Look to the Left to see the force powering Trump and Carson

Summary: Moderates and liberals look with incredulity at the rise of far-right candidates to leadership of the Republican Party, both in the House and in the presidential campaign. How can this happen? The answer is seen in the news, as people look at the Left and choose what they consider the lesser evil on the Right. The Left prefers to ignore how their actions contribute to our darkening politics.

“The world revolves around the inventors of new values; it revolves silently.”
—- #12 from Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra (1885). See the full excerpt here.

The new era begins

Why have so many Americans embraced the ignorant throwbacks on the extreme Right, servants of the 1%? perhaps because they fear the madness of the Left, and choose what they consider the lesser evil.  Racial and gender quotes plus transgendered bathrooms, taking extreme measures to fight an imaginary “rape culture” on campuses, revising our economic system to fight untested theories of Catastrophic Anthropogenic Climate Change (following their previous false apocalyptic forecasts about pollution and population growth), opening America’s doors to unlimited immigration, etc. It’s a long and scary list.

Events on US campuses (a bastion of the Left)  most clearly show where the they seek to take America. We see demands for “safe spaces”, “trigger warnings”, mandatory re-education programs (e.g., “diversity” and “sensitive” training), and punishment of “microagressions”. Radicals hold our rights, such as free speech, in contempt. The news overflows with examples, but here are few recent and noteworthy ones.

Can We Start Taking Political Correctness Seriously Now?‘ by Jonathan Chait. WaPo: “These college protesters are demanding the media who cover them support their cause.

Free yoga classes halted at Ottawa College because they are “‘cultural appropriation”. “Yoga has been under a lot of controversy lately due to how it is being practiced {and the cultures they} are being taken from {who} have experienced oppression, cultural genocide and diasporas due to colonialism and western supremacy … we need to be mindful of this and how we express ourselves while practising yoga”.

Someone posted vague threats on Yik Yak against minorities at Western Washington University, a response to protests about its mascot (a Viking). Police didn’t consider them a danger. The President cancelled classes, starting Thanksgiving holiday a day early. (AP story.)

As this movement accelerates, even in this early stage it has become quite mad. For example, see this summary describing how “Occidental College May Burn Self At Stake“.  Reason magazine has posted the draft; it must be read to be believed. The faculty is proposing to Occidental College’s faculty is proposing to end it as a place of serious learning. Tuition is $49 thousand per year. Parents paying it should order their children to change schools.

How did this happen? What are the roots of these events on campus?

Answers are found in notes from the past

Tenured Radicals
Available at Amazon.

Roger Kimball (editor of the New Criterion) described the roots of this problem in Tenured Radicals: How Politics Has Corrupted Our Higher Education (2008). In his recent WSJ op-ed he said…

“the radical ideology of the 1960s had been institutionalized, absorbed into the moral tissues of the American educational establishment.

As one left-wing professor wrote in the Chronicle of Higher Education, “After the Vietnam War, a lot of us didn’t just crawl back into our literary cubicles; we stepped into academic positions. With the war over, our visibility was lost, and it seemed for a while — to the unobservant — that we had disappeared. Now we have tenure, and the work of reshaping the universities has begun in earnest.”  {Jay Parini, Professor of English at Middlebury College, 1988.}

That’s a valid but only partial explanation. It misreads the past and understates the seriousness of this problem — of which the past and present campus follies are only symptoms.

This is another generational shift. The 1965-75 protests resulted from students’ realization that they didn’t share their professors’ moderate liberal views — and that their professors didn’t believe them either. Now the universities have shifted left, but the same process repeats — as students realize their teachers don’t believe the pieties about freedom of speech and behavior.

For a deeper explanation I recommend, as usual, we turn to that guide for our times: Allan Bloom’s Closing of the American Mind: How Higher Education Has Failed Democracy and Impoverished the Souls of Today’s Students. Here he describes the April 1969 events at Cornell, when Black students brought guns on campus, occupied a dorm for their exclusive use, and issued sweeping demands — winning on all points This event showed not only the dynamics of that era, but also the one beginning now. Red emphasis added to this excerpt.

Closing of the American Mind
Available at Amazon.

————————————

A few students discovered that pompous teachers who catechized them about academic freedom could, with a little shove, be made into dancing bears. Children tend to be rather better observers of adults’ characters than adults are of children’s, because children are so dependent on adults that it is very much in their interest to discover the weaknesses of their elders.

These students discerned that their teachers did not really believe that freedom of thought was necessarily a good and useful thing, that they suspected all this was ideology protecting the injustices of our “system,” and that they could be pressured into benevolence toward violent attempts to change the ideology.

