November 4th, 2017

Universities: the appeasement of the bullies

One turning point in the history of the university in the United States occurred about fifty years ago at Cornell (as later described by Allan Bloom in The Closing of the American Mind). And over the years the situation at academia appears to have gotten worse and worse and worse, as evidenced by recent events at the extremely “progressive” Reed College—so much worse that a lot of students are now protesting the protestors:

“The movement cannot continue to manufacture an enemy that has agreed to review the syllabus [and] bended over backwards on all accounts to accommodate the free speech of the protesters,” wrote Misha, another freshman, in the first op-ed critical of RAR [Reedies Against Racism] published in the paper. Yet the more accommodation that’s been made, the more disruptive the protests have become—and the more heightened the rhetoric. “Black Lives Matter” was the common chant at last year’s boycott. This year’s? “No cops, no KKK, no racist USA.” RAR increasingly claims those cops will be unleashed on them—or, in their words, Hum [humanities] professors are “entertaining threatening violence on our bodies.”

I believe that’s exactly what the members of the RAR want. They are Reed students (and hangers-on?) who want to provoke retaliation against themselves by an administration that so far has appeased them.

As yet no limits have been set; the administration’s hunger for appeasement seems nearly insatiable. As Allan Bloom wrote in the late 80s, describing events that had occurred at Cornell during the late 60s:

[S]tudents discovered that pompous teachers who catechized them about academic freedom could, with a little shove, be made into dancing bears.

“Teachers” includes “administrators,” of course. One difference, though, between the 60s and now, is that I don’t think there’s quite as much talk by professors about academic freedom.

The one good thing about what’s happening at Reed is that the majority of the students at Reed, including some students of color, have grown fed up with the extremists and may have had enough. Quite a few students actually want to learn and are tired of having their classes disrupted by the protest groups.

I also suggest you read Professor William Jacobson’s account of what happened when he tried to speak at Vassar College (more links here):

The students who tried to prevent [my campus talk] from happening, who spread the lies, as far as I know, have not been called out by the administration. They’ve been coddled by the administration, and they need to be held accountable for what they did. Because they tried to deprive all these other students of those students’ right to education. They wanted to hear me speak.

This is similar to what happened at Reed—the few make if difficult for the larger group of more reasonable students. But the squeaky wheel gets the administration’s grease.

[NOTE: Please see my just-published post on Robert Frost’s take on the beginning of this sort of thing, one hundred years ago. Yes, one hundred years ago the administrations at colleges and universities were beginning to defer to their students rather than to teach them, as Frost describes.]

20 Responses to “Universities: the appeasement of the bullies”

  1. Baklava Says:

    In this AEI interview Paglia and Christina Hoff Sommers talk about colleges then and now and how they tranformed.

    It’s 50 minutes long but worth it.

  2. j e Says:

    The idea in the GOP’s tentative proposal to tax the endowment income of wealthy private universities is a good one, and severely de-funding public universities that refuse to defend freedom of speech might be the only way to correct the egregious misbehavior of faculty, students, and especially administrators.

  3. Baklava Says:

    j e,
    I agree. I think Republicans should go further and provide for the EQUALITY of OPPORTUNITY for students and let people know their BEHAVIOR is responsible for the equality of outcomes by removing ALL favoritism programs, ensuring equality in the curriculum, strict rules on discipline and on and on. Or universities should simply be defunded and stripped of their accreditation.

  4. Griffin Says:

    The truly scary part of these campus protests is that history tells us these people are almost certainly this countries future government bureaucrats and eventually elected officials.

    I think it is almost a certainty that within 20-30 we will have single payer health care and ‘hate speech’ will be illegal. It’s just a matter of time until they get enough judges in the system.

  5. Ymar Sakar Says:

    Universities are Leftist mind control indoctrination centers that use orgies, rape, sexual abuse, intellectual abuse, false information, and cult discipline methods to convert the good old American boy/girl into a Marxist witch and zombie cannonfodder.


    Witness the power of the Left.

    Even if you want to fight them… will you cripple and kill your friends, family, and relatives? Because that is who they will have control over, with orders that cannot be disobeyed.

    They used to say the CIA created mind control. The Left got their mind control research from someone, and it wasn’t merely Chomsky or Soros.

    Satanic ritual abuse, went back farther than the CIA.

