Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Are US Colleges Embracing a Fascist Worldview? By Bill Korach

February 3, 2017

In fascist Italy and Nazi Germany, there was one acceptable way of thought, and one kind of acceptable speech: that of the Fuehrer and the Duce. Both Mussolini and Hitler had strong socialist views and of course the middle name of Nazi is “socialist.” Fascist thought was enforced at the university, in the press and on the pulpit. Violators would be beaten up, shouted down, and their books burned. Many American universities are starting to resemble fascist totalitarian institutions instead of the citadels of free thought and ideas they once represented.

During the past year, speakers were either disinvited or shouted down, including Milo Yiannopoulos at University of California Berkeley earlier this week. Yiannopoulos appearance caused a violent riot at the San Francisco campus damaging property and causing physical harm. It speaks volumes that none of the protestors were arrested. Here are just a few of the dozens cancelled:

Brown University — Janet Mock

The TV host and transgender-rights activist withdrew from a speaking event after students protested, not because of the content of Mock’s speech, but because pro-Israel group Hillel cosponsored the lecture.

California State University at Los Angeles — Ben Shapiro

Critics slammed the conservative writer and claimed his proposed lecture — about microaggressions, Black Lives Matter, and safe spaces — was not a debate but an attack. The university revoked his invitation, later allowing Shapiro to come to the campus after he threatened legal action.

“These aren’t diversity warriors,” Shapiro told Breitbart News. “They’re jackbooted thugs.”

University of California at Berkeley — Nicholas Dirks

The chancellor of Berkeley was scheduled to have a public discussion about the value of higher education, but the event was shut down after by students chanted and shouted over him. The protesters stated that he wasn’t doing enough to help black students suffering hardships on campus and that his salary was too high.

University of Chicago — Anita Alvarez

The Cook County, Illinois, state attorney’s speech was interrupted and did not continue because of both student and nonstudent protesters.

Protesters claimed that Alvarez was responsible for “state violence against Black and brown people in the City of Chicago” and failed to charge police officers, according to a press release from Black Lives Matter (BLM) Chicago, The Chicago Maroon reported.

Chicago has a history of extreme mistrust between its African-American community and police enforcement. Most recently, fury over the killing of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, whom prosecutors claim police shot 16 times, reached Alvarez.

Anita Alvarez

University of Chicago — Bassem Eid

Students advocating for the Palestinian cause interrupted and shut down the political analyst and human-rights advocate’s speech at the college. Eid, who is himself Palestinian, made comments that were seen as pro-Israel.

“Do not speak on behalf of the Palestinians again!” a student yelled during the event, The Chicago Maroon reported.

George Washington University — Action Bronson

The college revoked the rapper’s invitation to perform due to claims his lyrics are misogynistic and that he has history of public transphobia.

Pressure on social media mounted and a petition to have Bronson removed from the lineup had hundreds of signatures by the time the administration agreed to revoke his invitation to perform.

Trinity College — Action Bronson

Another college did the same due to claims Bronson’s lyrics are violent and sexually explicit.

More than 1,300 students signed a petition that stated: “Allowing Action Bronson to perform at Spring Weekend would create a psychologically harmful and drastically unsafe space for women, LGBTQIA+ students, and survivors of sexual assault.”

Hampshire College — Emily Wong

The school revoked its request for the physician at Massachusetts General Hospital’s to give a commencement speech due to students’ claims that she could not “directly address student concerns” regarding racial issues and transphobia.

Instead, Wong was replaced with activist Reina Gossett who was chosen “because her life and work engage the issues that have been raised by students around anti-blackness, transphobia, and sexual violence,” the school’s press release read, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Brandeis University cancelled plans to give an honorary degree to Hirsi Ali, an Muslim who has been speaking out against Islamic violence.

University of Pennsylvania — John Brennan

The director of the CIA had an event substantially disrupted by protesters for his involvement in drone strikes in the Middle East.

After three instances where protesters interrupted and spoke over Brennan, the event ended early.

San Francisco State University — Nir Barkat

A group of pro-Palestine protestors forced the mayor of the City of Jerusalem to end an event early. Instead, he convened with a small group of audience members.

Virginia Tech — Jason Riley

The professor who invited The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) columnist revoked his invitation over concerns of a controversy because he had “written about race issues.”

Riley, who is black, also wrote a book in 2014, called “Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed,” which received some criticism.

Williams College — John Derbyshire

The writer and journalist was due to speak at Williams, but college president Adam Falk canceled the event, citing writings that some considered to be racist. Derbyshire published a bullet-point list in web publication Taki’s Magazine about his thoughts on the black community that included:

(10a) Avoid concentrations of blacks not all known to you personally.

(10b) Stay out of heavily black neighborhoods.

