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9 Sep, 2021 19:29

Portland State professor Boghossian resigns in disgust – a cult hero in the war against woke who earned his stripes the hard way

Portland State professor Boghossian resigns in disgust – a cult hero in the war against woke who earned his stripes the hard way

After 10 years on the frontline of the fight against critical theory and its bogus brand of social justice, straight-talking philosophy professor Peter Boghossian has given his university bosses what they wanted: his resignation.

The cause of common sense suffered a setback this week when one of its leading lights, cult hero Boghossian, finally threw in the towel and resigned from his post at Portland State University (PSU), a woke hotbed of critical theory, victimhood and liberal intolerance. Hell on earth.

How this thick-skinned crusader of free speech has lasted a decade under this shower of social justice is hard to fathom. Particularly when he has been a frontline figure of hate for much of that time for simply offering an alternative point of view to that ingrained into this most illiberal of liberal educational institutions.

His resignation letter, published online, should be compulsory reading for every university undergraduate. That will never happen, however, because the reality is that those in charge at PSU will breathe a sigh of relief as he clears his desk and is no longer a threat to the fake social-justice construct that underpins their academic fantasy.

The professor’s insistence on inviting controversial, radical and downright difficult speakers onto campus to air their contrarian views so his students could be exposed to alternative viewpoints to the rigid ideology that comprised their usual lectures, tutorials and studies caused no end of gnashing of teeth, tearing of hair and wailing from the outraged woke warriors.

They took it upon themselves to cancel his events, Boghossian claims, post abusive flyers on campus walls and even spit on him to show just what they thought of his efforts to promote freedom of expression. But what would you expect from an educational establishment that figures in a list of the 10 worst universities for free speech?

Boghossian has never been shy about his impatience with the received wisdom at his workplace and achieved cult status among the common-sense brigade for his production of intentionally disruptive peer-reviewed papers that were published despite their ludicrous, mocking premises. Notably, there was ‘The Conceptual Penis as a Social Construct’, published in Cogent Social Sciences, which argued that penises were products of the human mind and responsible for climate change. These pinheads swallowed the whole thing, hook, line and sinker. Once such a paper was published, Boghossian immediately revealed the hoax, but that was not good enough – the woke dogs had been unleashed and he was savaged for daring to mock them.

Speaking of canines, it was the brilliant work of the professor and his colleagues that appeared in Gender, Place & Culture titled ‘Human reactions to rape culture and queer performativity at urban dog parks in Portland, Oregon’ that, following an apparent outbreak of dog-on-dog rape in parks, suggested their male owners would be best put on a leash as well. That was a breakthrough that really took the biscuit – or, rather, the bone.

For this, Boghossian wrote in his resignation letter, he had had formal charges filed against him for “research misconduct,” university officials having decided the unsuspecting journal editors who accepted the intentionally deranged article should be considered “human subjects” and that Boghossian was therefore guilty of not having received approval to experiment on them as such. 

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It’s the sort of material that Brits might have seen as part of a satire on ‘Monty Python’s Flying Circus’ back in the day. Turning the material, language and tactics of the enemy right back on them, holding a mirror up to their snarling faces just to show them how ridiculous they look. But there is no place for satire at Portland State.

The burning resentment towards the professor was based wholly on the fact he had exposed the hypocrisy, pseudo-science and arcane gibberish favoured by critical-theory fans as complete bollocks. That did not go down well. How dare he make fun of their bogus concepts and rub salt in their wounds by fooling their very own journals into publishing his heresies.

It was all brilliant and brave, and shone a light on a modern virus that has taken hold not just across the US but in the UK, Canada and beyond and that is undermining free speech everywhere it takes hold.

As Boghossian says in his resignation letter, “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.”

This might be the last Portland State hears of Peter Boghossian, but, while he’s ceded ground in this particular battle, the war against woke, in which he’s played such a key role, is a long way from over. 

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.