This special end-of-semester episode features me and Lucretia reflecting on the latest academic hoax that I highlighted earlier in the week (here and here), and which may have contributed to Higher Education Quarterly having to retract the fake article on how “right wing money” is supposedly pushing colleges and universities to the right and intimidating faculty and administrators. (The Chronicle of Higher Education wants to interview me about the whole matter some time next week.) The study was so ludicrous that only a liberal (and apparently the academic “peer reviewers” who signed off on the article) could have believed it.
This opens up a wider window into the question of why leftists—especially on campus—are such miserable, unhappy, and intolerant people, and why they behave tyrannically, increasingly turning our campuses into Stasi-like institutions worthy of East Germany. (Just this week, Columbia University put out a video, posted below, calling on students and staff to “report” people who use incorrect pronouns because of the “harm” and threat to safety such unpure speech acts represent. Suggestion: Why don’t we simply just call everyone “comrade” and solve everything at once.)
The answer requires taking seriously the nihilism of the modern left which cannot tolerate any disagreement or challenge to their position because it threatens their very being, while conventional or moderate liberals have been swept too far by the premises of supposedly progressivism to offer effective resistance to the extreme left. Warning: Expect cameo appearances from Harry Neumann and Harry Jaffa along the way!
You know what to do now: listen here, or wander happily over to the nihilism-free zone at Ricochet.
Note especially the passage in the middle about how “Intentionally misgendering someone by refusing to use the correct pronouns or name is a violation of the Columbia university non-discrimination policy,” and encouraging students to visit Columbia’s website if they need to “report an incident.” Campus Stasi operators are standing by!
UPDATE: A reader asked in the comment thread if we could post up the quotes I read from Harry Jaffa (commenting on Harry Neumann) and John Adams Wettergreen. Can do!
Here is Jaffa commenting on Neumann first:
No one living has so ruthlessly uncovered the divided mind—the political schizophrenia—arising from the unconscious (and conscious) nihilism of contemporary liberalism. No one else has expressed so clearly the murderously political demand of that liberalism for an end to politics, in a utopian world in which science gratifies every demand for pleasure without any question of the relationship of the pleasant to the good.
And here is the quote from John Adams Wettergreen that Neumann uses as an epigram to one of his chapters in his hard-to-find book Liberalism:
Tocqueville’s democratic despotism does not use criminal penalties. . . He did not expect democratic leaders to be tyrants, but rather schoolmasters. On the evidence of the twentieth century alone, he was drastically wrong. Democracies—in Tocqueville’s sense of that term—have proven capable of tyrannies more brutal and more pervasive than anything imagined in previous ages. . . It suffices to say that he misevaluated the human desire to rule. This is an error characteristic of modern political science from Machiavelli on: the assumption that human nature(or a part of humanity) is non-political.