May 29th, 2017

The Evergreen mob versus Weinstein: the closed American university mind

You may already be familiar with a recent incident at Evergreen State College in Washington state that resembles so many other incidents at colleges lately. At Evergreen, an angry mob of students confronted a professor for standing against racism, and the students did it in the name of fighting racism.

This is the Orwellian point we’ve reached:

Evergreen State College, a small liberal-arts school in Washington State, has long had an interesting tradition. Each year, there is a “Day of Absence” on which students and faculty members of color meet off campus to hold solidarity-building activities, leaving the remaining community members to recognize the absence — and thus the value — of their peers. Later there is a “Day of Presence,” with similar activities but for the entire campus community.

But this year, the event changed. On the April 12 Day of Absence, minority students and faculty remained on campus, while whites were asked to leave. According to the local student newspaper, the decision reflected concerns following the 2016 election that students of color no longer felt comfortable on campus. This was to be their chance to reassert their right to belong on campus . . . by asking everyone else of a particular skin color to leave.

Biology professor Bret Weinstein wrote a note of protest, correctly pointing out the different between a voluntary act of absence and what was being asked at Evergreen:

The first is a forceful call to consciousness which is, of course, crippling to the logic of oppression. The second is a show of force, and an act of oppression in and of itself.

Oh, boy. You might not be the least bit surprised by what happened in response to Professor Weinstein’s reasonable points, but he was. Here’s a fascinating interview with Weinstein, who is “troubled by what this implies about the current state of the left”:

I am on Weinstein’s side, and I am always happy to see anyone on the left get an inkling—however late in time—of what the left is all about. But I would strongly recommend to Weinstein that he read Allan Bloom’s 1989 book, The Closing of the American Mind, and he will see that not only is this not just the current state of the left (or the American university, for that matter), but it’s been the state of both for at least fifty years, since much of Bloom’s book is devoted to similar incidents at Cornell University during the late 60s.

Furthermore, this has been the left’s impulse virtually ever since it began. During much of the 20th century and the early part of the 21st, universities have almost utterly capitulated, and much of that capitulation has been in the name of fighting racism (as it was at Cornell).

You can see a longer video of the confrontation between some of the Evergreen students and Weinstein here:

I’ve written many posts about Allan Bloom and The Closing of the American Mind. The part of that book that describes what happened at Cornell in the late 60s is absolutely required reading for anyone who wants to understand what’s going on at universities today. It’s not pretty, and it’s not trivial. It’s dangerous fascistic stuff, and Weinstein (a “progressive,” i.e. man of the left, in his politics) has found out that the movement of which he’s a part isn’t what he thought it to be.

Weinstein is what the late Norm Geras—a leftist and early blogger who helped me get an audience when I was a newbie—called a “principled leftist” (see this). It’s a type that seems to be an endangered species these days on college campuses, and has been for quite some time. Is it any wonder that anyone with that inclination, and many on the right as well, would lay low and keep mum when faced with the mob? Weinstein, too, would be gone from the Evergreen campus if the student mob there who confronted him had anything to say about it.

Don’t sit on a hot stove till the administrators at Evergreen take a strong stand against what happened there, either (as you can see from that video of what Weinstein says in that interview with Tucker Carlson). Universities these days appear to be a safe place for the mob but not for the likes of Weinstein.

As Allan Bloom wrote in his description of events that occurred in 1969 at Cornell, and the behavior of the Cornell administration:

The [Cornell] provost was a former natural scientist, and he greeted me with a mournful countenance…there was nothing he could do to stop such behavior in the black student association…He added that no university in the country could expel radical black students, or dismiss the faculty members who incited them, presumably because the students at large would not permit it.

…The provost had a mixture of cowardice and moralism not uncommon at the time. He did not want trouble. His president had frequently cited Clark Kerr’s dismissal at the University of California as the great danger…At the same time the provost thought he was engaged in a great moral work, righting the historic injustice done to blacks. He could justify to himself the humiliation he was undergoing as a necessary sacrifice. The case of this particular black student clearly bothered him. But he was both more frightened of the violence-threatening extremists and also more admiring of them. Obvious questions were no longer obvious. Why could not a black student be expelled as a white student would be if he failed his courses or disobeyed the rules that make university community possible? Why could the president not call the police if order was threatened? Any man of weight would have fired the professor who threatened the life of the student. The issue was not complicated. Only the casuistry of weakness and ideology made it so…No one who knew or cared about what a university is would have acquiesced in this travesty. It was no surprise that a few weeks later—immediately after the faculty had voted overwhelmingly under the gun to capitulate to outrageous demands that it had a few days earlier rejected—the leading members of the administration and many well-known faculty members rushed over to congratulate the gathered students and tried to win their approval. I saw exposed before all the world what had long been known, and it was at last possible without impropriety to tell these pseudo-universitarians precisely what one thought of them.

