Cambridge has become the epicentre of the ‘wokeness’ epidemic plaguing our universities

The university has traded academic freedom for institutional virtue-signalling

From outside their gates, all institutions look monolithic. The Foreign Office, large multinationals, universities – all conjure up ideas of slow, endlessly resisted change. In fact all institutions are in flux. And never more so than today, when the whole underpinnings of our societies and morality are up for grabs.

the daily stirrer
Picture: PA via Daily Mail

In recent years the ideology known as “wokeness” has ridden through public and private institutions. Government departments are duty bound to pursue “diversity” as an objective in itself, which in practice means a pursuit of quotas that prioritise a person’s characteristics over their ability. Heads of major corporations and departments talk about “intersectionality” and other creations of the ideological far-Left as though they will enrich their companies, rather than impoverish them.

Even the most hallowed institutions have shown themselves eager to be seen courting this disastrously ill-thought through ideology. Anyone in any doubt over that fact need only look behind the hallowed gates of Cambridge University. In recent months it has taken a set of decisions which make one of our foremost seats of learning look not just woke but weak.

In March the university announced that it had withdrawn its invitation to the Cambridge academic Jordan Peterson to a visiting fellowship … READ ALL >>>



‘There is a climate of intimidation at British universities – we are afraid to speak about anything controversial’

When Professor Jeff McMahan arrived in Oxford, a chance conversation turned him off social media. A fellow philosophy lecturer was rueing the day he had agreed to be his grandson’s “friend” on Facebook, then accepted requests from hordes of students. “I took that as a warning and never signed up,” says McMahan.

He also steered clear of Twitter, which has probably served him well over the past few months as he has been setting up the Journal of Controversial Ideas, a new, peer-reviewed publication dedicated to airing the kind of research on race and intelligence, genetics and gender identity that has recently seen academics no-platformed and drummed out of their jobs.

Needless to say, the prospect of the journal, which intends to offer anonymity to contributors and should begin publication later this year, has proved controversial in itself: McMahan and his co-founders stand accused of being “thin-skinned, elitist” and afraid of robust debate.

“Surely this is a joke. Even unpopular ideas must be owned,” said one Twitter contributor, while another suggested that “Charles Darwin would be spinning in his grave at such cowardice.”

American-born McMahan, White’s Professor of Moral Philosophy at Oxford – whose study at Corpus Christi was home to the committee which translated the Bible into English 400 years ago – counters that beyond such mockery, the threat to free speech and open debate is real.


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