University of Lethbridge Falls into ‘Awakeningism’


A few months ago, I was invited to speak on Academic Freedom by Paul Biminitz, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Lethbridge (UL) in Southern Alberta. This talk was originally based on the idea that “wokeism” (a phenomenon in which identity politics becomes totalitarian by claiming that the subjective beliefs of designated groups supersede the search for objective truth) was introduced at Mount Royal, Calgary. It was intended to spell out how it undermines the academic character of the university. I used to teach for years. The situation that led to my termination was even more pronounced at UL. In fact, its prominence resulted in my talk being canceled, highlighting the threat posed by awakening.

The university’s president, Michael J. Mahon, initially said that my remarks were “abhorrent,” but that the university’s free speech policy allowed me to continue speaking. However, this changed when Mahon came to believe that the “harm” caused by my words was an “obstacle to meaningful reconciliation” with indigenous peoples.

Mahon had changed his position due to heavy lobbying from faculty and students. The most significant pressure came from the UL Students Union. The union’s Indigenous representative, Nathan Crow, claimed he was “appalled” at my being invited to speak because his support for freedom of expression did not include “discrimination”.[ion against] Proliferation of specific demographics or “false narratives”.

Many faculty members also supported the cancellation, and UL’s entire Indigenous Studies division announced the cancellation. statement I say that it ’bouts’ my ‘anti-Indigenous rhetoric’ and ‘deplores’ the fact that it was justified. Instead of defending Viminitz’s academic freedom to speak using university resources, I expressed concern about the “hurtful remarks” expected of me and the need to “protect” faculty members. bottom. and students from there.

The outcry by the Department of Indigenous Studies was particularly helpful as it continued to insist that the Blackfeet and “their traditional knowledge methods” must be “respected” by all at UL. Thus, my academic questioning of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s concept of ‘cultural genocide’ and my critical analysis of the Kamloops Indian Residential School’s improbable claim of ‘unmarked graves’ It seemed to contradict the method. indigenous. Awakeningism demands that these ‘ways of knowing’ must be accepted in order to politically support indigenous groups, so critical analysis that challenges them is now prohibited.

These are all microcosms of what’s happening in colleges across the country. About 20 years ago, activists began to take over the administration of the university. This reached a tipping point with the murder of George Floyd in the US in 2020. Identity politics used to be just one of many positions, but now its totalitarian form means that we have to pretend to accept the views of the oppressed. be empowered.

Opposing this university takeover will not be easy and may be impossible. “Awakeners” are now firmly in charge, and faculty activists and university “diversikrat” only hire those who subscribe to their doctrines. The only hope is through individual universities, organizations at the national and international level. By bringing together faculty, students and interested members of the public in organizations such as: Association for Academic Freedom and Scholarshipscan make serious efforts to address this issue and assist those who wish to protect their intellectual integrity after secondary school.

Unfortunately, it remains difficult to impress the public with the importance of universities, as they are one of the main bulwarks against authoritarian intrusions into society. As arousal requires the cancellation of ideas that challenge its control, the single ‘right’ view becomes increasingly demanding. It won’t be long before people are imprisoned for their heretical beliefs, as we saw with Congressman Lia Ghazan’s proposal to criminalize “denial of genocide” in Canada.

The current awakening attack on academic freedom, freedom of expression, and the very concept of truth, objective fact, and empirical knowledge recalls the insights of George Orwell.Shortly after his novel “1984” was published, Orwell gave the following warning In an interview with the BBC, he said, “The lesson to be learned from this dangerous nightmare situation is simple: don’t let it happen. It’s up to you.”

The unexpected reaction to my being at the University of Lethbridge shows the foresight of Orwell’s caution. As I said elsewhere, Totalitarianism is on the rise. You must fight back with all your might before it’s too late.

Essay version of this column recently published of C2C Journal.

Views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The Epoch Times.