March of the Credentialed Morons

1. Academic Disaster

For at least the past two decades, our colleges and universities have devolved into leftist training camps where free speech is labeled hateful and induced leftist conformity is the order of the day. Even professors at the University of Chicago, famed for its free speech code, fear to speak out.  

Mr. Cochrane wrote on June 15, “I spent much of my last few years of teaching afraid that I would say something that could be misunderstood and thus be offensive to someone. Many of my colleagues report the same worries.”

If that level of fear accurately describes the situation at the University of Chicago, where the university administration has deservedly won national attention for coming down clearly, decisively, and publicly on the “open debate” side of the campus speech wars, imagine just how bad things are in the rest of academia.

In a moment when black Americans fear being killed by police, the concern that tenured professors might be inconvenienced might seem trivial. The worry at Chicago, as described by Mr. Cochrane, was less that university administrators would, on their own initiative, rule speech out of bounds.

It was more that a student would lodge a grievance that would in turn generate an investigation that would then accumulate a momentum of its own -- with no due process. It could end with a teacher falsely labeled as a racist, one of the worst things a person can be called in contemporary America.

This leftist indoctrination of our young reminds me of a scene in the movie Indochine where, Camille, the adopted daughter, is arrested and sent to a high security prison and her mother is told, truthfully, that her only chance of surviving is to become a dedicated Communist. 

There are some things being done to try to reverse this, but they will take time: FIRE, a nonprofit organization dedicated to campus free speech, works hard to combat academic leftism. Alumni can refuse fundraising appeals. State legislatures can restrict sharply the funds to public universities. Employers can stop demanding diplomas as credentials, something they’ve been doing since aptitude and IQ tests were scrapped on the dubious notion they were biased. (Substituting a test of equal outcomes for equal opportunity is not only turning the Constitution on its head but is as well a proven means of dumbing down performance and worker morale.)

The President this week directed the federal government to prioritize applicants’ skills and aptitudes over college degrees.

If implemented widely, this should impact the higher education monopoly.

And these institutions are already in trouble. COVID-19 restrictions on in-person education have already caused many students to rethink the cost versus benefit of attending expensive institutions only to get online learning programs. 

California’s misbegotten legislature, on the other hand, seems determined to drive a stake through its state higher education system and businesses, voting this week to remove the constitutional prohibition on “discriminating against or giving preferential treatment to persons on the basis of sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in public employment, public education and public contracting.” If this is passed into a constitutional amendment in a referendum, until a predictable legal challenge undoes it, the certain effect is to fill the colleges with students unprepared and often incapable of doing higher level academic work. As well, it will reduce substantially the ability to gather evidence of  discrimination in admissions against better-educated white males and Asians in favor of more tractable recipients of professorial Marxism.

2. The BLM/Antifa Riots

Blue state riots continue, further harming the poor, who have been the least able to maneuver around the lengthy social confinement mandated by their governors and mayors. To the extent that people are led by the media misreporting to think this is the justified response of a black underclass, think again.  BLM really is better named White Leftist Matters (WLM), a movement largely by young, middle and upper-class whites to increase their own political power.  

Two American Thinker posts (here and here) show how whites have taken over the Black Lives Matter movement. A startling statistic is that only one in six protesters is black. On Friday, an article from Marin and two videos vividly illustrated the white takeover.

In uber-leftist Mill Valley, California, a local newspaper's photos from a Black Lives Matter march reveal almost no blacks.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that this is the case. Having knocked over the “sifting and winnowing” process upon which higher education once prided itself, to socialized terror against thoughtcrime, these hubristic credentialed morons assume they can do this everywhere. In Minneapolis, apart from wreaking havoc on the poorest, often black, citizens, they’ve now persuaded the city’s council to defund the police. Watching the disasters unfolding in Seattle’s “autonomous district” under the indulgent eye of the city’s mayor might have given them a clue, but apparently not.

It doesn’t seem they are winning black hearts and minds with this, except for those given a new opportunity to loot and engage in aggressive crime under cover of the “protests.” Black residents and business owners have regularly criticized them for the damage done to their lives and property. This week, two more underreported examples of black disengagement with the WLM operations warmed my heart. In Seattle, a black man whose building houses many senior residents, deprived of their caretakers by the lockdown in front of their home, furiously ripped down the barricades and  free feeding stations, exploding with anger at this outrageous deprivation of the rights of those who live and work there. 