It was also no surprise that many of those professors who had been most eloquent in their sermons about the sanctity of the university, and who had presented themselves as its consciences, were among those who reacted, if not favorably, at least weakly to what was happening. They had made careers out of saying how badly the German professors [during the Nazi era] had reacted to violations of academic freedom. This was all light talk and mock heroics, because they had not measured the potential threats to the university nor assessed the doubtful grounds of academic freedom. Above all, they did not think that it could be assaulted from the Left or from within the university…These American professors were utterly disarmed, as were many German professors, when the constituency they took for granted, of which they honestly believed they were independent, deserted or turned against them…To fulminate against Bible Belt preachers was one thing. In the world that counted for these professors, this could only bring approval. But to be isolated in the university, to be called foul names by their students or their colleagues, all for the sake of an abstract idea, was too much for them. They were not in general strong men, although their easy rhetoric had persuaded them that they were—that they alone manned the walls protecting civilization. Their collapse was merely pitiful, although their feeble attempts at self-justification frequently turned vicious. In Germany the professors who kept quiet had the very good excuse that they could not do otherwise. Speaking up would have meant imprisonment or death. The law not only did not protect them but was their deadly enemy. At Cornell there was no such danger…There was essentially no risk in defending the integrity of the university, because the danger was entirely within it. All that was lacking was a professorial corps aware of the university’s purpose, and dedicated to it. That is what made the surrender so contemptible.

At least Evergreen president Bridges has so far refused to fire Weinstein. That’s about it for taking a stand, though, unless you call this sort of statement “taking a stand”:

“Let me reiterate my gratitude for the passion and courage you have shown me and others,” Mr. Bridges said in his remarks, as reported by student newspaper the Cooper Point Journal. “I want every one of you to feel safe on this campus and be able to learn in a supportive environment free from discrimination or intimidation.”

You can read Bridges’ entire statement here. It’s lengthy and deals with many other issues besides the Weinstein brouhaha. It reads almost like a parody at some points, except it’s not (it begins with what I assume is not a joke, but a sold of mild apology for the conventions of English speech re gendered pronouns: “I’m George Bridges, I use he/him pronouns.”)

Evergreen isn’t Cornell in the 60s, so none of this should be surprising. Evergreen has long been a markedly “progressive” school (it even describes itself as “progressive”), similar to Oberlin or Antioch or Hampshire College. Therefore it isn’t within the realm of possibility that the president of Evergreen would be anything other than someone such as Bridges in the political sense. But it is symptomatic of the depth of the rot in the university that such behavior is hardly limited to a school like Evergreen. Note that one of the assertions by the students is that the place is somehow riddled with rampant racism; its leftist bona fides don’t protect it from attack as a racist institution any more than Weinstein’s protected him.

If I were president of Evergreen—which I’m not and never ever could be—I know what I’d suggest, rather than the increase in mandatory anti-racism training the already well-trained Evergreen faculty will be subjected to, as announced in Bridges speech. I’d take every one of those students—perhaps every student in the entire school, actually—and have them attend a required course (remember those?) in the history of tyranny. It would necessarily involve a great deal of instruction on the history—not the Chomsky/Zinn history, but the objective history—of the left in the USSR, China, Cambodia, and wherever else it gripped a country in its hideous maws.

Because, what would actually satisfy these students? A full-scale Cultural Revolution? The purging of those kulaks known as white people, or the right, or whoever the target du jour may be? And by the way, there were plenty of white students who were participants in that screaming crowd. No doubt they think that their politics would protect them, or perhaps their overwhelming feeling of guilt is such that they think they deserve whatever opprobrium they might get.

52 Responses to “The Evergreen mob versus Weinstein: the closed American university mind”

  1. Dobbins Says:

    Actually, I’m encouraged by the Weinstein episode at Evergreen College.

    This is as clear an example as possible of the Left Eating Their Own…….. As for me; The more the better. I’d be happy supplying the spoons, forks, and knives for their dinner…… heck, I’d even buy napkins for the clean-up.

    There will be no end to this totalitarianism of the left, until they suffer the consequences of their actions.

    Professor Weinstein, the “deeply progressive” advocate of the left and it’s impulses, is now the target rather than the victim. Most people, if not all people, see what they want to see, if possible (we even have words for it: confirmation bias, group-think, etc). If he’s smart, and can actually see the “other” that he doesn’t want to see, he will gain and learn, but it will be life-changing and painful.

    So………. bring it on lefties………… the more the better, and the sooner the better. Eat your own, consume your seed corn. I’m the guy watching from the sidelines, eating popcorn and cheering you on.

    Later……….I’ll meet you at any barricade you want. You on your side, me on mine.

  2. kalneva Says:

    I grew up in a neighboring town, and as a teenager thought I wanted to go to Evergreen. I bought used humanities textbooks at garage sales, in order to gain some enlightenment and prepare myself to be a liberally educated student. Didn’t take long to realize that shit made no sense, and I was only nineteen or so. I’ll be munching popcorn with Dobbins and watching this go to hell on its own.

  3. John Guilfoyle Says:

    “If I were president of Evergreen…”
    To hell with that.

    If I were Governor of that state, I’d fence the campus off & let them kill and eat each other until the last remnant of that plague is dead.
    Then, MOAB the remains.

  4. Gringo Says:

    I am reminded of a liberal/progressive commenter who shortly after the election visited a righty blog wanting to find out what makes you people tick?

