Conformity to identity politics or education: The student’s dilemma

woman writing notes


Every year on university campuses across the country, students like me navigate a variety of disciplines in pursuit of numbers that will open the door to our career of choice. Whether we yearn for a high grade point average (GPA), a high grad school test score, or a high paying job, numbers are what matter to those of us who see university as an important gateway to future happiness and prosperity. However, in certain disciplines, it can be difficult to reconcile this aspect of the student experience with the freedom to pursue our studies in a spirit of open and disinterested inquiry. In the liberal arts programs in particular, activism and ambition can conflict so that students must choose between writing what they think and getting the grades they want and need.

Of course, this ought to be a false dilemma. That it exists at all raises troubling questions about academic liberty-a cornerstone of any educational institution-and what a university education is actually for. Although most schools continue to affirm free inquiry as central to their pedagogic mission, this honorable commitment is being eroded as the humanities and parts of the social sciences become increasingly insular and politicized within a wider climate of hyper-polarization.

Part of the problem is that the marking of work in many liberal arts programs often lacks the same degree of objectivity and rigor found in disciplines like mathematics or the natural sciences. In disciplines such as philosophy, politics, and sociology, professors enjoy considerable latitude to teach and grade in any way they see fit. If a student views a given theory or interpretation differently to his professor or teaching assistant, he can either write what he believes, even though it is at odds with the views of the marker, or he can write what he thinks the marker wishes to read. Granted, there is often a middle ground, but the very existence of such dilemma in the minds of many students unnecessarily inhibits their intellectual freedom. While there is nothing directly prohibiting students from being intellectually honest and open minded, such an approach is hardly incentivized if simply regurgitating a professor’s preferred view is more likely to be rewarded with a higher mark.

The risk of writing an essay that contests the theories promulgated by a professor or teacher’s assistant may be too consequential when the goal is to secure a job or a place in grad school upon which a GPA may be heavily dependent. The intense competition for admission means that every grade and percentage point matters. There is more riding on grad school admission and career prospects than there is on intellectual integrity. As a result, students are implicitly encouraged to sacrifice the latter for the former, and learning what to think becomes more valuable and important than learning how to think. Why would a student such as myself bother to challenge the conventional wisdom and risk a B, when I can simply provide what I know is expected and receive an A?

Something has gone fundamentally awry. This is not to say that every professor will mark heterodoxy more harshly than orthodoxy. There are still professors who value clarity, originality, and consistency over conformity. But students holding views that differ fundamentally from those taught must nevertheless consider and evaluate the risk that they will be penalized for their opinions, particularly when writing about politically contentious topics. Speakers and authors now described as part of the ‘Intellectual Dark Web’ have become radioactive for many students writing for university courses. They hesitate to cite the work of these figures or even mention the names of thinkers deemed ‘controversial’ or beyond the pale by whoever is responsible for reading it and grading their work. In such cases, it is generally safer to avoid controversy and to rely instead upon those approved scholars already lauded by faculty. We are free to browse the ‘IDW’ on our own time, of course, but this only widens the chasm between learning in the true sense and the demands of a formal education.

This has implications for the meaning and value of university education. On the one hand, colleges are theoretically committed to placing open-mindedness and intellectual honesty at the center of the university experience. On the other, students who see high grades as the only route to success may conclude that conformity is an easier way to achieve that end than free thought. This requires a form of self-censorship that directly contradicts the values universities claim to defend and uphold. Which is not to say that students should be permitted to write whatever they like. But coherent and well-supported argument is surely a better yardstick of academic ability than the robotic repetition of the latest fashionable theory. Instead, a tear in the fabric of university culture is growing that privileges indoctrination and the suppression of academic freedom over open inquiry and the exploration of ideas.

The question for many students has become not “What do I think?” but “What do they want me to write?” For many us, this sacrifice may ultimately be the correct and easy one to make. If we want to be successful, we can curb our intellectual curiosity, not because we are prevented from using it, but because obedient co-operation is in our more immediate best interests.

Avel Ivanov studies Ethics, Society & Law at the University of Toronto. You can follow him on Twitter @av3ll

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Spy plays politics: MI5 chief uses terrorism and Russia threat to beg for Brexit clemency

The basic message was that Russia and Muslim terrorists are coming to get you, and you need Britain to help, so please don’t hold Brexit against us. The structure of the speech from Parker to other intelligence agencies was classic political theory. Introduce an enemy (Russians and Islamic terrorists), create fear (the Reds are in your Twitter feed), offer a solution (just be our friend after Brexit).

Some of the initial lessons we learned: Being the head of MI5 does not rely on charisma. Being Britain’s chief domestic spy is very much a political position. Spies and politicians are being given the same talking points.

In Britain at the moment it’s hard to decipher whether policy on key issues is being driven more by intelligence, or the intelligence services are being driven by politics. This is a potentially serious issue because politics in Britain is a mess, and the intelligence service has been repeatedly tarnished.

