Weinstein warns Congress about ‘cult’ of campus progressivism
- Former Evergreen State College professor Bret Weinstein warned Members of Congress last week that the free speech crisis on college campuses actually disguises a far more pernicious "cult" of progressive conformity.
- According to Weinstein, who was driven to resign after questioning social justice orthodoxy, colleges only directly restrict speech when people "fail to self-censor"despite the threat of being stigmatized.
Bret Weinstein warned Members of Congress last week that Evergreen State College is merely the most visible example of the despotic “cult” of social justice on college campuses.
Weinstein began his testimony to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform by alluding to the one-year anniversary of a protest at which 50 Evergreen students, whom he said he “had never met,” disrupted his class to accuse him of racism and demand his resignation.
The protests were originally sparked by the professor’s criticism of an annual “Day of Absence,” an event that asked white students and faculty to vacate the campus for a day of diversity programming.
Despite attempting to reason with the protesters, Weinstein recalled that the activists “had no apparent interest in the very dialog they seemed to invite,” and said that they were “shouting down my actual students, some of whom had known me for years.”
Campus police advised Weinstein to leave campus, saying they could not ensure his safety, but the protests continued to escalate, climaxing when students held the school’s president and other high-ranking administrators hostage until they agreed to fully comply with a list of demands.
Referencing his subsequent experience at Evergreen State, which later led to a $3.8 million lawsuit against the institution, Weinstein warned the committee that lawmakers “should take my tale as cautionary.”
Weinstein, however, warned against simply characterizing the demonstrations as a free speech crisis, asserting far more pernicious problems lurk beneath that surface.
“Is there a free speech crisis on college campuses? One can certainly make that argument, but that portrayal is at least as misleading as it is informative,” he said. “What is occurring on college campuses is about power and control—speech is impeded as a last resort, used when people or groups fail to self-censor in response to a threat of crippling stigma and the destruction of their capacity to earn.”
“These tools are being used to unhook the values that bind us together as a nation: equal protection under the law, the presumption of innocence, a free marketplace of ideas, the concept that people should be judged by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin,” he added.
According to Weinstein, the wave of activist demonstrations “functions much more like a cult, in which the purpose is only understood by the leaders, and the rest have been seduced into a carefully architected fiction.”
Throughout his testimony, the former Evergreen State professor revisited the extraordinary details of his experience at the school, analyzing specific events and strategies that were utilized by students in an effort to advance a variety of radical objectives.
“Something is seriously and dangerously amiss,” Weinstein declared. “Partisan polarization and political corruption have rendered government ineffective, predatory, and often cruelly indifferent to the suffering of American citizens. Tribalism is the natural result.”
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