“Today’s liberals have a utopian impulse but it only comes out in hints and nods. If you look for it, you won’t find it. But if you relax your eyes, like with one of those posters showing hidden spaceships, it will emerge in plain sight,” Jonah Goldberg writes in his latest G-File. “I think the current model for liberal utopianism is the college campus,” a “Potemkin existence” that’s “only possible because of a vast network of wealth-generating forces off campus and under-appreciated hard-working people on campus:”
There’s a certain kind of elite student who takes himself very, very seriously. Raised on a suite of educational TV shows and books that insist he is the most special person in the world — studies confirm that Generation Y is the most egocentric and self-regarding generation in our history — he is away from home for the first time, enjoying his first experience of freedom from his parents. Those same parents are paying for his education, which he considers his birthright. Shelter is provided for him. Janitors and maids clean up after him. Security guards protect him. Cooks shop for him and prepare his food. The health center provides him medical care and condoms aplenty. Administrators slave away at finding new ways for him to have fun in his free time. He drinks with abandon when he wants to, and the consequences of his bacchanalia are usually somewhere between mild and nonexistent. Sex is as abundant as it is varied. If he does not espouse any noticeably conservative or Christian attitudes, his every utterance in the classroom is celebrated as a “valuable perspective.” All that is demanded of him is that he pursue his interests and, perhaps, “find himself” along the way. His ethical training amounts to a prohibition on bruising the overripe self-esteem of another person, particularly a person in good standing with the Coalition of the Oppressed (blacks, Latinos, Muslims, women, gays, lesbians, transsexuals, et al.). Such offenses are dubbed hate crimes and are punished in a style perfected in Lenin’s utopia: through the politicized psychiatry known as “sensitivity training.”
But even as this sensitivity is being cultivated, the student is stuffed to the gills with cant about the corruption of “the system,” i.e., the real world just outside the gates of his educational Shangri-La. He is taught that it is brave to be “subversive” and cowardly to be “conformist.” Administrators encourage kitschy reenactments of 1960s radicalism by celebrating protest as part of a well-rounded education — so long as the students are protesting approved targets, those being the iniquities of “the system.” There is much Orwellian muchness to it all, since these play-acting protests and purportedly rebellious denunciations of the status quo are in fact the height of conformity.
“The elite college kids I have in mind are the most dependent people in the world, the beneficiaries of every kind of affluence, financial, social, even civilizational and yet they think they are independent free-agents,” Jonah adds. Read the whole thing, including the passage before the above-quoted material, on the origins of JFK and RFK’s signature phrase, “There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why . . . I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?”
No wonder the Illinois-based Evanston Now news site reports that “Neighbors said to fear ‘transient academics”:
Plans for an extended stay hotel in downtown Evanston are drawing fears from some that it will attract the wrong kind of academics as guests.
The Southeast Evanston Association, in an email message to its members, says neighbors need to assure that the establishment will carry “a hotel brand that will maintain a high quality of business, and not devolve into cheap housing for transient academics.”
Eschaton immanentizing utopian hobos armed with slide-rules are the scariest of all. (Perhaps seven years of the Big Bang Theory also put local Evanston residents off of the idea of transient academics huddling in their midst.)
Of course, any ideology that seeks to immanentize the eschaton and build the impossible — heaven on earth — has a huge religious component to it, and we’ll explore some of the zany sub-religions of leftism, right after the page break.