Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Chaos on Campus

Heather Mac Donald is not a provocatrice. She is not Ann Coulter. She is not a provocateur like Milo Yiannopolis. She is a serious scholar, working out the Manhattan Institute, who has written a book about the Obama Era tendency to shift blame for urban crime on to police officers. The book is called: The War on Cops.

In the world of alternative facts— here we can call them big lies— the black on black violence that infects many of our inner cities is the fault of white police officers. Chicago, Philadelphia, Baltimore… the problem is not the people who commit the crimes, but the police officers who are trying to keep the peace. The Obama Justice Department was investigating police departments for racism… because that’s the real problem in America’s minority communities.

Since the culture is increasingly incapable of holding criminals who belong to certain ethnic groups responsible for their crimes, members of said groups continue to be overrepresented in the criminal population.

Now, college students have been up in arms about mild-mannered Heather Mac Donald. Recently, a mob at Claremont-McKenna College in California shut down her speech, on the grounds that defending the police made her a fascist. We do not know who these students are. We do not know what if any punishment will be meted out by the cowardly fools who run the college. One suspects that these students are not the best and the brightest. One suspects that they protest because they find it less challenging than their course work.

Mac Donald described the inflammatory and mindless rhetoric that produced the demonstration:

Several calls went out on Facebook to “shut down” this “notorious white supremacist fascist Heather Mac Donald.” A Facebook post from “we, students of color at the Claremont Colleges” announced grandiosely that “as a community, we CANNOT and WILL NOT allow fascism to have a platform. We stand against all forms of oppression and we refuse to have Mac Donald speak.” A Facebook event titled “Shut Down Anti-Black Fascist Heather Mac Donald” and hosted by “Shut Down Anti-Black Fascists” encouraged students to protest the event because Mac Donald “condemns [the] Black Lives Matter movement,” “supports racist police officers,” and “supports increasing fascist ‘law and order.’” (My supposed fascism consists in trying to give voice to the thousands of law-abiding minority residents of high-crime areas who support the police and are desperate for more law-enforcement protection.)

How many of these students were accepted in order to fulfill diversity quotas? How many of them are angry and are protesting because they cannot compete in the classroom? These questions have arisen each time one of these violent protests takes place. University administrators tend to react by calling for more diversity… and thus are aggravating the problem.

The speech was live-streamed to an empty room:

I completed my speech to the accompaniment of chants and banging on the windows. I was able to take two questions from students via live-streaming. But by then, the administrators and police officers in the room, who had spent my talk nervously staring at the windows, decided that things were growing too unruly outside to continue. I was given the cue that the presentation was over. Walkie-talkies were used to coordinate my exit from the Athenaeum’s kitchen to the exact moment that a black, unmarked Claremont Police Department van rolled up. We passed startled students sitting on the stoop outside the kitchen. Before I entered the van, one student came up and thanked me for coming to Claremont. We sped off to the police station.

Yet, as Mac Donald remarked in a City Journal article, the fault for this madness lies with the faculty … and of course the administration. We were heartened to see that, after the appalling treatment that Charles Murray received at Middlebury College, hundreds of faculty members across the nation signed a ringing endorsement of free campus speech, penned by Princeton professors Cornel West and Robert George. And yet, talk is cheap. If faculty members hide under their desks while their campuses are being taken over by thugs, it’s just a lot of empty verbiage.

Mac Donald makes the point well:

Where are the faculty? American college students are increasingly resorting to brute force, and sometimes criminal violence, to shut down ideas they don’t like. Yet when such travesties occur, the faculty are, with few exceptions, missing in action, though they have themselves been given the extraordinary privilege of tenure to protect their own liberty of thought and speech. It is time for them to take their heads out of the sand.

Later in her article, Mac Donald answers her own question. The faculty is silent because these students are simply doing what their teachers have taught them to do. One needs mention, yet again, that many of the faculty members in Humanities and Social Science departments owe their jobs to ideological conformity and diversity politics. One suspects that many of the student demonstrators owe their acceptances to the same considerations. Our universities have dispensed with considerations of merit and we are paying the price.

She writes:

When speakers need police escort on and off college campuses, an alarm bell should be going off that something has gone seriously awry. Of course, an ever-growing part of the faculty is the reason that police protection is needed in the first place. Professors in all but the hardest of hard sciences increasingly indoctrinate students in the belief that to be a non-Asian minority or a female in America today is to be the target of nonstop oppression, even, uproariously, if you are among the privileged few to attend a fantastically well-endowed, resource-rich American college. Those professors also maintain that to challenge that claim of ubiquitous bigotry is to engage in “hate speech,” and that such speech is tantamount to a physical assault on minorities and females. As such, it can rightly be suppressed and punished. To those faculty, I am indeed a fascist, and a white supremacist, with the attendant loss of communication rights.