    When i hear people complain about college campuses and Black Lives Matter and yet those things have literally no impact on their daily lives, other than inciting outrage and anger within them when they hear about it, it seems strange to me.

    My reply, in part:

    There is less tolerance for diversity of thought on college campuses today than there once was.

    The following is anecdotal, but it illustrates the point. During the Vietnam War, there were 3 adjacent faculty offices which illustrated different viewpoints on their respective doors. One door had a political cartoon against the Vietnam War. The third door displayed an American flag. The door in the middle had a Demilitarized Zone sign. While the respective faculty members disagreed with each other, they “agreed to disagree,” and maintained civil relations with each other. I doubt that would occur today. Today, leftist orthodoxy would be enforced.

    When I was an undergrad, I was on the left, but read journals like National Review and Commentary in addition to such lefty stalwarts as Ramparts and The Nation, as I wanted to know what the enemy on the right was thinking. One day I was surprised to read a letter to the editor of National Review from the younger brother of a high school classmate. He wrote that as a conservative at Columbia, he was definitely in the minority, but other students were civil and respectful to him when he expressed his political views. Would that occur at Columbia today? I doubt that very much. He would be demonized, shouted down.

    Because the university experience was important for me, and because with grad school it extended well into my middle age, what occurs on campus is important to me. But you inform me that my concern is “strange” to you. I would suggest that my concern about what occurs on college campuses is no more “strange” than your concern about Trump voters, the overwhelming majority of whom you will never meet.

    While there is less tolerance for diverse points of view on college campuses today than there was in decades past, in looking back I can see examples of SJW intolerance. In fact, I can recall some incidents from high school that had traces of SJW. While I didn’t call it “virtue signalling” at the time, I realized in high school that political viewpoints are not always arrived at by reason and logic, but by the desire to show one belongs to the right group.

    Reading that letter to the editor from the conservative Colombia freshman who was from my high school may have been one of beginning points of my leaving the left. His parents were also conservative, I later found out. I asked- how could people of the Jewish faith who had fled Hitler be conservative? The reply was that Hitler was not conservative. Hitler wanted to change a lot of things- and change things he did. For those who believe that all change is good- which is practically a liberal axiom- look at the changes Hitler made.

  5. Lucius Says:

    Neo, your required class about tyranny, sadly, would be a waste of time. These students would not recognize themselves or their behavior as tyrannical. They are ‘apostles’ of Leftism, akin to the Chinese students of the 1970’s. They do not appreciate America, the West, nor Juedo-Christianity. They are unteachable. The solution is to expell them, deny them any Federal or State education aid, as well as subsequent admittance to any publicly funded higher education institution. Good luck with that, though.

    I have come to endorse the idea that our youth should be required to serve two years in the military after high school. Israel does this and i approve. Perhaps then, the price of liberty would be self evident.

  6. AesopFan Says:

    It’s not just the Left that eventually eats its own.

    Any ideology purporting to be “the ultimate arbiter of all things” eventually turns on its own former supporters, always drawing the circle of orthodoxy tighter, because there has to be some justification for why “we” are entitled to power and “you” are not.
    Because it’s always about power.*

    Personally, I think there should be a day when all “white heteronormal cisgender persons” take a day off — and see how fast the world comes to a halt.

    *The Left is following a classic trajectory, which I think is most clearly demonstrated anciently in the progression of the official Catholic church in Rome.

    Once empowered by the State, the “establishment” clergy purged the civil hierarchies of any Pagans. Once those were gone, they purged the church hierarchies of any heretics (read: opposing political factions, using the pretext of significant theological differences). Then, since there were still opposing factions (because every political problem can admit of multiple rational solutions), the charges of heresy spread to embrace any minor deviation from that of the currently-reigning establishment. And so on.

  7. neo-neocon Says:


    I disagree about their reactions to my proposed course.

    You cannot generalize about this. Some would, some would not. Some leftists—particularly young ones, and these students are young—are simply ignorant of some points of history.

    I was never a person of the left, but I certainly was a liberal and new information caused some changes in my politics. I’ve seen it happen with others, too, and even some on the left.

  8. neo-neocon Says:

    John Guilfoyle:

    And that sentiment makes you better than them how?

  9. John Guilfoyle Says:

    Neo – you are kidding yourself if you think those students are going forever refrain from violence…in fact, by demanding the Professor’s firing, they want him unemployed & therefore starving. They are violent to the core.

    I am perfectly happy to visit violence on those who would visit it on me.

    We live simultaneously in 2 kingdoms & the kingdom on the left (I’m quoting Luther here) is where power is expended to bring order & peace (life liberty & the pursuit of happiness by extension) for the greatest number of people. Those rabid leftists are anything but orderly & peaceful…the king should strike with the sword…Luther again.

    I also understand that the only real lasting solution is to exhibit the kingdom on the right…grace & mercy. To give those who resort to their own cycles of violence & self-justification, as a first resort, hope in a different sort of rule…And to be grace-filled up to the point where the innocent are suffering…and then (to quote Bonhoeffer) someone has to put a spoke in the wheel of injustice.

    So…isolate the problem…protect the innocent…and put a spoke in the wheel. The progressive alligator will just keep eating…I don’t want to give it that chance.

