Le monde moderne n’est pas mauvais : à certains égards, il est bien trop bon. Il est rempli de vertus féroces et gâchées. Lorsqu’un dispositif religieux est brisé (comme le fut le christianisme pendant la Réforme), ce ne sont pas seulement les vices qui sont libérés. Les vices sont en effet libérés, et ils errent de par le monde en faisant des ravages ; mais les vertus le sont aussi, et elles errent plus férocement encore en faisant des ravages plus terribles. Le monde moderne est saturé des vieilles vertus chrétiennes virant à la folie. Elles ont viré à la folie parce qu’on les a isolées les unes des autres et qu’elles errent indépendamment dans la solitude. Ainsi des scientifiques se passionnent-ils pour la vérité, et leur vérité est impitoyable. Ainsi des « humanitaires » ne se soucient-ils que de la pitié, mais leur pitié (je regrette de le dire) est souvent mensongère. G.K. Chesterton
On ne peut comprendre la gauche si on ne comprend pas que le gauchisme est une religion. Dennis Prager
Quand vous reprenez les péchés sociaux qu’il faut (…) rejeter pour accéder à une forme de rédemption – l’intolérance, le pouvoir, le militarisme, l’oppression de classe… vous retrouvez exactement les thèmes que brandissent les gens qui mettent aujourd’hui le feu à Portland et d’autres villes. Ce sont les post-protestants. Ils se sont juste débarrassés de Dieu! (…) C’est juste que nous avons maintenant une Église du Christ sans le Christ. Cela veut dire qu’il n’y a pas de pardon possible. Dans la religion chrétienne, le péché originel est l’idée que vous êtes né coupable, que l’humanité hérite d’une tache qui corrompt nos désirs et nos actions. Mais le Christ paie les dettes du péché originel, nous en libérant. Si vous enlevez le Christ du tableau en revanche, vous obtenez… la culpabilité blanche et le racisme systémique. (…) C’est une idée très dangereuse, que les Églises canalisaient autrefois. Mais aujourd’hui que cette idée s’est échappée de l’Église, elle a gagné la rue et vous avez des meutes de post-protestants qui parcourent Washington DC, en s’en prenant à des gens dans des restaurants pour exiger d’eux qu’ils lèvent le poing. Leur conviction que l’Amérique est intrinsèquement corrompue par l’esclavage et n’a réalisé que le Mal, n’est pas enracinée dans des faits que l’on pourrait discuter, elle relève de la croyance religieuse. On exclut ceux qui ne se soumettent pas. On dérive vers une vision apocalyptique du monde qui n’est plus équilibrée par rien d’autre. Cela peut donner la pire forme d’environnementalisme, par exemple, parce que toutes les autres dimensions sont disqualifiées au nom de «la fin du monde». C’est l’idée chrétienne de l’apocalypse, mais dégagée du christianisme.(…) Avant, on était exclu de l’Église, aujourd’hui, on est exclu de la vie publique… (…) Il faut comprendre que l’idéologie «woke» de la justice sociale a pénétré les institutions américaines à un point incroyable. Je n’imagine pas qu’un professeur ayant une chaire à la Sorbonne soit forcé d’assister à des classes obligatoires organisées pour le corps professoral sur leur «culpabilité blanche», et enseignées par des gens qui viennent à peine de finir le collège. Mais c’est la réalité des universités américaines. Un sondage récent a montré que la majorité des professeurs d’université ne disent rien. Ils abandonnent plutôt toute mention de tout sujet controversé. Pourtant, des études ont montré que la foule des vigies de Twitter qui obtient la tête des professeurs excommuniés, remplirait à peine la moitié d’un terrain de football universitaire! Il y a un manque de courage. (…) Si la théorie de la physique de Newton, Principia, est un manuel de viol, comme l’a dit une universitaire féministe, si sa physique est l’invention d’un moyen de violer le monde, cela veut dire que la science est mauvaise. Si vous êtes soupçonneux de la science, du capitalisme, du protestantisme, si vous rejetez tous les moteurs de la modernité la seule chose qui reste, ce sont les péchés qui nous ont menés là où nous sommes. Pour sûr, nous en avons commis. Mais si on ne voit pas que ça, il n’y a plus d’échappatoire, plus de projet. Ce qui passe aujourd’hui est différent de 1968 en France, quand la remise en cause a finalement été absorbée dans quelque chose de plus large. Le mouvement actuel ne peut être absorbé car il vise à défaire les États-Unis dans ses fondements: l’État-nation, le capitalisme et la religion protestante. Mais comme les États-Unis n’ont pas d’histoire prémoderne, nous ne pouvons absorber un mouvement vraiment antimoderne. (…) Il y a une phrase de Heidegger qui dit que «seulement un Dieu pourrait nous sauver»! On a le sentiment qu’on est aux prémices d’une apocalypse, d’une guerre civile, d’une grande destruction de la modernité. Est-ce à cause de la trahison des clercs? Pour moi, l’incapacité des vieux libéraux à faire rempart contre les jeunes radicaux, est aujourd’hui le grand danger. Quand j’ai vu que de jeunes journalistes du New York Times avaient menacé de partir, parce qu’un responsable éditorial avait publié une tribune d’un sénateur américain qui leur déplaisait, j’ai été stupéfait. Je suis assez vieux pour savoir que dans le passé, la direction aurait immédiatement dit à ces jeunes journalistes de prendre la porte s’ils n’étaient pas contents. Mais ce qui s’est passé, c’est que le rédacteur en chef a été limogé. Joseph Bottum
BACK IN THE USSR ! (Cherchez l’erreur quand le MIT se couche devant la foule woke et licencie des dissidents ou annule leurs conférences ?)
We graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology more than 50 years ago. MIT was academically rigorous, and it taught us our crafts and the essence of problem-solving, enabling us to thrive in our careers. We owe much to our alma mater and have donated to it regularly. No more. The …
DIS LA VÉRITÉ ET PRENDS LA PORTE ! (Devinez pourquoi l’aumônier catholique du MIT s’est fait virer ?)
SPEAK THE TRUTH, GET FIRED (Guess what the MIT’s Catholic chaplain got fired over ?)
« George Floyd was killed by a police officer, and shouldn’t have been. He had not lived a virtuous life. He was convicted of several crimes, including armed robbery, which he seems to have committed to feed his drug habit. And he was high on drugs at the time of his arrest. (…) The police officer who knelt on his neck until he died acted wrongly. I do not know what he was thinking. The charges filed against him allege dangerous negligence, but say nothing about his state of mind. He might have killed George Floyd intentionally, or not. He hasn’t told us. But he showed disregard for his life, and we cannot accept that in our law enforcement officers. It is right that he has been arrested and will be prosecuted. In the wake of George Floyd’s death, most people in the country have framed this as an act of racism. I don’t think we know that. Many people have claimed that racism is a major problem in police forces. I don’t think we know that. Police officers deal with dangerous and bad people all the time, and that often hardens them. They do this so that the rest of us can live in peace, but sometimes at a cost to their souls. Some of them certainly develop attitudes towards the people they investigate and arrest that are unjust and sinful. We should pray that never happens, but we can see how it does. Many parts of our country have been experiencing a five-year crime wave, providing some context for why the police are trained in aggressive tactics. In 2019, 150 police officers were killed in the line of duty by the violent men they were trying to arrest. That number should be zero, we can all agree. But that context does not justify being overly aggressive — their public trust requires that they exercise great restraint. (…) Today tensions are high, with charges of racism flying over social media, and countercharges of agreeing with domestic terrorists flying back. People are unfriending and cancelling each other. I hate this. Racism is a sin, as the Catechism says. So is rash judgment. (…) Our solidarity with one another is deeply frayed now. Everything we say (or don’t say) is treated with suspicion, rather than charity. I hate this too. I’ve talked to multiple people in the Boston area who want the protests here to stop because they are afraid of more riots and looting. I’ve talked to others who want everyone to join the protests, but are uneasy about having police present. One group says that, of course racism is bad, but the riots are really bad — 18 people have been killed, including one police officer. Others say racism is what’s really bad — look at all the victims of police aggression — and to bring up the riots is to distract from the good the protests are trying to achieve. Still others are upset that all this talk about racism has pushed violence against women, institutionalized sexism, and other types of injustice out of the national consciousness. Everyone’s mind is made up, everyone’s angry with each other — even though everyone says they’re opposed to injustices and sins. In a different moment, people strongly opposed to public violence, racism, and sexism would admire each other, despite their different emphases. (…) Blessed are the peacemakers, our Lord tells us. May we all be counted among them. »
Fr. Daniel Patrick Moloney (Catholic Chaplain, MIT)
[Editor’s Note: Below is the text of an email message that Father Daniel Moloney, the Catholic chaplain at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, sent to Catholics at the university (a group …
QUELLE PERVERSION DE L’ÉGALITÉ ? (Cherchez l’erreur quand un professeur est désinvité par le MIT pour avoir dénoncé le rôle de la race dans les admissions à l’université et argué que la suppression des avantages familiaux et sportifs pour les admssions ferait plus pour la diversité que l’inclusion forcée ?)
