last week we covered some important issues and approaches that can get your foot into the door of academia, and can help you maintain an air of seriousness around you. We are now going to move on to some more practical tips and limitations you must try to internalize.
- Know your professors, and know your surroundings always.
You should always be testing the waters and modifying how you present very unorthodox ideas in certain groups based on the air of the class, or the situation of things. Do not reveal to people your full power levels suddenly. “Red-pilling” does not work like that in academia. Shock and awe is the last tactic you want to use, so I would suggest slowly getting to know the people in your classes and your professors, and gradually drop challenges to things here and there, and slowly normalize your way of thinking in a classroom. You might have this romantic idea of being a brash and in your face reactionary, a modern De Maistre loudly proclaiming your hatred of the normie NPCs. It is best to throw off this romantic image, because in reality, its not as much of a glamorized look as it seems in your head.
Know the fields of interest and personalities of those profs and teaching assistants above you, and know what to avoid and what you can get away with, and furthermore always think about how to write about things in a way that will not trigger their ideological belief set. Less is more most of the time.
One time I had a class on the nature of political tyranny. I effectively gauged the lingo being used in the class, determined that there were some critiques that I could exploit which would fit a traditionalist and anti-liberal agenda in the back door. After a while, most of the class near the end of the semester were devastated at their own questioning of liberal orthodoxy; Always try to make them question themselves. Remember though, THIS IS RISKY, and you must always be clear of avoiding outright stating how you feel about any such subject. Most of all, you must learn the art of slowly making your way of thinking acceptable in gradual stages. This goes beyond merely using the beliefs of SJWs and leftists against them, that’s too narrow minded and smacks of “gotchya” politics. “Gotchya” politics is a game, and like all games that are not played in good faith, it may piss off people for a time, but will not create any meaningful connections or promote honest sharing of ideas. It is hard, but try to make your ideological enemies think in a different way on their grounds of inquiry. This is not the Internet; there is no expectation of fellow contrarians waiting in the wings to back you up.
- Avoid buzzwords at all costs.
I could write endlessly on this topic, but one thing which you may not notice is the ability of people new to academia to make assumptions about things, or to straight up use jargon and buzzwords for impact and effect. No one on our side of things says this much, but right-wingers do tend to label things in slogans and buzzwords. In first year I was terrible at this, I would listen to talk radio and say phrases like “let me educate you” (mimicking Mark Levin, cringy in hindsight i know), and be callous to the way I was offending people in seminars. I also learned in time that unless you are dealing with semi-sympathetic people, using the words and jargon (or memes) that are often passed around on the Internet could potentially get you into trouble. One time I submitted a paper to post on our University’s philosophy club group; I thought it was harmless. The admin screening it took down my paper after someone complained because I used the word “Weimerica”. Someone was offended because of course, some Neo-Nazis have used the term before, despite it having no racial connotations. Buzzwords and meme lingo are honestly more trouble then they are worth in an academic setting.
As for this and number four, you might be thinking, “But Gio, are you saying I should tone-police myself? Isn’t that self-censorship that goes against my principles?!”. To which I say, YES, 100% you should tone-police your every interaction and exchange in academia. You are dealing with sensitive people and some of them might determine whether you can move up to the next stages in your academic life, so put aside your nirvanic fantasies of totally free discourse in the university system. You must fight for practical and pragmatic victories, instead of the perfect ideal.
- Avoid direct confrontation and always pick your battles at all costs.
This should be number one, for it is honestly one of the most important lessons you can ever learn in the academic system; I would also group in “not making tiny issues into big ones” with this point too.
Listen to me carefully. This is a controversial claim on my part, but let’s face the facts: many of these cases in which students face significant trouble at the hands of their universities were either caused or exacerbated by these people going out of their way to look for trouble – do not look for trouble, ever! Not in all cases mind you, but the most important thing is to be Machiavellian about it. Win influence over others, win people’s respect by being intelligent but not arrogant, and never grate with or challenge the authority of your professors excessively unless you absolutely must. Remember, the goal here should always be longevity! Let me repeat: LONGEVITY OVER IMPACT OF STATEMENTS, ALWAYS. Sure, it’s cool to be like Lauren Southern with a provocative sign at the slutwalk (who, you know, dropped out), or marching in some counter-protest (to then be marked out and identified), or to think you can be like Jordan Peterson or Gad Saad, and so on. But the fact is, if you take this tack you are more than likely to be a mere flash in the pan; you will garner 15 minutes of Internet fame and nothing more. Do not make yourself excessively visible until things get better in the universities. I am not saying total anonymity is a good thing, we must learn to be visible in some respects to maintain our integrity. All I am saying is that not everyone can achieve the status of e-celebrity, and the only way to get to the position of a Jordan Peterson, a Jonathan Haidt, or a Gad Saad is if you commit yourself to having staying power in academia. Going on from a BA all the way up to a PHD is hard enough as it is, so why cause more problems for yourself by creating unnecessary and negative attention, thus risking becoming a total pariah?
Let us examine the case at Wilfred Laurier, a University not too far from me. Lindsay Shepherd did the right thing when confronted by overt and petty ideologues, but the key should have been to avoid the whole situation entirely in the first place. You may be asking “Gio, but how?”, well dear reader, number one should have been realizing the type of professor you are dealing with, and paying attention to the sub-field you are in. Communications tends to be a sub-field in the humanities with a reputation for being high in the number of left-leaning professors and an SJW mill. It also comes down to the fact that anything related to Peterson (the clip she was using) is a touchy subject, and a thorn in the side of all ideologically far-left academics here in the North. To summarize, do not be a martyr, do not sacrifice yourself and a potential career, along with the potential scholarly legitimacy you can bring to our ideas, for some fleeting cause or disagreement. I would go so far as to say you should even write about things you would rather not write about to get your course credit, and move on to better ones with less hostile professors and less confrontational classmates.
- Do not label yourself, or allow others to label you.
A good general tool is to state that you are on “somewhat the right”, or you are a “traditionalist type”, or you are something that shows to the people around you that you are not so easily marked and placed into a box or category. It is a fad, especially on Twitter, to state that you belong to a hyper-specific ideology, such as “I am a member of the Alt-Right”, “I am a paleo conservative libertarian”, “I am a third-position fascist”, and so on. This is an immediate danger in academia (a side note, do not ever use the term Alt-Right to describe yourself in an academic setting – this should be obvious to most). You must present yourself in an open-ended way, and you must demonstrate that you are a gracious and nimble thinker. If people start labeling you as being a part of this or that movement, then they will play the old guilt-by-association tactic. This must be avoided, and believe me it is tricky to avoid; you may even have to counter-signal against certain leaders in whatever movement you are involved with or follow, or at the very least be nuanced and open-minded to various critiques of your preferred leaders. To be labelled as X, Y, or Z means you are more susceptible to becoming a non-person, a hostile entity in the eyes of your ideological opponents, not a person worthy of debating, nor being treated as a thoughtful and independent human being.
well that’s its for now boys and girls, part 3 up tomorrow…