Triggering the Academic Lynch Mob
In his indispensable volume of essays The Captive Mind, Polish-American poet and intellectual Czeslaw Milosz developed the concept of “ketman,” borrowed from Arthur de Gobineau, which he defined as the false stance adopted by a person “in order to find himself at one with others, in order not to be alone,” to experience “a feeling of belonging.” Ketman “brings comfort, fostering dreams of what might be, and even the enclosing fence affords the solace of reverie.” Milosz elaborated a related idea named the Pill of Murti-Bing, which people may swallow to relieve themselves of anxiety
The characteristic feature of the unctuous academic, sycophantic intellectual or administrative toady is precisely ketman, “his fear of thinking for himself.” Thus he surrenders to the tawdriness of hive comfort and herd security. Such apple-polishers are legion. “They do not know what one buys, and at what price,” Milosz continues, for what one buys is moral ignominy and what one pays is counted in the coin of cognitive servitude.
One of the classic ways to establish ketman is to isolate a common enemy Alinsky style and to denounce, reject or pursue him or her until the person is professionally destroyed. This is standard academic practice today. Thus, like a swarm of Murti-Bingers in an orgy of collective enthusiasm, the university scavengers have zeroed in on their latest bête noir, Canadian professor Ricardo Duchesne of the University of New Brunswick. Duchesne is, in my estimation, one of the important scholars and thinkers of our day, a defender of the moral and intellectual tradition of Western civilization. As Duchesne told CTV News, “I believe that Canada and all western nations have been set for full diversification through mass immigration… Who came up with this idea that all white nations must become racially diverse, whereas that's not happening in Japan, Korea, China, Mexico -- only in white nations?”
Professor Ricardo Duchesne (YouTube screen grab)
This is his unforgivable transgression. As a result, the academic mob is busy at work, condemning him as a “racist” and a “white supremacist.” An open letter signed by his colleagues effectively arguing his dismissal is filled with the predictable slanders so dear to the claque society of the university mobbing class.
As I indicated in a recent article for PJ Media, Duchesne had the temerity to write three extensively researched books on the unique and complex nature of Western civilization, with an emphasis on multiculturalism whose ravages are daily destroying the fabric of most Western nations. In so arguing, he exhibits not a shred of supremacitis, giving full credit to other cultures and civilizations from which the West has learned. “Affirming the uniqueness of Western civilization,” he writes, “in no way implies the idea that Europe can be viewed as a self-contained civilization.” He fully recognizes “the cumulative, self-reinforcing process of assimilation…set in motion in Europe from about the 12th century onwards in all facets of life.” Europe may be unique among civilizations but it did not emerge from a vacuum and owes a debt of derivation from other world civilizations.
Notwithstanding, he had the audacity to claim that the Indo-European legacy of intellectual restlessness, science, art, philosophy, law and civics on which our civilization is founded is now in imminent peril of disintegration. Though he believes all people have a right to preserve their ethnic identities, Duchesne also notes that only light-skinned citizens of European descent do not enjoy the right to celebrate and affirm their identity, as other groups of whatever color, ethnicity, religion or political persuasion manifestly do. For this breach of “social justice” orthodoxy and leftist ideological dogma, he must be arraigned as a “white supremacist,” reduced to pariah status and made to endure a species of social and professional assassination.
The open letter of 25 colleagues attacking his scholarship and bona fides has now swelled to over 100 accomplices across 26 programs, many of whom I suspect have never read his major work or were until recently only peripherally aware of his presence. They may scarcely have cracked the spines of Duchesne’s books, but have certainly read the farrago of lies marshalled against him in The Huffington Post, Global and other publications -- lies easily dispelled with a modicum of research. They have taken the HuffPo article as gospel rather than the prevaricating trash it really is, replete with disinformation, misrepresentation, bald factoids and character aspersion while plying the weapon of guilt by association, as if a scholar is responsible for who cites his or her work.
Indeed, the HuffPo article may be the most sordid piece of gastric journalism I have ever read; parroting The Guardian, another mendacious rag, it even defames my wife Janice Fiamengo who, apparently, “promoted a conspiracy theory that the Notre Dame fire was started by Muslims, has tweeted support for white nationalists, and is a contributor to the Council of European Canadians website.” News to me. Although if by “white nationalists” they had meant patriotic Canadians concerned for their country’s future, that at least would be true.
