The modern university’s idea of “diversity” excludes all dissident opinions to the one accepted definition of “diversity” which it “values”…

We live in strange and ominous times in which coherence and cohesiveness have been replaced by newspeak and doublethink. As readers of George Orwell’s 1984 will know, newspeak is the corruption of language, and therefore meaning, for the purposes of political propaganda, whereas doublethink is the ability to hold contrary and contradictory opinions or beliefs simultaneously, especially as a consequence of political indoctrination. Both of these manifestations of meaning-corruption were prevalent in an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education about the recent shenanigans in Charlottesville. The article’s author, Chad Wellmon, an associate professor of German studies at the University of Virginia, asked how the university’s “values” of “diversity and inclusion” could be defended in the wake of the neo-Nazi presence on the UVa’s campus. “What kind of goods are these,” Professor Wellmon asks, “and why do we defend them?” He continues:

They are not ends in themselves, but they contribute to the primary purpose of the modern university—to create and care for knowledge and to pass that knowledge on by teaching our students. Diversity is good for learning…. Our common pursuit of knowledge is richer and truer when it seeks contributions from the broadest diversity of peoples.

The problem is that the modern university’s idea of “diversity” excludes all dissident opinions to the one accepted definition of “diversity” which it “values.” There can be no diversity of opinion on issues of “gender,” even though the present dogmatism that the modern university “values” was not even conceivable in any human societies and cultures until the past few decades. Should those with diverse opinions on the topic of “gender” endeavor to voice their opinions on modern university campuses they will be subjected to the threat of physical violence. And what is true of issues of “gender” is true of other issues, such as marriage, sexual ethics, abortion, et cetera. No genuine diversity on any of these issues is tolerated by the modern university, which outlaws all such diversity on the grounds of “diversity” and excludes all dissident opinions on the grounds of “inclusiveness.” If this isn’t newspeak and doublethink at their most egregious, it’s hard to know what is. Big Brother would be proud.

And yet the greatest and gravest irony is to be found in Professor Wellmon’s concluding paragraph:

When I welcome my students this Saturday, I will discuss white supremacy and the march, but I will use language different than the one my wife and I used with our three children. To them we spoke in the language of our faith tradition—in terms of the image of God, the church, and Christian love. When I speak to my students, I will do so in the language of the university and its traditions—in terms of open debate, critique, and a love of knowledge.

Does Professor Wellmon not perceive the irony? The fact is that he could not discuss white supremacy to his students in the language of his family’s faith tradition, nor could he condemn neo-Nazism in terms of the image of God, the church, and Christian love. All such discussion is banned from secular universities. The Christian understanding of love is not part of the permitted “diversity.” It is excluded in the name of “inclusion.” If Professor Wellmon were to tell his students what he tells his own children he would probably receive threats of violence and the president of the university would probably receive threats of violence. The consequence of such threats would probably be the unceremonious removal of Professor Wellmon from the university’s faculty. He would find himself excluded in the name of “inclusion.” The fact is that Professor Wellmon and all others who teach at modern secular universities are unable to discuss anything “in terms of open debate, critique, and a love of knowledge.” Were they to try to do so the Thought Police would report them to Big Brother. The real problem is not the handful of neo-Nazis who paid a pathetic and fleeting visit to the University of Virginia’s campus, never to return. The real problem is the neo-Nazis who are still there.

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The Imaginative Conservative applies the principle of appreciation to the discussion of culture and politics—we approach dialogue with magnanimity rather than with mere civility.

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