Thursday, March 9, 2017

The Middlebury riot and the fall of higher education - Richard Baehr

by Richard Baehr

Will this be a turning point in how administrators deal with their adolescent fascists?

If you want to know what a $280,000 investment will buy your son or daughter at an elite liberal arts college, then you can study the behavior of the intolerant leftist monsters at Middlebury College last week. Invited speaker Charles Murray, author of many books, including Coming Apart, which explained and predicted the Trump phenomenon six years ago, and his faculty colleague were shouted down, assaulted, and threatened by the students who felt "marginalized" and under attack from his many books they had not read. They were encouraged in their "behavior" by many faculty and alumni. Until this week, I thought being marginalized at Middlebury meant being relegated to the slalom event on the ski team.

Will this be a turning point in how administrators deal with their adolescent fascists? How many Middlebury students do you expect to be suspended or expelled? Please stop laughing.

Charles Lipson, of the University of Chicago:
Middlebury's administration, to its credit, stood up for free speech. Warned that serious protests were coming, they refused to cancel the talk.
Now, those same administrators must decide how to punish the disruptive protesters. The easy path is the timid one, reiterating the university's principles and giving the ringleaders a slap on the wrist. A weak response like that will not defend the college's academic values or deter future disruptions.
Doing that requires sterner action. Students who came into the lecture hall and actively blocked the speech should have the remainder of the year at home to contemplate what education, free discourse, and ordered liberty mean. Those who came from other cities to impede the speech should be legally prohibited from reentering the campus. If students or outsiders acted violently, they should be prosecuted.
To show that Middlebury College will not be coerced, it ought to invite another serious, controversial conservative to speak on campus, someone like Daniel Pipes or Christina Hoff Sommers, who has important things to say that students are unlikely to hear in class. Go crazy: have two conservatives on campus this year!
Two Middlebury professors align with the University of Chicago on the need for free speech on campus.

Roger Kimball:
Future historians of the liberal arts in American academic life will be able to pinpoint the time and place of its death with remarkable accuracy. The fatal blow was delivered Thursday night, March 2, at Wilson Hall, Middlebury College, Vermont. The victim struggled manfully, but finally expired outside the McCullough Student Center an hour or so later.
It was there that liberal fascism – that witch's brew of identity politics, political correctness, and what I've called the weaponization of victimhood – finally erupted with definitive virulence. ...
Quite apart from the mindless vituperation of the student totalitarians, the performance of Middlebury President Laurie L. Patton, who briefly addressed the crowd before Murray rose to speak, was an emetic specimen of self-congratulatory virtue signaling.
"I would regret it terribly," she said, if her presence in the hall were regarded as "an endorsement of Mr. Murray's research." Certainly not! In case there were any doubts, the President of Middlebury announced that she "profoundly disagrees with many of Mr. Murray's views." Applause from the audience (but not as enthusiastic as the applause that greeted her announcement of another forthcoming speaker: Edward Snowden).
Let no one accuse me of not providing equal time to the marginalized. Rather than acknowledge that their behavior disgraced them and their school, the leftist students at Middlebury use their alternative paper to claim to be "victims." Fascists thugs as victims: now, that is new.

Here is the theme for this student paper:
... a student-run publication that seeks to provide space for voices that are not being heard on our campus. we are grounded by politics that are radical, anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-classist, anti-homophobic, anti-ableist, and anti-transphobic (against all forms of oppression) and that reject the structural neo-liberal paradigm that characterizes middlebury college and its official publications
This viewpoint is not very different from that of the Democratic National Committee under Tom Perez and Keith Ellison or any recent Democratic Party platform. Without the identity politics, the platform might be a page or two.

Richard Baehr


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