The entire academy is being held hostage by a vocal minority.
"These experiences remind me that when Blow extols “the masses” who are canceling people like me, the people he’s praising are actually just a small coalition of professional trolls such as Bird, working in effective concert with the risk-averse, upper-middle corporate bureaucrats who now have taken over decision-making on many college and university campuses."
Thanks, Colin. You describe your experiences with a winsome transparency and no bitternesss. I am so ashamed of what the modern American universities have done. I can only hope that a few renegade universities will hire the likes of you and allow students to experience true debate and listen to alll sides of every story.
"If you’re looking for common characteristics among those of us who get targeted for cancelation, it isn’t money or privilege. Rather, many of us simply have an inability to mumble slogans we know aren’t true. Over time, we become exasperated with dishonest propaganda that masquerades as social justice, and we speak out. It’s a habit rooted in the truth-telling, whistle-blowing impulse that, not so long ago, progressives applauded." I do wonder about this a lot, as I just cannot understand the apathy of former friends and colleagues. It's like this rubrics cube in my mind I obsess about because I just can't make sense of it. A lifetime of habits is a good frame. Perhaps those of us who are formerly "progressive" but who can't seem to shut up about gender nothingburgers (like women being raped in prison...like gender non-conforming kids being sterilized) kept these virtues from our former tribe: tell the truth, give voice to those who have no voice. These are virtues shared with conservatives and decent people of all persuasions throughout humanity.
Lived experience is the best teacher and evolutionary biology stimulus. Nothing like it.
Good for YOU!
My evolutionary biology is a bit rusty these days but I still dabble in trying to understand it. Right now we live in a devolutionary culture on steroids bent on maximum entropy.
Unfortunately they are succeeding. I do believe they carry the seeds of their own destruction. The problem here is they seem intent of getting rid of us first.
"Until you change how money works, you change nothing." RIP Michael C. Ruppert
The thing is, there's a LOT of money driving the gender ideology narrative. This article by Jennifer Bilek (https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2020/01/the-billionaires-behind-the-lgbt-movement) details how the pharmaceutical billionaires have funded educational institutions, medical institutions, and many other organizations to support the trans narrative because it has multiple benefits that are playing out all over the world:
- destroys feminism as it was once known - an organized grass-roots movement that empowers women to reclaim control over their lives
- breaks down families making them less stable and easier to propagandize and exploit
- destroys gay culture by sending gays and lesbians back into the closet for fear of being labelled transphobic
- makes massive profits for the medical/pharmaceutical industries - see Bilek's article for the pharma billionaires investment in gender ideology
- empowers the government by creating a divide and conquer paradigm with liberals and conservatives at each other's throats and in the process dismantles any kind of representation for the working class who must tow the line or risk losing their livelihoods
- empowers men's rights movements by enabling porn-addled male predators to terrorize women in their spaces, steal their awards, jobs and scholarships and allows fathers to demonize women trying to protect their children from the trans cult
- creates a generation of young people utterly spellbound by their trans cult leaders into thinking they can identify out of a traumatic adolescence
Overall, the trans cult has done an absolutely brilliant job of achieving the end goal described by George Orwell convincing the population: “War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.” Such that we can add "Men are women. Girls can become boys." etc. The inmates truly are running the asylum.
It would be an incredibly fascinating study in mass psychosis if we weren't actually living through it. So, I'm sorry that you've had to be on the front lines, Colin. All I've had to deal with is losing my best friend to this cult, having my Twitter, Facebook and Medium accounts shut down and losing friendships because the propaganda and censorship is pervasive. I don't know where it will end, but it won't be pretty.
The hypocrisy of Charles Blow never ceases to astonish me. He's a gay guy who married an unsuspecting woman and had children with her, now tells his fatherhood story as if she doesn't exist. AOC pretends trans widows, the ex-wives of men who ideate into female persona, do not exist. She and her crowd believe cancelling the ex-wives is just and proper, we tell too many truths about trans narcissism. Ute Heggen channel on youtube now features the weekly adventures of one young mother, just 4 months past her tech husband's "revelation." She doesn't get automatic annulment, but has to endure a high conflict divorce, in which her very motherhood is eroded.
From another academic... thanks for the great essay!
