If the above link doesn’t work, here’s the same info: [Read more…]
Traveling, which precludes blogging. However I did listen to this interview while on the road and I highly recommend it:
The best way to get America back on track is to elect a strong conservative federal government in 2020 and withdraw all federal money from higher education.
Would any conservative quarrel with me about the fact that the worst ideas at work in America today were first incubated in academia before integrating themselves into the population at large? Just the other day I noted the straight line between the ethical framework for infanticide as developed in academia and Gov. Ralph Northam’s advocacy for infanticide. (And if you want an insight into the moral inversion that is 21st century American Leftism, think about the fact that, when Leftists realized that ordinary Americans were appalled by Northam’s honesty, the only way they could get their own party to drive him out of office was to accuse him of racism back in 1984.)
Infanticide is only the most recent academic idea to infect the public sphere. The most globally dangerous, of course, is the love affair with socialism. Leftists do not care that socialism, when put into practice, was responsible for the deaths of more than 100 million people in the 20th century, as well as decades of poverty and terror for billions in that same benighted century. They’re in love with the idea (“It’s so morally pure!”) and to hell with the reality (“It’s always been done wrong, you know.”).
As I remarked in an older post, the socialist infection was placed in academia as early as WWII and has festered there ever since. Since WWII, this ideological plague has given birth to, or incubated, the following pernicious ideas (and this is an incomplete list, off the top of my head):
- social justice,
- political correctness,
- trigger warnings,
- virtue signaling,
- queer studies,
- womyn’s studies,
- gender studies,
- rampant antisemitism,
- cultural appropriation,
- moral relativism,
- gender fluidity,
- victim status,
- rape culture,
- toxic masculinity,
- toxic whiteness,
- anthropogenic climate change,
- allegedly violent Islamophobia,
- aggressive atheism (usually anti-Christian)
That, as I said, is an incomplete list. I know you all can come up with other examples of Leftist academic madness. [Read more…]
Academia — that is, the world of colleges and universities — is the incubator for all of the worst ideas in America, with abortion as the latest example.
1. 1993, Practical Ethics, 2nd edition, a college text-book by Peter Singer, Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University and a Laureate Professor at the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics at the University of Melbourne:
n Chapter 4 we saw that the fact that a being is a human being, in the sense of a member of the species Homo sapiens, is not relevant to the wrongness of killing it; it is, rather, characteristics like rationality, autonomy, and self-consciousness that make a difference. Infants lack these characteristics. Killing them, therefore, cannot be equated with killing normal human beings, or any other self-conscious beings. This conclusion is not limited to infants who, because of irreversible intellectual disabilities, will never be rational, self-conscious beings. We saw in our discussion of abortion that the potential of a fetus to become a rational, self-conscious being cannot count against killing it at a stage when it lacks these characteristics – not, that is, unless we are also prepared to count the value of rational self-conscious life as a reason against contraception and celibacy. No infant – disabled or not – has as strong a claim to life as beings capable of seeing themselves as distinct entities, existing over time.
The difference between killing disabled and normal infants lies not in any supposed right to life that the latter has and the former lacks, but in other considerations about killing. Most obviously there is the difference that often exists in the attitudes of the parents. The birth of a child is usually a happy event for the parents. They have, nowadays, often planned for the child. The mother has carried it for nine months. From birth, a natural affection begins to bind the parents to it. So one important reason why it is normally a terrible thing to kill an infant is the effect the killing will have on its parents.
It is different when the infant is born with a serious disability. Birth abnormalities vary, of course. Some are trivial and have little effect on the child or its parents; but others turn the normally joyful event of birth into a threat to the happiness of the parents, and any other children they may have.
Parents may, with good reason, regret that a disabled child was ever born. In that event the effect that the death of the child will have on its parents can be a reason for, rather than against killing it. Some parents want even the most gravely disabled infant to live as long as possible, and this desire would then be a reason against killing the infant. But what if this is not the case? in the discussion that follows I shall assume that the parents do not want the disabled child to live. I shall also assume that the disability is so serious that – again in contrast to the situation of an unwanted but normal child today – there are no other couples keen to adopt the infant. This is a realistic assumption even in a society in which there is a long waiting- list of couples wishing to adopt normal babies. It is true that from time to time cases of infants who are severely disabled and are being allowed to die have reached the courts in a glare of publicity, and this has led to couples offering to adopt the child. Unfortunately such offers are the product of the highly publicised dramatic life-and-death situation, and do not extend to the less publicised but far more cormnon situations in which parents feel themselves unable to look after a severely disabled child, and the child then languishes in an institution.
