We have previously discussed the alarming rollback on free speech rights in the West, particularly in France (here and here and here and here and here and here) and England ( here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here). Much of this trend is tied to the expansion of hate speech and non-discrimination laws. We have even seen comedians targeted with such court orders under this expanding and worrisome trend. (here and here). Now a recent complaint filed by a professor against Home Secretary Amber Rudd illustrates vividly how hate speech has become for some people an extension of political disagreements. The complaint by Prof Joshua Silver, an astrophysicist, will not result in any serious investigation but it was recorded as a hate crime allegation under the existing standards. We recently discussed the criminal charges brought against a conservative Dutch politician. Continue reading
Charles Obong, 52, a deceased Ugandan government official, appeared to be quite concerned about being called to account for his life and actions. Accordingly, he instructed that at least $5,700 (roughly P280,000) be placed inside his casket as an “offertory” to forgive God for his sins and “save him from hell fire.” Given his view of not only the susceptibility or ease of bribing the Almighty, I expect he has good reason to be concerned. While I am still a bit confused of why the Almighty would want Ugandan dollars or where he would use the cash, such attempted bribes are generally viewed as beyond the reach of criminal codes — even ones with really really really long-arm jurisdiction.
We have previously discussed the plight of women and girls subject to Sharia law and extreme Muslim traditions of marriage. The nightmare faced by many women was captured in a horrific guide being distributed by in Turkey by former religious affairs department employee Hasan Caliskan. The guide supports the beating of women who do not “beautify” themselves, supports the marriage of 10-year-old girls, and advances absurd notions like the danger of having a stuttering child if a woman talks during sex.
We have previously discussed the move to drop the use of the large cow bells that is part of the Swiss identity. Now local citizens in the canton of Aargau have moved to deny a passport to Nancy Holten, 42, because of her advocacy on behalf of the Swiss cows. It turns out that citizens and towns can object to the issuance of passports in Switzerland.
The Chinese communist regime reminded the world of its unwavering fear of independent thought and analysis for any kind. The latest victim is Deng Xiaochao, 62, an art professor at Shandong Jianzhu University in central China who was fired for a commentary that criticizing Chairman Mao Zedong. Of course, Mao has been dead for 40 years and he was a brutal, moronic dictator. However, this is this 123rd birthday and various people in China still revere a man who killed millions directly in the cultural revolution or indirectly through idiotic policies of centralized planning and controls. One of the best things that ever happened to China was the passing of Mao on September 9, 1976 but many still believe the decades of propaganda on the founder of Communist China,
There is a highly disturbing measure under consideration in Parliament this month. The government has proposed a new ratings system where students would give popularity (or unpopularity) rankings of schools. The Higher Education and Research Bill advocated by Universities Minister Jo Johnson has made it to a legislative committee. The proposed Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) imposes the system on universities which will be awarded gold, silver or bronze medals on the basis of a range of factors including student satisfaction, teaching excellence and preparation for the world of work. It is an effort to move beyond just ranking universities by their research excellence. Many academics have denounced the TEF as an obvious effort to coerce universities into yielding to demands from students on curriculum and other issues. The system would add new pressures on schools to yield to demands of students on curriculum and policies. It is turning over higher education to a type of academic social media where quality is based on your number of “likes.” If students “like” Laurette University more than Oxford, does that make Laurette the better school?
Universities are facing new demands that students be protected from required reading of white authors or that departments take steps to combat white dominance, particularly in English departments. We have previously discussed demands at Yale of English students to eliminate the requirement of reading white authors like Chaucer and Shakespeare. Then there were the Penn students in the English department removing the portrait of Shakespeare and replacing it with a black writer. Now students at the respected University of London are demanding that figures such as Plato, Descartes and Immanuel Kant be removed from philosophy courses in favor of minority writers. Before these students destroy one of the best university systems in the world, they may want to at least consider a Descartes quote: “It is not enough to have a good mind; the main thing is to use it well.”