(10d) Do not attend events likely to draw a lot of blacks.

Williams College — Suzanne Venker

The college revoked the author and social critic’s lecture due to her criticism of feminism.

Venker, a self-described “anti-feminist,” wrote an op-ed for Fox News explaining why women are supposedly having such a hard time finding husbands, called “Why men won’t marry you.”

“There was a time when wives respected their husbands,” one portion read.

One cannot blame the students alone, but faculty and complicit administrations are also culpable. The administration of the University of California Berkeley waited until the last minute to charge the campus Republican Club $6500 for security, something they do not require of leftist groups. The hope was the the Republicans would not be able to raise the money, but a donor stepped in at the last minute.

Campus administrators have implemented highly restrictive speak codes, but called them “inclusive” a sort of Orwellian double speak.

Feminists have driven universities to charge men for rape on flimsy or no evidence. And the accused my not call their accuser. Recall the Duke University charges against the entire Lacrosse team, and that the charges were later tossed out by the courts.

Universities that do not stand for free speech do not deserve to be paid exorbitant fees nor do they deserve taxpayer funding from the states or the federal government.

Why All The Hippies Morphed Into Campus Fascists

How the flower people transformed our universities and colleges into the most rigid, closed-minded, repressive, unthinking sort of society.


By J.C. Bourque

June 3, 2016

I recall a photograph, taken in the late 1960s or early ’70s, during some sort of protest (it could have been anywhere, about pretty much anything, given the high level of unrest). A rank of soldiers stood in full combat gear, rifle barrels pointed straight up in front of their faces. They were at attention, with firm expressions, eyes forward. A slim, beautiful hippie chick faced one of the soldiers and was sliding the stem of a daisy down the barrel of his gun. She had been working her way down the rank, performing the same gesture with each soldier’s rifle, as they stood fast without reaction.

I was a member of her tribe back then: a peace-loving, pot-smoking, long-haired hippie revolutionary. I was age 17 or so, and still in high school in a small Midwestern town. It was “Revolutionary Lite,” as advertising might put it today. The photo summed up much of what we counterculture visionaries believed: Give Peace a Chance; Make Love, Not War; the Age of Aquarius. . . .

The girl’s tender, innocent gesture seemed so powerful when deployed against the intimidating might of the soldiers. She was the face of our fight against the rigidity and repression of society’s Judeo-Christian morality, looming military-industrial complex, tight-sphinctered, hawkish, unimaginative conservative leaders, and the greedy fat cats who secretly ran the whole mess while enriching themselves.

Underpinning the whole protest movement was a wholesale rejection of stifling, repressive (we thought), unthinking (we decided), pro forma middle-class morality. We intended to shake the rigid framework of establishment conformity, pull it down to rubble and lay claim to our right to unbridled self-expression and guilt-free sex. While we were at it, we would free people of color, end racism and poverty, and liberate women from the forced sexual slavery of the obsolete, patriarchal institution of marriage.

We had opened our minds to ideas our parents were incapable of grasping, too square to accept. We were going to unleash a wave of drug-fueled creativity unseen in human history, generously slathered with Harmony and Understanding, according to a song from a popular Broadway play featuring gratuitous nudity.

From Free Love to Control Freaks

Forty-five years later: By this time, we had instituted a wildly successful pogrom in higher education, eliminating most of the conservative faculty and driving the rest underground. We ran amok, instituting freethinking, progressive reforms at every level of the system. “Real change” takes time, but we were in it for the long haul, and dedicated ourselves to endure the grind of teaching two classes a week, cocaine-fueled orgies, and the ceaseless parsing of curriculum into unrecognizable snippets such as Post-Woodstock Transgender Inuit Long-Form Cinema Studies.

Gradually, new codes of conduct were instituted to ensure everyone was comfortable at all times. Brad must ask Heather if it’s cool to reach under her blouse. Heather is deeply offended and carries a giant foam hand on campus for the next month. (Curiously, the foam hand ended up in a starring role at the Video Music Awards later that year.) Before you can say “Don’t Bogart That Joint,” the flower people had transformed our universities and colleges into the most rigid, closed-minded, repressive, unthinking, tight-sphinctered…whoa. What the hell happened?

It gets worse. The enlightened former freaks who now inhabit these campuses have become increasingly hypersensitive and nasty, spitting tacks at people for all manner of imaginary crimes such as “cultural appropriation.” Recently, a white guy got hammered for wearing dreadlocks. This is deeply ironic because, as I recall, we hippies were masters of cultural appropriation. Hookahs, Nehru jackets, bead curtains, reggae, Eastern religions, sitar music, Tibetan prayer flags, chakras, ethnic food, dashikis, Rasta shoulder bags, ironically worn military apparel, mandalas, henna tattoos, muumuus, hand-woven Guatemalan tunics, pyramid power, Maori tattoos, macramé — excuse me for a moment, I think I’m having an acid flashback. Trails, beautiful trails. . . .

