The end of days or just the end of civil discourse? With this latest event, the firing of an academic simply because he published work that the establishment academics deemed not in keeping with their liberal agenda seems to signal that end. To be honest, my less then fledging career as a writer will also be in jeopardy should this ever get published or anyone dare read it. If so, let it be so.
We are now living in a time when academics must tow the line that is established by their own kind, and enforced by their students. Yes, I said enforced by their students, for they are the ones that will be quick to protest, hasty to rally, and almost bloodthirsty to get their way; a way that was ingrained while taking non sequitur classes like gender studies or racial sensitivity classes (that are required at many institutions and have to pay for) which only serve to divide. Young people are easily influenced by righteous sounding words when they are accompanied by “research” that is often slanted and faulty, such as that of the 1619 project, but furthers an agenda.
And why would they not? Students are predisposed to see the person in the front of the room as an expert. They see themselves as empty vessels to be fulled by the all knowing professor at the front of the room. However, they are being taught by those that either lived the radical days of the 1960’s and can’t let them go, or by those that were brainwashed by the same but now fill assistant professorships or our high schools. Administrators that are in the position of hiring are just as culpable in that they hire in the most tribal way; hiring only those with like opinion rather than ensure a variety of thought on their campuses. They teach that the United States is the great villain, capitalism is the root of all evil, and the only path toward salvation is to bow at the altar of socialism, communism or secularism, for religion is truly the opiate of the masses, in their view.
So, if you do not espouse the same rhetoric that our nation is racist to the core, built upon the sins of the Enlightenment and the backs of people of color, believe that no woman can tell a lie, but that only they may roar, and that the institutions of the United States are little more than corrupt bodies that must be purged or eliminated, than you, too, shall be canceled. There is no such thing any longer as civil discourse for civility has left the building only to be replaced by discord rather than discourse. Cancelling anyone that does not tow their company line is little more than silencing the dissonance. We’ve seen that before in places where dictatorial control ruled the day. Do we not remember the dictates of Stalin, Hitler, or any of the other dictators of the twentieth century who silenced all who dared oppose them. Deviation of the proscribed mode of thought was once a death penalty. Today, we have not sunk to that level yet, but death comes in various forms. Do not deviate from the program, do not attempt your own line of thought, do not dare challenge any idea presented from the top for then you, too, shall be cancelled, lose your job, or career. Just ask the Google employee who lost his job a couple of years ago, or Bo Winegard, recently fired or cancelled for his thoughts on race and evolution.
One in their sites, Academia will then send forth their army, the pawns by which they implement their plan; the student body. And, true to form, their dutiful soldiers march to the front lines, cancelling anything that gets in their way, enacting protests, some of which turn violent, but justifying it all by saying that they are defending freedom. Those students find sympathy among their own, and defense among their leaders for that is what the children of the ‘60’s have wanted all along, to take apart the very foundation that created their being. They’ve found little right living in the West, but everything wrong, yet refuse to acknowledge their own station in life is the product of having the privilege of living here. The west has done nothing but capitulate to the temper tantrums of the 60’s child and their radical ways, resulting in what passes as academia, but is little more than proscribed programming of their agenda to a population that doesn’t know better or maybe doesn’t care.
We, in our time, are not hardened by the harsh realities of life. We find ways to imagine problems because there are few. The result is that we choose the few we have and magnify them to gargantuan size, believing them to be the Godzilla of our nation when they are little more than blips on the timetable of history. Are there problems to be solved? Yes, for perfection was never in man’s DNA, but what we face now does not rise to the level of revolution as many of the 60’s radicals would like, or should result in the dissolution of our Constitution as many of the same desire. We manufacture crises, and believe the words of people like Howard Zinn whose tome on the United States has become the Bible of American history in college classes. A slanted, pessimistic, and largely wrong view of the nation from which he sprung. Eating your own is the surest way to kill yourself. We are not hardened by the struggle of our grandparents and great grandparents who survived two world wars and a depression. We are their progeny, the ones they made things better for, but who forgot how we got here.
Academia has been the progenitor of many revolutions throughout history because intellectualism is the harbinger of ideas. Academics are the ones that teach, and teach now with impunity. To hinder such teaching is to incite calls of censorship but their teaching is little more than indoctrination of the young. Indoctrination and espousal of ideas and theories that history has judged already as failure.