The Tory cabinet is at war with itself and needs a distraction, and MI6 has just been found complicit in the torture of a Libyan man and his pregnant wife at the hands of Colonel Gaddafi. Let’s not even mention Iraq. This is why so few people are willing to blindly accept accusations made by the establishment in Britain, especially as it increasingly seems that the need for evidence is secondary.

Parker used two enemies to make his points. First Islamic militancy, which in some ways is problematic as a foe to rally around. On the one hand, MI5 can use Islamic terrorism and ISIS as a way of claiming non-specific success. Parker for example said 12 attempted terror attacks have been foiled since the Westminster terror attacks in 2017, although you’ll have to take his word for that, as is the way with intelligence services. Being able to make claims of success without the need to produce evidence is an extremely useful political weapon.

READ MORE: MI5 vetted thousands of BBC staff to keep ‘evil’ and ‘subversive’ lefties out

Then there’s Russia. MI5’s enemy of choice is back in fashion and extremely useful as you can throw almost any accusation at Moscow because realistically the threat is much less real and actual conflict is extremely unlikely. Parker, who remember is a spy, said of Russia that: “Bare faced lying seems to be the default mode, coupled with ridicule of critics.

He said Moscow’s alleged tactics are “known these days by the term hybrid threats.” These threats he listed as “media manipulation, social media disinformation and distortion.”

If you looked at all the morning newspapers in Britain ahead of this speech, you would have seen detailed accounts of this address before it had even happened, and let’s not forget that the Foreign Office recently admitted deleting tweets on social media about the Sainsbury poisoning. To accuse the Russian government of media manipulation or disinformation has more than a hint of throwing stones in glass houses.

When addressing the nerve agent attack on former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, Parker accused Russia of launching a “cynical and distasteful information campaign“, with at least 30 different “so-called explanations“. Again there is always this underlying hypocrisy when accusations like this are made, because there is no denying that that the British press has been full of theories about what happened in Salisbury, with many of them sourced to anonymous figures in the security services.

It pays to remember that even if the head of MI5 appears to be giving a political speech, he’s still a spy with spy tactics. One of the more interesting criticisms from Parker was to call the Russian government the “chief protagonist” in trying to undermine European democracies which risked making it a “more isolated pariah“. Considering that this speech was in many ways a Brexit begging letter to Britain’s European allies not to sideline the UK after it leaves the EU, it’s not unreasonable to suggest that London should be more concerned about its own isolation.

By Simon Rite, RT

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Why’s Israel allowed to meddle in US politics over the Iran deal?

Netanyahu  iranian drone


Let’s see how hard it is to connect the dots.

For the last three years, Benjamin Netanyahu has been doing everything he can to sink the Iran deal, from speaking in Congress against the deal in 2015 with the support of Democrats who were defying President Obama on his signature foreign policy achievement, to sending his Defense Minister over to try to sink the deal, to cartoon presentations at the U.N., and a video lecture in English last week saying, Iran Lies. Netanyahu’s interference was so obtuse that Obama once said that Israel was the only country that was against the deal and it would be an “abrogation of my constitutional duty” if he didn’t push the Iran deal.

Then it came out over the weekend that a “creepy” Israeli intelligence outfit that did spying for Harvey Weinstein reportedly tried to dig up personal dirt on two Obama officials who had spearheaded the deal (Ben Rhodes and Colin Kahl), in order to discredit the deal. The firm was reportedly hired by a business client that has “commercial interests related to sanctions on Iran,” reports the New Yorker.

Now the press is full of speculation that Trump allies hired the firm in an effort to undermine the deal; though Black Cube denies as much. “[I]f Trump’s team had any role at all in using foreign spies against American citizens, it should end his presidency,” Michelle Goldberg writes at the Times.

But what about possible Israeli meddling? Is it possible that the Israeli government had anything to do with this effort? As the New Yorker notes, Black Cube is very close to the Israeli government.

Black Cube is known for its close ties to current and former power players in Israeli politics and intelligence. The late Meir Dagan, a former Mossad director, once served as the company’s president. Ehud Barak, the former Israeli Prime Minister, has publicly acknowledged that he introduced Weinstein to Black Cube’s leadership.

One of the targets of the spying, Colin Kahl, points in a tweet to a possible Israel angle as motivation for the undertaking: Kahl and Rhodes were allegedly hurting Israeli security.

About a month after the Israeli firm was allegedly hired, anonymous White House officials reached out to the Washington Free Beacon, a right-wing tabloid, to smear Ben & me with baseless & false accusations. Notice the Israel angle to this piece. [link to Free Beacon article]

No one is going to connect the dots here. No one will point out that Trump’s biggest financial backer, Sheldon Adelson, who wishes he had served in the Israeli army not the American one, wanted President Obama to nuke Iran. Or that Trump’s former national security adviser, Mike Flynn, had to resign after it came out that he had lied about his contact with the Russians- in order to help Israel. Flynn got in touch with the Russians during the transition in December 2016, in a failed attempt to help Israel in the Security Council on the resolution condemning settlements that President Obama was about to abstain on.