WHAT PERVERSION OF EQUALITY ? (Spot the error when a professor gets disinvited by MIT for denouncing the role of race in university admissions and arguing scrapping family and athletic admission advantages would do more for diversity than enforced inclusion ?)
American universities are undergoing a profound transformation that threatens to derail their primary mission: the production and dissemination of knowledge. The new regime is titled « Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion » or DEI, and is enforced by a large bureaucracy of administrators. Nearly every decision taken on campus, from admissions, to faculty hiring, to course content, to teaching methods, is made through the lens of DEI. This regime was imposed from the top and has never been adequately debated. In the current climate it cannot be openly debated: the emotions around DEI are so strong that self-censorship among dissenting faculty is nearly universal.
The words « diversity, equity and inclusion » sound just, and are often supported by well-intentioned people, but their effects are the opposite of noble sentiments. Most importantly, « equity » does not mean fair and equal treatment. DEI seeks to increase the representation of some groups through discrimination against members of other groups. The underlying premise of DEI is that any statistical difference between group representation on campus and national averages reflects systemic injustice and discrimination by the university itself. The magnitude of the distortions is significant: for some job searches discrimination rises to the level of implicitly or explicitly excluding applicants from certain groups.
DEI violates the ethical and legal principle of equal treatment. It entails treating people as members of a group rather than as individuals, repeating the mistake that made possible the atrocities of the 20th century. It requires being willing to tell an applicant « I will ignore your merits and qualifications and deny you admission because you belong to the wrong group, and I have defined a more important social objective that justifies doing so. » It treats persons as merely means to an end, giving primacy to a statistic over the individuality of a human being.
DEI compromises the university’s mission. The core business of the university is the search for truth. A university’s intellectual environment depends fundamentally on its commitment to hiring the most talented and best trained minds: any departure from this commitment must come at the expense of academic excellence, and ultimately will compromise the university’s contribution to society. This point is particularly urgent given that DEI considerations often reduce the pool of truly eligible candidates by a factor of two or more.
DEI undermines the public’s trust in universities and their graduates. Some on campus might be surprised to learn that, according to a recent Pew poll, 74 percent of Americans think only qualifications should be taken into account in hiring and promotion, even if this results in less diversity. If current trends continue, employers and consumers will quickly adjust their perception of the value of a university degree.
We propose an alternative framework called Merit, Fairness, and Equality (MFE) whereby university applicants are treated as individuals and evaluated through a rigorous and unbiased process based on their merit and qualifications alone. Crucially, this would mean an end to legacy and athletic admission advantages, which significantly favor white applicants, in addition to those based on group membership. Simultaneously, MFE would involve universities investing in education projects in neighborhoods where public education is failing to help children from those areas compete. These projects would be evidence-based and non-ideological, testing a variety of different options such as increased public school funding, charter schools and voucher programs.
Viewed objectively, American universities already are incredibly diverse. They feature people from all countries, races and ethnicities (for example, one of us was born and raised in Chile, and is classified as Hispanic by his university). This is in stark contrast with most universities in Europe, Asia and South America. American universities are diverse not because of DEI, but because they have been extremely competitive at attracting talent from all over the world. Ninety years ago Germany had the best universities in the world. Then an ideological regime obsessed with race came to power and drove many of the best scholars out, gutting the faculties and leading to sustained decay that German universities never fully recovered from. We should view this as a warning of the consequences of viewing group membership as more important than merit, and correct our course before it is too late.
Dorian S. Abbot is an associate professor of geophysics at the University of Chicago. In his research he uses mathematical and computational models to understand and explain fundamental problems in Earth and planetary sciences.
Ivan Marinovic is an associate professor of accounting at Stanford Graduate School of Business. In his research he uses game theory to understand incentive and information transmission problems in capital markets.
Viewed objectively, American universities already are incredibly diverse.