Infants are sentient beings who are neither rational nor self- conscious. So if we turn to consider the infants in themselves, independently of the attitudes of their parents, since their species is not relevant to their moral status, the principles that govern the wrongness of killing non-human animals who are sentient but not rational or self-conscious must apply here too. As we saw, the most plausible arguments for attributing a right to life to a being apply only if there is some awareness of oneself as a being existing over time, or as a continuing mental self. Nor can respect for autonomy apply where there is no capacity for autonomy. The remaining principles identified in Chapter 4 are utilitarian. Hence the quality of life that the infant can be expected to have is important.
2. 2013, Planned Parenthood lobbyist Alisa Lapolt Snow, testifying before the Florida House:
REP. JIM BOYD: So, um, it is just really hard for me to even ask you this question because I’m almost in disbelief,” said Rep. Jim Boyd. “If a baby is born on a table as a result of a botched abortion, what would Planned Parenthood want to have happen to that child that is struggling for life?
SNOW: We believe that any decision that’s made should be left up to the woman, her family, and the physician.
REP. DANIEL DAVIS: What happens in a situation where a baby is alive, breathing on a table, moving. What do your physicians do at that point?
SNOW: I do not have that information. I am not a physician, I am not an abortion provider. So I do not have that information.
I can’t find biographical information on Snow, but I’m willing to bet she’s a college graduate and, judging by her look in the video, probably post 1985.
3. January 30, 2019, Ralph Northam (Dem), Governor of Virginia, educated at the Virginia Military Institute and Eastern Virginia Medical School, where he got an M.D. and after which he practiced as a pediatrician:
If a mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen. The infant would be delivered, the infant would be kept comfortable, the infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother.
AND NOW TO MY POINT: Whatever starts in academia does not stay in academia. Academia is where: [Read more…]
It’s unquestioned that IQ scores are dropping in the West, but I think there’s more to it than screen time. Educational trends and culture matter too.
The West is losing IQ points. Daniel Hannan points to a disturbing reality in the modern world – we’re getting more stupid. Western IQ scores are dropping (and keep in mind as you read Hannan’s words and mine that IQ tests measure a very specific type of academically-based, analytical intelligence):
The fall in IQ scores in the West is perhaps the most under-reported story of our era. For most of the twentieth century, IQ rose by around three points per decade globally, probably because of better nutrition. But that trend has recently gone into reverse in developed countries.
You hadn’t heard? I’m not surprised. Journalists and politicians won’t go near the subject and you can see why. Consider the theories offered by neuroscientists for the decline. Some argued it had to do with the rising age of motherhood, because the children of older mothers tend to have lower IQs, other things being equal. No one likes to say this, because it can come across as “older moms have dumb kids,” which is not true. (My wife and I were 44 when our youngest child was born, and my own parents were also elderly, but that didn’t make me too thick to grasp the concept of statistical distributions.)
Other theories were even more explosive. For example, that unintelligent people were having more kids, or that the fall in average scores reflected immigration from places with lower IQs.
But a new study from Norway, which examines IQ scores from 730,000 men (standardized tests are part of military service there) disproves all these ideas, because it shows IQ dropping within the same families. Men born in 1991 score, on average, five points lower than men born in 1975. There must, in other words, be an environmental explanation, and the chronology throws up a clear suspect: the rise in screen-time.
I’m sure that Hannan is correct that screen time matters. It’s not just that people spend a lot of time playing mindless games. It’s also that answers are now at everyone’s fingertips. People no longer need to engage in the hard mental work of figuring out the right question, tracking down the data, and then, if the data doesn’t spell out the answer explicitly, reasoning through to a response to the question.
I think, though, that it’s too facile just to blame screen time for the fact that Westerners are showing less academic acumen. Instead, I think there are several factors at play, from dumbed-down education, to academia’s focus on indoctrination over academic rigor, to the growth of populations that do not value traditional educations. [Read more…]
By admitting semi-literate anti-2nd Amendment activist David Hogg, Harvard shows how intellectually corrupt tax-payer supported higher education has become.
I believe I’ve made it clear over the years how little I think of Harvard or many of its graduates. My disdain for Harvard started with losing respect for Harvard Law School – something that happened long before Obama appeared on the political scene. I’ve been working as a lawyer for more than thirty years and am hard pressed to think of a post-1984 graduate of Harvard Law School for whom I’ve had any respect.
