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Recently, one of my neighbors saw students from Elizabethtown College, where I taught for many years, walking down the street wearing what looked like the puzzle pieces featured as symbols by Autistic Awareness.

When he asked why they were wearing the all-white puzzle pieces, one of the coeds proudly explained that they were dramatizing the outrage of “white privilege.” About 50 students and alums had pledged to wear these puzzle pins for the next month, until everyone became sensitive to how we were oppressing blacks.

A detailed Daily Mail story concerning this campaign against “white privilege” informed readers, “The school’s 203-acre campus is situated in Lancaster County, where according to the latest US Census data from 2015, more than 90 percent of the population is white.” The article also featured a picture of our administrative building, which it noted was packed full of white people. The borough where the president of the College Democrats wants “to get people to talk openly about race and white privilege” is likewise overwhelmingly white.

The student handing out puzzle pins poured her heart out to the local CBS affiliate with these words: “People of color have to wake up everyday and think about race and just about their life. What they have to do to not negatively impact their life. As a white person we don’t usually have to think about that.”

If this young woman is as deeply concerned as she suggests about the presumed suffering of blacks in the U.S., she should go somewhere where she can find some to help. The few blacks who live in Lancaster County don’t need her help and live here precisely because they want to wake up each morning without having to fear the crime that infests our large cities.

One of our close friends in the borough happens to be a black woman, an accountant, who voted for Trump. She scoffs at the idea that the problems of many black Americans are caused by the “privileges” enjoyed by whites.

The British paper correctly underlined the hypocrisy of whites pretending to be advocating for oppressed blacks while choosing to reside in a lily-white environment. This is the dirty little secret at Elizabethtown that I indiscreetly revealed in newspaper articles while I held an endowed chair at the college.

For decades, some of our departments, such as social work, education, and communications, have been full of young radicals who opt for a college that is at a safe distance from the minorities whom they claim to be championing. More than one such student has complained to me: “We don’t recruit enough students from inner cities to give us diversity.” To that I usually responded: “If you want diversity, then why don’t you go to a college in a black neighborhood, say Temple in Philadelphia?” This invariably caused the complainer to walk away.

The adolescents sporting the puzzle pins exemplify the prevailing spirit at the institution, but such grandstanding hasn’t always been the custom at the college. When I arrived there in the 1980s, Elizabethtown College seemed to be on the right path, educationally, fiscally, and in most other ways.

The president who hired me, Gerhard Spiegler, was a German scholar who hoped to make the institution into a first-rate center of learning. Spiegler hoped to elevate academic standards for students and faculty alike, and he practiced Teutonic thrift by keeping the size and salaries of the administration exceedingly low. He was hated by most of the old guard on campus, particularly by the faculty with terminal master’s degrees in education who taught their courses, as he would say, on “automatic pilot.”

Spiegler also hired assistants who were able to increase the school’s meager endowment and to raise funds for new buildings. Among the buildings that he arranged to erect were a state-of-the-art library and an Anabaptist Center, created for the study of the German Pietist sect that had established Elizabethtown College in 1899. He worked energetically to retain the loyalty of traditional Brethren alumni and donors and continued to look upon their coreligionists as a recruiting base.

Unlike much of the faculty, Spiegler leaned politically toward the Right and had no patience for academic agitators, especially for troublemakers who combined radical political views with a lack of professional accomplishments. Unfortunately, the troublemakers outlasted Spiegler, who laid down his duties in 1996.

During the next two administrations, the troublemakers got the “hope of change” they thought they wanted. It came in the form of lavishly salaried administrators (certainly by comparison to those who preceded them), rapidly escalating tuition, and a shifting emphasis at the college from a strict Pietist environment to the PC fad du jour, lately “white privilege.”

I’ve never seen an institution change so fundamentally within just a few years. The changes came on a number of fronts.

The cultural transformation moved from such Anabaptist-sounding activities as peace studies, to diversity deans and diversity studies through consciousness-raising events for blacks, women, and gays, “safe spaces” for LGBT, and special living arrangements for the transgendered. Black History and Women’s Months went on interminably and brought to the college a steady stream of outraged victim speakers.

Such commotions served a practical as well as ideological function. They gave special prominence to non-ideational disciplines (that is, majors that are more open to expressing grievances than teaching written bodies of knowledge), and the social justice exhibitionists are usually drawn from the students and faculty in these areas. Not insignificantly, those departments are now the cash cows at the college: they don’t require much in the way of equipment and have delivered loads of tuition-bearing students.

Needless to say, there’s no way the college could return to its historic Anabaptist roots. When I retired six years ago, less than one percent of the students belonged to one of the German “peace churches” once heavily represented at the college. The largest religious denomination among the student body is now Catholic, and our students, faculty, and administrators all lean strongly toward the left wing of the Democratic Party.

But the increasing emphasis on PC and diversity is bringing declining benefits. The incurious students who praise “hands-on learning” (which typically involves little serious learning) seem less and less likely to choose a middling college with a price tag of $55,000 a year. (Even with the negotiated bargains given to prospective buyers, the average yearly cost is around $30,000.) Students can major in primary education, social work, and communications for considerably less at a state institution, where they can also do their demonstrating.

In a nutshell, the college has become too expensive for what it offers its average student; an erosion of the customer base has started. Since 2009, the student body has declined from 1,866 to 1,707 and the school is encountering increasing difficulty meeting its annual goal of 450 entering freshmen. This year it trimmed $3 million from its budget. Justified fear has set in among the faculty that further savings will be extracted from their salaries and benefits.

It’s hard to imagine why one would go to Elizabethtown to partake of a uniqueness that no longer exists. If someone wants safe spaces for LGBT or intends to march against “white privilege,” why choose an expensive college that’s unknown to people outside our region?

Some things have improved at the college since I began teaching. There are more buildings and faculty, and the faculty is on the whole better credentialed than it was in the 1980s. Our diligent students are more likely to be accepted into the better professional schools and graduate programs than thirty years ago. Elizabethtown College has also in recent years produced Rhodes and Fulbright Scholars, an accomplishment that should give it far better bragging privileges than social justice grandstanding.

The school could have made those improvements without the disastrous decisions. It could have kept costs lower, avoided administrative bloating, been more selective about the students it admitted, and aimed at the academic excellence that always seemed pushed to the back in official statements about the college’s goals.

Administrators and their faculty enablers could have built on their traditional Protestant, regional heritage. Instead, they exchanged that heritage for the chance to become a caricature of Berkeley. The college is now hurting.

(Reprinted from The James G. Martin Center by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Academia, Political Correctness 

About ten years ago I published a book, The Strange Death of Marxism, which argued strenuously that the present Left is not Marxist, but post-Marxist. Unlike traditional Marxists and European democratic socialists, the type of Left that has gained ground since and even before the fall of the Soviet Empire is culturally radical but only secondarily interested in economic change. Our present Left makes its peace with private enterprise and even large corporations, providing it can impose its idea of social and cultural transformation on increasingly powerless citizens and their increasingly indoctrinated children. Not that this Left is particularly friendly to anything that is private, including economic transactions. But it treats the economy as something that it can influence without having to nationalize, thereby avoiding those disastrous policies that socialist governments of the past tried to enact. Our own master class has sensibly concluded that it’s better to allow market forces to operate while making sure that public administration can dip, when it advances a pretext, into the profits. Further, the master class endlessly bullies the public into going along with increasingly complicated behavioral guidelines, supposedly intended to fight “discrimination.” It is the culture and only instrumentally the government that the post-Marxist Left seeks to dominate; and the type of administrative state that has expanded explosively in every Western country since the 1960s is an effective instrument by which social engineers and sensitivity commissars can do their work.

Although I haven’t change my view about how the Left has transformed itself since I wrote my book, it does seem that in some ways there’s been more continuity between the old and the new Lefts than I once suggested. Old-time Marxists here and in Europe became multiculturalists almost overnight, while our current leftists still admire Communists of the past (like Castro) and associate anti-Communists with fascism. Moreover, as I’ve watched the organized anti-Trump hysteria that is gripping our grievance-crowds, soi-disant entertainment industries, and unhinged media, it is obvious that the PC-multicultural Left is following the older, more cerebral Marxist Left in three critical respects.

