Hope Or Defeat?

Elliot Kaufman, writing on NRO, has a story of a ray of hope at a university.  Do read the whole thing and check out the video that it links to.  A cynic might conclude that the cloud of the mob means that hope is forlorn at our universities despite a few brave folks.

The story: The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington describes itself as, “A progressive, public liberal arts and sciences college.”  It has a day of absence each year on April 12 when students and faculty of color meet off campus.  It also has a day of presence but that is not part of this story.  This year, allegedly because of the recent election, folks wanted reverse the situation and evict all the whites from the campus.  Elliot reports what happened first:

One liberal biology professor, Bret Weinstein, took issue with this change. Weinstein wrote a powerful e-mail to his colleagues on March 15. Deeply respectful and generous in tone, he made a simple point: There is a huge difference between a group or coalition deciding to voluntarily absent themselves from a shared space in order to highlight their vital and underappreciated roles . . . and a group or coalition encouraging another group to go away. The first is a forceful call to consciousness which is, of course, crippling to the logic of oppression. The second is a show of force, and an act of oppression in and of itself. You may take this letter as a formal protest of this year’s structure, and you may assume I will be on campus on the Day of Absence.

You will not be surprised how these folks reacted to the professor.  Elliot says:

Students occupied and barricaded the campus library, and accosted Weinstein outside his classroom. As you can see in this video, the mob surrounded him, yelled at him, swore at him, and openly admitted they did not want to allow him to respond. In the video, Weinstein nobly seeks to engage in “dialectic” with the student protesters, hoping to use “disagreement to discover the truth.” For a professor of biology, this is rather impressive stuff. But he misjudges the mob. “We don’t care what terms you want to speak on,” one student explains to supportive cheers. “This is not about you. We are not speaking on terms — on terms of white privilege. This is not a discussion. You have lost that one.”

Elliot concludes by asking what the students, faculty, and administration will do about this injustice.  He reports that two students stood with the faculty member.  There is no report of the faculty or administration supporting him.  Eugene Volokh reports that an administrator confirmed that it would be safer for the professor to stay off campus.

Professor Weinstein and the two students are a small ray of sunshine.  The inaction of the faculty and the administration in response to mob violence against free speech and especially reasoned speech are an enormous cloud of gloom.  Universities exist for reasoned speech.  We know exactly why universities are currently held in such low regard.


Faculty Fail Again

From Tyler O’Neil at PJ Media discussing Mike Pence’s graduation speech at the University of Notre Dame:

But just as Pence began speaking, about 150 people, half students and half faculty members, walked out of the speech. [italics in original]

Sidebar: We could not find confirmation of the faculty walk out at commencement.  We did find this:

More than 1,700 University of Notre Dame alumni, faculty and staff had also signed an open letter protesting Pence’s commencement speech gig on similar grounds, claiming the veep “actively opposes this sense of human solidarity and concern for the common good.”

That’s enough to bring the faculty to account.  End Sidebar

Students can be excused for behaving badly with regards to freedom of speech.  They are still learning.  Faculty do not have an excuse.  This kind of faculty behavior hurts all universities.  It is a perplexing problem because faculty, like everyone else, have and deserve freedom of speech.  Unfortunately, they keep using it to identify themselves as nasty, intolerant, and committed to opposing freedom of speech.  It is not a platform to encourage university funding.

Not A Binary Choice

Recently we saw a magazine headline that went something like: Is Trump A Plutocrat Or Fascist?  An Internet search reveals that the magazine is Harper’s. You have to subscribe to see it.  We knew that it wasn’t worth a look given the title.  This is not a binary choice like The Donald or Herself.  We went to Wikipedia to see what choice we were being given.  We found this on plutocracy (nope, it is not being ruled by beings from Pluto):

Plutocracy is a form of oligarchy and defines a society ruled or controlled by the small minority of the wealthiest citizens. The first known use of the term was in 1652. Unlike systems such as democracycapitalismsocialism or anarchism, plutocracy is not rooted in an established political philosophy. The concept of plutocracy may be advocated by the wealthy classes of a society in an indirect or surreptitious fashion, though the term itself is almost always used in a pejorative sense.  [Emphasis added, footnotes and pronunciation deleted]

And this on fascism:

Fascism is a form of radical authoritarian nationalism, characterized by dictatorial power, forcible suppression of opposition, and control of industry and commerce ….  the term is instead now usually used pejoratively by political opponents.  [Emphasis added, footnotes and pronunciation deleted]

In fact, Wikipedia has an entry on fascist as an insult with a great quote by George Orwell in footnote one.  So the magazine has tried to create a binary choice on which way to insult The Donald.  There are lots of telling things to say about The Donald.  One is that he is not a political philosopher and that means that he is neither a fascist or plutocrat.  We suggest that folks find better ways to insult him.