So Trump and the Israelis were colluding and interfering. But the press preferred to talk about Russian collusion. If only: the Russians are all for the Iran Deal.

The press likes the Black Cube story as further evidence of Trump’s corruption. Trump officials were “obsessed” with Colin Kahl and Ben Rhodes, Michelle Goldberg reports. Ronan Farrow in the New Yorker also plays up the Trump-dirty-politics angle:

The Observer [which broke the story] reported that aides of President Trump had hired Black Cube to run the operation in order to undermine the Iran deal, allegations that Black Cube denies. “The idea was that people acting for Trump would discredit those who were pivotal in selling the deal, making it easier to pull out of it,” a source told the Observer.

You’d think the press might turn attention on Israel. It has been interfering in our foreign policy on the Iran Deal for a long time. And it has lots of friends in the U.S. who are only too happy to push Netanyahu’s agenda, beginning with some of Trump’s biggest donors.

But no one connects the dots. Israel’s interference is not a story.

Update: In response to this story we were contacted by Black Cube asking us to run the following comment:

From : Info Black Cube <>

Date : Thu, 10 May 2018 07:35:17 -0700

Subject : Urgent – Response

Dear sirs, you have just published an article regarding our firm. Please add our full comment ASAP! It causes us damage and it’s defamation without our full denial.

Our comment:

“It is Black Cube’s policy to never discuss its clients with any third party, and to never confirm or deny any speculation made with regard to the company’s work.

Referencing Black Cube has become an international sport during 2018. Black Cube has no relation whatsoever to the Trump administration, to Trump aides, to anyone close to the administration, or to the Iran Nuclear deal. Anyone who claims otherwise is misleading their readers and viewers.

Luckily, the Mossad and the CIA are capable to deal with the Iran Nuclear deal and other issues of national security without relying on the expertise of Black Cube.

It is important to note that Black Cube always operates in full compliance of the law in every jurisdiction in which it conducts its work, following legal advice from the world’s leading law firms.”

Thank you,

Black Cube

We reached out to Black Cube to try to confirm that this statement was actually sent by the intelligence firm, but have received no response. However, similar statements have been published by other media outlets which would seem to indicate that it was.

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Dr Duke Exposes the Real Tyranny Over American Politics: The Zionist Matrix of Power Loyal to a Foreign Nation and Full of Hatred Against Europe & America

Dr Duke Exposes the Real Tyranny Over American Politics: The Zionist Matrix of Power Loyal to a Foreign Nation and Full of Hatred Against Europe & America

Today Dr. Duke talked about the increasing awareness of Jewish power in the United States and other countries. Our people are being expected to ignore increasingly blatant displays of Jewish power and hatred to the goyim, and the cognitive dissonance is becoming untenable.

For instance, there have been cases of organ trafficking by Jewish rabbis and Israelis that have been widely reported in the Jewish press as well as mainstream outlets like the New York Times. As a U.S. Attorney, Chris Christie prosecuted one of these cases. Yet he like everyone else in American politics has to spout philo-Semitic nonsense. But goyim-knowing is on the rise. Dr. Slattery also added commentary.

This show is a powerful show. Please share it widely. And please keep us on the air and on-line. Please visit our contribution page or send your contribution to:

P.O. Box 188, Mandeville, LA 70470

Thank you.

Click here and look for the show dated 3-15-18.

Our show is aired live at 11 am replayed at ET 4pm Eastern

See Dr. Duke’s Purim Exposed videos:

If you have any problems viewing these videos, then please see them on our own video site, which does not require any log in, Dare to Think Free.

Purim I video here.

Purim II video here.

Here is Mark Collett’s most recent video:

Be sure to check out Mark’s Twitter feed. And follow him while you’re at it.

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Liberals Placing Politics Over Student Safety

Ask a liberal if we give up our gun rights, will you agree to put armed guards in our schools in order to protect our children? The illogic bellefs of the Left are being exposed through this horrific tragedy in Florida. And at the end of the day, the Liberals do not care about protecting children as much as they care about promoting their political philsophies. How many of these tragedies do we have to endure until we do something definitive to protect our children while they are attending school? Here is the complete story.

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From the Hagmann blood sugar protocol to the Hodges joint protocol, Dr. Broer has helped hundreds of thousands of people. There is something for everybody at Take 5% off the cost of your order with coupon code DAVE5

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‘Corporate’ on Margaret Thatcher: ‘Great at Sex, Terrible at Politics’

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A recent article by Joe Katzman illustrated the maturity level of modern politics, by explaining the true nature of the war raging between Donald Trump and the American media. And what it showed was that winning and losing in politics comes down to the same kind of insults that work on a fifth grade playground.

