That intellectual thugs now rule the hallways of academe and threaten our civil liberties was perhaps nowhere more dramatically illustrated than in the Duke lacrosse rape case two years ago. The humanities professors who persecuted Duke lacrosse players had acquired their jobs through force — through protests and demands that began in the 1960s. By the 1980s, Duke University had succeeded in filling its ranks with professors of dubious credentials, but who fit the new gender, race, and left-wing ideological categories. These professors began their work in indoctrinating their charges towards a Marxist view by castigating such foundational notions as truth, universal rights, rule of law, and due process into a category of “patriarchal white hegemony.” As on campuses across the country, anyone who disagrees is kept out of the club of the tenured.
“Critical race theory” is one label for such an anti-Western notion of justice; its ideas seep into the humanities, including my field, English. Its promulgators, like Derrick Bell, insist that long-held beliefs that underpin our legal system be replaced by a “justice” that takes into account past and current racial discrimination — however subjectively determined it may be. In short, critical race theorists believe that standards of justice should vary from group to group and situation to situation.
The lacrosse players’ presumed guilt, based on their white race, their male gender, and their class, followed lock-step. It was this view that rationalized the persecution of the innocent lacrosse players inside the classroom and spurred on violent mobs who threatened their safety.
As an example of how accepted such a view is in the insular academy, none of the group of 88 faculty members that signed a published statement condemning the lacrosse players within days after the false accusation was made has been punished. Nor have they been punished for clearly violating university policies regarding faculty conduct toward students. In fact, many of them, like Houston Baker, have been invited to endowed chairs at other universities. Duke President Richard Brodhead, who presided over the travesty of justice and suggested that the players needed to be “proven innocent,” recently received a 15% raise.