Phi Beta Cons

Speech Isn’t about Ideas, but now about Identity

So argues the anonymous writer in this new SeeThru post. Given the penchant among intolerant leftists for going after those who dare disagree with them, it’s probably wise for the writer to remain anonymous. Freedom to speak and argue, he says, now depends on whether or not you have the proper identity. At an Oxford debate he attended, a debater who was arguing against the idea that the US is an “institutionally racist” country was shouted at, “You’re white.” Sadly, to many people these days, such a retort is reasonable, but it’s completely fallacious. You don’t refute an argument by pointing out circumstances of the arguer.

We have here a recrudescence of what Ludwig von Mises, writing in the 30s, called “polylogism.” That was the Nazi idea that different people had different logics. Jewish logic was different from Aryan logic and there was nothing to do but resort to violence to stifle the former. Funny that this should happen in colleges and universities that say they improve students’ “critical thinking” skills. If anything, we seem to be going in the opposite direction.

George Leef is the director of research for the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy.

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