Daily Briefing: ACADEMIA CAPITULATES TO CANCEL CULTURE ACTIVISTS (June 29,2020)

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Michigan State University (MSU) is a public research university in East Lansing, Michigan, United States. MSU was founded in 1855 and became the nation’s first land-grant institution under the Morrill Act of 1862, serving as a model for future land-grant universities. The university was founded as the Agricultural College of the State of Michigan, one of the country’s first institutions of higher education to teach scientific agriculture. After the introduction of the Morrill Act, the college became coeducational and expanded its curriculum beyond agriculture. Today, MSU is the eighth-largest university in the United States.(Source Flickr)

Table of Contents:

Smiley Face Liberalism:  Daniel Henninger, WSJ, June 24, 2020


Jordan Peterson: The Activists Are Now Stalking the Hard Scientists:  Jordan Peterson, National Post, June 24, 2020


A Twitter Mob Takes Down an Administrator at Michigan State: Jillian Kay Melchior, WSJ, June 25, 2020


Outrage Over Floyd’s Murder Doesn’t Justify Intersectional Myths:  Jonathan Tobin, JNS, June 3, 2020

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Smiley Face Liberalism
Daniel Henninger
WSJ, June 24, 2020

The people in the streets—idealistic protesters, full-time activists, anarchists—are the young men and women of the current American left. The people running the country’s institutions—mayors, cultural leaders, media executives, business managers—are a generation older and cut from the cloth of traditional American liberalism. Give the left some credit: After tolerating their liberal betters for years, they knew when the opportunity had arrived to push them over the cliff. They have just taken it.

Events of the past four weeks have produced a lot of agog reactions, but among the most interesting have come from European friends who came to the U.S. years ago in search of what can only be called the American dream. Now they are asking: Why is there so little resistance to what is going on? How could cancel culture happen in a country with legally protected speech? Why has there been no defense of private property—which remains, believe it or not, a big idea in the minds of foreign-born citizens, from taxi drivers to builders of new companies?

The quick collapse of America’s elites under this left-wing offensive is striking and a historic event. Within a week of the left going after monuments to U.S. presidents—George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Ulysses S. Grant—the head of the American Museum of Natural History in New York said she had no problem with dismantling history, and asked the city to take down its statue of Teddy Roosevelt on the grounds that it is offensive to blacks and Native Americans, which is absolutely disputable.

In Brooklyn, residents are in despair over nightly fireworks noise, shootings and killings as the police, under threat of prosecution or firing, have pulled back. On Monday evening, Borough President Eric Adams responded with a solution: “empower” community-groups to discuss with residents the dangers of shooting aerial bombs at each other.

How did the capitulation happen so fast? In fact, it was a long time coming. It is hardly an insight by now to blame this on the schools. But revisiting 30 years of educational irresponsibility seems necessary, insofar as the reality of the moment represents an erasure of history. If U.S. Grant, just toppled in San Francisco, was a racist, American history has indeed ceased to exist. History has a way of returning, and some day it will record how a generation of university presidents produced this result.
 
In the 1980s and early ’90s, when the notion of speech-codes emerged with formal restrictions on words and speech, the seeds of today’s cancel culture were planted with the acquiescence of university leaders.
leaders.

When liberal professors embarked on tenure denials for conservative colleagues, who were important ballast to the growing groupthink, campus administrators caved. Then when the students turned on some of these same liberal professors, with accusations of racism, they caved again.

These rocks rolled steadily downhill with barely a peep of public resistance from trustees. In the 1990s, Yale famously returned a $20 million donation from alumnus Lee Bass to create a curriculum in Western civilization, a k a history. These acts of denial as liberal traditions eroded were mostly petty self-interest. If you didn’t lose your job, you were OK. This is what “silence is compliance” really looks like.

Here is why this is relevant to what happened so quickly the past four weeks. Liberal tolerance (their one cardinal virtue) eventually degraded into rote acceptance. They claimed to be defending evolving standards but eventually there were none … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]
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Jordan Peterson: The Activists Are Now Stalking the Hard Scientists
Jordan Peterson
National Post, June 24, 2020

So many messages of appalling idiocy, detestable envy, and envy embarrassing to behold, crossed my desk in the last fortnight that I found myself in the rare position of having too much to record — a writer’s dream. But that content also indicated that the bell is tolling, and that I am one of those for whom the death knell sounds.