    You live with the misguided idea that you can educate the alligator. I don’t.

  10. neo-neocon Says:

    John Guilfoyle:

    What on earth would make you think you are correct in saying that I believe “students are going to forever refrain from violence”? Nothing whatsoever that I’ve ever written would indicate I think that. Not only that, but at Cornell, which features in this post, some of the students were threatening violence and armed!

    I am not the least bit naive about the possibility and even the actuality of violence. Did you miss that part where I mentioned the Cultural Revolution, and/or the kulaks? Did you even read this post all the way to the end?

    Even if you didn’t read my post—or misunderstood it—that doesn’t forgive anything you wrote. Your solution makes you a tyrant as well. And of course you think your solution is in the pursuit of virtue. So did Robespierre, and so do most tyrants.

    By the way, under what constitutional or other authority would you, as governor, “fence the campus off & let them kill and eat each other”? Might makes right?

    Perhaps you should take that course in tyranny, as well.

  11. Lucius Says:

    Who would teach them? A Conservative? A classical Liberal? A Socialist? Our youth is not grounded in civics, philosophy or religion. Alot of our Ivy League Universities had religious foundings, and now they are secular. At what age did you change, Neo? Much later in life than these students, after ‘life’ had been your teacher. Fifty plus years of steady erosion of American and Western values is bearing rotten fruit.

  12. Griffin Says:

    Of course what’s kind of glossed over in all these stories that refer to TESC (yes the title is The Evergreen State College) is that it is not just a ‘small liberal arts school’ as the article at top refers to it but it is in fact a state university just like the University of Washington or Washington State University. How some of this is legal at a public university is beyond me. As has been mentioned this nonsense has been going on there for as long as I can remember yet it continues to get state funding for it’s craziness.

    This place is one of the grossest places you will ever see as the students pretty dress like homeless people and many behave the same way. What an embarrassment.

  13. Griffin Says:

    This campus infects the entire city of Olympia also as the students seem to linger around downtown all hours of the day and apparently have no responsibilities in life.

  14. neo-neocon Says:


    I would choose the teacher, of course, since I’m imagining myself as the head of the university. It’s a fantasy, because it’s not going to happen—particularly at Evergreen. But I might choose Sowell or Hanson.

    And most of my change experience was not because of life, but because of the easy availability of more varied reading matter online. Prior to the internet, I had basically read the Times, the Globe, and the New Yorker, thinking I was getting a fairly well-rounded and objective point of view. I was changed by my exposure to conservative ideas, more than anything else.

    Also, when I was in college, courses DID change my point of view. See this, for example.

  15. Frog Says:

    For heaven’s sake, Neo, we cannot undo lifelong indoctrination at the hands of our public (and many, probably most) private schools by waving a wand. We will have to take steps regarded as ‘fascist’.
    The Evergreen prof, Weinstein, remains a dedicated uber-progressive, despite reaping what he and his ilk have sown. He is likely a member of the 0.1% of the progressives who have some sense of morality left.

    We have SJWs throughout the land, just as in Mao’s Cultural Revolution. But we have no one, not the President or anyone else, to rein them in as eventually happened in China after near-societal collapse. We have the SJWs running free, terrorizing, shouting mindless slogans, vandalizing, committing arson (e.g. Berkeley), completely unhindered by the forces of (ahem) law and order.

    Did no one else notice how white the Evergreen “protestors” were? OK, maybe a few Asiatics thrown in, being Washington State, but no people of color in the customary sense.
    As another has observed above me, Evergreen is a public, tax-funded institution, allegedly a ‘liberal arts’ college. That means today it is simply an institution of GroupThink Marxist collectivism, a safe space, if you will.

    We cannot reform, re-educate or remake the SJWs. The Left Coast and our major cities have them aplenty. A major and sustained economic depression, or a violent response, seem the only alternatives to rein them in. Those shall only make them go aground, however, rather like fleeing to Canada in the Vietnam period. Just like that anti-war crowd, THE SJWs WILL NOT CHANGE. That is why some of us here contemplate a coming civil war. Not with favor, mind you. But an inevitability.

  16. John Guilfoyle Says:

    I read your whole thing…Now you read this whole thing especially this part…

    “Cue the boring moralizing and sanctimonious whimpering of the femmy, bow-tied, submissive branch of conservatism whose obsolete members were shocked to find themselves left behind by the masses to whom these geeks’ sinecures were not the most important objective of the movement. This is where they sniff, “We’re better than that,” and one has to ask ,“Who’s we?” Because, by nature, people are not better than that. They are not designed to sit back and take it while they are abused, condescended to, and told by a classless ruling class that there are now two sets of rules and – guess what? – the old rules are only going to be enforced against them.

    We don’t like the new rules – I’d sure prefer a society where no one was getting attacked, having walked through the ruins of a country that took that path – but we normals didn’t choose the new rules. The left did. It gave us Ferguson, Middlebury College, Berkeley, and “Punch a Nazi” – which, conveniently for the left, translates as “punch normals.”…

    This isn’t a good thing. This is nothing to be proud of. We should not be happy that our society is heading toward the lowest common denominator, which itself is in freefall. But the alternative is worse. Should we allow ourselves to continue to be figuratively and literally beaten up while smiling at our own purity, secure in the knowledge that even though our dignity and freedom are stripped from us, we have not fought back? Not happening. Letting these bastards play by their own rules, and thereby crush us, seems a pretty high price to pay just to gain the approval of the smug and sanctimonious David Frums and John Kasichs of the world.” Or the neoneos.

