tone did not match her words, and I attempted a shocked, confused apology. It was my first semester at the Hunter College School of Social Work, and I was as yet unfamiliar with the consistent, underlying threat that characterized much of the school’s policy and atmosphere. This professor was simply more open and direct than most.
I asked if I had said or done anything inappropriate or disrespectful, and she was quick to assure me that it was not my behavior that was the problem. No: It was my opinions. Or, as she put it, “I have to give over this information as is.”
I spent the rest of that semester mostly quiet, frustrated, and missing my undergraduate days, when my professors encouraged intellectual diversity and give-and-take. I attempted to take my case to a higher-up at school, an extremely nice, fair professor who insisted that it was in my own best interest not to rock the boat. I was doing well in his class, and I believed him when he told me he wanted me to continue doing well. He explained to me that people who were viewed as too conservative had had problems graduating in the past, and he didn’t want that to happen to me. I thought he was joking . . . until I realized he wasn’t.
It was laughable in its own way, though. My school was ostensibly all about freedom of expression. In our mandatory 5-hour diversity awareness training, we were each asked what pronouns we prefer to use when describing ourselves. We could dress and identify sexually virtually any way we wanted, though some fashion choices and sexual identities were more celebrated than others. We talked about how to approach clients whose gender identities were difficult to pinpoint. There was a special gender-neutral bathroom on the fourth floor that seemed rarely used. We were allowed to differ; we could not disagree.
That was the great and strange paradox about Hunter College. Our identities and opinions existed in two separate, unequal planes. Identities were required—the more unconventional and downtrodden the better. During diversity training, we were told to stand up whenever a category that applied to us was read by our presiding teacher. (I stood when the category “working class” was called out, naïvely not realizing that there were nonworking classes in America. I realized my mistake when most people stood up for the “middle class” category. I was impressed by the few “upper classers.”) The categories included a seemingly endless variety of religions, ethnicities, races, nationalities, and educational backgrounds. In that same training, we were also asked to indicate how things like weight, skin color, and a host of other criteria affected our lives by moving to one side or another of a circle (I mostly stayed in the center).
Another professor asked my class to separate by race, with one concentric circle composed of self-identifying white people and another of self-identifying “people of color.” After briefly considering declaring that I “felt black inside,” I politely refused to participate. I asked the teacher why she felt it necessary to reinstitute a practice of racial sorting that had been abolished decades ago. She gave no concrete answer, though she dropped the idea when other students protested as well.
These and other “identity exercises” were run-of-the-mill at school, the reasons behind them always vague and flavored with sugary social justice. But in a separate class given by the “circles” professor, two women engaged in a respectful discussion were abruptly stopped. One, whom I shall call Tanya, objected to the idea that as a successful 22-year-old graduate student, she should be viewed as “oppressed” simply for being African American. The other woman insisted that, far from being demeaning, identifying as an oppressed minority was part of receiving one’s due for injustices done. The teacher, rather than fostering the discussion, interrupted to point out that, though we had just begun talking about race, we were “already having trouble understanding each other.”
Sadly, my teachers all seemed to take their cues from the same playbook; they were very nice people with frightening messages. In my teacher’s mind, two adults could not hold two different opinions. Any dissent was simply due to a lack of comprehension on one or both of their parts.
A magazine of ideas without ideas.5:20 PM, Dec 10, 2014 • By LEE SMITH
If Chris Hughes knew anything about journalism, he’d throw a big party in New York and another in Washington and the media wags now heaping abuse on him would be hailing him as the last of the Medicis. But the 31-year-old owner and editor in chief of the New Republic doesn’t know a damn thing about journalism, which is why scores of hungry and thirsty journalists won’t shut up.
Remember the liberal war on the automobile? Feb 24, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 23 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Seems like this is the season for showing the American automobile some love. Also, the town that the automobile built—Detroit, aka the Motor City, where packs of feral dogs now roam the streets and den up in vacant lots between the abandoned buildings. Detroit, these days, seems far more deserving of pity than celebration.
Still, Vice President Joe Biden showed up for the annual Detroit auto show in January and delivered the usual talking points. American manufacturing is back. “We bet on American ingenuity, we bet on you, and we won.”
Hosted by Michael Graham.4:35 PM, Dec 31, 2013 • By TWS PODCAST
The WEEKLY STANDARD podcast, with editor William Kristol with a look back at 2013 and how President Obama's liberalism fared this year.
Obamacare is inimical to their values, tooDec 23, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 15 • By CHRISTOPHER DEMUTH SR.
Obamacare may or may not survive its inauspicious beginnings. It has become dangerously unpopular and accident-prone and faces a minefield of difficulties. Still, the Obama administration has a plausible strategy: to titrate the program’s numerous taxes, subsidies, mandates, and restrictions so as to forestall immediate legislative or electoral reversal, thereby entrenching its basic structure for tightening as future circumstances permit.
8:15 AM, Nov 28, 2013 • By JONATHAN V. LAST
On the one hand, this is a pretty dour Thanksgiving. Iran has just won an enormous diplomatic victory, which not only sets them on the road to nuclear weapons but makes the fecklessness of the Western powers clear to the world. Harry Reid's decision to destroy the filibuster signals an escalation in the ugliness of American politics. And let's not forget that we're still mired in a recovery that's looking more like the new normal with each passing week. Humbug.
Nov 11, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 09 • By PETER WEHNER
The president’s signature legislative achievement, the Affordable Care Act, is in serious trouble. As a result, so is modern liberalism. The problems with Obamacare are increasingly obvious, beginning with the administration unilaterally delaying the employer mandate. But that turned out to be merely one link in a long and troublesome chain.
11:13 AM, Sep 12, 2013 • By JONATHAN BRONITSKY
Hardly an academic semester goes by without a high-profile opportunity arising for the right to address pervasive, perennial anti-conservative animus on the American college campus. And hardly an academic semester goes by without the right, reflexively blinded by righteous indignation, blowing an opportunity to do so.
No, but it doesn’t understand them. Jul 8, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 41 • By PETER BERKOWITZ
Study of the humanities has never been more important to the welfare of the nation. Information whizzes by at breakneck speed. The contest between conservative and progressive visions of government’s scope and aim in a free society implicates rival understandings of human nature. The ways of life of people in far-off lands have direct impact on our prosperity and security.
An Obama administration ‘blueprint’ targets free expression on campuses. Jun 10, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 37 • By CHARLOTTE ALLEN
It's a well-known fact that on most college campuses, supposedly havens of academic freedom, you really have to watch what you say.
Alas, the Woody Guthrie industry unearths a novel. Apr 15, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 29 • By MICHAEL WARREN
To many in our cultural elite, Woody Guthrie is an American saint. The legendary songwriter from Okfuskee County, Oklahoma, is introduced to every American child by way of his folk anthem “This Land Is Your Land.” But for gatekeepers of the arts, Guthrie is much more: All of his work—every song, every article, every poem—is good and honest and true, the gospel according to Woody. What other justification is there for the release of this deservedly long-lost novel?
The left-wing stranglehold on academia.Mar 25, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 27 • By MARK BAUERLEIN
Neil Gross is a sociologist at the University of British Columbia who previously held posts at the University of Southern California and Harvard, has a doctorate from the University of Wisconsin, and received undergraduate training at Berkeley. He edits Sociological Theory and has written a book on the liberal philosopher Richard Rorty.