I have watched the universities of the Western world devour themselves in a myriad of fatal errors over the last two decades, and take little pleasure in observing the inevitable unfold. It is a failing of human reason, with all its limitations, ego, and pretensions, to serve as Cassandra; to derive a certain satisfaction in watching the ship whose demise was foretold breach its hull on rocks hidden from all other observers. The self-righteous pleasure of “I told you so,” is, however, of little comfort when the icy water wends its way around ankle, knee and thigh, threatening to swamp everything still retaining its incalculable and unlikely value, even if it simultaneously makes short shrift of the ignorance and willful blindness that is frequently part and parcel of the death of something once great.

It is also necessary to note that the catastrophic failures of process and aim which I am about to relate were by no means hidden from the public view by the persons and institutions in question. They were instead positively trumpeted to all by multiple attempts to harness the powers of social media and announced, more traditionally, in press releases designed to indicate the success of some great and laudable moral striving. It is nothing less than a dire day when the proud revelation of vices of deadly and multifarious seriousness serve to substitute for announcements of genuine and valuable achievement, but that is where we are at — make no mistake about it.

The first story emerges at Brock University, in cahoots with the scientific journal Angewandte Chemie — the former an educational institution of moderate reputability; the latter a prestigious place of scientific publication among chemists. It is no easy matter to find a permanent tenured faculty position at such a university, or to publish research findings or literature reviews/summaries in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. The latter process generally requires several years and multiple resubmissions and rounds of editing by a minimum of three colleagues with expertise in the field per submission, as well as approval by the editor. Angewandte has a rejection rate of 80% — and it should be noted that that rejection rate only accounts for papers that the submitting researcher(s) felt were of sufficient quality to be considered.

Dr. Tomas Hudlicky of Brock submitted an essay memorializing and updating a piece written thirty years ago, which has been widely recognized as powerfully influencing the direction of the chemistry subfield in question (organic synthesis). … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]
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A Twitter Mob Takes Down an Administrator at Michigan State
Jillian Kay Melchior
WSJ, June 25, 2020

‘We are scientists, seeking truth,” Michigan State University physicist Stephen Hsu wrote in a 2018 blog post. “We are not slaves to ideological conformity.” That might have been too optimistic. Last week MSU’s president, Samuel L. Stanley Jr., yielded to a pressure campaign, based in part on that post, and asked Mr. Hsu to resign as senior vice president for research and innovation.

The trouble began June 10, when MSU’s Graduate Employees Union composed a lengthy Twitter thread denouncing Mr. Hsu as, among other things, “a vocal scientific racist and eugenicist.” The union claimed Mr. Hsu believes “in innate biological differences between human populations, especially regarding intelligence.”
 
Mr. Hsu says these accusations “were made in bad faith.” Take that 2018 blog post, which responded to New York Times articles that, in his words, linked “genetic science to racism and white supremacy.” In it, he wrote: “All good people abhor racism. I believe that each person should be treated as an individual, independent of ancestry or ethnic background. . .. However, this ethical position is not predicated on the absence of average differences between groups. I believe that basic human rights and human dignity derive from our shared humanity, not from uniformity in ability or genetic makeup.” Mr. Hsu doesn’t work in this field but rejects the idea that scientists should categorically exclude the possibility of average genetic differences among groups.

In a 2011 post, Mr. Hsu argued that standardized tests are predictive of the quality of graduate-school candidates. The post mentioned nothing about race, but the union imputed to him a belief “that lack of Black & Hispanic representation in higher ed reflects lower ability, despite evidence these tests negatively impact diversity.”

The union also faulted him for having “directed funding to research downplaying racism in bias in police shootings.” The MSU professor who conducted that work, psychologist Joe Cesario, tells me that “we had no idea what the data was going to be, what the outcome was going to be, before we did this study.” Mr. Cesario has collected evidence from a simulator and from real-world interactions between police and citizens. He concluded that “the nature of the interaction really matters the most, and officers were not more likely to be ready to shoot upon encountering a black versus white citizen.”

A June 3 op-ed in these pages cited Mr. Cesario’s work, and the MSU communications team highlighted the mention in the June 9 edition of their email newsletter, InsideMSU. The next day, the Graduate Employees Union denounced Mr. Hsu. By June 11, editors of the newsletter had apologized “for including the item and for the harm it caused.” Hundreds of MSU students and employees signed petitions calling for Mr. Hsu to be fired from the administration.