    Call me all the names you want…I’m not looking for your forgiveness. It is the state’s job to maintain order. Those who seek to create chaos should feel the weight of the state against them.

  17. Frog Says:

    A harbinger of the future: Combat in the Texas state legislature.

  18. F Says:

    I remember stopping by the University of Paris X (Nanterre) in 1991 on my way to an African post about which little scholarly work existed. (The Central African Republic — Conrad’s true “Heart of Darkness”). I was visiting a professor who had written several books about the country — good, scholarly works that are still useful today.

    I was struck at the time at how slovenly the school was — walls covered with graffiti, students dressed in their idea of Bohemian garb, trash in the corridors and stairwells, Marxist political posters — in short, a caricature of liberal academia, and probably where schools like Evergreen are headed. It is not an attractive future, but the only thing that will head it off will be an economic reversal, where college graduates are paid less than graduates of trade schools. At that point, perhaps university administrators and professors will stop the foolishness and get back to real education.

  19. The Other Chuck Says:

    I have a friend whose daughter graduated from Evergreen and is now employed there. In a conservation with him last night about this incident he said it was staffed from the beginning with “hippies” (his term) who immediately dispensed with grades. He said a degree from it makes a nice wall decoration.

  20. neo-neocon Says:

    John Guilfoyle:

    Irrelevant to what I’m saying.

    You either did not read my post or did not understand it, because you accused me of thinking students could never be violent or wouldn’t be violent. That was, quite simply, wrong, and contradicted by many things I’ve written, including things I wrote in this post.

    You have failed to respond to that.

    In addition, I asked whether you had read the post. I didn’t ORDER you to read it. I wrote:

    Did you miss that part where I mentioned the Cultural Revolution, and/or the kulaks? Did you even read this post all the way to the end?

    I actually thought that might have been the explanation for your false accusations towards me of naivete. I was giving you the benefit of the doubt. It was a long post; people don’t always read through to the end. It’s not their obligation to read anything I want them to; people do it of the own free will.

    But if you actually read my whole post all the way to the CulturalRevolution/kulak ending, and still wrote what you wrote about my naivete about violence, you either forgot what I wrote, didnt understand what I wrote, or you were willfully misrepresenting it.

    And then in your most recent comment you ordered me to read what you wrote: “I read your whole thing…Now you read this whole thing ” I did read it, by the way, but not because you ordered me to. How about, “Now I’d appreciate it if you would read…” or “Now would you please read…”?

    The imperious ordering is quite consistent with your tendency towards the tyranny of virtue. You may think that rudeness is irrelevant in terms of violence or tyranny (and it’s certainly not of the same magnitude as tyranny or violence), but your rudeness is a small fractal of the same phenomenon.

    I didn’t call you names, either. Calling someone names is saying things like “dummy” or “stupid” or “moron” or “asshole” or whatever other names are popular in online forums or in life. I wrote “Your solution makes you a tyrant as well.” Unfortunately, it does—or at least puts you in the same ballpark. My goal was to make you see the analogy.

  21. n.n Says:

    It’s the left’s concept of “diversity” that classifies, judges, and discriminates between individuals by the “color of their skin”, which includes racism and sexism. It’s a form of prejudice that discriminates between individuals, not by the “content of your character” (e.g. principles, for they are Pro-Choice), but by the “color of your skin”. It’s a clear and progressive condition throughout Western societies. People need to discover their dignity before it is deprecated for political progress.

  22. Yancey Ward Says:

    It wasn’t the election of 2016 that changed things with the annual day of absence at Evergreen, it was the fact that all the previous days of absence were not noticed by the students who remained behind- no one who remained on campus gave a horse’s turd. So it had to be changed.

  23. John Guilfoyle Says:

    Hi Neo
    When I got out of bed this morning my first thought was not “Hey…I think today’s the day to pick a fight with neo.” But since that appears to have happened, I apologize.

    I’ve re-read your whole post & most of the responses several times now. I still think you are being the worst kind of naieve. Offering a class & more ideas to those who’ve brought violence to the party. Ok…go for all you’ve got and hope the gator gets you last.

    The left is no longer interested in your ideas…maybe when you & I were kids (you’re not too much older than I) that was the answer. What they want now is your subjugation & submission to their power. That’s why they shut down debate. That’s why college presidents cave…that’s the expected response…just shut up.

    Just today an Hispanic D Texas legislator threatened to “get” a white R legislator because the R called ICE on some protestors disrupting Texas House proceedings & self-identifying as “illegal.” More ideas and a class in tyranny ain’t gonna help there. Armed Texas DPS officers however…or open carry on the part of the threatened R legislator…will win the day.

    So…when the left brings the violence to the public arena, I am not going to feel one whit sorrowful if some “rough men” bring the house down on them. I’ll be saddened that our public arena has fallen so far, but I won’t be sad when the leftists get theirs back in spades. And yes…I am perfectly happy to visit violence on those who would visit it on me.