To give an eidetic cameo of the Huffpo’s operating procedure typical of the left, consider its allusion to Clare Ellis (not mentioned by name), an intrepid doctoral student at UNB. Duchesne was her supervisor and Janice one of her examiners. Ellis’s thesis, an exhaustive dissertation entitled A Critique of Cosmopolitan Integration in the European Union: Demographic and Political Decline of Native Europe, dealt with the “replacement immigration” program adopted by European Union and sponsored by the United Nations. Ellis is duly accused of engaging in a “far-right conspiracy theory” involving the “Great Replacement” of European populations by immigrants and refugees from North African and Muslim countries. (Interestingly, French author Renaud Camus, who introduced the term in his book Le Grand Remplacement, fearing association with a pretend Nazi prankster, later reneged by ludicrously claiming that Replacement is the “nephew” of Nazi doctrine.)
The fact is that replacement is the declared policy of the UN in its report Replacement Migration: Is It a Solution to Declining and Aging Populations? -- to which its answer is: Yes. The HuffPo went after the doctoral student, Duchesne, and Janice for telling the truth rather than rebuking the United Nations for advocating, in one scenario, the subversion of Europe by up to 700 million immigrants. Under waves of what Jeffrey Ludwig accurately describes as a “mass immigration of non-viable peoples” from failed states and tribal cultures, the native European population would eventually become a minority on its own continent. The “conspiracy” pertains only to the UN, the HuffPo and the innumerable media outlets including Wikipedia that are on board with the canard. There are so many lies one doesn’t know where to start -- or stop.
And the reprobation continues to proliferate. Duchesne’s views, the open letter signees write, “are not at all welcome in our university.” Get that: our university, their self-regulating comfort zone and “enclosing fence” of ideological righteousness. And of course these sanctimonious pedagogues are clearly swayed not only by fake journalism but also by the craven attitude of ketman. Perhaps envy also plays a role in the campaign of invective against Duchesne; he is a notable writer and teacher in a university not known for its illuminati.
One might note that Duchense’s oeuvre occupies in part the same intellectual terrain as Werner Jaeger’s three-volume Paideia: The Ideals of Greek Culture, in which Jaeger expounds the concept of arête or “excellence of all kinds,” associated with Caucasian noble warrior societies and the temper of Greek patrician agonistics. Jaeger writes: “The great Athenian thinkers bear witness to the aristocratic origins of their philosophy by holding that arête cannot reach true perfection except in the high-minded man.” The ideal of individual autonomy, inventiveness and aristocracy of mind, which reached its full fruition in Graeco-Roman and Judeo-Christian civilization, is “a possession that no one can take away from man” -- though many have tried and are still trying. No one to my knowledge has ever accused Jaeger of racism or white supremacy. Then again, I would be surprised if any of the signatories have delved into Jaeger’s work.
Their predilection for libel and vilification, to put it ironically, is reflexive rather than reflective; that is, their words do not signify an external fact but circle back to denote an internal prejudice that has nothing to do with objective reality, and operate as well as a sign of group virtue and cohesion. As Duchesne surely understands, an equally grave threat to the unity of the nation is precisely these canting and virtue-signalling predators who pride themselves on membership in the collective orthodoxy and who have surrendered the last vestiges of courage, integrity and clear-headed thinking to their obsession. A baying mob can never be trusted or believed. The focus is on consensus, not truth. Nor can the mobbers be expected to recant as they have invested their credibility and careers in the temptation of easy calumny and ketman unanimity.
Duchesne is an exemplary writer and teacher who would never join a mob and who is indifferent to the lure of ketman. There is no truth in what is disseminated by the carrion syndicate. Not only are his reputation and livelihood now in jeopardy; the distraction caused by this vendetta must certainly interfere with his teaching, impair his concentration and affect his writing projects. The loss to scholarship will be significant.
Duchesne is only the latest victim of academic mobbing. There have been many and there will be many more as the vendetta against the best and brightest in the academic world gathers momentum.
Update: In a brief announcement UNB Vice-President Petra Hauf wishes to advise members of the university community that Dr. Ricardo Duchesne has provided notice of his early retirement.