  1. Like the Communists and also like the Italian Fascists, the multicultural Left never sees itself as occupying positions of authority and or being able to force the unwilling to comply with its demands. As the Left understands its situation, it is always struggling to take power. Also when it seems to be on the verge of getting somewhere (as in Obama’s America), it is still in danger of being crushed by hostile forces. Just as the Left once contended that no socialist revolution had ever been fully carried out and that Communist countries were still “on the way to becoming socialist,” so too are today’s PC regimes, as viewed by their advocates, only tentative first steps toward overcoming the past. They are first steps on the long march to power; and even these steps became threatened when Hillary Clinton failed to win the presidency.
  2. There is no way that the Left can retreat from what it has achieved in transforming society without the entire edifice of change being imperiled. This corresponds to Trotsky’s formula that if the revolution is made to retreat from stage D to stage C, then the entire march toward the new society could be reversed. Therefore the march out of the gloomy repressive past must be continued unconditionally, and any retreat from it is tantamount to counterrevolution — or in the leftist fear-mongering phrase, having women forced to have abortions in back alleys, re-imposing racial segregation, and jailing homosexuals. This kind of thinking makes perfectly good sense, if one begins with the assumption that one is in an “all or nothing” situation. It also doesn’t matter that President Obama stopped flights to the U.S. from Iraq in 2011 or that Bill Clinton spoke in a State of the Union address in 1994 about stopping the presence of illegals in the U.S. Nor should we notice that Donald Trump’s predecessor opposed gay marriage at the time he was elected to the presidency. It is our duty to protect whatever revolution is underway in its most advanced state. Any retreat from the present into the past, even the recent past, should be seen as an attempt to undo every bit of Progress that’s been gained until now.
  3. Anyone who threatens the still fragile, reversible process of change must be dehumanized. There can be no honest disagreements with those who either by design or because of dangerous ignorance are working against “hope and change.” One is therefore justified in condemning these reactionaries as the lowliest and most malevolent of beings. Like the Communists, the current Left, particularly in Western Europe, characterizes its opponents as “fascists.” Note that for the old Left, “fascism” had a quasi-scientific meaning. It referred to the defenders of a form of late capitalism, which had already reached a point of mortal crisis. “Fascists” repressed socialist revolution by creating right-wing nationalist dictatorships. In the process phony “fascist” revolutionaries drove real leftist revolutionaries underground.

For the multicultural Left, by contrast, the once meaningful Marxist term “fascist” has been reduced to a smear. It now signifies those the Left is combatting, that is, those who disagree with all or some aspect of the Left’s social agenda. Those who oppose this agenda may or perhaps should be attacked as Nazis and even Holocaust-deniers (which an acquaintance of mine recently called me for voting for Donald Trump). If the people under attack don’t deny Nazi crimes explicitly, their view of “social justice” is so hopelessly negative that presumably they would have enthusiastically endorsed Hitler. What else should one think of someone who is trying to push us back into the Dark Ages, perhaps as far back as 2008?

(Reprinted from American Thinker by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Cultural Marxism, Donald Trump, Marxism 
Anti-Trump demonstrations are far from irrational. The opposite is more likely.

Every day I hear exasperated Trump-backers exclaim that the Left has gone crazy. And their complaint seems justified, at least up to a point. The demonstrations against Trump, which now involve such gestures as setting fires, destroying property and beating up suspected Trump backers, look utterly “irrational.” It’s as if the election and subsequent inauguration of Donald Trump released forces of madness that can no longer be contained. Wild accusations are being made against those who voted for Trump, that they yearn to exterminate blacks and gays and put Jews into concentration camps, etc. One of my close acquaintances has turned her home into “a safe space for Jewish children,” so there will be no more Anne Frank-deaths during the terrible persecutions that our “illegitimately appointed, fake head of state” will soon supposedly unleash. I myself have been called by leftist ex-friends a “Holocaust-denier” because I think Trump’s decision to stop the influx of visitors and immigrants from terrorist-laden countries is entirely justified. How this shows that I deny Hitler’s murderous activities is never explained to me, but I’m sure the Trump-haters in Hollywood, CNN and at Berkeley would understand the connection.

Note that I’m not saying that everyone out there making noise or burning property is a model of scientific rationality. Nor am I claiming that the entertainment community makes sense when they scream against the Donald, or that students who recently set fires on the Berkeley campus to protest a speech by Milo Yiannopoulos were engaging in Aristotelian reasoning. What I am asserting is that viewed from the top, this agitation and violence reveal careful thought. In fact, from the vantage point of George Soros and such protest organizers as the Democratic National Committee and the leaders of the grievance culture, noisy demonstrations are a reasonable means toward a predetermined end. Max Weber, Vilfredo Pareto, and other sociologists who understood functional rationality as working systematically toward a desired end would have pointed to these protests as illustrating perfectly rational action, at least on the part of those who organize them.

The useful idiots are all over the place, but that’s exactly what they are, mere stage extras. They are impressionable adolescents, Hollywood airheads, middle-aged women who want to “assert themselves,” perpetually incited racial minorities, and Muslim activists. Many of them can be mobilized at the drop of a pin to “march for tolerance,” however that term is interpreted by those who organize the march and by politicians, like Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, who seek to increase their influence through well-prepared displays of “righteous indignation.” Please note that Schumer’s obstructionist tactics in the Senate, blocking or delaying cabinet nominees and threatening to shoot down Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, have been applied to the accompaniment of non-stop anti-Trump protests. Only a fool or unthinking partisan would believe these events are unrelated.

Most of what we see and hear is profoundly hypocritical. Trump is not threatening gays or blacks; he is far from being an exterminationist anti-Semite, he is surrounded by Jewish family members and Jewish advisers and is adored by the population of Israel. He is not an anti-Muslim religious bigot; and the temporary travel restriction that he established last week affects non-Muslims as well as Muslims trying to enter the USA from certain countries. Only 109 travelers were detained last weekend because of the ban; and one may easily surmise that other passengers who were jostled by the loads of screaming, gesticulating demonstrators suffered far more grievously than those who were temporarily detained. Moreover, since Obama imposed a four-month travel ban on passengers from Iraq in 2011, we may assume that even more people during the supposedly sensitive Obama years were inconvenienced. But, strange as it seems, I don’t recall mass demonstrations by our selective humanitarians against Obama’s travel restrictions. Perhaps I didn’t notice them when they were taking place.

I also hear from establishment Republicans, and even from family members who should know better, that Trump is bringing all this on himself because he is too free with his words. If only he could explain himself calmly and read more often from a teleprompter, none of this would be happening. Moreover, if Trump were a nice conciliatory guy, like, say, W, Romney or Kasich, the PC crowd would be pacified—or would stop running riot. This gives me food for thought. Does anyone really believe that the Left was nice to George W. Bush, whom they also smeared as a racist and religious bigot? And is any Republican or Never-Trumper naïve enough to believe that if it had been Ted Cruz rather than Trump naming Neil Gorsuch as his pick to the Supreme Court, there would be no demonstrations against this outstanding non-leftist jurist? Perhaps if the silver-tongued Cruz were defending Gorsuch in Ciceronian accents, Schumer and his friends in the Senate would not be trying to block the confirmation? Come to think of it: Cruz has already endorsed Gorsuch—to no effect.

The only question that should be asked in this matter concerns the end game of those who are organizing the insurrectionary masses. What do they expect to gain from the continuing noise and escalating violence? At the very least they may hope to disempower Trump and his administration–perhaps to render them so powerless that they won’t able to do anything that the Left and the Democratic base (to make a perhaps unnecessary distinction) don’t want them to do. The Democrats are also hoping to take advantage of the chaos to which their fans and operatives have contributed by posing as the true party of order. Only the Democrats, the electorate will be impelled to assume, could end the civil unrest by bringing back the glorious days of the Obama administration.

This transfiguration of the bungling leftist Obama into the guarantor of American order may not be as strange an idea as it first seems. Last week I found myself sitting next to a sixty year old black woman on a train going to Philadelphia; and this traveler began telling me how nice it had been under Obama. At first I reminded her of the growing criminality in our cities during the last few years, but then I noticed she wasn’t talking about crime. Things had been nicer under Obama because back then one didn’t witness daily and even hourly eruptions of organized anger, with the media, entertainment industry, and in varying degrees the Democratic Party egging on the mobs. The woman whom I spoke to wasn’t looking for deeper causes. All she knew was that since Trump had taken office, pandemonium was loosed on the country. And it’s not yet clear that this pandemonium will be blamed on those who are causing it, namely the organizers, the media, and the throngs of useful idiots.