Admittedly, my “N” of Harvard Law grads isn’t that large because I worked on the West coast, not the East. Still I’ve dealt with about 30-40 Harvard lawyers over the years. Some have been amiable dimwits, who clearly got into Harvard based upon criteria other than grades and overall academic ability (either race or interesting personal histories). I didn’t mind those people.
The Harvard lawyers who bugged me were the arrogant ones who felt that their Harvard law degree relieved them of the obligation to abide by rules of professional conduct or ordinary human decency. I know that there are decent, intelligent Harvard Law grads out there (and if you’re one who is reading this, I certainly don’t mean this screed to apply to you); I just didn’t ever come across them in my practice.
Over the years, my disdain for Harvard Law grads has extended to graduates of Harvard’s undergraduate program. Harvard manages to skim off the best and brightest from high schools across America and, at least in the liberal arts, then uses their four-year attendance to turn them into ill-educated, hard-Left drones. Any school that indoctrinates rather than educates is a lousy place in my estimation, and that’s true regardless of its reputation.
Harvard dropped even more in my eyes when it became apparent that it was systematically discriminating against Asian applicants in favor of applicants from other non-white groups. Off the top of my head, I can quickly come up with three reasons why this is wrong: [Read more…]
Tweets between Dean Cain and Princeton Professor Kevin Kruse about debating controversial ideas exemplified academia’s intellectual vacuity and arrogance.
My years at Berkeley left me with tremendous disdain for academics — and keep in mind that this disdain set in almost 40 years ago, before the current insanity of identity politics and hard Leftism. Cal was Left, but it was just a warm-up act for what was to come.
I won’t deny that, while at Cal, I had a few good teachers, and I am grateful for them. Most, though, were tenured hacks who considered the students who funded their paychecks an unpleasant evil interrupting their pleasant lives. And I do mean pleasant. Even as they preached Marxism from the classroom pulpit, they lived in elegant hillside homes complete with Japanese gardeners and Hispanic housekeepers. Additionally, every seven years they got a year-long paid vacation, again courtesy of the taxpayers and students they thought so contemptible.
That little polemic is by way of stating the inherent bias with which I read a Twitter back and forth between Dean Cain and a Princeton professor. Cain is not just a courageously open conservative in Hollywood, he’s also a Princeton grad, which, at one time, had a certain cachet. It’s questionable whether that cachet still exists, which gets me to that Twitter conversation Cain had with an unusually arrogant Princeton prof.
It all started with a tweet from Dinesh D’Souza, the man the hard Left prosecutor in the New York’s federal court system went after for a small-dollar campaign donation violation that had never been the subject of a full-bore criminal prosecution:
— Dinesh D’Souza (@DineshDSouza) December 7, 2018
In the video, D’Souza says that his leading critic is Princeton historian Kevin Kruse, and that he’d be more than willing to debate him. D’Souza explains that he offered to debate Kruse at Princeton and that Kruse refused the offer, because debate is “not the proper format” for addressing the issues.
Dean Cain thought a debate was a good idea:
— Dean Cain (@RealDeanCain) December 8, 2018
Kevin Kruse thought it was a bad idea, and responded by personally attacking Cain and D’Souza, as well as raising all sorts of arguments we associate with the climate change debate, most notable of which are the fact that D’Souza’s scholarship is the equivalent of “Holocaust denial” and that “the facts are settled.” But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me begin at the begin with Kruse’s tweet in response to Cain’s delight in the thought of a good debate: [Read more…]
Taking a hard look at the American Left’s fascism (its silencing speech, antisemitism, and moral depravity), with room for some fun and uplifting news too.
The Flynn sentencing memo shows collusion. No, I haven’t gone crazy. Instead, I agree with Joel Pollak, who says the memo highlights that the real collusion, which took place between the media, the Deep State, and the Obama administration:
In fact, the most explosive piece of information in the sentencing document is not about collusion with Russians, but about the collusion between the media, the intelligence services, and the outgoing members of the Obama administration.
The document begins its recitation of Flynn’s offenses by citing information that had appeared in the Washington Post from a leaked, classified surveillance transcript in which Flynn’s name had been “unmasked”:
Days prior to the FBI’s interview of the defendant, the Washington Post had published a story alleging that he had spoken with Russia’s ambassador to the United States on December 29, 2016, the day the United States announced sanctions and other measures against Russia in response to that government’s actions intended to interfere with the 2016 election (collectively, “sanctions”). See David Ignatius, Why did Obama Dawdle on Russia’s hacking?, WASH. POST (Jan. 12, 2017).
