Let’s make sure my cancellation is the last. That begins by standing up and saying no to the mob.
Instead of simply reading this, feeling disappointed and then doing nothing I have decided to send an email to Robert Zimmer email@example.com to thank him for standing by Dorian and to Rafael Reif, president of MIT firstname.lastname@example.org and Robert van der Hilst, email@example.com, department chair of the EAPS program at MIT to express my disappointment.
There is still hope if there are people like Dorian left in this country! I was under the impression that everyone younger than 50 has lost their mind poisoned by the dangerous, empty demagoguery.
I was born and raised in USSR and moved to this country at 27, already married with family.
I know first-hand what happens when obnoxious, empowered by useful idiots, mob rules over the majority of educated, decent, yet timid and selfish individuals. Beware!
Thanks for the article and story. Seems it's on repeat these days: (1) Professor (mostly who are white) gets targeted by student mob; (2) administrators take the same position as the student mob; (3) professor is suspended or fired; (4) more details come to light showing professor was wronged and should not have been let go; (5) professor writes an article/story about cancelation; (5) outrage among readers who then write serious comments in the comment section; (6) nothing changes; (7) repeat.
Not to be a Debbie Downer or anything, but our atrocious leadership in the White House just designated a letter against parents protesting against CRT in schools (which is what this letter describes) and labeling them as terrorists..... so yeah, not expecting anything to change anytime soon.
But well wishes to you and your young family.
I am an MIT alum. I will no longer be sending money to the institute.
I see a common theme in these cancellation essays: the individual tries to ignore the problem until it affects them. I have very little sympathy for anyone supporting the Democrat/liberal agenda over the last 5-10 years and complaining about this. I despise the Republicans (in general a bunch of feckless cowards) but at least, in general, they aren’t espousing this disgusting, racist, ideology. The key point of this essay is treating people as individuals.
People don’t really notice the early stages of an ideological cultural illness. Infecting minds and propagating in seemingly inconsequential organs (Harvard Law School, say), the spread seems innocuous for a while, not more than a curiosity. The Cassandras wave and shout, but there are always Cassandras. If we took their warnings seriously they wouldn’t be Cassandras. Later, when the neural virus has acquired the strength to stand up and begin reshaping the landscape, it will already have developed a potent vocabulary resistant to the existing framework of reason, thought and language that normally inoculates a culture against sudden, destructive change.
“Diversity, Equity and Inclusion” is a textbook example. Part of tempering the worst effects of an ideological possession includes inventing a new vocabulary that wrests back the inversions and absurdities of the challenge. “Merit, Fairness and Equality” (MFE) does just that. We should test it in the marketplace of ideas. I have tried to distinguish “Equality” from “Equity” in probably a dozen conversations. The outcomes have been unsatisfactory. I’m going to give Merit, Fairness and Equality a try.
Perhaps MIT should hold a lecture on the Gulag Archipelago -a cautionary reminder as to what is possible when totalitarianism takes hold…”the simple step of a courageous individual is not to take part in the lie.” Thank you professor Abbot for your courage.
Just a few quick observations: Firstly, you have to be aggressive. I was targeted at my hospital for refusing The Jab, with the administrators saying that anyone who did not do so had to wear a mask. I simply said no to both. I would be in my office all day, doing my work. I was threatened with firing. I told the admin that I had always wanted to own a small hospital chain and a second home, and that within an hour of such action, he would find suit papers on his door targeting his hospital and him personally. End of story.
A second anecdote: In my retirement I like to work on antique aircraft. I was doing so at my home airport when a car with out-of-state (read that, Yankee) plates drove around the ramp, just looking around, I suppose. (We call them looky-loos, and they are always welcome.) He stopped where I was working and struck up a conversation, but he kept looking at my MAGA hat. Finally, it was more than he could bear, and he said, "Do you always wear that hat?"
I have no idea where it came from, but out of the blue I had my answer: "Why, no, only when I'm armed." Without a word he drove away. As actor Nick Searcy says, I'm glad people have feelings, so I can hurt them. YOU ARE ALLOWED BY YOUR CONSTITUTION TO DO THAT. Never give in. Never. Never. And never apologize.