(Reprinted from Front Page Magazine by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: American Left, Antifa, Donald Trump 

Let’s not imagine that Trump can alone pick up his popularity ratings.

Several days ago I picked up the Inquirer while in Philadelphia and saw on the front cover, next to a puff piece for Michelle Obama, a headline that Trump’s popularity is now down to 40%. Although I’ve no implicit faith in polls, given the likely politics of the pollsters and given their obvious downplaying of Trump’s support throughout the presidential campaign, from what I’ve seen and heard, it seems that Trump’s approval rating is in fact well below 50%. Despite Obama’s longtime associations with onetime terrorists and raving black nationalists, Mr. “Hope and Change” had an 80% approval rating when he took office; and it remained at about 60% when he flew off on Inauguration Day for a California vacation. And that often tongue-tied establishment Republican George W. Bush enjoyed a 60% approval rating when he entered the Oval Office. Although Trump continues to benefit from an intensely loyal following, it seems hard for him to raise his general support level above 50%.

One reason for this problem that may be overstated is that Trump is too impulsive to win the confidence of most Americans. He tweets too much and divulges indiscreet thoughts, and, as I never cease hearing from Trump’s critics, he is far too rude in the way he goes after his critics. And finally he gives the impression of being prejudiced against all sorts of minorities, which makes him sound, according to MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, downright “Hitlerian.” Contrary to this last attack, Trump demonstrably reached out to racial minorities in order to win their approval. Even his controversial inaugural address spoke sympathetically to inner city blacks, who voted overwhelmingly against him—and predictably in favor of his Democratic opponent.

As for the charge of being racially or socially divisive so often leveled against Trump, one might respond “In comparison to whom?” Former president Obama never missed a chance to play up white racism or Christian intolerance whenever he went into his moralizing mode. When Muslim terrorists slit the throats of Christians, he warned American Christians about “getting on a high horse.” Americans were told to use the occasion to ponder the evils of the Christian Crusades and the white Christian stigma of slavery. What was left unspoken were the Muslim conquests of formerly Christian regions that led to the Crusades and the widespread practice among Muslims of taking Africans as slaves. Equally missing from Obama’s blather was any mention of the fact that unlike Christians and Jews, Muslim zealots are now carrying out terrorist acts worldwide.

I won’t even get into all the things that Obama did to thumb his nose at middle class whites. Out of a very long list, we might note in passing his demonstrations of support for Black Lives Matter, thereby undermining the authority of the police, and his apparent epiphany that the teenage thug Trayvon Martin “could have been my son.” Undoubtedly if the media and educational establishment (both of which have been vocal in their denunciations of Trump’s insensitivity) had looked a bit harder, they would have found in Obama at least the same degree of offensiveness that they discovered in Trump. Of course this never happened, because the insensitivities revealed by Obama were music to the ears of his followers. And this brings me to my core argument: Trump is hampered in his efforts to become more popular by the enmity of culturally leftist institutions that now are dominant throughout the West. Like other politicians who are seen by the media and cultural elites as being against “diversity,” or whatever the weasel word of the moment, Trump will have to labor mightily to overcome media-created low approval ratings. And the obstacles he faces are not likely to go away in the foreseeable future.

Unlike other heads of government who try to buck the PC tide, Trump now holds the highest office in the richest and most influential country on Earth. What he says or does to affect the political culture is far more important than what a conservative nationalist in a small country, say the outspoken Victor Orban in Hungary, could hope to achieve worldwide. We might also note that the American cultural, communication and educational industries have far more impact worldwide than they do in other countries with less of a global presence. And, not insignificantly, these forces are allied against the spoiler Donald Trump. There’s also no use kidding ourselves about the danger posed by these enemies to anyone they’ve targeted. Such a target is lucky to survive as a public figure or someone with a more or less intact reputation.

Trump did survive; and because of his public relations genius and his ability to express the grievances of the grunge class, went on to become president, by winning an electoral majority. I take off my hat to this daring new president; and like my wife and friends among Hillary Clinton’s “basket of deplorables,” I stayed up on Election Night rejoicing at the Donald’s unexpected victory. And I genuinely like the man and his attractive family and find myself cheering every time he says something to insult our arrogant leftist elites. But I won’t fool myself by believing that he can make himself popular in the same manner as the person he’s replacing. Educators, mediacrats, and the “Hollywood community” are almost solidly committed to discrediting him, and at the very least, they should be able to depress his popularity index, by attacking him as a racist, homophobe, misogynist and anti-Semite. It makes no difference that these charges, which are repeated daily through thousands of fake news sources, had to be invented. If you hear these fabrications often enough, you may start to believe them.

Postscript: I just spoke to one of my daughters, who was asked to join the enraged women who were going from Boston to Washington to protest Trump’s attack on “women’s rights.” My daughter responded that she was unaware of what right Trump was now assailing. In any case, she wouldn’t join this multitude of yentas because it was clear that what they were really about was discrediting the Trump administration even before it began.

(Reprinted from The Liberty Conservative by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Donald Trump, Political Correctness 
Sometimes the Outreach Becomes Intolerable

Lately I’ve been watching the blossoming lovefest between the conservative-Republican establishment and those on the Left who are raging over the Obama administration’s reaction to the UN resolution against Israel. Arguably, this resolution was an attempt to take away Israel’s bargaining chips in negotiating with the Palestinians. The UN Security Council, which passed the resolution, made unmistakably clear that Israel is illegally occupying both East Jerusalem and the territory on the West Bank that had been taken during the Six Day War. The resolution may also have the effect of justifying terrorist acts designed to dislodge Israelis from areas that they’re no longer supposed to be occupying. Finally it challenges Israeli claims to East Jerusalem, although there is no chance that the Israeli government will acquiesce in making Jerusalem once again a divided city.

Although some of the reactions coming from Republican publicists and politicians have bordered on the hysterical or histrionic, I won’t disagree that the US might have done better by not lobbying for the troublesome resolution, which it appears is the case. And I wouldn’t question the view of the Israeli Premier that the Trump administration would have handled the resolution differently. Trump undoubtedly would have taken a different course, as he indicated in a tweet. But to move on to other matters: I’m appalled by how Fox-news and other disseminators of GOP party-lines have been fawning on leftist politicians and celebrities who share their “indignation” over the Obama administration’s treatment of the Israeli premier. Since the passage of the fateful resolution, we’ve been inundated by expressions of friendship from GOP celebrities for liberal Democrats who have now turned against Obama. For example, Chuck Schumer, Elliot Engel, and Kirsten Gillibrand are all outraged by how the outgoing president has turned on the “only democracy in the Middle East.” As a sign of the new relationship between us and them, we were treated last week on Fox news to a bathetic interview with a longtime political leftist and a bosom buddy of Obama, Alan Dershowitz. In this memorable interview Dershowitz explained how the President betrayed the Jewish people after assuring him that “I’ll have the back of Israel.” This may have been one of the great acting moment in the life of a seventy-eight year old courtroom performer. And the people in the studio were lapping it up.

Let me point out the obvious. Those who are being celebrated by Fox News, New York Post, and Wall Street Journal are mostly Democratic politicians representing heavily or disproportionately Jewish constituencies. Their reaction to what happened with the UN resolution was as predictable as the fact that North Carolina Senators vote for tobacco subsidies. Alan Dershowitz throughout his career has been a left-leaning Democrat but also a committed Zionist. Only a fool would have expected him not to take the side of Israel, even against a left liberal administration that he has tirelessly defended. Why the interviewer on Fox-news and her colleagues were awash in compassion for Dershowitz as he whined on about how Obama let him down, is something I still can’t get my head around.

Do Republican commentators and TV producers really think they can make pals of liberal Democrats simply because they all oppose the UN resolution on Israel? If that is the case, then these Republicans must be hopeless fools. Once the Obama administration’s failure to veto that resolution fades from the news, Schumer, Dershowitz and the other protestors will become the relentless opponents of the heartless, xenophobic, homophobic, racist Republicans once again. Don’t expect them to assist the Trump administration in replacing Obamacare or support the candidates for the Supreme Court whom President Trump will likely nominate. And because Schumer and the others are accidentally taking the same side on the UN resolution as Evangelical Christians, don’t expect them to respect the religious liberties of those who out of conscience refuse to cater gay weddings. Needless to say, these pro-Israel Democrats will be hot to trot for allowing men who have just changed their gender preference to enter shower facilities previously reserved for young women.