Heidegger was fully aware that the theoretical foundations of academic freedom had been weakened and, as I have said, treated the mass movement he faced with a certain irony. The American professors were not aware of what they no longer believed, and they took ever so seriously the movements they were entangled with …

I became fully aware of this when I went to see Cornell’s then provost (who later became president when the unfavorable national publicity continued and the usually passive trustees asked for the resignation of the incumbent …), concerning a black student whose life had been threatened by a black faculty member when the student refused to participate in a demonstration.

The provost was a former natural scientist, and he greeted me with a mournful countenance. He, of course, fully sympathized with the young man’s plight. However, things were bad, and there was nothing he could do to stop such behavior in the black student association. He, personally, hoped there would soon be better communication with the radical black students (this was a few weeks before the guns emerged and permitted much clearer communication). But for the time being the administration had to wait to hear what the blacks wanted, in the expectation that tensions could be reduced. He added that no university in the country could expel radical black students, or dismiss the faculty members who incited them, presumably because the students at large would not permit it.

I saw that this had been a useless undertaking on my part. The provost had a mixture of cowardice and moralism not uncommon at the time. He did not want trouble. His president had frequently cited Clark Kerr’s dismissal at the University of California as the great danger. Kerr had not known how to conciliate the students. At the same time the provost thought he was engaged in a great moral work, righting the historic injustice done to blacks. He could justify to himself the humiliation he was undergoing as a necessary sacrifice. The case of this particular black student clearly bothered him. But he was both more frightened of the violence-threatening extremists and also more admiring of them.

It was also no surprise that many of those professors who had been most eloquent in their sermons about the sanctity of the university, and who had presented themselves as its consciences, were among those who reacted, if not favorably, at least weakly to what was happening. They had made careers out of saying how badly the German professors had reacted to violations of academic freedom. This was all light talk and mock heroics, because they had not measured the potential threats to the university nor assessed the doubtful grounds of academic freedom. Above all, they did not think that it could be assaulted from the Left or from within the university, although serious examination of the events in Germany would have taught them that it was indeed the university youth, as Heidegger pointed out, who had become disenchanted on theoretical grounds with the old education, and that much of the same thing had been going on here.

… A conviction of the self-evidence of Enlightenment principles to all thinking people, combined with simplistic economic and psychological explanations, permitted American professors to misinterpret the German experience and to avoid the fact that the theoretical critique of morality in all its forms had been the precondition of the acceptability of certain kinds of public speech in Germany during the twenties.

These American professors were utterly disarmed, as were many German professors, when the constituency that they took for granted, of which they honestly believed they were independent, deserted or turned against them. Students and colleagues wanted to radicalize and politicize the university.

To fulminate against Bible Belt preachers was one thing. In the world that counted for these professors, this could only bring approval. But to be isolated in the university, to be called foul names by their students or their colleagues, all for the sake of an abstract idea, was too much for them. They were not in general strong men, although their easy rhetoric had persuaded them that they were — that they alone manned the walls protecting civilization. Their collapse was merely pitiful, although their feeble attempts at self-justification frequently turned vicious.

… There was essentially no risk in defending the integrity of the university, because the danger was entirely within it. All that was lacking was a professorial corps aware of the university’s purpose, and dedicated to it. That is what made the surrender so contemptible.

————————–  End Excerpt.  ————————–

Conclusions

America’s turn to the Right (politically) has many causes, but the contributions of the Left will figure prominently in the calculations of future historians. The gentle accommodations of the mainstream GOP — more interested in giving fellatio to the 1% — has been discredited. Now millions turn to more extreme figures, with their bolder rhetoric and disregard for the bankrupt norms of American politics.

It is potentially per-revolutionary situation, lacking only sufficient social stress to power it (which another severe recession or big terrorist attack could do) and a Leader. In other words, we depend on luck again for the Republic to get through this without too much more damage.

Other posts about the Right’s revolt

  1. The Donald Trump revolution, dismissed as all revolts are in the beginning.
  2. The numbers about immigration that fuel Trump’s campaign.
  3. Donald Trump leads us back to the future, to the dark days of US history.
  4. A New America arises, perhaps with Trump as its first leader.
  5. Look to the Left to see the force powering Trump and Carson.

For More Information

Recommended, showing how far America has drifted to the Right: “Fear Trump because he makes the insane Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio look sensible” by Amanda Marcotte at Salon.

If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. See all posts about the right wing of America’s political spectrum, about ways to reform our politics, and especially these…

  1.  The bad news about reforming America: time is our enemy.
  2. How we became what we are today. See some dark origins of the New America.
  3. The Donald Trump revolution, dismissed as all revolts are in the beginning.
  4. The numbers about immigration that fuel Trump’s campaign.
  5. Donald Trump leads us back to the future, to the dark days of US history.
  6. A New America arises, perhaps with Trump as its first leader.
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