In these events we see a consequence of the radicalization program effected by America’s colleges, and nationalized by the Obama administration.

The worst part is that these college students are America’s future. If that is the case America’s future is grim indeed. Mac Donald concludes:

We are cultivating students who lack all understanding of the principles of the American Founding. The mark of any civilization is its commitment to reason and discourse. The great accomplishment of the European enlightenment was to require all forms of authority to justify themselves through rational argument, rather than through coercion or an unadorned appeal to tradition. The resort to brute force in the face of disagreement is particularly disturbing in a university, which should provide a model of civil discourse.

But the students currently stewing in delusional resentments and self-pity will eventually graduate, and some will seize levers of power more far-reaching than those they currently wield over toadying campus bureaucrats and spineless faculty. Unless the campus zest for censorship is combatted now, what we have always regarded as a precious inheritance could be eroded beyond recognition, and a soft totalitarianism could become the new American norm.

The question now is whether the student radicals will be punished. The Claremont-McKenna administration says that they will, but we retain some skepticism.

William McGurn reports on the administration reaction:

In his note defending the university’s decision not to make arrests or force the hall open, CMC President Hiram Chodosh did say that students who blocked people from entering the Athenaeum “will be held accountable.” On Monday, a university spokeswoman, Joann Young, confirmed in an email that students found responsible face a range of sanctions including “temporary or permanent separation from the college.”

Beyond that we need what has happened at the University of Missouri. We need alumni who are willing to stop contributing to these schools. We need parents who refuse to allow their children to attend such schools. We need to see dorms shut down for lack of students. We need to see teachers and administrators relieved of their duties, for lack of funding.

Otherwise, this is going to continue. It will not end well.


trigger warning said...

"Provocatrice"! Great word, SS. I also have a fond affection for "aviatrix". And last week I saw a vanity plate I liked belonging on a woman's car in upstate NY: DISTAPH. Clever.

I miss the old days when words conveyed information (as opposed to ideological content).

Ares Olympus said...

A guy I met at the Minnesota State Fair Constitution Party booth really wanted me to read Mac Donald's book "War on Cops". He was sure if I read it, it would convince me that BLM is full of crap and that everything was the fault of black people themselves, rather than the police.

Later on he wanted me to go with him to the BLM where he wanted to provoke a conflict, trying to point out the "Hands up, don't shoot" meme for Mike Brown was a myth, and I agreed with him on that, but I was also 100% sure that breaking that myth had nothing to do with other cases like Tamir Rice who was shot within seconds of a police car pulling up to him in a park. But my new friend was sure that no progress could be made unless every BLM supporter admitted the "hands up meme" was a myth, and the facts of Tamir's murder (and acquital of the shooting officer) could not be addressed.

Of course the strangest thing of the Tamir murder case, is the officers would found not guilty, YET the police department itself settled the case of out court with the black family for $6 million.

Isn't that interesting? If a citizen murders a cop who was looking threatening, do you think any jury is going to acquit that citizen? And if that citizen happens to be Donald Trump (who likes to fastasize about shooting people), and he agrees to pay the family of the police officer $6 million dollars, would anyone consider justice served in this case?

Of course in the Cleveland police department's case, the $6 million will be paid for not by the murderer, but through the taxes of citizens of Cleveland. Does that sound like justice was served?

So anyway, I'm not overly impressed by Mac Donald's books defending a "war on cops". As long as we live in a world where police officers have the power of life and death and see blacks as guilty until proven guilty, and are willing to use lethal force to protect themselves against imaginary or toy guns because a suspect doesn't react with 1 second of a command, it looks to me that this is not a war on cops, but a demand for justice.

And in Minnesota last summer, a nonwhite police officer shot and killed a blackman, Philando Castile, near St Paul, at a routine traffic stop, where the black man told the officer he had a permit to carry a gun, and the black man wasn't smart enough to realize that reaching for a gun to show it to the officer wasn't a way to make the officer feel safe, and cost him his life.

We can have sympathy for that cop who cried after killing the man. And he was rightfully convicted with manslaughter. However without the video filmed by the man's girlfriend in the car, probably the officer could have gotten away with it, as long as he could tell a good story about the dangerous black man with a gun.

So cases like this are now becoming public because of cameras, and untold previous shootings of blacks by police were deemed justified, based on self-interested testamony of officers on the thin blue line.

I don't think Mac Donald is a racist, but I don't think she is unbiased. And the idea that we should accept police killings as okay since more blacks are killed by other blacks, is offensive in the extreme.