It Is Not North Korea But …

A beautiful quote from Jay Nordlinger yesterday:

The morning after my talk at the Athenaeum, I wake up to a long letter from a student, sent in the wee hours. This is a heartrending and infuriating letter. He tells what it’s like to be a conservative on campus: constantly afraid, or constantly put down. It’s especially hard to be a “person of color” when you’re not toeing the line.

Yup, we are glad to be retired.  Their are people that are much more oppressed than conservatives on campus as the title notes.  What is most disappointing is the pressure on “folks of color” to keep them in line with the folks stamping “identities” for other folks.  As Jay notes, if Claremont, the school where he was, has become intolerant can you imagine what is happening elsewhere?


Went to see Cabaret with the Lady deGloves in the 77 square miles.  It is an unhappy and conservative show (pro-freedom and pro-life).  Jonah goes to great detail on our simple question: How could the National Socialist Party-the Nazis- be conservative or even right wing?  We would like to discuss Fraulein Schneider as a timeless character and the problem of libertarianism compared to conservatism.

Cabaret demonstrates the problem of libertarianism. Pre-Nazi Berlin is full of all sorts of live and let live folks.  Herr Schultz, the sunny Jew, speaks for all of them when he says (approximately), “They are Germans and I’m a German.  What is the worst that could happen?”  There is one big problem that Cabaret points out when the Nazis kill all of them.  Conservatism’s less sunny outlook, and part of the reason that Cabaret is a conservative film, makes them better prepared for what other folks will do.

Fraulein Schneider is a person we have seen many times.  She had been through WWI, the hyperinflation and now the rise of the Nazis.  She is not going to marry Herr Schultz because that would be taking a risk and pessimists don’t take risks.  We saw these characteristics in folks our age in post-Communistic Poland.  These folks were not nearly as optimistic as the younger generation.  They hated the Russians and had become use to behavior under Communism.  The Katyn massacre was still a hot topic for them.    They were all versions of Fraulein Schneider.  They had not suffered the number of disappointments that the Fraulein had but they had concerns.  The younger generation had a completely different outlook that was untainted by Communism.  We are disappointed when Fraulein Schneider says no to Herr Schultz but we expect it and understand why.

A Tale Of Two Schools

It was the best of times and the worst of times at two universities.  The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse (UWL) and the University of St. Thomas are in the news today and the juxtaposition is interesting.  UWL fired an employee and then, under legal action, has offered her the job back.  According to the Fox 9 headline, the St. Thomas student body president apologizes for anti-Isreal tweets.  Others call the tweets anti-semitic.  Here is the full text (excluding the salutation) of the Student Body President’s statement.  See if you can find the apology.

“I am writing this message in acknowledgement that we are in a climate that’s seeing a great rise in anti-Semitism, islamophobia, xenophobia, homophobia, hate crimes, and other various forms of oppression. This stuff is real. It is a critical time for our communities and we must unite together to challenge bigotry and racism in the world.

“For the past year or so, I have been constantly harassed by a notorious organization that conducted a smear campaign against me by digging through my social media accounts and stating that I had made offensive comments. Yesterday, another organization published an article with the intent to discredit me and my reputation using the same methods. I believe the attacks levied against me by both organizations are Islamophobic. I am coming under attack for being a Muslim leader of the student government at a private Catholic institution. Growing up, I was taught by my religion to treat everyone with respect and dignity no matter where they came from or what they believed in.

“The tweets that resurfaced were from 3+ years ago and do not reflect what I meant at the time. My words were poorly chosen and shared during a period of time where I was very emotional about Israel’s politics and the loss of life in Gaza. I regret my choice of words and apologize for any impact this may have had on people reading my tweets.

“As a leader of this school, I am committed to supporting the students that I serve. If any student comes to me looking for help or support, I believe it is incumbent upon me to do everything that I can. I want members of the St. Thomas community to know that I am trying my best to look out for them and their interests.

“Now more than ever, it is critical for Muslims and Jews to unite, as we already have to combat the hate and attacks that come our way. I am in full support of the Jewish community, and am commanded by my faith to care for all people and to stand up for others who may come under attack. The Quran commands Muslims to “stand out firmly for justice…even as against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it be (against) rich or poor…” (Quran 4:135)

“I want to reassure everyone that I am committed to serving and assisting each and every single student that I represent. I also want to assure you all that I stand firmly against anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry, divisiveness, and oppression that don’t create an inclusive campus for everyone.

