EXCLUSIVE: How to Win a Culture War
The inside story of how we took on the universities -and won
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Students demand Kathleen Stock’s dismissal at the University of Sussex, 2021
By the time you’re reading this I’ll have cracked open the champagne. Why? Because last week something called the Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Act passed the final stage in UK parliament and received royal assent, becoming law.
What is it? The Act will help secure freedom of speech within the law for academics like me who work at universities, our students, and visiting speakers. It strengthens 'academic freedom’ -the ability of academics like me to question received wisdom and put forward new, controversial or unpopular ideas without being negatively affected, such as by losing our jobs or being discriminated against. In other words, it marks a serious and significant pushback to the woke madness infecting our institutions.
For years now, I’ve been pointing to the glaring and growing threat to free speech in the very institutions which are supposed to defend these things. Increasingly, I’ve watched in horror as one colleague after another has been silenced, harassed, and even sacked because they dared challenge this prevailing radical ‘woke’ orthodoxy.
I’ve also become increasingly concerned as one student after another has quietly told me they too feel our universities have fully morphed into ‘ideological monocultures’ —places which are no longer exposing them to the full range of beliefs which exist in wider society and which are openly hostile toward people who hold contrarian views —whether on sex and gender identity, history, Brexit, and more.
This is why, a few years ago, in the aftermath of the Brexit referendum, I decided I’d had enough. I wanted to fight back. I wanted to stop complaining about the culture war against rationality, objective knowledge, and intellectual freedom and actually do something about it. And I sensed that a few others wanted to join the fight.
So, here’s the exclusive, inside story of how only a handful of people took on the stifling orthodoxy, took on the radical progressives, took on the universities, took on the woke blob, and brought about far-reaching, lasting change in our universities.
And you know what? This isn’t just a story about how to change the universities — it’s a much bigger story about how to win a culture war and help save our societies …
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