I'm an old-school 'equality feminist' and social psychologist who has been writing about gender, social contagions, and pseudoscience all my life. In the 70s, when I got my Ph.D., the feminist antipathy toward biology had some justification, given all the reductionist nonsense that had to be cleared away (you know, the "women's hormones make them unfit for office" sort of thing; why, a menopausal president might start a war! And the early misuse of evolutionary theory was also a problem ("women are designed for ... " fill in the blank). So I have watched with alarm as criticism of bad biological theory morphed into "get all biology out of there." Colin, you might enjoy these two of my recent columns for Skeptic magazine on evolutionary theories of female sexuality and on the rise of the trans movement. https://www.skeptic.com/reading_room/transgender-reality-i-didnt-know-there-was-another-side/
I am dismayed at the complete lack of resolve demonstrated by the cravens in the Academy. They are a sniveling, cowardly, and contemptible lot, and it is clear they are beyond salvaging at this point. Not sure how to restore American greatness in higher education, and hopefully their are others like you who can help find a suitable way forward.
On that point, thank you for your moral courage and willingness to stand in the breach against this lunacy. Without brave and thoughtful champions for truth like you endeavoring to protect and publicize the truth, our society is likely doomed.
Thank you for an excellent article Colin and for fighting the good fight. How so many otherwise intelligent people have become such cowards is truly mind boggling.
If I may, I just want you to know that all of the cancellation is worth it. I know it's horrible, unfair and costly in many ways. But what you are doing is so important. Unlike the trope that "affirmation saves lives," which is not only a lie, but a gross distortion of the reality that affirmation causes harm, by speaking out, I believe you really are saving lives. Certainly, you are preventing (for those who will ultimately benefit from an end to the madness that is gender ideology), among other things: (1) young people from being sterilized, and given harmful medications that will weaken their bones, and/or cause strokes, heart attacks, and various other harmful effects on health; (2) young people from having dangerous - wholly unnecessary - surgeries; (3) young people from regretting that they have destroyed their ability to become biological parents, and mutilated their bodies; (4) women from being housed with male criminals; (5) women from competing with men in sports, preventing them from having a fair shot at winning; (6) women from having their scholarships and job opportunities usurped by men; (7) women in rape crisis centers or shelters for battered women from benefitting from an all female setting in which to feel safe; and (8) young people from being ashamed of their bodies, thinking their bodies are "wrong," suffering the delusion that they are not what their biology dictates, and thinking they cannot do or say or think what they want to do unless and until they mutilate their bodies or, at the very least, hide their bodies from view and put their energies toward a pretense of being the opposite sex. As a parent of a confused teen, I thank you for what you have been doing and acknowledge the sacrifice you've been facing. As a lawyer, I believe cancel culture is real, is an affront to the First Amendment (in the US), and is a danger because, while people think they are preventing "wrong-speak," what is "wrong" is a matter of opinion. When we prevent speech, even speech we don't like, we prevent debate, intelligent discussion, revelation of facts, and any ability for truth to prevail. Thank you, Colin.
Colin, please tell the readers what you are doing now professionally, and to pay the rent? Has any good of this come your way professionally or personally? Is there any silver lining besides perhaps becoming a positive footnote in history? Thank you for your efforts to date.
Take a look at Psychology Today's Lived Experience section. Only some people have positive lived experience that makes them virtuous or exceptional.
History has been harsh to those who cancel. Galileo is probably the most famous cancellee, and arguably Solzhenitsyn - cancel culture sees imprisonment or death as the ultimate punishment for transgression, we’re not far away I think.
My father was “cancelled” out of the US foreign service for telling the HUAC to fuck themselves - he testified beside I believe Josephine Baker, who gave similar feedback. His diplomatic career was destroyed and I trace the origin of his fairly bad alcoholism to around that point.
Being gay, I know we still as a group have a fairly unpleasant reckoning with “cancel” culture which never entirely went away - ask a gay teacher. Asserting our existence is still problematic, radical trans have managed to define away gay with the APA, see what happens if you assert homosexuality is not a variety of transgenderism,
What lies ahead is people dying. That’s ultimately the only thing that gets attention this deeply in society, and when ordinary gay men and women kill themselves because they amputated their sex organs via dubious advice, it will all come out in the wash.
I suspect the only rational recourse is to declare biological sex is a religion, and any dissent is religious discrimination.
Aside from the fact those who say there’s no cancel culture aren’t seeing people they like being canceled, there’s a lot of survivorship bias involved. Like this piece notes, one doesn’t hear from the people most thoroughly canceled and defenseless when it happens.
Thank you for your post.
Like you, I have challenged these sorts of views in the UK as often as I can and have faced flack but nothing like you have experienced.
Also, like you, I cannot understand how 'scientists' can buy into this stuff but for fear of destroying their careers.
Said before so I cannot claim credit, we are the witches of the 21st century.
“In my study of history in Sexual Personae I am always talking about the late phases of culture, the decadent phase of culture. In my studies, I found that history is cyclic, and you find this pattern everywhere in the world. As a culture begins to decline, you find an efflorescence of transgender phenomena. That is a symptom of cultural collapse.” – Camille Paglia, 2015