  24. neo-neocon Says:

    John Guilfoyle:

    I appreciate and accept your apology.

    But there are still some problems with the substance of what you’re saying. Your original assertion—that I don’t think these students would resort to violence—is simply wrong, as I pointed out earlier.

    What you now appear to be emphasizing is that you believe my suggestion of a course won’t work to change any minds, and that that’s where my naivete lies. But here you are committing a different error, which is treating this bunch of students (or any group of leftist students), and the left in general, as unitary in their goals and methods, as well as their resistance to ideological change.

    I know a great many people on the left, of all ages. They are not even remotely a unitary bunch in what they advocate, why they advocate it, on what their belief system is based, and how firm and resistant to change it is. Some of this (not all of it, but some) is a function of age. The younger the more malleable, as a general rule, although older people can change too (as evidenced by my own story). It is an individual thing.

    In fact, ideological change is not all that unusual and certainly not unheard of on the left. Students—and some of these students are as young as 17 or 18—are in a state of ideological and personal flux. These students have been brainwashed by their previous education, and many of them are profoundly ignorant of history as well as the arguments of the right. Exposure to those things would almost certainly change some minds.

    I have thought long and hard about the process of changing a person’s mind in the political sense. It happens every day. How often does it happen in terms of a percentage of the people on the left? It’s not a huge percentage, but over time it’s not an insignificant percentage, either. It can indeed happen (if you read my “A mind is a difficult thing to change” series I go into this in great detail)—as a result of life experience, emotion, and/or also a a result of changes in thinking (such as the learning of more history). I myself experienced some political change back in college (and I linked to the post where I described it) as a result of a single course I took. I am firmly convinced that this is possible today, and I read stories of such things happening on a daily basis. This is not based on any sort of naivete. It is based on careful observation.

  25. David Foster Says:

    “But he was both more frightened of the violence-threatening extremists and also **more admiring** of them.”

    Reminds me of Ayn Rand’s theory of ‘Attila and the Witch-Doctor’…that a certain kind of intellectual, who is not a man of action and is generally contemptuous of those who are, is nevertheless admiring of men of violence.

  26. Tuvea Says:

    None of this about Evergreen State surprises at all.

    One of TESC’s most famous graduates was St. Pancake. A true heroine of the contemporary left.

  27. The Other Chuck Says:

    More from my friend’s daughter at Evergreen,
    …police made the staff stay in their offices for the duration in fear of violence.

    The police and the administration are cowed, craven, and willing accomplices.

  28. Lizzy Says:

    Yikes, the video of this mob is amazingly bad for the students.

    Guess this is the natural consequence of all that “white privilege” training/indoctrination. The Commie Left should be proud of the chaos they’ve created.

  29. DNW Says:

    This is highly entertaining.

  30. Otiose Says:

    Remember they’re called snowflakes for a reason.

  31. Brian E Says:

    As has been previously stated, Evergreen is a state college started in 1971 and is in Olympia, the state capital.

    It was always an “alternative” college where grades were passe, and you could negotiate your major.

    As I remember it, there was a strong environmental studies program– but it was always considered the school for hippies- sort of Antioch College of the Pacific Northwest.

  32. Frog Says:

    In your response to John Guilfoyle (5/30 @7:14 AM), you remind me of Peggy Noonan and her attitude about her “friends” on the Left. You wrote, “I know a great many people on the left, of all ages. They are not even remotely a unitary bunch in what they advocate.” In other words, there is a lot to like about many of them.

    Unfortunately, their perceived heterogeneity is not functionally relevant. Being on the Left means they will so vote, and in voting become collective and unitary. They will not vote for a Cruz or a Carly or a Rubio, much less a Trump. They vote for Hillary or Bernie. Period. Their principles are fundamentally different than ours, and many of them are ignorant or have given the matter of principles only superficial thought
    You also hoist yourself on the horns of a dilemma by saying a) a mind is a difficult thing to change, yet b) It happens every day. Data? You have none, simply claim “but over time it’s not an insignificant percentage, either.”

    The history of political change in the USA over the last 100 years has been the steady, inexorable march of Progressivism. View that big picture, and then tell me about the great many people of all ages you know who are Progressives but are somehow (magically?) mutable.

    We changelings are rarae aves. We don’t happen every day.

  33. Bill Says:

    Regarding the supposed unchanging nature of leftwing views: I’ve known a number of young people who were pretty liberal in HS and college but started voting conservative when they got married, started paying taxes, and had kids.

  34. Ray Says:

    ‘If you’re not a liberal when you’re 25, you have no heart. If you’re not a conservative by the time you’re 35, you have no brain.’ Attributed to Winston Churchill.

  35. GRA Says:

    Can someone tell me why I should take the social issues the left care so much about seriously?

    Every time some indignant college group complains in this manner my gut feelings tells me they’re grossly overreacting.

  36. ROPWA Says:

    My wife is from China, and she’s old enough to remember the Cultural Revolution and how it tore apart her country and her family. She came to the USA and became a naturalized citizen to flee that kind of madness.