“As Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” I call for everyone to come together in peace and unite to fight against the injustices that happen all around the world.”

Even in the world of politics this is hard to describe as an apology.  His apology is for the impact on others.  He accuses “notorious” organizations for “smearing” him.  He plays the Islamophobia card.  He takes little responsibility, “I regret my choice of words.”  What were those words?  Scott Johnson at PowerLine gives one example:  “[Y]ahood [Jews] will get what coming for them”. Which word or words were chosen poorly in that tweet?

The President of St. Thomas, Julie Sullivan has responded by glorifying diversity and condemning hate speech.  She says nothing about free speech.  She seems to have left the decision about the Student Body President to the students.

Meanwhile, the details of the UWL incident are coming out.  Here is part of the latest update from the La Crosse Tribune:

According to the initial complaint, submitted to UW-L police Sgt. Jordan Schaller on Feb. 2, Dearman reacted to a series of emails Gow sent out first in response to the January travel ban signed by President Donald Trump and one a few days later apologizing for any political tone in his comments. According to the complaint, Dearman initiated the conversation about the emails, saying Gow deserved the backlash he got. During the conversation, the student asked Dearman her opinion of the travel ban [the press loves to use this word with The Donald], to which Dearman said people should respect the president and that people “who don’t belong here” should leave.

The complaint further states that the student debated with Dearman, her direct supervisor, about the countries included on the travel ban list and Dearman spent several minutes saying immigrants don’t belong here, that she wasn’t a racist and she wasn’t trying to offend the student. The complaint said the student, who Gow said was of Asian descent, didn’t know what to say in response, so she just sat quietly until she left for class, before subsequently resigning her position.

It seems to us that there are three interesting issues in considering the two situations.

First, free speech is not encouraged at either institution.  It is clear that both schools are diversity cults where free speech is not valued while finding and eradicating hate speech is highly valued.  As these institutions try to eliminate the last vestiges of hate speech the decisions get increasingly difficult.

Second, the students know how to play the game.  The student body president accuses his “attackers” of Islamophobia.  He said he was taught to treat everyone with respect and dignity but he hadn’t leaned that lesson as of a few years ago.  The UWL student (snowflake really seems to apply here) spoke up against The Donald at first but then sat quietly, resigned, and complained.  She is identified as Asian but not religious affiliation is noted.  Her complaint got her immediate supervisor fired.

Third, there are big differences in the situations.  St. Thomas clearly has found some hate speech.  The person in question did it three or so years ago and was elected by the student body recently.  On the other hand the UWL situation is much less clear cut in terms of speech but involves a direct supervisor and subordinate (the student) as well as an overall supervisor, Chancellor Gow, and a subordinate, the employee.

These two situations point out the problems of diversity and “hating” hate speech.  It gets so confusing trying to sort out how to score all of the complaints and complainers.  For example, schools can and do discriminate against Asian students in admissions but the fact that she (is there a weight to that?  Both the student and employee are female.  Does that balance out?) is Asian allowed the Chancellor to say the comments were directed at a student of color.  Free speech is a much better rule but there needs to be a way to deal with interactions among folks.  For example, sending the employee for diversity training implies the employee would be punished for her speech.  Scoring is hard but schools need to trend away from the diversity cult and move toward free speech.



Right Here In River City

Well, it has been an interesting time here in the city on the Mississippi named after a sport.  There is action at the university:

Kimberly Dearman, a law enforcement dispatcher for the western Wisconsin university, was fired this week on multiple charges, including “conduct unbecoming a university employee,” according to her attorney, Lee Fehr.

However the same source tells us that there is a concern that the firing was caused by aversion to The Donald.  The university has reversed course based on legal advice:

UW-La Crosse Chancellor Joe Gow tells Wisconsin Watchdog that the university, on advice from University of Wisconsin System legal staff, has offered Dearman her job back.

There is action in town:

A La Crosse man admitted throwing roofing nails into driveways of residents who supported Republican candidates after someone stole his lawn sign supporting a Democratic candidate, according to La Crosse police reports.

Hat tip to Instapundit who wonders if we are a cesspit of anti-Republican hatred.  Herself did beat The Donald 51%-42% in our county.  We are intimately aware of the challenges of firing a university employee in Wisconsin.  Our fair county has it share of anti-Republican hatred but our view on our experience and the limited evidence is that we all should wait before supporting Kimberly as a conservative heroine.  On the other hand, nail-guy seems to be the real deal.  He is a leftist that lost it.