Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Mama, don't let your children

...grow up to be brainwashed.

So pleads the Ottawa Citizen's resident keeper of the right and true, David Warren, in a column this morning entitled (with unintended irony) "Dungeons of the mind."

Betcha thought that Human Rights Commissions, with their army of jack-booted snoops and inquisitors, and their Satanic tribunals, were the only serious enemy we're facing, after, of course, the Yellow Peril redux--the Muslim Menace. Right?

Nope. Today Warren casts his nervously excited gaze upon university freshman--sorry comrades, freshperson--orientation sessions.

Did you know about those, anxious parents? Did you know?

Parris Island has nothing on this. In a scant few days, freshmen/women, from pious, God-fearing, conservative homes--s/he-frosh who, up to the moment of college admission, had never heard of evolution, a spherical earth, melting ice-caps and Marxism--will be transformed into the left-Stepford he-or-she robots of the New Order.

But let's get a few inevitable inaccuracies out of the way first--this is, after all, David Warren. "Politically correct" was not originally a Maoist phrase as he claims. It could be heard during the dim days of the CPUSA, a reference to comradely adherence to the General Line, but even well before that, arguably all the way to the 18th century, in fact:

The states, rather than the people, for whose sake the states exist, are frequently the objects which attract and arrest our principal attention... Sentiments and expressions of this inaccurate kind prevail in our common, even in our convivial, language... ‘The United States’, instead of the ‘People of the United States’, is the toast given. This is not politically correct. (Justice James Wilson, Chisholm v. Georgia, 1793)

Warren was around then, and should know better.

But in case one cavils that the word "correct" in this usage is simply a synonym for "accurate," here is a reference from 1931, using it in the policy sense:

The first convention of the International Workers’ Order will accept the general correct line, in the light of constructive self-criticism, abolish the drawbacks in our work, reveal the weak points, and strengthen our position for a united Class Order in the fraternal movement in this country. [p.3]

(Whew. "Fraternal," eh?)

And here is one from 1940, in which the word "correctness" is used in the current manner to describe the policies of the Redeemer of the Masses:

And they trust Stalin and believe in Stalin not only because they see the correctness of his policies confirmed by their own experience, not only because the facts have proved the correctness of Stalin’s predictions, but because they know Stalin’s words are facts, deeds, because Stalin like Lenin “never deceives,” that Stalin is firm and unshakeable in the cause of the toilers, in the cause of Communism.

In the 'sixties some of us more easygoing leftists used the expression to josh the overly orthodox among us. Then the conservatives got hold of it in the 1970s, using it as a weapon to deride and dismiss decent values--inclusiveness, social equality, that sort of thing. And it remains in their arsenal to this day.

Secondly, and I hope this is the last time I have to point this out, Mark Steyn has never been a respondent to a complaint before a human rights commission or tribunal anywhere in Canada.

Finally, a small point perhaps, but why are these free-speech chappies always "hauled" before a tribunal? Do they never drive, or walk in under their own steam? One has the image of a bound Ezra Levant being pulled along on a sledge by a team of rabid HRC munchkins in harness. I'm trying to feel his pain, but I keep laughing out loud for some reason.

But to the meat of the matter.

After wambling and bumbling through several column-inches on the "political correctness" theme, Warren reveals his main point, borrowed from a right-wing American university professor:

[I]t is obvious that politically correct phenomena are as much a part of daily U.S. academic life, as Canadian. An excellent example, put forward by Robert P. George, the McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence in Princeton University, in the panel on "Conscience, Expression and Liberty", is the "orientation" programs given to freshmen arriving in universities across the continent. These are compulsory sessions of politically correct indoctrination, designed to brainwash the young and impressionable, and turn them against any moral or religious formation they may have received from their families.

Er, what? But Warren takes his cue and runs with it:

[Those orientation programs] need to be exposed for what they are, and challenged in forensic detail. Professors of goodwill, regardless of their own political views, should go out of their way to uphold the honour of their profession, by assuring incoming students that the university is not a closed leftwing camp; that social and political indoctrination is not a natural expression of academic ideals, but a subversion and perversion of them.

Now here I was imagining that orientation week was about meeting people, getting used to the campus, discovering what the place has to offer, finding out where the library is and the pubs are--that sort of thing. Indeed Carleton University, my own school, claims that this is the case:

Fall Orientation is about meeting new students, having fun and introducing you to the wide variety of academic resources and student activities on campus.

Hah! Happy-face fascism, you retort. And the next paragraph certainly has an ominous ring
(it helps if you read it with a Colonel Klink accent):

To make the most of your CU experience, you need to get yourself pointed in the right direction - and that’s where we come in. Make sure to read through all the information on the events planned for your arrival. We look forward to welcoming you to our community when you get here in September. [emphasis added]

"Pointed in the right direction," eh? In vain do I protest, being both a Carleton graduate and a returning student, that the activities are if anything rather anodyne, and, not being mandatory, easily skipped as well. No, you will reply, you have been brainwashed, you are not permitted to tell the truth about your orientation--if you remember anything about it, that is. "Why don't you pass the time by playing a little solitaire?" Funny how my mind always goes blank when I do that.

I digress. I have no idea what new natural law theorist Robert P. George is on about. Perhaps someone who has seen what this orientation is and fled screaming from the campus before it took root might be able to offer something in the comments. But in the meantime, what is to be done? (The sly Leninist reference leaps unbidden to my mind.)

De-programming? Shutting down these intellectual concentration camps altogether? Because if this campus indoctrination is as brutally effective as Warren says it is, his suggestions seem rather tame:

It is crucially important to fight back: to denounce those who try to silence us; to subject their intellectual fashion cults to public ridicule; to show solidarity with those who are being muffled and victimized; to give them encouragement, and prevent their isolation; to defy openly the edicts of the politically correct; to retaliate against every attempt to encroach upon academic freedom.

Come on, David, grow a pair. "Denounce?" "Show solidarity?" "Give them encouragement?" Admittedly, "defy" and "retaliate" are better, but what does that mean concretely? (Whoops.)

Becoming a student, in fact, could lead to a future no right-thinking parent would choose for his or her son or daughter. In India, a holy man traditionally went through four stages: student, householder (good so far), forest-dweller (what??) and then sadhu--a wandering beggar in search of moksha (liberation). In his retirement years!

And here, it seems, students fare little better. Programmed during Orientation Week, they are now fresh, submissive meat upon which the Pomo-Marxist-secularists can more easily work their evil will. Ask your kid, home for the holidays, about "global warming." You'll see.

Prevention is surely better than cure. Keep your children out of harm's way from the very start. Home-skool the little ones up to the PhD level. Don't let them near the internet. Monitor their reading, their friends, their music. Impose curfews, inculcate the right values, make church attendance compulsory, and remember, sparing the rod spoils the child.

Take no prisoners in the war against regimentation. Because your children's freedom--and ours--depend upon it.

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