World Affairs Brief, March 17, 2017 Commentary and Insights on a Troubled World.
Copyright Joel Skousen. Partial quotations with attribution permitted. Cite source as Joel Skousen’s World Affairs Brief (http://www.worldaffairsbrief.com).
This Week’s Analysis:
Analysis of Trump’s Latest Compromises
Trump-Russian Banking Connection is Fake Intelligence
Trump Wants to Cut UN Funds?
Mobocracy and Higher Education
Complain Loudly About New TSA Pat Down Procedures
Dutch Vote Defeats Anti-Immigration Party
MOBOCRACY AND HIGHER EDUCATION
When I lived in Latin America for many years, I was appalled at the degree to which state universities in every Latin American country had become bastions of Marxism and revolution. Part of that was because they were granted complete autonomy. Even police could not enter to arrest revolutionaries. Naturally, universities became “safe havens” for violence.
What happened on March 2 of this year at Middlebury College in Vermont, a supposedly mild-mannered liberal arts school shows just how radicalized our left-wing universities have become. The James Martin Center has this tragic story:
On March 2, there was one of those oh-so-revealing events that makes people realize that very bad trends are at work in America, trends that are corroding the essence of civilization… The prolific author and American Enterprise Institute scholar Charles Murray [author of the famous Bell Shaped Curve] was asked to speak at Middlebury and answer questions from faculty and audience members. He is used to confrontations, but could not have imagined how vicious things would get up in the Green Mountain State.
Inside Higher Ed’s story on the event explains that college officials admonished the students prior to the talk that they could protest but not disrupt Murray’s talk, which was to be about the way white America is coming apart —the title of his latest book—along class lines. Unfortunately, that admonition did no good. “As soon as Murray took the stage,” we read, “students stood up, turned their backs to him and started various chants that were loud enough and in unison such that he could not talk over them. Chants included:
“Racist, sexist, anti-gay, Charles Murray go away!” “Your message is hatred. We cannot tolerate it.” “Who is the enemy? White supremacy!”
And then matters turned worse. Fearing that there might be a raucous, disruptive mob instead of an audience of students willing to listen and consider Murray’s arguments, school administrators had set up a contingency plan. Once it became clear that the mob had killed the lecture, they moved to another location where Murray would give his talk, which would be live-streamed to students.
Sadly, that location was soon beset by the mob, with banging on windows and pulling of fire alarms. Murray and Professor Allison Stanger, who was the moderator for the talk, tried their best to continue a rational discussion.
Finally, Murray, Professor Stanger, and a few others tried to leave campus. Here I’ll let Stanger’s account (quoted here) take over:
“What transpired felt like a scene from Homeland rather than an evening at an institution of higher learning. We confronted an angry mob as we tried to exit the building. Most of the hatred was focused on Dr. Murray, but when I took his right arm both to shield him from attack and to make sure we stayed together so I could reach the car too, that’s when the hatred turned on me. One thug grabbed me by the hair and another shoved me in a different direction. I noticed signs with expletives and my name on them.”
The mob surrounded the car, pounding on it. After a few frightening minutes, the driver, Middlebury’s vice president for communications Bill Burger, managed to get away. Their plan was to enjoy a quiet dinner together, but after arriving, Burger said that the mob had learned of their location and advised that the only safe course was to leave town immediately. (Professor Stanger realized that she was in pain and was later treated at a local hospital for a neck injury she’d suffered while trying to get into the car.)
What could have caused such unrelenting hatred among students at an expensive liberal arts college? Why do some students feel justified in demonizing, shouting down, and even physically assaulting people who are perceived as enemies? …
I mean that many people label others as either being in their tribe (consisting of people who are righteous and always correct) and the opposing tribe (consisting of people who are evil, stupid, and wrong on everything). Real scholars never impart such ideas because they know that reasonable and moral people can disagree on almost everything. They also know that the only way for civilized people to counter error is through debate; they know that people cannot be persuaded with violence.
Unfortunately, intellectual tribalism is spreading like the Black Death among so-called progressives. Anyone who disagrees with progressive policies is likely to be labeled an enemy, much as Karl Marx labeled everyone who rejected his beliefs a “class enemy.” The more influential such a person is, the more vehement the attacks and hatred against him. Murray, for example, is called a “racist” and “white supremacist” even though he is neither. …
Professor Michael Munger of Duke University recently commented on this disturbing phenomenon after he discovered a flier on campus. The flier, he wrote, “encouraged students to ‘bash the fash!’ meaning physically assault fascists. The definition of ‘fascist,’ conveniently, appears to be anyone who disagrees with the smothering leftist orthodoxy that the flier-istas embrace.” Just smear your opponents with a nasty name and it’s easy to whip up hatred and violence. [Murray’s response is here, in which he adds even more detail.]
To be frank, US universities in the middle to late twentieth century have always been bastions of socialism and Marxism. In fact, you cannot get a job as a Political Science professor at American Universities unless you have been published by the overtly Marxist American Political Science Association.
But what happened at Berkley and then at Middlebury is indicative of not just a growing incivility and intolerance from those who preach that Christians and conservatives must tolerate all they abhor, but an outright tendency toward hatred and violence. Apparently, political correctness is only a tool for silencing the Right. When Christian and/or conservative voices get through the growing censorship, they must be shouted down and met with violence. Worse than hypocritical, the Left doesn’t even seem to be bothered by their outrageous conduct.