Les Deplorables

Little mainstream media attention has been focused on events in France, but they are well worth noting:

Millions of French citizens have been violently demonstrating across France for the last month.  They are known as the gilets jaunes, or “yellow jackets”. The protestors wear the yellow high-viz jacket, that is common on building sites and airports.  It’s a powerful totem for the French deplorables, a unifying symbol of ordinary, working class folk across the nation…

Many still understand France through the lens of Vogue magazine covers: a nation of affluent, happy people who live in elegant homes, with endless holidays, wine and food.  A 24/7 utopia of chic, elegance and style.  Important to note: that France does exist. It is the world of the French ruling class, less than 1% of the population.  This small group of citizens have dominated the business, banking, legal and political scenes for decades.

The ruling class comes from a small group of grandes ecoles, or elite colleges. There are only 3 or 4.   …These people are arrogant. But they are also ignorant. Raised in very wealthy families and cosseted in the networks those families are part of, they have no understanding of ordinary people and their real lives.

Arrogance and ignorance is a very toxic mix. 

What makes the gilets jaunes protests unique?  Their main gripe?  Elites blaming ordinary people, for problems that the same elites have caused.  Elites never being held accountable for their incompetence. And elites never having to experience the conditions, that their failed ideas cause.  French people are sick of being held in chains by a ruling class. They are sick of being poor and unemployed.

They want a new direction for their beloved nation.  Sound familiar?

The U.S. can relate to this more than many people realize.  The current Supreme Court is composed entirely of graduates from either Harvard or Yale.  The four presidents immediately prior to Trump studied at either Yale, Harvard or Oxford.  Chuck Schumer, the current Senate Minority Leader, is a Harvard grad.  In fact, nearly every headline-making political figure these days can be traced to one of the eight “Ivy League” schools.

That’s highly problematic, given the track record of those schools.  Harvard and Yale both earned “D” grades over their graduation requirements (or lack thereof) concerning seven core subjects: composition, U.S. government or history, economics, literature, college-level math, science and intermediate-level foreign language.  These are the foundational studies of a ‘university’ model, as opposed to vocational or technical training.  Yet a 2007 report found that Ivy League graduates actually knew less about American history, government and economics after their four years of allegedly elite education.  This goes far in explaining the lack of respect for the genius of the Constitution as written, and the value of longstanding American traditions.  Indeed, many of these grads consider themselves ‘citizens of the world,’ viewing patriotism merely as something to steer the rubes in ‘flyover country’ with, and national identity as a threat to their globalist agendas (spoiler: it is).

These schools are not imparting the very knowledge one would expect of an entrenched governing class.  Worse, despite their cheers for “diversity” in society, they fail to practice what they preach, with the result students are not forced to develop critical thinking skills by being exposed to a range of ideas and opinions.  In short, they are enormously expensive echo chambers of indoctrination, whose only apparent practical value is in building up networks with other chosen insiders.

Is it any wonder, then, that many Americans — like their French counterparts — feel completely disconnected from their self-appointed betters, who largely aren’t affected by the ill-advised public policies they pursue?  As the main linked article notes, national identity and character doesn’t die easily.  That’s the primary reason why the elites around the world have been encouraging mass migration, the dilution of nation-states, and the constant creation of extra-national entities like the European Union and the recently-renegotiated North American Free Trade Area.  It is a literally diabolical agenda.

After years — decades, really — of observing how the policies of the various elite university cohorts fail the commoners, it appears the long-suffering but newly militant “normals” may finally be reasserting themselves.  It’s about time.

But isn’t it interesting to note that after a month of “yellow jacket” protests put Macron and the French elites on the defensive, that a “known Islamic radical” with a lengthy criminal history suddenly shoots up a Christmas market and somehow escapes the police (some 89,000 of whom had been deployed to counter the anti-government protests across France?

It’s not as if those in power want to change the subject, right?

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So what was the point?

A couple centuries from now, historians may well summarize the Civil Rights Era as a justifiable struggle for equal access to mainstream society… that eventually led to some of their grandchildren willingly withdrawing back into their own isolated communities.

