2017-04-21 On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century. 2017, by Timothy Snyder
I used (quoted from) Lessons 10, 8, and 2 (On Tyranny Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century).
Scroll down to the high-lighted text.
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Sacrosanct ideologies (vaccines; sexual victimization of young people by women isn’t a problem – – it’s only done by men; universities), are so easy to disassemble, yet the mainstream followers can’t self-examine. To quote Jordan Peterson, “”It’s like we’re stuck in the fantasy of a naive 13 year old girl. There is no willingness to face one’s internal monsters, let alone enthusiasm.”
Ref … https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=VJMCQ94t98k
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A reply is risky, I haven’t watched all of the video. Just the first 16 minutes of 2 hours. Nonetheless,
So far, my responses.
From perspective of elected member of University of Saskatchewan Senate for the allowable 2 terms (6 years), completed a year ago. And pointing out that I sought election because of my concerns over corporate takeover of many Universities, including the U of S. It’s also an issue at the U of T. Dr. Pederson will be familiar with the Dr. Nancy Oliveri / Apotex (Big Pharma) scandal, as example.
I understood Jordan Pederson to say that left-wing activists are pushing the University away from science and reasoned discourse.
I would like to offer another interpretation. A corporatized university with corporate ethics pushes the University away from science and reasoned discourse:
- Jordan Pederson’s description of what happened to him at the hands of the U of T Administration echoes what happened to me. I received a letter from the University’s lawyer threatening that the University would bring the full force of the law against me if (blah, blah, blah). It was a foolish way to deal with (what? a left-wing activist if you use stereotypes?).
What I challenged: very serious conflicts-of-interest. The Chair of the Board having more than a million dollars’ worth of shares in the nuke industry (Cameco) and not recusing herself when the Province was earmarking its contributions to the University for programs that benefited the nuke industry (issue of university autonomy). All this at a time when Cameco shares (the shares of the Chair of the Board) were nose-diving because of Fukushima. The Chair of the U Board has been on the Cameco Board since 1992. Total compromise of University autonomy and the responsibility to uphold its autonomy. While the President shouts “There is no conflict-of-interest.”
The University is accustomed to its influential, unassailable status – – a sacrosanct institution. It now has a corporatized ethic. And is the handmaid of corporations. The students are a resource to be mined.
The U of T’s actions vis-à-vis Jordan Pederson (not smart) are understandable in the same light as the U of S’s actions vis-à-vis me (not smart – the President acted as a tyrant): the motivation and actions of the Administration are thoroughly corporate. They make total sense in that light.
Many of the people (me, for example) labeled as “Left-wing activists” have a role to play. So do people like Jordan Pederson.
In my case, I replied to the lawyer that the mafia uses the threat of broken bones to intimidate and coerce. Corporations use the threat of a lawsuit to break a person financially, the same tactic. And now the University is using the same. My communication included damning evidence. All in all the University embarrassed itself.
What did they learn? I didn’t go to the media, they would not have written about it anyway. But I do blog and have a network for sharing information.
They might have learned to be smarter in how they exercise their powers. Which is worse than being stupid in how they exercise their powers.
2. I hate to reduce things to “The 5 This or the 10 That”, but there is a quick framework to draw on – – Ref: On Tyranny Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century, 2017, by Timothy Snyder. (A little pocketbook that costs Cdn $11).
- Lesson #10, Believe in truth is exemplified by Jordan Pederson. He should be celebrated. You submit to tyranny when you renounce the difference between what you want to hear and what is actually the case. This renunciation of reality can feel natural and pleasant, but the result is your demise as an individual – and thus the collapse of any political system that depends upon individualism. As observers of totalitarianism such as Victor Klemperer noticed, truth dies in four modes, all of which we (Americans) have just witnessed (President Trump, altho Trump isn’t named). The first mode is the open hostility to verifiable reality . . . The next mode (3rd) is . . . the open embrace of contradictions. (to me, demonstrated in the U of T and the U of S examples).
- Lesson #8, Stand out. . . . Someone has to. It is easy to follow along. It can feel strange to do or say something different. But without that unease, there is no freedom. Remember Rosa Parks. The moment you set an example, the spell of the status quo is broken, and others will follow. As Jordan Pederson discovered. After the Second World War, Europeans, Americans, and others created myths of righteous resistance to Hitler . . . (which the historical record does not support).
- We tend to assume that institutions will automatically maintain themselves against even the most direct attacks. (BIG mistake, as the history of the twentieth century demonstrates.)
- Lesson #2, Defend institutions. . . . Do not speak of “our institutions” unless you make them yours by acting on their behalf. Institutions do not protect themselves. They fall one after the other unless each is defended from the beginning. So choose an institution you care about – a court, a newspaper, a law, a labor union – and take its side. I see Jordan Pederson’s actions as a defence of the University. As were mine. It is the role of citizens to do that. Especially those who are in a position to do so.
- I wonder if Jordan Pederson would see himself as an actualizer of lessons, a contributor to the resistance against tyranny? – – which would make him an activist. But those are the people for whom he appears to hold antagonism?
For 15 years my concern and focus has been on the (un) health of democracy. The University plays a large role – – responsible for the knowledge base of the society. An absolutely critical component. The reality is: They ARE falling one after the other. Well documented on my blog. Many good people inside the Universities are fighting hard against it. Are they “left wing whatevers?”
I think they are badly-needed resistance fighters in the current state of affairs.
A few years ago I asked John Ralston Saul (philosopher), why it is that the last people to come to the aid of activists (in the context of boondoggle water projects) are the people who could help the most: the learned professors from the University. All we need is for them to speak up at a public meeting, for example?
Ralston Saul’s reply, as I recall it, consisted mainly of the point that they have attained the status of respectability in the society. They aren’t willing to jeopardize that status. Activists are dismissed – – they are not respectable society.
There are lots of university personnel who have a fair amount of fear (insecurity). They have worked for and need their status, for protection. And so they fall. By my observation, imperfect as it is, they are in the majority.
The University as sacrosanct – – the open embrace of contradictions. In reality, the staunch defenders of the status quo. Little to do with the search for truth. Increasingly the servants of the corporates, not the servants of the public good.
Ha ha! My rants, counted by number of words, outnumber yours by tenfold.
I’ll watch the remainder of the video soon, I hope.
Enough for now!
In light of your experience with the university tyrant, Peterson’s remark applies: “Yes, the world CAN kill you.” And the sad part is that the perpetrator may be the institution that you installed for protection.