Sunday, January 7, 2018

The Evil that Must Not Be Named on Campus

The following article appeared in the American Thinker on January 6th

Academia turns a blind eye to the reality of actual socialism, the ideology practiced by Marxists while they sought the perfection of communism...someday.  Socialism is ruining Venezuela today, and the whitewash pervades elite culture, even when the evil strikes close to home for an elite American small college.

I attended Kenyon College (Gambier, Ohio) in the mid-1970s.  I enjoyed my time there, made some great lifelong friends, and graduated with a sincere appreciation of the benefits of having a liberal arts education as it was practiced at the time.

Over the years, my political perspective has moved well away from the liberal orthodoxy that now prevails at Kenyon.  As a result, I have had a somewhat strained relationship with my alma mater, accentuated by three events that led to dust-ups with the college's administration:
  1. an embarrassingly inappropriate "welcome back to campus" speech/diatribe at a class dinner by a leftist professor on the occasion of my tenth class reunion;
  2. Kenyon virtually ignoring the 2005 death of matriculate William Rehnquist, while simultaneously displaying his name on its list of "Notable Alumni" on its website; and
  3. an absurd and offensive assertion by a member of the Religious Studies department, published in Kenyon's alumni bulletin, that "[w]e have fundamentalist Christians in the United States who are just as exclusionary as the more radical Muslims."
With this as a backdrop, I have been watching with great interest Kenyon's reporting of the plight of one of our own, Leopoldo López (Class of 1993).  López has led, for many years, the political opposition against Venezuela's repressive governing regime.  
Leopoldo Lopez

In response to his opposition efforts, López was jailed by the Venezuelan government in February 2014.  This imprisonment lasted for three-plus years (until July 2017), when he was transferred to house arrest.  In August 2017, López was imprisoned yet again by the Venezuelan government and remains imprisoned to this day.

Kenyon's reporting on López's struggle has been voluminous.  By my count, since 2014, Kenyon's website and alumni bulletin have published ten articles chronicling his plight, covering over twenty pages and consisting of roughly 10,000 words.  But there is one big problem consistent within the entirety of this reporting: it virtually ignores that fact that the evil government that is cruelly persecuting López (and thousands of other Venezuelans) is a socialist regime.  The words "socialist" and "socialism" appear in only two of the ten articles.  The words are used only three times (combined) in these two articles.

This whitewashing by Kenyon of the ideological nature of López's tormenters continues unabated.  On December 18, Kenyon's president, Sean Decatur, posted this item on Kenyon's website:

Venezuelan opposition leader and @KenyonCollege alum @leopoldolopez has a piece in the @TheAtlantic proposing solutions to Venezuela's economic troubles:

The link included in this post takes the reader to an article, published on The Atlantic's website, which is described as an adapted excerpt from a forthcoming book co-written by Leopoldo López.  The article, presumably adapted by the editors of The Atlantic, spends over five pages and roughly 1,750 words describing the catastrophic economic and humanitarian collapse suffered by Venezuela over the past decade without once using or referencing the words "socialist" and "socialism." 
Kenyon College, Middle Path

Kenyon is not alone among academic institutions in its whitewashing of socialism.  Over the course of the past two years, I have delivered a lecture titled "The Victims of Socialism" at nine colleges and universities across the country and in Canada.  This lecture series, sponsored by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, highlights the death and destruction inflicted upon the populations of the Soviet Union, China, and Cambodia by the brutal imposition of socialism in those countries.  Reference is also made in the lecture to the cumulative (and consistent) socialist death toll of 94 million people, suffered in dozens of countries dotting the timeline of the 20th century, as painstakingly documented in The Black Book of Communism (Harvard University Press, 1999).

The response to these lectures was eye-opening.  Flyers advertising it were torn down or defaced at almost every campus where I spoke.  The last several lectures required the presence of armed guards due to rumblings of threatened disruption by Antifa. 

As to the content, many student-attendees are shocked that they are hearing about these incontrovertible facts for the first time.  This intellectual blind spot is especially telling because these students are well versed in Nazi atrocities, the tragic history of slavery, and the sad treatment of American Indians.

Then there are the students who are aware of what happened in the Soviet Union, China, and Cambodia but who claim that socialism has moved past those bloody chapters and has been perfected in Scandinavian countries.  Despite this claim's utter absurdity (all Scandinavian countries have market economies, and all have high levels of economic freedom), it reflects the prevailing mindset on most campuses in the age of Bernie Sanders.  These students become agitated and defensive when their academic and intellectual echo chamber is pierced and their inaccurate worldview challenged. 
Old Kenyon

Finally, there are those students who believe that true socialism or communism has never really been correctly implemented and that there can be a disconnect between authoritarianism and properly implemented socialism.  My response to these students has been a recitation of the definition of insanity.

The bottom line: the true, evil nature of socialism is not being taught at most of America's colleges and universities.  To the contrary, socialism is promulgated as a positive force for "social justice," "income equality," and "environmental preservation."  As such, when the true nature of socialism rears its ugly head (as in present-day Venezuela), the horrific reality must be suppressed.

By all rights, the terms "Nazism" and "socialism" ought to have the same, profoundly hideous connotation.  Both ideologies are brutal totalitarian systems.  Both killed millions of innocent people (socialism far more than Nazism, actually).  Both demand total allegiance to an all-powerful state.  Both extinguish basic human rights.  Both foster state-sanctioned hatred and terror (Nazis toward non-Aryans, socialists against class enemies).  Both are devoid of open political dialogue.

That academics and administrations at Kenyon and other elite colleges and universities across the country continue to whitewash the true nature of socialism or prop it up as a legitimate alternative to our republican form of government and capitalistic economic system is a national disgrace.  In November 2017, a survey conducted by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation showed that a majority (51%) of Millennials would prefer to live in a communist or socialist country.  This statistic is proof positive that what has been taught on college campuses about socialism for the past several decades constitutes nothing short of abject academic malpractice and intellectual dishonesty.

Ed.  I also graduated from Kenyon College, way back in 1973. There were about 1,100 students and 1969, my freshman year, was the first class of girls at Kenyon. 

Of course, it was already a liberal school as a number of the intellectual, female scholars roamed the campus with unshaven legs and 1" long hair adorning their armpits. 

After the Kent State shootings of 1970, the college leftists demanded that finals be cancelled because they were not "relevant" to the important issues of the day. 

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