I just can’t see this being the future Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr was “dreaming” of:

Harvard University will host a graduation ceremony exclusively for black students, organisers have announced.  More than 170 students and 530 guests have signed up to attend the event, which will be held 23 May.

The event was crowdfunded by students who raised over $27,000 (£21,000). This year, the all-black ceremony is open only to graduate students, but organisers hope to open it up to undergraduates next year.

“This is an opportunity to celebrate Harvard’s black excellence and black brilliance,” Michael Huggins told The Root website.

Mr Huggins, who is graduating with a master’s in public policy from the Harvard Kennedy School, added: “It’s an event where we can see each other and our parents and family can see us as a collective, whole group.  A community.”  ((A ‘separate but equal’ community? — Jemison))

Another organiser of the event said the ceremony would also draw attention to the experience of black students at Harvard and other elite institutions.

“Harvard’s institutional foundation is in direct conflict with the needs of black students,” Courtney Woods said.

“There is a legacy of slavery, epistemic racism and colonisation at Harvard, which was an institution founded to train rising imperialist leaders. This is a history that we are reclaiming.”

If Harvard is so in conflict with the needs of black students, why didn’t they attend some other prestigious school?  You can’t tell me in this day and age that every single elite school is somehow biased against minority students.  I strongly suspect in many cases this is simply code for “they expect too much of us.”  And yet, given what I know of the “education” that occurs in such places, I seriously doubt that’s the case, either.

If the quoted Courtney Woods is a graduate of Harvard, it confirms yet again there is woefully inadequate humanities instruction there.  Harvard was founded to “train rising imperialist leaders?”  Overdose on Marxism much?

If I were one of those who’d faced the water cannons or Bull Conner’s dogs, I’d be tearing into these kids.  Their grandparents literally fought for them to have a place at the table, and now they’re pulling away from it again.  Worst of all, they’ll take it as confirmation of their own warped perspective when others take offense at their slapping away of the outstretched hand of fellowship.

I’ve said it before, and will keep saying it: you cannot simultaneously obsess about race, and create a color-blind society.  Pick one or the other.

Demonstrating all that’s wrong

…with America today, college students at Oberlin (annual tuition: $49,928) are demanding the school support their careers in activism by abolishing midterms and giving no grade less than a “C.”  Seriously.  (Be sure to read this story in the New Yorker as well, to get a sense of what “higher education” consists of these days.)

Makes me wonder how many of the violent demonstrators in Albuquerque yesterday were college students who have no business going to college at all.  There seems to be a lot of those these days: self-absorbed, petty little brownshirts and mentally maladjusted misfits who spend more time trying to shut out and shout down any idea they don’t like than they do studying and learning concepts that might make them more successful in the world they find so all-oppressing.

The Left likes to accuse traditionalists and conservatives of being violent, but it’s increasingly clear that’s just psychological projection.  They have gotten away with it for a long time, because by nature traditionalists and conservatives are loathe to go that route unless absolutely necessary.

What these radicals fail to realize is that their deranged and increasingly violent action is causing more and more of their foes to conclude it may just come to that.  And woe unto them if it does.  They will quickly find out that facing midterms in college was a privilege, after all.

What can Brown do for to you?

The Ivy League brand is the only reason anyone would pay $65,000 a year to experience this nonsense.  But with any luck, the past year or so of public attention to what is really going on at these campuses will irrevocably destroy that brand — and good riddance!

“There are people breaking down, dropping out of classes and failing classes because of the activism work they are taking on,” said David, an undergraduate whose name has been changed to preserve anonymity. Throughout the year, he has worked to confront issues of racism and diversity on campus.

His role as a student activist has taken a toll on his mental, physical and emotional health. “My grades dropped dramatically. My health completely changed. I lost weight. I’m on antidepressants and anti-anxiety pills right now. (Counseling and Psychological Services) counselors called me. I had deans calling me to make sure I was okay,” he said…

Justice Gaines ’16, who uses the pronouns xe, xem and xyr, said student activism efforts on campus are necessary. “I don’t feel okay with seeing students go through hardships without helping and organizing to make things better.”

