Cancel Culture, falling trust in News & middle class pearl clutching over internet Trolls

Remember when Stuff told us that Cancel Culture didn’t even exist?

Turns out it does

“Cancel culture”, “callout culture” or “woke politics” – these trends are often accused of reducing political debate and diversity of thought in society. And it’s on university campuses where this is said to occur the most.

Yet until now, it hasn’t been clear if academic freedom is being eroded and whether academics are being stifled in their role as “critic and conscience” of society. We have had occasional controversies – such as the fallout at the University of Auckland and in the Royal Society over the academics who questioned the way that mātauranga Māori is being used in the education curriculum, but it’s been hard to know whether this type of controversy is indicative of wider problems.

There is now evidence that there is indeed a problem. The first New Zealand Annual Survey on Academic Freedom, published today, shows that a significant proportion of university academics feel very constrained in what they can discuss and disagree with. The survey, commissioned by the Free Speech Union and carried out by Curia Research, asked academics how free they felt in challenging consensus, debating issues such as gender or the Treaty of Waitangi, and so forth. Respondents were asked to rate their academic freedom on various topics on a 0-10 scale, in which 0 meant “unfree” and 10 meant “entirely free”. There were 1266 responses to the survey.

…pure Temple dogma over broad tent politics makes the Middle Class Identitarians feel culturally superior and smug but their echo chamber activism only generates virtue signals that alienate.

Outrage Olympics on Twitter is middle class group therapy porn with a micro aggression policing Lynch mob cancelling any who don’t submit to the language protocols of the woke conclave…

At universities there has been a strong trend towards what is called “no platforming”, a concept that argues “platforms” shouldn’t be provided for harmful or wrong ideas and debates. It’s essentially the concept of “banning” bad ideas from being available. This concept has led to several speakers and ideas being kept off New Zealand campuses. Not only that, but it has also sent a strong message to academics about the possibility of being “called out” or marginalised if they don’t conform to orthodox views.

To understand how the culture of universities has shifted in this way, it’s important to consider how the “political left” has evolved in recent decades, especially on campuses. When I talk to first-year students – I teach about 1300 each year – and I ask them what “leftwing” means to them, some of the words and phrases I hear are: anti-racism, diversity, gender, censorship, cancel culture, boycotts, LGTBQ+ rights, political correctness, identity politics, environment and peace.

These definitions of leftwing are quite different to traditional ones. Today’s students certainly don’t talk so much about economic inequality, poverty, working class, trade unions, collective struggle, universalism, etc.

I think this illustrates how the political left has evolved over recent decades – the parties, activists and politicians representing the left are now quite different to what they were for most of the twentieth century.

Much of this shift had its origins in the 1980s when most leftwing forces, particularly the political parties, transformed into middle class vehicles, and others such as unions declined as a social force. The left also started to lose the debates on economics globally. In New Zealand this meant the introduction of neoliberal economic reforms, in our case by the Fourth Labour Government.

Left-wingers generally gave up on economics, choosing to focus more on non-economic issues: social issues, foreign policy, post-materialism, and what are often called the “culture wars” – involving personal morality and behaviour. So since then, the left became more associated with cultural issues, gender and ethnicity. They don’t focus so much on class, socioeconomics, or the general concerns of the working class.

In a sense, the left has swung from one extreme in the 20th century, when everything was about economics and class (and important issues around gender and ethnicity were not given their due focus) to one where the focus is much more on culturalist and identity politics.

Essentially there was something of a political compromise in which the “right” won the “economic debates” in the latter part of that century – setting up an economy we’ve still got, that is structured in favour of wealth, business and elites – while the “left” has won the “social debates”, largely setting the agenda on issues of gender, ethnicity, sexuality, and culture.

The modern version of the left – or the “liberal left” – has different ways of pursuing political change. Largely it’s an elite, top-down model of politics, reflective of the left being made up of the highly educated stratum of society. They confidently believe that they know best.

This elite leftwing approach is very compatible with a more censorious approach to politics and that partly explains the authoritarian impulses we are seeing today. Traditionally the left has been the force in society most favourable to “free speech” and mass participation in politics – championing the rights of the oppressed or marginalised to organise, to communicate politics, to win human rights and political gains. In contrast, it used to be the forces of the right and the Establishment that clamped down on political expression and activity. This is why it’s all the more jarring that increasingly the left wants either the state or society to put limits on political debate and expression.

…we can already see the political fault lines rupturing here along clear gender lines for the 2023 election.

The Left want to deplatform any attempt at debate that triggers them, which feeds into the narrative that they are the censorious side who want to kill off free speech.

This at a time when trust in mainstream media is dropping through the floor and we are splintering into radicalised groups online fed by hate algorithms.

So surprise, fucking surprise, the SIS start their new Woke Stasi and Nark centre to start dobbing in anyone you suspect of being an enemy of the State…

Domestic terrorism: NZ security agencies’ public guide as violent online talk increases

NZ Security Intelligence Service director general Rebecca Kitteridge told the Herald a declassified version of its Indicators of Violence guidance would be released in a few months to help the public recognise someone who might be preparing to carry out a terror attack.

…I’m not sure giving the woke favoured Nark status with the fucking Secret Intelligence Service is really that much of a step away from a functioning Stasi.

Remember how woke activists manufactured Rachel Stewart’s tweets into a threat so that her guns were seized?

That is what the SIS is attempting to invoke from a huge swath of Middle Class Marxists who now see being mocked by anonymous trolls online is a national security threat!

That’s right, middle class white women should never be mocked online and if they are, it’s a National Security Issue because anyone who bad mouths a woman online is a step and a hop away from becoming a genocidal white supremacist terrorist.

This farcical attempt to put middle class identity virtue signalling alongside national security threats is woke madness and will ultimately manufacture more radicals!

Sure antagonism online has exploded, but that’s set against a media culture backlash that started with MeToo vigilantism, extended to woke social media Lynch mobs and is being exacerbated by Covid economic stress and dislocation.

Pretending all that antagonism is magically coming from no where and is instead a clear indicator of who is going to be a domestic terrorist and who isn’t is jaw dropping in its middle class audacity.

You getting shitty things said anonymously online isn’t a national security threat ffs!

The new Police State won’t be critiqued or protested against by the Wellington Middle Class Marxists, it will be cheered and supported.

In NZ you can win arguments simply by feeling it more.


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