Well, it could have been true. . . .

Satire is funny only when it hits close to home. Here’s a piece from The Onion in 2015, reproduced in its entirety (and tweeted by Steve Pinker), that gives an idea of the climate on many of today’s campuses. It’s been a years since it appeared, and things have only gotten worse.

And the text:

BOSTON—Saying that such a dialogue was essential to the college’s academic mission, Trescott University president Kevin Abrams confirmed Monday that the school encourages a lively exchange of one idea. “As an institution of higher learning, we recognize that it’s inevitable that certain contentious topics will come up from time to time, and when they do, we want to create an atmosphere where both students and faculty feel comfortable voicing a single homogeneous opinion,” said Abrams, adding that no matter the subject, anyone on campus is always welcome to add their support to the accepted consensus. “Whether it’s a discussion of a national political issue or a concern here on campus, an open forum in which one argument is uniformly reinforced is crucial for maintaining the exceptional learning environment we have cultivated here.” Abrams told reporters that counseling resources were available for any student made uncomfortable by the viewpoint.

This is of course aimed at the Censorious Left, but could apply equally well to religious schools like Bob Jones University.


  1. GBJames
    Posted August 1, 2017 at 8:15 am | Permalink


  2. Posted August 1, 2017 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    I find your incredulity… disturbing . 😉

  3. Alric
    Posted August 1, 2017 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    I just wouldn’t conflate the activities in the humanities departments of a few campuses with the whole left.

    When I went to college 20 years or so ago the humanities, and some of the social sciences, were already like this. It didn’t affect the natural sciences or engineering, and needless to say it doesn’t represent the whole “left”.

    • Historian
      Posted August 1, 2017 at 9:32 am | Permalink

      When Professor Coyne refers to the “Censorious Left,” I think we know what he means. It is unfortunate that in political discussion people often talk past each other because although they use the same words, they define them totally differently. One such word is the “Left.” It means different things to different people. For some, it means people who are left of dead center (in an economic or cultural context), no matter how close to the center they may be. Thus, mainstream supporters of Hillary Clinton and the Evergreen State protestors would be considered part of the Left. For others, only the latter would fall into that category. Sometimes the Left is only referred to in cultural terms; at other times in economic terms. Undoubtedly, there are many other ways the word is used.

      In an ideal world, writers or speakers would be required to define terms such as Left, Right, Liberal, Progressive, Conservative, Center, etc. before making their expositions. But, this is unlikely to happen anytime soon. Thus, we are doomed to a Tower of Babel of misunderstanding.

      • TJR
        Posted August 1, 2017 at 9:49 am | Permalink

        We can all help, though, by defining things ourselves when we talk about these things. Do everything we can to make definition of terms a standard part of conversation.

        • GBJames
          Posted August 1, 2017 at 9:50 am | Permalink

          What do you mean by “conversation”? 😉

          • TJR
            Posted August 1, 2017 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

            “A connected series of statements intended to establish a proposition”.

            No, that’s not it, its, erm, a thing, y’know, a whatsit with thingies.

      • Torbjörn Larsson
        Posted August 1, 2017 at 9:50 am | Permalink

        It has been claimed, and by my comparison it seems to be true, that the Swedish Right party (Moderaterna) is to the left of US Democrats.

        Similarly it has been claimed that Bernie Sanders has taken a position somewhere around a (as I hear, misunderstood – the economy would not work) euro-social democratic position, so he is somewhat center left in EU terms. Obviously YMMV.

        • rom
          Posted August 1, 2017 at 10:11 am | Permalink


          Interesting website … not sure I take it whole hook, line and sinker. Anyway I come out -4.5, -4.5 when I answer the questions.

          But yes it is interesting to compare the positions, The UK one overtime is also interesting.

      • Martin Knowles
        Posted August 1, 2017 at 11:55 am | Permalink

        Well said, Historian!

      • Alric
        Posted August 1, 2017 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

        It would be more accurate to say “censorship at the humanities in some colleges”. It has nothing to do with the left.

