Leftists Rule at the Whitney

Liberals are vicious people. Not all of them, of course, but the activists. We see that in a variety of contexts. They try to get conservatives fired; they get them “deplatformed” by social media companies; they slander them endlessly; and–the instance at hand–they wreck their efforts at philanthropy.

Warren Kanders was, until a few days ago, the vice chairman of the board of the Whitney Museum of American Art. He has given the Whitney more than $10 million. But that didn’t save him when the leftists made him their target.

The Whitney Museum of American Art’s vice chairman resigned Thursday following months of protests over his company’s sale of tear gas.

A group of eight artists recently said they were pulling out of the prestigious 2019 Whitney Biennial exhibition over Warren Kanders’ ownership of Safariland, a company that manufactures tear gas grenades and other weapons, the art website Hyperallergic reported.

Last November, more than 100 museum staffers signed a letter demanding that the cultural institution respond to a Hyperallergic report linking Kanders to the tear gas fired Nov. 25 at the US-Mexico border by Border Patrol Agents into a crowd of migrants that included children.

What if police used tear gas to disperse a violent crowd of anti-tax protesters? Or an anti-abortion demonstration. Do you think the artists would have pulled out of the show in protest? No, I don’t either.

The facts are actually somewhat worse, with regard to the Whitney, as City Journal reports:

The Whitney leadership has handled this badly. Perhaps the museum’s most ill-advised move was to provide a prominent gallery in the Biennial for a group of British journalists called Forensic Architecture—specifically to attack Kanders.

That is almost unbelievable. Kanders should have slugged the person responsible and resigned on the spot.

Forensic Architecture is a London investigative collaborative that studies debris at war sites to determine the accuracy of official accounts of conflict.
It was only a matter of time before Forensic Architecture would quit the Biennial in protest and grab more headlines. Sure enough, their moment came last week, when they announced that one of their unnamed British researchers, living and working in Gaza, found a bullet in some debris that she traced to Safariland. That bullet might have been fired by the Israeli army in a clash with Palestinian protestors. The thought of some daffy Miss Marple spending months sifting through debris in a Gaza ghetto and finding a Safariland bullet seemed to test the far boundaries of relevance to Kanders’s service on the Whitney board.

This is insanity. It is also typical of contemporary liberalism. If institutions like the Whitney are going to humor, let alone submit to, such lunacy, then normal Americans should have nothing to do with them.