I should begin by saying that I am only twenty-two years old, and therefore anything I have to say about politics can scarcely be credited with authority. Yet I have encountered men and women considerably older, who even occupy seats in Congress, that are perhaps less knowledgable than I about politics: and it is precisely those people who hold positions of authority, half-wittedly directing public opinion. Never would I propose a Green New Deal, and yet one who does is not only a congressional representative, but a leading voice in American politics, vindicating a backslide to the Socialist experiment of our blood-soaked twentieth century.
It seems that the “revolution in consciousness” effected by the Woodstock Festival in ’69 had a short duration. (Nay, for twelve hours?) Those same persons, to whom it was revealed that we can found a world of sustained love and peace, now find themselves as politicians, educators, HR representatives, in short, in any occupation that enables them to exert their dogma of social cohesion. And if it is not the original flower children themselves holding these positions, it is their children, or otherwise trained disciples. The preachers of love have never been so vengeful as they are today.
Love’s fangs may have sunk deeper into western universities than anywhere else. A college student myself, I can share some of what is said and done in lieu of reputable education. First and foremost, the white, heterosexual, gender-solid male is always shown to be less than human, as a “toxic,” “privileged,” and “oppressive” fellow. Were not the enemies dehumanized in past times of war to decrease the pain of killing them, and has not the word “oppression” been used before to create a catastrophic dichotomy? Yet are they repeated.
As for anybody of different sex or skin color, who in lay terms we call the “minority,” the educator will inform him that he is being subjugated by a tyrannical will, all while expressing a pity that even the student might find excessive. “You are oppressed,” the educator says. “Western institutions, western society is rigged such that you are kept at bottom rank. Greedy, white capitalist men have secured for themselves the greatest authority and riches, and through their power they maintain a corrupt social system. Have my sympathy, oppressed one.” or, in some cases, we are told to: “Revolt against the patriarchy!”
At present, nobody takes the academy seriously, for the simple reason that much of academe is ideological, and those who are not are afraid to say anything that will upset the ideologues—who are capable of terminating careers—and lastly because our overall expectation of the educator has diminished, which could easily be considered the inevitable byproduct of a hyper-liberalized society.
Now and again, a learned educator will sneak his way into the university, remaining there for a time until he arrives at his breaking point, wearied by the intellectual impoverishment and laziness visible at every corner and every floor of his building. Such a man ought to stay alert during his stay, lest the Diversity Department get a whiff of his individual, nonconformist practices. More and more colleges possess a Department of Diversity, the lot of them in agreement as to what they expect from students and staff: sameness.
Fortunately, educated men do still exist. One of my professors, of a rare and noble breed, introduced me to the videos and books of Sir Roger Scruton last year. Upon my discovery of such a cultured man, I declared with resolve that Conservatism cannot be for “dummies,” but that it is rather an intelligent man’s approach to the relation between civilization and history.
The smoothness of his English, his charm and wit, his daring to approach big questions with humility and honesty, all made a great impression on me. His personality and achievements will always serve to remind us of the grace and strength of the human being, who is in some cases imbued with undying curiosity and contemplation, all of which is directed toward the enrichment, and not the impoverishment of human existence—which is to say, the search for truth is armed with high and definite values.
Sir Roger Scruton was born of Western Civilization, and looked on it with loving acceptance, acknowledging both the angels and the demons of its past. All of us should be wary of those who, rather than love and accept their family, society, culture and life, have only spite for all that surrounds them, especially when they spite in the name of love and compassion.
Jacob Duggan is a student at Towson University, Baltimore. He is the co-editor (with Zbigniew Janowski) of John Stuart Mill’s collected works, John Stuart Mill: On Democracy, Freedom and Government & Other Selected Writings, and the author of a coming article “The Advent of Liberal-Catholicism in a Victorian Age” in the Australian journal European Legacy.
The image shows, “The Treasures of Satan,” by Jean Delville, painted in 1895.