    Today, she’s horrified at what she see’s going on. When she sees these student radicals, she says “That’s just like China!”

  37. GRA Says:

    @ Ray: I stopped identifying as a liberal when I was 22. I then slowly changed my thoughts, habits and actions.

    I will admit this: it is infinitely easier to be a liberal when one is young. It’s mostly based on emotions and whatever social trend/zeitgeist is in vogue. It adopts feel good, or to what appears to be obvious stances to support, wholeheartedly without much question. The more innocent a staple professional grievance group appears the easier it is to shield them away from “hate.”

  38. Paul in Boston Says:

    Why isn’t this a firing offense for the president of the college? Imagine a public company whose executives lost control of their employees like this. Wouldn’t the board of directors fire them immediately? How can a college function with this going on? What about all the students who are affected by this nonsense and whose education is being disrupted? If I were a member of the state legislature I’d do my utmost to make sure that the situation was cleaned up or the college defunded. Are there any adults in charge here?

  39. J.J. Says:

    The problem is that leftist staff and administrations at these colleges treat these foolish students like adults. They aren’t adults. They are in school because they are lacking in a lot of areas of knowledge. They are there to learn, not dictate their childish and uninformed biases to others. Until colleges and universities start reasserting control and treating these young know nothings like people who need a lot more knowledge and experience before they can tell people what to do, this kind of crap will continue.

    On college campuses in the 60s they had Vietnam and Jim Crow as their causes., Today, they drum up outrage at any minor thing they can dream up. In many ways they remind me of spoiled toddlers throwing a tantrum because they know they can get away with it.

    Discipline. Expulsion, fines, jail time, and such might get their attention. It took the shootings at Kent State and some brutal police crack downs to cool things down in the 60s. If these college administrators don’t get some backbones, we may be headed there again.

  40. Mel Williams Says:

    ROPWA – I, too, am married to a Chinese lady who is old enough to remember. Her reaction to this kind of stuff is the same as your wife’s.

    One thing about these snowflakes . . . they are smart enough to do their thing where they know they’ll get the least blow back, and some publicity for their cause.

    I have extended family in rural southern Oregon. Why don’t SJWs make their case in places like that – instead of preaching to their choirs??

    Yeah, right.

  41. neo-neocon Says:


    Not at all.

    I am NOT talking about likeability of my leftist friends or family. I made no points about that whatsoever; nor are all of them likeable. Nor did I make a single statement about how they reliably vote (yes, they mostly vote Democratic or even to the left of that). It is not the issue here, so your bringing it up makes no more sense than did John Guilfoyle’s assumption that I think the leftist students incapable of violence. But during the 2016 campaign, several of them were more than ready to vote for Rubio had he been nominated, and they told me so in no uncertain terms. You may doubt that they meant it, but I am reporting what they said unprompted by me; it was something THEY brought up with me.

    I become weary at having my viewpoints misrepresented.

    You also write “Their [people on the left’s] principles are fundamentally different than ours.” Having spoken to many of them, it is very clear that some have principles very like mine, but come to different political conclusions based on them, and some are operating under very different premises than I. It is not at all a unitary bunch in terms of principles (just as an example, some are very devout and come to their leftism from that POV, and some are atheists).

    I’ve actually written many posts and comments illustrating this fact, which I have discovered is the case and is not based merely on my imagination. I daresay I’ve done a great deal more exploring of this particular subject than you, since it’s one of the main subjects of my blog and has been for 12 years. It’s not based on some touchy-feely “Oh, my friends are all such nice people!” sort of thing.

    You wrote: ”

    You also hoist yourself on the horns of a dilemma by saying a) a mind is a difficult thing to change, yet b) It happens every day. Data? You have none, simply claim “but over time it’s not an insignificant percentage, either.

    It is you who are on the horns of a dilemma—or, more accurately, whose reasoning is faulty—in that you think (a) and (b) are mutually exclusive. Mathematically speaking, in terms of the population of the world, let me state quite unequivocally that something can be quite rare and yet happen on a daily basis. There are a great many people in the world. There are even a great many people in this country.

    I have plenty of data; it’s you who have none. My data is the large number of people who have written of their left-to-right conversion experience. Some are famous. Some are people who write a single op-ed in the newspaper and are heard from no more, but who continue to be on the right. Some are bloggers like me (there are plenty of them with that experience). Some are commenters here. Some are relative and friends of commenters here. Some are people who don’t comment here but who email me, both from this country and other places around the world.

    It is not an uncommon phenomenon, and it happens often enough that that Churchill remark that others have quoted here is a famous one.

  42. John Guilfoyle Says:

    Hi Neo
    We’ve reached that “full circle of the argument” point again…you & I get here often. 😉 At least we are consistent.

    “I am firmly convinced that this is possible today”
    I am not because “today” is different from when you did it back before cell phones were invented.

    The vast weight of cultural change is toward the violent left. You are well aware of what’s happening on university campuses all across the US. I cited yesterday’s mayhem in the Texas House. The former Oval Office occupant talked about “punching back” but he really meant get in the first one & wasn’t it Loretta Lynch who affirmed blood in the streets? And deluded Hillary’s still pushing the “I won so let’s all resist” madness. The destabilisation at every level is the left’s direct effort to release the whirlwind aka violence in search of power.