My other reaction to these unseemly overtures on the part of Republicans is that these folks must be desperate for the approval of left liberal politicians. Perhaps they’re trying to show that contrary to what the Left has been saying about them, they’re not anti-Semites after all. GOP luminaries have therefore decided to kiss up (no other phrase will do here) to the pro-Zionist Left by showcasing their solidarity over the Jewish state with Schumer, Dershowitz, etc. Of our two national parties, the Republican Party has been the more effusively pro-Israel, but perhaps its partisans now feels impelled to go further, by demonstrating their fervent Zionist sympathy in the company of solidly leftist allies. Such overcompensating behavior is not unusual for the conservative establishment; I’ve been observing it for decades. Republican publicists and Republican politicians often go all out trying to outdo the Left, for example, in praising Martin Luther King and deploring American incidents involving racial and gender prejudice. The GOP establishment can sometimes bring off such gestures without looking utterly ridiculous. Unfortunately this is not one of those occasions.

 

During the last few months I’ve seen on TV and read in Newsmax the views of an earnest American patriot, Zudhi Jasser. A onetime naval officer, distinguished cardiologist and more recently, an inspired leader of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, Dr. Yasser has been second to none in denouncing Islamicist terror and in exhorting his fellow-Muslims in the US and throughout the West to turn in suspected terrorists. It pains me to criticize such a decent fellow, but much of what I hear him saying about purifying Islam of Sharia and making Muslims accept “human rights,” “gender equality” and “secular governance” as part of their belief system is arrant nonsense. I make this point not because I wish to savage Islam, in either its Sunni or Shiite form, but because it is hard for me to imagine that anyone who accepts the claims of a traditional religion could in good conscience adopt Yasser’s position. Biblical or Koranic religion antedates by many centuries the modern principles or attitudes around which Yasser proposes to restructure his faith tradition (Yes, I have availed myself of this insipid commodified term).

A believer may try to accommodate himself to the new order but it is foolish to insist that his millennial faith and the rules that it enjoins are entirely compatible with the latest version of American liberal democracy. Why should a devout Muslim care if Dr. Jasser wishes to put him “on the right side of History”? Like Rabbinic Judaism or Canon Law, Sharia dictates a way of life for those who accept the authority of their faith. Are we to say, as Dr. Yasser sometimes seem to be suggesting, that pious Muslims should now accept only those of their precepts and injunctions that don’t conflict with the concept of democratic equality and with the ongoing feminist revolution?

I once had friends who were members of the American Council for Judaism. These friends would insist that Judaism, at least as they understood it, was a universal ethical religion that had nothing to do with accepting Israel as a homeland. From my own more thorough knowledge of the subject, it seemed to me that what they said was hot air. Being Jewish is about observing complicated dietary laws and rituals, which only in some cases have a relation to ethics. Moreover, there is no way that national identity can be viewed as extraneous to being Jewish. Jewish prayers and Hebrew Scriptures abound in references to Israel as the Jewish homeland. Jewish messianic hopes center on having all Jews return to Zion. While my friends in the American Council for Judaism were expressing feel-good sentiments, these sentiments do not belong to traditional Rabbinic Judaism. Like Yasser’s plan to make secular democratic equality the basis of Islamic religion, the ACJ was (and is) equating an inherited religious and communal faith with certain modern notions.

There is of course nothing wrong with groups disputing our late modern form of democracy or our current worship of the equality principle. I myself have been ripping into these idols, as an old-fashioned American constitutionalist, for many decades and can cite other authors who do the same. But there is a critical difference between me and those devout Muslims who are waging Jihad. My contrarian views do not lead me into being violent; nor do I have any desire to set up a caliphate on this continent or in Europe. What makes Muslims different from others who question certain modernist dogmas is the possibility that they may turn violent and that they may want to impose their way of life on others by force.

This certainly justifies the “extreme vetting” that President-elect Trump has suggested that Muslim visitors or incoming Muslim residents undergo. But it may be far more important to consider the potential for violence among those undergoing this investigation than whether they provide politically correct answers when asked about democracy and equality. Thomas Hobbes addresses this need for order in Leviathan, when he speaks about the conditions necessary to avoid civil strife: Anyone seeking to join civil society should have to give up his natural liberty and abide by the established order of the state to which he seeks admission. If there is reason to believe that the applicant will destroy the civil peace, then the political authorities shouldn’t admit him. And if those delegated to protect civil society decide for safety reasons not to accept visitors from dangerous regions, so be it. Sovereign nations do have this right and should be able to exercise it.

I’m also not sure how many correct answers the person interrogated will be expected to give in order to pass the “democracy” test. Let’s say the respondent doesn’t believe that women should vote (which was the situation in most American states up until less than a hundred years ago). Will the Muslim who expresses this once widespread judgment flunk the exam? What about accepting “marriage equality,” which the Clintons and President Obama didn’t accept until a few years ago, when they decided to impose it on the unwilling through judicial fiat? How much of the democratic belief system that now exists in the West will the Muslim respondent be expected to affirm in order to be let into this country?

This effort to make sure that Muslims entering the US fully affirm our “values” seems far less useful than the “loyalty oath” that public employees were expected to take in the 1950s, in order to prove that they weren’t Communists or Communist sympathizers. Unfortunately this oath, as formulated at the federal and state levels, never kept a Communist agent from lying. Or thoroughly hypocritical leftists who have never hesitated to shut up their opposition on the Right, from bellyaching about their loss of “civil liberties.” But unlike our democracy boosters, those who conceived of such oaths were being reasonable about what they demanded. They hoped to prevent those working in our universities and government from seeking the violent overthrow of the government. Every sovereign state has a right and indeed a duty to demand this of whomever it employs or lets in.

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Islam, Political Correctness 

Forget the Clinton emails—the BIG story (89,800 results on Google News as of 11:00 tonight) is that one (1) Trump supporter of the thousands attending his Phoenix rally on Saturday night took the opportunity of the crowd’s chanting “USA! USA!” to yell “Jew-S-A” at the press pen, who seem to have been upset. My own less excited reaction is well expressed by my fellow Jew Joel B. Pollak writing on Breitbart.com: Media Finally Find One Antisemite at a Trump Rally [October 30, 2016]

On my recent visit to the post office in our rural village in Central Pennsylvania, the postal worker, who is a Trump supporter, engaged me in conversation about the American Left. Without any idea of my Jewish background, he expressed wonder that Jews, who in other ways are so accomplished, are so “weird” in their political and social attitudes.

At first, I thought I would make my usual remarks about how Jews harbor obsolete negative attitudes about Christians and. more generally, about white people. But as I figured out that my acquaintance wouldn’t be able to catch the drift, I responded that the Jews he was referring to may be clever on tests, but they’re also unfortunately nuts.

Although I usually read Kevin MacDonald on Jewish attitudes with a sense that he may be overstating his case, his analyses of Jewish support for Hillary’s campaign against Donald Trump cannot do justice to the utter lunacy on display. This madness may indeed defy any attempt to describe it. Whether I’m reading the Forward about the terror that overcomes a self-identified Jewish woman with a Mexican-American baby when her “Trump Nazi nightmare” comes to mind [How Do I Explain My Trump Nazi Nightmare to My Mexican American Daughter?, By Anna Keller,Forward, October 21, 2016 ], a Jewish website deploring the rising tide of anti-Semitism in our universities caused by the Donald’s nomination [Antisemitism and the College Campus] or Bret Stephens [Email him] in the (onetime) conservative Wall Street Journal ranting against Trump for (entirely in Stephens paranoid imagination) reviving the idea of an international Jewish banking conspiracy [The Plot Against America, WSJ, October 17, 2016] I feel I’ve stumbled into the looney bin.