Third: A cousin's forty-ish but immature daughter has been butt-hurt ever since he filed for divorce from her mother over twenty years ago, and has treated him most disrespectfully. Last month, he apologized to her and she has cut off all contact since. All he did was validate her childish pique. Never do that.
What we are lacking is what the Left is best at doing: coordinated, aggressive retaliation. Do that and this nonsense will either come to a head or will stop. Either one would be just fine.
Bari, thank you again for sharing these important cancellation stories, as they must be called out and we must push back. Professor Abbot, thank you for having the courage to defend reason and science, even in the face of the Woke mob. I must also say that I am encouraged that we still have one (and perhaps only one) elite University that is willing to defend its principles and its principled professors against the tyrannical mob. While you are correct that it is tyrannical in its tactics, the progressive/Woke movement can only be understood through a religious construct. They have abandoned any tethering to facts, reason or science in favor of a religious belief in a virtuous utopian society. Just as you could not reason with the Crusaders several hundred years ago, you cannot reason with the Woke. They use coercion and fear to advance their ideology -and your choices are to convert or be purged. It will require courage and sacrifice (particularly from reasonable liberals) to win the culture war they have launched. Thank you again for being willing to accept the consequences of being a warrior on the right side of history.
I love that his article comes with solutions, not just the problem.
Don't attack those who attacked you? Sorry, but we are past the point of caring about their feelings. They are trying to destroy anyone who doesn't agree with them. This is not debate anymore, it is a war. Those who "play nice" in a war get obliterated.
I sure wish it had not come to this, but here we are. I will not go quietly.
I appreciate the solutions to the problem of cancellation and the suppression of free speech advocated by Professor Abbot. However, as a professor at a liberal public university, I would argue that much of what is going on in the universities is far less sensational and more nuanced, but no less insidious. Most of the faculty in my department, for example, have been relentless in their pursuit of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) for over a year now based on the theory (not fact) that systemic racism permeates the university system. Among other things, this includes establishing an internal bias reporting system (there is already a university-wide reporting system) and massively changing the admissions criteria (moving away from merit-based to “holistic” admissions). As a result, the departmental (and university) climate is one of fear and intimidation.
If you really want to fight against this toxic ideology, it’s not going to be with outrage at the latest cancelled professor. What we need are resources to help faculty like me argue against these divisive DEI initiatives and for parents and students to start speaking up against what is going on at woke universities, leading with their pocketbooks.
Profiles in cowardice at MIT. Proof that being smart does not make one wise or virtuous.
I blame social media for the hatred and division in our country today. People used to be able to have political disagreements without despising each other. Now it's "Trump voters are evil" and "Biden voters are evil".
The vast majority of us are not evil at all, we just believe different things and get different sources of information online.
I subscribe to this newsletter because i cannot stand the name calling and hatred directed at the so-called "other side".
There is no "other side."
There are only neighbors, friends, and family members who disagree on politics.
We are all so much more than our opinions!
As they say: "opinions are like assholes: everybody has one, and it's best to keep them quiet in polite company."
I can be so convinced I'm right about an issue, and three years later be embarassed I ever held that opinion (I used to be a 9-11 Truther. I was wrong. It was a dumb conspiracy theory).
Can we please stop condemning each other for our opinions and start valuing each other for our humanity? Please?
We share so much more than we know - and yes, I blame a lot of this on Identity Politics which reduces complex human beings to one dimensional abstract political symbols.
There is no guilty or innocent "side" here.
We are all just human beings doing the best we can with the information we have.
We are ONE COUNTRY, not a Red or Blue country.
We'd better start acting like it, or we are going the way of the former Yugoslavia and the former Soviet Union.
If we split apart, we will destroy ourselves.
And China will be the world's new super power.
Try exercising Free Speech under those conditions.
I am so tired of these so called activists -they are bullies-hiding behind the name of social justice! The Ford foundation has something to do w George soros - he is determined to destroy this country and using these colleges etc to do it! Disgusting
As 2020 revealed the cowardly leadership of our institutions is the problem. These internet mobs must be challenged not only in their media but called out face-to-face.
Like when my 13-14 yr old students accuse each other of a wrong: I bring them face-to-face to resolve it.
Adults who must be treated like children; that’s where we are now.