Ahem. Apparently, this appropriation business has become big business. Visit one of the hippie apparel shops online and pick up a Native American Dream Catcher necklace or a Kathmandu boho sling bag. Maybe a nice African thumb piano, or a pair of Cambodian water buffalo sandals — just “add to cart” and check out with your Amex Platinum card. The people who are griping about these outrages support entire industries based on cultural appropriation.

We Hate Marriage, So More People Need to Have It

Over on the legal battleground, the Supreme Court recently decided that marriage, which, we will recall, is a form of institutionalized misogynist sexual exploitation, is also a fundamental human right, and should be available to any two humans who want to get matrimonial. That’s okay with me: I believe our society will benefit from more stable relationships, whomever the participants.

But that’s not good enough for sore winners. Now clergy will be forced by law to perform marriages for same-sex couples. While it’s still perfectly legal for a Presbyterian minister to decline to marry a couple of heterosexual Methodists simply because they aren’t members of the congregation, he will be committing a crime if he refuses to perform nuptials for two dudes who are shopping for a ceremonial backdrop. Here’s another loose end: If two women get married, which one is getting sexually exploited?

Then there’s the “cake issue.” Evidently, if a same-sex couple wants to have a wedding reception, the blessed ceremony loses a bit of its panache if they didn’t get to force a Christian to make their cake against his beliefs. Do you really want someone who opposes what you are doing to make your wedding cake? God knows what could be in there. “Anyone for a slice of White Almond Chiffon with loogies?” Of course, a gay baker would never be forced to make desserts for the Westboro Baptist Church. Nor would they ask.

In an even more cynical episode in recent news, a professor of journalism was fired for inciting violence against a . . . wait for it . . . journalist, who was covering a campus protest. For practicing journalism, in other words. Apparently, she was unable to see the irony of the situation and was given the boot. One has to despair for the careers of her students. In the wide universe of news organizations, their job prospects will be limited to MSNBC and HuffPo. Despair not, cubs, sooner or later Rachel Maddow will accidentally perceive a causal relationship correctly, and there will be an opening.

When Aggrieved People Get Power

Wheeling back to our hippie chick flowering rifles. This took place during a campus protest that was obviously also attended by soldiers. With guns. And bullets. As we witnessed at Kent State, these situations can get out of hand. On today’s campuses, however, they’re getting worked up over “microaggressions” and “triggers.” A bullet in the spine is aggression. And there was a real trigger involved at Kent.

Meanwhile, at Emory University, some fascist from outside the perimeter jumped the razor wire and wrote “Trump 2016” on the sidewalk in chalk — a situation that could easily be remediated with a bucket of water. Instead, the student government allocated emergency funding for counseling sessions, and the college administration issued the usual limp apologies and assurances. Students were afraid to attend classes because they might sit near someone with a different worldview. One student at another college demanded that a pro-life student be moved as far from her as possible in the classroom, otherwise she would be incapable of learning. It sounds as if she already is.

Today’s outraged, privileged, fragile snowflakes conjure up utterly trivial nonsense to consider as an affront: microaggression. This can include using the wrong one of more than 50 gender pronouns, sideways glances, snort-chuckling, eye rolling, resigned sighing, and even merely existing in proximity to a person with raw sensitivity. Sorry to get too linguistically nitpicky (that’s Noam Chomsky’s territory), but shouldn’t behavior be required to attain a certain level of intensity to earn the term “aggression”? What’s next— nanoaggression? Will kindness be re-categorized as “negative aggression” and become another form of effrontery?

What we’ve learned from this process, is when aggrieved people— even peace-loving flower children— acquire power, they invariably turn into oppressors as horrible as, or worse than, the tyrants they replaced. This is how we have come to witness the spectacle of a white guy with dreadlocks being assaulted by a black woman wearing Bob Marley flip-flops, neither of whom is a Rastafarian or Jamaican.

Where have all the hippies gone?
Gone for tyrants, every one.
When will we ever learn, when will we ever learn?

And what of the hippie chick? The photo I so clearly recall was actually taken in October 1967 during a antiwar demonstration near the Pentagon. The “flowerista” was a young man, the rifles were pointed at him — not up — and the flowers were carnations. Further, the soldiers were not in a rank but forming a semicircle around a group of protesters, and some of the soldiers were removing the flowers.

This means I was actually 14 years old, in the eighth grade and hadn’t yet become a hippie, which sheds some light on how all this could have gone so wrong. People like me are running our institutions of higher learning. These are people whose policies are based on beliefs and memories formed by drug-addled teenagers 50 years ago. These beliefs are vivid, strongly held, and almost all the details are wrong.