This doesn’t even get us into the subject of the hundreds of millions of dollars that identifiably Jewish donors have raised for “Crooked Hillary.” One particularly munificent donor, Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs, has explicitly forbidden his employees to give anything to the Republican nominee for president. [Goldman Sachs Bans Employees from Donating to Trump, by Lucinda Shen, Fortune, September 6, 2016] Trump apparently terrifies Blankfein, no less than he does Mark Zuckerberg, Barbra Streisand, and the Anti-Defamation League’s Abe Foxman. Foxman, who is no stranger to Leftist hysteria, even insists that when Trump asked supporters raise their right hands and pledge to support him, it was a “fascist gesture” which looked like the ‘Heil Hitler’ salute. (It didn’t.) Maybe Trump should tie his arm down? [Ex-ADL director: Trump pledge ‘is a fascist gesture’, By Eliza Collins, Politico, March 7, 2016]

I’ve literally no idea how Jewish celebrities and multi-millionaires can view Trump as a dangerous anti-Semite. His daughter Ivanka, who is now herself an observant Jew, is married to Jared Kushner, an Orthodox Jew, and one of Trump’s closest advisers. Among Trump’s other advisors and his frequent TV surrogates are other Jews, like investment banker Boris Epshteyn and Trump’s lawyer Mickey Cohen. Perhaps no other American presidential candidate has been so surrounded by Jews—and yet the attacks on him from Jewish quarters as a second Hitler (for some of the neocons he may be the hundredth) just won’t let up.

Nevertheless, let the record show that there are some what we might call “Righteous Jews”—besides me! Two of the three conveners of a Scholars for Trump declaration that has just reached sixty names, are Jewish, Walter Block and myself. (Walter is defending the motion “Libertarians Should Vote For Donald Trump In the Presidential Election” against the appallingly unreasonable ReasonEditor Nick Gillespie [Email him] at New York’s SohoForum on November 1). (Anyone wishing to sign our Scholars For Trump Declaration should email me). And a declaration for Trump that was posted on the American Greatness website, included such Jewish public figures as Michael Ledeen, David Goldman [Spengler] and Robert Weissberg.

Indeed, even the neoconservative icon Norman Podhoretz (unlike his Hillary-leaning son) is openly supporting Trump. Norman explained in a July interview with the New York Post that “Say what you will about Trump, she’s worse.” [Trump is plainly the best bet for the Jews, by Seth Lipsky, July 20, 2016.

Some of Trump’s Jewish supporters are far from friends with each other. The American Greatness webmasters specifically excluded the names of the conveners of our declaration from their listing. Yet there are Jews on both declarations, who obviously don’t regard Trump in the manner of Bret Stephens or Anna Keller of Forward, as a threat to the survival of American Jews.

Although only 19 percent of likely Jewish voters support Trump (roughly the same percentage that went to George W. Bush in 2000), a plurality of Orthodox Jews do. In a poll recently taken at Yeshiva University, 37% of the students declared for Trump, but only 27% for Clinton. [The Orthodox Vote for Trump, by Armin Rosen, Tablet, September 27, 2016]

Let me also note that a group of contrarians, all of whom are probably supporting Trump, meet each month in the basement of an Irish pub in Midtown Manhattan. Peter Brimelow, John Derbyshire, Edwin S. Rubenstein and I have all addressed this coterie that seems equally divided between Jews and Irish. All the attendees however express roughly the same Old Right views, which bring pleasure to my ears. Were my parents still alive, I’ve no doubt they’d be sporting a Trump sign on their lawn in Bridgeport, Connecticut even larger than the one on mine in Elizabethtown, PA.

It may run in families. My brother, who is a prominent physician in Litchfield County, CT (near Peter Brimelow’s residence) and my sister-in-law who is descended from Manhattan’s old German Jewish elite, will likewise be pulling the lever for Trump on November 8. And so will most of my cousins—although not, alas, their children, who are now in their forties and who sound politically (alas) like Jennifer Rubin ,[email her] Max Boot, etc. This may reflect their Jewish and non-Jewish peer groups in their elite universities.

What Jewish and other critics of Trump find the scariest is his determination to deal decisively with illegal immigrants. Although Trump may have toned down his initial stand to deport all illegals, he has promised that if elected he’d deport illegals who’ve committed crimes. He would then defer any decision about other illegals until he’s deported the criminal ones and built a wall to protect our Southern border.

This has obviously upset Jewish civic and organizational leaders who would like the next president to put illegals on an instant path to citizenship. Motivating these scaremongers, as MacDonald correctly observes, “a concern that a homogeneous White America could ultimately rise up against Jews, as occurred in Hitler’s Germany; and historic antipathy toward Christian Europeans, an outgroup seen exclusively in the context of the Jewish preoccupation with anti-Semitism.”

MacDonald is entirely correct, on the basis of my personal observations, about why Jews remain radicalized on the (cultural but no longer economic) Left. What seems less obvious to me than it may be to MacDonald: whether this political response reflects real Jewish group interests. To me, it shows no rationality—it’s the perpetuation of phobia that no longer in any way corresponds to everyday reality. The fears and antipathies that Jewish leaders exploit arise from a determination to identify as a group enemy those who are objectively on the same side as American Jews, namely traditional white Christians.

Focusing on an invented enemy, as I have argued—see my autobiography Encounters, p. 22-26—may enhance Jewish solidarity in the face of an imaginary threat. But it is also a flight into what for want of a better name is collective psychosis.

Remember that in the 1990s, the present imagined savior of the Jews—a.k.a. the anti-Christian, anti-white presidential candidate—along with hubby Bill, were calling for sterner measures against illegals than those that had been taken under the Bush administration. [1996 Flashback: Bill Clinton Talks Like Trump On Immigration: “We Are A Nation Of Laws” , By Ian Schwartz, RealClearPolitics, May 17, 2016 ]Then Jewish voters who are now fearfully awaiting a second Holocaust if Trump is elected were drooling over the Clintons, despite the fact that Bill was calling for deporting illegals in his State of the Union address in 1996. Jewish voters didn’t seem to mind this view back then when the person who expressed it was characterized in the Main Stream Media as a left-of-center Democrat.

Were the criterion for a threat to Jewish survival then set higher by American Jewish spokesmen and journalists? Has Jewish antipathy for what is perceived as the dominant group actually increased? Or is this merely part of overall intensifying Cultural Marxist totalitarianism as the goal of Electing A New People comes in sight?

Paul Gottfried [ email him ] is a retired Professor of Humanities at Elizabethtown College, PA. He is the author of Multiculturalism and the Politics of Guilt and The Strange Death of MarxismHis most recent book is Leo Strauss and the Conservative Movement in America.

(Reprinted from VDare.com by permission of author or representative)
 

The following statement of support for Donald Trump is intended to counteract the dishonest presentation of this presidential candidate by much of the national media. Those who have attached their signatures to this statement are accredited scholars, mostly with PhDs, who are endorsing Donald Trump as a credible candidate for the presidency and as the only barrier now standing between us and (Heaven forfend!) the election of Hillary Clinton. It is our hope that the appearance of this statement on respected web sites will generate signatures from other scholars and that our statement of support can be placed in the national press. We are fully aware that signing this statement will not bring the signatory the same professional rewards as speaking at a conference on why Trump is a “fascist” or on why he reminds one of the late German Fuhrer. Expressing support for the Republican presidential candidate undoubtedly requires more courage, particularly for someone in the academic profession. But we trust that there are lots of courageous scholars who read this web site and who will be eager to append their signatures to our statement.

Yours truly,

Dr. Paul Gottfried, gottfrpe@etown.edu

Dr. Walter Block, wblock@loyno.edu

Dr. Boyd Cathey, parsifalCSA@aol.com

Conveners of this list

 

STATEMENT of SUPPORT:

We the undersigned scholars hereby express our support for the presidential bid of Donald J. Trump and his agenda for a renewed America, and we invite others to join us. While we recognize that our candidate may be an imperfect vehicle, the agenda he has laid out for America is critical if our nation is to avoid continuing decline. The prospect of a Hillary Clinton presidency is more dangerous than the past personal imperfections of a Donald Trump.

Contrary to what is disseminated by both the mainstream media and by certain members of the Washington/New York political establishment, supporters of the Trump agenda are by no means limited to the badly educated and ill-informed. We feature numerous academics and other professionals who share the vision of “making America great again.” We are vitally concerned about reversing the direction in which this country has been moving for decades under both Democratic and Republican administrations alike. We want to move away from harming our economically strained middle and working classes. We reject the pattern of stifling freedom of thought and speech that is being imposed by government agencies, as well as by the media and our universities in the name of an increasingly restrictive political correctness. Moreover, the Trump agenda emphasizes the importance of the rule of law in civilized society, and the necessity of law and order, and the protection of private property. The Donald Trump agenda is committed to making our borders and our streets truly safe and secure.

