Academia's rabid left taking new swings at leading intellectuals who don't conform - Paglia, Scruton..
The rabid left has been rampant on college campuses since the 1960s, but never has it been as emboldened as it is now, not content to just spew crazy things, but to censor conservatives and independent thinkers. What's standing out now is that they are no longer going for the small fry - students, untenured assistant professors, conservative academics who really do say malapropistic things ... they're going for the bigs now.
According to AEI's estimable Christina Hoff Sommers - they went after Camille Paglia, a powerful, influential, somewhat libertarian-leaning, and very independent intellectual, who, based on her familiarity with classical thinking in its correct context, is popular with conservatives, libertarians and independents:*
Foolishness alert! There is a petition denouncing the brilliant scholar Camille Paglia! “Here is what we demand of UArts:— Christina Sommers (@CHSommers) April 12, 2019
1) Camille Paglia should be removed from UArts faculty and replaced by a queer person of color.” https://t.co/AJvU7MaMp8
Paglia is gay herself, as well as a woman, but she doesn't meet the radicals' color criteria, named in the lunatic petition to get rid of her.
And we all know the real problem was: Her ideas. Paglia doesn't have much sympathy for victim-mentality or political correctness. In fact, she has absolutely none, and she doesn't back down on this.
Hoff Sommers, in her string of tweets, pointed out that the left not only put out a petition to get rid of Paglia, they also protested - and being a bunch of clowns, ended up having to listen to one of Paglia's academic lectures on ancient Egyptian hair styles.
The far left's bid to Get Paglia even had a happy ending. Hoff Sommers posted this tweet as I was writing this, with her university, the Philadelphia College of the Arts (now the University of the Arts), being smart enough to come to her defense - much to its credit, as Hoff Sommers observes:
🚨David Yager, President of University of the Arts, where Camille Paglia teaches, has issued a powerful affirmation of free speech and academic freedom. More college presidents should follow his example! @TheFIREorg pic.twitter.com/oTqv3hXwxm— Christina Sommers (@CHSommers) April 13, 2019
But not so lucky was distinguished British philosopher, Sir Roger Scruton, a leading academic whose views are often identified as conservative, yet like Paglia, independently so. According to athis post by Mark Steyn (Hat tip: Instapundit.com):
So Roger Scruton gave an interview to The New Statesman, which is left-wing but once employed him as its wine critic. But that was then, etc. At the new New Statesman he fell into the hands of one of those lefties whose goal in the interview is to talk to you for two hours and then pluck three partial quotes uttered twenty-five minutes apart that destroy your career and get you banished from public life. In this case, it was various Scrutonisms on China, Islam, Hungary and homosexuality, all of which are worth thinking about seriously.
But, as I say, that's the leftie hack's objective, and you can't blame him for achieving it. Douglas Murray, quite rightly, is more disgusted by the craven pile-on of so-called conservatives:
Within four hours of Eaton tweeting out his misquotations of Britain's most prominent living philosopher, the housing minister (James Brokenshire) announced that Scruton had been dismissed with immediate effect from his role as Chairman of the 'Building Better Building Beautiful Commission'. The sacking from this unpaid, advisory position came because of these 'unacceptable comments'.
Scruton's a big name in academia and the attempts to shut him down are getting out of control. Abusing him this way is an outrage. And one can't help but feel that the left will continue to try to keep taking down Paglia, too. The ones who did were essentially clowns, but what happens when the Alinskyites with big money get involved or a new university president, with few balls, shows up?
It's disturbing stuff, given the boldness of the attacks, no longer focused on small fry but on big guns -- with big audiences. Not even they are immune from attacks. Rest assured that unless President Trump's bid to end censorship on campus succeeds, there is going to be more of this.
Image credit: Fronteiras do Pensamento // CC BY-SA 2.0
*An earlier version of this piece suggested that Paglia is conservative. This version has now been clarified and corrected.