That information, the document suggests, led the FBI to interview Flynn on Jan. 24, 2017 — the conversation in which he did not (according to Comey) lie to them, but which landed him in trouble.
The government had the surveillance transcripts, and it knew what Flynn had told the Russian ambassador. But the Post‘s intervention was crucial in setting the trap in which to ensnare Flynn and turn him into a government witness.
Mueller’s sentencing document does not mention the fact that the information published in the Post was illegally leaked to the press by the intelligence services. And the reason that happened was that the outgoing Obama administration changed the rules on the sharing of classified surveillance among government agencies, weakening privacy protections, probably intending that such information be more difficult to keep secret, and easier to leak.
Moreover, someone in the Obama administration — we do not yet know who, though it had to be someone senior — “unmasked” Flynn’s name to make sure he was exposed.
So while we do not yet know Mueller’s next moves, what the Flynn sentencing document reinforces is the that the Russia collusion investigation was tainted from the start by a crime committed against Flynn himself — with the collusion of the media, the deep state, and Obama’s loyalists.
Read the whole thing here.
Meanwhile, Benjamin Weingarten reminds us, again, that while Inspector Bob “Javert” Mueller took Flynn down for unintentionally lying about something he’d forgotten, which the FBI knew because of illegally unmasking, people guilty of massive, intentional perjury go completely free. After detailing how Clapper blatantly lied to Congress with no repercussions, as compared to the full-bore attack against Flynn, Weingarten discusses D.C. perjury: [Read more…]
At Stanford, another woman who refused to take responsibility for her own self-destructive acts cried rape and is determined to destroy a man’s life.
Rape, real rape, is a terrible crime. It’s a violent assault against a person’s bodily integrity that attacks the very core of their being. To the extent that women are the most common victims (outside of prisons), it’s a ferociously misogynistic display of the worst masculine brute force.
True rape is an act that deserves to be treated with the utmost seriousness in the criminal law system. I’m not an advocate of the death penalty for it, but I support long prison sentences (unlike the delicate hand slaps Nordic countries are meting out to their new Muslim overlords when the latter practice their culturally sanctioned rape against the dhimmi women in their new caliphates).
Well I am ferociously opposed to real rape — the forcible sexual penetration of another human being — I am equally ferociously opposed to fake cries of rape. Long-time readers know that I was absolutely furious over the Brock Turner matter: older woman goes to frat party, gets black-out drunk, makes out with an equally drunk younger man, he’s later caught rutting over her unconscious body (which may have been clothed in the relevant places), and his life is destroyed.
Both Turner and the woman were stupid, stupid, stupid to get that drunk, but to the extent there’s no evidence one way or another whether she consented, and it’s obvious he was every bit as incapacitated as she was, it’s outrageous that she gets sympathy and he gets ruined. The fact that this pathetic modern women “feels” like a victim is of infinitely less consequence than the complete wipe-out of Turner’s life.
The president of Macalester College’s free speech manifesto simply reinforces the determination to preserve the campus’ Leftist intellectual monoculture.
At PJ Media, you can read about a lawsuit that a free speech organization has launched against the University of Michigan (which is a public university). As I read it, Michigan’s rule is that all campus speech is judged by its subjective effect on the most sensitive flower on campus — and we all know that those sensitive flowers are invariably hard Leftists:
As the lawsuit says, the university has created an “elaborate investigatory and disciplinary apparatus to suppress and punish speech other students deem ‘demeaning,’ ‘bothersome,’ or ‘hurtful’.” Yes, really: The student disciplinary code defines “harassment” as any “unwanted negative attention perceived as intimidating, demeaning, or bothersome to an individual” (emphasis added).
In other words, as the complaint says, “the most sensitive student on campus effectively dictates the terms under which others may speak.” Under this absurd but dangerous policy, a student expressing his positive opinion about Donald Trump could be considered “bothersome” to the many (or any of the) liberal students on campus.
It’s not better at private universities — except that they think they’re insulated from lawsuits because they’re private. Exhibit A is the the Macalester alumni magazine that I spirited away from my friend once I saw how the Macalester president, Brian Rosenberg, addressed the free speech issue. What’s fascinating is that Rosenberg pays lip service to the notion of free speech, only to make it clear that he will ban anyone who offends a student or promotes non-Progressive ideas.
