“When elite universities shift their entire worldview away from liberal education as we have long known it toward the imperatives of an identity-based “social justice” movement, the broader culture is in danger of drifting away from liberal democracy as well. If elites believe that the core truth of our society is a system of interlocking and oppressive power structures based around immutable characteristics like race or sex or sexual orientation, then sooner rather than later, this will be reflected in our culture at large.”
—-Andrew Sullivan, in a New York Magazine essay titled “We All Live On Campus Now”.
Once again, blogger-turned-essayist Andrew Sullivan arrives at an accurate assessment of an ethics problem in society without being able to avoid his own biases in trying to assess where the problem came from, which would be extremely easy if he were capable of objectivity. I recommend the whole piece, though Sullivan is an infuriating truth-teller and iconoclast trapped inside an angry gay man who can’t muster the integrity to directly criticize his sexual politics allies. Incredibly, Sullivan substantially blames Donald Trump for the phenomenon he assails here, which is ahistorical in the extreme, bordering on delusion:
“Polarization has made this worse — because on the left, moderation now seems like a surrender to white nationalism, and because on the right, white identity politics has overwhelmed moderate conservatism. And Trump plays a critical role. His crude, bigoted version of identity politics seems to require an equal and opposite reaction. And I completely understand this impulse. Living in this period is to experience a daily, even hourly, psychological hazing from the bigot-in-chief. And when this white straight man revels in his torment of those unlike him — and does so with utter impunity among his supporters — there’s a huge temptation to respond in kind.”
Good God, Andrew, show some backbone. Trump, as can be documented and proven beyond a shadow of a doubt, was the “response in kind” to the identity-based social justice movement that was weaponized and reached the point of madness under the leadership of Barack Obama. Why should anyone listen to you when you equivocate like this and make false excuses for what was spinning out of control before anyone thought Donald Trump had as good a chance of becoming President as Martin O’Malley? The University of Missouri meltdown that triggered an across-the-nation epidemic of identify politics warfare occurred in 2015. You know that, and you still write this fiction? What’s the matter with you?
This is a race-based power grab, inspired, I assume, by the success of Black Lives Matter in cowing white politicians and the media into support, obeisance and crippling white guilt. Why else would this be happening now? Missouri isn’t alone: there is a similar manufactured race crisis at Yale. There the provocation is vague and trivial—one incident is vague, and the other is trivial. Students claimed that a fraternity party was blocked at the door by a student saying “White girls only,” and the fraternity denies it. As with “Hands up! Don’t shoot!,” the white racism narrative is just presumed to be true. The second “outrage” was an e-mail from the associate master of Silliman College, one of Yale’s 12 undergraduate residential communities, that urged students not to take offense at alloween costumes they might find insensitive. (The simple translation of this e-mail is “Oh, grow up.”) The Yale president has decided to take the less stressful route of grovelling to the protesters.
History tells us that this will spread around the country, not because campuses are suddenly racist, just as they are not suddenly filled with rapists. It will happen because activists will see an opportunity, because college administrators are weak and eager to avoid confrontation, and because the Obama administration has seeded divisiveness and racial distrust throughout the culture, the President’s primary and most destructive legacy.
What? That’s AMAZING!!! How did I do that? Am I brilliant? Am I psychic? Am I Nostrodamus? How could I predict the phenomenon Sullivan traces to Trump before Trump was even nominated? I could do it because this has nothing to do with Donald Trump, and everything to do with the full embrace of identity politics, tribalism and speech suppression in the culture cynically and disgracefully nourished by progressives, Democrats, and President Barack Obama.
There is also a gender-based power grab in full bloom, which Sullivan also tries to blame on Trump. That’s funny, because I wrote THIS in 2014...you know, before anyone thought of Donald Trump as anything more than a fading reality TV star, and when everyone just knew that Hillary Clinton would be the next President, Hallelujah!
The principles of American justice and Constitutional law give the benefit of the doubt to the accused. Sexual politics, in contrast, which is among the Democratic Party’s current weapons of choice, demand that the campus system favor the accusers, who are almost always female. That’s a recipe for injustice no matter how you look at it. And injustice is what we have.
The problem has been exacerbated, as predicted, by the Obama Administration Department of Education’s April 4, 2011, “Dear Colleague” letter , which requires colleges and universities that accept federal funds to utilize the “preponderance of the evidence” standard of proof when adjudicating sexual misconduct cases on campus, as opposed to a “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard. What this means, in essence, is that a student can be deprived of his education and be tarred as a sexual felon in an investigation, prosecution and judicial determination by those untrained in legal process and unconstrained by established standards of fairness.
I’m all in behind Andrew and any other member of the Left who comes to his or her senses and admits that progressive efforts to divide the nation into warring tribes tears at the fabric of democracy and national unity, but I will not tolerate this fake history that suddenly makes progressive opponents the villains. You did this, progressives. You were reckless, arrogant, and wrong. Don’t you dare…don’t you dare…try pointing the finger of blame at anyone but the mirror. If you do, that’s just one more reason to distrust your motives and your honesty, and there are more than enough reasons already.
Back to Andrew: when he isn’t shamelessly trying to pander to the biases of his own tribe, which hates Trump worse than death, he is perceptive and correct:
…And, sure enough, the whole concept of an individual who exists apart from group identity is slipping from the discourse. The idea of individual merit — as opposed to various forms of unearned “privilege” — is increasingly suspect. The Enlightenment principles that formed the bedrock of the American experiment — untrammeled free speech, due process, individual (rather than group) rights — are now routinely understood as mere masks for “white male” power, code words for the oppression of women and nonwhites. Any differences in outcome for various groups must always be a function of “hate,” rather than a function of nature or choice or freedom or individual agency. And anyone who questions these assertions is obviously a white supremacist himself…
The only reason this should be the case is if we think someone’s identity is more important than the argument they might want to make. And that campus orthodoxy is now the culture’s as a whole.
Well said, Andrew. Now tell your progressive pals to cut it the hell out, because this is 100% their doing, and you know it.