The Mental Reign of Terror

Jon Miltimore argues that Yale is becoming a kind of jail which hands out professional credentials to those hardy enough to serve out their term. Until then its inmates should be careful not to make waves.  The wardens in Miltmore's story are college administrators who've created a kind of politically correct kingdom where they -- not the professors -- are the rulers; where conformity not inquiry, is the most highly valued virtue.

It's hard to watch the documentary without recalling Mao's Red Guards, a parallel which Roger Simon already noticed more than a year ago. He should know.  "I got a personal look at the remnants of the Cultural Revolution in 1979 when on an 'activist's' tour of China."  Simon writes:

So you will excuse me if, from the outset, when I heard how our college campuses were being overtaken with these new-fangled "trigger warnings" and "microagressions," perfect Maoist terminology for our computerized times, it immediately gave me the heebie-jeebies. Thought control, via political correctness, had come to America in the very spot it had begun in China -- the schools.

The Chinese Cultural Revolution is now forgotten history.  Yet important thing about the "Red Guard" movement was how artificial it was.  It was astroturf all the way. Behind the youthful Chinese faces was the aged figure of Mao Tse Tung and his political cabal. Like some malevolent spirit he projected his voice through a million gullible dummies carefully nurtured on propaganda and paranoia.  The whole thing was controlled by directive.  One Red Guard later recalled: "in Chongqing, Zheng, who was studying electrical engineering, saw his 'humble' principal targeted as the local authorities tried to fill the quota of 'two to three capitalist roaders at each university'. The quota was passed down by the provincial authorities in Sichuan, which then governed Chongqing, following a directive from Beijing."

It was political theater, with designated villains and appointed symbolic heroes; with scripted dances and talking points. The Cultural Revolution was tremendously destructive, so corrosive that in the end, having lived out its usefulness, the puppet rebels were eventually liquidated by the puppetmasters. The Red Guards ruthlessly dispersed by Mao himself. "With different factions of the Red Guard movement battling for dominance, many Chinese cities reached the brink of anarchy by September 1967, when Mao had Lin send army troops in to restore order. The army soon forced many urban members of the Red Guards into rural areas, where the movement declined."

Ironically having served as a political cudgel neither the Cultural Revolution nor the Red Guards could save the puppetmasters. The madness and excess eventually discredited the Mao era and set the stage for its replacement. It may be trite to observe that each insanity carries within it the seed of its own self-destruction. But the insane never think of the obvious.