We’re all sick of this nonsense. And so is he, shouting at the occupying misfits:

The only reason you guys are standing here is because white people stood here before you. This is not a black movement. And you know damned well it’s not a black movement because 6,000 black people walked in the Central District, they walked in the CD. And guess what? They went the f*ck home. But what you motherf*ckers want to do? Y’all want to stay here, guess what, cause the homeless people are entertaining this bullshit. Right? And you guys are trying to jump behind it. And that’s not right.

Get your own f*cking movement ’cause what you guys are doing over here nobody’s going to hear. And nobody gives a f*ck about it because it’s f*cking bullis**t.

The mayor’s social worker troops seem unable to clear the rabble out. But fear not, the city council is hard at work. It just voted to scrap an ordinance that allowed police officers to arrest loiterers suspected of drug dealing or prostitution.  The council’s rationale is that it disproportionately affected blacks. I suppose looking the other way at obvious drug dealing and prostitution on Seattle’s streets, to their way of thinking, will be of benefit to the black community. Once again, they endorse the traditional Democratic policies of making life worse for Seattle’s blacks to the advantage of the criminals who prey upon them.

The statue toppling  by these gangs shows little knowledge of the history of the celebrated figures. One example is the effort to topple and deface the Lincoln Emancipation statue in D.C, a statue showing a black slave now unchained rising at the side of Abraham Lincoln. It was paid for by the newly freed slaves, and  a descendent of the slave depicted in the statue joined other blacks in defending the statue from the historically ignorant iconoclasts. 

3. America is not Defined by Racism

As bad as leftwing Democrats are at governing, they are very skilled at manipulating the truth. This summer’s big lie, as it often is in summers before presidential elections, is that the U.S .is a racist country. People like Walter Williams and Thomas Sowell have been debunking this for years. This week, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a black African woman who immigrated to the U.S., joined them, arguing how false this is, reminding us that “outrage and clear, critical thinking seldom go hand in hand.”

"What the media also do not tell you,” I tweeted on June 9, “is that America is the best place on the planet to be black, female, gay, trans or what have you. We have our problems and we need to address those. But our society and our systems are far from racist.”

America looks different if you grew up, as I did, in Africa and the Middle East. There I had firsthand experience of three things. First, bloody internecine wars between Africans -- with all the combatants dark-skinned, and no white people present. Second, the anarchy that comes when there is no police, no law and order. Third, the severe racism (as well as sexism) of a society such as Saudi Arabia, where de facto slavery still exists. [snip]  This country is only 244 years old, but it may be showing signs of age. Time was, Americans were renowned for their can-do, problem-solving attitude. Europeans, as Alexis de Tocqueville complained, were inclined to leave problems to central authorities in Paris or Berlin. Americans traditionally solved problems locally, sitting together in town halls and voluntary associations. Some of that spirit still exists, even if we now have to meet on Zoom. But the old question -- “How can we figure this out?” -- is threatened with replacement by “Why can’t the government figure this out for us?”

The problem is that there are people among us who don’t want to figure it out and who have an interest in avoiding workable solutions. They have an obvious political incentive not to solve social problems, because social problems are the basis of their power. That is why, whenever a scholar like Roland Fryer brings new data to the table -- showing it’s simply not true that the police disproportionately shoot black people dead—the response is not to read the paper but to try to discredit its author.

I have no objection to the statement “black lives matter.” But the movement that uses that name has a sinister hostility to serious, fact-driven discussion of the problem it purports to care about.  

4. In Siding with Riffraff, the Democrats are Committing Suicide

So argues Conrad Black, and I am in full agreement with him on this. Just as Ali noted there are people who don’t want us to figure out how to deal with social problems, Black notes that the Democrats killed Senate debate on the reform of police oversight: 

“they don’t want the problem resolved; they want police brutality and oppression of African-Americans as election issues, while ignoring mob violence and the physical, fiscal and public relations assault democratic and BLM spokespeople have launched against the police. House speaker Nancy Pelosi explicitly had blamed the death of George Floyd on Trump without elaboration. The president has his limitations but this is malignant lunacy.”

The Democrats have descended to depths of mudslinging, demagogy, and indulgence of racial violence and national self-hate never before plumbed in a U.S. presidential election. They are afflicted by a death wish, and in the national interest and for their own sake, that wish must be granted by the voters.

Well, except for this overwrought nonsense, what do they have? Their governance deficits have been made crystal clear in their botched handling of the Wuhan virus (Iowahawk’s description of Governor Cuomo as “the King of Corpse Mountain” says it well), law enforcement oversight, and maintaining law and order in their precincts. So, they’re back to their old playbook, stirring up racial animosity and chaos.

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