Finally, we see a Trump administration as an opportunity to give new direction to American foreign policy. Neither an isolationist retrenchment nor an ideological crusade, a Trump administration will base its dealings with other nations firmly on rational American interests. Such an agenda has deep and honorable roots in American history. Donald Trump has repeatedly stated that our nation must chart a path in international relations that avoids the policy of playing policeman to the entire world or confusing statecraft with a globalist democratic agenda that supposedly fits all situations. We believe a Donald Trump administration will offer an alternative to the failed policies of recent presidents.

We invite those scholars who share this vision of a renewed America to join us in this ongoing effort. We believe this agenda to make America great again transcends political parties and is vital for our future.

——————————————————————————————————-

Wayne M. Adler, JD, Seton Hall

Walter Block, Professor of Economics, Loyola University, New Orleans; PhD, Columbia University

Darren Beattie, Duke University; PhD, Duke University

David Brook, Director (retired), North Carolina Division of Archives and History; PhD, North Carolina State University

Robert Carballo, Professor of English, Millersville University; PhD, University of Miami

Boyd Cathey, State Registrar (retired), North Carolina Division of Archives and History; MA (Jefferson Fellow), University of Virginia; PhD, University of Navarra, Spain

Marshall DeRosa, Florida Atlantic University; PhD, University of Houston

Paul Gottfried, Elizabethtown College, Raffensperger Professor of Humanities Emeritus; PhD, Yale University

Fran Griffin, President, Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation; MA, University of Chicago

Michael Hickman, University of Mary; PhD, Catholic University of America

James Kalb, JD, Yale University 1978

Jack Kerwick, Rowan College, New Jersey; PhD, Temple University

Donald Livingston, Professor of Philosophy (Emeritus), Emory University; PhD, Washington University

John M. Longino, MBA, University of Texas

Wayne Lutton, Editor of Social Contract; PhD, Johns Hopkins University

Christopher Manion, Professor, Christendom College; PhD, Notre Dame University

Brion McClanahan, PhD, University of South Carolina

Donald W. Miller, Professor of Surgery (emeritus), Seattle Swedish Medical Center

John Newhard, East Tennessee State University; PhD, Clemson University

Eric Obermayer, Professional Engineer; MS, Michigan Technological Institute

Larry Odzak, Visiting Scholar (emeritus), University of North Carolina; PhD, University of Florida

Dan “Red” Phillips, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Mercer University; MD, Emory University,

Ralph Raico, Professor, SUNY Buffalo; PhD, University of Chicago

Kurt Roemer, University of San Francisco; MMS, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Jesse Russell, University of Mary; PhD, Louisiana State University

Carmine T. Sarraccino, Professor of English, Elizabethtown College; PhD, University of Michigan

Mirand Sharma, MD, Emergency Medicine Specialist

David L. Sonnier, Professor of Computer Science, Lyon College; MS, Georgia Institute of Technology; Lt. Colonel (retired); BS, U. S. Military Academy

Frank J. Tipler, Professor, Tulane University; PhD, University of Maryland

Clyde Wilson, Professor of History (emeritus), University of South Carolina; PhD, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

 

Please join this growing list. Send your name and credentials to Paul Gottfried, at gottfrpe@etown.edu. If you are unsure whether or not you qualify as a scholar (we are looking for those with PhDs, academics, and professors, and those with medical, law, engineering, architectural and other such professional degrees, also masters’ degrees, published writers and authors) err on the side of including yourself, but give us more information about yourself. In order to do the most good, we want this list to be as large as possible, while still adhering to common definitions of “scholar.

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: 2016 Election, Donald Trump 

An article on the John W. Pope Center website dealing with Title IX by William L. Anderson begins with these passages:

When Congress passed the Higher Education Amendments of 1972, the new law included Title IX, which reads:

No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.

The law was not controversial at first. Female college enrollment grew (today, the female-male undergraduate ratio is 57 percent to 43) and women’s collegiate sports were just catching on. Title IX helped increase female participation in college sports, which became the law’s main focus for more than 30 years.

I was on the University of Tennessee men’s track team in the early 1970s, which received substantially more support than the women’s program. We stayed in nice facilities on road trips, while the women piled numerous athletes into one room. Those not lucky enough to have a bed slept on the floor.

According to Anderson, Title IX, which required that equal opportunities be created for women in higher education, was a “good idea,” indeed one that Anderson goes out of his way to defend. But alas this “good idea” turned quickly into “higher education’s worst nightmare.” Anderson painstakingly provides the details of this nightmare, showing how public administration has become entangled in every aspect of athletic, social and educational arrangements on American campuses. The government in the name of non-discrimination has created a stranglehold on what universities and colleges are allowed to do and offer, and this situation continues to grow worse.

Yet we’re supposed to believe this “nightmare” started with noble intentions when the government undertook to fight the scourge of gender discrimination, a move that, according to Anderson, may have been long overdue. Perhaps without this federal intervention, woman athletes at Anderson’s alma mater, University of Tennessee, would still be “piled into one room” during road trips, while the guys enjoyed “nice facilities.”

Allow me, however, to pose two non-prescribed questions as a member of the non-moderate Right. If, as Anderson indicates, women’s sports were taking off in the 1960s and 1970s, as women teams were winning soccer and basketball events, why was it necessary for federal administrators to dictate how universities should deal with female athletes and closely oversee the institutions affected? Apparently the relative neglect of female athletes would have been solved without the heavy hand of government bureaucrats and the accompanying threats of suits.

Even more relevant, why are we supposed to think that public administrators once put in charge of eliminating “discrimination” would not behave as they invariably do? There is absolutely no reason to ascribe noble intentions to a continuing power grab by the feds that has been going on for at least a century. Should I be surprised that within two years of the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the EEOC was already putting pressure on commercial and educational enterprises to hire more women and blacks, lest they give even the impression of engaging in “discrimination”? This is no more shocking or disappointing than the fact that a crocodile would swallow me for dinner if I stand too close to where it’s looking for food.

Finally I would note that Anderson’s statements about a “good idea” going awry tell us a great deal about how the conservative establishment approaches opponents on the left. These respectable types do not dare suggest that the Left’s eagerness to use government to engage in social engineering is reprehensible. Rather what Sam Francis used to call “the harmless persuasion” prefers a sort of middle ground, arguing that leftist ideas are marvelous but that the government just carried them a bit too far. Never do we hear from these “moderate conservatives” that the Pandora’s Box that has been pried open allows public administrators to solve “problems of discrimination,” through continuing meddling.

In any case the response by the “harmless persuasion” has been far from devastating. For instance, there are “equity feminists” like Christina Hof Sommers, who are financed by AEI and Heritage, battling “gender feminists,” who wish to carry feminism a few steps further. Or else we are dealing with those who favor the civil rights movement minus Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton or “Black Lives Matter” opposing those who favor the same stuff plus more affirmative action and stricter speech codes. I’ve stopped taking seriously the noise generated by these battles. The partisans on each side represent the earlier and later phases of a process of government expansion that has been going on since the 1960s; and the major difference between them consists of favoring differing degrees of government control over our lives in the name of fighting “discrimination.” My own position has never wavered. I for one would like to rescind unconditionally all antidiscrimination laws at every level of government, starting of course with those efforts at behavioral modification undertaken by our pesky ruling class in Washington. Government bullying rarely starts with good intentions. It starts with bureaucrats and judges being given a pretext to push us around.

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Political Correctness, Title IX 
The Murray N. Rothbard Address at Auburn

As the person who has been asked to deliver this year’s Murray N. Rothbard address, it seems appropriate to relate my remarks to the person being honored. Although the observations that follow may not have come directly from Murray, he and my speech do have some connection. My pleasurable, often edifying conversations with this remarkable polymath, the letters we exchanged, his book America’s Great Depression and, not least of all, his study of American intervention in the First World War strengthened for me beliefs that I continue to hold.