Mr. Hsu says he felt compelled to step down because he served at the pleasure of the president. But he thinks Mr. Stanley handled the matter badly. “The first action of the university should be to investigate, find the truth, and defend the person if the claims are false.” Mr. Hsu says MSU undertook no such investigation.

MSU spokeswoman Emily Guerrant said: “President Stanley discussed the allegations directly with Mr. Hsu, and Mr. Hsu’s responses to those complaints as expressed through his blog. The president also discussed the allegations with other relevant people and organizations at the university.” She also sent me the university’s statement on the controversy: “MSU stands behind the academic freedom of all our faculty to research any topic and those rights and privileges continue to extend to Dr. Hsu.” The statement noted that Mr. Hsu is still a tenured member of the faculty. … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]
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Outrage Over Floyd’s Murder Doesn’t Justify Intersectional Myths
Jonathan Tobin
JNS, June 3, 2020

The outrageous murder in Minneapolis of George Floyd, a 46-year-old African-American man, by local police is a crime that cannot be tolerated or excused. Efforts by extremist agitators to hijack peaceful demonstrations and turn them into violent riots should also be condemned and not falsely rationalized as a form of legitimate protest or part of a necessary path to progress.

Sensible people know both those things can be equally true, and that concerns about the anarchy in the streets of major cities shouldn’t diminish our anger about Floyd’s death or any other crime that appears rooted in racism.

This perilous moment in American history should have created a consensus about the need to address both injustice and nihilist violence that ought to transcend partisanship. That is why Jewish organizations and religious groups have joined with people of faith throughout the denominational spectrum to express their dismay about what happened to Floyd, as well as their desire to combat prejudice.

But not everyone is prepared to observe the political ceasefire most Americans would prefer to observe in the wake of these traumas. And, as always, some of those looking to exploit tragedy are attacking Jews.

That was made clear when a synagogue and Jewish-owned businesses were vandalized in Los Angeles with pro-Palestinian propaganda. In and of itself, that would be terrible, but those buildings were just a few out of the innumerable places around the country that suffered the same indignity or worse.

The context for that incident – and the spate of anti-Jewish and anti-Israel hate that has flourished in recent days on the Internet – is not random anger that could have been directed at any target, no matter how removed it might be from the incident that set off this crisis. Such incitement is the direct product of an intersectional movement that has continued to attempt to link crimes committed on American streets against African-Americans with the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. And just like other forms of prejudice for which there should be no tolerance, the effort to blame Israel or Jews for what rogue American cops might do needs to be clearly labeled as a form of hate speech.

The effort to manufacture a connection between slayings of African-Americans with Israel isn’t new. The notion that the struggle for civil rights in the United States is connected to the Palestinian war on Israel has become a staple of the BDS movement. It is rooted in intersectionality, an idea that has gained popularity in certain sectors of academia. It asserts an affinity between the struggles of people of color or indigenous populations against imperialist and racist hierarchies. So if you think all Jews in Israel are the moral equivalent of white European settlers in Africa, the notion that blacks who oppose systemic racism in America are fighting the same good fight as Palestinians resisting Zionism makes sense. … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]
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For Further Reference:

Defund Colleges, Not Cops Peter Wood, Spectator USA, June 19, 2020 –– ‘Defund the police!’ That’s the spray-painted, placarded, pixeled demand of the moment.

L’Chayim: Rudy Rochman (Students Supporting Israel at Columbia University) JBS, YouTube, Nov 17, 2017 — Rudy Rochman describes how the BDS Movement operates on campus, explains why he founded SSI (Students Supporting Israel) as a student at Columbia University, and presents his philosophy of pro-Israel activism.  L’Chayim with Mark S. Golub.

SSI:  Students Supporting Israel Students Supporting Israel (SSI) is a pro-Israel international campus movement that supports the State of Israel.

Unpacking the Global Campaign to Delegitimize Israel:  Gil Murciano, SWP, June 2020 — In the last two decades, international delegitimization of Israel has become a new mode of operation for those denying Israel’s right to exist. It encompasses a wide range of civil-society and grassroots organizations.

WALSH: Our Country Is Finally Realizing That It’s Simply Not Okay For Actors To Pretend To Be Something They Aren’t:  Matt Walsh, Daily Wire, June 25, 2020 — The actress Jenny Slate has apologized for her “flawed” decision to voice a non-white character on the Netflix show “Big Mouth.”