    God bless your efforts to teach instruct mould and shape minds & opinions. I pray every day you are right…but remember where this started…the professor in question, a man of the far left now being hunted by the left for questioning the tactics of the left, refuses to move right. Even when his head is under the guillotine he espouses the revolution that is putting him there. If you can change HIS mind & I’ll believe it is possible.

    And again…I do appreciate your graciousness in the face of my ofttimes lack of it. Pax vobiscum.

  43. Bill Says:

    Not to pile on, John, but I don’t get this:

    “If I were president of Evergreen…”
    To hell with that.

    If I were Governor of that state, I’d fence the campus off & let them kill and eat each other until the last remnant of that plague is dead.
    Then, MOAB the remains.

    I get the hyperbole, but I hear more and more of this kind of talk in these comments threads.

    You know that doing the above would be both illegal and murderously immoral.

    Bonhoffer was talking about HITLER. You’re talking about mixed up college kids who – at least as far as I know in this instance – haven’t physically hurt anyone and certainly haven’t killed anyone.

  44. kevino Says:

    Sorry, but I agree with Lucius: The people you most want to reach would regard a course on tyranny as instruction on strategy and not as a warning. We have arrived at a strange point in history where people who should know better are happy to rule over the masses using whatever means necessary. I’ve seen this attitude many times of the last 25-30 years. They are the philosopher-kings of Plato’s Republic, and the unwashed masses cannot be trusted with self-government.

    The fact that history shows the terrible consequences of tyranny doesn’t bother them a bit: it’s the little who will die. The planet will be better off. Those who do not learn the lessons of history are just stupid, and many of these people are pretty stupid. The rest are corrupt and simply don’t care if the little people suffer.

  45. neo-neocon Says:

    John Guilfoyle:


    I hope I’m right, too, and not just because I like to be right (although, like most people, I do like to be right).

  46. David Foster Says:

    Neo: “I know a great many people on the left, of all ages. They are not even remotely a unitary bunch in what they advocate, why they advocate it, on what their belief system is based, and how firm and resistant to change it is.”

    Very true, and also tactically important. When marketing a product or service, it is generally a good idea to segment the potential-customer set and then try to understand what are the drivers of behavior in each segment. The same is true for political policies and belief systems.

  47. Dunque Says:

    This is like a Maoist era struggle session. Exactly like one. Very sad. Very scary.

  48. Geoffrey Britain Says:


    “one of the assertions by the students is that the place is somehow riddled with rampant racism”

    That is the overwhelmingly dominant paradigm on campuses today.

    “what would actually satisfy these students? A full-scale Cultural Revolution? The purging of those kulaks known as white people, or the right, or whoever the target du jour may be?”

    Bingo. White people must be subjugated because it is revenge for imagined wrongs they seek. Only the whip hand vigorously used will satisfy.

    And given the cultural rejection of the virtues necessary to socioeconomic success, an inability to compete further impels them to imagine ongoing racial grievances.

    While whites on the left are amenable to whatever it takes to expiate their ancestral sins.

    This incident is the result of black and Hispanic students and ‘professors’ calling for a one day expulsion of ALL whites from Evergreen. Prelude to expulsion of all whites from power. They will never be satisfied with less.

    Only when whites are enslaved will the most radical of blacks be satiated. They have become what they rail against. They demand their turn at being the master. And whites deserve whatever cruelty their hate may demand. That hate is far more widespread among young blacks than most whites realize.

    A 17 minute visit here demonstrates this reality.

  49. AesopFan Says:

    Yancey Ward Says:
    May 30th, 2017 at 1:01 am
    It wasn’t the election of 2016 that changed things with the annual day of absence at Evergreen, it was the fact that all the previous days of absence were not noticed by the students who remained behind- no one who remained on campus gave a horse’s turd. So it had to be changed.
    * * *
    Most of the “Days Without The Victim Group du jour” seem to have that effect.

  50. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    “Evergreen Student Activists Demand Video of Them Screaming, Cursing at College President Be Taken Offline”

    “We demand that the video created for Day of Absence and Day of Presence that was stolen by white supremacists and edited to expose and ridicule the students and staff be taken down by the administration by this Friday,” the students wrote in a list of demands to college President George Bridges.”

  51. Johann Amadeus Metesky Says:

    I asked- how could people of the Jewish faith who had fled Hitler be conservative?

    I point out to my liberal Jewish friends that Jews have suffered most when the haters had the power of government behind them. (See: Khmelnitsky, Hitler, Stalin, Ferdinand & Isabella).

  52. Big Maq Says:

    “Regarding the supposed unchanging nature of leftwing views: I’ve known a number of young people who were pretty liberal in HS and college but started voting conservative when they got married, started paying taxes, and had kids.”
    – Bill

    In college one acquaintance heavily argued about the merits of socialism.

    After graduation he got a job. It turns out he told a mutual friend that he was rather upset with the amount of taxes taken out of his paycheck.

    Not sure how much that changed his views, but no doubt some realities do dawn on people, and that may have an impact that accumulates over time.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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