  6. Ymar Sakar Says:

    Read up on Red China’s Cultural Revolution, specifically the details of the REd Guard.

    The Left ain’t as stupid as some Americans think… although some Americans are as stupid as the Left thinks.

    Who gave these people enough money to RECREATE THE RED GUARD? Wasn’t me.

  7. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    Consider the following timeline of highlights.

    1848: Publication of Marx’s Pamphlet “The Communist Manifesto”
    1859: Publication of Darwin’s “On the Origen of Species”
    1860-1865: American Civil War
    1867: Posthumous publication of “Volume I Das Kapital: Critique of Political Economy” by Karl Marx
    1886: Publication of “Beyond Good and Evil” Friedrich Nietzsche
    1887: Publication of “On the Geneology of Morality: A Polemic” Friedrich Nietzsche
    1888: “The Will to Power: Attempt at a Revaluation of All Values” F. Nietzsche
    1891: “Thus Spoke Zarathustra” F. Nietzsche “God is Dead”in which Nietzsche declares that Western Society’s Elite have abandoned their reliance upon religion as a moral compass and source of meaning.
    1913: Election of Woodrow Wilson
    1914: Rise of Post Modernism, first critique of religion and theology in which nihilism is promoted. Denial of the oossibility of objective truths,
    1914-1918: First World War, “the War to End All Wars”
    1922: Establishment of the Soviet Union, the first communist State
    1950s: Antonio Gramsci’s “Prison Notebooks” become available in which he lays out the rationale for the “Long March Through the Institutions”
    1968-1970: Publication and Translation of Paulo Friere’s “Pedagogy of the Oppressed” a highly influential treatise with American academia, having sold over 750,000 copies.

    Which leads to this: “Berkley Students Protest Exam and Demand ‘Take Home’, Accuse Test-Takers of White Supremacy”

  8. om Says:

    Yes, it’s just one thing after another. That’s how time works.

  9. Geoffrey Britain Says:


    Pettiness becomes you.

  10. om Says:


    You take yourself so seriously so often.

  11. Paul in Boston Says:

    In “The Road to Surfdom” Hayek points out that college faculty of the 30s and 40s were all uniformly Fascists or Communists and next to none believed in capitalism. I long ago came to the conclusion that these are natural inclinations if you live in a world of words where there are no independent tests of your thinking and no consequences if you are wrong. After all, they sound good and make you feel virtuous because you care about the welfare of all mankind so very much.

  12. Paul in Boston Says:

    Not only should the university hedge funds, I mean, the endowments be taxed, federal student loans should be ended. It wiil force cutting the ridiculous costs of college and their outrageous rate of inflation.

  13. neo-neocon Says:

    Paul in Boston:

    “The Road to Surfdom”—but I thought that was by the Beach Boys 🙂 .

  14. Sorta Blogless Sunday Pinup » Pirate's Cove Says:

    […] Neo-neocon covers appeasement of bullies at universities […]

  15. physicsguy Says:

    GB, in your timeline you left out a critical moment: late 70s-early 80s, Foucault publishes his works which leads to the rise of post-modernism and the PC culture.

  16. Karl Krause Says:

    Love the part about dancing bears!

  17. Ray Says:

    “Hayek points out that college faculty of the 30s and 40s were all uniformly Fascists or Communists”
    Orwell explained why. Remember, the intellectuals believed in scientific socialism and history as a metaphysical force.
    “Some ideas are so stupid that only intellectuals believe them.” George Orwell

  18. Bryan Lovely Says:

    Whenever I hear the word “bodies”, that’s when I reach for my revolver.

  19. AesopFan Says:

    Paul in Boston Says:
    November 4th, 2017 at 10:56 pm… I long ago came to the conclusion that these are natural inclinations if you live in a world of words where there are no independent tests of your thinking and no consequences if you are wrong….
    * * *
    Which is why, perhaps, the STEM departments have held out longer, but they are starting to fall to the hordes as well now.

    One small edit: The “no consequences” should be “no negative consequences” and applies only to the perps of academia and government (they often receive a great many positive consequences, such as plaudits and plunder); however, there are plenty of down-twinkles for all of their victims — completely unintended, of course.

  20. Matt_SE Says:

    One hundred years ago was the dawn of scientific socialism. All the West had centralized planning on the minds of their elites.
    It only took 100 million murders to dissuade them for about 50 years.

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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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