Let’s See If Progressives Really Mean What They Say

Written by:
18 October 2020
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Originally Appeared In

Recent events have demonstrated that taking progressives on face value might be an effective way of stalling the rampant spread of progressivism through our institutions 

In case you missed it, one of the few highlights of a bleak year came last month when the US Department of Education threatened to pull $75 million of federal funding from Princeton University.  

Princeton President Christopher Eisgruber had published an open letter on the university’s website on September 2 on Princeton’s efforts to combat systemic racism. In it, he wrote “Racism…persist(s) at Princeton” and Racist assumptions from the past also remain embedded in structures of the University itself”.  

The Trump administration’s Department of Education promptly announced an investigation into the university’s federal funding on the basis it contravenes Title VI which makes it illegal for the American government to fund racially discriminatory activities. In addition, the Department noted that Princeton had been stating in its funding applications for years that it was adhering to Title VI meaning not only is the university racist, but it has been lying to the government.  

This is just delicious. It’s become commonplace in North American universities in particular for people to make all sorts of grand admissions about being complicit in the structures of white supremacy. If you’re going to ponce around declaring to the world that you’re a guardian of racial oppression, don’t complain when people believe you.  

Presumably terrified they’re next, 80 college presidents and leaders have signed a letter urging the Department to abandon their investigation.   

There’s a lesson in this for – actually holding progressives to account for their posturing, taking their moral vanities on face value, could be a good way of making people think twice before taking up progressive causes 

After all, why should a knuckle-dragger hurling racial slurs at Indigenous footballers on social media be pilloried, but an individual presiding over systemic racism at one of the world’s most respected educational institutions be applauded for their courage?   

The above episode is reminiscent of Australian universities scrambling to hose down the CCP’s claims in June that Australia was racist and unsafe for Chinese students. Group of Eight universities chief executive, Vicki Thompson described the claim as “demonstrably untrue”. 

But that’s not what Australian universities have been teaching for decades though is it? Our universities love casting modern Australia – one of the least racist countries that’s ever existed – as a genocidal coloniser perpetuating ‘Whiteness.    

How could any university with a sense of decency encourage non-white international students to come to such a place? And how could they go cap in hand to the ‘occupier’ for funding, as they have recently? It’s funny how these concerns seem to dissipate, though, when there’s money on the line.   

In the political realm, the ALP recently celebrated 25 years of gender quotas. In 1994 they introduced a measure that ensured women would be preselected for 35% of winnable seats at all parliamentary elections.  

The ALP has always maintained quotas don’t mean the best person isn’t getting the job, but that the quota enables the best person to get the job. If that’s the case, then the people presiding over preselection in the ALP – often consisting of opaque factional horse-trading – must be sexist. It’s the only explanation. Either the quota system produces lower standard candidates or in the absence of a quota system, the people selecting the candidates are unable to judge them based on their merits.  

The ALP can conduct preselection however they like. But for the 2019 election, the ALP received $24 million in government funding. Why should taxpayers be funding an organisation that by its own admission is full of people who can’t judge female candidates on their merits? And why should anyone vote for them?  

Even worse, the situation hasn’t improved in decades, with quotas apparently still as necessary as ever after 25 years.   

Deep down, the leaders of these institutions probably know their organisations aren’t fundamentally bigoted. But it’s a portent of the postmodern dystopia the West is sleepwalking into that they probably don’t care. It’s the gesture that counts.  

In their defence, it may never have occurred to them that they will be held to account for what they’re saying. ‘Accountability’ and ‘telling the truth’ are not key priorities of the taxpayer-funded never-never in which this stuff is most prevalent.  

So let’s start. Let’s demand the government not fund institutions that admit they are structurally racist. Let’s not vote for parties that apparently can’t judge women on their merits. Let’s avoid dealing with companies that are compelled to hold diversity training year after year because they don’t seem to be able to hire employees that aren’t discriminatory.  

It’s time we took progressives at their word – let’s find out if they really mean what they’re saying.

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