The article (from a political-right perspective) defines a core principle of politics: That status and identification are fundamental, and that reasoned arguments are to be assiduously avoided. But it goes on to explain the power of the news media:

Why do the media have power? Because they have social status with ordinary people… How many movies seem to exist just to show journalists as heroes? … What’s the attraction of such a low-paying profession? Status given by the profession, and status from rubbing shoulders with high-status people.

This is important. Fast and cheap status has been the road to serfdom since ancient Mesopotamia, and it’s still feeding upon human weaknesses… using the news media as a status provider.

What Donald Trump is doing, the article argues, is attacking the status of the news media. Katzman writes:

Trump also acts in ways that cause journalists to fulfill his pre-suasion labeling. He makes “outrageous” statements, which many people outside the Beltway Bubble agree with. Those statements receive over-the-top media attacks, which make his enemies look ridiculous. Then events swiftly show that Trump had a point. Trump rubs it in, using the media’s own “Fake News” term against them and pouncing on every sloppy and dishonest mistake.

Notice that from the standpoint of a fight on a 5th grade schoolyard, this is the perfect strategy. Notice also that it works brilliantly in politics, which functions, necessarily, at something like a 5th grade level.

And it’s not just Trump. The left used to employ a man named James Carville to make the same kinds of attacks on the right.

We may not like playground bullies at the highest levels of government, but this is what politics produces. Reason loses badly in almost any political fight. Base instincts are what win: Fear, status, tribal identification, and so on.

Last year I wrote this:

…if we’re very, very lucky, the [winner of the] Donny and Hillary circus may break the stasis of our time.

If Katzman is right, the news media may be shoved from their high-and-holy perch, which may help break our era’s frozen status quo. Let’s just hope that our current batch of young people can mature better than their forebears.

* * * * *

A book that generates comments like these, from actual readers, might be worth your time:

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Such a tour de force, so many ideas. And I am amazed at the courage to write such a book, that challenges so many people’s conceptions.

There were so many points where it was hard to read, I was so choked up.

Holy moly! I was familiar with most of the themes presented in A Lodging of Wayfaring Men, but I am still trying to wrap my head around the concepts you presented at the end of this one.

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Pope says fake news is satanic, condemns use in politics

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Francis on Wednesday condemned fake news as satanic, saying journalists and social media users should shun and unmask manipulative “snake tactics” that foment division to serve political and economic interests.

“Fake news is a sign of intolerant and hypersensitive attitudes, and leads only to the spread of arrogance and hatred. That is the end result of untruth,” Francis said in the first document by a pope on the subject.

The document was issued after months of debate on how much fake news may have influenced the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign and the election of President Donald Trump.

“Spreading fake news can serve to advance specific goals, influence political decisions, and serve economic interests,” the pope wrote, condemning the “manipulative use of social networks” and other forms of communication.

Called “The truth will set you free – fake news and journalism for peace”, the document was issued in advance of the Catholic Church’s World Day of Social Communications on May 13.

”This false but believable news is ‘captious’, inasmuch as it grasps people’s attention by appealing to stereotypes and common social prejudices and exploiting instantaneous

emotions like anxiety, contempt, anger and frustration,” Francis said.


False stories, the Pope said, spread so quickly that even authoritative denials often could not contain the damage done and many people run the risk of becoming “unwilling accomplices in spreading biased and baseless ideas”.

He called for “education for truth” that would help people discern, evaluate and understand news in order to recognize the “sly and dangerous form of seduction that worms its way into the heart with false and alluring arguments”.

Francis compared the use of fake news to the Bible story of the devil, who, disguised as a serpent, persuaded Eve to eat the fruit of the forbidden tree. He said she was fed wrong information by Satan, who told her the fruit would make her and Adam as all-knowing as God.

“We need to unmask what could be called the ‘snake-tactics’ used by those (purveyors of fake news) who disguise themselves in order to strike at any time and place.”

Vatican spokesman Greg Burke, a former reporter for U.S. outlets, told Reuters Television: “The Pope is not saying that all journalists are snakes but he is certainly acknowledging that they can be.”

The pope said the role of journalists was “not just a job, it is a mission” and they had particular responsibility to stem fake news.

“Amid feeding frenzies and the mad rush for a scoop, they must remember that the heart of information is not the speed with which it is reported or its audience impact, but persons.”

Francis said journalism should be “less concentrated on breaking news than on exploring the underlying causes of conflicts …a journalism committed to pointing out alternatives to the escalation of shouting matches and verbal violence.”

Reporting By Philip Pullella with additional reporting by Gabriele Pileri and Cristiano Corvino; editing by Mark Heinrich

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