        • BJ
          Posted August 1, 2017 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

          If that’s the case, why is it always exclusively far-left students/student organizations protesting only conservative speakers and speakers who somehow offend far-left regressive principles?

          The first step to defeating the extremists on our own side (assuming you are of the left like myself) is a willingness to recognize they exist and are a problem.

          • GBJames
            Posted August 1, 2017 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

            I agree, BJ. (I, too, am “of the left”.)

  4. Posted August 1, 2017 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    Reblogged this on The Logical Place.

  5. sensorrhea
    Posted August 1, 2017 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    I think it’s funny that conservatives make so much noise about academic intolerance on thee left – which is real – considering conservative religious schools don’t even invite controversial speakers. Certainly not even inviting the speaker is far more censoring than inviting them and having protestors.

    When I bring this point up knowledgable conservatives always bleat “what about Liberty University hosting Bernie Sanders?” There is no comparison. He’s nothing like the kinds of controversial speakers we hear about being protested, like Milo. He’s a Senator who appeared on the campus while he was running for president. It’s not like he got up and denied the existence of God to all of them.

    • fizziks
      Posted August 1, 2017 at 11:03 am | Permalink

      What would happen if Jeff Sessions (also a Senator) was invited to speak at UC Berkeley or Middlebury? What about Ted Cruz? Probably at least some sort of disruption. That’s why the Bernie speaking at Liberty comparison is apt.

    • fizziks
      Posted August 1, 2017 at 11:11 am | Permalink

      Also you are conveniently forgetting the Bret Weinstein and Charles Murray episodes. These people are not provocateurs at all but rather scholars, and yet were both violently chased off of campuses.

      Compared to that, the Liberty U. appears a paragon of tolerance and intellectual curiosity for inviting then listening to Bernie Sanders.

    • BJ
      Posted August 1, 2017 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

      Liberty University had Bernie Sanders speak. During the campaign.
      With no interruptions or protests.

      But, more importantly, religious colleges are religious colleges. Normal schools, which make up the vast majority of schools in the country, are far more important and have a far more diverse student population.

    • Kevin
      Posted August 1, 2017 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

      Not inviting is not censorship. Think of conservative religious schools as monasteries. No one is complaining about their lack of invitations.

      Religion loves un-inclusion. It wants to be hermetic and unchanging. The best outside guests are uninvited guests.

  6. fizziks
    Posted August 1, 2017 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    While I am certainly not a fan of Conservative religious indoctrination schools such as Liberty U., at least they are being somewhat more honest than some censorious elements associated with regular universities these days.

    Bible colleges are up front about their mission and their scope. On the other hand, some of our most famous universities have lofty slogans and stated goals of inquiry, academic freedom, and seeking knowledge above all else, but are becoming increasingly constricted and censorious. I might expect an outstanding Biology professor to be driven off of a religious campus but it is another thing entirely to see one being driven off of a supposedly secular public university.

  7. rickflick
    Posted August 1, 2017 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    The Onion sometimes seems to miss being funny to me, but this one is a winner. That’s an idea worth spreading.

  8. jay
    Posted August 1, 2017 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    Is this satire: cognitive privilege??


    Claims being intelligent is just like ‘ white privilege’.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted August 1, 2017 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

      Dan Williams defines privilege as “the receipt of certain benefits wholly through accident of birth.” He then compares white privilege with “…cognitive privilege, for example. We now know that intelligence is not something we have significant control over but is something we are born with”

      Original source: http://daily-iowan.com/2017/07/25/williams-what-is-privilege-and-what-do-we-do-with-it/

      Williams presents no evidence supporting his working assumption that we are each gifted with an immutable amount of cognition, but he has to say it is so or he doesn’t have a sound argument.

    • Posted August 1, 2017 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

      Satire, or not I disagree with him. Individuals may be born with cognitive advantage that, for one reason or another, they do not use fully. Other individuals with less cognitive advantage, use what they have to the max and achieve more than might have been expected based on IQ tests or performance at times in school or work. It isn’t just what your genes gift you with, but how you use the gift.

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