Marxism suffered a global setback with the fall of the Soviet Union, but it has never gone out of fashion in academia. The latest permutation, called “intersectionality,” divides all humans into camps based on race, ethnicity, and group history and labels them either “oppressors” or “oppressed” peoples. Black and brown skin, homosexuality, and disabilities make some groups oppressed peoples, whereas white skin, heterosexuality, and an absence of disabilities make others oppressors. Israel is intersectionally doomed to be the oppressor. Today’s far left accuses Israel of “white supremacism.”
“ERIC SEVAREID: Mr. Hoffer, you seem to have a fear about the rise of intellectuals in political life and power. Why are you so frightened of them.
ERIC HOFFER: First of all, I ought to tell you that I have no grievance against the intellectual. All I know about the intellectual is what I read in history and how I saw them perform in our time. And I’m convinced that the intellectual—as a type, as a group—they are more corrupted by power than any other human type. It’s disconcerting, Mr. Sevareid, to realize that businessmen, generals even, soldiers, men of action are not corrupted by power like intellectuals. … You take a conventional man of action. He’s satisfied if you obey, huh? But not the intellectual. He doesn’t want you just obeying. He wants you to get down on your knees and pray to the one who makes you love what you hate and hate what you love. In other words, whenever intellectuals are in power, there is total raping going on.”
A substantial percentage of college students today incur vast debts in pursuit of college educations that provide them with few marketable skills and strip them of the capacity for critical thinking. For many who secure employment, this prior regimentation is reinforced and preserved in amber by armies of bureaucrats, administrators, consultants, and human resources apparatchiks. Hence the loud squeals from the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity (DEI) clerisy whenever some illiberal manifestation is challenged or exposed.
Another incident contributing to Harvard’s last-place ranking was a department’s decision last year to disinvite philosopher Devin Buckley after learning that she belonged to a feminist group that opposed incarcerating biological males in women’s prisons or allowing them on women’s sports teams. The English Department had invited Buckley to lecture on an unrelated topic, British Romanticism, but then canceled the invitation on the grounds that Buckley was “trans-exclusionary.” The disinvitation attracted national attention—but no reaction from the Harvard administration, and no articles or editorials in the Crimson.
Carole Hooven felt similarly isolated during the ordeal that drove her out of the Human Evolutionary Biology Department, where she had taught a popular lecture course on hormones and behavior for two decades. Her troubles began in 2021 after she published T, a book about testosterone and sex differences. Asked during an interview on Fox News about the pressure at medical schools to avoid the terms “male” and “female,” she said that it was important to respect people’s gender identities and use their preferred pronouns, but that med students should be taught that just two biological sexes exist. For this, Hooven was denounced by the director of her department’s diversity and inclusion task force, a graduate student who tweetedthat she was “appalled and frustrated” by Hooven’s “transphobic and harmful” remarks. More attacks followed, including another department chair circulating an email accusing her of being transphobic. After the Harvard Graduate Student Union issued a statement denouncing her, Hooven was unable to find any graduate student willing to be a teaching assistant in her undergraduate course.
Dorian Abbot and Casey Mulligan explain that “academia’s narrative about ‘land appropriation’ and ‘cultural genocide’ is not only dubious factually – it also offers a justification for revenge against certain groups.” Here’s their conclusion:
Too many teachers are replacing these essential legal and ethical principles with notions of collective guilt for “white males” and others born hundreds of years after certain lands were supposedly stolen. We hope that students and parents will recognize the real purpose behind this fact-challenged revisionism: to promote division in our society by manufacturing and prolonging resentment for personal and political gain.
Some policy experts who, over the last few decades, saw little need for serious fiscal austerity because the government could borrow at low interest rates are now changing their tune. Their argument is that with rates now rising and the government’s interest payments set to become extremely expensive, it’s time to adjust. While I suppose that’s progress, they fail to see that the past calls for austerity were attempts to avoid precisely what’s happening today.
Indeed, the need for fiscal responsibility was never based on an inability to afford extra debt back then. It was because the moment was destined to arrive when adjustments became necessary, and rising indebtedness ensured that these changes would become more painful.