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Roger L. Simon

The Rise of the Campus Brown Shirts

May 19th, 2014 - 9:50 pm

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A fusillade of attacks by students and faculty on commencement speakers and honorary degree awardees at four of our better known schools — Smith, Haverford, Rutgers and Brandeis — has tarnished this year’s commencement season beyond any in recent memory.  Speakers as distinguished as Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde, former Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice have been forced to withdraw even as Ayaan Hirsi Ali, one of the most courageous fighters of oppression on the planet, had to walk from her honorary degree from a university established in the shadow of the Holocaust. Go figure.

What next? The Bill of Rights gets repealed?  An academic “War on Women”? (Three of the four attacked are female.) A new generation of undergraduate Brown Shirts comes back from 1930s Berlin to smash every college window and burn every school library book by unapproved authors in a renewed Kristallnacht?

Of course all of the above dignitaries finally walked away voluntarily from their campus honors, underlining the juvenile absurdity of these same students and faculty, not to mention the paleo-milquetost behavior of their administrations. Mercifully, William G. Bowen, the former Princeton president who replaced Lagarde as Haverford commencement speaker, called out the protestors as “immature” and “arrogant” during his speech, an understatement, to be sure, but welcome nonetheless.

This would all be great fodder for Saturday Night Live, if it still had any spine.  Or a tough conservative or libertarian comedy show, if there were one. But in the final analysis, it’s not all that funny. Something is seriously wrong with our university system — as if we didn’t know. And the fault is less with the students — they are what they are and finally just young people — as with the faculties, especially in the social sciences and what’s left of the humanities.  (There can’t be much left in a system where, even at UCLA, English majors are no longer required to read Shakespeare and Milton. The way things are going, it won’t be long before they aren’t even allowed to read them voluntarily — or at least without an introduction warning the student to beware  of the author’s “privilege.”)

I never took literally the famous quote attributed to Churchill: “A man who is not a liberal at 20 has no heart.  A man who is not a conservative at 40 has no brain.” But it had a certain resonance in reference to basic maturity and common sense. That’s why we remember it.

You don’t have to be an abject follower of Edmund Burke to realize that the role of a faculty member is to instruct and reveal received knowledge in as impartial manner as possible, not to fulminate on like an arrested adolescent as if he or she were still protesting the Vietnam War what feels like a hundred years later.

What this does is give the younger generation nowhere to go. Some protest in youth is normal, but if the older generation is still taking up so much of the playing field, you leave the younger with no place of their own but the more bizarre and outré extremes.  Therefore someone like Hirsi Ali, who should be an international hero of human rights, becomes a villain.  And, as it did recently at Dartmouth, the word “fiesta” used by an Anglo for a heart disease benefit becomes an instrument of supposed racial oppression.

We have to put an end to this ASAP.  That starts with putting pressure on that arrested faculty and their administration enablers.  And the ones to do it are the parents paying a fortune for this nonsense.

(Artwork created using multiple Shutterstock.com images.)

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Top Rated Comments   
I am afraid that the events at Rutgers, Brandeis etc. are merely test-drives for a larger assault on speech and free thought by the facist Left. The goal is to deny a platform or legitmacy to anyone who disagrees with even a small percentage of them. Most of it is done in the name of "sensitivity" but the effect is no different than the SA intimidating speakers int he 1930's. What used to be accomplished by flags, banners and clubs is now accomplished by laptops, tweets, speech codes and social media. The effect is the same - The strangling of free expression by any means necessary. This has been implicit in the Left's agenda since the late 1960's and they are making fewer and fewer bones about it.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Virtual Boko Haram has been kidnapping minds in America for decades. It virtually removes gender bits to make Pajama Boys and Iron Maiden Girls.

The inverted narrative about tolerance is a broad farce.

The little leftist darlings are taught the arrogance of always "winning" an argument by censoring any dissent from the manifesto.

They are NOT taught to be "liberal" in any meaningful sense of the word. They are taught to camouflage themselves as liberals as they goosestep through life as soldiers in the war of tyranny.

Tyrants in training.

Lovely. We hand them willingly over to the traitors and then lament what becomes of them. Grabbed when they are most impressionable, punished and shunned for having any independence, rewarded for rebellion only against the appropriate targets. Free market, Judeo-Christian tenets, white alpha males.

Bill Ayers "reeducation" indoctrination farms. The Virtual Boko Haram.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
Speaking of Fascist Brownshirts:

“The German university students were among the earliest groups to back Hitler. The intellectuals were among his regime’s most ardent supporters. Professors with distinguished academic credentials, eager to pronounce their benediction on the Fuhrer’s cause, put their scholarship to work full time; they turned out a library of admiring volumes, adorned with obscure allusions and learned references.” Leonard Peikoff

http://www.peikoff.com/lr/chapter1.htm

22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (87)
All Comments   (87)
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After nearly two decades within academics, I can safely conclude that the progressive, trendy idea of "diversity" refers to an obsession with skin pigmentation, NOT a diversity of ideas.
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
The racialization of the American Academy is one of the biggest concerns affecting academia. At my college (a large CA Community College) we have a newly-formed Latina/o faculty and staff group. They see racism under every rock. One of my colleagues was recently accused of discrimination because she had told one of her students -- who happened to be Latino -- that he was ill-prepared for taking her advanced English course. The student complained to that faculty/staff group which, without even discussing the matter with the English teacher, embarked on racism charges against the young faculty member, tarnishing her reputation in the process. The wanted her "fired" -- which was prevented thanks to one courageous administrator.