IL EST TEMPS DE DIRE NON A L’IDEOLOGIE WOKE ET A SES FOULES ANNULATRICES (Le wokeisme n’a pas encore atteint un terrible nadir de destruction, mais la leçon de l’histoire est que nous devons nommer et affronter les totalitarismes avant qu’ils ne provoquent des catastrophes, alors qu’il est encore possible de le faire)
TIME TO SAY NO TO WOKE IDEOLOGY AND ITS CANCELATION MOBS (Wokeism has not reached a terrible nadir of destruction yet, but the lesson of history is that we need to name and confront totalitarianisms before they cause disaster, while it is still possible to do so)
« I started to get alarmed about five years ago as I noticed an increasing number of issues and viewpoints become impossible to discuss on campus. I mostly just wanted to do my science and not have anyone yell at me, and I thought that if I kept my mouth shut the problem would eventually go away. I knew that speaking out would likely bring serious reputational and professional consequences. And for a number of years I just didn’t think it was worth it. But the street violence of the summer of 2020, some of which I witnessed personally in Chicago, and the justifications and dishonesty that accompanied it, convinced me that I could no longer remain silent in good conscience. In the fall of 2020 I started advocating openly for academic freedom and merit-based evaluations. I recorded some short YouTube videos in which I argued for the importance of treating each person as an individual worthy of dignity and respect. In an academic context, that means giving everyone a fair and equal opportunity when they apply for a position as well as allowing them to express their opinions openly, even if you disagree with them. As a result, I was immediately targeted for cancellation, primarily by a group of graduate students in my department. Whistleblowers later revealed that the attack was partially planned and coordinated on the Ford Foundation Fellowship Program listserv by a graduate student in my department. (Please do not attack this person or any of the people who attacked me.) That group of graduate students organized a letter of denunciation. It claimed that I threatened the “safety and belonging of all underrepresented groups within the department,” and it was presented to my department chair. The letter demanded that my teaching and research be restricted in a way that would cripple my ability to function as a scientist. A strong statement in support of faculty free expression by University of Chicago President Robert Zimmer put an end to that, and that is where things stood until the summer of 2021. On August 12, a colleague and I wrote an op-ed in Newsweek in which we argued that Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) as it currently is implemented on campus “violates the ethical and legal principle of equal treatment” and “treats persons as merely means to an end, giving primacy to a statistic over the individuality of a human being.” We proposed instead “an alternative framework called Merit, Fairness, and Equality (MFE) whereby university applicants are treated as individuals and evaluated through a rigorous and unbiased process based on their merit and qualifications alone.” We noted that this would mean an end to legacy and athletic admission advantages, which significantly favor white applicants. Shortly thereafter, my detractors developed a new strategy to try to isolate me and intimidate everyone else into silence: They argued on Twitter that I should not be invited to give science seminars at other universities and coordinated replacement speakers. This is an effective and increasingly common way to ratchet up the cost of dissenting because disseminating new work to colleagues is an important part of the scientific endeavor. Sure enough, this strategy was employed when I was chosen to give the Carlson Lecture at MIT — a major honor in my field. It is an annual public talk given to a large audience and my topic was “climate and the potential for life on other planets.” On September 22, a new Twitter mob, composed of a group of MIT students, postdocs, and recent alumni, demanded that I be uninvited. It worked. And quickly. On September 30 the department chair at MIT called to tell me that they would be cancelling the Carlson lecture this year in order to avoid controversy. It’s worth stating what happened again: a small group of ideologues mounted a Twitter campaign to cancel a distinguished science lecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology because they disagreed with some of the political positions the speaker had taken. And they were successful within eight days. The fact that such stories have become an everyday feature of American life should do nothing to diminish how shocking they are, and how damaging they are to a free society. The fact that MIT, one of the greatest universities in the world, caved in so quickly will only encourage others to deploy this same tactic. It has become fashionable in some circles to claim that “cancel culture is just holding people accountable.” I challenge you to read the material that led to the attacks against me and find anything that would require me being held “accountable.” What you will find instead is the writing of a man who takes his moral duty seriously and is trying to express his concerns strongly, but respectfully. You may agree with some of my positions and disagree with others, but in a free society they cannot be considered beyond the pale. I view this episode as an example as well as a striking illustration of the threat woke ideology poses to our culture, our institutions and to our freedoms. I have consistently maintained that woke ideology is essentially totalitarian in nature: it attempts to corral the entirety of human existence into one narrow ideological viewpoint and to silence anyone who disagrees. I believe that these features ultimately derive from the ideology’s abandonment of the principle of the inherent dignity of each human being. It is only possible to instrumentalize the individual in order to engineer group-based outcomes within a philosophical framework that has rejected this principle. Similarly, it is easy to justify silencing a dissenter if your ideology denies her individual dignity. Clearly, wokeism has not reached a terrible nadir of destruction yet, but the lesson of history is that we need to name and confront totalitarianisms before they cause disaster, while it is still possible to do so. This issue is especially important to me because my wife and I are expecting our first child in January. We all need to decide what type of country we want our children to grow up in. Do we want a culture of fear and repression in which a small number of ideologues exert their power and cultural dominance to silence anyone who disagrees with them? Or do we want our children to enjoy truth-seeking discourse consisting of good-natured exchanges that are ultimately grounded in a spirit of epistemic humility? If you want the latter, it’s time to stand up and so say. It’s time to say no to the mob, no to the cancellations. And it’s time to be forthright about your true opinions. This is not a partisan issue. Anyone who is interested in the pursuit of truth and in promoting a healthy and functioning society has a stake in this debate. Speaking out now may seem risky. But the cost of remaining silent is far steeper. »
Dr. Dorian Abbot
MIT Abandons Its Mission. And Me. Let’s make sure my cancellation is the last. That begins by standing up and saying no to the mob.