“There must be academic freedom” they cry, and that cry echoes throughout the entirety of the west, and has done so since the Enlightenment. This is how the freedom to speak was enshrined in the United States Constitution. To be heard is fundamental to our beliefs. How ironic it is that now, academia is choosing to silence many that wish to be heard, and silencing them because their ideas differ from what academia now sees as the norm. They have become the problem, not the solution. To silence ideas is to preserve your position, as so many kings and queens have done in history past. Our own masters of thought are doing so using draconian methods as well as their programmed foot soldiers, their students.
Nations cannot long survive such deceit, such rotting from within. Institutions cannot survive either. The same tactic that academia is using, censorship, was tried more than once throughout history, rightly criticized by the once thoughtful left. Klemens von Metternich tried to silence universities by issuing the Carlsbad Decrees in 1819 which forbade liberal ideas from being spoken about on college campuses. Ideas such as free speech, government criticism, and fostered the removal of liberal professors. Metternich understood the programming that they could do and tried to silence them in order to preserve the traditional order, an order dominated by the noble and landed classes. He was not successful and liberal ideas such as freedom of speech, universal male suffrage, and women’s rights became the norm in time, along with abolishment of that odious of institutions, slavery. It is not a coincidence that the West was the first region in the world to outlaw such barbaric treatment of other humans, a point often forgotten.
The 1950’s in our own nation was another such event, in which Joseph McCarthy tried to root out those with communist tendencies from the government, assaulting the First Amendment in the process, essentially cancelling those that did not share his vision of what an American was. He lost that battle, and rightfully so. To deny one their guaranteed right to speech should be condemned on every level and in every place. In the end, it was McCarthy himself who was cancelled.
What is different now? The difference is academia has become McCarthy and Metternich. They are the ones that are driving the agenda, creating the programming, and dictating what will be learned almost with impunity. They are the ones that are teaching the morality principal over the practical with no place for the marriage of the two. They are the ones that are cancelling any one that does not share their beliefs, quashing discourse and programming the youth that all of it is ok. They wrap themselves in self-righteousness, slathering themselves with the oil of victimhood and imbed themselves in the First Amendment for protection, yet seek to eliminate that, too, from existence if it does not kowtow to their version of free speech, speech that is approved by them. Duplicitous is only a word, but it fits nicely here.
Tribalism is now the norm, with no hope for conversion. Those on the ideological extremes in our country are so welded to their beliefs there is no amount of convincing that will work. They are militant to the point of destruction, threatening strikes, defacing buildings, and making college campuses almost too dangerous to frequent for fear of violent confrontation. Violence is what the extremes do when logic and discourse can find no place.
Many have forgotten how to be civil, thoughtful, and really don’t seem to have an interest in doing so. Debate is a thing of the past as debate presupposes both parties are willing to change their minds upon the preponderance of the evidence. No, debate is dead as tribalism will not allow any deviation from its beliefs, for to do so will be met with fierce resistance and eventual expulsion. As a result, students, again, doing the bidding of those that taught them, protest against conservative speakers at graduation ceremonies or presentations on said campuses, the supposed bastions of free speech and learning. Those that dare think for themselves will wander about the academic desert with little hope of finding shelter. Even comedians, in many ways our political and social conscience, refuse to to appear on college campuses for the vitriol against jokes has become so toxic.
I am always asking myself how a man such as Bill Ayers, a member of the radical 60’s group, the Weather Underground, found his way into academia, and is a professor of education at the University of Illinois-Chicago, my alma mater. He still does not shy away from his beliefs, and is not remotely remorseful for his actions during the ‘60’s, but rather now has a platform by which he can indoctrinate others, all under the guise of education. For one to think that he is not furthering his agenda through his classroom is naïve. He now has a captive audience, predisposed as all students are, to absorb whatever he lays out as truth. His truth. Academia protects its own, as long as those “own” promote their radical agenda. There is no longer a search for truth in the world of academia, only a fostering of an agenda that has its roots in the radicalism of the 1960’s. It is people like him who are by proxy infecting our high schools who have become little more than satellite indoctrination centers of liberal thought.
Unless we find a way to preserve those that wish to think freely in the academic world, reign in the cancel culture and teach our students that radicalism is not the way forward, but rather measured analytical historical study to provide evidence of the efficacy of an idea, this nation will continue to slowly deteriorate into what once was rather than what could be or still is. Yes, we will truly be the echo of Rome.