The term “gaslighting” is defined as “an insidious form of manipulation and psychological control.” According to Psychology Today, “Victims of gaslighting are deliberately and systematically fed false information that leads them to question what they know to be true, often about themselves. They may end up doubting their memory, their perception, and even their sanity. Over time, a gaslighter’s manipulations can grow more complex and potent, making it increasingly difficult for the victim to see the truth.”
In other words, when someone blatantly tells you day is night, black is white, wrong is right – and either genuinely believes his own lie, or is desperately trying to convince you his lie is truthful – then you’re being gaslighted (gaslit?).
The left has become the masters of gaslighting. Consider this incredible op-ed that recently appeared in that bastion of balanced thought, Teen Vogue: “The Modern American University is a Right-Wing Institution,” written by an assistant professor of history at the University of Massachusetts Amherst named Asheesh Kapur Siddique, Ph.D. (whose preferred gender pronouns are he/him).
What followed was the most extraordinary collection of bulltucky you’ll ever read, all meant to convince the naïve teenage reader that progressives are poor pitiful victims of hateful conservative groupthink within the university environment.
“The modern American university is a right-wing institution,” writes Siddique. “The right’s dominance of academia and its reign over universities is destroying higher education, and the only way to save the American university is for students and professors to take back control of campuses.”
I don’t know what kind of brownies Dr. Siddique is eating; but wow, they must be strong. He simply ignores the provable facts that university faculties and administrations are devoid of ideological diversity. (A 2017 survey found that left-leaning administrators outnumbered their conservative counterparts by a 12:1 ratio.)
Apparently, two things contributed to Dr. Siddique’s bitter conclusion. One is the recent denial of a tenure-track position of journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones “following conservative outcry over her work on the 1619 Project, documenting the history of slavery in the U.S.” This is despite the fact Ms. Hannah-Jones has never taught, so why should she be given tenure at a teaching institution?
Siddique’s second bone of contention is a tirade against the “corporate capitalist régime” that controls American university boards and is, he claims, directly responsible for tuition inflation, among much else. He seems to feel anything with a “capitalist” brush must therefore be conservative. (Has anyone told Woca-Cola about this?)
Oh, and he assures us “There is no ‘Democrat’ way to teach calculus.” Tell that to the Oregon Department of Education (among other places), which assures us math is racist and must be dismantled. Sounds pretty “Democrat” to me.
Read the whole op-ed to get the entire flavor of this particular example of gaslighting. I assure you, your jaw will drop, too.
I think what Dr. Siddique is saying is that – in his opinion – colleges and universities are not yet full-fledged communist indoctrination centers. Currently, they’re only progressive indoctrination centers, which – darn it – just isn’t good enough. And it’s all the fault of those evil awful conservatives. After all, to a communist, all non-totalitarian governance systems are right-wing.
So there you go. Despite all the evidence to the contrary – and that evidence is enormous (see a sampling here) – Siddique can make his claim with a straight face and without blushing.
But good news: Dr. Siddique has the solution. To counter the hostile takeover of higher education by conservatives, universities must:
- Support and spread labor organizing across the country;
- “Relentlessly” push the Biden administration toward canceling all student debt and supporting free public college for all; and
- Assert shared governance on campus that gives faculty much more power.
Ta da! That’s all it will take to make higher education a truly communist experience!
Needless to say, Siddique was roasted for his op-ed, with many of those evil awful conservatives concluding he was “bats**t psycho-level insane” and other creative variations on that theme. “This is so disconnected from reality that I can’t tell if it’s satire or not,” commented one person. Another snarked, “He is correct. Intolerant right-wingers are the ones shouting down speakers, demanding safe spaces, and canceling anyone with whom they disagree.”
Dr. Siddique is to be commended for his brilliant gaslighting. Either he believes what he’s writing (in which case he’s delusional) or he know what he’s writing is bunk (in which case he’s evil). Either way, it’s par for the course for activists to perpetuate the myth of victimhood.
What Siddique’s exposé illustrates is how strongly the institutions of higher education have failed their students. Once upon a time, a degree indicated a certain level of competence and achievement in one’s chosen profession. Now “the college campus is churning out students ill-equipped to endure life’s anguish and gravitas,” observes columnist Andrew Moran. “Whether it is because they are shielded with safe spaces of puppies and cookies or inculcated with half-truths, the education racket is broken.”
But wait! For all the gaslighting Dr. Siddique projects in this op-ed, it appears the joke may be on him. Joe Biden – arguably the most far-left radical progressive leader this nation has ever seen – has decided to “circle back” on his campaign promise to excuse student loan debt. Apparently, something in Biden’s dim mind has decided there was something “suspicious” about the issue, and he has declined to support that goal in his budget.
This is a crushing blow to the left in general and to debt-burdened graduates in particular. No doubt Dr. Saddique is feeling a little gaslighted himself at the moment.
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