Having read this essay by Laura Kipnis on how Title IX (among other things) is used by academic activists to shut people up, stifle debate – which led her to be sued for supposed Title IX violations – I feel that I can identify the real problem for Professor Kipnis. It’s actually three problems, really:
- Laura Kipnis is a heretic. Professor Kipnis – and note that she identifies as a feminist, and probably she (and I) would identify her as a liberal* – thinks that the current academic system dealing with sexual harassment issues is messed up, six ways from Sunday… and that the solution is not to go even further along the path marked out by the current crop of gender feminists. She is also of the apparently novel opinion that not every romantic and sexual encounter on campus is primarily an exercise in power dynamics. Even when they involve professors and grad students.
- Laura Kipnis is a scoffer. The good professor apparently finds a lot of the current rhetoric regarding sexual activities on campus to simply be silly – I’m basing that on the tone of her original article – and although she never used the terms ‘humorless killjoys,’ ‘Puritanical sheet-sniffers,’ or ’empty, soulless husks cocooned in smothering layers of inadequacy and deserved self-loathing’ I don’t know whether she’d privately disagree with me.
- Worst of all, Laura Kipnis scoffed and committed heresy in public. Private scoffing would have been permissible, probably. Actually making it clear that not everybody agrees with every drop of the sometimes-arrant nonsense that gets said in the defense of radical [INSERT FAVORED DEMOGRAPHIC GROUP HERE] identity politics? Doubleplusungood.
…And that’s why folks on the Right carefully encourage anybody on our side who might have an interest in academia to instead go find a different line of work. Because Professor Kipnis is still in the middle of her Title IX travails; and it’s just probably going to get worse for her. Especially since she had the temerity to shine a light on the nonsensical Star Chamber process that has the same relationship to due process as the Supreme People’s Assembly of North Korea has to participatory democracy. Which is, by the way, at least a little unfair: while I understand that you reap what you sow, you also want to encourage people to stop doing dumb things**.
Moe Lane (crosspost)
*I will admit having a soft spot in my heart for any liberal who will forthrightly call the late Andrea Dworkin an extremist and be done with it. I’m just squishy that way.
**This is the point where somebody usually blusters something along the lines of Some things are unforgivable. And sure there are: murder-cannibalism immediately comes to mind. Figuring out things well after everybody else did, on the other hand? …Look, the fashion for auto-da-fes went out some time ago.