Now is the time when we juxtapose, Small Dead Animals-style:
In all of these places, my experience has been that when it suits the ends of power, ideology can be invoked to prove that 2+2 = 5, or 3, or any other number that suits the state, and to demand that all embrace the madness. It is a truly frightening thing to interview a top-ranked nuclear scientist, or a distinguished brain surgeon, or a concert pianist, as I did in China under the sway of Mao, and to hear them, as ideological outcasts, justify with utter conviction the brutalities inflicted on them by their ideology-crazed persecutors — crushed fingers, smashed heads, broken marriages, vilification by their own families.
Elsewhere, the lunacy was of an order that invited a response of laughing mockery, if that were not potentially fatal to the system’s loyalists, or those pretending to be so. In North Korea, while Kim Il-sung was still alive, there was a brand new, high-tech hospital built in his name in Pyongyang, floor after floor laden with tens of millions of dollars in the latest American, Swiss and German equipment, but no patients to be seen. And why not? “As we have explained,” the most senior comrade-physician responded, “the Korean people’s great leader Comrade Kim Il-sung has taken such care for the health of his beloved people that none of his people gets sick.”
Not ever? “No, never,” was the reply.
—“The Things I Carried Back,” John F. Burns, the New York Times, April 11th, 2015.
The Columbia University student being called a rapist by members of the media and a woman who has been carrying her mattress around for performance art is suing.
Paul Nungesser was accused by fellow Columbia student Emma Sulkowicz of brutally beating and raping her during a sexual encounter he insists was consensual. Despite a police investigation that failed to charge Nungesser and the university finding him “not responsible,” Sulkowicz and her enablers — including Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, have continued to harass Nungesser by calling him a “rapist.”
Now, Nungesser is suing his university, its president and trustees and the visual arts professor that allowed the mattress project to go forward.
—“Columbia student defamed by mattress girl is suing,”Ashe Schow, the Washington Examiner, yesterday.
Left-leaning student activists at Oberlin College hung posters at the Christina Hoff Sommers event earlier this week that identified the students involved in bringing the individualist-feminist and AEI scholar to campus.
Each poster gave the name of a specific student-member of the Oberlin College Republicans and Libertarians and accused that person of perpetuating rape culture.
Images of the posters were sent to Reason via a source who asked not to be named for fear of retaliation. The last names of the students identified by the posters were blurred before Reason received them.
According to the source, a group of approximately 10 student-activists were behind the posters.
They have the right to denounce their fellow students as perpetuators of rape culture, I suppose, though the fact that some students would smear others with this charge for merely bringing a speaker to campus is disappointing. Do students no longer recognize that the entire point of challenge is to grapple with new and different ways of thinking about the world?
—“Oberlin Activists Posted Creepy Messages Accusing Specific Students of Perpetuating Rape Culture: Their crime? Bringing Christina Hoff Sommers to campus,” Robby Soave, Reason, April 23rd.
Like my RedState colleague Bryan Pruitt, I feel sorry for these guys: “The gay New York City hoteliers who recently played host to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) have their own controversy to deal with: Activists are calling for the boycott of their properties, including a gay hotel and establishments on Fire Island.” Essentially, Ian Reisner and Mati Weiderpass had a reception where they had Ted Cruz speak to a group on foreign policy, Israel (particularly noting its attitudes on gay rights) – and, shockingly, how Ted Cruz doesn’t think Barack Obama is doing well on either. Oh, mustn’t forget: Ted Cruz will still love his kids if they turn out to be gay.
And so… for allowing this man to speak to their friends, Mr. Reisner and Mr. Weiderpass must of course be chastised. In fact, they should consider themselves fortunate that their own side is not calling them to be burned at the stake for heresy. Yet. The day is still young, after all.
After decades of left-wing intellectuals churning out treatises on the evils of “moral panics” and “shame culture,” the same crowd is now using these very tactics for their ends, utterly oblivious to their own hypocrisy.
That they are doing so should be very worrisome to conservatives, because enforcing orthodoxy against heretics is what the winners do to the losers. That is precisely why this phenomena is most powerful on college campuses — because that is where the secular orthodox are at their most powerful.
On campus and off, today’s losers — social conservatives, climate “deniers,” rape-panic skeptics, even supporters of free speech qua free speech — are being told that they must bend to the shaming of the mob. In the long run I don’t think it will work. But there’s no immutable law — of nature, democracy, modernity, morality whatever — that I can point to back up that conviction.
—The “We’re All Shamers” subsection of Jonah Goldberg’s weekly G-File column, online today.