To reach this end, Rosenberg establishes, repeatedly, that Macalester is a private campus, giving him a fair amount of leeway in making decisions about acceptable speech:
The nature of the question is different for public and private college campuses. Most public campuses are subject to the rules that govern public property and are therefore bound to a very expansive understanding of free speech. Private colleges are private property and have more latitude to establish, should they so choose, narrower limits on free speech. Put simply, a person’s free speech rights do not extend to the right to post a sign on the lawn of your home.
I agree that private colleges are subject to different speech constraints — and I suggest that, to make entirely clear Macalester’s status as a private college, Macalester should return any public monies it receives in whatever forum it receives them (student financial aid, department grants, etc.). I can’t find the numbers, but I suspect they’re significant.
Because Macalester is private, says Rosenberg, the only real constraint is “What is most likely to create an environment conducive to teaching and learning?” You won’t be surprised to learn that after several paragraphs about valuing free speech, and not allowing people to be too sensitive, he gets down to the nitty-gritty, which is that people are allowed to be as sensitive as they want, and he’ll protect them: [Read more…]
A college student’s essay about ethnic food in America is a depressing window into the fact that American colleges don’t educate, they “un-educate.”
Several hours ago, I sat down to write a post about religion and culture. I got as far as picking a title for my post when I got a text from one of my Little Bookworms. Could I please help edit an essay for his food and culture class at college? Of course I can help edit. My post will have to wait.
Ninety minutes later, I’d finished editing the essay and gotten material for the post I’m writing now, the one about the way in which American colleges “un-educate” America’s youth.
The start of the “un-educating” process that occurs at American colleges is what I call “the ruination of writing.” When Little Bookworm left my house, I’d trained him to have a tight writing style that avoided excessive passive voice and blowsy, meaningless throat-clearing and fillers. A year and a half into a liberal arts degree, my Little Bookworm’s writing has degraded horribly. Think of his writing as a really disappointing mug of beer: It’s all foam. Search as you will, there’s no beer hiding underneath. What showed up on my screen was a mess of passive voice, throat-clearing, cant, meaningless fillers, repetition, and unnecessary “big” words (used incorrectly). His essay overflowed with academic foam, a meaningless froth of ugly, misshapen words and phrases all intended to hide a factual and intellectual vacuum.
I don’t blame Little Bookworm for the vacuum either. He’s a diligent student and, I happen to know, started researching this project months ago. The topic, of course, is typical for academia: Ethnic food and its role in denoting status within the culture. Little Bookworm’s bibliography is three pages long and he included lots of quotations and citations to facts. Or, rather, citations to “facts.”
Those “facts” are what really broke me as an editor. I didn’t collapse weeping in front of the screen, but a small part of me wanted to. It’s quite obvious that the “learned” academics who managed to get themselves published on the topic of food and American culture are singularly uninformed. They think they know their subject in-and-out, but they actually operate in a world of unknown unknowns. They are so bereft of any wider knowledge that they’re incapable of drawing proper conclusions about anything at all.
Reading my child’s essay summarizing these experts reminded me that many American colleges, especially smaller ones with fewer faculty members, no longer have either breadth requirements or survey classes. This has resulted in entirely “reductive” education, one that sees professors teach and students learn less and less about a great deal of nothing. A history student no longer spends the first two years in college studying the breadth of Western history, from the Ancients through WWI. (Back in my day, modern history always stopped with WWI.) Now, the students can only learn a professor’s area of expertise — and that area is very, very small.
The made-up example I like to throw around is the professor whose PhD thesis was about button-making in early 19th Century northern New Hampshire. That professor’s classes will be “Sexism and button-making in early 19th Century northern New Hampshire;” “Racism and button-making in early 19th Century northern New Hampshire;” and “Gender hatred and button-making in early 19th Century northern New Hampshire.”
An academic article calling Christ a queer, pedophile drag queen reveals that modern academics know nothing about anything — and then teach it to our kids.
I finally got around to reading the article about Holy Cross College professor Tat-Siong Benny Liew, who has some interesting ideas about Jesus Christ (whose resurrection Christians around the world celebrate today). Before getting to Liew’s theories, you need to know that he’s not just any professor who’s randomly dabbling in religious analysis. Instead, he’s someone with rigorous training and expertise in Christian religious studies:
Professor Tat-siong Benny Liew received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Olivet Nazarene University and completed his doctorate at Vanderbilt University. Prior to his appointment at Holy Cross, Professor Liew had been Professor of New Testament at the Pacific School of Theology, and before that taught at Chicago Theological Seminary. According to the Department of Religious Studies webpage, his fields of specialty include “synoptic gospels, gospel of John, cultural and racial interpretations and receptions of the Bible, apocalypticism, and Asian American history and literature.” [Footnotes omitted.]