I never truly grasped where we were heading as a country until my encounters with Murray. Nor did I fully assess the worthlessness of the American conservative movement up until that point. Those realizations took place despite the fact that Murray and I did not always agree on all issues. We often debated political theoretical questions, as a mental exercise, without expecting to come to full agreement. But we did hold the same views about the present age, while I deferred to Murray on all economic matters, because unlike me, he was the proven expert. Most importantly, I finally accepted his arguments about the damage inflicted on our freedoms by America’s run-away administrative state.

Well into my forties I was going through a learning experience about the modern American government. In 1980 I was appointed as an alternate delegate for Ronald Reagan to the Republican nominating convention; a few months earlier I had spent primary night in my state, which was then Illinois, with Mrs. Reagan, waiting for her husband to achieve his by then predicted electoral victory. After Reagan’s election as president I served briefly as an adviser to the Department of Education and urged its immediate abolition, in accordance with a campaign promise made by candidate Reagan. Instead of being doomed to eradication, this department that Jimmy Carter created as a favor to the teachers’ unions, continued to flourish. Meanwhile Washington was flooded with “conservative” office-seekers, claiming to have come to this “swamp on the Potomac” in order to “dismantle the federal behemoth.”

Needless to say, these supplicants and sycophants had come for jobs and most of them stayed on as “part of the problem.” As late as the early 1980s I believed that the GOP was committed to loosening the government’s grip on our lives and earnings; I also nursed the illusion that something called “the conservative movement” would help in this process. The ease with which the neoconservative master class took over and proceeded to purge the Old Right, or that part of the Right that resisted them, removed any lingering sympathy I had felt for “the movement.” Almost overnight, I noticed the list of conservative heroes changed, from such figures as John C. Calhoun, Robert A. Taft, and Calvin Coolidge, to Martin Luther King, Sidney Hook, and even Leon Trotsky. While I had once wanted to believe that the American Right, like John Randolph, “loved liberty but hated equality,” conservatives were now urged to view “equality as the essential conservative principle.”

I also perceived how the Reagan administration went from talking about containing Soviet imperialism to launching crusades for “our democratic values.” This imperialist mission sounded nothing like what the traditional American Right, and certainly not what the interwar American Right, understood as a realistic or defensive foreign policy. It resembled the world revolutionary vision that I associated with Marxist-Leninist expansionists. It was upsetting that the American Right, together with our Republican president, dutifully followed these positions. And even more regrettably that they became standard Republican ideas.

Murray’s understanding of the American state influenced my book After Liberalism, which was the work of a recovering Republican. The state that he analyzed with scalpel-like precision was the American regime as it had grown since the nineteenth century. It was a structure of power that had vast economic resources, expanded at the expense of local and regional authorities, and engaged in war measures when the governing class thought they were advantageous. According to Murray, quoting Randolph Bourne, the US had become a “welfare-warfare state.” Although this was not intended by America’s founders, it happened nonetheless for reasons that Murray carefully explained.

After Murray’s untimely death I accorded him an honored place in my studies about the managerial state. His examination of the alliance of American public administration with crony capitalism and military expansionists infused my work on multiculturalism and political correctness. Murray’s perceptions also helped explain the rise of Cultural Marxism as the new civil religion in both the US and Western Europe. In these societies the administrative state furthers its control by enforcing ideological orthodoxy. And the state in question is not the relatively restrained bourgeois Victorian state of the nineteenth century, but something the tentacles of which reach into every social, educational and commercial activity.

This brings me to the core of my argument: The most publicized critics of multiculturalism, whether neoconservatives or “cultural conservatives,” ignore with equal disregard the contemporary state’s role in generating and sustaining the object of their criticism. Allow me to list some of the standard explanations given for the spread of Political Correctness. First on my list, because it may come closest to the truth, is the “cultural conservative” lament, which stresses that our long established values are in free-fall. PC now substitutes for ethics because of our ignorance and moral blindness. We reject the great teachers of the past and those inherited religious teachings that remain relevant for our collective existence; and this has resulted in cultural and social chaos.

Another explanation for the rise of PC treats academic culture as a uniquely corrupted part of an otherwise exemplary America. Perhaps most conspicuously it has been David Horowitz of neocon fame who has popularized this argument. According to Horowitz, our democratic government is sound and our country in every way “exceptional.” But universities have become “totalitarian islands in a sea of freedom.” The government must therefore intervene and make universities conform to the standard of freedom that exists elsewhere. We also hear complaints about the spoiled generation that has now taken over, about pampered little monsters who are running wild. Or this variation on the same theme: “the young carry with them popular culture, and together they’re corrupting our entire society.” Presumably the self-indulgent young, and their transmission of popular cultural values, are the principal reasons that PC is thriving.

There is also this anti-egalitarian critique that I myself have been known to belabor, to wit, PC is the latest variation on the ideal of universal equality. Although once integrated into orthodox Christianity in a benign form, this poisonous obsession is now running riot. But since some of you have already heard me ranting against equality, I won’t rehash my peeves, at least not this afternoon. Finally, we come to this oft heard assessment of PC that issues from its least concerned critics. Here attention is drawn to the essential decency of those impulses from whence the ideology arose. Neoconservatives and their dependents maintain that we’ve simply gone a bit too far trying to be just. But we can easily address this by adopting a new government policy. For example, it’s possible to help victims of past discrimination, without engaging in “reverse discrimination,” or we can practice equity feminism instead of gender feminism or affirmative recruitment instead of affirmative action. Curiously those who minimize the social effects of Political Correctness at home often rage against it when the subject turns to foreign policy. Thus the failure to be more confrontational in dealing with a worldwide Islamicist threat or with the figure whom George Will describes as a “thug and war criminal” Russian president Vladimir Putin is attributed to an epidemic of Political Correctness.

Some of these observations do have merit. We dismiss at our peril the great minds of the past. Civilizations, which are an intergenerational human creation, decay unless we protect them. Kids are watching too much mindless TV and are not sufficiently under parental supervision; although their parents may be just as poisoned by cultural toxicity. Moreover, popular culture, as far as I can tell from occasional channel-surfing, has nothing cultural about it. It features uninterrupted vulgarity.

Despite these insights and just censures, none of the critical observations I’ve listed engages what is specifically political about Political Correctness. One might ask why so many people are paying at least lip service to something that anyone with half a mind should find laughable. Although most reported criminal violence against American blacks has been caused by other blacks, the true culprits, we are supposed to believe, are the police, whether white or black. If only the racist police recognized that “black lives matter,” then the contagion of violence in black societies would end.

Gender and racial differences are judged to be social constructs and only tangentially related to what is biologically rooted. And let’s not forget that there are multiple genders; and the same person can experience more than one gender identity within a single day. The media would also have us believe that most domestic terrorism results from white male nativists; and as Ann Coulter recently observed, our journalists, academics, and most TV commentators are “delighted” if reality occasionally confirms their superstition. Evidence is no longer required for any of these daring assertions, providing the appropriate feeling is present. Nor does evidence have to be furnished that a statue of Robert E. Lee in downtown New Orleans that has stood there 131 years has to be removed because its presence is causing mental hardship to local blacks. Here as elsewhere, the PC Taliban are assumed to hold the moral high ground.

Meanwhile Princeton is about to remove plaques with the name of a former university president Woodrow Wilson, who defended segregation. Yale’s administrators and student body are renaming Calhoun College, which for the last seventy-five years has carried the name of a Southern slave-owner. Little does it matter that the South Carolina Senator who is now in disgrace may have been America’s most brilliant political theorist and as late as the 1960s was considered by John F. Kennedy and most professional historians to have ranked among our greatest senators.

A growing body of protestors, including New York’s Mayor Bill de Blasio, are working to rename Yale University, which commemorates an eighteenth-century London merchant. Yale’s early benefactor, Eli Yale, funded the infant educational institution as a way of fostering Christian learning in the New World. But this merchant may have pocketed money that he obtained, however circuitously, through the slave trade. At Lebanon Valley College, a few miles down the road from me, nationally publicized demonstrations broke out against the name of a particular building. This edifice bears the moniker of a long-dead munificent college benefactor, Clyde Lynch, but his name also bears a phonetic association with a practice once linked to racial oppression. Suitable replacement names have also been provided by the demonstrators but I shall spare this audience the pain of having to listen to them.