It's like saying child abuse isn't the problem, because kids abuse each other much more frequently than adults abuse children, and we can't possibly hold adults responsible until we stop the kids from doing it first.

So I can understand why people would prefer to try to silence speakers like Mac Donald. I don't approve of censorship by moral self-righteousness, but I understand it.

sestamibi said...

"But the students currently stewing in delusional resentments and self-pity will eventually graduate, and some will seize levers of power more far-reaching than those they currently wield over toadying campus bureaucrats and spineless faculty."

Are you kidding? This has been going on for at least 40 years!

Ares Olympus said...

p.s. A primary point of Mac Donald's book was what she called "Ferguson effect" which basically said overactive projections on police violence causes police officers to back down from confrontation and soon lead to an increase in violent crime as gangs and criminals learn they can get away with more, and presumably can even gain the sympathy of other citizens by claiming persecution.

Surely this unwanted side-effect must exist, and it doesn't just occur between police and citizens but in any situation between someone exerting authoring and another who is willing to claim victim-status to observers to intervene.

Like my brother had a step-son in his marriage, and as the marriage was breaking down, this son, age 11 or so, claimed my brother was being physically abusive while in fact it was just regular discipline. But his foolish wife took the side of her son over her husband, and she was actually encouraged by a neighbor to report my brother's use of physical force to the police, and my brother was actually ordered to stay physically away from the son and wasn't allowed to discipline him at all for the last year of the marriage, before she asked for a divorce. I don't recall any real bad behavior by the stepson, but certainly it makes things backwards, where a child suddenly is given power over an adult. Of course, its also for good reason - because statistically nonbiological parents are more likely to abuse children.

And similarly kids even learn school to "tattle" on adults who hit them, even discipline by parents, like this 60 second ad tries to show. It's Discipline Not Child Abuse

So "chaos" is the right word. If you make a world where even the smallest act of authority figures is instantly challenged as abusive, you will encourage timit authority figures to withdraw and refuse to do what they think is best, but will cause more problems for themselves than its worth, in the short run. And in this environment, children and immature people will have the run of the town (or home), and no one will stop them.

So if Mac Donald could somehow express this in a more generic sense than her "war on cops" expresses to shallow listeners, everyone should see "chaos is not better" and there has to be a middle ground. Of course in the case of police, the middle ground is more police will be shot and killed, if less citizens are killed, and until police are courageous enough to accept that, the war really can't end.

I do think especially in poor communities that everyone needs to practice respectful interactions with police, and learn how to see things from their point of view, their personal risks, and some of things things you don't really learn from a book, but need to role play both sides and see how we see ourselves is different than how we're seen.

I'm sure most men learn they are threatening to some women even if they do absolutely nothing, and if we limit the authority of men to only act within the safety margins of the most timid women of the world, you can be sure chaos and greater violence will result because violent people won't be stopped as soon.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Here's a statistical comparison I'd love to see: (1) people who believe white cops want to kill black people, and (2) those who believe in anthropomorphic Climate Change.

Leo G said...

Racism is now so yesterday!

Now it is Fascism 24/7.

The words change, but the play stays the same.

Ares Olympus said...

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said... Here's a statistical comparison I'd love to see: (1) people who believe white cops want to kill black people...

I think the keyword there is "want to kill". I mean I don't WANT to kill squirrels when I drive, but they're just stupid. They run across the road, and they're already past me, and crazily, they jump back into my path. WTF?! If they would just look both ways and cross in the crosswalks, they'd be a lot safer.

Still, if a situation presents itself and I can tell a squirrel "Go ahead and make my day" as my car approaches, and no one is recording, why not have a little fun? It's just an animal afterall.

On the other side, we know "suicide by cop" is a real thing, although I do believe success is easier if you're black. A man with what it looks like an automatic shotgun begs to get killed by cop.

I can't imagine having a job where you have to put your conscience on the line every day on life and death decisions, or where your quick decision will be second guessed by 100 million people on YouTube the next day.

This brave new world of "public video of everything" is almost upon us. And even in private you imagine babysitters will soon be videoing their interactions, especially all acts of discipline so the kids won't be able to lie to their parents because the babysitter is mean.

James said...

"I think the keyword there is "want to kill". I mean I don't WANT to kill squirrels when I drive, but they're just stupid. They run across the road, and they're already past me, and crazily, they jump back into my path. WTF?! If they would just look both ways and cross in the crosswalks, they'd be a lot safer."
You're right. But they are not stupid, they are just being squirrels. Which of course applies equally to Libs. They aren't stupid, just being who they are.