FreeSpeech and Censorship: Thread

grarpamp grarpamp at
Wed Sep 8 23:45:33 PDT 2021

> Leftist BigTech Social and News Media has increasingly
> been CensorBanning... everything

EDU's have been CensorBanning, propping
shit ideologies including worshipping Govts, etc...

My University Sacrificed Ideas for Ideology. So Today I Quit.

Peter Boghossian has taught philosophy at Portland State University
for the past decade. In the letter below, sent this morning to the
university’s provost, he explains why he is resigning.

Dear Provost Susan Jeffords,

​​I’m writing to you today to resign as assistant professor of
philosophy at Portland State University.

Over the last decade, it has been my privilege to teach at the
university. My specialties are critical thinking, ethics and the
Socratic method, and I teach classes like Science and Pseudoscience
and The Philosophy of Education. But in addition to exploring classic
philosophers and traditional texts, I’ve invited a wide range of guest
lecturers to address my classes, from Flat-Earthers to Christian
apologists to global climate skeptics to Occupy Wall Street advocates.
I’m proud of my work.

I invited those speakers not because I agreed with their worldviews,
but primarily because I didn’t. From those messy and difficult
conversations, I’ve seen the best of what our students can achieve:
questioning beliefs while respecting believers; staying even-tempered
in challenging circumstances; and even changing their minds.

I never once believed —  nor do I now —  that the purpose of
instruction was to lead my students to a particular conclusion.
Rather, I sought to create the conditions for rigorous thought; to
help them gain the tools to hunt and furrow for their own conclusions.
This is why I became a teacher and why I love teaching.

But brick by brick, the university has made this kind of intellectual
exploration impossible. It has transformed a bastion of free inquiry
into a Social Justice factory whose only inputs were race, gender, and
victimhood and whose only outputs were grievance and division.

Students at Portland State are not being taught to think. Rather, they
are being trained to mimic the moral certainty of ideologues. Faculty
and administrators have abdicated the university’s truth-seeking
mission and instead drive intolerance of divergent beliefs and
opinions. This has created a culture of offense where students are now
afraid to speak openly and honestly.

I noticed signs of the illiberalism that has now fully swallowed the
academy quite early during my time at Portland State. I witnessed
students refusing to engage with different points of view.  Questions
from faculty at diversity trainings that challenged approved
narratives were instantly dismissed. Those who asked for evidence to
justify new institutional policies were accused of microaggressions.
And professors were accused of bigotry for assigning canonical texts
written by philosophers who happened to have been European and male.

At first, I didn’t realize how systemic this was and I believed I
could question this new culture. So I began asking questions. What is
the evidence that trigger warnings and safe spaces contribute to
student learning? Why should racial consciousness be the lens through
which we view our role as educators? How did we decide that “cultural
appropriation” is immoral?

Unlike my colleagues, I asked these questions out loud and in public.

I decided to study the new values that were engulfing Portland State
and so many other educational institutions — values that sound
wonderful, like diversity, equity, and inclusion, but might actually
be just the opposite. The more I read the primary source material
produced by critical theorists, the more I suspected that their
conclusions reflected the postulates of an ideology, not insights
based on evidence.

I began networking with student groups who had similar concerns and
brought in speakers to explore these subjects from a critical
perspective. And it became increasingly clear to me that the incidents
of illiberalism I had witnessed over the years were not just isolated
events, but part of an institution-wide problem.

The more I spoke out about these issues, the more retaliation I faced.

Early in the 2016-17 academic year, a former student complained about
me and the university initiated a Title IX investigation.  (Title IX
investigations are a part of federal law designed to protect “people
from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities
that receive federal financial assistance.”) My accuser, a white male,
made a slew of baseless accusations against me, which university
confidentiality rules unfortunately prohibit me from discussing
further. What I can share is that students of mine who were
interviewed during the process told me the Title IX investigator asked
them if they knew anything about me beating my wife and children. This
horrifying accusation soon became a widespread rumor.