The neoconservative New York Post demanded in the wake of the Charleston killing that the racist movie “Gone with the Wind” cease being publically shown. In the same issue a Post columnist proposed that a tile in the New York City subway that depicts a Confederate Battle flag be torn out. The tile, which shocks neoconservative sensibilities, was the gift of the German Jewish owner of the Times Adolf Ochs. This man’s family, which resided in Chattanooga, had fought for the Confederacy; and the tile in the subway was intended to honor a cause to which Ochs’s parents had been especially devoted. Little did the newspaper owner know how vigilantly our neoconservatives more than a hundred years later would expose this vile act!

Since the audience should get my drift by now, there may be no reason to multiply my examples further. All such illustrations feature claimants to a fictitious moral high ground who revel in bullying others; and since the others offer no resistance, the bullies feel free to go on making trouble. PC’s advocates appeal relentlessly to the ideal of equality, but it is only the white Christian world that is attacked for breaching this ideal. Although all identities would appear to be sacred, in practice only those identities that please designated victims or their self-styled advocates need to be accommodated. If, for example, I chose to advocate for a neo-Confederate or secessionist position, neither the state nor its subject institutions would have to honor my choice. A university or employer might even be morally or legally impelled to “discipline” me for being hateful.

If one compares these student and faculty protests to those of the 1960s, certain differences become apparent. In the 1960s students were protesting a sometimes life-and-death issue. They feared being drafted and sent to Vietnam in a bloody war that went on and on. In the 1960s student protestors opposed institutions that often resisted the protestors and sometimes even sent in police to arrest them. Now the kids and their instructors manufacture grievances as the action unfolds. Protestors are for or against the wearing of Hallowe’en costumes on campus, depending on which side can be used to humiliate gutless administrators. They take offense at the name of any dead white man or denounce any form of lookism or micro-aggression, providing the resulting protest permits them to express outrage.

In the early 1960s such things did not happen, and for a self-evident reason. Sixty years ago we did not have a vast state apparatus fighting “discrimination,” judging “hate crimes” and by implication “hate speech,” and monitoring the treatment of protected minorities. It’s no surprise that establishment Republicans and so-called conservatives tip-toe around this fact. Those who live off government patronage and from devising government policies are not likely to bite the hand that feeds. And the last thing I would expect them to do is notice the most powerful institution promoting Political Correctness.

I know the response these arguments are likely to elicit from the political and verbalizing classes, if they spoke to me, which they don’t. I’m oversimplifying a complex problem that has to be addressed in various ways. Such ways would include a new batch of government policies, preferably drafted through Heritage and then implemented by a non-extremist Republican president. I’m also blaming the state for what the “culture” has done. The state only reflects cultural forces that operate independently of politicians and administrators. It supposedly responds to conditions that the “culture” brings about. Finally I’ve no decent respect for all the good things the American “liberal democratic” state has already done, for example, combatting racism, sexism, homophobia and more recently, popular revulsion for cross-dressers and transsexuals. Without the modern administrative state, women would still be chattel slaves, our electorate restricted to white male property-holders, and women’s “health services” would not be readily available to those who want to dispose of their fetuses.

Such speakers and I would discover that we had irreconcilable differences. Unlike them, I don’t particularly care about pursuing “social justice” or “ending discrimination.” But I am interested in restricting the scope of the modern mass democratic state. Its overreach concerns me far more than creating larger electorates or empowering the federal and state bureaucracies to go after insensitive speakers and micro-aggressors. I am terrified by a public administration that engages in massive social engineering without effective restraints. Thus I’m disgusted when conservatism, inc. tries to have it both ways, as for example when I read the commentary of Republican columnist Betsy McCaughey slamming the Obama administration for forcing employers to hire and promote underqualified women. This is viewed as a continuing abuse committed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. But this justified complaint comes after the qualifying remark: “Race and gender discrimination is already against the law. As it should be.” Given that McCaughey and others of her ilk happily concede vast power to anti-discrimination enforcers, why are we surprised that the government exercises that power to the hilt? Does McCaughey expect the EEOC to ask her to decide what does or does not constitute “discrimination”? As usual government administrators will make such decisions.

If you accept living under a highly centralized administrative state that is aided by unelected judges, then don’t complain about diminished freedoms. After all, it is not Disney Studies or Jay Z who exercises coercive power over our lives. Nor is it Oprah Winfrey or Martin Sheen who can destroy my business, as soon as a black female, homosexual, or some other designated minority member issues a formal complaint.

Woman students on our campuses are now encouraged by the state to accuse male students of rape; and those who have state power on their side are in a position to wreak havoc on those they accuse. Although felony laws protect women who have been physically assaulted in colleges and elsewhere, the Department of Education and other government agencies insist on more stringent guidelines. They mandate sensitivity training for faculty and staff and demand that university authorities give concentrated attention to well-rehearsed grievances. And the government, under both political parties, has created this Inquisition.

The EEOC and the Department of Education, no matter which recent presidential administration, have pushed universities into embracing affirmative action programs and at least implicitly minority studies programs. And let’s keep in mind that the admission of a single student by a “private” educational facility that is receiving government funds renders that facility subject to a slew of anti-discrimination requirements. The feds have the additional power to withdraw a school’s tax exempt status, as happened at Bob Jones University in the 1980s when this institution was considered insufficiently receptive to interracial dating. The government can also unchain the IRS-attack dog to force its subjects into compliance with whatever it wants.

To ask Lenin’s highly relevant question: What can be done? For starters, those who fear the present political order should work to drive public administration out of education and social affairs. This power-hungry intruder monopolizes anything it touches. If government influence on education and other cultural affairs cannot be contained, it should at least be limited to the local level. It is easier for taxpayers to deal with government at this level than it is for them to move out of the country in order to avoid being bullied. But Mayor di Blasio’s fans needn’t worry. If despite my caveats, NYC wishes to accord special rights to polysexual claimants to government favors, then the Big Apple should be left to its own pleasures.

In conclusion, I would note that unlike Murray and many in this room, I have never presented myself as someone who regards the state in any categorical sense as “the enemy.” In historical perspective, I can appreciate the state as a Western invention pulling Europe out of feudal anarchy, promoting safety for its subjects, and providing a political framework for the growth of historic nations. At times the state has been a generous benefactor to humanistic learning; and one can cite as an example the Habsburg rulers of Austria-Hungary, who generously patronized the early exponents of the Austrian School of Economics. I would further note that public support of American education has not always led to its present unspeakable evils. There was a time when government did not make war on the traditional family, gender roles, and religious liberties.

But that was in the past; and it seems unlikely that we can rein in this regime by electing a Fox-news Republican president or by teaching in our public schools prepackaged “human rights” and “democratic values.” A GOP website that I recently scanned praises the restrained fashion in which the administration of George W. Bush handled the grievances of female students; supposedly this was light years away from what happened under W’s successor. The difference to my knowledge is exceedingly slight: ten years ago those males who were charged with misconduct by accusatory females had minimally more opportunity to defend themselves, before they were publically humiliated. Unless there is evidence that assault and battery has occurred, legal recourse should not be available to women making accusations of harassment or sexual misconduct, let alone should the government be tyrannizing male students because of their non-violent interactions with coeds.

I’ve no doubt that PC would still be around even if our managerial, sensitizing regime vanished through some act of divine favor. My point is not that every attack on freedom of thought or the traditional Right originates with the state. It is rather that every cultural threat is made much worse because of state intervention. What is more, the state does not contribute to this problem in a half-hearted fashion. Concerned administrators and progressive judges are morally committed to their mission of fighting-discrimination. Although the state’s sponsorship of PC may not be the only reason for its existence, it should be the starting point for those seeking to understand it. And one may suspect something less than a disinterested perspective, when the analyst disregards what in this case should be clear for all to see.

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Cultural Marxism, Political Correctness 
Paul Gottfried
About Paul Gottfried

Paul Edward Gottfried (b. 1941) has been one of America's leading intellectual historians and paleoconservative thinkers for over 40 years, and is the author of many books, including Conservatism in America (2007), The Strange Death of Marxism (2005), After Liberalism (1999), Multiculturalism and the Politics of Guilt (2002), and Leo Strauss and the Conservative Movement in America (2012) . A critic of the neoconservative movement, he has warned against the growing lack of distinctions between the Democratic and Republican parties and the rise of the managerial state. He has been acquainted with many of the leading American political figures of recent decades, including Richard Nixon and Patrick Buchanan. He is Professor Emeritus of Humanities at Elizabethtown College and a Guggenheim recipient.