Colleges are charging students, parents and the government tens of thousands of dollars per year. What kind of things are going on at colleges? Undoubtedly, a lot of good goes on. But so does a lot of trash. In fact, the evidence continues to mount that in many respects, America’s colleges are going crazy.
At the University of Oregon, for instance, students are invited to attend a “healthy masculinities conference” where they will “engage in collective imagining to construct new futures for masculinities, unrestricted by power, privilege, and oppression.”
First of all, what is “collective imagining”? You can’t imagine anything collectively. It’s not possible to merge your brain or mind with somebody else. It’s possible to share your imagination or thoughts/ideas with others, but minds don’t work collectively. It sounds like a drug-induced fantasy, yet it’s considered the epitome of higher education these days.
What is a “masculinity” and what does it mean to project a new “future” for it? The implication is clear. “Masculinity” is associated with power, privilege and oppression. Don’t power and oppression consist of physically coercing others to do things against their will? Yes, but that’s not what most colleges teach. Most colleges teach what they consider the virtue of democratic socialism, in which 51 percent coerce the other 49 percent of the population to do things the 49 percent does not wish to do — e.g., pay for Obamacare, food stamps or corporate subsidies to politically connected companies. And, if all else fails, elect a president to issue executive orders and call them “racist” if they fail to comply.
If masculinity automatically and always means imposing power on others, as this seminar implies, then you would expect that anti-masculine professors at universities would teach their students non-coercive means of dealing with one another, including the voluntary, peaceful and noncoercive nature of the free marketplace. But that’s not what any of them mean. They consider femininity the equivalent of compassionate and nice, and masculinity the equivalent of oppressive. But doesn’t that merely reinforce ancient stereotypes? If these enlightened and sophisticated progressives teaching young people at these universities are simply reinforcing age-old stereotypes, shouldn’t they be called on it — by their own standards?
An advertisement for the conference lists several other intended “learning outcomes,” such as examining “the histories and legacies of Eurocentric masculinities and [understanding] how they influenced and continue to shape modern global masculinities.”
However you define masculinity, it ought to refer to a singular concept. What’s all this talk of plural “masculinities”?
“Join us in a collective examination of the histories and legacies that shape present day masculinities. Through a day of presentations, panels, workshops, and artistic expression, learn how to engage systems of power,” the advertisement states, noting that students will be allowed to attend free of charge.
Well, somebody paid for it. I wonder if they did so voluntarily?
Similarly, Ithaca College will host a workshop on “masculinity and violence” during its MLK Week celebrations, where students will “examine hegemonic masculinity and its role as the wheel that rotates a cycle of violence” while empowering “willing individuals to begin to recognize, acknowledge, own, and disrupt the toxicity of manhood in order to end violence.”
The toxicity of manhood? Does that mean if you’re a man, you’re automatically and always violent? What kind of hateful stereotyping is this? If women, gays, blacks, Hispanics or — heaven forbid — Muslims were stereotyped in this way, the outrage and hysteria would be deafening.
Imagine a conference given at any college that read like this: “Students will examine the historic implications of feminine codependence and enabling as they create a cycle of dependent and sheep-like citizens who are afraid to take initiative and instead turn over control for their lives to government authorities.”
Of course, it would be wrong to accuse all women, or even femininity per se, of creating all the problems in the world. But why is it wrong in one case and right in another?
Duke University’s “Men’s Project,” meanwhile, is looking for applicants for a “nine-week long discussion group” that will also “examine the ways we present — or don’t present — our masculinities, so we can better understand how masculinity exists on our campus — often in toxic ways — and begin the work of unlearning violence.”
Again, violence refers to the initiation of coercion. Governments, including the United States government, initiates coercion against its citizens every single day. It jails people simply for using drugs or smoking marijuana, for using private property in ways of which the government does not approve, or for allegedly or actually evading an impossible to discern tax code. Are these actions inherently masculine or feminine? Or are they simply wrong? Why does government get a free pass to do whatever it wants from university professors? And why does their blame of everything male or masculine for all the world’s problems go unnoticed, as parents and government continue to shell out tens of thousands dollars more every year to pay for this crap?
“We want to explore, dissect, and construct an intersectional understanding of masculinity and maleness, as well as to create destabilized spaces for those with privilege,” a description of the program explains. “Duke is an environment where some are rarely made uncomfortable while others are made to bear the weight of their identities on a daily basis — we aim to flip that paradigm.”
Universities like these are creating a future that even semi-rational individuals will find unendurable. Because if eliminating masculinity means ridding the world of freedom, liberty, individual rights, self-responsibility and reason — things both men and women desperately need — then the world as most of us still understand it will not even be recognizable 25 or 50 years from now.
The only hope for civilization is that people rebel against this brazen hatred and prejudice passing for “higher education.”
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