With Title IX investigations there is no due process, so I didn’t have
access to the particular accusations, the ability to confront my
accuser, and I had no opportunity to defend myself. Finally, the
results of the investigation were revealed in December 2017. Here are
the last two sentences of the report: “Global Diversity & Inclusion
finds there is insufficient evidence that Boghossian violated PSU’s
Prohibited Discrimination & Harassment policy. GDI recommends
Boghossian receive coaching.”

Not only was there no apology for the false accusations, but the
investigator also told me that in the future I was not allowed to
render my opinion about “protected classes” or teach in such a way
that my opinion about protected classes could be known — a bizarre
conclusion to absurd charges. Universities can enforce ideological
conformity just through the threat of these investigations.

I eventually became convinced that corrupted bodies of scholarship
were responsible for justifying radical departures from the
traditional role of liberal arts schools and basic civility on campus.
There was an urgent need to demonstrate that morally fashionable
papers — no matter how absurd — could be published. I believed then
that if I exposed the theoretical flaws of this body of literature, I
could help the university community avoid building edifices on such
shaky ground.

So, in 2017, I co-published an intentionally garbled peer-reviewed
paper that took aim at the new orthodoxy. Its title: “The Conceptual
Penis as a Social Construct.” This example of pseudo-scholarship,
which was published in Cogent Social Sciences, argued that penises
were products of the human mind and responsible for climate change.
Immediately thereafter, I revealed the article as a hoax designed to
shed light on the flaws of the peer-review and academic publishing

Shortly thereafter, swastikas in the bathroom with my name under them
began appearing in two bathrooms near the philosophy department. They
also occasionally showed up on my office door, in one instance
accompanied by bags of feces. Our university remained silent. When it
acted, it was against me, not the perpetrators.

I continued to believe, perhaps naively, that if I exposed the flawed
thinking on which Portland State’s new values were based, I could
shake the university from its madness. In 2018 I co-published a series
of absurd or morally repugnant peer-reviewed articles in journals that
focused on issues of race and gender. In one of them we argued that
there was an epidemic of dog rape at dog parks and proposed that we
leash men the way we leash dogs. Our purpose was to show that certain
kinds of “scholarship” are based not on finding truth but on advancing
social grievances. This worldview is not scientific, and it is not

Administrators and faculty were so angered by the papers that they
published an anonymous piece in the student paper and Portland State
filed formal charges against me. Their accusation? “Research
misconduct” based on the absurd premise that the journal editors who
accepted our intentionally deranged articles were “human subjects.” I
was found guilty of not receiving approval to experiment on human

Meanwhile, ideological intolerance continued to grow at Portland
State. In March 2018, a tenured professor disrupted a public
discussion I was holding with author Christina Hoff Sommers and
evolutionary biologists Bret Weinstein and Heather Heying. In June
2018, someone triggered the fire alarm during my conversation with
popular cultural critic Carl Benjamin. In October 2018, an activist
pulled out the speaker wires to interrupt a panel with former Google
engineer James Damore. The university did nothing to stop or address
this behavior. No one was punished or disciplined.

For me, the years that followed were marked by continued harassment.
I’d find flyers around campus of me with a Pinocchio nose. I was spit
on and threatened by passersby while walking to class. I was informed
by students that my colleagues were telling them to avoid my classes.
And, of course, I was subjected to more investigation.

I wish I could say that what I am describing hasn’t taken a personal
toll. But it has taken exactly the toll it was intended to: an
increasingly intolerable working life and without the protection of

This isn’t about me. This is about the kind of institutions we want
and the values we choose. Every idea that has advanced human freedom
has always, and without fail, been initially condemned. As
individuals, we often seem incapable of remembering this lesson, but
that is exactly what our institutions are for: to remind us that the
freedom to question is our fundamental right. Educational institutions
should remind us that that right is also our duty.

Portland State University has failed in fulfilling this duty. In doing
so it has failed not only its students but the public that supports
it. While I am grateful for the opportunity to have taught at Portland
State for over a decade, it has become clear to me that this
institution is no place for people who intend to think freely and
explore ideas.

This is not the outcome I wanted. But I feel morally obligated to make
this choice. For ten years, I have taught my students the importance
of living by your principles. One of mine is to defend our system of
liberal education from those who seek to destroy it. Who would I be if
I didn’t?


Peter Boghossian

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