Brown shirts? You bet. The Latino faculty, aided by their white "progressive" colleagues, are the latest radical element on our campuses.

BTW, that group also proudly sponsored the first separate Latino graduation celebration on my campus. Celebration by color and ethnicity, that is, self-segregation, is an alarming trend that has beset the university and, sadly, is supported by the administration.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Some protest in youth is normal, but if the older generation is still taking up so much of the playing field, you leave the younger with no place of their own but the more bizarre and outré extremes. "
There is one other thing I am hoping for. If the faculty goes so far left that there is no more room there, maybe some students will think of an entirely new game, conservative or libertarian protest. They could be completely novel and cutting edge, and drive the leftie faculty crazy. It would be so cool. And wouldn't it be great if these leftie faculty called the cops and had them beating libertarian protestors who were chanting "the whole world is watching". I am not sure our millennials will be smart enough to realize that, and they may have been so thoroughly indoctrinated from an early age they cant anymore, but it would be incredibly cool if they did.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
I ended my college education pursuits last year. When I showed up for the fall semester last year, a student that had no business passing the previous semester showed up for class, I about lost my marbles. I wrote an e-mail to the college president and "explained" my dissatisfaction. Ever since, I see so many articles being written on the college education destruction and failings. Well, I am one person that witnessed the stupidity directly. That student that was given a pass should have never graduated high school, much less been in college.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
The average US secular university is the most close minded, fascist, totalitarian place in the entire US. Just try to be a Conservative Christian & speak your mind there. You will probably end up expelled & in jail. The people running the universities, especially the liberal "profs" would be great Nazis or North Korean border guards.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
I can relate, though I fortunately wasn't expelled or sent to jail. However, they do speak down to me and infer I'm on the "wrong side of history", if not talk back in a derogatory manner if I do speak up for my beliefs, and sometimes the students do exactly the same thing to me as the teachers do.

And, actually, forget US secular universities, the average secular university is the most close minded, fascist, totalitarian place in the entire world. Take note that it was the university system in France that churned out educated, credentialed, close-minded idiots such as Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Jean Baudrillard, and the like, and these are philosophers with, more often than not, tenured positions.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
We need to rid the world of the nonsense "Studies" programs that are merely a front for old sixties radical leftists to train future generations of brain dead leftist automatons.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
I agree with your idea, though I just need clarification on something: Does "American Studies count as one of the nonsense "Studies" programs or not? I'm only asking because I'm one of those.

Either way, while we're at it, we probably should get rid of the philosophy program, as a lot of students who go for that degree seem to be indoctrinated with total nonsense. It happened with Sartre, Foucault, Derrida, Baudrillard, and the like, and I definitely know at least one philosophy major, let's call him Tony, who basically seems to spew forth the standard leftie atheist talking points, including that the French Revolution is a non-event where their practices don't matter to him as he's going to be dead anyways, yet considered the Spanish Inquisition among the worst human rights atrocities to have ever occurred, even scaring his own female relative from Catholic School when it taught her differently from what he believed. Oh, and he considered Karl Marx a Christian, and considered Noam Chomsky (yes, that Noam Chomsky) to be one of his heroes.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
I mean those studies programs that were originally created by 1960s leftist radicals or their minions whose purpose was to train the next generation of leftist radicals under the guise of seemingly harmless subjects, the model for which was Bettina Apthecker`s "Women's Studies" curriculum.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Not brown shirts. These are Red Guards. The brown shirts were a militia that attacked organized political opponents. The Red Guards were part of the establishment, and persecuted (and killed) people for thought crimes and politically incorrect statements or behavior. They required ritual confessions, promises not to "do it again" and re-education. This is exactly what their modern heirs in colleges (and elsewhere) are doing.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
I think protesting war criminals is fine.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
Today's "conflict of ideas" is the greatest there ever was. It is simply that the resistance has not resorted to force of arms. But that is coming, unless there is an electoral convulsion of rectitude and good sense.
This time the resistance will probably lose. America is like a beautiful firework in the 4th of July sky. Nothing like it in all of human history, and, Flash, it is gone, after Oohs and Aahs and Wasn't That Beautiful.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
I am in shock at the students who fail to stand up for free speech. What went wrong?
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
Someone deleted this even though this actually needed to be said.

Read Voltaire and his involvement in free speech, also read Timothy Dwight's Duties of Americans at the Present Crisis, and then you'll see what's wrong (I'll give you a hint, it's not that they didn't stand up for free speech).
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
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