L’HEURE DE LA PURGE A SONNÉ (L’exclusion des universitaires signale que certaines opinions – même bien intentionnées – sont interdites, augmentant ainsi l’autocensure, dégradant le discours public et contribuant à la balkanisation politique de notre pays)
THE PURGE IS ON (Excluding academics signals that some opinions – even well-intentioned ones – are forbidden, thereby increasing self-censorship, degrading public discourse, and contributing to our nation’s political balkanisation)
« I am resigning as Director of the Berkeley Atmospheric Sciences Center (BASC) @BerkeleyAtmo. To reduce the odds of being mischaracterized, I want to explain my decision here. Last month, the MIT Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences @eapsMIT canceled a science lecture because of the invited scientist’s political views. That scientist does excellent work in areas of interest to BASC (he visited us at our invitation in 2014). Therefore, I asked the BASC faculty if we might invite that scientist to speak to us in the coming months to hear the science talk he had prepared and, by extending the invitation now, reaffirm that BASC is a purely scientific organization, not a political one. In the ensuing discussion among the BASC faculty, it became unclear to me whether we could invite that scientist ever again, let alone now.I was hoping we could agree that BASC does not consider an individual’s political or social opinions when selecting speakers for its events, except for cases in which the opinions give a reasonable expectation that members of our community would be treated with disrespect. Unfortunately, it is unclear when or if we might reach agreement on this point. The stated mission of BASC is to serve as « the hub for UC Berkeley’s research on the science of the atmosphere, its interactions with Earth systems, and the future of Earth’s climate. » I believe that mission has its greatest chance of success when the tent is made as big as possible, including with respect to ethnicity, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, religion, family status, and political ideas. Excluding people because of their political and social views diminishes the pool of scientists with which members of BASC can interact and reduces the opportunities for learning and collaboration. More broadly, such exclusion signals that some opinions — even well-intentioned ones — are forbidden, thereby increasing self-censorship, degrading public discourse, and contributing to our nation’s political balkanization. I hold BASC and its faculty — my friends and colleagues — in the highest regard, and so it has been a great honor to serve as BASC’s director these past five years. But it was never my intention to lead an organization that is political or even ambiguously so. Consequently, I am stepping down from the directorship at the end of this calendar year or when a replacement is ready, whichever is sooner. »
Dr. David Romps (Berkeley Atmospheric Sciences Centre)
“I am resigning as Director of the Berkeley Atmospheric Sciences Center (BASC) @BerkeleyAtmo. To reduce the odds of being mischaracterized, I want to explain my decision here.”
QUELLE PURGE DES UNIVERSITAIRES EN ALLEMAGNE NAZIE ?
WHAT PURGING OF ACADEMICS IN NAZI GERMANY ?
The problem was created by comments Abbot had recently made on how universities select their staff members and students. In August, Abbot and fellow academic Ivan Marinovic wrote a piece for …
DERNIER AVERTISSEMENT AVANT SAISIE !
WHAT WAKE-UP CALL ?
The problem was created by comments Abbot had recently made on how universities select their staff members and students. In August, Abbot and fellow academic Ivan Marinovic wrote a piece for …
PRINCETON SAUVE LA MISE ET L’HONNEUR DE L’UNIVERSITE AMERICAINE !
PRINCETON SAVES THE DAY AND THE HONOR OF US ACADEMIA
“I’m delighted to report that we’ve expanded the Zoom quota for Dr Dorian Abbot’s Princeton lecture–the one shockingly and shamefully canceled by MIT–and literally thousands of people have registered. It’s October 21st (the day it had been scheduled at MIT) at 4:30 Eastern time. https://t.co/sFOPTOxDOZ”