Governments like to talk about the “investments” they make, by which they mean investing the effort to relieve productive citizens and business of their hard-earned and give it to the mendicant sectors, where it is hoped such largesse will buy votes in job lots. Australia’s tertiary education system, or so Labor tells us, is in serious need of other people’s money — so much so that ten of Bill Shorten‘s “100 Positive Policies” purport to detail the means by which the nation will become a smarter, richer and happier land. As for the Liberals, their platform is noticeably short on specifics for the tertiary sector.
What neither party, however, has been prepared to address is just what it is that the tertiary dollar buys. Given the billions poured into the pursuit of broadening and sharpening young minds, this is a curious oversight. If you are buying a bill of goods, paying more for it does nothing to improve its quality or value. Indeed, if what you are already funding is an insult to intelligence, prepare to see good sense further abused the higher the price tag goes.
With this in mind, below are two exhibits that might — should, to be frank — prompt some thought about what taxpayers are underwriting.
First, “geography” as it is being taught at a tertiary level. The speaker is Associate Professor Simon Springer, from Canada’s Victoria University, who will touring Australian universities in July. The University of Queensland’s advance publicity for its revered guest neatly, if unintentionally, captures the cookie-cutter vacuity of yet another leftist cliche spigot. What it doesn’t capture is his way with words, one word in particular.
Below, filmed at one of his lectures, an example of what passes for modern education. Those offended by obscenity might do best not to watch; likewise those watching the clip at work, unless the volume is turned down to the barely audible. Springer really hits straps at the nine-minute mark.
That’s Exhibit A (which can be read here) in the case for a sweeping reform of the tertiary sector.
Below, grim evidence of the damage done to impressionable minds when exposed to tidily remunerated, foul-mouthed fools. It is a list of “trigger warnings” provided by the Network of Women Students Australia, whose annual gathering was hosted six months ago by the University of Technology Sydney. Several of the weirder causes for alarm have been bolded. As we’re all paying — take that to mean those from whom taxes are extracted — for institutions in which this fainting-couch frailty of mind is both funded and encouraged, might as well get some value for the money, even if the giggle comes at ruinous cost.
- Ableistic slurs (st*pid, id*ot, d*mb, cr*pple, r*t*rd etc.)
- Abuse (physical, mental, emotional, verbal, sexual)
- Anything that might inspire intrusive thoughts in people with OCD, such as “discussion of contamination”
- Body image
- Body horror
- Child abuse/pedophilia
- Corpses, skulls or skeletons
- Drug use or talk of drugs (legal, illegal or psychiatric)
- Eating disorders
- Eye contact (scopophobia)
- Fat shaming
- Flashing lights (for epileptics)
- Hate crimes
- Kidnapping (forceful deprivation of/disregard for personal autonomy)
- Medical procedures
- Mental illness (depression, anxiety etc.)
- Misophonia (selective sound sensitivity- typically include the sound of chewing and repetitive sounds)
- Nazi paraphernalia
- Panic attacks
- Pregnancy (tokophobia)
- Queerphobia (heterosexism)
- Queerphobic slurs (f*g, d*ke, tr*nny etc.)
- Racist slurs (ni*ger, a**o etc.)
- Self-injurious behavior (self-harm, etc.)
- Serious injury
- Sexist slurs (c*nt, b*tch etc.)
- Sex shaming
- Sexual assault
- Slimy things
- Discussions of -isms, shaming, or hatred of any kind (racism, classism, hatred of cultures/ethnicities that differ from your own, sexism, hatred of sexualities or genders that differ from your own, anti-multiple, non-vanilla shaming, sex positive shaming, fat shaming/body image shaming, neuroatypical shaming)
- Transphobia (cissexism)
- Transphobic slurs (tr*nny, tr*p etc.)
- Transmisogyny (combo of transphobia and sexism)
- Trichitillomania (disorder of compulsive hair pulling)
- Trypophobia (fear of things with holes or orifices/repetitive pattern phobia)
This list was compiled, remember, by beneficiaries of the money lavished on our institutions of higher education.
Fortunately, use of the four-lettered procreative verb is not listed. That means Associate Professor Simon Springer’s tour should go off without a hitch.
Roger Franklin is the editor of Quadrant Online