Those are some serious academic chops. Clearly, if Liew opines about Christianity, we should give him deference, right? Welllllll . . . maybe not.
The above-linked, much-shared article, exposes the theories Liew has been promoting in academic publications. For Liew, identifying Christ as a Jew, a rabbi, a profound moralist, and (if you’re Christian) the Son of God and Man’s savior, is old hat. It’s time for some new thinking about Christ:
The 2004 article “Mistaken Identities but Model Faith: Rereading the Centurion, the Chap, and the Christ in Matthew 8:5-13,” provides a representative example. Professor Liew and his co-author, Theodore Jennings, argue that Matthew 8:5-13, the story of the centurion who goes to Jesus to ask for healing for his servant, ought to be interpreted in terms of a sexual relationship. Matthew’s account, runs the argument, does not concern a centurion and his servant, but a centurion and his lover/slave. “The centurion’s rhetoric about not being ‘worthy’ of a house visit by Jesus (8:8) may be the centurion’s way of avoiding an anticipated ‘usurpation’ of his current boylove on the part of his new patron [Jesus],” they assert. Furthermore, “The way Matthew’s Jesus seems to affirm the centurion’s pederastic relationship with his παῖς, we contend, may also be consistent with Matthew’s affirmation of many sexual dissidents in her Gospel.” [Footnote omitted.]
Yes, says Liew, Christ is a gay pederast. But wait, folks, there’s more!
. . . . Professor Liew explains that he believes Christ could be considered a “drag king” or cross-dresser. “If one follows the trajectory of the Wisdom/Word or Sophia/Jesus (con)figuration, what we have in John’s Jesus is not only a “king of Israel” (1:49; 12:13– 15) or “king of the Ioudaioi” (18:33, 39; 19:3, 14– 15, 19– 22), but also a drag king (6:15; 18:37; 19:12),” he claims. He later argues that “[Christ] ends up appearing as a drag-kingly bride in his passion.” [Footnotes omitted.]
Gay pedophile cross-dressing Christ! Appearing soon at a sex show near you!!!
But why stop with that, if you’re Liew? In today’s LGBTQRSTUV etc. world, there are many more labels that can be attached to Christianity’s savior: [Read more…]
Meeting representatives of Berkeley’s College Republicans in the Trump era, you learn that courage is not limited to men in uniform on foreign battlefields.
In 1964, the Free Speech Movement came to the University of California, Berkeley. It began as a protest against Berkeley’s extremely strict rules regarding political speech. Wikipedia has a good rundown of those rules:
In 1958, activist students organized SLATE, a campus political party meaning a “slate” of candidates running on the same level – a same “slate.” The students created SLATE to promote the right of student groups to support off-campus issues. In the fall of 1964, student activists, some of whom had traveled with the Freedom Riders and worked to register African American voters in Mississippi in the Freedom Summer project, set up information tables on campus and were soliciting donations for causes connected to the Civil Rights Movement. According to existing rules at the time, fundraising for political parties was limited exclusively to the Democratic and Republican school clubs. There was also a mandatory “loyalty oath” required of faculty, which had led to dismissals and ongoing controversy over academic freedom. Sol Stern, a former radical who took part in the Free Speech Movement, stated in a 2014 City Journal article that the group viewed the United States to be both racist and imperialistic and that the main intent after lifting Berkeley’s loyalty oath was to build on the legacy of C Wright Mills and weaken the Cold War consensus by promoting the ideas of the Cuban Revolution.
On September 14, 1964, Dean Katherine Towle announced that existing University regulations prohibiting advocacy of political causes or candidates, outside political speakers, recruitment of members, and fundraising by student organizations at the intersection of Bancroft and Telegraph Avenues would be “strictly enforced.” (This strip was until then thought to be city property, not campus property.) (Hyperlinks omitted.)
By October 1964, the matter came to a head when police arrested a former student for setting up a political table on campus and students began a mass protest. Again, from Wikipedia:
On October 1, 1964, former graduate student Jack Weinberg was sitting at the CORE table. He refused to show his identification to the campus police and was arrested. There was a spontaneous movement of students to surround the police car in which he was to be transported. The police car remained there for 32 hours, all while Weinberg was inside it. At one point, there may have been 3,000 students around the car. The car was used as a speaker’s podium and a continuous public discussion was held which continued until the charges against Weinberg were dropped.