J.C. Bourque is a recovering liberal whose rantings can be found in his book “Squeezed: Rear-Ended by American Politics.” If you didn’t care for this essay, you won’t like the book, either.

Guest column: The rise of the snowflake fascists By Pamela Paresky


December 16, 2015

Melanie Sturm's recent article described the mounting pressure for colleges to restrict free speech on their campuses. It referenced students calling for the resignation of two Yale professors, Erika and Nicholas Christakis, for the offense of suggesting that students take responsibility for their own Halloween costumes rather than the administration controlling what they wore. The result of this "cry-bullying" is that the Christakises, both known for advocating for students, disenfranchised populations and social justice, have chosen not to teach at Yale next term.

Vindictive students behaving with utter incivility at one of our nation's most prestigious universities because professors promoted free speech, the capacity to tolerate offense and students being treated like adults is a sign of an unhealthy society.

Free-speech advocates are alarmed at how swiftly and effectively "snowflake fascists" exact retribution on anyone disloyal to their kindergarchy. Psychologist Jon Haidt contends, "The Yale problem begins in high school." Instead of learning to grapple with viewpoints that diverge from their own, students in high school learn "twin habits of defensive self-censorship and vindictive protectiveness." In other words, high school kids pretty quickly grasp which views are permitted and which are not. When they disagree with accepted viewpoints, they know to keep quiet and the teens who hold the accepted views thoroughly lambast anyone who dares speak up.

But perhaps the "Yale problem" begins even earlier.

Haidt's "twin habits" look an awful lot like the social ethos of middle school. "Good" children learn they can get away with mean-spirited behavior like name-calling and social exclusion as long as there is unspoken peer agreement regarding which children are acceptable targets — typically the unconventional or "different" kids.

Alarmingly, evidence suggests that some anti-bullying programs may make matters worse; when kids learn which behaviors educators want to stop, they change their methods to avoid detection. And kids become experts at avoiding detection. One of the primary reasons targeted children don't report harassment is they know teachers won't do anything. Although teachers want to eradicate bullying, often if they don't see it, as far they're concerned, it isn't happening. In fact, in some schools, regardless of conduct codes and even stated goals to engender kindness, parents are more likely to receive concerned phone calls when children exhibit eccentric behavior than when children spread rumors, taunt targeted children or call them names.

It should come as no surprise, then, that by middle school, about 80 percent of kids believe that their parents and teachers are more concerned with their personal success than being caring toward others, according to a Harvard study. This is due to the rhetoric/reality gap, the gap between the values parents and teachers espouse and what they actually do regarding their children being kind versus successful. Unsurprisingly, the vast majority of children learn to value their own success over being kind. This is especially problematic because when children don't prioritize kindness and caring, they are likely to become disrespectful and even cruel to peers.

In this self-centered environment, children who are unkind to acceptable targets are often still well-liked and are not seen as bullies by their peers or teachers. (They certainly don't see themselves as bullies.) Yet they haven't learned how to interact with people they dislike (or just don't understand) with civility or respect.

If by high school these children have accepted certain "correct" sociopolitical views, those views can become a part of their identity. Then when they advocate for disenfranchised and marginalized groups, they may unknowingly actually be driven by a need to protect their identity and social standing.

In college, these young adults may continue to use their well-honed self-elevating social skills against a new set of acceptable targets — those who don't share their views. Having joined the ranks of the snowflake fascists, they advocate eradicating whatever threatens their identity, and they don't mind being disrespectful and even cruel in the process.

As the Harvard study concludes, civil society "depends on adults who are committed to their communities and who, at pivotal times, will put the common good before their own. We don't seem to be preparing large numbers of youth to create this society."

Imagine what college might look like if middle school were primarily about developing the capacity to create respectful and civil communities in which people listen to others, consider opinions they don't share and value viewpoint diversity? Perhaps rather than becoming "safe spaces" where only certain ideas and viewpoints are allowed, colleges would be safe spaces for intellectual collision and the free expression of diverse points of view.

In contrast to Yale, one college that describes itself as "a community of teachers and learners who value civility in all their interactions" promotes the value of civil discourse. Its website advertises its commitment to freedom of expression: "When you encounter people who think differently than you do, you will be expected to honor their free expression, even when what they have to say seems wrong or offensive to you."

Thankfully there is one college left that still values civility and honors freedom of expression.

Wait. That's from Yale's website.

Executive coach and consultant Pamela Paresky writes about happiness, leadership and human development for Psychology Today at A mother of two and a psychologist, she is the author of the guided journal "A Year of Kindness" and serves as director of the Aspen Center for Human Development. She can be reached at