I now have a deep appreciation for why “bullying” is becoming the topic du jour. If I blog about it however that would probably be deemed bullying. It’s the new rhetorical club, and I think fast taking over the club of “denier” or “sustainability” or “consensus” … but again, should I elaborate, that would be bullying. Indeed, should one find themselves subject to some bullying training, you’d learn that trying NOT to engage in the discussion about bullying is now also being defined under the vague (intentionally so) rubric of bullying. So of course, there are flaming a-holes out there. There always have been and always will be. But the precision with which our “do-gooders” are thinking about and defining bullying really boils down to another way to institutionalize, “if I don’t like something, I will give it a label and penalize you for doing it.” This is indeed a way to stifle discourse and conversation. Imagine the reaction, on campus, if I now decide to post an article questioning the facts or methodology of some article put out by my university. Is there any way to question such things without it being deemed harassing, intimidating, non-collegial or simply rude? Especially if such “stuff” is put out by a student?
My students, at least those who find what I have to say interesting, are increasingly exasperated at my unwillingness to any longer do public events on campus. This is yet one of the many reasons why. We have a fun little controversy brewing about a confederate flag here. We have a real serious problem with our students being robbed, mugged, stabbed and beaten by the people living in the city surrounding our campus. We have all kinds of tensions flying around here. Yet there is really little sense in engaging any of those topics, certainly publicly. For when it comes to those topics (and many like it) we have long since exited the realm of reason and argument and understanding and into the post-modern world that our universities have so dearly wanted to become. They have succeeded. Anything I say can be deemed bullying. Anything I say can be deemed offensive to someone. Anything I say is surely going to be misrepresented by folks who don’t wish to follow lines of logic and instead react on emotion. So, while the fashionistas on our campuses regularly believe that raising taxes does not stop people from doing things, and that raising college costs does not prevent people from enrolling, and so on, at least raising the cost of solid intellectual discourse on campus has made at least one person, namely Wintercow, respond to that incentive. That’s one reason I’m retired from blogging too. Maybe this will all change one day.
Back to bullying: my kids’ little Catholic school, which has probably not had a real bully there in years, is now making a big push toward bullying prevention. So, in three newsletters sent home this year, the “feature” article from our leader has covered the “problem” of bullying, security and evil footballs (they have been banned from our school, not just playing football, but even having one). Not a peep about what we are doing in the classroom. We’re doomed. I feel bad for my kids, I really do. My sense is that since most Catholic school “educators” are themselves trained in Ed Schools and are heavily influenced by “what everyone else is doing” there really is less and less of a reason to send your kids to any one particular school over another.