In the wake of The Herald’s opinion pieces, Gaines felt overwhelmed by emotions flooding across campus. Students were called out of class into organizing meetings, and xe felt pressure to help xyr peers cope with what was going on, xe said. Gaines “had a panic attack and couldn’t go to class for several days.”

And these are the well-connected supposed leaders of tomorrow?  Consider the irony of ‘students’ (can we call them that if studying isn’t the top priority?) who rally to decry “privilege,” while constantly seeking Dean’s notes that extend their academic suspenses so they can be disruptive crybullies (a recently coined term I find to be spot on) at campus speaking events featuring opinions with which they disagree.  What, exactly, are they paying exorbitant tuition for — the latitude to make public nuisances of themselves?

This surrealistic nonsense has gone on long enough.  It’s time to stop pretending these institutions produce anything but confused and quite possibly mentally damaged permanent adolescents who are incapable of dealing with reality.  These ‘future leaders’ are steeped in the warped worldviews of the self-professed ‘social justice warriors’ who now infest everything from Twitter and other tech industries to entertainment outlets and educational institutions, and who use their influence to enforce a velvet-glove version of fascist thought control.  It’s long past time to return the favor and begin the process of ostracizing anyone who supports this insanity.  Aside from social networking and trying to signal some sort of liberal virtue, what possible value could be had by hiring someone whose ‘education’ consists of the Red Guard indoctrination described in Brown University’s own newspaper?  Any business owner with a smidgeon of sense would be well advised to simply drop in the wastebasket any application from an Ivy League graduate, and to make it known they place no value on a diploma from these cesspools.  No high-performing company or organization has time for such drama queens and distractions.

And considering their behavior in recent years, it’s not as though any of “xem” have a leg to stand on to claim viewpoint discrimination.  If they want to break the truce of civility, so be it – let xem reap what they’ve sown.  Those of us who live in the real world don’t need xem… they need us, just as a parasite needs a host.

The hosts, as our current politics show, are getting a little tired of the non-productive bloodsuckers…

Every Kid gets a trophy

Indeed

Today’s read:

“It’s disheartening that an avowed socialist is a viable candidate for president of the United States. Socialism is a dead end. For hundreds of years, it has failed everywhere it’s been adopted. The enthusiasm of our youth for the candidacy of Bernie Sanders is a symptom of our failure to educate them, not only in history, government and economics, but also basic morality…”

Read the entire thing.  Even as our nation reaches $19 trillion of acknowledged debt, too many people still seem to think it’s the best source of lots of goodies.  We’ve reached a point today where in education there is emphasis on science, technology, computing… but not on the lessons learned from basic human experience over 4,000+ years of recorded history.  And we wonder why we’re repeating mistakes that should have been proscribed long ago.

Those who don't study history are doomed to repeat it Yet those who do study history are doomed to stand by helplessly while everyone else repeats it

The past as a battlefield

What does the French Revolution and the Khmer Rouge have in common?  Upon achieving power, both tried to make a clean break from the past, as though man had entered a new era of perfection.  For the Khmer Rouge, it was now “Year Zero.”  For the French revolutionaries, everything from the names of the months to the way anything was measured was fair game for change.

This is a dangerous tendency for radicals, and even more dangerous for those — including the living — they feel a need to ‘erase.’  So it should be with great seriousness that we confront the new anti-historiography on college campuses.

A student group called the Black Justice League is demanding that Princeton University, which Wilson molded in his image first as professor, then as the school’s president, acknowledge “the racist legacy of Woodrow Wilson” and move to strip his name from both the public policy school and the residential college. For good measure, these student radicals want Princeton to institute courses on “the history of marginalized peoples” as well as “cultural competency training.”

As the linked article points out, Wilson’s racism was a product of his times, in the same way the author of the Declaration of Independence (that would be Thomas Jefferson, college students) was himself a slaveholder.  There is but One person who can be honored for a perfect legacy.  So the tendency to “unperson” historical figures who do not live up to modern sensibilities is simply a quest for perpetual outrage, yet another version of Orwell’s “Two Minutes’ Hate” to fire up the revolutionary vanguard.

It also reveals the shallowness and fragility of today’s college students, some of whom apparently require therapy upon being ‘victimized’ by merely seeing a Confederate flag sticker!   Is it any wonder with such drama queens running amok that at least some university leaders have (finally) reminded the public higher education is “not a daycare center?” 

