It has been said that the pen is mightier than the sword and indeed, for the sword may end a life but the pen through its propaganda power, has spread ideologies that have exterminated millions over the 20th and 21st centuries. Long in our history has there been a desire by certain groups, fuelled by their own sense of infallibility, to dominate those deemed to be morally inferior souls.
Alas, for the greatest foe to this totalitarian barbarism is wisdom borne from knowledge. Yet, not “knowledge” as harboured by those of self-righteous worth but knowledge which devours untruth by its sureness and its factual illumination. This is the knowledge that is so despised, for like a mirror it holds a clear reflection of what one really is, whether beneficent or evil and they cannot bear to look upon their own faces.
Axioms in time and space cannot be overturned with arguments based on emotions or feelings and hence the scholar who would indulge in these is sure to become a target for those of ill will. Those who have enslaved their mind in cult of ideology, walk around blindly but loudly preach their own clear vision. To them, axioms of universal truth are heretical, a smirch on the name of their mindless ideological fervour.
Like in the days of old, their rallying cry is merely to destroy by force and their hoarse calls are only to burn the unbeliever. In reality what more can they do? Their claims cannot be proven and they are shown to be whisperers of empty mist rather than the sages of knowledge they think themselves to be.
Some who have original thoughts and some who like Galileo may seem like true heretics in their rejection of the established radical ideology cult of academic doctrine.
There have been calls by the faux scholars, those in fields that cannot rightfully be called subjects, nor schools, but rather echo chambers of ideological offal and the dross of true academia to wage a war, nay a crusade on all who dare to think freely. This self-appointed and intellectually deficient Academic Inquisition would dictate by its own terms, that which is sanctioned and that which is not. Not unlike the judges of the Salem Witch Trials they have deemed guilty, without evidence or forethought, all those who would dare partake in the Heresy of Free Thought.
Ironically their techniques are not new and are not particularly surprising as they have been used by dictatorships and the worst of human rights abusers in history. On May 10th , 1933 the NAZI Party had a grand bonfire called the burning of the books ( Bücherverbrennung) where all ideas contrary to the diseased NAZI ideology were offered to the sacrificial flames of the NAZI cult. It was not long before they started burning people too.
Infected by the plague of radical ideology, student groups regularly protested and rallied against professors not deemed to uphold the NAZI ideology in order to force them out of office. Universities were annexed by the government and academics were scrutinized and blacklists were made. Professors who refused to stand behind the dictated “racially pure science” were turned upon by the then existing Academic Inquistion and were rewarded with indefinite stays at their local death camp.
It was the end of open discourse because nothing that could hurt NAZI feelings were permitted to be discussed. The end of free speech meant the end of academia and about 15% of academics who would not submit to this demonic evil were purged.
Does one not see a parallel today?
The Soviet Union spurred the rabid dogma of Lenin and Stalin eradicated any free thinker who dared to even the slightest disagreement to their radical ideologies. During the Great Purge intelligentsia were tightly monitored and the lists of the dead, great minds and vast intellects can easily be found. Name upon name upon name. Murdered for refusing to bow to the ideological cult.
Need one continue? Are the millions of corpses in the USSR and NAZI Germany not sufficient proof that the worst of ideologies are the ones that want freedom of speech curtailed so that they may indulge themselves in mindless slaughter for their own envisioned greater good?
Shall we mention the Khmer Rouge who executed almost every intellectual in the country? No intellectuals, meant that no one could offend the feelings of the Khmer Rouge. How very convenient. The Khmer Rouge were so enthusiastic in eliminating anything potentially offensive that they literally ran out of graves and soil with which to cover their victims.
In Cuba, intelligentsia were either quick to flee, or else executed or imprisoned.
The examples here are by no means exhaustive. There is a undeniable and irrefutable historical pattern where academics are among the first primary targets of totalitarian ideological dictatorships.
Blacklisting can only be described as academic terrorism by the Academic Inquisition in their academic right-speak crusade. It is cowardice and admission that one does not posses the mental fortitude with which to counter the viewpoints of others. It is infantile and petty by its very nature.
Contrary to the affect desired by the Academic Inquisition, there are more and more professors who refuse to kowtow to this and are in fact more willing to publish with their thoughts after the call to blacklist those who do so. Ironically, various experts in their fields with many authors being in disagreement with each other find this to be a point of agreement, the difference however is in the openness to discuss these differences of opinion in dialogue.
Individual academics have been hounded by this Academic Inquisition. Consider only a few….
Professor Jordan Peterson was called a bigot for refusing to follow the totalitarian legislation that sought to impose compelled speech on the population.
Professor Gad Saad, an Arab Jew who narrowly escaped the murder of Jews during the Lebanese War and yet, he is called Nazi (which is really a very distasteful thing to call a Jew and a refugee) and bigot because he dares to use his brain and speak out against the current foolishness.
Professor Janice Fiamengo, a woman who left feminism after realising it was not all that it was cracked up to be. In many senses she is one of the ultimate heretics because she was once part of the ideology that now wishes to silence all dissenters.
Professor Dennis Gouws, faces continued harassment from feminist faculty and radical ideologues for daring to state that not all problems are related to the mythical patriarchy.
Doctor Debra Soh, a researcher extraordinaire who has been critical of many of the ideological motivations that run contrary to biological science in regard to “gender” and “sex”.
The so called “Intellectual Dark Web” is really a misnomer, because it allows freedom of expression and interchange of academic concepts between individuals who are often in strong disagreement with each other, much like the Heterodox Academy.
My sincere advice to any academic who disagrees with another is this, form a logical argument and present ones views as to why any particular academic is “incorrect”. Do not stoop to petty ad hominem attacks. Do not act like a cognitively underdeveloped intellectual infant who throws a tantrum every time someone dares to oppose the views of their ideological echo chamber. Adults are able to have serious conversations because they are mature, how much more so should academics?
Where academic free speech falls, logical thinking stops. Where logical thinking stops, ideology prevails. Where ideology prevails, the intelligentsia are lost and we all suffer. History does not need to be repeated nor should it. Safeguard freedom of Speech. Reject the teachings of the Academic Inquisition.
Alaric Naudé is a professor specialising in education, linguistics and social science. He is widely recognised as having a great face for radio.