The Haters Come for Jefferson

Tuesday night, Black Lives Matter supporters made their move on the University of Virginia (UVA).  Protesters climbed the statue of Thomas Jefferson in front of the Rotunda and covered the statue with a shroud.  News coverage says about 100 faculty, students, and community members, some carrying Black Lives Matter signs, read a list of demands and put a sign on the statue that said: "TJ is a racist and a rapist."

Things are about to get interesting.  The university has been whipped into a frenzy of hatred for anyone who opposes the removal of the Robert E. Lee statue in downtown Charlottesville.  Governor McAuliffe has called them Nazis.  UVA president Theresa Sullivan has said they do not represent "who we are."  Now Jefferson is under attack.  How will President Sullivan parse the reality of Thomas Jefferson?  Will she defend Jefferson after throwing Lee under the bus?  How will that logic work?  It's OK to own slaves but not to fight for slavery?

Among their demands, the protesters want the removal of Confederate plaques from the Rotunda.  The other nine demands range from "re-contextualizing" the Jefferson statue to banning white supremacist alumni to increasing black student enrollment from 6.4% to 19.6%.  If you have any doubt that Black Lives Matter is a communist front group, just read the list of demands.  It's the standard list of cultural Marxist drivel.

For instance, take the demand for increased black student enrollment.  No society in the history of the human race has ever self-organized around the random distribution of races, an observation well made by Thomas Sowell.  In other words, if the population of Virginia includes 19.6% black people, cultural Marxists believe that black people should be randomized throughout the population so that everywhere you go, you see 19.6% black people, and if you don't, there is an injustice that must be righted.

Therefore, 19.6% of UVA students should be black students, 19.6% of UVA faculty should be black faculty, 19.6% of the UVA police force should be black officers, 19.6% of cardiac surgeons at the UVA hospital should be black surgeons, and so on and so on.  You see how this works.  Never mind that actual real black people might have other interests and desires about how to live their lives.

It's the standard Marxist dialectic of defining an oppressed group with some necessary hypothetical properties, and then demanding that the oppressors fulfill the hypothetical properties.  The strategy is designed to cause conflict that can only be resolved by a totalitarian state.

Now, the dialectic is at work at UVA, where, once again, the left appears to be eating its own.  On Tuesday morning, President Sullivan could say "No Home for Hate Here."  On Wednesday morning, she's the oppressor who must defend the legacy of Thomas Jefferson.  Who's going to hate whom in this scenario?  President Sullivan certainly will be ill suited for this delicate balancing of who is racist and who isn't.  She's a cultural Marxist herself, and she's completely down with the cause. 

We saw this in her handling of the Rolling Stone rape allegations.  In that case, the Marxists declared that all-American universities are home to a pervasive rape culture and that 20% of all university women are rape victims.  These beliefs were widespread throughout the study body and administration at UVA.  So when Rolling Stone reported that a woman named Jackie was gang-raped as a fraternity initiation rite at UVA, the collective response was "yeah, that sounds about right."

President Sullivan called the Charlottesville police and the governor, requested a special investigation, and suspended all Greek organizations for two months.  It wasn't until bloggers and reporters began to question the details of the story that the truth emerged. 

President Sullivan rapidly could have gotten to the bottom of the story if she had believed the fraternity members.  But, being a cultural Marxist, she was not inclined to believe the fraternity men (despite the honor system at UVA that could throw them out if they were lying about it), nor to believe the answers to the simple journalistic questions: who, what, when, where, why, and how?

If she had believed the fraternity men over Rolling Stone, she would have known right away that there was no party on the night claimed in the story, that no fraternity member matched the description of the "ringleader" of the rape, that fraternities pledge in the spring and not the fall, that there were no pledges residing in the fraternity at the time, and that details about the layout of the fraternity house in the story did not match the actual fraternity house.

Really, it wasn't that hard to get the facts.  Armed with the facts, she could have taken a strong stand in support of the fraternity, but she didn't.  Instead, she called for outside help and let the turmoil simmer for months.  The fraternity house was vandalized, the members were ostracized, and student groups mobilized to resist rape culture – all after a fake rape story that President Sullivan fell for because of her cultural beliefs.

President Sullivan's tenure at UVA has not been stellar.  She was fired for 18 days in 2012 by the Board of Visitors, and she accepted the firing but then changed her mind when the faculty rose up to support her.  Her modus operandi has been to check the prevailing wind and to go with the mob.

All of this brings us back to her current dilemma.  After condemning supporters of the Lee statue as haters who don't represent "who we are," will she now, as president of UVA, have to stand up to defend Jefferson and thereby become one of the haters reviled by the left?  Is she willing to be seen as an Alt-Right racist if she defends Jefferson the slaveholder?  Or is she prepared to go the full Monty and openly join the Black Lives Matter Marxists?  There is hypocrisy everywhere she might turn.

The Grounds are rife with placards proclaiming, "No Home for Hate Here."  But who are the real haters: the people who want to tear down the statues or the people who support the statues?  The grand irony of the "No Home for Hate Here" campaign is the level of intense hatred for anyone who's not down with the cause.  Will President Sullivan choose sides?

Not likely.  Faced with the current dilemma, it's likely that President Sullivan will convene some kind of committee to study the problem rather than take a stand.  We'll see.  Time is on her side.  In January of this year, she announced that she will step down as president in 2018.  The search for a new president is underway, and she may be gone by the time any decisions have to be made.

Lastly, as a UVA alumnus, I can't close this piece without a personal admission.  I must admit that I was appalled by the level of illiteracy in the protesters' list of demands.  There was a time when students attended class on The Grounds.  Today, apparently, it's just a campus, indistinguishable from any other state university.  The protesters might also want to capitalize The Lawn if they want to distinguish the area in front of the Rotunda from the grass on the football field.  They might also want to have some agreement between plural and singular in their demands, as in "White supremacist hate groups, particularly UVA alumni Jason Kessler and Richard Spencer…"  They might also...oh, well, never mind. 

Why should I edit their document for them?  The only demand these protesters should be making is for a refund of the money they spent on a UVA education.  They didn't get their money's worth.

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