The ironic thing about these fans of the fainting couch now targeting Woodrow Wilson is that he’s one of the founders of their modern American ‘progressivism.’  His racist views aside, in my mind his legacy is far more tarnished for having advocated the theory of a ‘living constitution,’ laying the groundwork for an income tax and vastly expanded government, and for taking a very reluctant America into the First World War — a war in which we had no vital national interests.  Recall that Wilson was reelected in 1916 on a campaign slogan “he kept us out of war,” but then declared war on Germany five months later, mobilizing an unprecedented American propaganda machine to paper over the whiplash for the public.

So on the one hand it’s nice to see modern progressivism begin devouring its own.  On the other, we need to be aware of just how much higher education has become incubators for totalitarian impulses.  Very little separates the modern progressive who wants to airbrush Wilson out of Princeton from the actions of Joseph Stalin or Joseph Goebbels, who literally airbrushed ‘nonpersons’ from photos as though they’d never existed.

Deleting history prevents learning from it… the very OPPOSITE of ‘progress.’  One final thought: it’s not just past evils that ‘oppress’ today’s generation.  The past can also show just how self-absorbed and self-destructive the present has become.  Sometimes, what people call ‘oppression’ is merely a response to their conscience being pricked, as Dr. Everett Piper pointed out:

At OKWU, we teach you to be selfless rather than self-centered. We are more interested in you practicing personal forgiveness than political revenge. We want you to model interpersonal reconciliation rather than foment personal conflict. We believe the content of your character is more important than the color of your skin. We don’t believe that you have been victimized every time you feel guilty and we don’t issue “trigger warnings” before altar calls.

Despite all human efforts to erase or obscure it, Truth endures.  And it sometimes hurts.  It hurts even more when you insist on “kicking against the goads.”

 

Inmates running the asylum

I’m more than a little tired of hearing of colleges rescinding invitations to speak on campus after leftist-indoctrinated students and (in many cases) faculty stamp their little feet, throw a hissy fit and demand exclusion of ideas with which they disagree (all in the name of ‘tolerance,’ of course):

Williams College students invited Suzanne Venker, a writer and longtime critic of feminism, to speak Tuesday night, but changed their minds and took back the invite for her talk, “One Step Forward, Ten Steps Back: Why Feminism Fails.” . . .

The students who run the series decided to cancel the event, co-president Zach Wood explained, after its Facebook page began to attract acerbic comments and “things got a little out of hand.” …

Somewhat ironically, Venker had been invited to participate in Williams’ “Uncomfortable Learning” speaker series, which was created precisely for the purpose of exposing Williams students to perspectives that contrast with those they regularly hear on campus.

This is but one of many reasons why a college ‘education’ is rapidly becoming a useless commodity and a bad financial investment.  We are raising a generation of children to believe it’s their right — duty, even — to drown out the voices that don’t comport with the utopian memes with which they’ve been indoctrinated.  And so you get the irony of students yelling “fascist” at various right-of-center guests in an attempt to drown out their presentations, all the while historically oblivious to the fact they are acting little better than the brown or black shirts — the original fascists.

Where are the faculty and administrators willing to be adults and push back, reminding the students that speech is either free for all, or not free at all?  Where are the mentors telling these students that avoiding unpleasant challenges to your pet view of life is no way to prepare for navigating the adult world?  Does no one these days quote Aristotle to these little totalitarians?

Far from being a place to expand one’s horizons and learn to think critically about the challenges of life, higher education today is largely an assembly-line process by which students check boxes next to impractical courses to get an increasingly worthless degree, all the while being conditioned to be part of the leftist collective literally hell-bent on telling all of society how to live — by force, if necessary.  For many, the result of the college experience is a lifetime hangover of debt and an aversion to traditional ideas of limited government, personal independence, and self-reliance.

For collectivists, all those results are features, not bugs.  It creates an ill-prepared and debt-saddled mass of citizenry that can be swayed in support of ever-larger government to bail them out.  For the rest of us, it’s time to reevaluate how much social emphasis we place on completing such a process