Tuesday, November 10, 2015

2015: American Cultural Revolution Launched?

Missouri Football Protesters Call for University President's Head
It’s amazing what just happened at the University of Missouri. Black students upset about President Timothy Wolfe’s
insufficient appreciation for the “systematic oppression” experienced by students of color at the university [and backed by c]ampus agitators alleg[ing] that racial slurs had been directed at black students
forced Wolfe to resign! They did so using a technique that may go university by university across the nation. They moved black players on Missouri’s football team to threaten that unless Wolfe resigned, they would boycott Saturday’s game with BYU, a cancellation that would cost Missouri $1 million.

Yes, Missouri is the state of Ferguson, the St. Louis suburb that hosted riots last year over the supposed white policeman murder (since disproven) of an unarmed black teenager. Yes, the University of Missouri is run by the state. Yes, Missouri is one of only 17 states still left with a Democratic governor. Yes, blacks provide over 20% of Missouri's Democratic vote. Nevertheless, every campus where football or basketball earn universities--public or private--big dollars faces the same blackmail threat that brought down Wolfe, along with his chancellor.

And if you don’t believe a nationwide cultural revolution--with parallels to the massive, student-led Red Guard revolution that destroyed China’s traditional Communist Party in 1966--may be starting in the U.S., look what’s going on at Yale. Professor Nicholas Christakis resides at and presides over Silliman, a Yale residential college. His wife Erika, a lecturer in early childhood education, shares that duty.

As described by Conor Friedersdorf over 3,500 words in the liberal Atlantic, Erika had the temerity to suggest, politely in an email, that maybe Yale administrators shouldn’t be advising which Halloween costumes were and were not appropriate for students to wear.

The reaction to Erika’s email was explosive. Please go here to view the YouTube student intimidation of husband Nicholas; a video clip that begins with one student saying, “Walk away, he doesn’t deserve to be listened to.”

You think that reaction was a bit much? Friedersdorf reports that since Halloween, “Hundreds of Yale students are attacking [the Christakis’s], some with hateful insults, shouted epithets, and a campaign of public shaming,” and “a faction of students are now trying to get the couple removed from their residential positions, which is to say, censured and ousted from their home on campus.”

Comment: We can no longer expect the crucible of meritocratic elite rule--the academy--to be a training ground for democracy based upon the principle that all persons are created equal, a belief supported by our basic freedoms, including freedom of speech. In the words of George Orwell’s Napoleon (Animal Farm, 1945), “All . . . Are Equal / But Some Are More Equal Than Others."

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