On December 2, between 1,500 and 4,000 students went into Sproul Hall as a last resort in order to re-open negotiations with the administration on the subject of restrictions on political speech and action on campus. Among other grievances was the fact that four of their leaders were being singled out for punishment. The demonstration was orderly; students studied, watched movies, and sang folk songs. Joan Baez was there to lead in the singing, as well as lend moral support. “Freedom classes” were held by teaching assistants on one floor, and a special Channukah service took place in the main lobby.
As it did often during the 1960s (and continues to do today), the campus administration backed down before the students’ wrath. What made the free speech movement different from all the other student demands over the decades since then is that, in 1965, the students had a valid point: Academic institutions, especially those that accept government money, cannot shut out the First Amendment.
Sadly, this righteous movement quickly became a Leftist cause — which is ironic, really, given how deeply opposed the Left is to free speech. The Leftists channeled that student energy into anti-war demonstrations and the usual Marxist pap. It also took the genuine civil rights concerns about the way blacks were treated in the United States and morphed it into all of the ills bedeviling race relations today, including support for militant black nationalist movements such as the Black Panthers (which reappeared in 2015 as the Black Lives Matter movement). (For more on the way the Left manipulated well-intentioned and true Civil Rights activism, especially in and around Berkeley, I recommend David Horowitz’s Radical Son: A Journey Through Our Times from Left to Right.)
Still, despite its sad Marxist decline, Berkeley continued for decades — indeed, right up until 2017 — to be associated with free speech. When I was a student there in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the campus definitely tilted Left (as evidenced by students celebrating the attempted assassination on Reagan in 1981), but you could still voice ideas inconsistent with McGovernite Democratic principles.
My, how Berkeley has changed. [Read more…]
UC Davis is a microcosm, demonstrating how the Proggie “diversity” racket discriminates against people based upon their race, sex, and sexual orientation.
For the past many months, I’ve been working with my son on college applications. He is a decent student with good test scores and a somewhat interesting back story. Like many of his sex, he plans to major in a STEM subject. And when I say “of his sex” I mean it — in this gender fluid world, he’s a genetic male who knows he’s male and who likes girls.
In normal times, my son would have been a shoo-in for a pretty broad spectrum of American colleges, especially the University of California system, which California taxpayers fund and, once-upon-a-time, was meant to give priority to California residents. We do not live in normal times, though.
My son’s experience with UC Davis provides an interesting insight into just how bad things are for straight white males in America. Davis has been on my radar for decades. Back in the early 1970s, my sister’s high school boyfriend went there (ending forever their young romance) and loved it so much that he never left. Tim and his wife met there, got married there, and have since worked and raised their family in the town of Davis, outside of Sacramento.
In the decades forty years after Tim’s experience (ending around 2004), I’d frequently speak to students who attended, or who had just graduated from, UC Davis and they all had the same thing to say: They loved it. They liked the academic experience, they liked the social experience, and they liked Davis’s small-town feel, with the added perk that they could as easily travel to cosmopolitan San Francisco as to the majestic Sierras. It seemed to avoid the Leftist insanity at places such as UC Santa Cruz or UC Berkeley, the antisemitism of UC Riverside, and the economic elitism of UCLA. I always hoped that one or both of my kids would go there.
My older child had no interest in going there and is happy at an unnamed school my readers know as OELAC — the Obscenely Expensive Liberal Arts College. (You can read my posts on the subject here, here, here, and here.)
My son, though, was interested in UC Davis. He applied knowing that his GPA and test scores exceeded the averages of those admitted to UC Davis and, as I said, he has an interesting back story. He felt he had a reasonable chance of getting in.
As was the case with every single college to which he applied, my son had to write several essays as part of the application process. A significant number are aimed at eliciting from the student his or her place in the victim identity hierarchy. Here are some examples of questions that explicitly or implicitly ask students to describe themselves as members of a victim class. (My knee-jerk response to each question was “I was born a poor black child….”) [Read more…]
Am I overreacting to think that BYU’s online government class slipped in a gratuitous, classically antisemitic trope about Jews controlling foreign policy?
I’ve written before about BYU’s online high school government class and, frankly, didn’t have much nice to say about it. It’s poorly written, poorly structured, and poorly informed. Thinking about it, that probably makes it the equivalent of an average high school government class.
Today, though, while keeping my Bookworm company, I read language that struck me not just as below average but as wrong. Really wrong.
You guys are my reality checkers. Does the language I’ve highlighted in the following passage from the course’s section on religious diversity constitute important information, random information, or the unnecessary insertion of a classic antisemitic trope?
The so-called “Black Church” (churches comprised primarily of African Americans) has contributed significantly not only to the religious and cultural richness of the United States, but it has also played a central role in the political sphere. Numerous black religious leaders, including the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., have been and continue to be hugely important in numerous civil rights and public policy causes. Meanwhile, Jewish Americans have had significant influence on the United States’ policies in the Middle East, and millions of other religious and nonreligious Americans influence politics and public policy every day in elective office, through participation in the political process and through civic activities in their neighborhoods and communities.
Here’s my take: Jews make up only 2% of the American population. To the extent there used to be unanimous support for Israel across both political parties, that wasn’t driven by this 2%. Instead, it came from (a) anticommunism during the Cold War, because Israel sided with America against the Soviet Union, which backed the Arab states; (b) respect for a beleaguered liberal democracy in a sea of totalitarian theocracies and thugocracies; and (c) an American prophetic Christian belief that Israel is the Jewish land and Jews need to return to that land to initiate the Second Coming. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that America’s conservative Christian community currently loves Israel more and fears Islam more than America’s predominantly Progressive Jewish community does.
My view is that ti’s antisemites, such as Walt and Mearsheimer, who argue that a cabal of evil Jews is directing America’s Middle Eastern foreign policy. For BYU to slip in what I see as a gratuitous remark about Jewish control over foreign policy is a bow to the antisemitic world of Walt and Mearsheimer, and all the others who trail in their wake.
What’s your take? Again, a reality check is always welcome. I’m willing to concede that I’m hypersensitive, but it seems to me that BYU is either careless or worse.
UPDATE: I’m getting a lot of different and interesting opinions — thank you! I should say here something that I should have said in the first place: I have no hostility to Mormons, a group of people I greatly respect. While their faith doesn’t attract me, they live honorable and patriotic lives and that’s always going to appeal to me.
I am, however, deeply suspicious of academics. After all, we know that academia trumps values. That’s why Jesuit colleges encourage abortion and Brandeis supports antisemitic academics. One of the hardest Left students I knew in law school was a BYU grad (he’d followed a girl there). Thus, even though BYU is mostly Mormon and in Utah, that doesn’t necessarily mean anything when measured against the fact that it’s an American university.
My main problem was that the statement seemed utterly out of place. One can definitely praise (or damn) Jews for their impact on American culture (movies, songs, television), but their control over America’s foreign policy strikes me as less obvious. Random statements always seem a bit suspicious.
Incidentally, in the spirit of equality, let me point you to an article in the Forward, a hard Left Jewish online magazine, saying that the NRA is antisemitic. The article basically says that Wayne LaPierre gave a speech attacking Leftists for undermining traditional American institutions.
To the article’s author, the speech’s topic, in and of itself, is an antisemitic dog whistle. I strongly disagree. Leftists of all races, nations of origin, and faiths are proudly attacking America’s institutions — they hate capitalism and the free market, they hate the Second Amendment and other constitutional rights, and they use American institutions (Hollywood, the media, academia, etc.) to spread that hate. In other words, they’re Marxists and they hate what America stands for. That’s not a Jewish thing; that’s a Marxist thing.
Ironically, Marxists throughout the 20th and into the 21st century have been fanatically antisemitic, ever since Marx, a self-hating first generation Jewish convert tied together Jews and capitalism. That’s why socialist nations such as Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia aggressively slaughtered Jews. And that’s why the harder Left a college campus is, the more likely it is to support the BDS movement and otherwise be hostile to Jews. So, no, there is no dog whistle there.
The article also points out that LaPierre singled out Jews in his speech: Soros, Schumer, and Steyer, among others. Yes, they’re all genetically Jewish, and Schumer and Steyer associate themselves with the Jewish community. First and foremost they’re all hardcore Leftists.
Soros is dismissive of his Jewish past, Schumer is the leader of the Senate Democrats, and Steyer has noisily devoted himself to advocating Leftist causes. That is, yes, they are Jewish, but their malevolence towards American institutions is unrelated to being Jews (and certainly none of them are truly religious).
The people LaPierre names are what Evan Sayet calls “plopping” Jews — they plopped out of a Jewish woman’s body and either abandoned Judaism entirely or opted for Reform Judaism, which is more of a social thing, with a form of worship indistinguishable from an amalgam of hard-Left Unitarianism and the Democrat Party platform. I suspect that were LaPierre to speak of Bibi Netanyahu, he’d have nice things to say.